Category: Cryptocurrency

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$65 million raised by a startup to facilitate crypto trading

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Startups

$65 million raised by a startup to facilitate crypto trading

The start of 2018 has been a bit up and down when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Whilst December 2017 saw the value of various altcoins reach stratospheric new heights. By mid-January, all markets had lost a considerable amount of value. Despite this kick in the teeth, this did not do much to deter startups or investors. For example, one such crypto startup, Paxos has recently raised $65 million through various venture capital investors, proving that interest in the market is not slowing down.

Established as a big name

In its relatively short lifespan, Paxos has managed to establish itself as a pretty big name. The company specialises in bringing Bitcoin and other currencies into the mainstream, due in part to the fact they have obtained a trust company charter in the state of New York. This part of the states is not known as a particularly crypto-friendly place due to its BitLicense implementation, making Paxos’ achievement all the more significant.

The company started out as a Bitcoin exchange but since then, many things have changed. The main objective of its current business model, the company is looking to enter the world of crypto by exploring new trading options.

Significant interest from VC firms

This latest venture has attracted significant attention from VC firms and their recent round of fundraising was thanks to the help of RRE Ventures and Liberty City Ventures, amongst others. With this new funding, the company is now able to expand its operations and further develop its crypto exchange operations.

Whilst 2018 may not have so far been the year of Bitcoin, the overall outlook for its performance remain positive. Both consumers and enthusiasts are confident that things will change before the end of the year and the success of their recent funding round seems to support this. Afterall, cryptocurrency trading is still attractive, despite the fact it is still extremely volatile with big losses and gains occurring in equal measure.

This new financial injection means that the pressure is on for Paxos and enhancing and developing their position in the crypto industry will be a bit of a challenge. With regulations being introduced on a global scale, companies will be under pressure to adhere to a whole new set of rules. Whether this will be a hindrance to Paxos, or a benefit, is yet to be seen.


If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, please contact us on [email protected]

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The Importance of Legal Advisors in ICOs and Blockchain Projects

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Law, GDPR, Tokenomics, Tokens, Guest Post, White Paper, Know Your Customer, Anti Money Laundering

The Importance of Legal Advisors in ICOs and Blockchain Projects



Legal advisors are like the internet connection. When you have it, you forget about the importance of it. Once you lose it you find out all the things you can’t do without it. It is easy to forget about the importance of a good legal advice, so let’s try and recollect all the important things legal advisors do for an ICO.

Setting up an ICO is not an easy task. There can be a lot of bumps down the road so it is essential to make sure that everything runs as smooth as possible. Roadblocks in the legal area are one of the main problems most ICOs encounter. Any legal issue that ICO encounters is a huge red flag for potential investors. Because of that, the best ICOs have a legal department on point.


World of ICOs and Blockchain is still pretty unregulated, because of that, it is easy to damage the reputation of an ICO. This can happen for a wide variety of reasons – from false scam accusations to the unclear roadmap, or token use. Having an experienced legal advisor can save you from these issues.

The legal advisor should be familiar with and present in every key aspect of an ICO, starting from the whitepaper. First, you need to decide terms and conditions of your whitepaper. Every piece of content in the white paper has to get the green light from the legal advisor. Keep in mind that courts, investors, and regulators rely on the whitepaper to understand how the project will work.

Token Model

The token itself needs to be verified by the legal advisor. With your legal team, you will need to decide whether your token will be considered a payment token, utility token or asset token. This is a very important decision and different choices can lead to different outcomes in terms of the project compliance with the regulations.

KYC/AML Evaluation

When all of that has been done, you will need to make sure that your ICO complies with all the possible regulations. The most important ones are KYC/AML (Know Your Customer/Anti Money Laundering) regulations which help ensure that your project is safe and secure from potential scams. It is not an easy work; it takes a lot of knowledge in order for everything to run smoothly. The Blockchain industry regulations are just starting to kick in, so it is best to have an experienced legal advisor on the team.

Intellectual Property Protection

Imagine that you prepared everything for the start of an ICO campaign. Suddenly someone accuses you that you stole their logo. You should worry about the project, but now you are stuck in the legal labyrinth. This is a disaster! Because of this, legal advisors are essential. They will make sure that all your domain names, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and patents will be protected and will be acknowledged as your intellectual property. These are not the thing you want to worry about when preparing an ICO launch.


