Category: Regulation

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Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Smart Contracts, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Payments, Bitcoin, Regulation, Ethereum, Ripple, Market, Market Cap

Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

For the first time in two months, the value of Bitcoin has exceeded $8200 and it seems that slowly but surely the value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is regaining some of the strength that it had before the spectacular crash of January 2018.

In July, the value spiked rather suddenly and it value started to creep towards the price it reached two months ago at $7502. But what is causing its price to grow? Here are five reasons why?

Facebook and Google relax their rules

When news broke that both Google and Facebook had relaxed their rules around advertising cryptocurrencies and related products on their platforms. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world is now allowed to advertise its services on Facebook and Google has now listed the top cryptocurrencies in its exchange rate converted. This newly founded web visibility and a significant vote of confidence from the world’s largest tech giants has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the value of BTC.

The possibility of a BTC ETF

Another big vote of confidence for BTC was the announcement from the Chicago Board Options Exchange that they had sought approval for a Bitcoin ETF. This request from one of the most well-known exchanges comes at the same time as a number of similar requests from other leading big names. Whether or not the application will be approved, remains to be seen but in the meantime, this news is believed to have helped create the surge in value that we are seeing today.

Approval from big institutions

Some of the world’s leading banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have started showing more and more interest in cryptocurrencies. At one time, leading figures in the industry were quick to criticise and dismiss the technology, but it appears that the tides have turned. The fact that such prominent names have shown interest in investing in and utilising the technology has been a big boost for the industry as a whole.

Regulatory changes

Following in the footsteps of Malta that recently introduced three new Acts that would support the growth and development of cryptocurrencies, ICOs and blockchain technology, more and more jurisdictions are considering changing their approach. The market has suffered from a lack of regulation or unclear laws which has lead to confusion, abuse, and crippling of cryptocurrencies value. Now the US Chamber of Commerce along with the SEC and CFTC are working on creating a better regulatory environment, crypto is set to thrive.

It’s summer!

The price of BTC seems to surge every summer and 2018 is no exception. Whilst the leap of 2017 was the largest so far, before that we saw considerable upswings during the summer season. So far, the level of growth in 2018 pales in comparison to previous years, we still have August to go and considering points 1-4, we could be in for a pleasant surprise.

If you have invested in Bitcoin or are considering doing so, contact one of our team today to ensure that you are making the best out of your investment and that you are in compliance with all applicable fiscal regulations.

 

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E&S Group participated in a conference organised by Malta Institute of Management.

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, The Blockchain Island, Smart Contracts, E&S Group, Technology, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Tokenomics, Regulation, Tokens

E&S Group participated in a conference organised by Malta Institute of Management

On the 26th of June, the Malta Institute of Management (MIM), organised a day conference titled; “The MIM Cryptocurrency Considerations for Management Conference”. The conference invited Maltese stakeholders that have a keen interest and are contributing to the blockchain sphere. The main topics discussed focused on cryptocurrencies in relation to businesses, how to avoid fraudsters stealing your cryptos, why tokens need to be regulated, and the Malta Stock Exchange outlook towards ICOs.

During the event, a discussion was organised inviting influential stakeholders from the crypto and blockchain sphere in Malta. Tokenomics expert and E&S Group director, Karl Schranz took part in a panel discussion titled: “Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain”. They discussed if cryptocurrencies and blockchain should be regarded as one or two separate entities.

The topics which came out from this discussion were notably about the new laws that Malta will pass in the coming weeks, cementing its way to become “The Blockchain Island”.

If you require further information regarding Malta’s laws in DLT, ICOs and Blockchain technology, contact us by sending us an email on [email protected] or by telephone on +356 2010 3020

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Malta announces a delay in the introduction of new gambling regulations

Categories iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, European Commission, The Blockchain Island, E&S Group, European Parliament, Technology, Regulation, Anti Money Laundering, Malta Gaming Authority

Malta announces a delay in the introduction of new gambling regulations

Malta is awaiting the introduction of its new gambling regulations, but news broke on the 28th that these would come a bit later than planned.

The reason for the delay is being cited as comments made by the European Commission and another EU Member State, pushing forward the implementation date to July 16th, and the start date back to August 1st.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) said in a statement:

“Government and the MGA shall be reviewing and taking into account the recommendations made by the European Commission and the Member States.”

According to reports, detailed opinions were forthcoming from Finland, Poland, and the European Lotteries Association- all of which must be duly considered by the Maltese government and the MGA.

