Category: Economy

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London Fintech Week discussed women’s involvement in this space

Categories Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, E&S Group, Technology, Trading, Woman, London FinTech week

London Fintech Week discussed women’s involvement in this space

During London Fintech Week which took place between the 6th and 13th July, brought experts in the blockchain, fintech and crypto industry together to discuss issues about the new fintech technologies.

At the moment, Fintech is surging in popularity. Many financial sectors are embarking on Blockchain based technologies to keep up with this growing industry. Although blockchain is looked at as a field controlled by men, a number of women started to involve themselves in the Blockchain industry. In fact, one of the key panel discussions spoke about, ‘Women in Blockchain’.

Women in Blockchain

Since the blockchain industry is growing at a steady pace, only a small percentage of women work in the sector.  However, a substantial interest has been noticed in women joining the blockchain revolution. In a panel, made up of women involved in blockchain discussed ways how more women need and can be involved in the industry. They also mentioned the need for men in the industry to support women by creating more opportunities for them.

Women are attending many Blockchain and Fintech conferences, participating in hackathons being organised. The main aim of these women is to explore new areas in the sector and networking with possible partners for their company they represent.

At the moment we are seeing a number of women setting up their projects, one woman, in particular, is the co-founder of Neufund Zoe Adamovicz. Moreover, a substantial shift is seen within the fintech sector, with more women working alongside men, while others are known leaders in the industry.

One other point the panel emphasised was that the blockchain industry needs more women to be empowered and engage in this ever-expanding industry. Although the technology and financial industry are dominated by men, women from an integrated part with this dynamic space. Women are also the game changers to this ever-growing industry and should actively participate in the Blockchain revolution!

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Dr Christian Ellul interviewed by Lawyers Monthly Magazine

Categories Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, The Blockchain Island, E&S Group, Technology, Interview

Dr Christian Ellul interviewed by Lawyers Monthly Magazine

The August edition of “Lawyers Monthly” magazine features an interview with E&S Group director, Dr Christian Ellul. During the interview, various topics were discussed most of which centered around the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, taxation and regulations passed by the European Parliament and Malta.

Although many regulations are being passed in different countries around the world, most particularly, Malta, not every aspect of the industry is being directly regulated. In fact, cryptocurrencies do not have “specific tax laws, regulations or guidelines”, hence “the general principles of taxation would need to be applied” stated Dr Christian Ellul.

He stated that “the current volatility of cryptocurrencies makes them impractical substitutes for the more stable FIAT currencies.”

However, “the moment people will lose faith in a FIAT currency, usually due to the questionable actions of central banks, they can fall back onto these decentralised currencies, which by their very nature, cannot be controlled or influenced by a central authority.”

If you would like to continue reading the interview please click here.

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Stock analysts say that crypto is tipped to continue rising 

Categories Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Market, Market Cap

Stock analysts say that crypto is tipped to continue rising

A prominent stock analyst Ronnie Moas has stated that the value of cryptocurrencies will continue to thrive in 2018, rising to all-time highs. He believes that cryptocurrencies are poised to take market shares away from stocks, bonds, and other currencies and that this is just the beginning.

In a report published last week, Moas, the founder of Standpoint Research and leading independent analyst has remained positive in his predictions for the future of the sector. After spending last month testing out a range of virtual currencies, he wrote that he expects coins such as Bitcoin and Ether to continue, with the value of Ether doubling by the end of 2018. He has previously tipped Bitcoin to reach an all-time high of $50,000 in the next 10 years.

At the moment, one Ether token is worth $219, an increase of 5% on the previous week, whilst a BTC is valued at $3000. Moas’ report also featured predictions for the alternative cryptocurrency, Litecoin, stating that he believes it will double to $80 by the end of the year.

“In my view, the genie is out of the bottle, and cryptocurrencies will continue to rise and take market share away from stocks, other precious metals, bonds, and currencies,” Moas told CNBC.

His ultimate message to investors is to have a go at investing in cryptocurrencies.

“I think investors should take a shot on this and hold for a few years. If you lose a few bucks, at least you took a shot. In life, you miss every shot that you do not take. It will probably be more upsetting to watch it (from the sidelines) go up another 1,000 percent.”

 

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

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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.

 

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How blockchain is creating economies.

Categories Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, The Blockchain Island

How blockchain is creating economies.

When it comes to disruptive technologies, Blockchain has to be the hottest trend for 2018. A totally incorruptible digital distributed ledger technology, it is inspiring innovative projects across the globe from behemoths like IBM to small agricultural startups in Kenya.

