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CVA in the News

Crypto Valley Association signs MoU to join IDAXA

By | CVA in the News | No Comments

The Crypto Valley Association (CVA) of Switzerland is the seventh national trade association to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA) with the goal to provide a unified voice for the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) industry. 

The Swiss join six existing IDAXA signatories including Blockchain Australia (formerly known as the Australian Digital Commerce Association), Singapore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association (ACCESS), Japan Blockchain Association (JBA), Korean Blockchain Association (KBCA), Hong Kong Blockchain Association (HKBA) and the Taiwan Parliamentary Coalition for Blockchain & Industry Self-Regulatory Organization. 

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. Currently, the community consists of approximately 1,500 active and 7,000 passive members, 30% of which are international.

“IDAXA plays a key leadership role in representing the voice of the DLT community towards regulators and allowing both small and big FinTech firms to participate in developing industry standards,” said Chris Gschwend, Head of CVA’s VASP/AML Task Force. CVA’s Executive Director, Alexander Shell, added: “We look forward to connecting our members to the wider crypto community through joint collaboration on a number of topics.”

Taking place at the CVA offices in Zug, Switzerland, the MoU signatories were Ronald M. Tucker, founder and President of Blockchain Australia, Anson Zeall, founder and chair of ACCESS Singapore, Dr Mattia Rattaggi, CVA Board Member, and Alexander Schell, Executive Director of CVA. 

Ronald M. Tucker, convenor of the V20 and founder of Blockchain Australia, said “we are delighted to welcome Switzerland’s peak body to IDAXA. This is an important moment for European representation in the global crypto alignment and it further reinforces our ability to better foster relations amongst governments and VASPs globally to help ensure better economic outcomes in the digital asset economy.”

IDAXA was established by way of an MoU signing at the V20 Summit, which was held in parallel to the G20 Leaders Summit in Osaka, Japan, where VASPs convened along with policy makers and regulators to develop a clear roadmap toward compliance with a new set of recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Under the revised FATF Guidelines, VASPs offering services such as custody solutions and exchange or trading platforms will be required to implement AML due diligence measures, among other requirements.

 

     

CVA and Zurich Tourism Establish Official Partnership

By | CVA in the News

Both parties affirm their mutual interest in acknowledging, developing and promoting the fields of distributed ledger and related technologies to create business activity in Zurich and Switzerland, thus promoting the country as a global blockchain destination.

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It has been agreed under a Memorandum of Understanding that a synergy between the two entities will enable the creation of a larger and broader Swiss blockchain ecosystem, attracting not only businesses related to the field but also visitors who will benefit from the valuable experiences created by mutual events and activities. 

A partnership between the Crypto Valley Association and Zürich Tourism is absolutely beneficial to promote Zurich as a main hub for Economy and Innovation. The aim of Zürich Tourism Congress Bureau is to attract international guests to Zurich for business events. With no doubt, the collaboration with the Crypto Valley Association plays an important role to reach our goals. “, commented Vanessa Reis, Relationship Manager of Zurich Tourism.

With Zurich being a global center for banking and finance, each organization has for goal to uphold and advocate the reputation of the city and its surroundings as being an economic destination of choice for anything blockchain-related.

“We are more than delighted to announce our partnership with Zurich Tourism. In order to attract international businesses, it is important to join forces when it comes to promoting Switzerland as a tech hub. Instead of scattering resources, we need to collaborate and support each other to reach this goal. As a result, Switzerland as a whole becomes an even more attractive place for doing business” said Alexander Schell, Executive Director of the Crypto Valley Association.

 

New Chair Takes Over Western Chapter of CVA

By | CVA in the News

New Chair Takes Over Western Chapter of CVA

The association announces the assignment of new leadership in its Romandy Chapter, which will be continuing the efforts of the past structure. 

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After a full year of service toward the association in its French-speaking Chapter, Aires Marques is completing terms, handing over at the same time its role and responsibilities to newly appointed Chair, Jérôme Bailly.

It was a great experience to chair the CVA Western Chapter, together with an amazing team. We will continue to support the CVA to build the blockchain ecosystem also here in Romandy. As a team member, Jérôme showed enthusiasm, commitment and ownership, I’m glad to be completing my 12 months term and to pass on the torch to Jérôme and to see the CVA achieve even more with him leading the way forward,” said Aires Marques.

Jérôme is present in the CVA since 2018 and was already active within the association as CMO of corporate member LakeDiamond. He has a broad knowledge of business development and marketing for innovation coming from his years in digital agencies and his recent involvement in the promotion of the Initial Coin Offering of the aforementioned EPFL startup, LakeDiamond.

