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domino.vote announces a Corporate Sponsorship Agreement with Crypto Valley Association (CVA)

By | Articles, CVA in the News

Nyon, Switzerland, 22.11.2019

domino.vote is proud to announce the Corporate Sponsorship Agreement with the Crypto Valley Association, one of the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technology ecosystems. The agreement establishes domino.vote as the CVA’s official online voting supplier from 2020. The CVA will use the domino.vote mobile application for different purposes, including statutory voting such as during the Annual General Meeting and within any relevant decision making process requiring member participation. domino.vote provides mobile online voting that is easy and intuitive, with higher security than current mobile banking apps.

About Crypto Valley Association
The Crypto Valley Association (CVA) is an independent, government-supported organization located in the Swiss Canton of Zug. Its focus is on developing and executing community-driven programs targeted at establishing and growing the ecosystem for blockchain and cryptographic technologies globally. Currently, the community consists of approximately 1,500 active and 7,000 passive members, 30% of which are international.

About domino.vote
domino.vote is a blockchain based voting app offering full supervision to voters directly from their smartphone and the first solution enabling voting rights to any standard token holder. Furthermore, domino.vote matches the highest requirements in voting platforms in terms of security, data confidentiality and the integrity of the results. Professionals and private organizations are domino.vote’s primary customer targets.

Ray Chow-Toun, Founder of domino.vote said: The shoemaker’s children in the blockchain ecosystem do not go barefoot. Henceforth blockchain based voting is a natural evolution in the decision making process at the Crypto Valley Association and we are proud to supply thedomino.vote leading edge solution to our peers.

Alexander Schell, Executive Director of the Crypto Valley Association added: domino.vote is an important new strategic partner for the CVA. In order to make our internal voting infrastructure and mechanisms more transparent, we are partnering with domino.vote to leverage blockchain technology into the governance of the association. We want to demonstrate, in collaboration with our members and partners, the broad application of distributed-ledger technology. domino.vote is a perfect example of this symbiosis.

For more information, contact domino.vote at info@domino.vote.

Economic Framework of Digital Currencies

By | Articles, CVA in the News

Regulatory Working Group (RWG)
Task Force: “Central Banks, Digital Currencies and Monetary Policy – CBDC & MP”
Athanasios Ladopoulos, Task Force Leader.

“This paper is part of a series of papers on central banks, digital currencies and monetary policy. We kick off our journey by examining the economic framework of crypto currencies and briefly addressing relevant issues, opportunities and threats, as well as shedding light on how Central Banks, Retail Banks, Governments and their constituents could be affected. While cryptocurrencies are becoming the evolutionary step of paper money, digital currencies have been in use for some time now, for example in interbank lending and electronic accounts for major financial institutions. However, when it comes to retail banking and more specific the public, digital currencies are destined to change the way we interact with money…”

Read more: Download the full document.

Audit guidance on cryptocurrencies

By | Articles, CVA in the News

In September 2019, the Commission for Auditing of EXPERTsuisse ‒ the professional association of Swiss certified experts on auditing, taxes and fiduciary ‒ published a Q&A guidance on the audit of cryptocurrencies.

 

It was developed by auditors of six major audit firms with specific knowledge and experience in cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology. The guidance is based on an exemplary case and focuses on Bitcoin due to numerous possible conditions and circumstances depending on the token, its origin and how the companies handle their holdings. It covers the consideration of the internal control system and procedures to obtain audit evidence about the relevant assertions in the financial statements.

The Q&A stresses the importance of an effective internal control system pertaining the handling of the private keys. The whole life cycle is comprised in order ensure the entity’s exclusive control over the private keys in case of the entity managing its own wallets. The controls should inhibit unauthorized access to the private keys as well as to recovery seeds. Adequate measures can include e.g. an entitlement management with multisignature solutions for the authorization of transactions and the consideration of necessary redundancies. Companies with cryptocurrency holdings ought to regard not only operative controls but also accounting-related controls during the year and in the process of financial statement preparation, like the process of tracking transactions accurately and completely together with a proper valuation. In the Q&A several aspects and control designs are presented for controls related to cryptocurrency holdings. Audit clients should be aware that an inadequate internal control system in this context might result in higher audit fees due to additional audit procedures and increased risk or even a disclaimer of opinion.

