For a long time, Switzerland has been associated with the image of a reliable but extremely conservative banking system. But behind this respectable shell lies a dynamic spirit of innovation, especially in the field of cryptocurrencies. Back in 2013, cryptocurrency companies first appeared here, and today the Crypto Valley Association, based in the canton of Zug, is a global leader in blockchain.

The Crypto Valley Association promotes cooperation between market participants and authorities through networking events, educational programs, working groups, and the creation of relevant content. Thanks to the association’s active support, the canton of Zug is now known as home to 14 blockchain unicorns – companies with a valuation of more than rdaddphp billion. Thus, it can be argued that the Swiss crypto business license opens access to one of the most advanced and influential blockchain communities in the world.

In this jurisdiction, fintech activities have full legal status, which ensures transparency and legitimacy. However, to work in the legal field, it is necessary to obtain a crypto license, ensuring compliance with high standards. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) issues the relevant licenses. FINMA also monitors compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) standards and supports a progressive approach to the regulation of virtual assets, ensuring the integrity of cryptocurrency transactions.

As for cryptocurrencies, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) recognizes them as legitimate assets that can be exchanged and used for a variety of commercial transactions.

Cryptocurrency projects that use blockchain technology for innovative purposes can expect support and guidance from the Swiss government and regulatory authorities. To work in this direction, Switzerland has several initiatives in place:

  • the already mentioned Crypto Valley Association;
  • the Blockchain Working Group, which is working on creating a regulatory framework for blockchain technology in the country;
  • the BIS Innovation Center, an initiative of the Swiss National Bank to stimulate innovation in the financial sector.

These initiatives reflect Switzerland’s commitment to supporting and fostering innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, making it an attractive country for crypto businesses and tech startups. Many companies are eager to start their operations here because of the favorable ecosystem, opportunities for cooperation, and attractive tax policies.

Advantages of obtaining the Crypto license in Switzerland

There are several advantages to obtaining a crypto license in this jurisdiction:

Predictable regulatory environment
Cryptocurrency exchanges can operate in a stable regulatory environment secured by FINMA, ensuring that there are no expected legislative changes shortly.

Cryptocurrency-friendly banking sector
Switzerland boasts a cryptocurrency-friendly banking sector, where, according to recent surveys, more than half of banks are ready to offer digital asset services in the coming years.

Strengthening the company’s image
Operating under a license in Switzerland strengthens the company’s global reputation, meeting Switzerland’s high standards of financial stability and innovation.

Attractive taxation system
Switzerland offers a tiered taxation system where crypto exchanges can choose the most favorable cantonal tax rates ranging from 11.9% to 21%. Switzerland also has approximately 100 international double tax treaties that allow taxpayers to protect their foreign-derived income from double taxation. In addition, companies with foreign business may be eligible for tax incentives at cantonal and municipal levels if certain conditions are met.

An influential blockchain community
Switzerland is home to a vibrant blockchain community, with Crypto Valley serving as a hub for leading cryptocurrency companies (including AllianceBlock, Bancor, and Cardano), fostering collaboration and innovation.

Support for the fintech sector
The Swiss government strategically supports financial technology companies, creating a favorable environment for innovation and development.

Diversity of trading opportunities
Under a cryptocurrency exchange license in Switzerland, companies can offer a wide range of trading pairs and services, making the platform more attractive to traders looking for a variety of investment opportunities.

Request more info about the Crypto License in Switzerland

Requirements for getting a Crypto license in Switzerland

The list of requirements for obtaining a crypto business license depends on the type of license and the nature of the crypto business activity, but it includes some general provisions:

Establishment of the company
Founding a company (e.g., a joint stock company, a limited liability company, or a corporation with unlimited partners) in Switzerland.

Detailed business plan
Submission of a detailed business plan describing goals, objectives, target market, products, services, risks, governance, and compliance.

Adequate capital
The availability of sufficient capital to cover operational and financial risks (minimum CHF 20,000, about $22,077).

Robust organizational structure
Implementation of a robust organizational structure that ensures proper governance, oversight, control, and reporting.

Registered office
Having a registered office in Switzerland.

Resident manager

Appointment of at least one manager who is resident in Switzerland.

AML Control Officer (Compliance Officer)
Having a risk management officer who is resident in Switzerland.

Effective risk management policy
Development and implementation of an effective risk management policy.

Internal controls and audit functions
Development of adequate internal controls and audit procedures.

Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
Ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Cooperation with FINMA and authorities
Cryptocurrency businesses must also cooperate with FINMA and other Swiss authorities to comply with regulatory standards and compliance requirements.

Types of licenses in Switzerland

In Switzerland, there are several types of licenses and permits for legal cryptocurrency activities that may be required depending on the nature of the business activity.

The main types of FINMA licenses that may be required for a cryptocurrency business:

  • fintech license – one of the most sought-after license types for financial transactions and intermediation, which allows you to accept deposits up to CHF 100 million (approximately USD 113 million) without investment or interest payments, including cryptocurrency transactions;
  • financial services license (bank license) – Swiss banks and financial institutions must obtain a banking license (or similar authorization) to operate and provide financial services, including cryptocurrency-related services;
  • securities dealer license – required for financial intermediaries that engage in securities trading, brokerage or securities transactions, including securities tokens;
  • payment services license – required for companies that provide payment services, including the issuance of electronic money or payment processing;
  • investment fund license – allows managing assets of a collective investment fund on behalf of clients.

If your cryptocurrency activities fall under any of the regulated categories, you will need to apply for one or more licenses before you start operating in Switzerland.

Examples of when your cryptocurrency company may need a license are:

  • the movement of client assets into your company’s accounts;
  • the number of clients whose crypto assets your company has accepted exceeds 20;
  • your company manages client assets in collective investment funds.

If a license is not required, a cryptocurrency business may be registered with FINMA as a self-regulatory organization (SRO) and will also be required to comply with the relevant administrative requirements.

Procedure for obtaining a Cryptocurrency License registration in Switzerland

To obtain a license for cryptocurrency activities in Switzerland, you need to follow a certain procedure, which may vary depending on the type of license, but most often includes the following steps:

  • Stage 1

Preparation of documents to obtain a license.

The list of required documents may include:

  • a license application form filled out with all the necessary data about the company and its activities;
  • a detailed business plan, including a description of the business objectives, development strategy, markets, products or services, expected revenues and expenses, risk management and compliance;
  • documents confirming the company’s organizational structure, including articles of incorporation and bylaws;
  • information about the company’s financial condition, including statements of financial results, accounting documents, balance sheets, and other financial data;
  • information on the company’s management, including the resumes of the managers, their qualifications and experience;
  • information on the company’s compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) legislation and other regulatory requirements;
  • documents confirming that the company has a registered office in Switzerland;
  • documents confirming the residency of the company’s managers in Switzerland;
  • additional documents that may be required by the regulator, such as customer details, contracts, or other documents.

This list may vary depending on the type of license and the company’s activity. It is recommended to contact FINMA or Fast Offshore Licenses consultants for a complete list of documents for obtaining a crypto license in Switzerland.

  • Stage 2

Applying FINMA.

After preparing the required documents, the license application is submitted to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

  • Stage 3

Receiving a decision from FINMA.

FINMA evaluates the application and documentation. Upon successful review and approval of the application, a cryptocurrency license is issued.

  • Stage 4

Compliance with requirements and standards.

Once licensed, all requirements set by FINMA, including anti-money laundering (AML) standards and other regulations, must be complied with.

  • Stage 5

Regular reporting and auditing

Companies with a license must submit regular reports on their activities and undergo audits by FINMA rules.

This is the general procedure for obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Switzerland. It is recommended to consult Fast Offshore Licenses lawyers for accurate information.

Crypto license consultant in Switzerland


Anastasia Angelova

Establishing a Cryptocurrency Company in Switzerland

Establishing a Swiss company is a necessary step to obtain a crypto license in this jurisdiction. The time required for registration can vary depending on the legal structure of the company you choose and the quality of the documents submitted, but it usually takes up to four months. A limited liability company (GmbH) and a joint stock company (AG) are the most common legal structures for Swiss companies that can be used for cryptocurrency activities. Both can be established by a single shareholder. He does not have to be a citizen of this country, but he must have the right to start an economic activity or employment in it (Swiss residence permit B). The process of founding a cryptocurrency company in Switzerland includes the following steps:

  • Stage 1

Selection and registration of the company name.

At this stage, the uniqueness of the company name is checked in the Central Register of Company Names, after which the name must be registered using the EasyGov platform. This will automatically enter it into the Swiss company registry and assign a unique company identification number (UID).

  • Stage 2

Opening a Swiss bank account.

The Swiss Bankers Association has issued guidelines for opening a corporate bank account for blockchain companies.

  • Stage 3

Payment of the required minimum authorized capital.