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is another thing your ICO will need to comply with. Without this, your ICO can’t reach its full potential. Having a GDPR protocol is now considered a standard in the world of ICOs. All of this is in the realm of your legal advisors.


Getting a legal advice might be the best first step of every ICO project. It will ensure that everything is protected and in sync with the regulations. The creative potential of the founders will not be held back by unnecessary legal troubles that may pop up. Everybody involved in the project can focus on what they do best and not worry about regulations.

If you are looking for a legal advice for your ICO, the best time to get one was yesterday, the next best time is right now. If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected] or phone us on +356 2010 3020. Visit this link for further information regarding our ICO Legal Services. We are here for you!

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IOTA signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway’s Largest Bank

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology

IOTA signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway’s Largest Bank

A press released published on Thursday 31st May, announced, Den Norske Bank (DNB ASA) that Norway’s largest bank, signed a memorandum of understanding with IOTA Foundation (IOTA). It is now believed that DNB and IOTA will collaborate exploring IOTA Tangle applications, a “third-generation” distributed ledger (DLT).

The expectations following this news are that both IOTA and DNB will partake in exploring new business models for their industries. In an interview, Lasse Meholm, Head of DLT at DNB commented that the bank’s goal is to understand better this new technology. Moreover, staff members facing clients at the bank can find new opportunities for new use cases.

He continued to add: “Among other things, the technology is designed to handle hundreds of thousands of microtransactions per second. We will not let go of the market associated with this ecosystem that arises around these transactions.”

IOTA hopes for a better relationship with Norwegian Banks.

In a court case in May, Nordea Bank won a case against a Norwegian crypto exchange (Bitmynt AS) for closing their account. The rhetoric brought up in court was that Bitmynt could have been using mechanisms for laundering money.

In fact, IOTA’s founder David Sønstebø stated that IOTA wishes that Norwegian banks will soften their take on the crypto industry. He continued by saying that “I hope and believe it. The IOTA Foundation will contribute to separate useless crypto-projects from the serious ones.”

Around the world, a number of financial institutions and banks are looking into the power of blockchain technology. Recently, Canada’s central bank, Toronto Stock Exchange operator TMX Group, and an NGO Payments Canada have concluded a test on how blockchain technology is an effective platform for instantaneous securities settlements.

If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, please contact us on [email protected]

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Doing business in Africa to be simplified using Bitcoin

Categories Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bitcoin

Doing business in Africa to be simplified using Bitcoin

Despite what some of the critics say, Bitcoin has the ability to make a truly positive impact on the financial industry. A start-up called BitPesa is doing its best to infiltrate this tricky economy and to disrupt the African financial cycle by introducing Bitcoin-based solutions.

The African market is one of the global leaders when it comes to remittance transfers. Many Africans travel abroad for work and send a percentage of their earnings back home. This business has boomed over the last decade and companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union are leading the market across the board.

Remittance providers far from perfect

Despite their incredible popularity and slice of the market share, these remittance providers are far from perfect. More often than not, users need to travel hours to pick up their money and the fees that are associated with transfers can be expensive, especially to those in a third world country. In other words, the price that these people pay for convenience is quite steep and many have an issue with the fact that these firms are profiting from the desperation and poverty of millions.

This is where Bitcoin and other virtual currencies come in. The fact that cryptocurrencies don’t recognise borders and have no requirement for an intermediary means that they are a super cheap and efficient equivalent. Companies such as BitPesa are definitely in the right place at the right time but there are still challenges and setbacks that they will need to overcome before they can compete with the more established players.

Bitcoin paving the way

BitPesa uses Bitcoin as a way of settling between different brokers. Unlike fiat currencies, using Bitcoin can remove friction and offer a much higher degree of liquidity in the African market. By embracing the truly decentralised nature of this new technology, BitPesa is proving just how useful Bitcoin can be in the future.

Whilst the volatility of Bitcoin is something of a thorn in its side, there are certain African currencies that experience similar if not higher levels of volatility. The CEO of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello recently stated how Bitcoin can be easily purchased and sold within a matter of moments and on demand. Due to this, the issue of its volatility is not such a big deal as many make out.

