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Opinion

Why Switzerland wants to be the crypto nation

While negative rates fundamentally undermine its domestic lenders, the Alpine nation’s enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies also coincides problematically with threats to its private banks.

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A general view shows Lake Zug and the city of Zug, Switzerland September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann - RC1D0F339FF0
Arnd Wiegmann/REUTERS

Zug, Switzerland proves an unlikely setting for the centre of cryptocurrency



Switzerland is Europe’s most cosmopolitan nation, although its geography should make it the most closed. This is a paradox rooted in finance, and the situation is getting weirder. The European hub of cryptocurrency is not London or Paris, but Zug.  

I travelled to Zug last month to attend a launch of SEBA Crypto, which hopes to get a Swiss banking licence next year to offer accounts in state-issued money as well as crypto, bridging the two. It is a small town that nestles on a lake, in a bucolic valley of green fields and clonking cow bells, a short and winding train ride from Zurich (itself hardly a pulsating metropolis).

Rather than the self-effacing rustic types one might expect to find in a place like this, a craft ale-swigging crowd from the four corners of the earth greets me.







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