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Swiss regulator to consider some cryptocurrency offerings as securities

Many initial coin offerings in Switzerland will be treated as securities, the country's financial regulator said.

The Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, issued guidelines on Feb. 16, stating that certain ICOs, used by start-ups based on cryptocurrency technologies like blockchain, will be treated in the same way as securities.

For ICOs where so-called utility tokens, used to provide digital access to an application or service, function only or partially as an investment in economic terms, they will be treated as securities. So-called asset securities, which represent underyling assets, will also be treated as securities.

However, so-called payment tokens, which are synonymous with cryptocurrencies and have no further functions, will not be treated by FINMA as securities, but they will need to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.