What can’t you do on the blockchain?

What can’t you do on the blockchain?

Last year’s trade shows for crypto and blockchain were all about ICOs—initial coin offerings. This year, ICOs are out, says Richard Kastelein from Blockchain News. Instead there’s a new collection of financial products—which may or may not suffer the quickly deteriorating reputation of ICOs.

Perhaps more significant, today there are real use cases of blockchain being taken up by big business. Overall, Richard says we’re witnessing “Wall Street meets Main Street.” He points to Walmart’s requiring the adoption of a blockchain system by all its spinach and lettuce suppliers. And other retailers are following fast, Richard says: “that’s proof that this blockchain stuff works.” There are also projects to track diamonds and timber, to prove the claimed provenance of individual items. Supply chains are turning out to be the “most valid use cases” so far.

As to what will be next year’s trend, Richard predicts that it will tokenizing. He notes that Singapore Airlines have already tokenized their air miles system. And there’s potential for more tokenization in relation to loyalty programmes and brands: “how can you reward people that become ‘prosumers’ for you?”—the brand ambassadors. ‘Tokenomics’ is about “trying to achieve an end result and then gamifying the system to achieve that result.”

It’s a natural development for the Bitcoin blockchain, Richard says, because it’s the same principle that Satoshi used when devising the network: “This is what Satoshi did with Bitcoin as well: he created a way for people to be honest in the mining process and have a surefire way to let people create ledgers that can’t be challenged.”

Richard Kastelein was talking to CoinGeek as one of the exhibitors at the recent London Blockchain Expo. Another exhibitor was nChain, which also traces a direct line back to the vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, as a strong proponent of Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision). Osmin Callis, from nChain’s Professional Services department was pleased to find many of the big consultancies represented at the show: “We’ve been talking to PWC. We’d already had discussions with the blockchain strategic lead at Dell—we saw her again.” Overall, Osmin said she was “very optimistic …I think we’ve got some amazing possibilities open.”

But it wasn’t all mainstream stuff at Blockchain Expo: Sergio Rigert of Gingr, a Swiss startup, explained what his company is planning to do on the blockchain: “My business is revolutionising the oldest industry in the world, which is the prostitution industry.” Gingr will be the Uber or Airbnb of prostitution, Sergio says. Bookings will be made using the Gingr Coin. If you’re wondering whether the idea of an immutable ledger would be a selling point to clients of this particular kind of business, Sergio has reassurance to offer: “Your data won’t be exploited …we just have it in our system, which is separate, in a separate server, so when you actually do a transaction, you’re just getting a number.”

To hear more from Sergio, Richard and Osmin, listen to this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast, or watch on Youtube.

And please subscribe to CoinGeek Conversations – this is episode 17 of a weekly podcast series. Just search for “CoinGeek Conversations” wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe on iTunes, listen on Spotify or visit the CoinGeek Conversations website.

CoinGeek’s most popular videos of 2018

CoinGeek’s most popular videos of 2018

2018 saw focus turn from the previous year’s record-setting prices of cryptocurrencies, to real-world application of blockchain technology. It saw Bitcoin Cash—now Bitcoin SV—move from being the most useful medium of exchange, to one also enabling smart contracts and tokens for everything. Looking beyond the conflicts, Bitcoin’s potential as envisioned in 2008 has been set for realization.

Metanet

During CoinGeek Week at the end of November, Dr. Craig Wright of nChain unveiled an innovation that is “a replacement for the Internet.” That’s as superlative as it gets. In this ‘Metanet,’ immutable data becomes available in a global system. And all of this is set to take place on Bitcoin SV.

It’s hard to believe that just seven months ago, Wright was discussing an increase of the block size from 8MB to 32MB. Bitcoin SV already allows 128MB blocks, and 2GB blocks are not too far off a prospect either.

https://youtu.be/xIE1P8lXD7w

The benefit of Bitcoin is most palpable in developing regions such as Africa, where smart contracts can solve trade-related problems, such as transport and product quality, while reducing costs significantly. Wright foresees Bitcoin SV aiding in global trade in a huge way.

https://youtu.be/PM1J8j186UA

ICOs, regulation

The year has also been one of the rise and fall of initial coin offerings (ICOs), the value of which has been on a case-to-case basis. Many offerings have been halted by regulatory agencies, whether for simple failure to register, or outright fraud, luring in investors with dreams of high returns for little effort. Ultimately, ICOs for their sake are as untenable as any bubble market.

https://youtu.be/VJVTAxGCI_k

Worries of government intervention in blockchain markets have been present since Bitcoin started making the news. Yet John McAfee, who established himself as an expert on security software, thinks that the use of cryptocurrencies itself allows individuals to sidestep regulatory institutions, and that the technology could not be stopped if people continue to find use for it. He however appeals to “self-regulation,” given the prevalence of scams.   

