Bitcoin Around the World: Switzerland

By Ian Jackson Jan 27, 2015 6:18 AM EDT

LONDON (InsideBitcoins) — There can be no greater display of inconspicuous wealth than the utterance of the phrase ‘Swiss bank account.’ The sentiment alone is dripping with hidden imagery of luxurious private banking suites, alpine vistas and tales of celebrities protecting their assets from estranged spouses. Your money isn’t safe in a Swiss bank account, it’s just safer.

Swiss mountainsideSwiss law prohibits the bank from disclosing information about your account and any banker doing so can face up to six months in prison and a hefty fine for his troubles but they still have to cooperate with the law when it comes to criminal investigations. It is a supreme irony that users of the much-maligned bitcoin have been in possession of their own private ‘Swiss’ bank account for years now.

The skies above the Swiss capital Bern may not be filled with as many private jets as you might expect but the wealth of the country, much of it from controversial sources, is undeniably ostentatious. The Swiss GDP per capita sits at an impressive $80,000, eclipsing the US figure of $53,000, though not quite reaching the giddy heights of Scandinavia’s utopia-state Norway, which clocks in at $100,000. Still, such figures have to be adjusted for purchasing power and Switzerland is a ruinously expensive place to be; adjusted figures place its standard of living comparable to that of the United States — though with a more even distribution of wealth evident.

The surprising news earlier this month, that the Swiss National Bank had decided to remove ‘its policy of capping its currency’s exchange rate at 1.20 francs per euro  is indicative of the changing face of both European and Swiss fiscal reality. The financial crises of recent years at its height had pundits worried that the whole Eurozone project was in trouble. Looking back, it seems clear that such doom-mongering was preposterous; the Euro faced some hard times, but it is, and was, no more on the endangered list than the US dollar.

Switzerland-mapStill, Switzerland is a country that understands the value of money — and bitcoin, despite insistences to the contrary by certain government regulatory bodies — is money. At the World Economic forum meeting in Switzerland last week, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman took the opportunity to share his vision of the future with conference attendees. As reported in Time magazine Hoffman stated that bitcoin would “either be a total failure or it’ll be a success and I think we want it to be a success.”

His vision did not end there. Hoffman sees in bitcoin the potential to “open up the advantages of banking to regions of the world that do not yet benefit from the banking system,” and as to it’s potential uses he stated that “the currency might make easier all financial transactions related to driving, including paying tolls and paying for parking.” Braver words have rarely been uttered so scandalously close to the world’s largest private banking industry. However, considering the volatility of the digital currency to date, the ultra rich would be well advised not to keep their entire portfolio in cryptocurrency alone.

Not that Switzerland has rejected the idea of bitcoin. The small country sports an impressive 71 bitcoin friendly merchants, with the largest concentration to be found not in the capital, but in Zurich. As a non EU country, Switzerland has not become embroiled in the wrangling between the various EU states of late. The latitude offered by their neutrality has allowed them to come to a far more rapid conclusion than their neighbors; bitcoin, according to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) remains, despite ‘growing interest,’ ‘relatively insignificant and thus not worthy of specific legislation.’ That such a sentiment may well turn out to be a stunning act of hubris is something only time can tell. For now, bitcoin remains the province of Hoffman’s subaltern not Switzerland’s ultra rich. Which is after all, where bitcoin is supposed to be, with the ordinary joe, with the little guy.

Ian Jackson is an Inside Bitcoins correspondent based in the U.K.

Photo credit: Scott Beale

  • jack loach

    Sods —–
    Law.

    May.—-
    2015. ( Updated.)

    For almost two
    decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have
    suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank— PICTET & CIE.
    BANK.

    Two yorkshiremen
    both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the
    problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their
    monies.

    The matter was
    raised in Parliament – twice– the FSA investigated the matter
    concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank —
    but the rogues had left —saying no one left to prosecute.??? —–
    so there.

    We then
    approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) — our case was
    dealt with by seven different people —- then our numerous E-Mails
    were ignored — nobody would speak to us ——-so there.

    We then asked the
    SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case —- the
    criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. — we were instructed
    not to send them

    any
    documents/evidence.—— in fact they wrote to us advising us to go
    to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.(CAB.)

    Richard Alderman
    the SFO boss —- who responded to our letter was the same man who
    would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor”
    fiasco.

    The MP’s
    committee —- said he was sloppy— and the SFO was run like “
    Fred Karno’s Circus” —– it was an office of fraud.—– so
    there.

    Our M.P.
    approached our local Chief Constable to investigate—– he was
    called—- Sir Norman Bettison— Chief Constable of West Yorkshire
    Police —- a force that made “ Dad’s Army” look like the S.A.S.
    They were inept – corrupt —malicious — from top to bottom. We
    were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor—- the Head of
    the Economic Crime Unit —-and the Chief Constable —– so there.

    We were then
    advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the
    I.P.C.C. – which we did — they advised us to make our complaint
    to —- the West Yorkshire Police — we did with reluctance — all
    we got was abuse and obfuscation. —– so there.

    Sir Norman
    Bettison —- The Forces solicitor— and the Head of the Economic
    Crime —- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal
    allegations.