The changes to the existing law were proposed back in May 2017 and the new legislation was drafted after an extensive public consultation period with key local and international stakeholders. The new Gaming Act will replace the current rules and it is particularly focussed on licensing and the provision of gambling services. Once it comes into force, it will drastically simplify the licensing system by using just two categories of license- a B2B one and B2C one.

This new act is the first revision of the nations gaming laws since 2004 and as well as simplifying certain areas, it also aims to implement stricter controls and regulations to ensure that the industry is immune from money laundering, terrorist financing and other various financial crimes that are associated with gaming and sports betting.

This news comes alongside the announcement that the Maltese Parliament has approved three acts designed to regulate the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and ICO industries. The Virtual Financial Assets Act, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act, and the Innovative Technology Arrangement Act will seek to provide much sought after regulatory clarity, as well as providing support and encouragement for the burgeoning sector.

This is a world first and has put Malta on the map in the world of crypto and blockchain with the small EU state even being dubbed as the “Blockchain Island”.

With these new pieces of legislation for both the iGaming industry and the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, it places Malta at the forefront of these disruptive and progressive global industries.

E&S Group can help operators within both industries set up their operations in Malta. We can assist with opening a company, applying for applicable licenses, adhering to regulations, and providing tax planning and associated services. To find out more, contact us on +356 2010 3020 or by email on [email protected]

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Binance is backing the world’s first decentralised bank

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, Bank, The Blockchain Island, Technology, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Regulation, Tokens, Binance

Binance is backing the world’s first decentralised bank

On July 4th, the Maltese government unanimously passed the 3rd reading of three blockchain regulations. Many blockchain companies saw an opportunity to relocate on the Blockchain island including, Binance.

In a report issued by Bloomberg, stated that Binance is backing a project, to build the first-ever decentralised bank in Malta. They stated that a 5% stake has been invested by both Binance and the Maltese government to make this decentralised, community-owned bank happen.

How will it work?

The name given to this decentralised bank is, Founders Bank. There will be no ownership of the bank, this includes any corporations, persons or entities. The only owners of the bank will be those who purchase a portion of its token-based equity.

The blockchain equity platform, Neufund will take care to fundraise this project.

In a recent speech, Joseph Muscat, Malta’s Prime Minister said that he is very optimistic about the viability of this project. He stated that “The concept sounds confusing right now, I have no doubt that it will form the base of a new economy in the future. Just as we attribute value to pieces of paper, so too will future generations attribute value to electronic storage systems.”

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

For more information click the link

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European banks complete the very first live, blockchain financial trades

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, European Commission, Bank, Trading, Regulation

European banks complete the very first live, blockchain financial trades

A group of European banks have announced that they have completed the very first, live blockchain-based trans-border transactions. The trades in question were made via a jointly developed we.trade blockchain platform.

These real-life trades were executed over the previous five days amongst 10 companies and were facilitated by four leading banks that utilised the blockchain-based platform. HSBC, one of the institutions that are using the platform, has claimed that three of its clients have been able to complete an open account transaction via we.trade, in Europe.

We.trade is build on the IBM Blockchain Platform using its Hyperledger Fabric technology. It was created and developed by Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Nordea, Rabobank, Santander, Societe Generale, and UniCredit, with the purpose of boosting the efficiency of cross-border transactions in the financial sphere.

As reported back in April, we.trade was supposed to start testing the platform in May with an expected commercial implementation due in the summer. Back then, Societe Generale told the press that the reason for the quick development of the platform was due to the fact that it was designed to be used by SME’s trading within Europe.

IBM’s blockchain lead in Europe, Parm Sangha stated:

“As we.trade has moved from pilot applications to conducting live transactions across borders, it has demonstrated the power of blockchain technology in an enterprise setting.”

The platforms Chief Operating Officer has announced that the next step will be to encourage buy-in from other EU banks and clients further afield.

 

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

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The MFSA published a Consultation Paper on Regulations under the VFA

Categories Malta, Law, E&S Group, Technology, Regulation, MFSA, VFA Act

The MFSA published a Consultation Paper on Regulations under the VFA

 

A consultation paper has been published by the MFSA proposing Regulations under the (VFA) Virtual Financial Assets Act. The report published on the 4th of July stated that since the Bill has reached its final enactment stages, the MFSA started drafting the legal notice setting out the regulations. The Authority addressed the following regulations being, exemptions, fees, control of assets and administrative penalties and appeals.

