SIX, the owner and operator of the Swiss stock market, revealed plans on Friday to build a new fully regulated exchange to allow the trading of digital assets, cementing Switzerland’s status as a “crypto nation.”
The SIX digital exchange will provide infrastructure for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, as well as other digital coins and tokens issued in initial coin offerings (ICOs), and will be primarily powered by the distributed ledger technology blockchain. The Swiss national bank and Swiss regulator FINMA will manage the infrastructure, which will also allow post-transaction services like as deal settlement and asset custody.
Switzerland has long been one of Europe’s most crypto-friendly nations. The nation has been attempting to remove barriers that restrict traditional banks from offering services to cryptocurrency-related enterprises. FINMA issued rules earlier this year to assist strengthen and support local ICOs. (See also Wozniak’s comparison of the blockchain to the dot-com bubble.)
‘Beginning of a New Era’
“This represents the start of a new era for capital markets infrastructures,” said SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof in a statement. “It is plainly evident to us that much of what is happening in the digital arena is here to stay and will determine our industry’s future.” According to SIX, the first services will be available in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory approval.
Despite falling prices, the news demonstrates the continued amount of institutional interest in the digital currency market. Bitcoin was trading at $6,563 at 2:04 p.m. UTC on Friday, having dropped approximately two-thirds of its value since hitting highs above $20,000 at the end of 2017.
SIX is not the first conventional stock exchange operator to enter the digital currency market. TMX Group, which controls the Toronto Stock Exchange, unveiled its own cryptocurrency brokerage earlier this year, and it has been rumoured that Intercontinental Exchange, which administers the New York Stock Exchange, is also considering it. (Also see: Ethereum Classic Gains 25% on Coinbase Listing News.)
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