The Daily: EU Budgets €1M to Monitor Crypto, Wyoming Mulls Fintech Bank

The Daily: EU to Spend €1M to Monitor Crypto Space, Wyoming Mulls Bank for Fintech Firms

The European securities and markets watchdog ESMA has dedicated over 1 million euros to finance the monitoring of developments in the crypto sector. Also in The Daily this Saturday, Wyoming legislators are working on a bill that would facilitate the provision of banking services to crypto and blockchain companies, and according to a new survey, Wall Street institutions are more optimistic about bitcoin than crypto community members active on social media.     

Also read: Empty ETH Blocks, Bitcoin Populism, Crypto Flip-Floppers Exposed

ESMA Saves 1 Million Euros for Oversight of the Fintech Industry

The Daily: EU to Spend €1M to Monitor Crypto Space, Wyoming Mulls Bank for Fintech FirmsThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has set aside over one million euros that it intends to spend on monitoring activities related to cryptocurrencies and financial technologies. According to its Annual Work Program for 2019, the watchdog plans to closely follow trends in the crypto and fintech industry in order to identify problems and risks that may arise from financial innovations. The authority also wants to provide recommendations to market participants and consumers in that regard.

ESMA is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Markets and Financial Instruments Directive of the European Union. Some of them concern the providers of instruments such as contracts-for-difference (CFDs) and binary options. The marketing and distribution of CFDs among retail investors is currently banned in the EU. Recently, the agency announced its decision to extend the restrictions applied to a number of financial derivatives, including CFDs, until the end of January.

Wyoming Bill Envisages the Creation of a Bank for Crypto Companies

The Daily: EU to Spend €1M to Monitor Crypto Space, Wyoming Mulls Bank for Fintech FirmsWyoming, one of the U.S. states with a generally crypto-friendly attitude, is working on another interesting project in support of the fintech industry. Members of the State Legislature have teamed up with financial experts to draft a legislation that would set the stage for the creation of a financial institution tasked to provide services to blockchain and crypto companies.

The group has been preparing a draft law to address the lack of adequate access to secure and reliable banking services these businesses are currently facing. According to the authors – senators, representatives and finance executives – this has so far hampered the development of blockchain services and products in the marketplace.

If adopted, the new bill would create conditions for the establishment of “special purpose depository institutions” (SPDIs). An SPDI can be licensed as a money transmitter in Wyoming and provide exchange services for both cryptocurrency and fiat funds. The bank-like organization would have to open a branch in the state and operate within the federal banking system.

According to the draft, this institution would be obliged to maintain a 100% cash reserve to match digital money accounts. Businesses would be required to hold a minimum balance of $100,000 in either fiat or cryptocurrency.

Institutions Think Bitcoin Has Bottomed, Survey Finds

The Daily: EU to Spend €1M to Monitor Crypto Space, Wyoming Mulls Bank for Fintech FirmsInstitutional investors are more optimistic about cryptocurrencies than members of the crypto community active on Twitter, according to a new survey conducted by Fundstrat. 25 institutions have been polled and their answers have been compared to the opinions of 9,500 users of the microblogging platform, CNBC reported.

Responding to the question, “When do you think bitcoin will bottom?”, 44% of the Twitter users said it had already hit its low, Fundstrat managing partner and head of research Tom Lee revealed. At the same time, 54% of the representatives of Wall Street financial institutions questioned in the survey believe the worst period for bitcoin prices is over.

According to Lee, institutional investors are more optimistic about the future levels of the price of BTC – 57% said bitcoin core would rise anywhere from $15,000 to “the moon” by the end of 2019. Only 40% of the polled Twitter bloggers, however, shared the same prediction.

Google Searches for Leading Cryptos Hit New Lows

The Daily: EU to Spend €1M to Monitor Crypto Space, Wyoming Mulls Bank for Fintech FirmsGoogle Trends has detected that the general interest in cryptocurrencies continues to decrease. According to the available statistical data from the most popular search engine, the number of searches for the two leading digital coins by market capitalization, bitcoin core (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), has dropped to its lowest in the past 18 months. Compared to the highest score for the period (100), registered in December 2017, the frequency of searches for ‘bitcoin’ has gone down to just eight in the first week of October, 2018. The situation with ‘ethereum’ is pretty much identical. The findings coincide with a relative stabilization of crypto prices and a drop in investor activity.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.

