The Ethereum blockchain and the eponymous crypto-asset Ether which is proprietary to the Ethereum blockchain, barely need an introduction, being consistently ranked as the crypto-asset number two or three after Bitcoin with a staggering market capitalization of 126 billion USD.278Ethereum is a decentralized platform where, amongst others, smart contracts can be written and deployed to execute, amongst others, decentralized applications.
In summer of 2014, the Switzerland-based Ethereum Foundation conducted a token sale where approximately USD 18.4 million were raised in exchange for 60 million Ether.279
Ever since, the Ethereum blockchain has become the unrivalled underlying network on top of which cryptographic tokens are issued. Out of the top 20 tokens by market capitalization, which were not issued as part of their own, proprietary blockchain, but on top of an existing blockchain, 18 were issued on the Ethereum blockchain.280
Under Swiss law, Ether do neither represent a participation and a claim in or against the issuer nor do they derive their value from an underlying base value. Ether are a value eo ipso. Ether can therefore also not take the form of uncertificated or intermediated securities. As such, Ether are not securities and the trading in Ether is not subject to regulation except for Anti-Money Laundering provisions and the Banking Act where deposits from the public are taken and no exemption as described hereinabove can be relied upon.281