Lamassu Industries AG of Lucerne, the company which produces Bitcoin ATMs, has long since been looking for a proper home. After multiple banks rejected it, the manufacturer relocated to Lucerne, Switzerland. And it turned out to be a great decision.
“For years we’ve been searching for a home to call our own and we’ve finally found it in the majestic Swiss canton of Lucerne,” Zach Harvey, co-founder of Lamassu which has been now renamed to Lamassu Industries AG of Lucerne, writes.
In his Medium post, he notes that many exciting blockchain-related initiatives are taking place in Switzerland. Thus, “Open source Bitcoin and Lightning Network nodes are being hacked together, hardware wallets are being designed and manufactured.” And this is not all. Harvey underscores that Switzerland is carefully creating a cryptocurrency regulatory framework. It is also hosting world-class meetups and events as well as deploying numerous Bitcoin ATMs.
Since Crypto Valley in Switzerland is alive and kicking, Lamassu decided to settle there:
The cryptomat industry (aka Bitcoin ATMs) is booming and while we grow, we want to be in a place where rules are well defined and regulators are pro-innovation.
He goes on explaining that the business has faced multiple struggles. In fact, it has been bankless for over a year: at least 15 banks have rejected their applications. Reason? Because they produce BTC’s ATMs. Online payment processing businesses like Stripe also refused to cooperate. The explanation did not differ significantly. The company disliked that Lamassu’s site contained the word “Bitcoin”.
However, in Switzerland things are different. Lamassu has already opened an account at a local bank “that is completely aware of our business model and happy to have us on board.” And Harvey promises to install a cryptomat in its headquarters soon. Most likely its customers will be able to retrieve Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash. According to Lamassu’s official website, they currently support only these tokens.
Some prefer innovation
Lamassu’s choice of country is hardly a surprising one. Switzerland is continuously embracing multiple crypto and blockchain initiatives. This year it has launched the first cryptocurrency ETF and tested blockchain-based voting in some of its cantons, including Zug where the renowned Crypto Valley is located. When some of the crypto businesses left the country last year, the authorities immediately reacted. The rationale was clear: to keep the innovation and the money segment inside the country, not lose it.
Other countries are employing a similar logic. Malta, for example, has been dubbed as ‘blockchain island’ due to its favorable approach toward crypto and blockchain. Consequently, the exchange behemoth Coinbase, which has recently transferred an unprecedented sum of $5 billion, has set up a bank account there. Liechtenstein and Estonia are also welcoming multiple crypto businesses. Particularly, Liechtenstein has granted a business license to the Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange. Estonia has taken a step further: the country is adopting blockchain at all levels.
This is a strikingly different approach compared to countries like the U.S. — Harvey’s homeland. Thus, the Security and Exchange Commission is still skeptical about introducing an ETF fund, while economists like Nouriel Roubini lambast crypto and blockchain in Congress.