Category Archives: Gibraltar

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Ledger, Neufund Partnership Latest in Security Token Management Developments

Ledger, Neufund Partnership Latest in Security Token Management Developments

In a press release yesterday, cryptocurrency hardware wallet provider Ledger announced a partnership with blockchain-based equity fundraising platform Neufund to allow users to manage their security tokens on the Ledger desktop app.

The collaboration between Ledger and Neufund will foster a framework developed for securitized tokens, “allowing users to manage real-world assets on the blockchain while creating the safest user-experience for investors”.

Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque said the partnership “marks a new, important chapter in bringing security tokens to the Ledger platforms”.

The current partnership is built upon an already established collaboration back in November 2017. Then, significant investors backing the Neufund Initial Community Building Mechanism were offered special editions of the Ledger Nano S.

Ledger had recently released its desktop application for crypto asset management and is moving forward with plans to add ERC-20 integration to its app. The app will allow users to manage their blockchain-based security assets through Neufund’s set of protocols.

CEO of Neufund Zoe Adamovicz said: “Currently, Ledger’s hardware wallets are the safest way to set up and manage investments conducted through Neufund’s set of protocols. With operations in the 7-9 digit (EUR) range, security becomes a top priority.”

With security tokens taking deeper roots within the cryptocurrency economy, should security tokens replace or overshadow utility tokens, the race is on to offer the most efficient securitized services to an estimated USD 10 trillion securitized tokens market by 2020.

Recently, Gibraltar Stock Exchange joined Millbrook Accord for security token interoperability. Yesterday, crypto-based fintech operator Bankex expanded its ecosystem to include security token assets trading.

In October, Neufund’s partnership with leading European crypto exchange BitBay allowed investors to purchase security tokens using fiat currencies. The announcement followed other partnerships that involved Malta Stock Exchange and Binance crypto exchange. All in the bid to becoming the first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens focused on equity tokens.

On the other hand, a shift in cryptocurrency investments towards institutions has Ledger expanding shop with plans of including crypto custodian services to its service chain just after making a profit of USD 29.4 million in hardware wallet sales.

The duo further disclosed a planned legal-technical hackathon to be held in Paris, with the objectives of creating a more secure framework for managing real-world assets.

 

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Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Granted Highest Operating License

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has been granted a Level 3 operating license by the country’s regulatory watchdog. It is the highest license on offer.

The territory’s stock exchange has received a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Licence, making it fully compliant to the nine-point guidelines instituted by the government in January earlier this year. These demand effective corporate governance, operating with honesty and integrity, and that appropriate security protocols must be followed to name a few of the measures.

According to reports, GBX was expected to present its business plan to members of the watchdog in person to prove each of these requirements would be met.

The accompanying press release for the license claims that the Gibraltar Stock Exchange is the sole stock exchange to maintain a regulated cryptocurrency trading platform.

As well as operating as an exchange, GBX allows selected startups to launch their ICOs on its platform. To be considered, they must adhere to tight guidelines and employ an authorized sponsor to ensure these rules remain unbroken. London-based Coinfloor was the first project to be accepted, followed by cryptocurrency comparison service Covesting.

Gibraltar’s DLT framework made it the world’s first jurisdiction in which cryptocurrency companies could operate entirely within the legal paradigm.

It is perhaps unsurprising then that ex-US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) senior official Jeff Bandman named Gibraltar as a leading nation in regards to cryptocurrency exchange regulation. Pointing to the country’s bespoke framework, he noted that this was a trend other countries would be sure to follow.

Indeed, on 1 November, Malta instituted its own similar regulatory framework. The trio of bills makes it the first nation within the European Union to fully regulate the blockchain industry.

 

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Inclusion of Pro-Blockchain Gibraltar Minister in DC Panel Positive Sign for US Regulation

The Gibraltar Minister for Commerce, Albert Isola, has urged the DC Fintech Week panel to ”collectively strive towards fintech excellence” while sharing his views on regulatory competition in the blockchain industry. The inclusion of a well-known pro-blockchain speaker on the mainstream panel discussion is a promising indicator for the future of the technology in the US, as Isola shared ideas of regulation surrounding the nascent industry.

Visiting upon invitation, Isola discussed his experiences and ideas regarding regulatory competition, including that relevant to his expertise in blockchain. The minister participated in a panel discussion at the second annual DC Fintech Week entitled ‘Making or Taking Innovation?, Regulatory Competition and the Race for Fintech Dominance’, with an audience comprising of academics, lawmakers, policymakers and regulators.