    —— so there.

    We even sought
    justice through the Courts — culminating in a visit to the Court of
    Appeal-London.— On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our
    barrister a “rising star” informed us — that if that was
    British Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to
    Canada —– so there.

    A few years later
    we learned that one of the judges ( Lord Justice.) in our case at the
    Court of Appeal was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank
    —–so there.

    The Ministry of
    Justice passed our case to Lord Myners to investigate — we would
    rather have had Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck do it. — to this day we
    don’t know

    —whether he did
    anything or not —- probably not — seeing that his wife was on the
    Pictet Prix Board.

    Pictet & Cie
    .Bank — voted private bank of the year 2013.

    Ivan Pictet —-
    Voted banker of the year 2012. —- the senior partner — lied on
    numerous occasions and had documents destroyed — also said genuine
    documents were forgeries. —– so there.

    Pictet & Cie.
    were adamant that they had no involvement with MADOFF —- they lied
    again —- they let him steal the monies then conned it off him.—
    so there.

    2012 — June –
    Published in Anglo INFO. Geneva – USA Trust Fund Investors were
    sent false and fraudulent documents by Pictet Bank in order to
    collect large fees ( Like Madoff.) Even
    after the SEC in the USA uncovered the fraud Pictet continued to
    charge fees and drain whatever was left in these accounts. Estimated
    that $90 million lost in this Pictet Ponzi scheme.– so there.

    Ivan Pictet in
    Oct. 2013 —- Given the Legion of Honour — but saying that —-
    honours were given to Hitler — Eichmann — Mussolini —Franco
    — he’s in fitting company. —-so there.

    April 2015. —-
    Inner City Press.—- United Nations Joint Staff Pension Funds.

    Pension
    Fund.–$53 Billion.—– The spokesman FARHAN HAQ would not answer
    whether Investment chairman – IVAN PICTET had to quit —- after
    allegations made by some staff. —- “ once a crook always
    a crook” – so there.

    MONTY
    RAPHAEL.Q.C. — Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks
    lawyers.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents
    requested by the High Court —- the FSA —- and the police Fraud
    Squad. —-so there.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.

    An expert in
    Fraud —the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. —– so there.

    This says a lot
    about Banks — and their lawyers –the consensus of opinion is that
    they are highly paid “crooks” —- no wonder they voted Ivan
    Pictet banker of the year. — and Monty Raphael a Queens Counsellor
    – “crime does pay”?

    It appears that
    crimes in the “establishment.” are honoured by their peers.

    “HONOURS
    AMONG THIEVES.”

    Full Story.—-
    “google ”

    Insert.—– The
    Crimes of —– Pictet & Cie Bank.

    or
    insert

    Ivan Pictet/
    Monty Raphael Q.C.

  • jack loach

    Swiss Bank
    Accounts. May. 2015.(
    Updated.)

    Is your monies safe
    in these accounts —- definitely NOT.

    Would you get your
    money back if every body decided to withdraw all their accounts –
    NO WAY.

    Economic Experts
    say that there would only enough money to repay 50% of their clients.

    Are you going to be
    in the 50% — that loose your money.– Get it out NOW.

    Pictet & Cie
    were adamant that they had no involvement with MADOFF — they lied
    again —-

    they let him steal
    the monies then conned it off him .

    2012 — – June.
    — Published in Anglo INFO .Geneva.— USA Trust Fund Investors were
    sent false and fraudulent documents by Pictet Bank.Switzerland. in
    order to collect large fees. ( Like MADOFF) —Even after the SEC in
    the USA uncovered the fraud Pictet continued to charge fees and drain
    whatever was left in these accounts. Estimated that $90,000,000
    million lost in this Pictet Ponzi scheme.

    2012 – – – July.
    — De – Spiegel. — states – Pictet Bank uses a letterbox
    company in Panama and
    a tax loophole involving investments in London to gain German
    millionaires as clients.

    2012
    – – – August —- German Opposition Leader accuses Swiss Banks of
    “organised crime.”

    Ivan
    Pictet in Oct .2013— Given the Legion of Honour — but saying
    that — the honour was given to Hitler —Eichmann — Mussolini
    — Franco — he’s in fitting company – so there.

    April.2015.—-
    Inner City Press – United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.

    Pension
    Fund .( $53 Billion.) – – – The spokesman FARHAN HAQ would not
    answer whether

    Investment
    chairman – IVAN PICTET had to quit — after allegations made by
    some staff —

    –”
    once a crook always a crook”.

    All
    the fines that crooked Swiss banks have incurred in the last few
    years exceeds £75.Billion.

    It
    is also calculated that the secrecy ” agreements” with
    regards to tax evation by their clients will cost the banks another
    £450 Billion.( paid out of your monies.).

    The
    banks are panicking — the are quickly restructuring their banks
    —- from partnerships —

    to
    ” LIMITED COMPANIES.” —– this will probably mean that
    in the future — they could

    pay
    you only 10% of your monies ” if you are one of the lucky ones”
    —- and it be legal.

    Google
    —- The Crimes of —- Pictet & Cie Bank.

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