Swiss Push for Bitcoin Adoption: Advocates Urge Central Bank to Pioneer Crypto in Reserves

Physical version of Bitcoin (new virtual money) and Switzerland Flag. Conceptual image for investors in cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology in Switzerland.
  • Swiss Bitcoin enthusiasts have initiated a campaign for the Swiss National Bank to hold Bitcoin alongside gold in national reserves.
  • The proposal leverages Switzerland’s direct democracy, requiring 100,000 signatures to bring the initiative to a referendum.
  • Advocates like Yves Bennaïm and Luzius Meisser argue that including Bitcoin would ensure Swiss neutrality and financial sovereignty.

After El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender, with much fanfare, it has been relatively quiet around the topic of nation-states and BTC. Now the Swiss could be the first Western nation to hold Bitcoin in their national reserve bank.

A group of Swiss Bitcoin enthusiasts has launched an initiative to mandate the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to hold reserves not only in gold, but also Bitcoin. Swiss newspaper The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) reports the promoters of the bill claim the cryptocurrency belongs in the Alpine nation’s reserves.

Related: New Zealand Reserve Bank Suggests Potential CBDC Launch by 2030

Switzerland is known for its direct democracy which includes popular initiatives (which can lead to a referendum) where people can propose laws. The Bitcoin initiative needs 100,000 Swiss citizen signatures to proceed to a referendum.


Bitcoin For Swiss Neutrality

Yves Bennaïm, the founder and chairman of the nonprofit behind the initiative, 2B4CH, said the move would allow Switzerland to remain neutral and maintain its sovereignty:

We are in the process of completing the organizational preparations for the committee and preparing the documents that must be submitted to the State Chancellery in order to start the process.

Yves Bennaïm

Bennaïm added the proposal would allow the bank to decide what amount it would hold in Bitcoin, not imposing any quota or limit.

Luzius Meisser, president of asset manager Bitcoin Suisse, supports the move and will speak about the cause at the annual general assembly (AGM) of the SNB later this week.

He said:

Of course, my statement also has a marketing component. But I truly believe that Bitcoin should be part of the Swiss currency reserves. Including Bitcoin in the reserves would mark Switzerland’s independence from the European Central Bank. Such a step would strengthen our neutrality.

Luzius Meisser

Meisser, a consistent advocate in SNB investment strategy debates, proposed at the 2022 AGM that the SNB invest CHF1 billion (AU$1.69 billion) monthly in Bitcoin rather than German bonds, predicting a potential CHF30 billion (AU$50.97 billion) profit.

NZZ reports Meisser criticised past SNB decisions like selling its gold reserves when prices were low.

He said delaying Bitcoin investments could force the SNB to pay higher prices if other central banks invest first.

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The increasing acceptance of cryptocurrency investments extends beyond the crypto valley to Switzerland’s traditional financial sector, with entities like Postfinance and some cantonal banks offering Bitcoin transactions, and Lugano accepting cryptocurrencies for tax payments.

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. His focus is on decentralised finance and the regulatory space surrounding blockchain. He holds a Master's in Accounting. When he is not studying the latest legal case, he enjoys his time as a modest but eager hobby cook.

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