Category Archives: 2018 Blockchain News

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Switzerland, Gibraltar, Malta Podium Finishers on Most Crypto-Friendly European List

Switzerland has come out on top in a BlockShow Europe study which ranks the most crypto-friendly European countries. Scored on their regulatory frameworks and blockchain related projects among other attributes, Gibraltar and Malta also ranked favorably.

Broad observations

In total, 48 European countries were examined for their existing regulations of initial coin offerings (ICOs) regulations, cryptocurrencies as a payment service and crypto taxation policies. Furthermore, the study took into consideration recent news stories and developments; this is due to ongoing advances in countries that do not yet regulate cryptocurrencies but have plans to do so.

With Gibraltar in second place and Malta third, Switzerland topped the charts ahead of the rest of the pack.

Home of the ‘Crypto Valley’

Switzerland is a crypto-friendly country thanks to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain projects such as the Ethereum Foundation and Shapeshift.

Backing this is the Crypto Valley Association, a government-supported and independent association that has pushed for favorable regulatory frameworks, which has attracted cryptocurrency-related projects from around the world. Blockchain startups and projects in Switzerland can benefit from low taxes, business-friendly regulations, and political stability.

Bitcoin News has recently reported a number of stories on Switzerland that contribute to the Swiss dominating the European charts. A national digital currency, aspirations to become a blockchain nation and heightened blockchain related business inquiries all display the incredible levels of blockchain innovation that can emerge from a crypto-positive country.

In second place, Gibraltar

Gibraltar has been showing great promise and is becoming another crypto-haven for blockchain projects. Innovative regulations and highly attractive business tax are critical factors as to why the British Overseas Territory ranked second in the study.

In late 2017, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) made proposals for crypto-friendly regulations. Nicky Gomez, GFSC’s head of Risk and innovation told Reuters: “This is the first instance of a purpose-built legislative framework for businesses that use blockchain or distributed ledger technology.”

Additionally, Gibraltar reportedly had received “up to 200 applications” for ICOs ahead of the launch of its Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX); Bitcoin News has also previously reported that the GBX is moving boldly toward regulatory firsts.

Regarding taxation, Gibraltar is extraordinarily unrestrictive; there are no taxes on capital gains and entrepreneurs only have to pay income tax. It is little wonder that European and local blockchain startups are flocking to the country.

Third Place, Malta

The Mediterranean island of Malta is an interesting occupant of the third place position; proposals for new rules regarding cryptocurrency investment were made in late 2017 and in March of 2018, the Cabinet of Malta approved three bills that revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. Furthermore, in April, Bitcoin News reported that the Prime Minister intended to have a “state-regulated cryptocurrency industry“.

It is also the new home to major exchange Binance, which will make Malta the territory with the most substantial cryptocurrency trading volume in the world. Binance announced the move to Malta in late March, likely in part due to Malta’s stance on taxation which allows international companies based on the island to pay as little as 5%.

To view the full list and more, follow this link.

 

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South Korean Government to Review and ‘Soften’ Cryptocurrency Policies to Meet G20 “Unified Regulation” Proposal

The South Korean government is said to be revising its cryptocurrency policies after the Buenos Ares G20 Summit agreed to create a set of “unified regulations” in light of acknowledging that cryptocurrencies are “financial assets”.

In late March, the G20’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors released a communique noting that crypto-assets have “the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system and the economy more broadly”. It also points out that crypto-assets are not without risks, noting “consumer and investor protection, market integrity, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing” as significant issues.

Significant Moves in South Korea
Since late 2017, South Korea has been churning out controversial and conflictingly positive headlines, from bans on initial coin offerings (ICOs) to proposing a cashless society and a cryptocurrency for its capital city.

As we enter the second half of 2018, the supposedly skeptical nation has proven itself to be a valuable ally to blockchain innovations and is now moving ahead to have its policies fall in line with those proposed by the G20.

According to The Korea Times, G20 financial policymakers have set July deadline for the proposed “unified regulations” and that it doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as a threat to financial markets as they are “too small to jeopardize it”. Which may be due to the total market value of cryptocurrencies being less than 1 percent of global GDP.

“Non-Financial Products”
The local news outlet also identifies that the present “non-financial product or asset” classification of cryptocurrencies in South Korea is at odds with the G20 assessment of digital currencies.

Whilst it may be a tricky issue for the countries regulators due to their current stance, it appears as though this won’t be enough to stifle efforts; The South Korean Financial Supervisory (FSS) said:

“It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G-20 nations. Given the current stance, this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things,”.

Building Blocks to a Crypto-Future
As mentioned before, South Korea has been piecing together some very significant parts of the blockchain/cryptocurrency regulation puzzle; in early May the new FSS Governor Yoon Suk-heun revealed his positive outlook on cryptocurrencies, stating that “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”

The countries National Tax Agency has also been working with the finance ministry to collect and study taxation data collected from exchange operators; cryptocurrency trading is not legally recognized, and therefore only operators have to pay income taxes.

Furthermore, the countries central bank The Bank of Korea (BOK) has a task force studying the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Additionally, the BOK had confirmed it was considering blockchain and cryptocurrencies as part of the “cashless society” project.

