Switzerland’s economics minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, has said that the landlocked country should strive to “become the crypto-nation” if experiences in the Canton of Zug, colloquially known as Crypto Valley, remain positive. He made the comment in an interview with the news outlet SRF, as well as in a speech to the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, where he spoke after receiving a so-called “crypto award.”
Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said Switzerland has been on the forefront of innovation in many sectors, and it would make sense for the country to embrace cryptocurrency.
He said it is too early to tell whether Switzerland would attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies, and that the country should evaluate their potential for economic transformation.
Though he mostly restrained himself from exalting the technology outright, he opined that banks which dismiss cryptocurrency fever as nothing more than hype are doing so out of “professional” concerns, as the digital assets threaten to “directly” affect their field of business. If the risks of the technology prove to outweigh its benefits, though, Swiss authorities would then rather “do without” it.
“It is too early” to say whether cryptocurrencies merit regulation, he said.
On the subject of the recently-formed blockchain working group – staffed by members drawn from the State Secretariat for International Financial, the Financial Market Authority, and the Federal Office of Justice – he remarked that the body would “provide guidance on where to look and to make recommendations as to where new directions might lead.”
France and Germany are proposing heavy regulations, possibly in an effort to stifle competing nations such as Switzerland, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The summit will be held in March where the proposals on regulation will be submitted as a joint French-German position to their G20 counterparts. The UK may also be with Switzerland behind blockchain innovation if it can ever get over its Brexit woes and finally move forwards with its fintech industry.
Switzerland is a popular destination for cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts, and its canton of Zug is known as “Crypto Valley”. It is also a popular testing ground for blockchain projects, including the uPort identity management system built on Ethereum.