Bitcoin, Blockchain, Crypto Currencies - the field is big and gets bigger and bigger everyday. It might also be confusing at first, but beside our community there are valuable consulting companies happy to help you in your crypto adventures. One of them is our latest corporate member Jud Schöni & Partner AG.
While Swiss parliament considers the election of a Federal Council from the Italian part of Switzerland, the Bitcoin Association Switzerland is expanding southwards ahead of time: with Digital Identity SA and Eidoo Sagl we are happy to have our first two corporate members from Ticino.
The one thing everyone agrees with respect to Bitcoin is that there are still many open legal and regulatory questions. Therefore it's great to see more and more law companies entering the exciting field of crypto currencies to take on the mission to address those questions.
We are happy to announce that ShapeShift, one of the best known and respected brands within the crypto currency world, joins our association as a corporate member.
ShapeShift was the first platform to provide instant Bitcoin and altcoin conversions, or as they describe themselves:
With the company being incorporated in Zug, Switzerland, it was a natural next step for ShapeShift to support our cause with a corporate membership. Please join us in welcoming ShapeShift as a member of our association!
I got in contact with Darren Franceschini in LinkedIn, after a friend of me informed me about the ICO of Blocksale.io where he acts as CEO. We exchanged some messages and the project seems to be interesting enough to make an AMA session in the Altcoin Switzerland Telegram chat group.
Important to say: This is neither an endorsement for this ICO nor investment advice. We are neutral here.
*Marc Bettinger*, [08.09.17 21:32]
Gentlemen lets start!
Bitcoin is growing faster than ever! Every month our meetup group grows by more than 10%, our local Bitcoin startups tripled their number of employees since beginning of the year and two members of the Swiss federal council own Bitcoin by now! Therefor it's not surprising that the Bitcoin Association is growing as well:
We're happy to announce net1.digital joining the BAS as latest corporate member.
net1.digital supports companies through the challenges of digital transformation. Technology is not enough – customer-centricity and robust business models are essential foundations for success in digital environments. Currently, their primary focus is on digital business models and implementations around blockchain and Bitcoin.
Please join us in welcoming net1.digital as a member of our association aiding in growing the local Bitcoin ecosystem even more!
We are pleased to announce that Froriep joins us as not only as a member but also as a legal partner. In other words, if we'll ever get into legal hot water, we now have someone fighting on our side. Of course, all BAS members are welcome to use their services. If you're worried about high charges, it's comforting to know that it's best practice in this industry not to charge for the first, brief introduction meeting during which the lawyer checks if he can be of any help at all.
Froriep, founded in 1966, is a Swiss law firm with offices in Zurich, Zug and Geneva as well as an international presence in London and Madrid. The firm boasts a large cultural diversity within its team of professionals, not to mention an always-present entrepreneurial spirit. The law firm has in-depth knowledge of blockchain technology, crypto-currencies and crypto-tokens. Here is what they have to say about themselves:
But it’s rarer to find someone who not only has earned their fortune by the sweat of their brow, but who has also produced the money in that fortune. With the advent of cryptocurrencies, the entire idea of “making money” has been turned on its head, as has the idea of money itself.
And as Dostoyevsky said, “Money is coined freedom”.
So if you come up against a situation where you need to pay for something – like the membership fee to the Bitcoin Association of Switzerland, for instance – and you are loathe to “pull the money” out of your own pocket, you could always “make your own” i.e. mine it and pay with it.
Yes, it might sound funny, but why not? After all, there is no better way get to the bottom of something than to “get your hands dirty” and learn first-hand.
This was the approach that Lakeside Partners decided to take. After making the decision to get into the blockchain and crypto space, the obvious next step was to set up a mining operation in-house. Nothing extreme, mind you – but enough to get a handle on how things work and pay the annual membership fee for the Bitcoin Association Switzerland (we famously only accept Bitcoin for membership fees).
Admittedly, this wasn’t Lakeside Partners first foray into cryptocurrencies: earlier this year, their sister company inacta AG assisted in bringing Bitcoin payments to one of the most popular specialty shops in Zug - House of Wines. Lakeside Partners is also the company behing Europe’s largest blockchain startup contest.
Let's close this blog post with a quote from Ralf Glabschnig, one of the partners at the firm: "When we do something, we want to do it whole-heartedly. We see great potential in the blockchain and crypto space here in Switzerland - and if you want to be a part of that, you have to get involved, see first-hand how it works. And of course, joining the Bitcoin Association is part of that."
