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楚格:瑞士加密货币和金融科技发展新福地

全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

楚格:瑞士加密货币和金融科技发展新福地

Zug: The new crypto and fintech hotspot

瑞士的小州楚格(Zug)因其低廉的税收而闻名,吸引了不同国家的公司和对冲基金,而现在它正努力将自己打造为虚拟货币公司的聚集中心。

在过去的半个世纪里,楚格州从一个由捕鱼业和制造业维持的“瑞士贫民区”转变为大宗商品交易巨头Glencore Plc的总部所在地以及数百家跨国公司的前沿阵地,并成功跃升瑞士最富有的省份之一。

但是随着税收改革以及银行保密政策的终结威胁到了它的商业模式,该州想要将自己打造成“加密货币聚集地”(Crypto Valley),汇聚更多使用虚拟货币的创业公司。

今年7月,楚格州首府镇推出了一项试点方案,允许居民使用比特币来支付政府服务——据瑞士媒体报道,这是世界首次尝试。

除了“Crypto Valley”计划中的一群创业公司,楚格州经济发展委员会还说服了十几家虚拟货币公司在此地和附近的镇上开设商店。

这些公司中包括以太坊(以太币背后的技术提供者,也是比特币的主要竞争对手)和数字货币交易公司ShapeShift。

Mayor Dolfi Mueller表示,吸引更多像这样的公司是2035年发展计划的关键,该镇制定的此计划是确保其经济在全球税收法规更加严苛的情况下也能繁荣昌盛。

Muller表示:“这是世界上全球化程度最高的小镇之一,我们不想让这样的经济活力消失。”

南非人士Johann Gevers是在楚格州设立虚拟货币支付公司的首批企业家之一,三年前他在这里建立了交易平台Monetas。他的企业让人们不再需要银行账户就能进行数字化支付,并且他的企业运营在非洲十多个国家。

Gevers表示瑞士政府权力下放和不干预企业发展让其成为最好的发展基地。他在楚格州建立交易平台,意图将该州塑造为世界下一个主要的技术聚集地。

Gevers表示:“我认为加密货币金融是在互联网之后下一波发展浪潮,而瑞士成功地成为了最友好的司法管辖区域,从而吸引了加密货币金融公司——它将成为未来的金融中心。”

然而并不是每个人都支持这个做法。当地瑞士人民党议员Gregor Bruhin表示这个项目是“投机取巧”的,他的理由是项目发展的波动性大,以及在加密货币领域的存在的系统入侵和潜在犯罪行为。

楚格州坐落在苏黎世南部,人口总数12万,是瑞士26个州中最小的之一。楚格拥有瑞士全国最低的税率,该税率在上世纪40年代颁布,旨在帮助该州走出贫穷。

楚格州因Marc Rich而出名,他是一名石油交易商,并且曾经一度成为一名逃犯,是他将该州塑造成商业中心。他的公司后来演变为Glencore。

目前,瑞士当局和行业本身都在推动楚格大举进军加密货币金融领域。因为他们认为,在银行业逐渐衰落的情况下,这将使得该国金融领域更加多元化。

来自瑞士银行协会的Martin Hess表示,“如果我们不能站在金融科技领域的前沿,我们就配不上我们作为全球金融中心的头衔。”

在当今的金融科技领域,瑞士的发展是落后于英国和新加坡的。专注发展加密货币的公司表示,楚格很有希望在这一领域取得重要地位,但是要想做出巨大突破,金融监管首先要做出改变。

很多加密货币公司目前受制于针对银行的监管条令,因为他们被划分为吸收存款的公司,这意味着他们的业务一旦增长超过一定水平,他们就需要1000万瑞士法郎(1000万美元)的注册资本。

Olga Feldmeier是比特币钱包提供商Xapo的管理合伙人,她表示她的公司花费了大量时间与瑞士市场监督管理局(Switzerland's Financial Market Supervisory Authority ,简称FINMA)进行讨论,竭力主张她公司的服务——为用户的数字化资金储存私人秘钥不属于吸收存款的业务。

Xapo尽管去年宣布要搬到瑞士,但它现在仍然在硅谷经营,并且该公司表示如果监管层不能给出解决方案,它将放弃搬到瑞士的计划。

Feldmeier 表示“我们希望将会有完善的方案来解决像Xapo这样的加密货币钱包提供商的问题。”

在今年三月份,FINMA宣布将允许金融创新领域的创业公司即使没有牌照也能经营,而那些不从事传统银行的高风险借贷业务的小型公司进入门槛也会降低。

一名FINMA的发言人表示,“我们建议创造足够兼容并包的新规定,从而能接纳任何形式的金融创新,让市场来决定哪种服务最终能获得成功。”

瑞士政府已经要求财政大臣于今年递交议案。

国际金融事务部门的一位秘书表示,该部门正在筹划解决措施并且期待在不远的未来能有具体的结果,最终签署议案在提交议会后可能要花费一年的时间。

The small Swiss canton of Zug, famed for the low taxes that have drawn multinational companies and hedge funds to its lakeside shores, is trying to turn itself into a hub for virtual currency firms.