Isola said that his participation gave Gibraltar a chance to prove its ambitions on the global stage as a leader in shaping blockchain regulation, adding, ”As ever, Gibraltar continues to punch above its weight, and is fast becoming an assertive voice in an increasingly noisy space.”

The panel was joined by a number of experts from the fintech and cybersecurity sectors, including Peter Kerstens, Co-Chair of European Commission Fintech Taskforce, and Sharon Yang, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Financial Markets at the US Treasury.

The Gibraltan minister frequently acts as a spokesman for the country’s progressive blockchain and cryptocurrency policies, participating in conferences globally to share the concepts that have fostered the industries internally. Gibraltar remains in competition with its fellow European nation of Malta to gain status as the most crypto-friendly country in the region.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has been a critic of the cryptocurrency industry, with the US generally failing to be recognized as a hospitable nation for blockchain start-ups.

 

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Gibraltar Launches Advisory Group for Blockchain Educational Courses

Gibraltar is working to increase blockchain awareness in the crypto-friendly zone as the government has announced the setting up of a new advisory group that will focus on the development of blockchain courses. The news reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle on October 19 shows that the government is working to create blockchain resources for the fledgling industry.

The group is named the New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group and is reportedly a joint initiative between the University of Gibraltar and the local government along with inputs from a number of tech firms in the British territory. The NTiE will work to address issues in both the government and private sector and train personnel for the future.

The courses will be launched later this year and will be designed with significant input from the industry innovators that are setting up shop around Gibraltar and getting approval from the financial regulator. The Gibraltar university will use the opportunity to develop more human resource in the field including in DLT, coding and smart contracts. Professionals who pass this course will be eligible for a Certificate of Competence as well.

According to the Minister of Education John Cortes:

“The launch of the NTiE advisory group continues to build momentum for Gibraltar as a hub for new technologies, following the announcement in January 2018 that Gibraltar would be the first jurisdiction globally to introduce legislation around Distributed Ledger Technology.”

Gibraltar’s attempt to boost its blockchain resource is badly needed as the self-governing country is seeing more and more crypto startups being set up. The government needs to catch up if it needs to be as competitive as other blockchain hubs in Europe including Switzerland, Malta, and Germany.

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Crypto on the Rock: Gibraltar Gets Its First Regulated Exchange

The tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula is to get its first fully licensed exchange, Coinfloor.

Coinfloor, the UK’s oldest crypto exchange is the first to be fully accredited as a “distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider” under the legislation which requires the government to satisfy itself that 9 operating principles of good practice are being adhered to.

Obi Nwosu, the CEO of Coinfloor, commented that these were all met by his company, including those which guarantee adequate AML and KYC safeguards and security against the risk of cyber attack. He said:

“What impressed us was that this [legislation] was in the works for a long time… It’s been well thought out, well considered. They are focusing in on quality over quantity.”

Gibraltar, known affectionately as “The Rock” among residents and visitors, and home to the only Barbary macaques living in Europe, has begun attracting new and existing fintech companies to its shores. It is attempting to follow 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 2018. It now holds regular events such as the Gibraltar International Fintech Forum, demonstrating the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.

Coinfloor’s CEO said that he was glad to be able to fulfil the requirements of the new legislation, thereby securing a position in Gibraltar’s blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, particularly as the UK exchange had recently been forced to lay off employees due to weakening demand in the UK through Bitcoin’s fall from its 2017 highs. He argued:

“It’s never desirable to make these changes, but it’s a natural part of the market cycle… The market has contracted and you should make appropriate changes to your team . . . It’s happening across this space.”

Despite some companies looking to Gibraltar as a possible home, it is more likely that Malta, with its vibrant crypto community and favourable blockchain legislation, will be become a favourite with established exchanges and startups, particularly given the ongoing concerns regarding a no deal Brexit.

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What Lies Ahead for Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Post-Brexit?

A Britain-based CEO has suggested that post-Brexit, cryptocurrencies will benefit the UK as they have key advantages over fiat currencies.

Danial Daychopan of Crypto company Plutus, suggests that due to the pound and euro’s interdependence and the fact that they are both based on other currencies,  allows decentralized cryptocurrencies to offer a “variable and stable alternative” for both consumers and businesses in the post-Brexit UK.

The current lack of direction in Brexit negotiations has led some people to believe that a period of instability is a possibility as both Europe and the UK race towards next year’s deadline. Daychopan sees instability and lack of trust in governments and the global financial system as key to the success of digital currencies. He claims:

“…in economies that aren’t stable, we’re already seeing digital economies developing and thriving. We’re approaching a period of instability and people need to understand that cryptocurrencies are going to be a force for good, not just tokens to be speculated upon.”