“The BOK’s recommendation regarding cryptocurrencies will be released by the end of June, at the earliest,” a BOK official said on May 14.

Bearing in mind that South Korea is the third largest fiat to crypto trading block in the world, it should come as no surprise that the country is steaming ahead with positive and evolving regulation attitudes.

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Ties that Bind: Blockchain to Power Key Disruptive Technologies in Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolutions lead to visible changes in the world: mechanization, electricity, the assembly line, computers and automation have all been conducive to the advancements of modern civilization.

Next up in the industrial pipeline are ‘cyber physical systems’ which refer to technological fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), nanotechnology, 3D Printing, biotechnology, material science, energy storage, robotics and quantum computing.

The fourth industrial age presents new challenges and opportunities for the evolving world, and blockchain technology appears to be vital in seeing the revolution come to fruition.

Five keys to the future

BitcoinNews recently reported that Wall Street bull Steve Chiavarone believes that blockchain will be one of five key technologies that will ignite the next industrial revolution.

In an interview with CNBC on 11 May, the Wall Street portfolio manager and VP of US financial service company Federated Investors, revealed his bullish predictions for blockchain technology, despite the growing pains that the cryptocurrency markets were going through.

He ranked blockchain in the top five key technologies that would “drive this next industrial revolution” alongside robotics, AI, automation and the IoT.

Blockchain goes beyond Bitcoin

His predictions reflect a present truth; blockchain startups are already venturing into the other four revolutionary catalyst technologies, making blockchain an integral part of the envisioned future.

Blockchain is proving to be transformative in the artificial intelligence industry, opening up new and exciting possibilities for AI companies who are scrambling to implement blockchain protocols into their businesses. Furthermore, the IoT industry which is expected to explode by 2020, is finding itself being paired harmoniously with blockchain technology, even IBM believes they are “best friends” thanks to the distributed architecture of the blockchain.

Robotics and automation will also be benefiting from the blockchain as it provides new mechanisms for the emerging field to utilize; robotics expert Eduardo Castello Ferrer wrote a 2016 paper evaluating how the blockchain could unify robotic operations.

He wrote, “The combination of blockchain with other distributed systems, such as robotic swarm systems, can provide the necessary capabilities to make robotic swarm operations more secure, autonomous, flexible and even profitable.”

The ‘fad’ of the future

Blockchain is the underlying technology that supports Bitcoin, and while it has been acknowledged for its financial capabilities, it was only in the wake of the December 2017 USD 20,000 bull run that serious discussions surrounding the far-reaching benefits of the blockchain began to take shape.

As a part of the fourth industrial revolution, it is clear that blockchain technology and its accompanying cryptocurrencies will guide the other future-shaping industries to their desired destinations.

 

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Binance CEO Firmly Believes in ICOs as Answer to Venture Capitalism

The CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has made a positive case for initial coin offerings (ICOs). In a recent blog post, Changpeng Zhao argues that the digital crowdfunding method adopted at large by blockchain startups are “not just good-to-have”, but necessary.

Out with the old

At the crux of the blog post is a debate between traditional venture capitalism (VC) and ICOs; Zhao highlights several differences while acknowledging the present issues with the ICO markets.

For entrepreneurs, Zhao argues that the process of acquiring funding through VCs is tedious, time-consuming and requires startups to relinquish some or all control of their project. He writes:

“Courting VC investors, doing powerpoints, business plans, pitch decks, executive summaries, due diligence, term sheets, investment agreements, offshore company structure setup, board of directors, make reports for them, getting a bridge loan because the VC lawyers insist on some totalitarian terms that essentially gives them absolute power and ownership of your company and hence delays the whole investment process…”

He then compares it to the speed, effectiveness and control an ICO delivers to any entrepreneur:

“Writing an awesome white paper about your passionate dream project and raise USD 20M in 10 days, from thousands of people around the world who speak your language, understand your vision, use your product as soon as it is launched, spend all day beta testing your product, or discuss with you about new neat (and sometimes useless) features that you haven’t thought about.”

ICOs are still in development

Zhao admits that ICOs are still in their early stages, which is true considering that countries around the world are feverishly debating the validity and legalities of ICOs, which contrary to popular belief, is a good thing.

Concerns over ICOs having a myriad of security, fraud and other illegal activities tied to them has caused knee-jerk responses from governments and regulators everywhere in the world. However, Zhao makes a strong point saying:

“You can’t make advancements without encountering problems. Properly dealing with issues is how progress is made. If we had given up e-commerce/internet because there was identity theft or credit card fraud, where would the world be today? Whoever deals with the issues best will be the winners, that’s where the competition is.”

ICOs beat VC projects

Zhao is of the belief that ICOs will succeed more often than VC projects and makes three distinct points as to why he thinks this is the case. His first is that again, ICOs are extremely time and cost effective. Less time spent raising funds means the actual project itself receives the much-required attention it needs.

Furthermore, the higher amounts of funding received from ICOs allow for startups to better overcome weak points in the project. Finally, ICOs create a user base during the funding period, turning investors into users, which is an extraordinarily strong start for any company upon launch.

He concludes by noting that VCs are now investing heavily in ICOs, a factor which he believes speaks for itself regarding just how valid and useful the digital fundraising method is.

 

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