Switzerland’s financial regulator issued guidance on the money-laundering risks associated with blockchain technology following a call to action by a global standard-setter this year.
The guidance, released Monday by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, also known as Finma, steered blockchain businesses toward compliance with Switzerland’s existing anti-money-laundering and terrorist financing regulatory regimes.
Finma said that while it recognized the potential of the new technology, the anonymity provided by blockchain made it susceptible to an increased risk of money laundering.
Blockchain technology, which underpins virtual currencies such as bitcoin, is a data structure that creates a digital ledger of transactions and shares it among a distributed network of computers.
The use of virtual currencies has come under increasing scrutiny from regulators and law enforcement authorities.
In June, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization tasked with combating money laundering, called on countries to adopt regulations that would require virtual currency companies to collect information on customers and share it with the institutions that receive their transactions.
U.S. agencies and lawmakers also have promised heavy scrutiny of plans by
to launch its own cryptocurrency, called Libra.
The Finma guidance coincided with an announcement by the regulator that it had granted its first two licenses to companies offering blockchain services.
One of the license recipients, SEBA Crypto AG, facilitates the transfer of assets between crypto-based exchanges and traditional financial markets.
The other, Sygnum AG, provides systems for storing, trading and managing digital assets, according to its website.
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