The standard initial share capital requirements are as follows:

  • for GmbH – CHF 20,000 (approximately $22,077);
  • for AG – 100,000 Swiss francs (approximately $110,385).

However, initial equity capital requirements may differ depending on the type of crypto license or when applying for multiple licenses. For example, Fintech license applicants must contribute an amount of CHF 300,000 (approximately $331,155).

  • Stage 4

Document preparation.

A general list of documents that may be required includes:

  • a company registration application form to be filled out with all the necessary company details;
  • Articles of Association – a document defining the legal structure of the company, rights and obligations of shareholders or participants;
  • copies of passports of the company’s founders;
  • certificate of absence of criminal record of the founder and managers of the company;
  • Declaration of Invested Funds (a document confirming the source of funding of the company);
  • a document confirming that the company has a registered office in Switzerland;
  • a statute confirming the company’s internal rules and regulations;
  • a document confirming the appointment of a company director;
  • a data management policy using appropriate software;
  • documents confirming payment of the company’s share capital;
  • Stampa declaration (confirming that there are no other physical deposits or settlement of assets by the Articles of Association).

This is a general list of documents that may be required to establish a company in Switzerland. However, the specific requirements may vary depending on the type of company, its structure, and its activities. It is advisable to consult a Fast Offshore Licenses lawyer for precise information on the required documents.

  • Stage 5


  • Submit the application and documents required for company registration to the state registrar.
  • Stage 6

Register with the Commercial Registry.

  • If the company’s annual turnover exceeds CHF 100,000 (approximately $110,385), it must be registered with the Commercial Registry.
  • Stage 7

Tax registration.

  • Stage 8

Employee registration.

  • Employee registration with the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) and the cantonal compensation office is also required.After the application has been reviewed and approved, the information on the company’s formation will appear in the Swiss Commercial Register.

Cryptocurrency regulation in Switzerland

As mentioned above, all cryptocurrency and blockchain projects in this jurisdiction are subject to regulation by FINMA, which develops guidelines for different types of cryptocurrency companies to ensure their compliance with applicable laws. FINMA also issues licenses for cryptocurrency activities and monitors compliance with financial markets laws and anti-money laundering regulations. The legal framework in this area includes:

Under the AMLA, cryptocurrency exchange operators, brokers, and custodians are considered financial intermediaries and are subject to appropriate regulation. Their activities require registration with FINMA and strict compliance with due diligence and reporting obligations.

Since 2018, FINMA has been cooperating with the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF). The cooperation aims to develop blockchain projects and amend current legislation. However, the country does not yet have a specific law on cryptocurrencies, so the existing legal framework is used to regulate various aspects of the cryptocurrency industry.

A key role in the regulation of cryptocurrency activities in Switzerland is played by the Federal Act on the Adaptation of Federal Law to Developments in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The DLT Act covers a wide range of aspects:

  • licensing – defines the requirements for obtaining a license to conduct cryptocurrency activities, guaranteeing the legitimacy and reliability of market participants;
  • trading – establishes rules for trading cryptocurrencies, protecting investors’ interests and ensuring market stability;
  • anti-money laundering – implements strict measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, making Switzerland a safe jurisdiction;
  • financial infrastructure – defines the financial infrastructure for cryptocurrency trading, creating an efficient and reliable ecosystem;
  • customer protection – establishes procedures in case of bankruptcy of cryptocurrency companies, protecting the interests of customers.

According to the DLT Act and the Financial Market Infrastructure Act, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is responsible for ensuring the stability of the financial market infrastructure. The SNB strictly supervises the activities of financial market entities, including:

  • DLT trading platforms (platforms where cryptocurrencies are exchanged);
  • securities storage and accounting systems;
  • services providing payment processing.

At the request of the SNB, each regulated company is obliged to provide all necessary information and documentation to assess the risks that may jeopardize the stability of the financial market.

Cryptocurrency projects that issue tokens through ICOs or ITOs are subject to different regulatory rules. Switzerland recognizes and regulates the following types of crypto-tokens:

  1. Payment tokens – used as electronic means of payment to transfer funds.
  2. Asset-backed tokens – backed by tangible assets and often issued as part of STOs (security token offerings) to attract investments (debt tokens, equity tokens, participation tokens).
  3. Service tokens – provide digital access to a system or service, usually available on a specific DLT platform (unless classified as securities, no license is required).

Depending on the type of tokens used, legislation relating to securities, banking, and collective investment may also apply.

