Unlocking the Future of Sustainable Finance

Tokenization of Blue and Green Bonds: Sunset Capital’s blockchain platform uses tokenization to represent sustainable investments in a digital form, making it easier to track and manage.

Compliance with Swiss legal framework and regulation by FINMA, giving investors peace of mind.

Huge potential to democratize the green finance market and catalyze innovations in the climate change finance sector: The platform has the potential to transform the green finance market, democratizing investment opportunities and driving innovation.

Significantly different from traditional models and a game-changer in the Blue and Green Bond market: Sunset Capital’s platform is a game-changer in the Blue and Green Bond market, offering a new structure that delivers certified and verified carbon credits, tackling greenwashing concerns, and providing real-time tracking of environmental impact.

The platform enables digital tracking, delivery, and transfer of sustainable tokens throughout the bond lifecycle, making it easier and more efficient for investors to manage their sustainable investments.

Legal Framework – Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the biggest banking and finance centers in the world, with a focus on adapting to market innovations. Therefore, the county has been promoting wider usage of crypto and becoming a hub for crypto businesses since 2016—when Zug, a city in Switzerland, started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for city dues.

In Switzerland, crypto activity is subject to several laws and regulatory guidelines, including the aforementioned FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance. Therefore, companies should ensure that they comply with all the latest regulations.

Switzerland is creating a digital heaven for crypto companies by adopting new regulations to ensure that companies are safe and digital assets aren’t abused by criminals.

Who is the regulator?

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is the main financial markets regulator. The authority publishes regulations and guidelines regarding virtual assets, and also grants corresponding authorization for companies to work legally on the market, including companies dealing with virtual assets, depending on their business nature.

Who is affected?

FINMA divides crypto assets into the following categories:

  • Payment tokens are used only as a means of payment and doesn’t include any claim to the issuer;
  • Utility tokens provide access to a service or a digital application;
  • Asset tokens have a function similar to stocks or bonds and, therefore, are subject to security rules.
  • Some tokens might serve several purposes and, as a result, fall under several categories (hybrid token) and regulations.
  • Additionally, FINMA has published a separate guideline regarding the usage of stable coins.

Unlike AML regulations in many other countries, Switzerland does not use the concept of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). Instead, crypto companies are considered regulated if they fall under one of the categories of financial intermediaries, as listed in the law (AMLA and AMLO).

A financial intermediary is anyone who provides payment services or issues or manages a means of payment. The provision of services using payment tokens and issuing of payment tokens therefore constitutes the issuing of a means of payment subject to this regulation.

Under current FINMA practice, the exchange of a cryptocurrency for fiat or a different cryptocurrency falls under Art. 2 para. 3 AMLA. The same applies to the offering of services to transfer tokens if the service provider maintains the private key (custody wallet provider).

In relation to asset tokens, AMLA also regulates trading facilities for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) securities in accordance with Article 73a FinMIA (DLT trading facilities).

Fot utility tokens, anti-money laundering regulation is not applicable as long as the main reason for issuing the tokens is to provide access rights to a non-financial application of blockchain technology.

Concerning DeFi platforms, FINMA adheres to the following principles:

  • Principle of technological neutrality
  • Same risks, same rules
  • Substance over form

Therefore, each VA project needs to be assessed separately to determine if it is regulated and how.

What are the regulations?

Depending on the type of virtual asset entities deal with, they may be subject to at least the following regulations:

  • Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) with corresponding ordinances, stipulating the obligations of financial intermediaries for preventing money laundering;
  • The Banking Act, which applies to issuers of tokens that qualify as deposits;
  • The Collective Investment Schemes Act, which applies for asset tokens raised from investors with the goal of collective investment;
  • TThe Financial Services Act and the Financial Institutions Act, which apply for all public offerings of securities, which might include tokens.

AML requirements

Companies working with virtual assets (financial intermediaries) must comply with AML requirements when operating in Switzerland. Therefore, companies should implement at least the following measures:

  • Identification and verification of customers;
  • Clarification of the financial background and purpose of the business relationship or transaction;
  • Monitoring transactions of customers;
  • Recordkeeping (keeping the records of transactions and customers for at least ten years after the end of a relationship);
  • Implementation of internal controls, such as issuing policies and procedures, training staff, and performing inspections;
  • Complying with the Travel Rule, by which they have to obtain information of senders and recipients of a transaction to share with their counterparty;
  • Reporting (companies should immediately report any type of suspicious activity to the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) of the Federal Department of Justice and Police).

In 2022, Switzerland introduced tougher regulations regarding AML checks to prevent a threshold of CHF 1000 (approximately $1,070) from being exceeded through smaller, linked transactions within thirty days.