In a major milestone for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the Swiss stock exchange is going to launch a cryptocurrency exchange, reportedly the first of its kind in the world.
Swiss stock exchange operator SIX plans to build a “fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets.” SIX Digital Exchange, set to launch in 2019, will also enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.
“This is the beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures. For us it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry,” said SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof.
SIX Digital Exchange will need regulatory approval in order to pioneer a clear bridge between the traditional financial services and cryptocurrencies, and further establish Switzerland as a “crypto nation”. The plan mirrors efforts by other large stock exchanges exploring the launch of a dedicated cryptocurrency exchange. In April, CEO Adena Friedman said that Nasdaq “would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time.” According to reports, Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, is also exploring the idea.
Goldman Sachs is reportedly building a cryptocurrency trading desk, but it may only begin by offering derivatives, such as Bitcoin futures, first introduced to Wall Street by CME Group in December 2017. Since derivatives fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Bitcoin futures legitimized cryptocurrencies while also putting them under regulatory scrutiny.
Bitcoin continues to be shrouded in regulatory conflict and ongoing debates about its classification as a currency, commodity or security. There is no one set of global rules or regulations governing Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency trading.
Founded in 1850, SIX Swiss Exchange, the parent of SIX Digital Exchange, is regulated by Finma, the Swiss financial supervisor, and the Swiss central bank. It’s the world’s 14th largest exchange by market capitalization. In addition to stocks, the Swiss exchange also trades other Swiss government bonds and derivatives. SIX intends for its digital exchange to have the same regulatory oversight as its traditional exchange.