Guide: Digital Token Generations in the Canton of Geneva

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The Directorate General for Economic Development, Research, and Innovation (DG EDRI) of the State of Geneva contributes to the development of the local economic fabric in all its diversity. It promotes entrepreneurship, digital and sustainable transformation, the emergence of talent, as well as innovation and scientific research.

In light of the rapid evolution of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) making it possible to generate digital tokens, DG EDRI presents this guide about the local regulatory and tax situation. The objective is to promote the important expertise available and to accompany projects seeking to establish in Geneva.

With its profoundly international nature and its multicultural tradition, Geneva provides the dynamic and innovative setting for token generation projects. The canton offers state-of-the-art technology infrastructures, a favorable tax system, and a broad skill ecosystem composed of entrepreneurs, academics, and a public administration that includes several projects using blockchain technology.

A welcoming legislative and regulatory environment

Geneva positions itself as a global hub for cybersecurity and digital ethics and is host to leading players in the field. The canton supports the idea of international regulation of cybersecurity and welcomes the "Tech Accord" (Tech Accord, 2018) signed in mid-April 2018 by more than 30 major companies in the technology sector. It also supports the Swiss Digital initiative (Digitalswitzerland, 2019) initiated by Digitalswitzerland to promote ethical standards in the digital sphere. In September 2019, the CyberPeace Institute was created in Geneva to provide support for victims of cyberattacks, to facilitate investigations and research in cyberattacks and to promote responsible behavior in the cyberspace.

The Swiss legislative and regulatory context is particularly welcoming for token generation projects and companies active in DLT sector. This is due in particular to the classification of the various kinds of tokens in a practical guide published in the first quarter of 2018 by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

DG EDRI offers entrepreneurs the possibility of obtaining an evaluation of their token generation project, regardless of its category or any other DLT-based project, as well as of being put into contact – according to their needs – with actors in the Geneva ecosystem. A map of that Geneva ecosystem is available on the DG EDRI website (DG EDRI, 2019).

The information in this guide is updated by an open expert's group composed mainly of Geneva experts from the public and private sectors specializing in legal, banking, academic, and technical aspects, as well as regulatory compliance. This holistic approach makes it possible to consider every facet of a token generation project.