Where to Start a Cryptocurrency Exchange in Switzerland

In this article, we will focus on why Switzerland is the most optimal location to start a cryptocurrency exchange. As an investor or entrepreneur, when
Anna Schmidt
In this article, we will focus on why Switzerland is the most optimal location to start a cryptocurrency exchange. As an investor or entrepreneur, when you factor in the business environment in the country, the low tax rates and the laws and regulations around crypto it shows that launching a crypto exchange in Switzerland is by far the best business opportunity.

In a number of countries, it's impossible to even begin operation of a crypto exchange without a myriad of authorisations, which also include banking licenses as well as major corporate and governmental regulation and monitoring. But in Switzerland, the majority of these issues go away thanks to the pro-fintech attitude the country has.

A few countries besides Switzerland have arisen as competition for crypto exchanges. One of these competitors is Estonia, with its low cost and the e-residency program which was developed to allow citizens in tech to move to the country a lot more seamlessly. There is one major issue, however, in Estonia local banks won't open accounts for foreigners – effectively making it impossible to launch unless you're a citizen or born in Estonia.

For more information on Swiss cryptocurrency exchanges or developing a virtual currency in the country, feel free to reach out to us.

The Swiss Crypto Market

Basically Switzerland is the best cryptocurrency district in Europe. If you or your business has a boundless spending plan, and you wouldn't mind paying around 12 to 18% in corporate taxes, then you need to be in Switzerland. If you're intending to run a leading crypto exchange that services business and consumer sectors into the European Union, you have to be in Switzerland, in particular, the canton of Zug.

Just two countries dominated the ICO and crypto markets last year, and they were Switzerland and the United States. This might seem obvious, though the actual size of the Swiss ICOs total revenue compared to the countries size is immense. The US raised the largest amount in 2017, with $580 million, Switzerland came in very close second with $550 million and Singapore third with $184 million.

At the current rate of revenue and ICO cap, along with Switzerland's hyper-friendly crypto economy and regulation, the country is well on track to be the global leader in crypto in just 5 years. That said, investors should feel extremely safe with the Swiss economy when their crypto exchanges are concerned.

Swiss Coins

There are two major Swiss-based tokens that are ingrained within the Swiss real-estate market. These are Swisscoin and SwissRealCoin. On top of these local coins, there has also been massive interest in crypto banks, crypto exchanges as well as crypto wealth management services, which all really show how deep the cryptocurrency stream runs in Switzerland.

Investors will find entire economic and governmental frameworks in place to allow blockchain based cryptocurrencies to launch with ease and to provide these currencies with the best chance at succeeding. Unlike in a lot of other countries, the Swiss government wants these cryptocurrencies and exchanges to succeed as part of the global-crypto-leader agenda.

Choosing a Location for Crypto Exchange Launch

Setting up a crypto exchange in Switzerland presents you with a number of opportunities. You'll want to focus on launching in a location that is both beneficial to your business, but also for your employees or team members if you have any located in the country.

If you're looking for a location to be home base for your cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland, then you should certainly be looking toward the Crypto Valley or formally named the canton of Zug. Zug is home to some of the most friendly crypto laws, as well as an extremely low tax rate and even minimal licensing and regulations for companies operating in cryptocurrency.

A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Tax rates
  • Crypto licensing
  • Foreign ownership laws
Zug is home to the Crypto Valley Association, which is both independent but supported by the Swiss Government, making it the first step for the country building and maintaining the worlds leading crypto industry.

In summary, the best location for an ICO or crypto exchange in Switzerland is certainly Zug. Tax rates are low, regulation is minimal and the business market is centred around promoting growth in the fintech sector, and that means the government and associations are right on your doorstep to help out.

Rules and Regulations

The first thing that you should know as an investor is that every business in Switzerland that operates in the financial field and performs any financial activity, will need to be authorised by FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. Though, a good perk for the cryptocurrency businesses in Switzerland is that crypto isn't currently formally recognised as a currency – and therefore exempt from the requirement to register with FINMA.

Keep in mind, over the next few years as the cryptocurrency market in Switzerland develops further, there may be changes which require crypto businesses, including cryptocurrency, enhances in Switzerland, to register with FINMA.

Something else to consider is that although cryptocurrencies aren't seen as a currency, they are still monitored as a means to obtain fiat currency and therefore all cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses must comply with all Swiss anti-money laundering acts. So, to sum up, a Swiss crypto exchange or currency isn't required to register with FINMA, though in the future it may be required to, and all business operations must adhere to money laundering acts.

Bank Relationships

It's common for new crypto exchanges in Switzerland to seek and develop relationships with Swiss banks over the past year, and some are even reaching out to Latin America and Asia for development of banking connections in the EU.

Opening a bank account in Switzerland as a crypto exchange is also extremely common, and to make the process as easy as possible it's recommended that you set up your crypto exchange in the aforementioned canton of Zug. This will make creating bank connections a lot easier, and will also make setting up an office and adhering to Swiss rules a lot easier as there is far more assistance and reduced regulation in Zug.

Something to keep in mind though is that all Swiss companies have to follow Swiss rules to open and keep their bank accounts. That means the foreign law is totally exempt here, even if you don't entirely operate your cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland.


Finally, there are some ICOs and crypto exchanges in Switzerland that are required to register for regulatory monitoring. A good guideline to follow is that cryptocurrencies and exchanges who sell asset tokens – instead of payment tokens are regulated. This is because, in Swiss law, an asset token is recognised as a security rather than simply a virtual currency piece.

You can visit FINMA's guideline website for some more information on ICOs.

If you need some additional information regarding the launch and development of a cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland, then feel free to reach out to our team. We're able to assist you with any questions about the launch or even an ICO.