“Being in the CVA greatly helped our team in the promotion of our token sale. It’s now my turn to help the association. I want to thank Aires, who has done a splendid job in setting up our local team. I’m now looking forward to working with these motivated people who are the critical aspect of growing the association in our Chapter.

The Crypto Valley doesn’t limit itself to Zug anymore. The Valley is Switzerland in its integrality, and beyond. Our Western Switzerland Chapter unites the blockchain and the tokenization initiatives from Geneva fintech and EPFL startups. My direct objective is to onboard the new corporates which are now coming into our crypto space and transform this local ecosystem into a more active and open French-speaking blockchain area.” said Jérôme Bailly, new Chair of the Western Chapter. 

As a mission, the Western Switzerland Chapter of the Crypto Valley Association continues to foster the growth of blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem in the Romandy region of Switzerland.

The board warmly welcomes Jérôme as the new chair and wishes to address its warmest regards to Aires for all the work he has accomplished in its year in the position. 

Crypto Valley Association Enters Official Partnership with Geneva Macro Labs

By | CVA in the News

Public Announcements / Articles
Zug, 29 August 2019

Upon agreeing under a Memorandum of Understanding, the two entities have set for objective to cooperate on the development of sustainable initiatives by leveraging intellectual potential and advocating the use of Blockchain technology to develop sustainable solutions for existing and future challenges.

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With various forms of cooperation being pursued; such as but not limited to the exchange of knowledge and the organization of joint conference activities, the partnership is in line with the importance and primordial aspect of achieving SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) that both parties value.

“Geneva Macro Labs is excited to announce our partnership with the Crypto Valley Association. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and stimulating exchange around the Blockchain technology and its potential in addressing global challenges to contribute to a sustainable future.”, said Dr. Ekkehard Ernst, President of Geneva Macro Labs.

As a first mark of collaboration, the Crypto Valley Association will be participating in the “Blockchain 4 impact” joint conference of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit and Geneva Macro Labs. 

The event aims at offering a new space for information exchange, debate and critical reflection on opportunities and limitations of the Blockchain technology in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are excited to have found a partner in Geneva Macro Labs, who is also focusing on shaping international collaboration and bringing together the brightest minds to develop solutions for a sustainable future. It is part of our shared mission
to address how existing and future challenges can be solved using blockchain technology for a better tomorrow.” commented Alexander Schell, Executive Director of the Crypto Valley Association.

 

Further media contact:

Alexander Schell
Executive Director, CVA
alexander.schell@cryptovalley.swiss
+41 79 152 1700

Dr. Ekkehard Ernst,
President, Geneva Macro Labs.
ekkehard.ernst@gemlabs.ch
+41 79 52 74 185

 

The 5th ICO/STO Report published by PwC Stratetgy& and CVA

By | Articles, CVA in the News

This week saw the publication of the 5th ICO/STO (IEO) report in collaboration with PwC and Strategy&.

The key takeaways are as follows:

Token Offerings and IEO

  • Jan until May 2019: total of 250 token offerings completed, USD 3.3 bnraised capital
  • Since the beginning of 2019, the development of IEO strongly accelerated. The IEO Bitfinex, with USD 1 bncapital raised, was the biggest token offering in 2019.
  • New concept: Initial Exchange Offering, a new crypto fundraising format, by which an ICO/STO is basically conducted on one or multiple platforms of crypto exchanges
  • The innovation of IEO can be seen as a response of established exchangesmoving into crypto emphasizing higher institutionalization and credibility

Cyber Security

  • Cybersecurity, key custody, KYC/AML and capital requirements are the key themes in today’s crypto finance ecosystem
  • Recent cases of large lossescaused by cyberattacks: Binance & bithumb (wallet), SpankChain (smart contract), Coinbase (attack in terms of double spending)
  • Key custody solutions gain more attention and relevance

Read the full report here.

 

 

CVA Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring participates in the review process of the Swiss draft VAT guidance on cryptocurrencies

By | Articles, CVA in the News

The CVA Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring (CVA WG TAS) has successfully submitted on behalf of the CVA board last Friday, 15 March 2019, its statement regarding the revised first draft VAT guidance on cryptocurrencies issued on 29 January 2019 by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA).

The statement has been prepared by Markus Vogel (Chair CVA WG TAS & Tax Partner KPMG), Monika Molnar (Member CVA WG TAS & Tax Partner MME) and Thomas Linder (Member CVA WG TAS & Tax Partner MME) and submitted with the approval of the CVA board to the SFTA. This action is another example of CVA’s diligent work on improving the state of blockchain resp. the business environment in Switzerland and also accounts for the CVA community’s demand to address the current uncertainties in respect of Swiss VAT duties for blockchain businesses.

