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Can Hong Kong Strike a Balance Between Innovation and Investor Protection in its Crypto Regulation?

  By David Drake   The cryptocurrency industry has achieved significant milestones in recent years as it strives to go mainstream. However, for its potential to be fully realised, the industry needs to overcome several challenges. Arguably, the regulation cloud hovering over the industry is the most significant challenge there is. The industry achieved tremendous growth when it was operating as a free market, true to its decentralised values. With government intervention though, there is consensus that it would be nearly impossible to go back to such an environment going forward. This is largely attributed to the growing legitimacy of digital currencies as an investment option by governments, as well as the need to protect consumers from fraud and other vices. The challenge, therefore, will be striking a balance between regulation and the decentralised nature of the industry without stifling innovation. One regulation development initiative that has raised interest in ... Read More »

How France ICO VISA System Can Inspire Other Countries

  By David Drake   In October, the French finance minister announced that parliament approved a framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs) that would ease how fintech companies do business in the country. The progressive regulatory provision requires companies that want to launch ICOs submit white papers to French authorities for review. If successful, the companies receive an ICO visa that gives them access to banking and accounting services with ease. The framework, proposed by the French Financial Market Regulators earlier in the year, aims at protecting investors by ensuring that companies disclose economic reasons and how they spend funds after an ICO. Stakeholders will be elated as it is expected that the ICO visa will boost growth in the country’s cryptocurrency industry. ONe Network CEO and founder, John Hoelzer says, “I believe this is a step in the right direction. It seems fairly straightforward and should help foster some ... Read More »

How Regulation and Talent are Pushing Europe to the Top of Global ICO Map

  By David Drake   The number of cryptocurrencies being issued each month keeps growing. However, countries where these digital assets are being issued can choose to either regulate them, leave the industry unregulated, or ban them altogether. In countries like China, the government has opted for a complete ban of cryptocurrency trading activities while in the US, the industry is largely unregulated. But things seem to be different in Europe. In a country like France, the government is striking middle ground and is considering regulating the industry. In so doing, France is on its way to rank among the first major economies to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs). ICO Success This approach to ICOs has seen Europe rise rapidly to become a global hub for cryptocurrencies with high amounts of funding streaming into cryptocurrency projects. This year alone, cumulative ICO financing stands at approximately $4.1 billion in Europe. This ... Read More »

Why Africa is Rife for Blockchain Technology

  By David Drake   Active public awareness efforts to make people understand the benefits of blockchain technology and the value in cryptocurrencies seem to be bearing fruit in recent years. This is evidenced by the increasing public interest in the space as well as how governments seem to be engaging with industry stakeholders to create enabling environments in their territories. As is the case with any business, crypto-companies need to start exploring the next frontiers for expansion and take advantage of new opportunities the technology creates. Just weeks after Binance launched in Uganda, Luno, a London-based cryptocurrency platform, announced plans to expand to the African market by setting up its regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa. But what factors could be drawing these cryptocurrency platforms to the continent? Insufficient Infrastructure Africa has been experiencing numerous challenges due to the lack of adequate infrastructure in numerous sectors of the economy. ... Read More »

Draft Regulations: Is India on the Path to Creating a Conducive Environment for Cryptos?

  By David Drake   Recent media reports show that the Indian government is already preparing regulations for the cryptocurrency industry. India has made headlines this year as one of the countries that has been hostile to the industry, outright banning the trading of digital assets within its borders. Just this past month, the country’s ministry of finance put together a panel and tasked it with the responsibility of preparing a draft cryptocurrency regulatory framework. The government made this move despite the fact that the Central Bank of India is making it difficult for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the country. Court Petitions The decision to prepare the draft regulations may have been influenced by petitions that cryptocurrency operators filed against the bank’s anti-cryptocurrency circular. Following the petitions, India’s Supreme Court directed the government to make clarifications on the policy this past November. However, the government filed a counter affidavit ... Read More »

Why HTC Exodus 1 will Influence Blockchain Utilization in the Mobile Phone Industry

