Xapo, the reputed startup holding USD 10 billion of Bitcoin for clients, is set to begin operations from the Rock of Gibraltar as the British overseas territory continues to attract Fintech business, reported Bloomberg.
Gibraltar aims to lure new and existing fintech companies to its shores, following in the footsteps of other European countries such as Malta and Switzerland, both of which have seen the arrival of major cryptocurrency players like Binance and Bitmain in recent months. The 2nd Gibraltar International FinTech Forum held earlier this year, with another ‘Gibfin’ forum to follow in September 2018, demonstrates the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.
Xapo’s CEO, Wences Casares, met with Gibraltar officials including the minister for commerce Albert Isola this week and the minister commented that currently there are 30 businesses on The Rock going through the regulatory licensing process. Gibraltar officials have also confirmed this month that eToro, the self-described world’s leading social trading network, is close to becoming another of The Rock’s recent fintech acquisitions.
The four-year-old company has built a network of underground vaults on five continents, including one in a decommissioned Swiss military bunker. The firm’s billionaire backers include LinkedIn Corp co-founder Reid Hoffman and former Wall Street trader Mike Novogratz, who is in the process of setting up his own cryptocurrency merchant bank.
It is said the process to retrieve owners’ Bitcoins can take about two days. Xapo first verifies the client’s identity before manually signing the transaction with private keys from multiple vault locations. Verification from three vaults is required before funds can be issued.
“We had a good session with Xapo about their plans to expand operations in Gibraltar,” Isola said by phone.
On 21 May, Gibraltar also listed its own first collectible crypto postage stamps. Available in a block of four, the stamps depict the Rock of Gibraltar with a two-pound face value. Each block comes with a QR code which when scanned will generate 200 QRG coins per block in MyEtherWallet.
World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov, who is also a well-known philatelist, suggests that the Gibraltar QRG coins will be “…a leading light in illuminating the transparency of such transactions and thereby increasing the trust and confidence of participants on both sides.”
According to the report, The goal of the QRG Coin is that philatelic markets and auction houses will be only the first of many collectibles markets to adopt the QRG coin as the medium for the transfer of value.
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