Back to the Bitcoin whitepaper

Most cryptocurrency prices have gone down since 2017, and it has been a test, to see which ones will prevail by providing value to communities. And a part of this is ability to scale, to allow sufficient transactions at a given time. Miners have to be properly incentivized to continue contributing to the system, and not be limited by software developers’ impositions. These make for a currency truly capable of serving as a decentralized global ledger.

https://youtu.be/MLRQK6k6hm8

The blockchain R&D firm nChain has played an important role the past year, and what CEO Jimmy Nguyen has said before, he continues to say now, that what makes Bitcoin what it is, is its faithfulness to the Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper. What Nguyen said prior to the November hash war seems more true today: “I believe the Bitcoin world needs more positivity.”

https://youtu.be/iarn9RyHR10

From London

The London Bitcoin Cash Conference 2018 successfully brought together leaders of the cryptocurrency world, and showed the tremendous growth of the sector from just a few months prior. Attendees got to discuss what makes for an effective medium of exchange, and merchant adoption was stressed as an indicator of cryptocurrencies’ popularity.

https://youtu.be/Ain06JeMI84

Store of value

According to SBI Bits’ Jerry Chan, the emergence of blockchain technology is part of Fintech 2.0, coming after Fintech 1.0 where the internet and e-commerce came about. And if a digital currency is to serve as a store of value, it must be liquid, immediately exchangeable, something that could not be said about BTC or any other chains no longer focusing on scalability.

No one knows for sure what’s to happen in 2019, but if this past year is an indication, we can look to blockchain becoming more important to our way of living, regardless of the markets going down (or up).

Crypto crash creating credibility, not chaos

Crypto crash creating credibility, not chaos

The cryptocurrency sell-off has a number of investors singing the blues. More than a handful of individuals bought into crypto following Bitcoin Core’s (BTC) massive price gains last year, expecting to see the same explosive growth in 2018. It hasn’t happened; in fact, the numbers are down significantly from the beginning of the year with many digital currencies losing as much as 75% of their value. However, instead of looking at this as a glass-half-empty scenario, it needs to be seen as a glass-half-full situation that is going to produce great things for cryptocurrency.

Many people have forgotten why cryptocurrency was created. They have become blinded by the dollar signs, hoping to be able to convert a few Bitcoin into a new Lamborghini or oceanfront party house by seeing substantial returns. What was presented by Satoshi Nakamoto about ten years ago was designed to be a currency, a form of money that was peer-to-peer, not controlled by a central bank and which allowed for instant transactions. A currency is only good if it can be spent; as long as there are any obstacles that prevent it from reaching widespread mainstream adoption – such as massive volatility – it can never flourish. 

The sell-off is a good thing. It is helping a great number of people to begin to take cryptocurrency more seriously. It is eliminating the get-rich-quick scammers operating through initial coin offerings (ICO) and new – but worthless – digital tokens that provide no utility. 

It has also produced a market that is, on some levels, cleaner than before. Despite wild fluctuations, price volatility has been less than what was seen last year, meaning there is more stability in the markets. This is going to help produce an ecosystem that is able to thrive and provide the results that everyone should desire to see – a world that accepts digital currency as a legitimate currency and which removes the ability for central banks or countries to whimsically manipulate prices. 

Those behind Bitcoin SV are not looking to create a cryptocurrency that sees its price head to the moon one day, only to come crashing back down the next. Instead, the goal is to create a sustainable cryptocurrency that is a viable alternative to fiat. Despite the actions of some individuals to try and derail the train from the tracks, Bitcoin SV has been able to remain true to the original Satoshi’s Vision and create a cryptocurrency that is not only looking at the long-term prospects, but which, in a sea of wanna-be digital currencies, has true, tangible utility value. 