It is important to note that even if payment tokens are not recognized as legal tender, FINMA does not classify them as securities, as their primary purpose is to be used as a means of payment.

Crypto Taxation in Switzerland

The Swiss tax system is organized according to a multi-level structure. Tax administration functions are distributed between:

  • Swiss Confederation;
  • cantons;
  • municipalities.

While federal tax rates generally remain stable, cantonal tax rates are set annually and published on the official websites of each canton. While taxation systems may vary from region to region, the tax year generally coincides with the fiscal year of reporting.

The tax regime for cryptocurrency companies in Switzerland depends on the nature and purpose of their economic activity. Unlike conventional money, most cryptocurrencies are classified as assets in Switzerland. Accordingly, most cryptocurrencies are subject to the asset tax law.

Tax residency status is also relevant. Individuals who are tax residents are liable to pay taxes on income earned anywhere in the world. While non-resident companies only pay taxes on income earned in Switzerland.

Most cryptocurrency companies are liable to pay the following taxes on all three levels:

  • personal income tax – 35%;
  • corporate income tax (CIT) – at the federal level the rate is 8.5% of profit including tax deductions, at the cantonal level it can vary from 11.9% to 21%;
  • Value Added Tax – 7.7%;
  • social security contributions – 0.5% to 5.3%;
  • stamp duty – 1%;
  • capital gains tax – from 0.001% to 0.5%.

Due to differences in tax systems between different cantons and municipalities, Canton and municipal tax rates can vary significantly.

It is important to consider the following:

  • capital raised through an initial coin offering (ICO) is not considered income to the issuer;
  • the issuance of new tokens does not give rise to an obligation to pay capital gains tax;
  • if the transfer of payment tokens is not treated as a trade transaction, they may be treated as securities for tax purposes.

Transactions such as the exchange and use of payment tokens are exempt from value-added tax (VAT). This is because this category of cryptocurrencies is recognized as a means of payment and is therefore treated similarly to traditional currency. All commissions and fees associated with such transactions are considered financial service fees and are not subject to VAT.

Switzerland has approximately 100 international double tax treaties that allow taxpayers to protect their foreign income from double taxation. In addition, there are tax incentives for international businesses in this jurisdiction. If certain conditions are met, such companies can receive reduced income tax rates (from 7.83% to 11%) for profits derived from foreign sources.

FAQ about Switzerland Crypto license

Is cryptocurrency legal in Switzerland?

Yes, cryptocurrency is legal in Switzerland. Cryptocurrencies are considered legal assets in Switzerland and are subject to certain regulatory frameworks. The Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA) oversees the regulation of cryptocurrencies and related activities.

How to get a crypto license in Switzerland?

To get a cryptocurrency license in Switzerland, you need to gather all the necessary documents and set up a company in the country. Then a corporate bank account should be opened and all company and license-related fees should be paid. After that, an application for a cryptocurrency license is submitted. It is important to work with FINMA to ensure that the documents and application are correct.

How much does a crypto license cost in Switzerland?

The cost of a cryptocurrency license in Switzerland depends on various factors, including the type of license, size, and legal form of the company. This cost may include license application fees, government fees, annual supervision fees, company registration, and legal and accounting fees. The total cost of registering a company and obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Switzerland can start at CHF 20,000 and beyond.

What is the term of a cryptocurrency license in Switzerland?

The duration of a license in Switzerland depends on its type:

  • financial intermediary license – issued for 5 years, but can be extended for another 5 years;
  • Investment fund license – issued for 3 years, can be extended for another 3 years;
  • license for a blockchain-based system – issued for 2 years, may be extended for another 2 years.
  • Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) license – issued for 1 year, renewable for subsequent years.

The exact validity period will be specified in the license agreement signed with FINMA.

Is cryptocurrency regulated in Switzerland?

Yes, cryptocurrency is regulated in Switzerland. Regulation covers various aspects of cryptocurrency activities, including licensing requirements for crypto businesses, anti-money laundering (AML) measures, and investor protection.

Is crypto income taxable in Switzerland?

Yes, cryptocurrency income is taxable in Switzerland and depends on several factors including the nature of the income, token classification, and tax residency status. Corporate income tax (CIT) is levied at the federal, cantonal, and municipal levels. The federal corporate income tax (CIT) rate is 8.5% on profits including tax deductions. The corporate income tax rate at the cantonal level can range from 11.9% to 21%. The personal income tax (WHT) is 35%.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.