Over the past half century Zug has transformed itself from "the poorhouse of Switzerland", sustained by fishing and manufacturing, into a headquarters for commodity giant Glencore Plc and a home to the outposts of hundreds of global companies, becoming one of the country's wealthiest provinces.

But with tax reforms and the end of banking secrecy posing a threat to its business model, the canton wants to reinvent itself as a "Crypto Valley" -- a base for start-up companies using virtual currencies like bitcoin and related technology.

In July, the town of Zug, the cantonal capital, launched a pilot programme allowing residents to make bitcoin payments for government services -- a world first, according to Swiss media

Together with a group of start-ups behind the "Crypto Valley" movement, Zug's economic promotion board has so far persuaded more than a dozen virtual currency firms to set up shop there and in nearby towns.

These include Ethereum, the foundation that provides the technology behind ether, the main rival to bitcoin, and digital currency exchange ShapeShift.

Mayor Dolfi Mueller says attracting more companies like this is central to the 2035 development plan the town has drawn up to ensure its economy can thrive as global tax laws get tougher.

"This is one of the most globalised small towns in the world," he said. "We don't want to let that dynamic fall asleep."

South African was one of the first entrepreneurs to set up a virtual payment firm in Zug, establishing his transaction platform Monetas there three years ago. His business enables people without bank accounts to make digital payments and operates in more than a dozen African countries.

Gevers says Switzerland's decentralised government and lack of interference in business made it the best base for him.

He set up in Zug with ambitions of shaping it into the world's next major technology cluster.

"I believe crypto finance is the next big wave after the internet," Gevers told Reuters. "The country that succeeds in being the friendliest jurisdiction to attract crypto finance companies -- that's gonna be the financial centre of the future."

However not everyone backs the initiative. Local Swiss People's Party councilman Gregor Bruhin said the project was "speculative", citing high volatility, system hacks and the potential for criminal activity in crypto currencies.

Located just south of Zurich with a population of 120,000, Zug is one of the smallest of Switzerland's 26 cantons and it has one of the country's lowest tax rates, introduced in the 1940s as a way to lift itself out of poverty.

Zug was put on the map by Marc Rich, the oil trader and one-time fugitive who cemented the canton's reputation as a discreet business hub. His firm later became Glencore.

For now Swiss authorities and industry are behind Zug's push into crypto finance, believing it will allow the financial sector to diversify as the demise of banking secrecy looms.

"If we don't take part at the front of 'fintech', we don't deserve our title as a global financial centre," said Martin Hess of the Swiss Banking Association.

Switzerland currently lags the likes of Britain and Singapore when it comes to fintech. Firms specialising in crypto currencies say Zug could carve out a significant niche in this field, but financial regulations much be changed if it is to make a major breakthrough.

Many crypto currency companies are currently subject to regulations aimed at banks as they are classed as deposit-taking firms, meaning they need 10 million Swiss francs ($10 million) in paid-up capital once their business grows above a certain level.

Olga Feldmeier, a managing partner of bitcoin wallet provider Xapo, says her company has spent a lot of time in discussion with Switzerland's Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), contending that its service storing private key codes to users' digital funds does not constitute deposit-taking.

Xapo is still based in California's Silicon Valley despite last year announcing plans to move to Switzerland, and says it would abandon those plans without a regulatory solution.

"We are hopeful there will be an adequate solution for crypto currency wallet providers like Xapo," Feldmeier said.

In March, FINMA announced its support for allowing start-ups in the field of financial innovation to operate without a special license, with small established companies that do not carry out the risky lending activities of traditional banks subject only to light licensing requirements.

"We suggest creating a new category that is sufficiently broad and open to encompass any innovative financial service, letting markets decide which types of services will prove successful," a FINMA spokesman told Reuters.

The Swiss government has asked the Finance Ministry for proposals this year.

"We are working on solutions and expect concrete results in the near future," a spokesman for the Secretariat for International Financial Matters said, adding a final sign-off could take a year after reaching parliament.

GELP

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