Category: Technology

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European Blockchain Convention to be hosted in Spain

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, E&S Group, Technology

European Blockchain Convention to be hosted in Spain

Blockchain technology has formed a trend among many companies, many of which Fintech and ICOs aspiring to implement such innovative technology within their respective economic sectors. Many jurisdictions, however, have a different take to this disruptive technology – some are interested in regulating it such as Malta for instance, whilst others, such as China, are banning it.

In 2018, Malta has become a trailblazer to this new industry, passing 3 crypto-friendly bills which came to force in November. The aim the Maltese government was to keep this space competitive, regulated and thriving, attracting many foreign companies to set up shop within the widely dubbed “Blockchain Island”. Financial institutions established in Malta are providing legal advice and corporate services to prospective ICOs and STOs willing to conduct their crowdfunding campaigns from Malta. E&S Group is one of the most advanced legal and corporate firm to provide these tailor-made services to its clients, and the first legal company to tokenize its services back in March.

In a study obtained by ICO Bazaar, it has been concluded that in 2018 alone, the average crowdfunding reached was that of $200,000 – $1,250,000, this total sum includes preparation costs, together with the one-month token sale. Over this period, E&S Group has advised over 90 ICOs.

The topics of the digital economy, growth, and the emerging number of ICO conducted within different legislations will be discussed during the European Blockchain Convention held in Barcelona, Spain, on the 29th November. The theme of this year’s conference is “Building the foundation of Blockchain and the Digital Economy”.

Karl Shranz, co-founder of Malta’s leading ICO and Crypto Advisory firm, E&S Group, will be participating in a panel discussion titled: “Overcoming Barriers to Institutional Acceptance of Digital Assets.” Karl will share his expertise on the Maltese legal framework experience and future prospectives. Besides Karl, the panel consists of two other people contributing to the discussion, namely Stephanie Ramezan, Co-Founder of Quince Capital, and Eneko Knorr, Founder of Pheiden Capital moderated by Pernille Enggaard, Finance and Business Journalist at Radio24syv.

The conference will host 50 speakers and is expected to host over 500 industry leaders, regulators, politicians, investors, developers, CTOs, lawyers and entrepreneurs building the foundation of the Blockchain and the Digital Economy who will attend this convention.

This convention will also discuss various topics in relation to regulations, economic impacts caused by Blockchain and the industries’ changes under the influence if this phenomenon. If you would like to know more about this convention, or would like to set a meeting in Barcelona, kindly contact E&S Group on  [email protected].

 

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UK Port Operator Improves Shipping Logistics via Blockchain

Categories Blockchain, Shipping, Technology

UK Port Operator Improves Shipping Logistics via Blockchain

Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading port operator has announced a collaboration with the digital logistics provider, Marine Transport International. Under the terms of the agreement, Marine Transport International will develop blockchain use for port logistics in around 21 ports that will handle 25% of all cargo shipments in the UK.

The two companies will carry out pilot shipment using blockchain technology because at the moment, each party in the ABP supply chain has no connection with others such as port operators, carriers, and shippers, all use different and unrelated systems. The proposed blockchain solution for port logistics will reduce the time spent on the manual processing of data according to Jody Cleworth, the founder and CEO of Marine Transport international.

“With blockchain, we can connect all those systems to ensure data is accurately and quickly shared, helping speed-up and simplify the flow of trade in and out of the UK.”

Back in June, Denmark announced its intentions to implement blockchain technology to aid in the registration of vessels on the register of the national ships. In addition to this, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports has also created its own blockchain-based solution for logistics.

In September, global logistics firm FedEx joined “Hyperledger”, an open-source project that was established to improve relations between cross-industry blockchain technologies. Hosted by the Linux Foundation, “Hyperledger” allows businesses to build blockchain-based applications, hardware, and platforms that facilitate their own individual type of business transactions.

FedEx Services stated that blockchain has “big implications” for supply chains, logistics, and transportation.

Executive Director of Hyperledger, Brian Behlendorf added:

“We are gaining traction around the world in market segments from finance to healthcare and government to logistics. This growth and diversity is a signal of the increasing recognition of the strategic value of enterprise blockchain and commitment to the adoption and development of open source frameworks to drive new business models.”

Blockchain has emerged over the last two years with an increasing amount of use cases. By far the most interesting and widespread is that of shipping and logistics where it has the power to significantly streamline the industry, saving billions and creating a wealth of new opportunities.