Blockchain technology removes the need for an intermediary and it also provides a layer of trust and transparency that is incredibly attractive to individuals and companies in a large range of sectors. Today, blockchain is not just used for financial transactions- it can be programmed to store virtually any kind of data such as personal information and identities. It offers the immutability of records that prevent the manipulation of data as well as making it virtually impenetrable to hackers. This has earned it the moniker the “Internet of Value” and those that adopted the technology early on, are not making significant waves in the sector of new technology. They are driving employment trends and investment dollars in a huge range of sectors, and blockchain is impacting entire regions and industries, disrupting everything in its path.

Countries such as Malta are positioning themselves as the jurisdiction of choice for cryptocurrency and blockchain companies, and industry giants such as Okex and Binance are even planning to relocate there. The Maltese government has drafted legislation centred around Digital Ledger Technology, virtual coins, and various related service providers and this will seek to attract even more investment. The influx of these companies is set to create a new economy for the small island nation, as well as helping to drive the growth of the industry as a whole.

Blockchain is able to impact entire industries that are ready and waiting to be disrupted, and as it does so, it creates new and exciting economies in the process. There are many sectors that are rife with inefficiency and fraud, and this technology has the ability to streamline their processes and ensure the integrity of data. Various governments are moving their services over to the blockchain as seen in the USA and Dubai. In addition, several large multi-national companies are upheaving their existing sectors and creating new industries in the process.

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Malta to become a stepping stone to all ICO founders.

Categories Economy, Blockchain, ICOs, Malta

Malta to become a stepping stone to all ICO founders.

Malta’s government has taken a proactive approach with regards to ICOs, and crypto-exchange companies. Only last Friday, Binance, a crypto-exchange giant, announced that it will start operating its business in Malta.

Last February, Hon Secretary Silvio Schembri stated that the government is implementing blockchain regulation laws. This legislation will inevitably make Malta the first country in the world to fully regulate companies operating via blockchain technology. Malta’s government is setting up three bills in relation to DLT, one of which focuses on Virtual Currencies.

This needed regulation will provide ICO projects to open up their business in Malta. The government is planning to open up an authority vetting ICO companies using DLT platform. In fact, this authority will regulate such ICOs providing client’s assurance in the business. Although the public consultation is still in process, many start-up ICOs have already targeted Malta to open up their business.

In addition, an Asian-based ICO using blockchain technology has also tweeted the idea of opening their business in Malta. Justin Sun, TRON Foundation founder has praised Prime Minister Muscat’s vision.

During a speech Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat said that cryptocurrency will become the “future of money”.  Moreover, he continued by stating that he is interested in the concept of cryptocurrency. The aspect of this digital form of currency has brought other means of money from what we are used to.

Dr Muscat asked his audience: “Have any of you ever thought about what gives paper money its value when it’s ultimately just pieces of paper? It is because society attributes value to it. Now some people, who in my opinion are geniuses, are arguing that value can similarly be attributed to virtual currencies.”

The Prime Minister stated that “These blockchain operating companies don’t care about our taxation system but are coming to Malta, because of our innovative regulatory structure that will certainly be the first, and I think also the best, in the world,”.

If Malta’s government will continue supporting this new approach, the island will inevitably see more companies using blockchain technology embarking on Maltese shores.

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Binance, the world’s top crypto exchange moving to Malta.

Categories Business, Modern, Economy, Financial Services, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Regulatory, ICOs, Malta, ICO Legal Service, BankTags , ,

Binance, the world’s top crypto exchange moving to Malta.

One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value is seeking a fresh start on a little Crypto island in the Mediterranean.

Binance, founded last year in Hong Kong, will soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” in Malta. In an interview, Zhao Changpeng stated that it is planning to open an office on the island. He added that the company mission is currently close to securing a deal with local banks that can provide access to deposits and withdrawals.

Zhao mentioned that “Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”

Since last year both regulators from China to the U.S. have been cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses, leaving many companies like Binance struggling to find a stable base. Before, the company had an office in Japan however it struggled to get a licence to operate. Moreover, Japan’s Financial Services Agency issued a notice to the venue on Friday for working without consent.

Zhao’s venue was the world’s top-ranked exchange by volume for the past 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com, trading about $1.7 billion.  He mentioned that he had recently been invited by the Maltese government to review an upcoming bill that was favourable to crypto businesses.

Malta came to play as policy makers and the government has held public consultations on regulating virtual currencies, token sales, and crypto-exchanges. Last month there was the unveiling of the plans by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority that will certify and regulate blockchain-based businesses and their operations which will also create a framework to oversee initial coin offerings, the Malta Independent newspaper said.