South Korean lawmakers to champion legalised ICOs

South Korean lawmakers to champion legalised ICOs

South Korea has been on the frontline of ICO regulation in recent months, following the decision of lawmakers there to outlaw initial coin offerings, as part of a wider crackdown on activities within the cryptocurrency space.

Now, a group of lawmakers is reported to be working on a bill that would seek to overturn the ban, and reintroduce ICOs on a legal footing.

According to local media reports, lawmakers are drawing up proposals which could be presented later this year, of early 2019 at the latest. The proposals are being led by Rep. Hong Eui-rak, who told the National Assembly this week of his plans to challenge the 2017 ban.

“The bill is aimed at legalizing ICOs under the government’s supervision…The primary goal (of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses,” Hong said, according to Korea Times.

However, far from a return to the free-for-all conditions of the unregulated market, the proposals would allow only “research centers” and public organisations from deploying the funding model, which most market analysts would consider a step in the right direction for legitimising token issues. Nevertheless, the proposals will come as a surprise to some, following the decision in South Korea to ban initial coin offerings in the first place.

The 2017 decision seems to have had little impact on trading volumes or interest in the wider cryptocurrency space in South Korea, save for a reduction in the number of dubious ICOs being launched each month.

It follows similar moves by regulators elsewhere to bring ICOs in line with existing securities laws. In the U.S., for example, the Securities and Exchange Commission declared some ICOs to be de facto securities, accompanied by several other motions towards a formal, regulated environment for the ICO model.

Authorities in China have come down hard on the other extreme, effectively banning the model outright—a policy approach that has apparently gained some traction across other Asian countries.

This makes a new structure in South Korea potentially even more significant, and the chance to set a new precedent for regulating ICOs in the region.

With the implications of the 2017 ban still becoming apparent, it remains to be seen whether the more moderate approach proposed in the bill will gain the necessary support to become law, and to soften the regulatory approach to ICOs in South Korea.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Australia's financial watchdog swoops down on 'misleading or deceptive' ICOs

Australia’s financial watchdog swoops down on ‘misleading or deceptive’ ICOs

The commission is making good on its promise to hold cryptocurrency companies to its legal standards.

Early last month, Australia issued legislative guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. This month, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) released an updated set of guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.

“Australian law prohibits misleading or deceptive conduct in a range of circumstances, including in trade or commerce, in connection with financial services, and in relation to a financial product. Care should be taken to ensure promotional communications about any crypto-currency or ICO do not mislead or deceive potential consumers and do not contain false information,” the release stated. “It is a serious breach of the Australian law to undertake misleading or deceptive conduct.”

To show just how serious the commission is, the financial watchdog followed through with these guidelines by cracking down on ICO’s, forcing some to freeze their token sales.

“These offers can involve significant risks for investors that are often not disclosed or well understood,” the ASIC wrote in a statement. “ASIC is issuing inquiries to ICO issuers and their advisers where we identify conduct or statements that may be misleading or deceptive. This is in addition to our inquiries where we identify potentially unlicensed conduct. As a result of our inquiries, some issuers have halted their ICO or have indicated the ICO structure will be modified.”

The ASIC, which was granted authority over crypto-assets by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in April 19, wants to make it clear that crypto-assets are not exempt from standard laws.

“If you are acting with someone else’s money, or selling something to someone, you have obligations. Regardless of the structure of the ICO, there is one law that will always apply: you cannot make misleading or deceptive statements about the product. This is going to be a key focus for us as this sector develops,” ASIC Commissioner John Price said.

“In addition to potentially misleading statements in the white paper, the offer was an unregulated managed investment scheme. This means the offeror would have been in breach of the relevant provisions of the Corporations Act had the offer proceeded, potentially leading to serious penalties under the Act,” the ASIC statement wrote.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Telegram calls off public ICO

Telegram calls off public ICO

The popular messaging app Telegram has decided against holding a public initial coin offering (ICO) after having raised a staggering $1.7 billion in a private pre-sale, reports have confirmed. The funding will be used to develop its third-generation blockchain as Telegram seeks to compete with WhatsApp and Messenger for the lucrative messaging market.

