Category: Bank

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Crypto-friendly banks expected to open in Malta in the next 12 months

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, DLT Regulation, E&S Group, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Tokens, Wallet, Delta Summit

Crypto-friendly banks expected to open in Malta in the next 12 months

Roderick Psaila, a Malta-based banking expert spoke about the future of crypto-banking at the Delta summit in Malta held between the 3rd and 5th of October. The three-day event was the world’s first official and government approved blockchain event of its type, and it attracted over 1500 delegates from all over the world.

Speaking as a part of a discussion panel, he was responding to criticism of traditional banks hesitancy to embrace blockchain, DLT, and cryptocurrencies despite the fact that the Maltese government has approved the DLT legislation in November.

“We are already seeing new, smaller banks show a willingness to adopt blockchain technology, but legacy banks will take longer to come round, because of their systems in place and because they tend to expect higher standards,” he said.

He also stated that he believes that two to three crypto friendly banks will open in Malta within the next year that will be amenable to blockchain and crypto, as well as being conducive to the industry’s growth.

This could be due to the fact that it is unlikely for the banking industry to fully adopt and embrace blockchain technology until matters around its compliance with anti-money laundering framework were finalised. Until this framework has been deemed acceptable to banks, it doesn’t matter how acceptable it is to operators, ultimately the banks have the final say.

Also on the panel was Michael Matthias who is the CEO of digital currency Dascoin and he stated the need for banks to catch up with modern technology instead of shying away from it.

“And yet, as blockchain technology becomes more mainstream, it is not farfetched to imagine a near future in which cryptocurrency is used as the coin of choice in everyday payments and transactions,” he said.

The Delta Summit, the first of its kind has been called a resounding success by all that attended. Dr Christian Ellul, Director of E&S Group also spoke on a panel discussing Malta’s bright future as the “blockchain island”. Other speakers at the event included the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat, Changpeng Zhao the CEO and Founder of Binance, and other global stakeholders in the blockchain, crypto, DLT, and ICO sectors. If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, and Malta’s legislation regarding ICOs and blockchain please contact us on [email protected]

 

 

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Digital money: Argentina’s solution to its economic crisis

Categories Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, Technology

Digital money: Argentina’s solution to its economic crisis

As the leading cryptocurrency in the market, Bitcoin is the solution Argentinian investors are considering during the current economic crisis.

Economist and mathematician, D.H.Taylor stated:

“Argentinians are moving in large numbers out of their peso and into a more stable currency, BTC. The numbers being witnessed by the markets in BTC are surging from Argentina.” He adds that “The stability being offered by the digital currency is far greater than the peso and Argentinians are moving in quickly.” Additionally, Taylor used a chart of weekly volume BTC purchased in Argentina as an undeniable evidence.

Argentina has been undergoing an economic crisis since April 2018, when the peso was dropping in value against the dollar. However, Argentina still remains one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America.

The sudden drop of the peso according to most economists is due to the relationship between investors and the government. Investors are suspicious of the government’s ability to contain unrelenting inflation, and to minimise the effects of the U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate. Whilst this led to a drop in the value of the peso, it actually strengthened the value of the dollar.

Nowadays, it seems the Argentinian Central Bank is looking for solutions such as diversifying into digital currency. Athena Bitcoin installed the first crypto ATM on September 19th 2018, so that people can exchange cryptocurrency in a public space.

Matias Goldenhorn, the Athena Bitcoin Director for Latin America made the case so much clearer by stating that this system, expected to spread soon in Buenos Aires, will operate with BTC, Litecoin, Ethereum and BTC Cash. Taylor states that currently, there are nearly 8,000 Bitcoin pay stations in Argentina.

If you are interested to open up an ICO in Europe’s stable economy, Malta, E&S Group is the right company to help you achieve your goal. In 2018 alone, E&S Group has successfully advised over 90+ ICOs. For further enquiries send us an email on [email protected]

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India to test the waters of digital assets

Categories Cryptocurrency, Bank, Technology, DLT

India to test the waters of digital assets

India has long been cynical about cryptocurrencies and this cynicism was further evidenced by their hard-line stance over the last few years. But this could all be set to change.

Indias local news outlet DNA India reported that a committee has been set up by the Finance Ministry that will be overseen by the Department of Economic Affairs. This committee was created to consider whether certain crypto tokens and assets should be allowed to be used within the country. Once all considerations have been made, draft proposals will be finalised and the legislation will be tabled in Parliament.

Subhas Chandra Garb, head of the Department of Economic Affairs said:

“The committee is studying the possibility of using cryptocurrencies or crypto technology (distributed ledger technology) for financial transactions and also what kind of regulations are needed for that…[while] the currency is totally banned, the committee is discussing its other usage and how it can be mainstreamed in India.”

