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World premiere: Geneva publishes a guide in support of ICO project holders


Given the growing interest for ICOs, the State of Geneva offers to qualify digital token emissions on its territory. It is also setting up a committee to better support project leaders, detailing the general tax treatment for such operations.

The demand for alternative methods of financing companies continues to grow, everywhere in the world. Geneva is no exception to this trend. The Directorate General for Economic Development, Research and Innovation (DG DERI) has therefore drafted a guide to accompany and qualify ICO (Initial Coin Offering) projects, no matter how advanced they are, in the perspective of their implementation in the State of Geneva.

This is a world first. It aims to support ICO project holders in their search for the best launch pad for their project, while ensuring its consistency within the administration. "Thus, Geneva intends to strengthen its role as a centre of digital innovation on an international scale, in particular regarding blockchain technology and distributed ledgers," stresses Pierre Maudet, State Councillor in charge of security and the economy.

A "Geneva Made" pilot project

The new guide made available by the State authorities is in line with the one proposed by the Swiss financial markets regulator (FINMA). It comes in the form of a directory describing the specific steps to initiate digital token emissions and accelerate their deployment. Its content also lists the principles according to which ICOs can meet market demand, as well as the requirements of local and national partners (tax ruling, regulatory treatment, opening of bank accounts, commercial registration, etc.).

This Geneva initiative is also backed by a group of experts from legal, academic, technical, marketing, tax, banking, compliance and public-sector fields. In addition to updating information, these experts are responsible for monitoring ICOs. That is, to sort through the projects, taking into account all their operational aspects and facilitate, as far as possible, the implementation process.

The rise of the "Blockchain Valley"

DG DERI thus offers entrepreneurs a clear procedure and the ability to offer advice on the emission of new tokens, whether the latter is in progress or already completed. It also proposes to put the project holders in contact with the actors of the local ecosystem, according to their needs, for optimal coordination. "Geneva will now be able to explain more efficiently the advantages of implementing ICOs in the canton," emphasizes Pierre Maudet.

To date, four of the ten largest ICOs have taken place in Switzerland. Geneva, like the Crypto Valley, acts as a Swiss innovation centre investing in the development and promotion of blockchain, a technological pillar of the crypto-economy. The State of Geneva, which is home to a growing number of major players who have come to emit digital tokens, offers an ideal framework for ICOs. It has quality infrastructure, favorable taxation and offers a unique blockchain ecosystem, composed of entrepreneurs, academic researchers and an administration that has already initiated several projects - both internal and external - in this field.


Useful links:

Guide: Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the canton of Geneva

Cartography of the ICO ecosystem of Geneva


For further information: Mr. Pierre Maudet, State Councillor, through Mr. Dejan Nikolic, delegate in charge of communication and information (DG EDRI), Department of Security and Economy (DES), T. +41 22 388 31 63 or M. +41 79 416 84 10.

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