The revelation came from an article in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted sources familiar with the matter. According to report, Telegram founder Pavel Durov was pleased with the immense amount raised through the private offering that he was reluctant to go through the regulatory hassles that a public ICO would entail.

Telegram has been very secretive about its token offering,causing several prospective investors to complain that the details on the offering have been extremely sparse and without much clarification. Despite this, the private offering proved to be a success, with filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that the company held two funding rounds in which it raised around $850 million each between January and March 2018.

Less than 200 investors contributed to the pre-sale offering and this was, in fact, restricted to high net worth individuals and institutional investors who also had to undergo a rigorous accreditation process.

The sale was conducted under Rule 506 of the Securities Act Regulation D, which allows companies to sell unregistered securities as long as its restricted to accredited investors only. The company also needs to report the round of funding to the SEC with investors subjected to a vesting period that is predefined.

Reports had indicated that Telegram was hoping to raise around $5 billion from the private ICO and public token offering. However, it appears that due to increasingly onerous obligations on ICOs, the company decided not to go ahead with the public sale. In fact, the SEC has recently tightened its rules on ICOs and it has also been blatantly clear that most of the ICOs around are currently violating federal law with their owners liable to massive fines and even prison terms.

Telegram is currently in trouble in Iran, after the government banned its residents from using the messaging platform. This ban was probably in connection with the app being used to organize nationwide protests. However, Telegram’s plans to launch its own cryptocurrency could have played a part in that decision, too.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Sorry Alibaba

Sorry Alibaba, Alibabacoin is here to stay

A new cryptocurrency hit the markets recently, and its name didn’t sit well with the Chinese retail giant Alibaba. The coin, Alibabacoin, was seen as infringing on Alibaba’s name, so Alibaba did what any company would do—it sued. Unfortunately, a judge didn’t see it through the same eyes and has now thrown out the suit, Reuters reported.

Alibaba filed its complaint against the Dubai-based group on April 2. It accused Alibabacoin of an “unlawful scheme to misappropriate” Alibaba’s brand name “in order to deceive investors in the U.S. and around the world.” It argued that the company had used Alibaba’s name to raise more than $3.5 million through its initial coin offering (ICO), and that the company is not registered nor approved by regulators in the United States.

A judge issued a temporary restraining order subsequent to the suit; however, the judge who presided over the case, J. Paul Oetken, determined that Alibaba has no jurisdiction in the U.S. It also decided that, since China bans all ICOs, there could not be any possible confusion.

In reaching his decision, the judge stated, “Alibaba did not show he had jurisdiction, having failed to establish a ‘reasonable probability’ that Alibabacoin’s interactive websites were used to transact business with customers in New York.” Judge Oetken further elaborated on his decision, adding, “Any injury Alibaba might have suffered to its business, goodwill and reputation from alleged trademark infringement likely occurred in China, where the e-commerce retailer is based.”

Alibabacoin was founded by Jason Daniel Paul Philip, who currently serves as the company’s CEO, and Hasan Abbas, its chief technology officer. It has offices in Dubai and Minsk, Belarus, and began offering its ICO in March. The ICO will be conducted in phases, with the first having taken place between March 1 and March 15, according to the company. A second phase was scheduled to begin on March 16, but the company hasn’t updated its information to show whether that phase took place. Nor has the company updated its website to indicate how much it has collected to date.

The lack of updates and public information are enough to create a less-than-confident opinion of the company. Requests for comments have gone unanswered and more potential investors are now questioning the legitimacy of the cryptocurrency.

In a statement to CoinGeek, a spokesperson for the Alibaba Group said the eCommerce giant planned to submit a new motion.

“Alibaba Group is not affiliated with the ABBC Foundation. The court’s ruling on April 30 was with respect to jurisdiction. We will be submitting a new motion and are confident we will be able to put an end to this willful, concerted and unlawful scheme by the ABBC Foundation to exploit Alibaba Group trademarks,” the spokesperson said.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Regulation is coming: SEC commissioner slams ICO industry

Regulation is coming: SEC commissioner slams ICO industry

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been intensifying its rhetoric around regulating initial coin offerings (ICOs) in recent months, as the regulator increasingly turns its attention to token crowdsales and the wider cryptocurrency space.