Although the authors recognise that the revision of the first draft has been a move into the right direction, several aspects of the draft VAT guidance should be reassessed. An outline of the most material revision claims by the CVA WG TAS can be found below:

  • Missing reflection on the cybernetic and autonomous aspects of a decentralised, public open-source blockchain system
  • Necessity for a functional approach towards the classification of blockchain tokens under the consideration of the synchronisation with the respective legal effects:
    • Native tokens
    • Counterparty tokens
    • Ownership tokens
  • Differentiation between crowdfunding activities such as ICOs and other transactions involving blockchain tokens (transfer of blockchain tokens) for VAT purposes
  • VAT treatment of ICOs should follow a case-by-case assessment and cannot be generalised
  • Issuance of blockchain tokens should only result in a VAT liability in case there is a supply of services or goods in return for the provision of (crypto)currencies
  • VAT treatment should basically follow the principles applied to the treatment of the referenced non-tokenised transaction(s) (e.g. voucher token should be dealt as a voucher from a VAT perspective)

You can read the entire statement from the Working Group here [in German].

The CVA WG TAS is keen on hearing back from the SFTA and looks forward to the further finalisation of the VAT guidance on cryptocurrencies. Once sufficient clarity has been reached, the CVA WG TAS will gladly organize respective community events.

CVA Tax and Accounting WG Input on VAT

By | CVA in the News, Member Only Announcements

The CVA Tax and Accounting Working Group submitted the following statement to the SFTA. The statement was prepared by Markus Vogel (Chair CVA WG TAS & Tax Partner KPMG), Monika Molnar…

Read More

New Strategic Agenda for Crypto Valley Association

By | Articles, CVA in the News

The Crypto Valley Association announced its strategic objectives and action plan at its Extraordinary General Assembly yesterday. The CVA Board, whose five new members were elected in January, underlined the need to facilitate blockchain and fintech startups in their funding and implementation goals while maintaining a focus on supporting the overall development of the technology. The Association supports the launch of an independent crypto-friendly Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) with a own-developed project plan and cooperates with the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) in their effort to issue updated Guidelines on opening corporate accounts for blockchain companies. These and other projects will further help the ever-growing number of startups in Switzerland’s Crypto Valley while following on the trend towards a maturing ICO/STO market as revealed in a recent report co-published with PwC/Strategy&.

With more than 1’200 members from over 20 countries, the Crypto Valley Association continues to grow and expand as the global blockchain ecosystem continues to mature. At its Extraordinary General Assembly today, the CVA announced its strategic objectives and action plan to support its members while contributing to the healthy development of the businesses and the technology.

The recent report on Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and Security Token Offerings (STO) published jointly by the Crypto Valley Association along with PwC Switzerland and Strategy& indicates a continued trend away from utility token offerings with a stronger emphasis on the more-regulated security token space. At the same time, there is a growing emphasis on the non-financial applications of blockchain technology.

In view of these trends, the CVA’s initiatives include the support of the implementation of an independent crypto-friendly Self-Regulatory Organisation, for which the Association has created a project plan, and the collaboration with the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) in their effort to produce updated Guidelines on opening corporate accounts for blockchain companies.

The CVA is also committed to internationalise its member base as well as the greater Swiss ecosystem, while cooperating strategically with a wide range of stakeholders. It is also committed to developing a “members’ market-place” in order to help increase the flow of capital into the growing industry.

Finally, the Association will continue to cooperate formally with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in the organisation of the blockchain technology-focused Crypto Valley Conference and aims to strengthen the industry and advance the technology through development of best practices and promotion of thought leadership.

4th ICO and STO Report – growing less, but growing up

By | Articles, CVA in the News

Download the ICO/STO report here.

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In the second half of 2018, the number and volume of ICOs and STOs decreased considerably, both due to the shift from ICO to STO and due to the so-called crypto-winter. Experts consider this a generally positive development. With the emergence of regulated STOs, the fundraising method ICO is now leaving a gray area. Global jurisdictions and infrastructure are in line with the trend, with Switzerland still playing a pioneering role.

Zug, 8 March 2019 – In 2018, 1’132 Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and Security Token Offerings (STOs) were successfully completed, twice as many as in 2017 (552 in total) – as shown in the fourth ICO / STO report by PwC Strategy & in collaboration with Crypto Valley Association (CVA). After crypto-crowdfunding continued its growth course in early 2018 and reached the total volume of the previous year in March 2018, the number and volume declined considerably in the second half of the year. Two startups, EOS and Telegram, have generated a combined 5.8 billion as so-called “unicorns”. Daniel Diemers, Head of Blockchain EMEA at PwC Strategy&: “The trend demonstrates that from an investment strategy perspective, ICOs or STOs remain attractive to investors for venture capital financing. However, there is a process of rethinking in favor of more security and transparency for investors.”

