Bitcoin startup Xapo has revealed that a “conditional approval” from Switzerland’s financial regulator to operate in the country was received.
It was announced by Xapo CEO Wences Casares: “After almost two years of substantial effort and investment, Xapo has received conditional approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to operate in Switzerland,” he said in a blog on the company’s website.
The preliminary approval depended on several factors, including a mandatory membership with the Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO). However, Casares said that the company was optimistic the conditions would be met.
According to Olga Feldmeier, a former managing partner of Xapo, who is in charge of the Swiss licensing process for the company, Xapo does not need to secure a costly banking license because FINMA has designated the bitcoin wallet as a “financial intermediary”.
Switzerland already hosts a number of cryptocurrency companies, but Xapo’s operation as a bitcoin wallet provider had raised questions over whether it required a banking licence. The facts that the company does not accept deposits and is serving non-U.S. customers from Switzerland are working as an advantage for now.
Recently, Swiss authorities have been very clear about their plans to catch up with the rapidly changing financial technology landscape and to secure a leading role for their country.