FINMA – Guideline for ICOs

On Friday 16 February, the Swiss Financial Market Authority FINMA announced that it was the first institution to set out clear guidelines for dealing with ICOs. What ICOs are you can find here. The regulator plans financial market legislation for various ICOs and where ICO companies obtain information from FINMA as soon as they plan or publish their ICO.

The guidelines for dealing with ICOs, here as a downloadable PDF, show market participants what information is required to meet the requirements of the Swiss institution. Above all, transparency plays a decisive role. According to FINMA, it is important to create transparency in this dynamic market, which enjoys high demand. FINMA also felt obliged to set up regulations as the number of „fraudulent“ ICOs has risen. There are a large number of planned but not implemented ICOs. This of course justifies the concern that the Swiss financial market supervisory authority FINMA lacks transparency.

Bitcoin Code is a new ICO

Due to the variety of ICO types it is almost impossible to generalize them. The respective circumstances must be taken into account in each individual case. As there are still no regulatory requirements, legal doctrines or jurisdictions, FINMA is focusing on the functionality and transferability of the tokens.

Three different types are classified:

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Token – Type Definition
Payment token Is designated as a pure crypto currency, without being provided with further functionalities or Bitcoin Code projects.
Usage – Token Are tokens that provide access to a service or a digital benefit.
Investment – Token Functions like a share. Share in a company or project by granting the right to a dividend or interest payment.

The announcement ends with an indication to investors that ICOs represent a high risk for investors. It is emphasized once again that the price volatility of ICOs is extreme and one is uncertain about the realization of some ICO projects.


But Mark Branson (Director of FINMA) also mentions the opportunities offered by blockchain technology.

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