Whilst stating that blockchain and DLT have a lot of promise, Garg was quick to deny that there was any chance of cryptocurrencies being used in any manner in the future. She reiterated that the DEA has issued multiple advisories to the public that categorically warn against the use of cryptocurrency, as well as comparing them to “Ponzi kind of scheme”.

The Reserve Bank of India has issued a bank on all banks handling any type of business with cryptocurrency- related businesses or individuals- a large blow to the countries burgeoning sector.

Garg did go on to say that she believes the government could be interested in “testing out the waters” when it comes to crypto tokenisation which would not be able to substitute for currency in any way.

“One will need to pay physical money to buy a token which could be stored as a code in any basic mobile feature phone. It can even be used for remittances. So, it is easy to implement from technology as well as a regulatory point of view. But in the case of cryptocurrency, one needs to allow it as a legal tender first.”

The committee is said to analyse prospects and possible consequences of the government lifting legal sanctions on cryptocurrencies.

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Mastercard patents, a new multi-blockchain

Categories Blockchain, Bank, Technology, Mastercard, Patent

Mastercard patents a new multi-blockchain

On October 9th, Mastercard was granted a patent for a ground-breaking method that would partition a blockchain therefore allowing the storage of multiple transaction formats and types.

Blockchain stores transactions that are made over it, into different blocks. For example, BTC uses one type of blockchain system to record data, whilst ETH uses another. Mastercard wants to use the blockchain to store different types of data as well as having the ability to use different types of cryptocurrency. In other words, it will have to run multiple blockchains because of the fact that the transaction records are “often required to be of the same format and include the same types, and even sizes of data”. As such, this would require an astronomical cost in terms of hardware, resources, and computing power.

Permissioned and non-permissioned

This problem is caused in part by the varying degrees of open or permissioned access on blockchains. Some blockchains are non-permissioned and allow anyone to be a part of it, whereas others can be permissioned. These require special and specific permission to read, access, and write an information on them and they are more prevalent with corporations industry level where security, role definition, and identity are of the utmost importance.

The new patent filed by Mastercard states that the inflexibility of blockchains when it comes to data formatting means that the usage of permissions on permissioned blockchains is restricted.

“[…] an entity may want to operate a permissioned blockchain, where varying levels of permissions may be used for participation in the blockchain, such as by limiting the nodes that may add new blocks to the blockchain. However, because all transactions in a traditional blockchain are formatted similarly, the permissions may not be extended to access to the actual transactions in the blockchain … The patent authors say their partitioned blockchain could bypass such limitations and provide ‘enhanced usage of permissions”.

Plurality of subnets

The new network proposes a way to expand the usability of blockchain by allowing blocks to receive data through a “plurality” of subnets”.

A subnet is a proposed partition that will be internally consistent but that would also interact in a wider, single system. To quote the patent application:

“A subnet may have rules about data in a transaction record, the organization of the data, the size of each data value, and the hashing algorithms used in the formulation of the subnet’s merkle root.”

This means that subnets would have the ability to receive information from various different computing devices as well as allowing the addition of data of any size or type, without following a standardised data format. The number of subnets would be limited with the Mastercard system supporting a maximum of three.

Mastercard first applied for the patent back in July 2016 and it took over two years for a decision to be made. This is just one of over 80 blockchain-based applications that Mastercard has made over the last few years, a number that is expected to grow in due course.

 

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Uganda’s first fiat-crypto exchange is launched by Binance

Categories Bank, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Binance, FIAT, Uganda

Uganda’s first fiat-crypto exchange is launched by Binance

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has launched a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Uganda that has already gone live.

Founder and CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao announced his plans for the exchange back in June and as per the press release, the new branch was set to start accepting withdrawals and deposits of Ugandan Shillings (UGX) as of Wednesday 17th. In a statement from Binance Uganda, the company announced that KYC procedures has been already underway.

At the time of launch, traders have got an opportunity to exchange Uganda’s national fiat currency with ETH and BTC, but other trading pairs will be introduced in due course.

Despite the Bank of Uganda issuing a warning to crypto investors about associated risks of the activity in March 2017, the Ugandan government has shown considerable interest in utilizing the blockchain technology for a variety of purposes.

CFO of Binance, Wei Zhou said that Uganda’s first fiat-to-crypto exchange will help to maintain sustainable economic stability in the continent adding that the company has other plans to “bring more innovations to the region”.

This is just one of Binance’s plans to open a number of similar exchanges in locations such as Lichtenstein. In August, Binance LCX announced plans to launch a fiat-to-crypto platform in the country, offering trading pairs between Swiss francs (CHF) and Euros against popular digital currency pairs. Then in September, Binance announced that it intended to start private beta testing of a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Singapore which will support the Singapore Dollar.

Binance, based in Malta is the biggest international crypto exchange in the world and offers 24/7 adjusted trading volume with almost $1.8 billion being traded each day according to CoinMarketCap.