BitPesa aims to help out local individuals and businesses by using Bitcoin. By offering a solution to the friction that is traditionally associated with conducting business on the African continent. BitPesa certainty has their work cut out of them but the potential that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have for Africa are too great to be ignored.


Interested in Learning More about ICOs Legislation in Malta? Contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by mail at [email protected] to find out more.

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Crypto-giants Binance opens a bank account in Malta

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, Law, Bank, The Blockchain Island, DLT Regulation, E&S Group, Cryptocurrency Exchange

Crypto-giants Binance opens a bank account in Malta

In May 2018, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, announced that it would be opening offices in Malta. The reason for their move was due to tighter restrictions on cryptocurrency activity in Japan and the fact that the Maltese government was legislating in favour of the cryptocurrency industry.

 Crypto-Euro trading pairs

In an interview given last week, CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao announced that they had successfully opened a bank account in Malta to enable them to conduct business. This also coincided with the news that Binance would soon offer crypto-Euro trading pairs on their exchange. This news reinforces Malta’s position as a leading jurisdiction for cryptocurrency related businesses and it is expected that other service providers will soon follow suit.

Banks have been traditionally wary of businesses that are operating in the cryptocurrency sphere, so Binance’s latest achievement is a big success as well as a significant step forward. It is hoped that this recent development will mark the beginning of a period of understanding and mutually beneficial assistance between local banks and those wishing to engage in the cryptocurrency field.

The bank that Mr Zhao used to open the account and any details on the type of account opened have remained confidential at this stage. However, many believe that other Maltese banks will address their own policies in light of the news.

The Blockchain Island

Malta has been touted as the ‘blockchain island’ and as well as Binance. Other companies such as Okex, BitPay, and DQR have all announced their intentions to call the EU Member State home.

Whilst Malta has announced three new bills that will come into force in due course, setting up a cryptocurrency business on the island still requires a high level of sector and local know-how. At E&S, our team of legal experts, accountants, business consultant, and finance specialists- all with considerable experience in the field- are on hand to guide clients through the process from A-Z.

E&S offers a full portfolio of services such as company incorporation and formation, investment service licenses, company management, and of course, setting up the right bank for you and your businesses needs. We also offer advisory services to ICOs. To find out more, contact us at [email protected] or by calling us on +356 2010 3020.

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Can Blockchain really change the music industry?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Music

Can Blockchain really change the music industry?

There are many that believe blockchain has the capacity to revolutionise the music industry. For every supporter, however, there are those that claim that the existing industry frameworks are too well-established for blockchain to be able to break through. These points of view are a classic example of the wide disparity of opinions when it comes to blockchain and its potential uses. So which one is right?

The answer is both and neither. As it stands, blockchain has the potential to create a significant change in the music industry but it also unlikely to be something that happens quickly.

The music industry now

When people hear the phrase ‘music industry’ they usually think of pop singers and bands that play huge arena tours and receive airplay on all of the big stations. Whilst they are important, they are by no means representative of the wide-ranging niche and Billboard estimates that 95% of revenue actually comes from streaming.

This figure doesn’t truly represent what major artists make but rather it represents local artists and those whose music doesn’t fit into radio-friendly categories. When we talk about numbers, it is these smaller acts that make up the majority of the industry, rather than the global megastars. Blockchain technology has incredible potential to revolutionise the way that these up-and-coming artists make their money.

Direct to consumer sales

Previously, artists who wanted to gain exposure and notoriety would try to get the attention of major record labels. If they were successful their label would give them a contract and provide them with a way to release their music, book shows, and earn radio airtime, but today, this is not the only way to make it big.

Today, a large number of artists are releasing their music themselves over music streaming services such as YouTube and Spotify. They are also taking care of their own marketing, recording, distribution, and even booking. Growing numbers of artists are able to become superstars without even signing with a label, something that would have been unheard of several years ago.

Artists like Gramatik are taking this to a whole new level by taking up the use of blockchain technology. In his case, this means that he made his own cryptocurrency that fans were able to purchase in order to support his work. This provides a way for artists to realise their own music as and when they choose, rather than having to handle the music industry bureaucracy and middlemen.

Even big labels are using blockchain tech to get more control over the revenue that they are generating. An example being the Monero platform which was created just for musicians and artists. It has already been adopted by some of the big name stars such as Lana Del Ray, Mariah Carey and The Lumineers.

