The Swiss Federal Council today announced in a press release its aim to develop proposals for the regulation of cryptocurrencies by the end of Spring 2019. Once again the objective is to avoid fraud and to minimise the associated risks.

With 99 to 83 votes in favor and 10 abstentions, the council approved a motion by Giovanni Merlini  to instruct the Federal Council to adapt the provisions on procedural instruments of the judicial and administrative authorities so that they can also be applied to cryptocurrencies.

Noting that cryptocurrencies can be issued to anyone with a decentralized, cryptographic-based peer-to-peer data network, concern was expressed that a common characteristic of cryptocurrencies is that they are completely anonymous, which raises the prospect of extortion and money laundering.

Clarification is sought as to how such risks could be contained and whether individuals responsible for the operation of crypto currency trading platforms should be considered financial intermediaries and subject to supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).