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

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Lithuania is looking to regulate Token Generating Events

Categories ICOs, Law, Technology, Trading, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Bitcoin, Regulation

Lithuania is looking to regulate Token Generating Events

Last October Lithuanian authorities were invited to attend a seminar that was seeking to examine the threats and potential benefits of the ICO sector, particularly with regards to the country’s economy. Whilst reports from BitMEX last week found that ICOs had so far managed to break even in terms of profit and loss in 2018, trends have shown a bit of a slump in the popularity of the market. Alongside the falling value of Ether and Bitcoin, it seems that fewer ICO projects were launched in 2018 when compared to the first half of the year.

All things considered, it does seem that it is good news and a positive sign that the market managed to break even, despite poor conditions.

Fraught with bad press

This does not mean that ICOs are not without their lack of other issues. Their issuance is fraught with lack of regulation and bad press, and research conducted at the beginning of the year found that almost 80% of ICO projects that were launched in 2017 could be classified as “scams”.

As a result, Lithuanian authorities have come together to voice their concerns over the ICO market, something that is becoming commonplace in a number of jurisdictions. Politicians in the country, as well as a representative from the central bank, came to the conclusion that cryptocurrency and digital assets have created a substantial market in the country that yields a huge turnover.

“Virtual currency has huge cash flows, but (there are) worries about converting them into dollars and euros as quickly as possible, (and) leaving virtual currencies as quickly as possible.”

Creation of a regulatory body

Whilst there is a concern over the cryptocurrency cash flow and the lawless style of the ICO market, Lithuania has vowed to create its own regulatory body that will oversee the developing industry. The newly created body will be responsible for supervision and enforcement, but it will also be on the lookout for possible benefits that could emerge from blockchain and crypto.

This development will see the country follow in the footsteps of Malta which introduced its own blockchain, cryptocurrency and ICO legislation on the 1st of November 2018. To find out more about launching an ICO in Malta, please contact E&S Group by sending us an email on [email protected].

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5 ways to tell if your business needs blockchain

Categories Business, Blockchain, Technology, Cryptocurrency Exchange

5 ways to tell if your business needs blockchain

There is no doubt that blockchain is a buzzword in the world of business right now, but should you consider it for your needs? To help you make that decision, here are 5 things you need to ask yourself beforehand.

Are we ready to trailblaze in the world of technology?

Blockchains offer businesses a shared, secure, and totally immutable record of transactions across either a public or private network. By embarking on a blockchain project, your business will need to “go big”, something that requires commitment from you. A good example would be that of businesses operating in global supply chains. Blockchain can be used to simplify documentation processing between carriers, customs, and logistics providers (resulting in a 60% reduction in timeframes) but it requires entities working together over and on the same network.

Does our organisation want to join an extended business network to improve processes?

For many the answer will be “yes, of course”, but making a move of this type requires the willingness to change the way you have always done things, as well as allowing others to both verify and produce business results. For example, after signing up preferred vendors and other industry stakeholders onto a blockchain-based energy consortium, a solar design business was able to speed up the work process by sharing one set of specs over the entire platform. This way, all stakeholders including the customer had full visibility of the entire process from start to finish and changes and approvals could be communicated to everyone, instantly.

Do we need to authenticate or verify digital or physical assets as a part of our business model?

One of the best ways of using blockchain technology is for the tracking and authentication of digital assets such as music, digital wallets, education certificates, movies, and mortgage contracts, with each one having a digital transaction lodged against it. The blockchain can also be used to keep tabs on things such as diamonds, gold, organic foot, artwork, even though they require being checked “off-chain”. In cases such as these where authenticity and the history of a product need to be verified, it is up to trusted sources in the supply chain to audit each asset, which can prove tricky.

Do our business processes involve specific contract terms that could benefit from faster automated processes or payments?

If your business model involves contracts or sign-offs from multiple individuals, then you can benefit from blockchain. Law firms, real estate agencies, supply chains- all of these can benefit from trusted parties involved being able to see a log of all transactions that have occurred. The blockchain is particularly suited to automating smart contracts between two or more parties.

Do we trust our blockchain participants to act in good faith or do we need to incentivise them?

For example, two food distributors in France are building a blockchain ecosystem of over 500 organic suppliers to authenticate and certify where the organic foods have come from. In this case, the authentication of products relies on other individuals involved in the process meaning there is always a margin for error. In cases such as this, incentivising these individuals with tokens for their accurate participation can help to maintain the integrity of the network.

E&S Group are experienced in all matters related to blockchain, cryptocurrency and tokenomics. Our team of experts can help you decide whether you want to create your own blockchain project or implement such technology into your existing business. Send us an email at [email protected] and we will ‘make things happen’!