In the coming months, Binance, is currently underway to launch a decentralized exchange.

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CCP’s Second Stress Test Resulted fit to stand economic turmoil.

Categories Business, Economy, RegulatoryTags

Last Friday, 2nd February 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), published their results on their second stress test. This outcome was to check if Central Counterparties (CCP) will survive in economic turmoil, within different financial institutions. This second stress test aided in checking if the EU CCP system is able to withstand Clearing Member (CM) defaults and severe market shocks.

In 2016, the first CCP stress test has been conducted. During the first test, ESMA focused on the counterparty credit risk, whereas in the second exercise they included liquidity risks. By this, they have examined if CCPs would encounter any liquidity needs under different stress scenarios.

According, the Steven Maijoor, who chairs ESMA, the CCPs are low-risk entities. If CCP fails, then it has the potential to cause serious systemic risk, that is why it is important to test if the CCP is able to withstand different extreme market shocks.

Furthermore, Mr. Maijoor said that “I am pleased to see that EU CCPs have responded well to the rigorous scenarios used in conduction this second EU-wide stress test and are overall fit for purpose with sufficient resources to withstand severe market conditions.”

Results from the ESMA’s stress tests.

In the second CCP findings result that the EU CCPs are resilient having a developed stress methodology. To obtain its results for each individual CCP, to harmonize price shocks, ESMA selected the top-2 groups of CMs thus assuming results obtained for each individual CCP.

The concluding results did not detect any liquidity in the CCP. Moreover, no records found any major systematic risk.

Extreme market price shocks were tested.

To check CCPs vulnerability ESMA tested extreme price shocks. This enabled to provide scenarios that were being provided by the European Risk Board (ESRB). These market price shocks helped to identify, in every financial situation how CCP will react to them. The result was satisfying, having minor shocks to the financial institution. The stress test also monitored through credit and liquidity.

This stress test done by ESMA was beneficial so to help identify possible vulnerabilities and secure safety and resilience of the EU Central Counterparties (CCP). By the effect of the two stress tests conducted in both 2016 and 2017, it has resulted that the Central Counterparties will survive in any financial turmoil may it happen in the coming years.

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ESMA opens consultation on potential CFD and binary options measures to protect retail investors.

Categories Business, Modern, Economy, Financial Services, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, RegulatoryTags , ,

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has just published a consultation on potential product intervention measures relating to the provision of contracts for differences (CFDs), including rolling spot forex, and binary options to retail investors. This is in line with a statement published by ESMA in the end of 2017 which highlighted the possibility of use of its product intervention powers under Article 40 of MiFIR to address concerns regarding investor protection posed by the marketing, distribution and sale of CFDs and binary options to retail investors. Consultation is now open and stakeholders are to provide their opinion regarding the following measures:

Contracts for Difference

The specific potential measures under consideration are:

  1. Leverage limits on the opening of a position by a retail client. These would range from 30:1 to 5:1 to reflect the historical price behaviour of different classes of underlying assets;
  2. A margin close out rule on a position by position basis. This would standardize the percentage of margin at which providers are required to close out a retail client’s open CFD;
  • Negative balance protection on a per account basis. This would provide an overall guaranteed limit on retail client losses;
  1. A restriction on the incentivization of trading provided by a CFD provider;
  2. A standardized risk warning by CFD providers. This would include an indication of the range of losses on retail investor accounts.

The Authority is furthermore considering the possibility of CFDs in cryptocurrency being addressed in the measures as well. In this context ESMA is currently discussing whether CFDs on cryptocurrencies, whose underlying assets have displayed very high price variation, should be addressed in the measures.

Binary Options

The potential measure under consideration is prohibition on the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail investors.

Stakeholders are to submit their feedback no later than 5 February 2018.

 

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US Government is the latest to give blockchain technology the seal of approval

Categories Business, Modern, Economy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, RegulatoryTags , , ,

With the World Economic Forum in Davos drawing nearer, many are expecting cryptocurrencies and Blockchain to take centre stage, with many related panels, and speakers on this year’s agenda.

The US Government has always been visionary and forward thinking when it comes to technology, and Blockchain is no exception. Over the last few years, they have not only funded, but collaborated and partnered with various businesses in a multitude of countries, as well as schools and educational institutions with the aim of developing innovation in technology and science.  At the heart of US economic, legal, and political structures are the fundamental concepts of IP, contract law, and transactions. To keep up with the fast pace of the digital revolution, many government agencies are now evaluating and even implementing Blockchain technology to enable them to improve efficiency, trust, and transparency in areas such as financial management, procurement, supply chain management, IP, government issued credentials, workforce data, appropriated funds, and even federal assistance and foreign aid delivery.

