Regulatory Aspects of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in Switzerland
Switzerland is currently in the midst of the global cryptofinance boom and Swiss-related ICOs are attracting worldwide attention. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA has recently taken a stance. After various media releases and guidance documents, it published its ICO Guidelines. These guidelines give certain indications on how FINMA assesses the regulatory implications of token sales.
In summary, Switzerland can be considered a rather liberal jurisdiction. Although FINMA is accommodating to blockchain applications and fintech in general, it needs to apply the law as set out in the various financial market acts. Whether an ICO falls within the scope of Swiss financial market regulation has to be determined carefully in each individual case and should be ruled with FINMA, as the answer to this question strongly depends on the functionalities and rights of the offered token.
If an ICO is non-compliant with Swiss financial market regulation, an enforcement procedure may be triggered. Additionally, foreign financial market regulations should be considered when conducting an ICO out of Switzerland. This particularly applies to US securities laws due their wide scope of application and heavy sanctions.