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The Daily: Asian Crypto Jobs on the Rise, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto Firms

The Daily: Crypto Jobs on the Rise in Asia, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto Firms

The number of jobs and job seekers in the Asian crypto space is growing, according to leading recruiters in the region. Also in The Daily, Colombia may soon become a crypto-friendly nation, California and Russia want to use blockchain tech for insurance and pensions, and Malaysians remain bullish on cryptocurrencies, despite market trends this year.

Also read: Mycrypto Raises $4 million, Islamic Crypto Exchange Sets Foot in Malta

More Jobs and Job Seekers in the Asian Crypto Space

Jobs in the crypto and blockchain industry in Asia are enjoying increasing popularity among job-seekers from other, traditional sectors. Data from job search engine Indeed’s platforms in the region, including India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia, confirm the strong interest in roles in the space. Also, there’s been a 50 percent increase in the number of openings in the field since 2017, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters.

The Daily: Crypto Jobs on the Rise in Asia, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto Firms

Many of the candidates, however, come from a different professional background, as the sector is still in its infancy. “We hardly ever hire from inside of crypto because most people are very inexperienced. You have very, very few experienced people who get into the crypto industry,” says Julian Hosp, co-founder of Singapore-based crypto wallet and card provider Tenx, quoted by CNBC. He also notes that the number of applicants depends on market trends.

“Not many people have the actual skill sets”, adds John Mullally, director of financial services at Robert Walters in Hong Kong. Professionals that are currently entering the sector come from a wide range of backgrounds, not only tech and financial. Many of them have prior experience in marketing, public relations and operations, the recruiting specialists point out. The findings come after earlier this week Hong Kong, a major Asian economic and financial hub, announced it’s updating its policies to facilitate the immigration of fintech professionals.

Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto Firms to Create Jobs

The Daily: Crypto Jobs on the Rise in Asia, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto FirmsColombia may become the next jurisdiction to create a favorable business climate for companies in the crypto and blockchain space. In an opening speech at an annual information and communication tech congress, the country’s new president, Ivan Duque, revealed his administration’s commitment to cutting down rent taxes for crypto startups for a period of up to five years. The main motivation behind the proposal is to stimulate the creation of new jobs in the industry.

According to a report by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, the president also declared his support for exploring the implementation of blockchain technologies in order to improve key sectors such as security, health and also curb corruption by tracking the use of public funds. “If we want to overcome corruption, technology can be instrumental. The government must start by setting an example. We take it seriously, we want a modern Colombia,” Duque stated.

The president’s remarks come just weeks after Ivan Duque took office as a head of state of the South American country. He is an acknowledged financial expert in Colombia, also known as a technology enthusiast. Representatives of the local crypto community have expressed optimism as Duque’s administration is replacing a government that was not really crypto friendly.

Blockchain Bill in California, Blockchain Pensions in Russia

The California legislature has passed a draft amending the state’s Insurance Code to lay down the basis for implementing blockchain technology, electronic signatures and smart contracts. The updated legal framework will allow the introduction of electronic records and signatures secured with blockchain. Assembly Bill 2658 also adds the term “smart contract” to the legal definition of contract which legalizes the use of blockchain-based electronic signatures in contractual relations. Lawmakers have also amended the Californian Civil Code to incorporate a legal definition of blockchain technology.

The Daily: Crypto Jobs on the Rise in Asia, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto Firms

In another blockchain-related development, the Russian state pension fund has announced plans to implement the technology to monitor and track employment contract data. The management of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation (PFR) hopes to minimize its expenses for maintaining large volumes of data. PFR is currently working on proposals to consolidate all its information systems into a single digital platform that will be based on the distributed ledger technology. Another idea under development is to introduce smart contracts and electronic signatures in labor relations.

Malaysians Still Interested in Buying Cryptocurrency

The Daily: Crypto Jobs on the Rise in Asia, Colombia to Cut Taxes for Crypto FirmsDespite the bearish trend in crypto markets this year, Malaysians seem to be more interested in acquiring cryptos, mainly for speculative purposes, than selling the digital coins. The prices of most cryptocurrencies have fallen significantly since last year’s all-time highs but demand for cryptocurrencies in the country remains strong and encouraging, according to Yusho Liu, co-founder of crypto exchange Coinhako.