Ensuring Data Integrity

Blockchain is also able to help when it comes to ensuring the protection of an artist’s intellectual property. It is able to facilitate payments and can even provide the media with a press kit for each artist. One example of this is Mycelia for music and their ‘Creative Passport’ project.

Blockchains limitations

When it comes to buying music, album sales are long dead and it seems that there is no way to reverse this. The concept that musicians will now be able to collect money directly from consumers to purchase albums or tracks is just not going to work and not even blockchain has the ability to roll back the clock that far.

It is also highly unlikely that blockchain will bring around the demise of any major record labels. As much negative press, as they receive, they do provide a much-needed service such as taking care of business-orientated tasks that most artists would rather not deal with. They have established relationships with media outlets and they have also experienced teams on hand to help musicians reach their goals.

There is no doubt that blockchain has a huge potential when it comes to revolutionising the music industry. This said, it seems that the best way to achieve this is to be realistic about where this change can take place. This means that the integrity of the data should be ensured when it comes to taking ownership of creative property and artists information, whilst also assisting artists who wish to have more control over the creation, distribution and sale of their music and products.


If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, please contact us on [email protected]

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South Korea bids to lift ICO Ban

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Law, Regulation

South Korea bids to lift ICO Ban

Eight months ago, South Korea rocked the crypto world by imposing a blanket bank on initial coin offerings (ICOs). In an announcement last week, the country’s National Assembly made an official recommendation to reintroduce domestic ICOs. This proposal is backed by the three-hundred-member national legislature, on the proviso that ICOs. will adhere to the relevant investor protection provisions.

A mass exodus of crypto-companies

The special committee of the National Assembly went as far as accusing the government of ‘neglecting its duty’ in responding appropriately to the blockchain boom, resulting in the mass exodus of domestic companies working in the sector.

The Assembly hopes to encourage and accelerate discussions on blockchain and ICOs and a legislative and policy proposal that supports ICOs has also been tabled. The committee on the 4th industrial revolution has also called on the government to form a task force that will comprise of public officials and private experts to “improve transparency of cryptocurrency trading and establish a healthy trade order”.

“The administration also needs to consider setting up a new committee and building governance systems at its level in a bid to systematically make blockchain policy and efficiently provide industrial support. We will also establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission of ICOs, through the National Assembly Standing Committee.”

A bill to legalise ICOs

This legislative effort first emerged after a group of legal experts and lawmakers, led by Rep. Hong Eui-Rak of the Democratic Party of Korea, began the process of drafting a bill that would legalise ICOs within the country.

“The bill is aimed at legalizing ICOs under the government’s supervision[…],” he said at the time. “The primary goal (of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.”

This turn of events comes after recent remarks from Korea’s financial watchdog who aims to focus on the “positive aspects” of crypto whilst suggesting that the government should relax cryptocurrency rules in the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading market.


If you have any questions in relation to ICOs, please contact us on [email protected]

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Ohio plans to be the next US State to legally recognise blockchain data

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Law, Technology, Regulation

Ohio plans to be the next US State to legally recognise blockchain data

Senate Bill 300 which was introduced by Senator Matt Dolan could pave the way for Ohio to be the next US state to legally recognise smart contracts and record on the blockchain. The bill makes amendments to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act so it will now allow for smart contracts to be as legally enforceable as any other contract.

If the bill is passed, it would introduce a new language, stating that blockchain technology can be used to process and store electronic information as well as providing ownership rights.

“Notwithstanding any other law, a person that, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, uses blockchain technology to secure information that the person owns or has the right to use retains the same rights of ownership or use with respect to that information as before the person secured the information using blockchain technology.”

The bill continues: “This division does not apply to the use of blockchain technology to secure information in connection with a transaction to the extent that the terms of the transaction expressly provide for the transfer of rights of ownership or use with respect to that information.”

Notably, the bill makes amendments to language in a different section that pertains to electronic contracts, adding that “smart contracts may exist in commerce”. It also states that whilst a contract may be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation, it goes further and specifies that smart contracts may be used for legal documents.

If the law is passed in Ohio, the state should join Arizona, California, Florida, and Tennessee in recognising both smart contracts and blockchain transactions in electronic records.