Now, in one of the starkest official criticisms to date, a serving commissioner at the securities regulator has criticised the current state of the ICO space, suggesting investors are currently finding it difficult to separate genuine opportunities from opportunistic scams and frauds.

SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson said the current situation with ICOs was the reason the SEC exists in the first place.

“Investors are having a hard time telling the difference between investments and fraud…If you want to know what our markets would look like with no securities regulation, what it would look like if the SEC didn’t do its job? The answer is the ICO market,” Jackson told CNBC.

Citing “troubling developments” in the sector, he continued to say the commission’s priority was to protect investors who might be drawn in: “Right now we are focused on protecting investors who are getting hurt in this market.”

However, Jackson was more optimistic about the future for ICOs, which he sees as inevitably subject to existing US securities laws, telling the news outlet: “Down the road, I think we will be thinking about ways to make those investments work consistent with our securities laws.”

Jackson’s comments come in the wake of several other high profile announcements from US authorities around ICOs and cryptocurrencies. A divisional director of the SEC confirmed at a hearing in the House of Representatives last week that the securities regulator has been working towards a regulatory framework for ICOs, while a former executive from the CFTC confirmed his personal view that many ICOs, including those for cryptocurrencies like Ripple’s XRP and ETH, could ultimately be found to be securities.

It seems inevitably at this stage that the SEC will look to introduce firmer regulation around ICOs and new cryptocurrency tokens. It remains to be seen whether this will help reduce instances of fraud and deception, already too prominent with investments of this kind.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Iranian government outlaws Telegram app

Iranian government outlaws Telegram app

Authorities in Iran have outlawed use of and access to the Telegram messaging app, citing concerns over its potential for stoking civil unrest as well as the potential economic harms of its cryptocurrency.

According to state news outlet Mizan Online, the decision was prompted initially by fears that armed opposition militia were using the app to encourage rebellion. Similarly, government officials highlighted problems with the Telegram initial coin offering (ICO), which they suggested could undermine the local economy.

The news follows on from public calls by officials in April, in response to the second round of funding for Telegram. In the second phase of their ICO, Telegram’s pot grew to $1.7 billion, behind its concept for the development of a full-blockchain Telegram ecosystem.

The news will be a blow for consumers in Iran, and in particular, the 40 million or so in the country known to be users of the platform—roughly 50% of the entire population of Iran.

Nevertheless, Telegram has long been controversial in the country. Back in January, access to the service was temporarily suspended following street protests, which it was alleged were stoked by use of the app.

In particular, the government points to foreign-based agitators, whom it alleges were using the Telegram app to incite protest and violence amongst Iranian citizens. This resulted in Iranian authorities attempting to launch their own social networks to reduce the reliance on foreign-owned properties, which they claim present an anti-establishment bias.

One of those platforms, Soroush, claimed it has 5 million members, despite having been setup only a matter of months ago. Alongside rival platform, Gap, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians to choose government-approved alternatives in his final message on the platform several weeks ago.

Iran’s supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also posted to Telegram for the final time in April, committing to using alternatives in place of Telegram.

The ban will impose duties on phone and Internet service providers, who are now compelled to block access to Telegram by law. Any breach is deemed a contravention of the law, and firms that do not comply will be liable to prosecution.

It remains to be seen whether the move to ban the service in Iran will further undermine interest in the Telegram ICO.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Dr. Craig Wright: Inclusion is the real purpose of tokenization

Dr. Craig Wright: Inclusion is the real purpose of tokenization

Created to solve real world needs, blockchain’s goal has been to bring equality and inclusion—and then consumerism came into the picture.

In his speech at the recently held TOKEN2049 event in Hong Kong, Dr. Craig Wright pointed out how HODLing became the new form of hoarding. According to the nChain chief scientist, a huge number of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups have been taking advantage of the hype and value spikes caused by HODLers.

“HODLing is probably the most despicable, evil thing to do with Bitcoin. It is not saving, it is hoarding. Bitcoin is a payment system. It is cash. It is to be used to help people spend money,” he said. “People can actually spend and use, not hoard so that in ten years, they can go, ‘look! I’ve got more of something than I can hold.’”