  By David Drake   By their very nature, mobile phones have become an essential part of our daily lives. Although they were initially designed to make and receive phone calls, there are currently many uses for this gadget. Whether it is entertainment, information search or utilities such as camera and calendar, mobile phones have proven to be indispensable. Moreover, these gadgets could play an important role in the utilization of blockchain technology. This follows the development of the first blockchain-focused smartphone. Dedicated to Blockchain The first of its kind, the Exodus 1 phone was unveiled by consumer electronics company, HTC. This phone will have two parallel operating systems, android and a blockchain-based operating systems. The rationale for having two operating systems is to ensure security of decentralised applications as android would have security weaknesses since it is a centralised-based system. Joseph Oreste, founder and CEO of Qupon says, “Certainly ... Read More »

HTC Blockchain Phone: Is the Crypto Market Ready?

  By David Drake   Like with other sectors, blockchain’s application in the communication space is considered a great and positive step. But it is the integration of blockchain in mobile phones that is likely to cause a stir. Globally, the number of mobile users stands at billions. This makes the combination of mobile telephony and blockchain an exciting combination. HTC is already seeing this possibility, and in October, the mobile phone company launched the first ever  blockchain-centred smartphone, HTC Exodus 1. This HTC phone model doubles up as an android phone and a digital currency wallet. It is fully based on blockchain and can only be only purchased using Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies. Its ability to store cryptocurrency keys allows users to access, send, receive and keep track of cryptocurrency balances. With the reality of hacking threats, HTC has incorporated a separate lockable section where cryptocurrency keys are held ... Read More »

How Self-Regulation Could be a Game Changer for Japan’s Cryptocurrency Exchanges

  By David Drake   Japan’s cryptocurrency market has experienced numerous cyber-attacks that have led to loss of billions. With this in mind, Japan has been contemplating lawful cryptocurrency aspects for a while and its Financial Services Agency (FSA) has finally granted the cryptocurrency industry self-regulatory rights. The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), a platform that brings together 16 crypto-exchanges, will be overseeing the cryptocurrency industry. The FSA gave the alliance authority to regulate the industry, protect assets of customers and provide operating principles. The association will also give clear policies on anti-money laundering and outline appropriate compliance plans for the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges. “JVCEA sprung up as a result of multiple hacks of Japanese exchanges. We’ll see how this group interacts with the global crypto community to ensure all exchanges can secure their customer data,”  Joseph Oreste, founder of Qupon notes. Self Policies Previously, JVCEA proposed rules to ban trading ... Read More »

Key Benefits that Japan will Accrue after Regulator Approves Self-Regulation

  By David Drake   There is good news for cryptocurrency industry players in Japan. The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) announced that it has given its approval for the industry to regulate itself. This means the industry will now be able to provide guidelines on matters like safeguarding consumer assets and anti-money laundering policies to its 16 registered crypto exchange companies. The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) will also have power to monitor and sanction exchanges for any violations. The approval comes after the 16 crypto exchange companies formed a united front and drafted an approval to the FSA for self-regulation. Even though the FSA will retain its oversight role on the industry, what could self regulation mean for Japan? Devolved Power The self-regulation concept contains varied opinions from stakeholders in the cryptocurrency industry. In this case, Japan’s industry will clearly be the winner because there is a ... Read More »

Will India Survive the Ban of Cryptocurrencies?

  By David Drake   Despite the many ups and downs, the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow. In some countries, the regulatory environment supports the growth of these digital assets but in others like India and China, cryptocurrency trading is completely prohibited. India’s cryptocurrency industry has especially experienced turmoil this year after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) placed restrictions on banks on trading with crypto companies. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) added its voice to these restrictions after its president stated that cryptocurrencies are illegal in India. This conclusion is based on RBI’s ban on banks that do business with crypto companies earlier in the year. Persisting Stand The stand on cryptocurrency legality and the ban by India’s Supreme court is yet to change. The RBI has emphasized to legislators the disadvantages of cryptocurrencies claiming that they would create an environment where laundering of money ... Read More »

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