Within the audit an entity will have to demonstrate existence of its cryptocurrency holdings. This relates particularly to the control over private keys. Two ways of providing evidence are micro transactions and sign message. The suitability and execution of these procedures depend on the circumstances and timing of the audit. The Q&A elaborates on the necessary steps and considerations of the procedures.

For the auditor it is important to take the degree of reliance of different sources into account when verifying transactions or determining balances of public key addresses on the blockchain. The information can be accessed directly or via providers. Even though the Bitcoin blockchain is public, query errors or incorrect displays might lead the inconclusive or insufficient evidence.

The sort and extent of audit procedures depend on numerous aspects and will vary from client to client. Relevant factors are the type of token being held, their origin, underlying DLT characteristics, whether the company manages the private keys on its own or uses external storage services, the effectiveness of the internal control system and processes as well as the timing of the audit, just to mention a few. The auditor has to choose his or her audit approach for each client respectively, but the recently issued Q&A provides orientation on an exemplary base case which can be adapted accordingly and helps to foster crypto activities in Switzerland.

The Q&A is available for members of EXPERTsuisse at https://www.expertsuisse.ch/q-and-a in German, French and English.

______________

Author: Heiko Petry (Board Member Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring and Audit Senior Audit KPMG AG)

CVA comments on the recently published SFTA working paper on cryptocurrencies and ICOs

By | Articles, Policy / Regulations

 

By the Tax/Accounting/Structuring Working Group

On 27 August 2019, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) has published a working paper on cryptocurrencies and ICOs/ITOs in relation to respective wealth, income and profit tax, withholding tax and stamp duty considerations. The working paper can be downloaded here (German).

 

This publication follows up with previous publications by the SFTA on the Swiss VAT guidance for supplies involving cryptocurrencies & ICOs in June 2019 as well as the accounting guidelines published by EXPERTsuisse for utility tokens and asset tokens. 

The position shared within this working paper is based on the practice maintained by the SFTA to date and therefore represents a snapshot of the transactions submitted to the SFTA by end of May 2019. Further, the token categorization is aligned to the guidance published by FINMA on 16 February 2018. Having said that, it must be assumed that there are still open questions in respect of particular transaction circumstances which require conclusive answers and constitute “work in progress”. 

The CVA Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring (CVA WG TAS) appreciates the systematic efforts of the SFTA shared within this working paper as it helps to further provide transparency on the current tax practices. However, the working paper contains several gaps, assumes very specific, non-generic facts and circumstances and in turn, leaves a lot of blank spots. This asks for further clarifications.  

In order to provide the community with our perspective on this working paper, we as the CVA WG TAS gladly share below respective comments prepared by Thomas Linder / MME.  

 

SYSTEMATICS

The SFTA distinguishes between Native / Payment Tokens without legal claim, Asset-backed Tokens with a contractual claim to repayment or cash payment and Utility Tokens with a contractual claim to use a digital service. In the case of Asset-backed Tokens, a distinction is also made between Debt, Equity and Participation Tokens, although all (digital) participation rights under company law are expressly excluded from these definitions.

It is thus based on FINMA’s token triad of Payment, Asset and Utility Tokens. However, its ICO Guidelines from February 2018 are a purely purpose-oriented, regulatory classification in which the Anti-Money Laundering Act (payment/means of payment), the securities regulations (asset/investments, above all also participation rights under company law) and a category without financial regulations (utility/usage) are represented. Therefore, the use of similar terms is more confusing than clarifying. The same can also be said of the practical notices issued by the VAT authorities in this area, which also use different definitions. A more comprehensive, cross-agency system would have been more effective and easier to understand.

 

WEALTH TAX

It is also astonishing that the SFTA also takes a stand on the cantonal wealth tax and influences the (cantonal) valuation of digital assets with its price lists. In our opinion, the specification of tax values without an objectively ascertainable market value (e.g. on a regulated stock exchange) is definitely not within the competence of the SFTA and is questionable both formally and in terms of content. The proposed valuation of highly volatile assets on the reporting date would then hardly correspond to the long-term realizable, taxable market value. It is significant, however, that the cantons largely comply with these conditions without any discernible resistance.