The Emerging Citizen Technology Office

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Emerging Citizen Technology Office has recently launched what is known as the US Federal Blockchain Programme, for the use of both US based business, and federal agencies that have shown interest in discovering what Blockchain has to offer, and the scope of its implementation within the US Government. Blockchain has already been utilised by the GSA and is currently used to both automate and speed up the process of reviewing contracts for its FASt Lane Programme.

Department of Treasury

Another government department which is utilising this technology, is The Treasury Department who is running a pilot programme to evaluate whether Blockchain technology can be used for the purposes of supply chain management. So far, the results look promising- processing times have been accelerated, efficiency is increased, and financial controls in the private sector have been strengthened.

Steven Mnuchin who is both The Treasury Secretary, and one of the individuals that will be on a Blockchain panel at Davos, believes the only way to fulfil Trump’s public infrastructure plan, without adding to the burden of debt, will be through forming strong public-private partnerships (PPP). These relationships must be forged with foreign investors and will be designed to stimulate economic growth as well as passing on a substantial portion of the risk funding, to the private sector.

The concept of a functioning PPPs characteristically involves a government agency highlighting a particularly project and then evaluating whether there is enough potential revenue to attract more interest from investors and to attract the attention of other bidders as well. Then, the government agency would proceed to select one or more entities from the private sector to take care of design, build, finance, operations, and maintenance. In a PPP, it is usual that the government owns the project overall, yet grants the private sector significant powers when it comes to its development and authority.

Mnuchin explained: “Working with foreign investors is going to be a critical part of any plan we put forward and public-private partnerships are crucial to ensuring that the American taxpayer does not bear the full cost of any proposed program.”

The US Treasury has also been involved in initiatives which have sought to improve and build on AML/CFT regulations and frameworks for Blockchain based cryptocurrencies. It has forged relationships and subsequently PPPS with various financial institutions to facilitate the sharing of information.

The US State Department

The US State Department places a huge emphasis on the importance of continuing to innovate in the areas of global economic development, as well as encouraging conversation between the private sectors that are already utilising Blockchain technology.

Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan explained: “The State Department supports public-private-partnerships. For example, in maximizing the impact and accountability of foreign development/assistance, Blockchain technology by bringing transparency, may address corruption, fraud or misappropriation of funds and inefficiencies within the public procurement funding process itself,”

Procurement on behalf of the US Government, contributes a significant chunk of funds to the world economy, roughly equating to $9.5 trillion. According to a recent study conducted by the OECD, around 25% or $2 trillion is siphoned off annually due to corruption. This is a large amount of taxpayer’s money and procurement remains as the government activity which is most vulnerable to fraud, corruption, and wastage of public funds. Corruption impacts the fair awarding of contracts and has a knock-on effect in reducing the quality of basic public services, as well as inhibiting the opportunities to develop a truly competitive private sector.

But the US Government is not the only one to take significant steps towards embracing the technological innovation of the Blockchain. Malta has also announced its plan to create a full legal framework to regulate the use of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, as well as to enable it to comply with AML legislation. During the course of 2018, it is expected that more and more governments and businesses will being to understand how Blockchain can be effective in a range of business areas, including, but not limited to procurement and turning it into a strategic tool for revenue growth, competitiveness, and vast improvements in health, the economy, and public quality of life.

To date, over 40 countries have developed their own national innovation strategies, or even launched innovation foundations. The majority of them have also taken steps to relax constraints placed on foreign direct investment, and are providing funding, financing, encouraging public-private collaborations, offering tax breaks, and asking foreign private sector stakeholders for commitments to their countries. Through maximising the impact and accountability of foreign assistance, the Blockchain can help to address the very real and serious issues of fraud, corruption, and the misappropriation of funds.

NASA

The success of a NASA mission encompasses many different elements, one of these being efficient communication and efficient computing techniques. Bearing this in mind, greater accessibility to digital information and innovative yet cost effective technologies of both manned and unmanned flights are expected to become more efficient via the use of Blockchain technology. NASA has just funded a grant to the University of Akron, OH, which will be used to fund research into a new type of deep-learning AI that can work over an Ethereum Blockchain network to create a networking and computer paradigm in a range of space communications situations.

So, what does this mean?

For those that are in the known, it is clear that Blockchain is the future of smart, legal contracts, and can turn the world of government and procurement on its head. Both the public and the private sector, companies large and small, can benefit from its efficient and scaleable solutions, as well as benefit from the money saved in the process. It will also help to build public trust in government institutions and corporations, through improved transparency and increased streamlining of various processes.

 

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