Fintech startup Aximetria has become one of the few cryptocurrency-related firms to win approval to operate in the Swiss financial market, opening the way for it to launch its own crypto financial intermediary under the Swiss AML Act.
The Swiss-based firm will not be directly supervised by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), but through an association called VQF, a self-regulatory organization approved by the FINMA to check anti-money laundering compliance.
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Set up by a Russian serial entrepreneur, Aximetria is headquartered in Switzerland and allows customers to buy, sell, and transfer currency in fiat and crypto, as well as stablecoins. The company has also developed a biometric voice authentication technology for private keyless authorization of mobile banking transactions.
Alexey Ermakov, founder and CEO of Aximetria, said in a corporate statement he chose the country after the Swiss regulator became one of the first to introduce initial regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies.
“Compared to the EMI (Electronic Money Institution) license, which is the most popular regulation standard for European and British companies, the Swiss license is much more desirable for a fintech company. This is because it also extends to crypto laws in Switzerland and gives us a wide range of future business development, including loans, FX, e-money accounts and salary projects,” he added.
Switzerland welcomes crypto projects
Status as a regulator-approved financial intermediary will purportedly give Aximetria more credibility, as it will be actively supervised for AML compliance. Aximetria can now start operating as a crypto-financial intermediary under the Swiss AML Act, with the license also streamlining the processing of new customers into its ecosystem, it says.
Switzerland is among several countries who are actively adjusting and creating legislation to welcome blockchain projects. Swiss authorities were also eager to maintain a leading role for Switzerland in the cryptocurrency space while playing catch-up in its rapidly changing landscape.
Earlier last year, FINMA has issued the country’s first asset management license to a cryptocurrency investment fund, allowing Zug-headquartered company Crypto Fund to offer services to institutional clients. Also in December, FX firm Dukascopy has become the first Swiss bank to win approval for an ICO by Switzerland’s financial market supervisor.
Several other competitors have also been queuing up at the regulator’s door to get approval to offer their services in the country. Under FINMA’s new regulations, crypto-asset companies can now apply for licenses to handle as much as 100 million Swiss francs ($100 million) in public deposits.