 

INCOME TAX

Certain issues, such as the valuation of wage payments in the form of tokens or the distinction between private asset management and self-employment, are forced into certain ( wanted ) forms without a thorough examination of the facts. For example, an “analogous application of the criteria according to Circular No. 36 on commercial securities trading” to native tokens makes no sense at all, since these are to be treated as transactions with conventional means of payment (currencies) and are therefore not securities. In practice, however, the differences between securities and currency trading are so immanent that “analogous application” is diametrically opposed to the content and purpose of KS 36.

 

WITHHOLDING TAX

In principle, the token types described by the SFTA are not subject to withholding tax due to the lack of a legal basis. This is to be welcomed.

However, the FTA reserves the right to levy withholding tax “if the two following cumulative thresholds are not met:

  • The shareholders of the issuer may hold a maximum of 50% of the issued token at the time of the respective due date. 
  • The defined profit participation quota must result in payments to the token holders not exceeding 50% of the EBIT.”

Unfortunately, this provision is worded in a cumbersome manner and leaves open whether the “safe haven” is violated if both or only if one of the thresholds is not met.

At this point, we would also like to refer to the general rules concerning hidden profit distributions. These are payments to shareholders or to related third parties who have their legal basis exclusively in the ownership relationship and are not openly disclosed as such in the accounts. An obvious, recognizable disproportion between performance and consideration is assumed. A contractual payment to shareholders, which is also made to unrelated third parties under the same conditions, can, therefore in our opinion, hardly qualify as a hidden distribution of profits. The thresholds mentioned can be used as indications. However, the fulfilment of the other requirements is absolutely necessary for the existence of a hidden distribution of profits.

 

STAMP DUTIES

It is correct that the token categories mentioned are not subject to securities transfer tax, even in the case of transactions via securities dealers, provided that they do not refer to taxable securities within the meaning of the Stamp Duties Act.

 

The CVA WG TAS will keep you up-to-date in respect of any upcoming developments in this respect. Stay tuned!

 

Crypto Valley Association releases the Digital Finance SRO project for independent implementation

By | Articles, Public Announcements

Angelica Bienz assumes the lead role in developing an independent Digital Finance SRO

The CVA under the lead of Mattia Rattaggi has developed a project and an implementation plan for an SRO dedicated to the needs of the digital/crypto finance.  The CVA has gone through an official selection process to identify private sector parties interested in driving the SRO to an independent and commercially self-sustainable association. It is now pleased to announce that Angelica Bienz has been selected to implement the project and lead the SRO.  The BoD of the CVA wishes her success in her endeavor.

CVA President Daniel Haudenschild commented, “I am very pleased that the SRO project will be implemented as an independent and commercially self-sustainable association within the Cryptovalley ecosystem by Angelica Bienz.  Such market infrastructure was identified by the ecosystem participants as needed to help transitioning the growing digital and crypto asset service industry to the next level of maturity.”

Angelica is a governance and accredited audit expert with over 15 years of experience in the financial industry, driving development and innovation in audit, control, and risk management. She combines deep knowledge of the traditional financial industry, advanced exposure to the regulatory challenges of the crypto and blockchain-based asset industry, and has been engaged in the crypto valley ecosystem very early on, contributing regularly to the CVA working group “Policy and Regulation”.

CVA Announces New Governance of Southern Alps Chapter

By | Articles, Public Announcements

The Crypto Valley Association has announced a change in governance of its Southern Alps Chapter, with the current chair, Gianni Minetti, passing the torch to Lars Schlichting and Gianfranco Prini, respectively taking over as co-chairs for Ticino and for Italy. With this, the Southern Alps Chapter intends not only to further accelerate the aggregation and dissemination of know-how in Ticino, but also expand its activities to Italy as a natural extension for exchanges and the cross creation of value.

Lars Schlichting brings to the Chapter his advisory experience to corporate clients in the application of new technologies like blockchain, as well as in the compliance with regulatory laws. An attorney-at-law, Lars was part of the legal department of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (now FINMA) and Partner at KPMG. Since 2018 he has worked with Kellerhals Carrard law firm and the Poseidon Group Holding.