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China’s largest bank adopts the decentralised technology

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bank, Technology, Wallet, DLT

China’s Largest Bank Adopts the Decentralized Technology

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest bank in China and a contender for one of the largest banks in the world. A colossal figure in the world of global banking, it is reported that they are moving towards blockchain technology adoption in their processes.

Chairman, Yi Huiman said in a statement that they would be focussing on innovations in blockchain, big data, AI, IoT, and cloud computing amongst others. The bank has over 5000 corporate clients and 530 million personal clients,  their aim is to work towards “intelligent banking” with “accelerated deployment in the field of financial technologies”.

The bank intends to focus on creating valid use cases for “smart banking” which will help increase levels of service in the financial ecosystem as well as securing financial data and the way it is shared with third parties.

A tough stance on crypto

China is known for its tough rules on cryptocurrencies, but it seems that they superpower is not afraid of blockchain and the possibilities it presents. Various government departments and institutions are working towards developing and applying blockchain technology throughout various sectors.

Earlier in September, the Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County of Sichuan Province and Beijing Sinfotek Group announced a collaboration that would create a new country for “forestry economic development and industrial poverty alleviation”.

A positive approach to blockchain

This news is a significant boost for the industry as China’s previously hesitant stance on the technology shows that as understanding is increased, adoption increases as well. Such a large financial institution adopting the technology means that many other banks are expected to follow suit in due course.

Whilst in-depth specifics about the project remain sparse, ICBC has the power to dramatically disrupt the financial world both in and outside of the digital currency space. If they were to fully adopt blockchain technology, it would signal a crucial shift towards long-term and mainstream integration of blockchain technology into everyday life.

 

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Smart Valor gets regulatory approval and seeks a banking license

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, Technology, DLT

Smart Valor Gets Regulatory Approval and Seeks a Banking License

Smart Valor has become one of the few blockchain enterprises to gain approval from the Swiss authorities to conduct business on the local financial market. This news means that the company is able to take the first step towards creating its own investment platform later in 2018.

The responsible authority for Smart Valor will be VQF which falls under the jurisdiction of FINMA (Financial Services Standards Association). After considerable deliberation, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority acknowledged VQF for its money laundering compliance and AML measures.

Credibility for Smart Valor

Being included in the financial market will ostensibly give more credibility to Smart Valor as no other information from FINMA or VQF has been given according to similar blockchain companies in the country.

Smart Valor will open availability for alternative investments such as crypto, during the last quarter of 2018 as well whilst applying for a banking license which will offer security for investments at the beginning of 2019.

Tokenisation will change people’s approach to investing

Olga Feldmeier, founder of Smart Valor previously worked for Bitcoin wallet Xapo, and the platform was founded with the purpose of disrupting the Swiss banking system. Olga expressed that tokenisation will transform ownership and will offer accessibility for a bigger number of investors.

Zug remains home for the Crypto Valley

Switzerland is home to several companies working with blockchain projects, many of which are based in Zug, otherwise known as “Crypto Valley”. Earlier in the summer, blockchain companies located in Zug were a part of a trial to test online blockchain-based voting which gave 72 out of 240 citizens access to the system.

This news is an important step forward for the Swiss blockchain industry as a lack of regulatory certainty has made many local banks feel uneasy. Regulation by VQF with ultimate supervision from FINMA is a significant vote of confidence in the fledgling blockchain sector.

 

If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, and Malta’s legislation regarding ICOs and blockchain please contact us on [email protected]

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Lloyd’s of London enters the digital currency market

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, Smart Contracts, Technology, Lloyd's Bank

Lloyd’s of London enters the digital currency market

One of the oldest insurance marketplaces in the world, Lloyd’s of London has moved into the cryptocurrency sphere by offering clients cover against the theft of crypto coins.

The Kingdom Trust, a qualified custodian of cryptocurrencies and tokens announced the availability of insurance against theft and lost due to natural disasters, that would be underwritten by Lloyd’s market. A qualified custodian is defined as an entity that keeps and guards the private keys of a large number of cryptocurrencies to a standard that is deemed acceptable by regulated financial institutions.

The CEO of Kingdom Trust, Matt Jennings said:

“We serve both institutional and individual investors by providing qualified custody, which gives our clients the framework they need to ensure compliance with their regulators using clear and transparent reporting.”

A surprise move

The news came as something of a surprise as the insurance industry is widely considered one of the most traditional and conservative industries, but it appears they are becoming more interested in alternative markets. In recent months, it also came to light that US-based underwriters such as AIG, XL Catlin, Chubb, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance have also shown interest.

Whilst Lloyd’s may have taken a big step, it seems that they are treading carefully and have made no comment on the news that some of their managing agents are offering crypto-theft cover. This has been put down to a degree of hesitancy in the marketplace as a whole, in terms of cryptocurrency as an asset class.

