Crypto Valley Conference - 26 June 2019 - A snapshot of the panel Crypto Compliance
Moderating the panel - The take on the FATF Guidance, between the general crypto compliance challenge and priorities.
Introducing the Crypto Valley Ecosystem 2.0 to the World Federation of Exchanges (June 2019)
Introducing the emerging "CryptoValley Ecosystem2.0" to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) as well as CVA, SEBA Crypto AG and Xwiss AG, and discussing challenges to traditional exchanges, the economics and prospects of crypto assets and debating strategic response. With Matthias Obrecht (FINMA), Luca Schenk (Xwiss) and representatives from 28 exchanges / jurisdictions. The emerging Crypto Valley Ecosystem 2.0 is characterised by 1) an articulated and performant regulatory environment that provides legal certainty to blockchain, 2) a higher degree of economic integration of blockchain companies, and 3) an institutional-grade market infrastructure, including licensed crypto banks and exchanges.
Standalone, closed-door, discussion at the BIS (April 2019)
Excellent standalone, closed-door, discussion at the BIS, in an expert capacity, meeting a number of in-house senior managers and functional specialists, presenting and discussing i) the challenges for banking raised by Fintech, ii) the Swiss blockchain industry, iii) the CryptoValley and its Association (CVA) and policy initiatives, iv) the cryptoassets markets, the ICO ‘bell curve’ and lessons learned, the nature and prospects of STO, v) the blockchain / crypto regulation in Switzerland, elsewhere and the key prudential and conduct themes, vi) the opportunities and challenges of cryptofinance, and vii) why projects such as SEBA Crypto AG are crucial to achieve the infrastructure ‘level-up’ needed for the cryptomarkets and associated financial processes to reach maturity and sustainability.
Past, Present & Future of Cryptofinance in 700 words (September 2019)
A Week to Remember (August 2019)
Eventful week, the week 24-31 August 2019, in Cryptovalley and beyond. First, after months of visionary, creative, hard and disciplined work, two Swiss regulated universal cryptobanks (banking and securities dealers licenses) were born - SEBA and Sygnum. A unique experience - navigating uncharted waters - for those (like me) who have been directly involved. The delivery is a game changer for the crypto and the broader financial ecosystem. Second, FINMA issued Swiss-finished crypto AML rules: Rules that are more stringent than the international FATF standard. Departing from an international standard is particularly bad if the direction is ‘less’ (worst case: not applied). ‘More’ may be good for the ecosystem in the longer term if the quantum is administered thoughtfully. Bank's capital rules teach. But embedded in the FATF standard is the complex VASP travel rule, the implementation of which (as highlighted in an event organized by Crypto Valley Association) requires detailed conceptual clarity and a crypto SWIFT. The race to provide it is open. Third, the visit by US House representatives to Swiss authorities re Libra did not temper the(ir) concerns. No surprise. The concerns raised by a stable coin à la Libra are geopolitically monetary in nature and can only be tempered at the G7-G20 level.
Facebook's Libra: A quick assessment (22 June 2019)
Libra is a fintech innovation seriously challenging banking, leveraging real problems of financial inclusion and anachronistic banking, the network of FB and associated partners, and blockchain technology. It is contributing to mass crypto adoption. It doesn’t piggyback on traditional card system, but is debit card in nature - little to do with bitcoin and (its) decentralized blockchain(s). It is a centralised enterprise, potentially a gigantic systemically relevant fund manager (100% backup), supporting government debt, and with an option to operate fractional reserve. Even if Libra technically managed to reconcile highest blockchain consensus security with full decentralization and VISA-like performance, it wouldn’t really have interest in moving beyond the 100 nodes, as this would dilute RoE. Libra’s regulatory ride will be tortuous and long. Regulators emphasize “mass regulation before mass adoption”. Anticipating systemic importance, they will hold it against the highest prudential standards. The importance of central governance and FB data privacy track record add to the concerns. Yet, taking the history of tech change and economic growth as guide, regulators should keep an open mind.
Bringing the Cryptovalley and the CVA to mainstreet in South Korea (July 2019)
Short interview with South Korea's TV Chosun about why Switzerland's Zug is the epicenter of the Cryptovalley and the origin / rationale of the Crypto Valley Association.