Starting a blockchain project in Switzerland: interview with CEO of Forctis AG, Eduardo Salazar and Isabelle Ganz former FINMA employee, Co-founder of QUORUS GmbH and COO of Forctis AG

The heroes of today’s interview are Eduardo Salazar, CEO at Forctis and Isabelle Ganz Co-founder of QUORUS. Forctis, a “blockchain start-up”, guided into the swiss market by QUORUS, is developing a completely new token, containing an asset representation model and a stable currency, based on a middle-ground between “computational biology, statistical mechanics and the latest thinking in economic theory”. QUORUS is a hybrid, legal and business consulting firm with a strong country focus on cross-border projects between Russia / Eurasia and Switzerland / Europe. As they both, Isabelle and Eduardo, have first hand experience in setting up a business in the blockchain environment in Switzerland, from the start-up as well as the consultant perspective, they will share with us several aspects of how to establish successfully a company in the Blockchain environment in Switzerland and what the main challenges and hurdles the start-up might face, are.

We recently had a thorough interview with both Eduardo and Isabelle and now are posting several articles as a brief input on the matter.

The first one is on establishing and developing blockchain projects in Switzerland. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Business entity restrictions.

If you go for the British Virgin Islands, or Malta setting up a blockchain project might seem easier — fewer costs and shorter company establishment times are likely. But the important question remaining is: what is the value you get for your money? Switzerland gives you several options (legal structures) with different advantages and disadvantages for company set-ups: LTT, LTD, LLS, or foundation. In Zug, you even have the possibility to pay-in the capital in crypto (Sacheinlagegründung)! Several use cases already exist.

In general, Switzerland has a decentralized bottom of approach politically, meaning that it fits perfectly well for a blockchain environment because pop mob in Swiss history is a tradition. The financial system is very stable and well-recognized, even though it’s not that easy for startups that want to run an ICO to be on-boarded by a Swiss Bank.

Financial and banking support.

If you want to open a bank account for a blockchain startup without ICO, then you will have flexibility and access to a network of partners. Furthermore, apart from the legal entity set up, we were “introduced” to the FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority), which provides guidelines for the token classification and needed “licensing”. Switzerland clearly is on the right path, but has to be careful not to lose traction. Because for example, Liechtenstein is planning to come up with a fully fledged law next year, so, potentially, Switzerland has to move on too. Certain is, that behind closed curtains various Stakeholders such as FINMA and the Schweizer Bankiervereinigung continue working on various topics relevant for the environment. Things are moving fast and a lot is going on at the moment.

The Swiss stock exchange (SIX) respectively a daughter company (SDX) is working on a digital exchange that will be a fully-fledged stock exchange for security tokens. Firstly, they want to tokenize existing shares, that are already listed at SIX and, secondly, they will launch a platform for asset backed tokens. Just a few days ago the Swiss Banking Association also launched a report, which provides guidelines for banks in respect of the on-boarding of blockchain start-ups intending to do an ICO or a “classical” funding.

Legal environment.

Many things are going on right now, the “Swiss legal environment” has definitely taken the right road. FINMA and its Fintech desk are approachable and support the current developments. Each project can request a FINMA opinion covering the token qualification and the licensing requirements. Because of a heavy workload of FINMA, one has to take into consideration a waiting period of approximately three months for the issuance of a FINMA “opinion”. The FINMA “opinion” is not legally binding, but will provide helpful information about the token qualification, the licensing and the AML/KYC requirements the ICO applicants have to respect. Besides these Blockchain friendly elements, in an international company tax comparison Swiss cantons, in particular Nidwalden, Lucerne and Obwalden are very competitive.

This is a brief overview over some advantages Switzerland can offer to blockchain startups.

Switzerland provides a fully-functioning ecosystem.

To wrap up, it might be assumed that some other jurisdictions than Switzerland are preferable because of easier, cheaper or quicker company establishments, but the operations and the future development of a blockchain venture, is more likely to be stable and sustainable in Switzerland. What you get in Switzerland — it’s certainty, stability, and value for money.

If you want an operable company, you’ll need to hire people, to engage with partners, to open a bank account, create a full ecosystem, that’s where Switzerland definitely stands out in our opinion.

🔻If you want to learn more about the technicalities of the blockchain company opening, visit our Summit, where you will be able to hear Eduardo, Isabelle, and many more industry leaders live.