In terms of where cryptocurrencies sit once Britain’s departure from the EU becomes a reality, it is still unclear how Brexit will affect the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in both zones. The EU including the UK, with the exception of only 6 states, has signed up to the EU Blockchain Partnership which will promote the future exchange of expertise in order to launch EU wide blockchain-based applications across the single digital market.

The EU has called for cryptocurrency regulation at both European and G20 level and would clearly like to regulate the industry from Brussels, a further possible complication for the UK. As current members of the “EU Blockchain Observatory Forum” the UK has already benefited from membership with the EU’s fintech market, now valued at $6 billion.

Kay Swinburne, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), argues that bodies such as the EU Blockchain Observatory Forum are not essential to the UK advancing its fintech impact after Brexit. The UK, with its new crypto haven Gibraltar, having advanced significantly down the cryptocurrency and blockchain route, may be well placed to withstand significant damage to its fintech markets on withdrawal.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU it is also reportedly planning to create its own crypto regulations before 2019. The EU has already passed its own blockchain resolution for a post-Brexit Europe in order to remain a global fintech hub.

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Malta Makes Huge ICO Funding Gains as Crypto Investment Funds Rise in 2018

New crypto funds are continuing to open despite a falling market and apprehension over ETF decisions, according to the latest analysis from Crypto Fund Research.

With things seeming to go well for crypto funds, collectively amassing $7.1 billion, they still lag behind traditional hedge funds, with most of the institutional investment managers playing a wait and see scenario. Cryptocurrencies’ next big hurdle, now that digital currencies are very much out there in the financial sector, is to start encouraging institutional investment on a larger scale.

It is thought that 2018 will see more crypto hedge funds arrive on the scene, which is on target to reach 165, nine more than in 2017. Statistics show that until July 31 of this year, there were 96 new crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds with more than half of those existing today being launched in the past 18 months.

There are currently 466 crypto funds across the globe with San Francisco, New York, Singapore and London topping the list for 2018 launches. In addition, Austin, Dallas, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tokyo, and Zug are not far behind in terms of multiple launches of crypto hedge funds and capital ventures since January this year.

In terms of ICOs, launches have also accelerated this year to date, also seemingly undeterred by a bear market. However, 50 percent of all projects in 2018 have failed to raise more than £100,000. This low figure was put down to investors concerns about scams

Service tokens accounted for 42 percent of new ICOs, but utility tokens attracted the most funding at $22 million per project, followed by crypto tokens at an average of $7 million.

Another hurdle for new ICOs remains that problem of getting projects listed on exchanges, which has become an increasingly lengthy process. The number of projects that managed to get listed in the shortest possible time fell by 22 percent this year, due in part to tougher exchange requirements and new regulatory demands.

In overall terms, 2018 has been 10 times better than the previous year for ICOs, according to a market status report published by ETF on August 8, with more money being raised and more ICOs being launched in the second quarter of the year.

A notable fact coming out of the report is that small nations are winning in terms of making the largest gains, with Malta, Gibraltar, and Singapore coming out on top. Malta raised an average of £119 million, almost twice the funds raised by second on the list Gibraltar. Other statistics show that although it is clearly European nations that are making the largest gains in terms of overall fundraising, North America is still the crypto giant at $4.98 billion with 116 projects, a huge 65 percent of all the funding raised. Europe came in second at $1.12 billion, with Asia coming in third with $751 million.

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Geographical Minnows in the Hunt for New Crypto Business

Many small countries with flexible regulatory guidelines towards cryptocurrencies and friendly banking rules are pulling some companies away from some of the more established “havens” such as Switzerland.

Many in the industry have recently expressed concerns that Switzerland may be losing its “crypto-haven” tag,  primarily because of current banking regulations in the alpine country. Thomas Moser, a board member of the Swiss National Bank, told Reuters recently that some fintech companies still had trouble opening accounts:

“They raised concerns about problems with opening bank accounts, which was a worry for them, and asked for help… I said this was not something the SNB dealt with, but they should speak with FINMA.”

This sounds like a less than genuine approach by the central bank as FINMA, the Swiss cryptocurrency-friendly regulatory body, continually has to deal with SWB’s continued concerns about money laundering.

Recent countries in the hunt for business are Liechtenstein and Gibraltar; elsewhere, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are fast becoming start-up favorites, the latter recently when Bermuda shorts-wearing Changpeng Chao, CEO of Binance, announced he would open up compliance operations there and invest USD 15 million in the island.