Through this consultation paper, the MFSA is seeking a constructive feedback from the industry regarding the draft regulations, the Virtual Financial Assets Regulations which will be issued under the Act. The aim of these regulations is to maintain financial stability, thus promoting market integrity and ensure the protection of the investor.

The MFSA Consultation Paper on Regulations under the VFA Bill goes public from July 4th until 20th July 2018.

 

If you would like to know more about the ICO Legal Services please contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected]  or by following this link.

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Malta Bankers Association Chairman gives crypto a big vote of confidence

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, Bank, The Blockchain Island, Technology, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Regulation, Tokens, Malta Bankers Association

Malta Bankers Association Chairman gives crypto a big vote of confidence

Marcel Cassar, the new Chairman of the Malta Bankers Association stated this week, that blockchain technology is a “bankers dream”. He also added that he believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

It seems that Cassar believes that the banking industry has a duty to keep up to date with the fast-past nature of the digital word, and it should move to embrace new technologies instead of shunning them. He compared the present ecosystem to “rush hour gridlock trapping an F1 car”.

Cassar added; “Going by our experience of technological innovation, a blockchain revolution of business and government could still be years away because many barriers would need to fall in the meantime.”

He also stated that he believes blockchain is a foundational technology that has the power to create new platforms for both economic and social infrastructures.  He also distinguishes between cryptocurrencies and payment technologies; “the currency is the ‘what’ while the payment technology is the ‘how’.”

He then brought up the still unanswered question of how we should be defining cryptocurrencies and seeking to regulate them, adding that he sees them as no short or medium term threat.

“But what it means for banks is that their traditional role as main payment intermediary for funds and currency transmission will become challenged, if not obsolete.”

Whilst Cassar notes that cryptocurrencies can be risky due to their connection to money laundering and of course, their volatility, he still thinks that they are “here to stay”.

Malta has been renamed “The Blockchain Island” due to their welcoming government, their crypto friendly laws, and the set up of several large cryptocurrencies in the country. Exchanges such as Binance, BitBay and OKEx have all announced their intention to relocate to Malta and the government have just enforced three new bills designed to fully regulate the sector.

Just last week, Binance announced that they had managed to open a bank account on the island meaning they would be able to offer crypto to Euro exchange. Cassar commented that whilst it is an area of unknown and unprecedented risk for the banks, this doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

“We need to be sure of what enhanced risk management and compliance capabilities the banks are putting in place because there are also other important linkages that need to be protected, among others our correspondent banking networks which still see these technologies as new and susceptible to risk of criminal abuse.”

If you would like to get further information on how to set up your ICO and are looking for ICO legal advice in Malta, please follow this link. E&S Group is here to help make your dream a reality!

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Why you should open a company in Malta

Categories Residence, iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, Law, Bank, The Blockchain Island, E&S Group, Regulation

Why you should open a company in Malta

Choosing a jurisdiction to operate in, or a new location for a branch of your existing company can be a difficult prospect. Each country has its own pros and cons and knowing which one is best suited to your needs can be difficult to decipher.

The small island of Malta has long been a hub for iGaming, financial services, corporate services and fintech. Recently it is making a prominent name for itself in the field of cryptocurrencies and related industries. So why should you consider setting up base in Malta? What benefits does opening a company in this small, EU Member State afford?

Efficient registration procedure

The process of opening a company in Malta is relatively quick and efficient when compared to other EU jurisdictions. By enlisting the help of a specialist advisory such as E&S Group you can have a range of different company types or structures registered correctly and with minimal fuss. Directors and shareholders do not have to reside in Malta, the share capital totals EUR1164.69 with just 20% paid up upon incorporation, and as long as all documents are in order, the company can be registered within 2-3 working days.

Great fiscal incentives

Malta offers companies a highly efficient, EU compliant fiscal regime with an extensive double-taxation network. It provides a full imputation system for applicable entities, which allows shareholders to benefit from a refund of the tax paid by the company when distributions are made to them.

Tax benefits for Maltese holding companies

A Maltese holding company can be set up to hold securities, shares and business assets such as fixed assets, real estate, investment, bank accounts, aircraft, intellectual property, and yachts. The domestic tax treatment that is afforded to the income received by such companies as well as the countries participation exemption means that those choosing to set up a Malta holding company can enjoy attractive benefits as well as an excellent conduit to and from the EU.

