February 16 2018
FINMA’s analysis indicates that money laundering and securities regulation are the most relevant to ICOs. Projects which would fall under the Banking Act (governing deposit-taking) or the Collective Investment Schemes Act (governing investment fund products) are not typical.
The Anti-Money Laundering Act contains requirements for financial intermediaries including, for example, the need to establish the identity of beneficial owners. The law aims to protect the financial system against the risks of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Money laundering risks are especially high in a decentralised blockchain-based system, in which assets can be transferred anonymously and without any regulated intermediaries.
In guidelines published today, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA sets out how it intends to apply financial market legislation in handling enquiries from ICO organisers. The guidelines also define the information FINMA requires to deal with such enquiries and the principles upon which it will base its responses, creating clarity for market participants.