Switzerland’s domestic economy is set to benefit from a central bank-backed cryptocurrency, Romeo Lacher, chairman of the country’s stock exchange, said.
In an interview to the Financial Times newspaper, published Sunday, Lacher said Switzerland should consider launching a cryptocurrency equivalent to the Swiss franc called “e-franc”, to emerge a leader in digital technologies.
The “e-franc” would also boost electronic payment systems that are increasingly replacing cash, he said.
“I believe there would be a lot of upsides, we would be strongly supportive,” Lacher told FT.
Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank responded in negative, maintaining that there was “no need” for an “e-franc”, FT reported.
The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the Swiss central bank is in contrast to the stance of the government. The Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has said that the country should aim to become the “crypto-nation”.
Lacher said the government’s efforts are likely to be successful as the strategic direction is good. However, he warned that many mistakes would be made. He was also hopeful that the blockchain technology would give lot of advantages to Swiss businesses.
The SIX Group, a financial infrastructure services provider owned by Swiss banks and headed by Lacher, does not plan to allow trading in cryptocurrencies or ICOs, he told FT, in line with the trend in the traditional finance sector.
The Zug province in the country has transformed itself into the “crypto-valley”, a crypto equivalent to the Silicon Valley in California. Bitcoin is accepted for routine payments here as well as for payment of fees for public services.
Switzerland is a hotbed of cryptocurrency activity, especially initial coin offerings, or ICOs. Early this month, the country released a set of guidelines for ICOs.
The alpine country also hosts lot of secret storage facilities for crypto-assets such as hard drives carrying cryptographic keys.
The non-profit Ethereum Foundation, which is behind the second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum, is based in Zug.