Bitfinex wants to move to Switzerland
It's not a done deal yet, but Bitfinex wants to be in Switzerland and many in Switzerland want it.
Switzerland made a conscious decision to become a new global centre for cryptocurrency, and its efforts might be bearing fruit. Bitfinex, the world's fifth largest cryptocurrency trading platform by volume, is making a move from the British Virgin Islands to the Swiss mountains.
It hasn't moved yet, but Bitfinex CEO Jean Louis van der Velde has confirmed the plans to Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung, saying Bitfinex aims to consolidate its operations after the move.
It's already met with the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SIF) and Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Department of Economic Affairs. The plan is reportedly to spin off Bitfinex from its parent company iFinex and run the legal, financial and technical departments of Bitfinex out of Switzerland.
"The talks with the State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs and with Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann were very constructive," said van der Velde.
Sentiment in Switzerland might be positive, with the Handelszeitung quoting experts who seemed to be looking forward to the move.
"It would be sensational if an actor of this size and importance should decide for Switzerland," said a quoted Swiss entrepreneur.
But Handelszeitung also notes that while Bitfinex has made its intentions clear, the matter isn't settled yet, and regulators are under the pump to consider Bitfinex's application.
"For Bitfinex, legal certainty counts just as much as it does for customers," it notes.
Handelszeitung says Bitfinex is just one of many crypto players to make the move to Switzerland, but that it might be one of the higher priorities. It cites the "suction effect," or "halo effect" as it might be called in English, whereby the presence of a big name in one place makes the place itself more attractive to other players.
"Just as the move from Google to Zurich once made the region more attractive to other companies," the paper quoted a local councillor, "Bitfinex in Switzerland – that could have a suction effect."
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC and NANO.
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