Just in the last week, Bermuda’s Prime Minister David Burt, who also doubles as Minister of Finance, announced that 20 fintech companies had incorporated in Bermuda and another 21 were waiting in reserve. The list of 20 included Binance, Unikrn, iCash, Hub Culture, DES Digital Currency Exchange and Omega One with both Arbitrade Ltd and Arbitrade Mining (Bermuda) Ltd listed.

Bermuda has not only captured the world’s largest crypto company in Binance but, through its prime minister, has also expressed the desire “to position Bermuda as the incubator for this industry”, as Burt recently said at a New York blockchain conference.

The Rock of Gibraltar seems an unlikely place for a financial hub but nonetheless, it is, like Bermuda, fast becoming one, as it continues to lure new and existing fintech companies to its shores. Its second ‘Gibfin’ blockchain forum is on its way in September 2018, demonstrating the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.

Gibraltar is also about to finalize its cryptocurrency legislation which would allow companies to trade in digital currencies. Currently, 35 companies have applied for a government license.

Tiny Liechtenstein isn’t to be left behind either. The country’s proposed new Blockchain Law would take Liechtenstein down the “haven” route offering “crypto companies regulatory and legal predictability as well as enabling the country access to traditional fiat-based banking services”.

The law, originally scheduled for legislation on 10 July, is still on hold as the industry awaits further announcements later in the year.

Despite the obvious competition from these geographical minnows, Switzerland forges ahead regardless to become Europe’s cryptocurrency capital. Recent moves towards allowing cryptocurrency trading on its new SIX Digital Exchange is a clear notice of intent.

 

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Gibraltar Pro Football Team Paid in Crypto as “The Rock” Pushes Fintech Forward

Gibraltar is living up to its growing reputation as a European driving force in cryptocurrency adoption as a premier league football team shows a willingness to be paid in digital currency.

Gibraltar United’s owner Pablo Dana, who is an investor in the digital currency Quantacoin, hopes that the move will encourage foreign players who will easily be able to set up banking in Gibraltar, and suggests that it could also go some way to stamping out corruption in the game.

Dana is impressed with Gibraltar’s forward-thinking approach to cryptocurrency within its push to promote fintech on the island. He commented:

“It was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back when everyone was seeing them as horrible…They put compliance and anti-money laundering regulations and created a platform – they have the intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies.”

Introducing crypto payments for footballers would essentially be via the blockchain and free from taxes and charges, ending illegal payments to clubs or middlemen. In January, an amateur Turkish side, Harunustaspor, became the world’s first football team to complete a transfer using just cryptocurrency.

There are numerous advantages to integrating cryptocurrencies into sporting salary schemes, apart from reducing the frequency of cash-under-the-table deals as Italian-born Dana alludes to. Consequently, the London Football Exchange (LFE) is looking into token-based schemes. Head of partnerships for the LFE wants to create just such a community in order to “enable clubs to have a direct connection with fans in a frictionless marketplace”.

As a result, the LSE has announced agreements with two teams, Italian team Bari and Madrid based Alcobendas, whereby fans can buy into the clubs using cryptocurrency to gain some equity, as well as a say in the clubs’ future.

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 Binance and Bitmain in recent months. A subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is aiming to become one of the first licensed and regulated crypto exchanges operated by an EU stock exchange.

 

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Gibraltar Stock Exchange Subsidiary Seeks Regulated Blockchain Exchange

A subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is aiming to become one of the first licensed and regulated crypto exchanges operated by an EU stock exchange.

The company, the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), has reportedly introduced 300 retail account holders to its platform as part of its launch. The company has suggested that in order to monitor and develop how to present the best user experience for its future customers, the invited retailers will be asked to offer feedback after the launch.

It plans to serve institutional cryptocurrency investors at start up, with CEO Nick Cowan suggesting that the platform will be “fair, transparent, efficient, and safe”.

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.

According to GBX, it has already enacted distributed ledger technology (DLT) legislation to provide a worldwide jurisdiction for crypto companies, suggesting it wants to lead the world in technology regulation. The new legislation states that any firm in Gibraltar using DLT to store and transmit value is regulated in the country by default. Cowan adds:

“The soft launch of the platform will mean that we can continue as effectively as possible toward providing an institutional-grade token sales springboard for utility tokens and top-quality digital asset exchange for the global blockchain and trading communities.”

The company’s aim to become the first licensed and regulated EU stock exchange cryptocurrency platform is in part thanks to recent changes in Gibraltar law earlier this year, as providers of DLT now come under the jurisdiction of the Financial Services Act, implemented by the Financial Services Commission of the British overseas territory.

 

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