Archive:February 28, 2018

FINMA publishes ICO guidelines
AMF synthesis of the contributions received on ICO regulation in France
BaFin second notice on ICOs

FINMA publishes ICO guidelines

By Rizwan Qayyum

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (“FINMA”) have published guidelines on initial coin offerings, after receiving numerous requests for guidance from start-ups aiming to launch their own ICO and considering Switzerland as their jurisdiction. Having reviewed the document, its evident that FINMA have aimed to create a regulatory environment which balances the central tenet of consumer protection whilst existing in an ecosystem conducive to innovation. The guidelines can be found here.

FINMA CEO, Mark Branson commented: “The application of blockchain technology has innovative potential within and far beyond the financial markets. However, blockchain-based projects conducted analogously to regulated activities cannot simply circumvent the tried and tested regulatory framework. Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and enquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system”.

FINMA notes that they have identified a sharp increase in the number of ICOs planned or executed in Switzerland, alongside the increased activity relating to enquiries about the current regulatory framework and its applicability.

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AMF synthesis of the contributions received on ICO regulation in France

By Claude-Étienne Armingaud

The French Autorité des Marchés Financiers has recently published a synthesis of the contributions it received in response to its public consultation on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to obtain stakeholder views on how these new types of blockchain offerings might be regulated.

The consultation included a presentation of ICOs, a warning on the risks they present, a legal analysis of ICOs with respect to the rules overseen by the AMF and the regulatory options proposed by the AMF. Respondents were invited to give their views on all of these points.

The English version of the synthesis can be found here and our previous coverage of the consultation can be found here.


BaFin second notice on ICOs

By Rizwan Qayyum

On February 20, Germany’s financial regulator, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (“BaFin”) published a letter of advice on ICOs. This is the second statement from BaFin on the matter and it provides more substance to how they expect to manage the growing interest in ICOs within Germany.

The letter (an English version is not available at this time) notes that BaFin will conduct a “precise case-by-case examination” of tokens issued via ICOs to determine their legal status and application under current regulations. As such they have stopped short from issuing any sector specific guidance.

The letter is available here

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