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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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Malta is an attractive option for Foreign Direct Investment

Categories iGaming, Blockchain, Malta, Technology, DLT

Malta is an attractive option for Foreign Direct Investment

According to a report by EY, Malta has continued to retain its attractiveness for foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly due to its welcoming and progressive fiscal and regulatory framework.

Whilst blockchain and DLT sector is in its infancy, it along with the already established iGaming sector is stimulating the interest of international investors resulting in a market boom. The EY Annual Attractiveness Survey 2018 for Malta points to a promising future for one of the EU’s smallest member states.

In the International Spotlight

Despite Malta’s small size, it has recently been thrust into the international spotlight for its fast-growing economy that is attracting talent from all over the EU and beyond. This is a sentiment that is clearly reflected in how international investors consider the island, as the level of FDI has stayed consistently high over the last few years.

The EY survey suggests that one of the most-praised factors is the favourable regulatory environment with a ratio of 85% of FDI companies and investors stating this as one of their deciding factors. The survey adds that other recent regulatory developments such as the blockchain and crypto acts play a big part in the popularity of the country as a jurisdiction of choice.

“Business investors increasingly believe that Malta is keeping pace with regulatory changes in competing jurisdictions while simultaneously providing investors with the potential to exploit competitive advantages in both European and global markets,” the survey says. According to 56% of investors that took part in the survey, the current business environment offers significant international advantages.

Shortage of labour

For a country with such a healthy economy and industries, finding the right labour is an important part of sustainable success. The EU-wide issue of labour-shortages has not escaped Malta with the Maltese government stating that they need to import a significant amount of foreign labour to meet demands. 64% of respondent’s mention challenges in recruiting staff with investors believing that technology-wise, the right skill sets are present to keep up with the pace in technology.

Malta was the first EU state to regulate the online gaming market back in 2004. Since then, Malta’s iGaming industry has grown exponentially and it is now considered as one of the leading remote gaming jurisdictions in the world. Over the last 15 years, the sector has experienced continuous growth and in 2017 alone, it generated an estimated EUR 1.1 billion to the countries gross value.

iGaming continues to grow

The sectors growth does not show any sign of slowing down and over the next five years, as 69% of respondents believe, iGaming still will be an important factor in Maltese growth. This is followed by the tourism and leisure sector (48%), payments and fintech (45%), and digital media and games (42%).

When it comes to already adopt innovative technologies, areas such as Big Data and analytics (27%), cloud computing (55%), mobile (24%), IoT (14%) and process automation (22%) came out on top. Blockchain and DLT came in at 5% with investors expecting it to rise to 36% over the next three years.

The survey concluded:

“Positioning the island at the forefront of innovation, while remaining true to the principles and values that the country has grown accustomed to, will be even more relevant going forward than ever before.” 

E&S Group has worked hard to position itself at the forefront of Malta’s disruptive industries. With experts skilled in areas such as blockchain, DLT, crypto, IoT, iGaming, and more, we are able to assist with all legal, financial, and regulatory matters relating to setting up and operating a business within Malta. To find out more, contact a member of our team today by sending an email at [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.

To learn more about ICO Legal Services in Malta please follow this link.

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

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5 things that need to happen before we can see widespread blockchain adoption

Categories Blockchain, Technology, Regulation, Performance, Collaboration

5 things that need to happen before we can see widespread blockchain adoption

Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the biggest buzzwords of today and many believe that it is set to revolutionise the way that we do everything from finance, to healthcare. The fact that it is decentralised, immutable, and secure means that it has significant advantages over other types of technology.

Use cases that have been presented so far cover industries from law to real estate and it seems that this new technology could remove the need to paper trails and outdated legacy technology. The problem is that slow transactions speeds and regulatory issues are putting something of a dampener on the sector and are threatening to stunt blockchain’s growth.

What are the five main hurdles that blockchain technology has to overcome in order to see widespread adoption?

Better performance

Blockchain works like an accounting ledger except it has the ability to record transactions across a vast network, is completely decentralised, and requires no authority to supervise it. This makes it particularly suited to tracking financial transactions and other kinds of data, but there is a problem.

Blockchain can be slow and as it grows in popularity transaction speeds are set to get even slower. Some legacy transaction systems are capable of processing tens of thousands of transactions every second, whereas Bitcoin can only handle between 3-7 in the same amount of time. Because of this relatively low performance, at the moment blockchain lacks the scalability that is needed for it to be viable for large-scale applications.

