Switzerland, the world’s leader in financial assets and the home of major bitcoin startups and cryptocurrency exchanges including ShapeShift, Xapo and Ecurex has proven to be a friendly environment for bitcoin startups and exchanges to operate in.
Since June of 2014, the Swiss Federal Council has explained that the Swiss government has no interest in drafting a legislation for both bitcoin trading and startups. Bitcoin, like any other currencies will be referred back to the existing laws for traditional financial instruments, and will be dealt by law enforcements if the digital currency is used in criminal activities.
In June of 2015, a year after the announcement of the Swiss Federal Council, the Swiss government declared that bitcoin is exempted from Switzerland’s Value Added Tax. The news welcomed many international startups and led to the emergence of boutique bitcoin exchanges and trading platforms.
Niklas Nikolajsen, CEO of prominent Swiss bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin Suisse AG, said: “This is excellent news for Bitcoin in Switzerland as it provides the legal certainty we need to professionally operate our business. We have the rare combination of being an internationally recognized finance center paired with a lot of innovation and know-how in ICT. I hope in five years’ time, we will have an even more vibrant internationally recognized start-up ecosystem around Fintech closely interplaying with the banking sector, independent players from the telco, retail and other areas.”
The positive approach of the Swiss government towards bitcoin has led some of the country’s government officials to look in to digital currencies and its significance and advantages.
One government official who’s understanding of bitcoin and its advantage as a decentralized currency appreciated by the bitcoin community is Sandra Tobler, a member of the Swiss Business Hub and the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco.
“Bitcoin enables money transactions to many people who currently do not have a bank account. The use of bitcoin reduces transaction costs massively. With Bitcoin, there are no transaction costs like what is seen with credit card companies. Large international corporations are now starting to understand the potential of lower internal transactional costs,” explained Tobler.