The United Kingdom has what it takes to become a true leader in the crypto space, according to a new report covered in today’s Bitcoin in Brief. Also in The Daily, the British Crown dependency of Jersey has adopted new requirements for ICO projects to better protect participating investors, Malta now has a two-way bitcoin ATM, and Hong Kong has been promised thousands of crypto payment terminals.
Also read: Blackrock Probes Market, Coinbase to List Securities, Bitpay Gets a Bitlicense
Britain Set To Become Crypto Economy Leader, Report
The United Kingdom is in a good position to be a leader in the crypto economy and the implementation of blockchain technologies, according to a new report quoted by the British press. Britain has all the required resources, the authors claim, as well as industrial and governmental will to become a global hub for the technology by 2022. The analysis has been conducted by Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global and Deep Knowledge Analytics.
The gap between the traditional financial system and the crypto economy in the UK will close, DAG Global CEO Sean Kiernan believes. “The UK is a major global financial hub and in recent years has become a fintech leader as well. At the same time, it is starting to demonstrate significant potential to become a leader in blockchain technologies and the crypto economy,” he said, quoted by The Guardian.
The research, carried out in coordination with the parliamentary group on blockchain, has taken into consideration the £500m (~650 million) worth of investments into UK blockchain companies made in 2017-18 to conclude that the United Kingdom has the potential to become a world leader in the digital and crypto ecosystem within the next few years. “We are still at the early stages of the blockchain industry’s development and the huge impact it undoubtedly will have in Britain and globally,” said Birgitte Andersen, chief executive of Big Innovation Centre.
Jersey Introduces Requirements for ICO Projects
The Financial regulator of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, has taken measures to protect investors participating in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In a guidance note released this month, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) provides basic definitions of cryptocurrencies, digital tokens, and token sales. It recognizes that their use “has risen dramatically” but also warns about the associated risks like high levels of price volatility, loss of funds through cyber-attacks, the high number of scams and pump-and-dump schemes.
Nevertheless, the JFSC states that most ICOs are unlikely to be regulated. Instead, the Commission places some conditions on the issuers of coins under the Island’s statutory instrument governing capital raising, the Control of Borrowing Order, noting for instance that a consent from the JFSC is required to establish a Jersey company. In granting such consent, regulators say, the JFSC may choose to impose certain conditions on the respective entity. Jersey-based ICO issuers are also required to be incorporated as a Jersey company and administered through a trust and company service provider licensed by the JFSC under the Financial Services Law.
The Commission classifies digital coins in two major categories – security and non-security tokens. The latter have been divided into “utility token” – “a usage right or the right to access a product or service”, and “cryptocurrency token […] designed to behave like a currency, being a store of value and medium of exchange.”
The document also lists a number of requirements that apply to ICO issuers and describes certain procedures and processes that should be followed in order to mitigate and manage the risks for retail investors. Companies are expected to apply anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures as well as inform investors about the risks.
In recent years, the British Crown dependency, situated off the French coast of Normandy, has attracted many startups from the crypto space. In the summer of 2015, the Government of Jersey released a consultation paper on cryptocurrencies, becoming one of the first jurisdiction in Europe to address the regulatory challenges in the fintech industry.
Malta Acquires Two-Way Crypto ATM
Malta, another crypto-friendly European destination, has reportedly acquired its first two-way automated teller machine exchanging cryptocurrency with fiat. Last week, a company called Moon Zebra launched the ATM located at the Quicklets offices, on Tower Road in Sliema. It operates Monday through Friday, 9 am – 6:30 pm.
The new BATM offers users the opportunity to buy and sell two cryptocurrencies, bitcoin (BTC) and litecoin (LTC). Moon Zebra claims this is the first device offering two-way transactions with cash. Another teller machine supporting purchases of cryptocurrency strangely disappeared last year. According to Coinatmradar, two other devices are also operational not far from Moon Zebra’s ATM, but both are buy only machines. One of them offers BTC, and the other supports BTC and LTC purchases.
The launch of the new BATM comes after the island nation took another step towards becoming one of the most crypto-friendly nations in Europe. Recently, the parliament in Valletta adopted three laws designed to introduce clear regulations for the country’s growing crypto industry. It’s been reported that the largest crypto exchange by trade volume, Binance, is considering a project to launch a “decentralized bank” in Malta. The favorable business climate has attracted other large crypto businesses to the island, including the Chinese exchange Okex and the Polish Bitbay.
Hong Kong Promised 5,500 Crypto POS Terminals
The Indonesian startup Pundi X is working to build a network of 5,500 POS terminals in Hong Kong supporting payments in a number of cryptocurrencies, the South China Morning Post reported. The devices will be able to connect not only to crypto wallets but also with other traditional payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, and Apple Pay.
According to Pundi X CEO, Zac Cheah, Hong Kong is the ideal place to test the payment network. His company has ambitious plans to introduce up to 100,000 crypto POS terminals in Southeast Asia by 2021. Recently, a chain of restaurants in Hong Kong installed crypto point-of-sale devices in partnership with the Indonesian startup. Pundi X claims that in the last six months 25,000 of its terminals have been ordered by businesses in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Eurostat, CIA World Factbook, Index Mundi.
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