In other countries, politicians express concern about the cryptocurrency craze, citing worries about security, regulation, volatility and a speculative bubble. Not in Switzerland. The affluent Alpine country wanted “to be the crypto-nation”, Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, told journalists as he arrived for a private crypto finance conference in St Moritz last week.
Of the 10 biggest proposed initial coin offerings — by which start-ups raise funds by selling tokens — four have used Switzerland as a base, according to PwC. The burgeoning ICO industry is burnishing Switzerland’s business friendly reputation and sometimes buccaneering spirit — a reputation spoilt by the past decade’s scandals over the help its traditional private banks gave to wealthy clients in evading tax. But it has created a dilemma for Swiss politicians and regulators: just how far should they go in encouraging a digital “wild west”?