Category Archives: Gibraltar

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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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The Rock Is Rolling with Gibraltar’s Investor Surge and First Crypto Postage Stamp

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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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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Gibraltar Sees Itself as Blockchain Trendsetter

The Gibraltar Stock Exchange has announced that it has bold plans for blockchain technology, encouraging its subsidiary, Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), to regulate for investor safety.

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.

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. The 2nd Gibraltar International FinTech Forum held last month, with another ‘Gibfin’ forum to follow in September 2018, demonstrate the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.

GBX wants to become the first regulated and licensed token sale platform and digital asset exchange operated by an EU-regulated stock exchange. Similar moves are being made in Germany through a crypto app launched by a subsidiary of the German Boerse Stuttgart. Such moves by both European countries raise the profile of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies and gives them enhanced credibility.

In May 2017, the government of Gibraltar set out nine principles for the regulation of blockchain services, which will cover such things as ensuring companies have the technology in place to support their business proposals or keep client assets safe. The GBX website claims it wants to turn the country into a “Crypto Harbour”.

The British overseas territory of Gibraltar has long been friendly to cryptocurrency and blockchain-based initiatives. The Gibraltar Stock Exchange hosted the launch of Europe’s first regulated Bitcoin product in mid-2016 and the territory’s financial watchdog launched a new license for fintech companies using blockchain last December.

 

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