It’s still early days for blockchain in the tiny country of Liechtenstein with only five registered ICOs, but things are most definitely on the move.
The constitutional monarchy, with a population of only 37,000, squeezed between Switzerland and Austria is ready to take a much more significant role in fintech development after Prime Minister Adrian Hasler’s recent announcement in March that progressive regulation is on the way.
Such as Jersey in the Channel Islands, Liechtenstein for many years has been regarded as a tax haven for the wealthy entrepreneur, and companies moving their money offshore. The result led to a GDP per capita of $139,000 by 2009, the highest in the world according to news source VB.
Under pressure from other European nations to change the status quo in Liechtenstein following the global economic crisis, the county started to look at digital currency at about the same time that Bitcoin was beginning to become a byword in financial markets.
Because of its small government, the county promotes quicker solutions to regulation negotiations than other much larger jurisdictions where these can become long drawn out affairs. Liechtenstein now sees the potential of rapid blockchain investment beyond its five ICOs, so says the country’s regulator, the Financial Market Authority (FMA) looking to its neighbour Switzerland for inspiration.
The country’s proposed new ‘Blockchain Law’ would take Liechtenstein down this road offering “crypto companies regulatory and legal predictability as well as enabling the country access to traditional fiat-based banking services.,” maintains VB. The law, originally scheduled for legislation on July 10, is still on hold as the industry awaits further announcements later in the year.
In the meantime, crypto-to-crypto trading is not regulated and exchanges are beginning to make a home in the country. Once the blockchain legislation goes through, further developments are predicted to be swift. Patrick Bont, the country’s top regulator explains:
“Because we are so small, blockchain companies can move a lot faster here than other countries,” said. “You can call us for a meeting on Monday morning and we can meet you for lunch on Tuesday or Wednesday. Very few other places can do that consistently.”
With such efficiency and government backing, Liechtenstein is balanced on the cusp of becoming a major player in the cryptocurrency space similar to its Swiss neighbour, as awaits the green light.
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