Jimmy Nguyen returns to his law roots at IADC event in Switzerland

Jimmy Nguyen, one of the foremost authorities on Bitcoin SV (BSV), is the founding president of the Bitcoin Association. This week, however, Nguyen is returning to his law roots as he takes part in the upcoming International Association of Defense Counsel’s International Corporate Counsel College event. 

This event will be held near Zurich, Switzerland, and brings together the in-house counsel for law firms, looking to educate and give them the opportunity to ask questions related to issues affecting global companies.

The two-day event will occur on October 24-25, with Nguyen set to be the keynote speaker on the 24th. He will also be part of a panel discussion the following day. The panel, “Smart Contracts: Everything You Wanted to Know, but Never Dared to Ask,” will take a close examination of the various uses and applications for blockchain technology. The specific focus will be on how this technology is becoming increasingly important to companies and how that will affect the legal counsel’s office.

The moderator of the panel will be Ianika Tzankova of Tzankova Legal Consulting and Tilburg University, in Tilburg, Netherlands. Other presenters will include Flaco Kreis of CMS Hasche Sigle in Munich and Gabriela Lippe-Hoist, the co-founder and director of Acqupart Holding AG.

Nguyen, a former digital technology lawyer since the 1990s, said in a statement related to his appearance at IADC:

Blockchain and smart contracts are game-changing for the legal profession, as well as businesses in all industries. I’m excited to bring what I’ve learned in my two decades of legal experience as a partner at major U.S. law firms, along with my current work in blockchain and cryptocurrency, to this gathering of top corporate lawyers in Europe. This event also gives me the opportunity to further explain how BSV is creating a regulation-friendly ecosystem, unlike so many other cryptocurrency camps, a message which will be supported by major enterprises and their corporate lawyers.

The IADC is an event hosted by the International Corporate Counsel College. This conference is proposed as an opportunity to bring together the “in-house counsel and their advisors to gain knowledge together and spend time with others who face similar issues.”

Find out more about the IADC event here.

Swiss online retail giant Digitec now accepting Bitcoin SV, other cryptos

Swiss online retail giant Digitec now accepting Bitcoin SV, other cryptos

Swiss online retail giant Digitec Galaxus has enabled cryptocurrency payments through its platforms, including Bitcoin SV (BSV).

The retailer, which owns Switzerland’s most prominent online store, digitec.ch, announced the decision on Tuesday. Customers will now be able to pay for transactions over CHF200 (approximately $200) in cryptocurrency like BSV, in addition to the range of other payment methods supported by the retailer.

The decision comes in response to growing customer demand for crypto payment options, and will enable consumers in Switzerland to purchase everything from “shoehorns to wheat beer to gaming PCs” with Bitcoin. Other accepted cryptos include Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), TRON, NEO, and OmiseGO.

The new payments facility was developed in partnership with Swiss payments firm Datatrans and crypto payments company Coinify. Customers are provided with a 15-minute timeframe after checkout to complete payment, with fees of just 1.5% charged for transactions through the facility.

As part of the move, Digitec has also incorporated a crypto wallet into its platforms, which will allow customers to keep track of the transactions and available balances.

Despite the vote of confidence in Bitcoin, Chief Innovation Officer at Digitec Oliver Herren said he doesn’t yet appreciate the transformative power of blockchain technology, admitting he may not fully understand the technology.

In a blog post, Herren noted, “…maybe I just haven’t invested enough time in fully understanding how the blockchain ecosystem works.”

Nevertheless, in response to strong demand from its customers, the $261-million revenue retailer confirmed crypto support would be effective immediately.

The onboarding is the latest example of a retailer announcing support for BSV. With fast processing times and low transactions costs, BSV is perfectly suited to consumer payments, as intended in the original bitcoin whitepaper.

Other retailers have taken similar steps towards onboarding crypto payments, including Overstock, while Rakuten and Canadian platform Bunz Trading Zone have gone a stage further in introducing their own platform-specific tokens.

It comes at a time of increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies like BSV among consumers globally, as digital currency continues to challenges card and cash payments as a more efficient, cost-effective payment method.

Bitfinex in talks to move business to Switzerland: report

Bitfinex in talks to move business to Switzerland: report

Bitfinex, the fifth largest cryptocurrency trading exchange platform, is reportedly planning to cut its relations with Asia and move its offices to Switzerland.

News of Bitfinex moving to Switzerland was first reported by Handelszeitung. In an interview with the Swiss news outlet, CEO Jean Louis van der Velde said the Hong Kong-based trading exchange and its parent company, iFinex, are “looking for a new domicile,” where they can “merge the operations previously spread over several locations.”

Bitfinex already had several meetings with the top leader of Switzerland to solidify its move to the country, according to the report. The meetings were to ensure Bitfinex follows the law and establish its new office without hitches. Van der Velde said Bitfinex is also considering London as another option.

Moving from Asia to Europe would require Bitfinex to shut down its offices in Hong Kong, with iFinex forming a new public company. If all goes according to plan, Bitfinex will have its core businesses headquartered in Switzerland, according to van der Velde.

The decision to relocate comes around a time when Bitfinex is being hounded by controversies, most recently about an alleged pump conspiracy with Tether. Van der Velde told the Swiss news outlet: “We want to be the most transparent of all exchanges and meet the requirements of the Swiss regulator.”