Naturally, the Bitcoin Assocation Switzerland is happy about every new member joining our ranks, whether you’ve mined the coins all by yourself, or bought them in exchange for crypto or old fashioned currency. Just as Ralf said above: "if you want to be a part of that, you have to get involved".
I slept here last night.
Couldn’t have put it more precisely. The thing was a drag. Since the speech at the Arnhem conference the nights had been very short.
Ironically, I only found [the video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdJexAYjrDw) by looking at comments below Craig Wright memes. I wondered why they would pop-up after such a long period of silence? After viewing the footage, I immediately started looking for people discussing it online. There buried somewhere, I found an invitation link to a chat. The chat turned out to contain a contributor who went by csw…
The 2016 founded modum.io is the latest in a row of innovative crypto startups to join the Bitcoin Association as a corporate member. The company combines IoT sensor devices with blockchain technology to provide data integrity for transactions involving physical goods and streamlines supply chain management in many sectors.
Their sensors record environmental conditions while the physical products are in shipment. When a change of ownership occurs, the collected data is checked against the specific smart contract in the Ethereum blockchain. This contract validates whether the transaction meets all of the standards promised by the sender to the client and the regulator and then triggers appropriate actions such as notifications to the sender, confirm payments or release the goods. A great article about this promising startup appeared a few weeks ago in the Handelszeitung.
The Bitcoin Association is happy to support the fast growth of the Swiss crypto currency and blockchain ecosystem and invites every startup to join our ranks to collaborate with our shared community.
Even though EverdreamSoft was already a few years old when the BAS was founded, it took a few years more until our paths kept crossing as highlighted with today's release of our latest Bitcoin Meetup video.
We're all the happier to announce that the company has become a corporate member of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland! It's a pleasure having them onboard and we're looking forward to a special game card to commemorate the occasion ;-).
Get to know the community members in person by attending one of our regular meetups in Zurich or Geneva: https://www.meetup.com/Bitcoin-Meetup-Switzerland
Join our Telegram chat group with 180+ members to always be up-to-date about the latest things happening in Switzerland and Bitcoin. If you'd like to join ask @rogerdarin on Telegram to invite you.
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Support the Bitcoin Association Switzerland with a donation to our Bitcoin address: 32kpHBZCHDUsC1xDCFMB6kAGHcgPaU9bkm
While many others were taking the day off at the international worker's day, 1st May, the Bitcoin Association Switzerland (BAS) hosted Josh and Zach Harvey from Sofia, Bulgaria, to talk about their company Lamassu, why they started a Bitcoin business in the first place and what it's like to be in the midst of an exciting movement.
Founded in 2013 by Josh and Zach Harvey, Lamassu Inc. is one of the first Bitcoin ATM producers and oldest Bitcoin companies still operating today. Their Bitcoin machines are highly popular with over 200 machines deployed all over the world.
With over 70 attendees their talk was very well received and the brothers shared a lot of interesting insight and tidbits from their business with our community. If you want to learn more about Lamassu and get the gospel from the horse's mouth, you can find a beautiful video of their talk on our YouTube Channel bitcoinlectures.tv:
As part of Ernst & Young Switzerland's digital self-transformation, the advisory firm announced in November 2016 that their customers can pay invoices from EY Switzerland in Bitcoin. In addition, all EY employees will receive a digital wallet and a Bitcoin ATM will be placed prominently in the main building.
Being the first of the Big 4 to get into Bitcoin, the next obvious step for EY was to support our local Bitcoin community by joining the Bitcoin Association as a corporate member. We are very happy to welcome EY to our fast growing community.
If you're interested to join us, check out the Join-Website for more information.
One of the main activities and major reasons for the founding of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland is building a positive regulatory environment for crypto currency startups in Switzerland. The State Secretariat for International Financial Matters invited us to comment on the latest proposal to improve regulation for fintech startups in Switzerland. The plan is to allow startups that previously would have required a full banking license to handle client funds under a more appropriate, light-weight regulation (known as "banking license light"). Luzius Meisser, founder and board member of the BAS, wrote a comment in the name of our association, with a lot of support by the Swiss Fintech community. You can access the comment (in German) here:
In particular during the pioneer phase of a new technology, small regulatory differences can make an enormous long-term difference. Switzerland is in the pole position for becoming a major hub for blockchain technology, but there are still a few hurdles that stand in the way. Some of them will be removed by the proposed relaxation of the banking law, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Fortunately, the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) has recognized this and calls for comments on what regulation stands in the way of digitalization in Switzerland. If you are aware of concrete laws that inhibits your business idea and that should be changed, let us now so we can coordinate on a common comment for SECO's "digital test".