Contrary to what ICOs would have you believe, Wright said tokenization is supposed to be a medium through which the world can create an “on-demand economy,” essentially an Uber for everything that you need—even luxury items. Tokenization, he explained, should be used for the efficient, high-speed production of supplies made on demand with a traceable and verifiable supply chain on the blockchain.

“Everything that is common now used to be a luxury—toilets were a luxury 100 years ago. Victorian England—if you had a flush toilet, you were rich. Now no one would buy a house in the West without a toilet,” Wright said.

If done right, tokenization could herald a new revolution that would open the floodgates to inclusion and global interaction.

“This is a world that is becoming more and more global—that is a good thing,” Wright said. “As we start trading with people, we start building relationships and having to understand them.”

Watch Dr. Craig Wright’s speech at TOKEN2049 here:

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Malta green lights new cryptocurrency bill

Malta green lights new cryptocurrency bill

Malta’s cabinet has given the go-ahead to three separate bills relating to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, including measures that would introduce a framework for regulating cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Amongst the three bills, the Virtual Financial Assets Bill sought to create a structure for regulating ICOs and cryptocurrency transactions in the country, as part of a wider drive to make Malta more amenable to the cryptocurrency sector. The bill was presented alongside the Technology Arrangements and Services Bill, and the new Digital Innovation Authority Bill, ahead of a debate in the Maltese Parliament.

Following the debate phase, the bills will likely be voted through into law, according to local media reports.

Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, said he was confident the laws would provide legal certainty, with positive effects on the cryptocurrency sector in Malta.

“Once new laws surrounding blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are enacted in Malta, banks would be less reluctant to welcome companies working in the industry, presumably due to the legal certainty it would provide,” Schembri said, according to the Malta Independent.

The parliamentary secretary was also quoted by Malta Winds saying that regulating the cryptocurrency and blockchain market ensures “that the three main principles of financial regulation are adhered to,” resulting in a sector “that protects the investor and provides market integrity and financial soundness.”

Leading Maltese law firm Mamo TCV Advocates said the proposed laws would strengthen Malta’s hand as a hub for blockchain and ICOs.

The bills vest regulatory power in the Malta Financial Services Authority, which includes the power to publish specific rules relating to listings, to suspend trading and to require information on demand. Should the bills eventually be signed into law, they could pave the way for the new growth in Malta as a destination for blockchain companies and initial coin offerings.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Crypto exchange operations on the cards for Nasdaq

Crypto exchange operations on the cards for Nasdaq

Nasdaq “would consider” launching or even becoming a cryptocurrency exchange in future, according to comments made by the company’s CEO.

CEO Adena Friedman made the comments in a CNBC interview, in remarks widely construed as supportive of a future move into the blockchain space.

“Certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time. If we do look at it and say ‘it’s time, people are ready for a more regulated market,’ for something that provides a fair experience for investors,” Friedman said. “I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature. Once you look at it and say, ‘do we want to provide a regulated market for this?’ Certainly Nasdaq would consider it.”

The comments indicate Nasdaq would be receptive to becoming more heavily involved in the blockchain space. It follows from a number of ventures into the blockchain from the stock exchange. Nasdaq already supports several ETFs, or exchange traded funds, exposed to the blockchain space, including those tracking cryptocurrencies and related startups and equities.

Nasdaq also has an ongoing commercial relationship with Chain, the ledger-as-a-service startup, working on a number of collaborations that could ultimately have real-world applications for the firm.

The news that Nasdaq is open to becoming more crypto-focused in future is yet another vote of confidence in the technology, and in the developing cryptocurrency economy. Yet it comes at a time of increasing regulatory scrutiny over the sector, especially in relation to initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been visibly clamping down on ICO fraud cases in recent months, including instances of crowd token sales in contravention of securities laws.

Meanwhile, more recently, the former head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said he regards a number of high profile cryptocurrencies as securities, within the legal definition of the Howey Test as set out by the U.S. courts. This would see Ripple’s XRP and Ethereum’s Ether flagged as securities, which raises legal questions for the respective development teams, as opposed to Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which cannot be considered a security on the same terms.

The support of Nasdaq could ultimately provide a recognised, regulated platform for ICOs in future, subject to U.S. securities laws, providing a regulated alternative to the current route to market.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.