FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, presented a new guide for stablecoins and confirmed receipt of an enquiry from the Libra Association. The regulator explained that it is important to know which goals and economic functions the stablecoin is designed to perform. In this sense, for the Swiss regulator, stablecoins are no different from any other blockchain-based coins.
“In ruling of upcoming projects, FINMA will follow the proven principle of ‘same risks, same rules’ as well as the specific features of each case,” the publication claimed. The legal rules regarding stablecoins can be applied depending on what the exact coin is backed by: securities, real estate, or fiat currencies. On this basis, the coin will be subject to the money laundering act, the securities act, etc. All extra services that increase the risks of a payment system exploitation must be subject to corresponding additional requirements.
The document also confirmed that the Geneva-based Libra Association had asked the regulator for an assessment of how the supervisory authority would classify the planned Libra project, including the issuance of a ‘stable coin’ under Swiss supervisory law. As to Facebook`s stablecoin specifically, FINMA requires a license of the payment system for it – this is dictated by the need of Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA) compliance. Thus, the project should be carefully checked to ensure the highest international anti-money laundering standards throughout the entire ecosystem of the project.
The FINMA guidelines posting was soon followed by a response from Libra Association. A press release, posted recently on the official website, reads that “the Libra Association has submitted a request for a ruling to clarify the regulatory status of the Libra Association and the Libra Coin and intends to file an application for a license as a payment system.”