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Blockchain used to auction off 17th Century Mansion

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Auction

Blockchain used to auction off 17th Century Mansion

In an announcement made last week, a Beverly Hills real estate agency Hilton & Hyland stated that through a collaboration with Propy, the Palazzetto inside the Palazzo Albertoni will be auctioned off via the blockchain. The beautiful property was built between 1580 and 1616, was designed by Giacomo Della Porta and is listed as a UNESCO heritage site.

Valued at a staggering $42 million, interested parties have been invited to bid on it in either fiat currency or cryptocurrencies and they have until June 28th to make their bid.

CEO of Propy. Natalia Karayaneva stated that she believes the auction is a unique opportunity to make history by recording the sale of a historic building on the blockchain.

“It is not a transfer test of a couple dollars worth of value or questionable digital collectables — but a multi-million dollar deal where lack of transparency can result in a significantly worse deal for the investor or seller.”

In the future, Karayaneva hopes to see more and more real estate deals taking place over the blockchain and taking advantage of the platforms security and immutable record keeping capacity. She believes that this will help to reassure buyers that are worried about losing their funds, or that are put off by complicated transaction processes.

“The process of buying real estate today is non-transparent and non-secure even in the U.S. The bidding mechanism of providing offers blindly is very manipulative. This is why it is important to not only automate payment and title deed recordings … but also to automate the auction and offering mechanisms,” Karayaneva said.

To know more about ICO legislation in Malta please follow this link.

Contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by mail at [email protected] to find out more.

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Why Utility and Security tokens are not comparable.

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, E&S Group, Blog, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens

Why Utility and Security tokens are not comparable.

By Karl Schranz – Director at E&S Group.


There is a lot of talk on the subject of security tokens. Many industry players seem sure that these will surpass utility tokens in importance in the medium term. I tend to disagree. I believe the creation of Utility tokens is the most important innovation for the global economy since the creation of the banking system. I will tackle the reasons why in another post.

In their purest sense, Utility and Security Tokens are not comparable. The only thing a Security Token has in common with a Utility Token is the fact that they are both crypto tokens.  Their use, rights and how these are valued could not be more different from each other.


Utility Tokens have a use, hence the name Utility. This is to access the company’s, ecosystems, products or services. In the case of Ethereum, Ether (its utility token) is used to be able to transact on the Ethereum Blockchain. Ether was designed to act as a gas fee. This however evolved with Ether being used to transact in many other goods / services making it more of a currency than a means to transact on a network.

Now Ether is not the best example for this discussion as it has become a cryptocurrency due to its wider acceptability beyond its pure use. If we look at other tokens, we can see that these act as the currency of a specific ecosystem. People buy these tokens to be able to use them on the system or platform that they relate to. This use could be to either pay gas fees, pay commission or pay for specific services on that platform.

Security tokens, again in their purest form, have 2 simple functions.

1.)  For the company to raise finance


2.) For the investor to make a return.

This could be either in the form of a share of profit or a fixed return.


Utility token holders have no right except that of using the token for its intended use.  Security Token holders would have not only rights assigned to the token (dividend, fixed return etc.) but would also have expectations. These expectations are the expectation to receive more than one paid for. This would mean that the company issuing these Security Tokens have more obligations toward holders of Security Tokens.  This is the reason why Security Tokens are and should be regulated.


Utility Tokens are valued as currencies, based on their use, acceptability etc. Security Tokens on the other-hand, are valued based on generally accepted security valuation methods, depending on what return method is being offered. In its simplest form, this would be the discounting of future inflows to present value.  This makes Utility Tokens very subjective to value and thus the immense speculation and corresponding price swings that we see today. On the other-hand, Security Token valuations are relatively easy to achieve.


It is thus clear that there is nearly nothing in common between Utility and Security Tokens. Security Tokens are one of many forms that already exist for companies to raise finance and for investors to invest in whereas, Utility Tokens, on the other hand, are the creation of an internal currency that supports an ecosystem.

What is so revolutionary is the ability of a company, to raise capital, by monetising the value of its internal currency!

Karl Schranz is a founding director at E&S Group and heads the Tokenomics and Strategy team. Karl has advised on several ICOs, Crypto Exchanges and Crypto Funds. For more information visit our website.

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