New Organisation Formed in Switzerland to Promote Blockchain Use in Finance

The Capital Markets and Technology Association is based in Geneva.

A new blockchain association has been created in Switzerland to facilitate the use of blockchain technology in the financial market.

The Capital Markets and Technology Association, as it has been called, was created by Switzerland’s largest law firm in conjunction with Swissquote Bank and banking software provider Temenos. According to the official press release, it aims to create tools to help established and new businesses to integrate blockchain technology into their operations according to an open national standard, which it will also create.

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It is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation and will thus be able to function in an independent manner. It has a board of technical experts whose remit will be to supervise its projects. It was created at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, which is a research institute and university located in Lausanne, and the dean of the university’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences will be joining the committee.

Gland-headquartered Swissquote Bank is a banking group that provides online financial and trading services. Outside of Switzerland, it has offices in Dubai, Malta, London and Hong Kong.

Geneva-based Temenos was founded in 1993 and provides banking software to thousands of financial institutions around the world. It acquired British trading technology supplier Fidessa Group for $1.96 billion in February 2018. As an interesting note, Temenos was voted Best Islamic Banking and Finance Software Solution at the World Islamic Finance Awards in March 2018.

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Zurich-based Lenz & Staehelin was created by a merger of two smaller laws firms in 1991 and has around 200 lawyers on its roster.

The CMTA will be led by Jacques Iffland, a partner at Lenz & Staehelin. He said: “The blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the complexity of the capital markets system and lower the barrier of entry for start-ups. The current lack of legal certainty is slowing – and potentially compromising – its development in this field. By defining a set of industry-supported, open standards, the CMTA aims to facilitate access to funding for businesses, ultimately contributing to value creation throughout the economy.”

Marc Bürki, CEO of Swissquote, said: “The combination of Switzerland’s regulatory framework and the emergence of new technologies provides an opportunity to simplify the manner in which companies can distribute their securities and raise capital, and also the manner in which investors can acquire and trade these assets.”

David Arnott, CEO of Temenos, said: “We see the possibility for distributed ledger technologies to simplify banking value chains, speeding up customer fulfilment, lowering costs and democratizing financial services.”

Switzerland is home to the Crypto Valley Association, a blockchain-friendly zone in the city of Zug which is home to companies such as Ethereum and which has accepted Bitcoin as a method of payment for municipal services since 2016.

It plans to hold test elections using blockchain technology for the first time later this month.

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