(Changes headline and first paragraph to clarify nature of approval)
By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH, June 18 (Reuters) - Zug-based Crypto Fund AG said on Monday it had received a licence from the Swiss authorities to distribute funds (not to operate as an asset manager for crypto funds), saying it was the first time a crypto firm had been granted such permission.
The subsidiary of Crypto Finance Group received its licence from financial market supervisor FINMA to distribute collective investment schemes to qualified investors, Crypto Finance said.
"Getting the FINMA licence is a big step in the right direction, to establish us as the first point of contact for crypto assets," Chief Executive Jan Brzezek said in a statement.
FINMA confirmed the approval without saying whether it was the first licence to be granted.
Cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity as prices rallied last year, prompting increased regulatory scrutiny.
Crypto Fund AG said on its website it was also seeking approval for a passive investment vehicle tracking a benchmarked index of up to 10 of the largest and most liquid cryptocurrency assets and tokens, as calculated and maintained by Swiss bourse SIX. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi Editing by Edmund Blair)