New token models are gaining momentum

The continued decline in value of digital currencies by the end of the year has led to a state of so-called “crypto-winter” in the global crypto community. However, the declining investment volumes were not only caused by the valuation of digital currencies. STOs are gaining popularity in the cryptocurrency industry. Although, STOs as token offerings for securities and rights in rem are not fundamentally different from ICOs, they are a more regulated version of it. STOs combine many features of ICO such as low entry barriers for investors as well as traditional VC/PE fundraising characteristics, e.g. regulations based on local security laws including KYC/AML.

In addition to securities, there is a trend towards tokenization of assets like commodities (gold, oil, etc.) and the tokenization of intangible goods (e.g., music rights). Daniel Diemers “ICOs have often been designed as highly speculative vehicles and have attracted the attention of regulators. Improved regulation through the tokenization and recognition as securities is another step towards maturity. It is interesting to see how the industry has changed in such a short time and what business models will result or which will prevail.”

The regulatory landscape and infrastructure must “level up”

FINMA has addressed the topic of tokenization early on and differentiates between payment, use and investment tokens. “Switzerland’s advanced regulatory model, along with its greater reliance on STOs on established securities laws, provide a good basis for further blockchain developments. We are glad to see that Switzerland continues to play a major role in a dynamic marketplace even as it moves towards more asset tokens and stablecoins, “explains Daniel Haudenschild, president of the Crypto Valley Association.

In addition to increased protection, market participants demand new services such as flexible custody solutions, market data services, reliable rating services and research. With the increasing expectations and the increased regulatory requirements of STOs, the existing infrastructure, for example for trade and custody, must also develop further. This opportunity has been recognized by established stock exchanges and financial institutions and is expanding its services in the crypto sector. For example, the Swiss stock exchange operator SIX announced in the summer of 2018 a platform for the issuance, trading, settlement and custody of digital assets. Another Swiss bank was authorized in January 2019 to become the first global crypto custodian bank.

BlockImmo becomes first regulated real estate crowdsale platform

By | Articles, CVA in the News

BlockImmo is a CVA member based in Zug. This article originally appeared on CryptoCoin News.

Tokenized assets are here to stay. The current race is about who can get regulated products to the market first and then who can successfully gain user adoption. While several projects have purported to tokenize real estate assets, blockimmo is the first to do it within the bounds of existing regulations in two jurisdictions.

The blockimmo platform launched recently with two test properties, but they intend to have actual real estate listed in the beginning of 2019.

The way blockimmo works is a real estate seller lists the property on the platform, along with an issuance of tokens which will represent shares of the property. Investors are then able to invest however much they like and watch the crowdsale progress. Various terms and limits can be placed on the sale. Once the sale is complete, each person who invested receives representative tokens in their wallet, tokens which are associated with a real-world holding by an investment firm in Lichtenstein.

We’ve heard this before. Several projects are working on similar goals, with regulations and government approval being the primary stumbling blocks. One that comes to mind is LA Token. TrustToken aims to do similar things in the future, as well.

Not Available in the US

The question of enforceability arises when there can be literally dozens of owners of a single property and the tokens can be swapped between wallets at will. To deal with this, blockimmo is limiting its operations to places where it is sure it can be fully regulated: Switzerland and Lichtenstein. They intend to expand to other parts of Europe as properties are successfully listed and the platform grows.

The properties that are sold on the platform, in a legal sense, are held by a Lichenstein firm, each with its own sub-fund. This is how the properties are secured in an IRL sense.

Switzerland is a great place to start a project like blockimmo because of the organization of its existing land registry. Founder Bastiaan Don said of this:

The properties we tokenise are already designated with the precise E-GRID number directly in the blockchain. This is already a known quantity in Switzerland and they are already entered as such in their own, centralised land register. Synchronising the systems would be a first step towards a land register on the Blockchain.

The big news last week for blockimmo was that FINMA, the Swiss financial regulatory body, had approved both their business model and their security token offering. This means they’re totally free to pursue their goals, and don’t have to worry about later running into problems with regulators. Swiss laws still apply to properties that are listed and exist within Switzerland, and there are various restrictions on foreigners investing in Swiss real estate.

FINMA announced this week that blockchain companies would be able to successfully operate in Switzerland with only minimal changes to its regulations.

The project has brought in a legal firm called MME to help it with legal issues that may arise, and also has the backing of family-run bank, Bank Frick, whose Director of Funds & Products, Raphael Haldner, said of the project:

The implementation of projects like blockimmo demonstrates the expertise of Bank Frick in the field of digital business models and products, as well our innovative drive.

Two example properties are live at blockimmo.ch so the public can see how the platform is intended to work. Real listings are expected to be happening as early as next month.