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Swiss Blockchain Federation Updates Circular on Staking

Swiss Blockchain Federation Updates Circular on Staking

The Swiss Blockchain Federation updates its Staking Circular to reflect FINMA’s supervisory notice on staking

Download the updated circular on staking (German only)

Bern, April 3, 2024 – Staking is an energy-efficient mechanism for consensus building in public blockchain networks such as Ethereum, Solana and Cardano. Participants receive a fee for depositing cryptocurrencies and validating transactions. Staking is becoming increasingly important. The market capitalization of staked assets is currently over USD 300 billion. Various staking models are available, including user-controlled staking (self-staking) and staking by service providers. Staking services are currently offered in Switzerland by both banks and other service providers that are subject exclusively to the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

FINMA published Supervisory Communication 08/2023 on this topic in December 2023. This was in response to a change in practice announced in summer 2023, which had met with strong resistance from the blockchain industry. According to the supervisory notice, under certain conditions, staked crypto-based assets also qualify as separable assets in bankruptcy. Accordingly, Swiss staking service providers still do not require a banking license. In addition, the prohibitive capital requirements in the crypto sector do not apply to banks that offer staking services.

The update of Circular 2023/01 “Staking” published today clarifies questions relating to bankruptcy and banking law that arose, among other things, on the occasion of the publication of the supervisory notice. Although the supervisory notice has clarified the fundamental issue of the bankruptcy law treatment of staked crypto-based assets in the sense of the blockchain industry, the conditions formulated by FINMA raise a whole series of new questions. This applies, for example, to the analogous application of the guidelines for fiduciary investments in multi-tier custody relationships. The circular also contains a new classification of staking under tax law. Both versions of the circular are available on the website of the Swiss Blockchain Federation (German only).

Like the first version, the update of the Staking Circular was prepared by a sub-working group of the Digital Assets Working Group under the leadership of Fabio Andreotti (Bitcoin Suisse). The Swiss Blockchain Federation would like to thank him and all members for their contributions.


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