The solution is to create “proof-of-stake” systems where a crypto-miner is required to have a certain stake in the asset in order to participate in it. It is hoped that this will speed up transaction times by weeding out those who are not full-time users.

Interoperability

With more and more stakeholders partaking in an ever-expanding industry, some people are concerned that such a number of different networks will result in a situation where no standard exists that will allow them to interact.

This level of standardisation is called ‘interoperability’ within the industry, and the lack of it means that blockchain coders and developers have freedom, but IT departments get headaches. Discovering that two platforms are unable to communicate means a lot of additional coding and behind-the-scenes work that may or may not produce a result.

On GitHub alone, there are more than 6500 active blockchain projects that use a range of different platforms, languages, protocols, and consensus measures. Whilst this level of innovation is good, some level of standardisation needs to be developed that will facilitate interconnectivity, cross-blockchain transactions and of course, standardisation.

Reduced complexity

One of the other main concerns about the Bitcoin blockchain network is the fact that it requires huge amounts of intensive computing power and electricity to run. In order to mine, miners must use enormous, highly complex rigs with many servers just to keep the network ticking over – this does not come cheap.

Several studies have put the price of mining just one Bitcoin at over $26,000 which is more than one Bitcoin is currently valued at. Whilst miners do get paid for their efforts, having that amount of capital available up front could be problematic for some. To be able to be truly accessible to all, transaction and mining costs need to be lower.

Firms such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are currently working on ways of improving the cost and complexity that is involved in blockchain technology through using the cloud. It is hoped that these could lower the barriers to developing and operating blockchain networks as well as automating the set up of basic blockchain structures.

Supportive, not restrictive regulation

As the price of cryptocurrency rocketed towards the end of 2017, regulators became uneasy and concerned about the speculative nature of this new market. With the popularity of the ICO came strict bans in South Korea and China, as well as the SEC in the US is taking legal action against individuals for fraudulent behavior.

But it is not just the ICO that suffers from a lack of regulatory clarity, smart contracts are also shrouded in uncertainty which could inhibit investment in technology that uses them.

However this does appear to be changing as a total of 17 US States have made legislatures that either mull over, or pass bills regarding blockchain adoption. Furthermore, the island of Malta  introduced three new acts that came into force in November to provide legal and regulatory certainty for ICOs, blockchain, and cryptocurrency related businesses.

Increased collaboration

Last but not least, firms in the sector need to work together more so that the technology can promote both education and development within the sphere. Several groups have been formed that seek to increase collaboration and standardization, and these include R3, RiskBlock Alliance, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and Hyperledger.

Whilst not all of these consortiums are building applications, they are at least beginning to work together for the good of the industry as a whole.

 

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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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.

 

To learn more about ICO Legal Services in Malta please follow this link.

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

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ICO numbers significantly fell during Q3

Categories ICOs, Malta, Technology, Trading, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Statistics

ICO numbers significantly fell during Q3

Market analysis by a leading cryptocurrency organisation has yielded the expected result that ICO numbers significantly fell during the third quarter of 2018.

A report published by CoinGecko shows that the number of Initial Coin Offerings in the third quarter of the year did not match, or exceed the announced projects or funds raised in Q1 or Q2.

During the second quarter, 606 projects were announced and 267 succeeded, raising a total of $7.73 billion. In contrast, the number of projects launched in Q3 was just 388 with 193 successful bids, raising a total of $1.59 billion. It is worth noting however that EOS ran a year-long project and gathered $4 billion, meaning that some of the funds gathered, would have gone to that project.

The report also mentions that out of 34 projects registered in the last quarter, nearly all were then registered on a cryptocurrency exchange, but only seven were able to find a trading value that exceeded the money the fund had raised.

The report shows that for every $100 that an investor held in tokens for these 34 projects, the market valuation would be $740. Additionally, most of these projects were based in Singapore or Malta and the UK. In fact, the UK is showing high numbers of in-country based projects.

This comes at the end of a year that saw the value of Bitcoin drop 78%, EOS – 25% and Ether – 30% signalling, as many believe a maturing of the market with values that reflect better long-term growth rates.

When it comes to ICOs, it is hoped that their popularity will pick up in the last quarter of 2018 due to countries such as Malta enacting a legal framework to legitimise the industry. Such moves are expected to instil confidence in investors and encourage the development of new projects, in a safer environment.

To find out more about Malta’s newly enacted cryptocurrency, blockchain, and ICO related legislation, or to discuss setting up an ICO with Malta as a base, contact E&S Group on [email protected]. We make things happen!

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