Bitfinex isn’t the only crypto company that is looking to relocate. Last week, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance—the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded volume—confirmed reports that it is planning to open an office in Malta and possibly soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” on the European island nation. Binance founder Zhao Changpeng said the company is close to securing a deal with local banks that can provide access to deposits and withdrawals. The move could be seen as an effort by Binance to escape serious regulatory issues which it encountered in China and Japan recently.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/bitfinex-talks-move-business-switzerland-report/

Goodbye Ponzi’s? Swiss FINMA’s newly released ICO guidelines can possibly eradicate pump and dump exit scams

Goodbye Ponzi’s? Swiss FINMA’s newly released ICO guidelines can possibly eradicate pump and dump exit scams

If you’re interested in raising funds through an ICO in Switzerland, you might want to check this out. Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has released a new set of guidelines that hope to clarify when financial market regulations apply to ICO’s (initial coin offerings), and when they do not.

Throughout the years, the phrase “Swiss bank accounts” has been connotative of “safety.” Switzerland’s Banking Law of 1934 prohibits a Swiss bank from disclosing an account holder’s name, making it resistant to prying eyes—even from authorities. Described by American economist James S. Henry from the Tax Justice Network as “the grandfather of the world’s secretive tax havens,” it’s unsurprising that cryptocurrencies have found a safe haven in Switzerland.

But the downside to this was that the surge of ICO’s nestling their funds in the country includes those with questionable or even outright fraudulent practices, as demonstrated by a string of troubled and some completely botched projects that were launched from within their territory. Tezos, one of the largest ICO’s of 2017, is locked in a number of legal wars including one concerning over a billion dollars’ worth of funds from investors; the DAO collapsed after suffering one of the first biggest heists in cryptocurrency history.

In its bid to become a “crypto-nation,” Switzerland wants to provide investors with a certain level of protection. Below are some of the important points from the new release.

FINMA – Classification of tokens

To aid in the assessment of ICO’s, FINMA has handed down these three classifications to determine whether an ICO can be subjected to securities regulations. Hybrids between these different classifications will be assessed and subjected to securities laws if it applies.

  • Payment tokens or cryptocurrencies – used for payments and “have no further functions or links to other development projects.”
    Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations apply, but will not be treated as securities.
  • Utility tokens – tokens specifically made and used for access to digital applications or service.
    These may or may not be treated as securities:
    If the utility is limited to the purpose stated above and if it can be readily used as such at the time it was issued, it will not be treated as a security.
    b. If the token in any way functions as an investment, it will be treated as a security.
  • Asset tokens, FINMA says, “represent assets such as participations in real physical underlyings, companies, or earnings streams, or an entitlement to dividends or interest payments. In terms of their economic function, the tokens are analogous to equities, bonds or derivatives.”
    These are treated as securities and will be subject to securities laws and civil laws under the Swiss Code of Obligations.

Goodbye Ponzi’s? Swiss FINMA’s newly released ICO guidelines can possibly eradicate pump and dump exit scams

Goodbye Ponzi’s?

One of the biggest and most prevalent scams these days are pyramids and Ponzi schemes, disguised as exchanges issuing their own coins issuing referral and reward schemes through which investors are questionably guaranteed with profits. Under FINMA’s new guidelines, this will no longer be so easy—unless an issuer of such tokens is willing to swear on their own real name, and put it all in legal writing.

According to FINMA’s guidelines (section 3.4 below), such schemes will now be classified as “deposits,” and issuers will have to obtain a banking license—something that can effectively deter malicious entities from even thinking of instigating more pump and dump schemes.

3.4 Classification as deposits

The primary purpose of the Banking Act is to protect the public, particularly bank creditors and their deposits. The issuing of tokens is not generally associated with claims for repayment on the ICO organiser and such tokens do not therefore fall within the definition of a deposit. To this extent there is no requirement to obtain a banking licence. If, however, there are liabilities with debt capital character (e.g. promises to return capital with a guaranteed return), the funds raised are treated as deposits and there is a requirement under the Banking Act to obtain a licence unless exceptions apply.

Apart from the above, FINMA has also published a form containing the minimum information required of ICO founders.

Firm against fraud

In an accompanying press release, Switzerland reiterates that they are trying to balance the freedom they’re providing cryptocurrency companies with protecting investors. Switzerland aims to weed out fraudulent ICO’s while supporting legitimate ones.

“The application of blockchain technology has innovative potential within and far beyond the financial markets. However, blockchain-based projects conducted analogously to regulated activities cannot simply circumvent the tried and tested regulatory framework. Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and enquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system,” FINMA CEO, Mark Branson says.

While Switzerland gives project founders a lot of leeway, FINMA is firm on their investigation on possibly fraudulent ICO’s, which started in September last year.

“If FINMA becomes aware that ICO business models have breached supervisory law, were intended to circumvent regulation, or were fraudulent in their intent, it will launch enforcement proceedings,” FINMA said in its press release.

While there are still some gaps in the guidelines—such as clearer definitions, limitations and flexibilities to the terms, leading Swiss law firm Walder Wyss welcomes the guidelines.

“Inter alia, FINMA puts forward its own classification of tokens in three different categories, but fails in defining clear demarcation lines that would enhance legal certainty for ICO organisers. Yet, combined with a favourable tax regime on certain ICO structures, the guidelines may further boost ICOs as means of financing for start-ups and corporates in general. From a corporate finance perspective, we very much welcome the said guidelines and the approach of FINMA on ICOs executed in Switzerland,” Walder Wyss wrote in a newsletter.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.