Act with caution

Just as recently as last month, Lloyd’s of London issued a directive to all syndicates that warned them to act with caution in terms of cryptocurrency assets, as well as ensuring that their managing agents have the required level of expertise when it comes to underlying risk.

President of the SDBIC, Jerry Pluard commented:

“About 10 syndicates in Lloyd’s have indicated a willingness and are somewhat active in evaluating crypto exposures,” Pluard said, continuing:

“Of those 10, I would say there are five that have the level of expertise that allows them to be comfortable enough to do the analysis and underwriting of the risk, and then the other five will follow on with those leads in writing exposure.”

It seems that Kingdom Trust were able to secure underwriters from the Lloyd’s market place due to a combination of respected security protocols, as well as new technologies. Features such as proof of reserve, external oversight, whitelisting of addresses, daily reconciliation audits, and stringent employee due diligence procedures, all played a great importance in securing the confidence of the markets.

More than just a wallet

The solution provided by Kingdom Trust is so much much more than just a wallet, said Jennings, adding that the insurance market is aiming for something more than just a good wallet solution from an unregulated third-party software company.

“A lot of people are seeking insurance for hot wallets or what they call warm wallets and some people even call them cold wallets,” he said. “But I think the insurance market wants to see an entire safekeeping solution that encompasses the entire atmosphere around the private keys.”

This move is considered as a big boost for the crypto-world at a time when the industry is still recovering from the rejection of 9 Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC and many stakeholders are interested to see, who else will make their first move into the sphere.

If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, and Malta’s legislation regarding ICOs and blockchain please contact us on [email protected]

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The World Bank has launched a decentralised bond

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bank, Technology, Bonds

The World Bank has launched a decentralised bond

Despite the news that the SEC refused nine different Bitcoin ETF applications in one go, there has been a bit of a boost for the blockchain industry.

The World Bank announced the launch of a blockchain-bond that uses the technology from start to finish. The bond-I, which stands for “blockchain operated new debt instrument” is a two-year bond that was created in collaboration between the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the World Bank.

Investors in the project include several leading Australian banks and state treasuries as well as entities such as King & Wood Mallesons, Mark-it, Microsoft, and Toronto Dominion Securities. The World Bank has said that the bond is the first of its type and will create, allocate, transfer, and manage all aspects of its life-cycle using blockchain technology.

Whilst it claims to be a world first, there are actually some examples of smaller companies issuing bonds using cryptocurrency and the Ethereum blockchain. One such experiment was conducted in the UK and the Russian telecoms firm MTS has placed private bonds on the blockchain in collaboration with Sberbank back in May.

A spokesman for The World Bank said in a statement that the i-bond is the first bond of its type that is offered to a public and global range of investors. They added that the bond is unique in that the entire bond process, from creation to allocation, is carried out on and over the blockchain. It is also worth considering that the scale of the i-bond is considerably larger than any private blockchain bond offerings that have come before it.

The World Bank has often led the way when it comes to pioneering bonds as they launched the first globally traded and settled bond back in 1989, followed by the first electronic bond in 2000.

“We welcome the huge interest that this transaction has generated from various stakeholders and will continue to seek ways to leverage emerging technologies to make capital markets more secure and efficient,” the World Bank’s Oteh said.

“But don’t expect the World Bank to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon just yet.” Its president, Jim Yong Kim, said earlier this year that while it is investigating using cryptocurrencies, “I’m told the vast majority of cryptocurrencies are basically Ponzi schemes.”

 

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The World Bank announces a decentralised bond

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bank, Technology, Bitcoin, Tokens

The World Bank announces a decentralised bond

The World Bank has announced the launch of the world’s very first blockchain bond. The honour has been given to The Common Wealth of Australia who is expected to facilitate it in the coming months.

Dubbed as the bond-I or Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument, the bond will be the first of its type to be created and managed on and over a blockchain platform. Blockchain is the tech that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and it also functions as a distributed ledger that is able to securely record all transactions that are made on or over it.

It has long been thought that blockchain technology has the potential to streamline a whole range of processes in the debt capital market, including but not limited to intermediaries and agents. This, in turn, will help simplify the process of raising capital, trading securities, as well as enhancing regulatory compliance and operational efficiencies.

When the bond is officially launched, it will be issued and distributed over a blockchain platform that will be jointly operated by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and The World Bank.

So far, it seems that investor interest in the bond has been very strong and the bond is set for an official release after a wider consultation process with investors. Those that are advocating for the use of blockchain maintain that it has the power to make processes much faster and more secure, but there are still some that are dubious and believe it is nothing more than a bubble.

This latest news from the world’s leading financial authority will only boost the popularity of blockchain as well as giving it a much-needed vote of confidence. It seems that each day that passes, more and more leading names are turning to blockchain to solve solutions that they have long struggled with.

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