Gianfranco Prini will support the Chapter thanks to his uniquely vast and eclectic knowledge and passion for computer science. Founder and executive of multiple technology companies, Gianfranco has a 45 year long academic career in Pisa and Milano as a professor of theoretical computer science, logics and AI; programming languages, operating systems and software engineering; computer networking, web technologies and digital communication; history of computer science and computing.

President Daniel Haudenschild commented “I am very happy that the CVA Southern Alps could gain such unique expertise from Lars Schlichting and Gianfranco Prini, two outstanding players in the ecosystem, while retaining the solid performance always granted by Gianni Minetti and Julia Borghese in every event they organized. With this governance we are best set up to serve the needs of the buoyant crypto and blockchain industry in the southern alps.”

Gianni Minetti and Julia Borghese, current chair and co-chair, will remain part of the CVA and keep actively contributing to its activities and success.

The Chapter will keep supporting contributions to discuss and grow blockchain and cryptographic technologies in academic and business communities, promote events for private and public organizations willing to explore this technology, and engage industry associations, financial institutions, research institutes and local government representatives.

 

Media Contact for the Southern Alps Chapter:

Julia Borghese, julia-borghese@cryptovalley.swiss

New CVA Officers Appointed

By | Articles, Public Announcements

The Crypto Valley Association is pleased to announce a range of new officers who will be supporting the Association’s activities as it grows and develops.

 

Alexander Schell

Executive Director

Contact : alexander.schell@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Dennis Flad

Chair – Enterprise Working Group

Contact : dennis.flad@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Mauro Cappiello

Co-Chair – Enterprise Working Group

Contact : mauro.cappiello@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Bora Altuncevahir

Chair – Education Working Group

Contact : bora.altuncevahir@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Pascal Brun

Co-Chair – Education Working Group

Contact : pascal.brun@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Bernadette Ochsner

Chair – Events Working Group

Contact : bernadette.ochsner@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Maximilian  Souchay

Co-Chair – Events Working Group

Contact : maximilian.souchay@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Biba Homsy

Chair – International Affairs Working Group

Contact : biba.homsy@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Engin Caglar

Co-Chair – International Affairs Working Group

Contact : engin.caglar@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Martin Eisenring

Chair – Investor Working Group

Contact : martin.eisenring@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Daniela Rosa

Co-Chair – Investor Working Group

Contact : daniela.rosa@cryptovalley.swiss 

 

Morgan Pierce

Chair – Marketing Working Group

Contact : morgan.pierce@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Fai Protasovs

Project Management Trainee

Contact : fai.protasovs@cryptovalley.swiss

 

Jean-Philippe Aumasson

Co-Chair – Cyber Security Working Group

Contact : jean-philippe.aumasson@cryptovalley.swiss

Crypto Valley Association Appoints New Board Member

By | Articles

Lili Zhao joins the board effective 1 August 2019

The CVA is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Lili Zhao as a new member of the board, effective 1 August 2019.

CVA President Daniel Haudenschild commented, “I am very pleased to welcome Ms. Zhao to the board of CVA. Ms. Zhao brings in her international experiences and track records in the development of blockchain ecosystems across Asia and Europe. We look forward to her contribution as we continue to take CVA to the next level in shaping a truly global ecosystem for our members and stakeholders in the industry.”

Lili Zhao is the Director of Ecosystem Growth at NEO Global Development (NGD) based out of the Zurich. NEO is a community-driven public blockchain – an open network for Smart Economy. Ms. Zhao has advised a number of blockchain projects and companies internationally. Prior to entering the blockchain space, she held interdisciplinary professional experiences in entrepreneurship, banking, media, education across China, UK and Switzerland.

A Chinese native, Ms. Zhao holds an MBA from the University of St. Gallen and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of London.

Regarding the appointment, Ms. Zhao commented: “ It is a great honour to be appointed as a new board member of CVA and have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding board. I am inspired by the vision of CVA to foster the global blockchain ecosystem and look forward to contributing my part in strengthening the great success it has already achieved.”

CVA Announces Change in Board

By | Articles

The CVA announces that Mrs. Kamales Lardi tendered her resignation from the board, effective 1 July 2019. The board thanks Mrs. Lardi for her contribution to CVA during her service.

Mrs. Lardi was elected as CVA board member on 31 January 2019.