A sound reputation

Malta has been a fully-fledged member of the EU since 2004 and since then, the country has cemented its reputation as a hub for business and new industries. In particular, it is renowned for its vast iGaming industry, its financial services industry, and now its burgeoning cryptocurrency sector. The country is home to international banks such as HSBC, BNF Bank, and Lombard, amongst others. Malta also transposed and enforced the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and its financial services sector is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Solid infrastructure

You can fly to any EU city within three hours from Malta International Airport and Dubai is around five hours away. The countries employee pool is fluent in English, Maltese and often Italian with languages such as French and German being spoken widely. Malta enjoys fast fibre internet, a high standard of IT infrastructure, an experienced and highly educated professional workforce, and a full range of specialist ancillary service providers.

Good quality of life

Last but not least, Malta ranks as a country with the highest quality of life within the EU. The country enjoys over 3000 hours of sunshine every year along with long, hot summers, and short, mild winters. As far as recreation goes, Malta is rich in history, culture, heritage, and many opportunities to socialise and network. Professionally, the University of Malta lectures in English and many professional and internationally recognised courses can be taken locally.

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

For more information click the link.

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Cryptocurrencies prices will eventually overtake Bitcoin

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, Technology, Regulation, Tokens, Wallet, Ripple

Cryptocurrencies prices will eventually overtake Bitcoin

In 2018, cryptocurrencies have experienced their volatile nature, reporting a dip of about 66%, lesser than the previous year. It is noted that prices of cryptocurrencies listed in the market cap are highly correlated with Bitcoin. Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse stated with CNBC that in the near future the crypto market will realise the difference in assets set by each crypto coin. He continued stating that “… over time you’ll see a more rational market and behaviours that reflect that.”

It is reported that there are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation around the world. Mr Garlinghouse believes that in 10 years’ time 99% of these digital currencies will not exist. He said that “There’s gonna be a bit of a correction along the way here where a lot of the players in the space that don’t actually solve a real problem are going to get washed out.”

Ripples popularity with investors

Ripple is the 3rd most ranked cryptocurrency per market cap following Ethereum and Bitcoin respectively. Its aim is to create a faster network of financial payments. While, XRP is the digital token name of this currency, enabling financial institutions to transact payments quickly on the blockchain.

Ripple’s CEO declared that the company had increased its profits in its first quarter, by signing 20 production contracts with new firms. On Wednesday 29th May, Ripple reported that they sealed a deal with Kuwait’s largest bank. Through this agreement, the bank will supply XRP tokens to their clients. Although Ripple has been doing badly as a digital currency, losing about 70% of its value of XRP, this trend was seen throughout all the trading cryptocurrency market.

Since the market is yet to be established and understood by many traders, the crypto market remains unstable. During the interview, Garlinghouse stated that “It’s still a nascent industry, the speculation in the market dominates the trading activity. I think it’s a matter of time until people better understand the different use cases.”

However, big leaps in Maltese regulation has given ICOs a better way to form new cryptocurrencies. In fact, ICOs will eventually partake in the initiative to trade their tokens along with other cryptocurrencies. A bright future awaits this sector, the next step is for other jurisdictions to follow in Malta’s footsteps, regulating cryptocurrencies and opening up to blockchain based companies. In contrast, the US, represented by the SEC is still battling to regulate ICOs, stating that all ICOs are securities.

 

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

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TOA Berlin –  The Future of Tech, Work, and Life

Categories Blockchain, Malta, Law, The Blockchain Island, Regulation, Conference, TOA, Governance

TOA Berlin –  The Future of Tech, Work, and Life

 

At the moment, Berlin is hosting an array of blockchain, Fintech and Satellite events to industries around the world. TOA Berlin is a B2B event aiming high to build new bridges across the world. The Berlin conference is gathering prominent stakeholders, to learn from one another, make connections, grow and inspire each other.

A panel of speakers took part in the TOA Berlin conference on the 20th of June. One of the talks was named: ‘Don’t burst my bubble! Will we succeed at decentralized governance?’, discussed various jurisdictions in developing a decentralised government. The panel discussed on how the Maltese government is taking a progressive approach towards the blockchain industry.

The TOA Berlin is bridging out to tech enthusiasts to understand this technology further. Technology helps businesses to improve and facilitate their workload. Opportunities arise when you have a functioning and understanding of technology. TOA believe is that industries across the world need to collaborate with each other, driving society forward.

 

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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