Blockchains, Smart Contracts, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Law
Show Less

Blockchains, Smart Contracts, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Law

Edited by Daniel Kraus, Thierry Obrist and Olivier Hari

The growth of Blockchain technology presents a number of legal questions for lawyers, regulators and industry participants alike. Primarily, regulators must allow Blockchain technology to develop whilst also ensuring it is not being abused. This book addresses the challenges posed by various applications of Blockchain technology, such as cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and initial coin offerings, across different fields of law. Contributors explore whether the problems posed by Blockchain and its applications can be addressed within the present legal system or whether significant rethinking is required.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 2: Cutting out the middleman: a case study of blockchain technology induced reconfigurations in the Swiss financial services industry

Pascal Witzig and Victoriya Salomon


Blockchain-technology promises to have far-reaching economic and social implications, which are not yet foreseeable in its extent. It threatens to disintermediate many well-established sectors of the economy, and incumbent businesses might be overtaken by ambitious newcomers. The financial services industry is particularly ‘ripe for disintermediation’ since blockchain-technology has with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies its first real-world use case. Incumbent businesses have to react if they do not wish to perish. However, technological evolution also affects the State and other governmental bodies: institutional frameworks or territorial arrangements can become obsolete or detrimental to business activity and may need to be amended. This chapter aimed to examine ongoing technology-induced reconfigurations in the financial services industry through a four lenses framework. The technology, actors and their discourses, as well as the regulatory environment and affected territories, need to be considered all at once. We have applied this framework to the case of Switzerland: a country with an influential financial services industry that has seen better days. We have found that (1) the Swiss Confederation has swiftly adapted its institutional framework to the new reality in order to foster competition and innovation; (2) there are some raucous controversies between challengers and incumbent businesses. However, a tacit compromise allows them to co-exist; (3) four ‘crypto-clusters’ are emerging. These are located in traditional banking centers (Zurich, Zug, Lake Geneva region, Chiasso) that are seeking to strengthen their international visibility and improve their competitiveness.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.