Alexis Roussel, cofondateur de Bity, était mardi l’invité du journal de Léman Bleu où on lui a demandé de réagir à la création médiatisée du Bilur, système centralisé et monnaie privée indexée sur le pétrole : « Quand on regarde ces nouvelles monnaies qui apparaissent, et dans ce cas précisément, on ne peut pas parler de crypto-monnaie : il ne s’agit pas d’un système ouvert, il y a un intermédiaire fixe qui décide et qui est le garant de la quantité de pétrole disponible.
Un des fondamentaux du bitcoin c’est justement qu’il existe par lui-même sur un réseau et qu’il n’y a pas besoin d’un intermédiaire pour garantir sa valeur […]. [Bitcoin] est un réseau ouvert, ça veut dire que quelqu’un qui est à l’autre bout de la planète et qui n’a pas de compte bancaire mais qui a un téléphone (et la majorité de la population, maintenant, a un téléphone), peut avoir accès à des services financiers numériques sans attendre l’autorisation d’une banque. Cela ouvre des possibilités gigantesques. »
At the annual general assembly of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland on the 28th of March 2017, our members appointed two new board members who both both stand out through their contributions to the local Swiss Bitcoin and Fintech ecosystem and community.
Roger Darin as Community Manager
Roger has been helping us since January 2016 with co-organizing events and putting endless hours of work in editing the videos for our YouTube Channel bitcoinlectures.tv. Since early 2017 he is also managing the social media presence of the BAS on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Roger is also connecting our association with the wider Swiss finance and technology scene through his involvement in SICTIC and the SFTA. As the probably best connected person in the local Fintech scene, we’re very honoured to have him on our board.
Isabella Brom as Treasurer
Isabella works as IT advisor at Ernst & Young, where she is the driving force behind EY's Blockchain and Bitcoin projects. Most prominently, she lead the launch of a EY-branded Bitcoin wallet application in combination with placing a Bitcoin ATM in the Zurich EY offices and enabling her firm to accept Bitcoin as payment for their services.
Isabella’s engagement in the Digital Switzerland initiative connects us further with the broader Swiss ecosystem and enables us to bring Bitcoin to the corporate world.
Together with 23 co-signatories from all major parties, Swiss member of parliament Franz Grüter filed a parliamentary motion to reduce regulatory burdens of blockchain startups by restricting the legal definition of "client deposit". Today, firms that handle client money - regardless of whether in Swiss Francs, Bitcoin, or any other currency - get very quickly classified as banks, even if their risk profile fundamentally differs from that of typical banks. Being classified as a bank comes with regulatory and capital requirements that are practically impossible to fulfill for startups. That might be the primary reason why there is not a single operationally active cryptocurrency exchange in the style of bitstamp or bitfinex in Switzerland despite having an otherwise lively ecosystem of crypto startups. Luzius Meisser, founder of Bitcoin Association Switzerland comments: "This motion is a strong signal to blockchain startups all around the world that the Swiss parliament wants Switzerland to be at the forefront of fintech innovation."
The main part of the motion states (translation): "The federal council shall be instructed to define the term "client deposit" from banking bill art.1 and the banking act art. 2 more narrowly, to the extent risk allows. The current broad interpretation by financial regulator Finma obstructs innovative blockchain startups whose business models get qualified as banking even in cases where the intention behind the law - namely depositor protection - would not require such a qualification." The full version (in German) can be found on the Website of the parliamentary group for digital sustainability.
Franz Grüter comments in Zentralschweiz am Sonntag that he wants to prevent Finma from trampling the seedlings of a promising new ecosystem with the boots of bureaucracy. Andreas Glarner from law firm MME emphasizes the importance of creating a free, yet carefully regulated, environment in order to continue attracting blockchain startups from all over the world. Switzerland is already well positioned with initiatives like the Cryptovalley in Zug, a city that recently made international headlines by deciding to accept Bitcoin payments.
As a next step, the parliament will vote on the motion. However, the vote has not been scheduled yet and can happen in the autumn session the earliest. Having a citizen legislature, the Swiss parliament meets less often than that of other countries. (As a nice side-effect, it also tends to make fewer and more concise laws.) If passed, it would be up to the federal council to take concrete measures, some of which might again be voted on in parliament. In practice, the motion might already have am indirect positive impact today by sending a strong signal to the Swiss financial markets regulator Finma - which is explicitely mentioned in the motion - to interpret the existing rules less restrictively.