“The buy side is still very robust. Generally, there have been more buyers than sellers over the years. The more people know about it, the more they will be interested in buying into the future,” he told the local outlet Sun Biz. The entrepreneur shared his observations that most clients of his platform buy and hold digital assets and the participation of mainstream traders has increased in the past six to nine months. “In the long run, we’re still bullish on cryptocurrencies,” Yusho Liu stated.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT Experts

Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT Experts

Authorities in Hong Kong have taken steps to attract fintech specialists who can support its economic development. The government of the Chinese region has prepared a list of needed professions from several related fields, including distributed ledger technologies and asset management.

Also read: China Escalates Crackdown, Russia Chases Shadows, UK Warns of Scams

Hong Kong Updates Immigration Policy to Attract Fintech Professionals

Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT ExpertsAs part of new efforts to underpin Hong Kong’s development as a “high value-added and diversified economy,” the government of the special administrative region of China is now moving to facilitate the immigration of “quality people” from around the world. To do that, Hong Kong authorities have drafted a “Talent List” of 11 in-demand professions, a number of which belong to the fintech industry, and intend to publicize it under the banner “Hong Kong. Talent Hub – Unlimited Opportunities.”

In an announcement published on its website, the government notes that the list highlights specific professions needed most for Hong Kong‘s economic development. Beside waste treatment specialists, engineers and naval architects, the city wants to attract foreigners with expertise related to the crypto and blockchain space. According to the notice, Hong Kong is interested in fintech professionals and innovation and technology experts in fields like distributed ledger technologies (DLT), or blockchain, data engineering, including mining and analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, cyber security.

Authorities are also eager to invite experienced professionals in asset management, including trust fund management, as well as legal experts specializing in resolving international financial and investor-state disputes and lawyers with knowledge in cross-border transactions from investing or host states. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Human Resources Planning Commission has been quoted saying:

Hong Kong welcomes talents from all over the world with valuable skills, knowledge and experience to work here, bringing their talent into full play and further developing their careers. The promulgation of the Talent List is one of our major initiatives to enhance our competitive advantages in attracting international talents, creating cluster effects, stimulating the development of local talents and propelling Hong Kong forward.

No Prior Employment Arrangement Required

Hong Kong Seeks Fintech Talent, DLT ExpertsThe authors of the official announcement have also pointed out that immigration facilitation will be provided to eligible persons through Hong Kong’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS). Its current annual quota is 1,000. Foreign nationals approved under QMAS are free to settle in Hong Kong. People with professions included in the Talent List will not be required to have secured in advance an offer from a local employer.

Detailed information about the scheme is available on the Talent List’s dedicated page and the website of the Immigration Department. Authorities are already accepting applications from eligible individuals with the qualifications included in the list, which has been prepared after consultations between the government and the stakeholders. The document will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the changing needs of Hong Kong’s economy.

The news about the Talent List initiative in Hong Kong comes amid an escalating crackdown on the crypto sector in mainland China. After banning coin offerings and crypto-yuan trading last year, and recently targeting crypto-media and venues hosting events in the space, Chinese regulators have also announced intentions to curb payments to overseas crypto exchanges. Their latest efforts to restrict crypto-related activities involve the big three of the Chinese internet – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

Do you think Hong Kong is attractive to fintech professionals? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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Philippines Building Crypto Valley of Asia

Philippines Building Crypto Valley of Asia

The Philippines government is building Crypto Valley of Asia, a cryptocurrency and fintech hub similar to the one in the canton of Zug, Switzerland. The estate will be built at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in partnership with private property developer Northern Star Gaming & Resorts Inc. The zone is already set to accommodate 25 crypto firms that will operate within the area.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Building Crypto Valley of Asia

Philippines Building Crypto Valley of AsiaThe Philippines government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has partnered with Northern Star Gaming & Resorts Inc. to develop a crypto and fintech hub called Crypto Valley of Asia (CVA).

This is “part of the government’s bid to foster a fintech ecosystem [to] attract international blockchain companies to set up shop in the country,” e27 reported Monday.

The publication elaborated:

The CVA will consist of a 25-shop housing development inside the cyberpark developed in compliance with the strict security requirements for licensed overseas virtual exchanges (OVEs) located in CEZA. It will include co-working and living spaces, business incubation and acceleration hubs as well as back offices of OVEs and service providers to the global crypto space.

Philippines Building Crypto Valley of AsiaCEZA administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino commented in an official press statement that this infrastructure “will serve to attract more foreign investors and global fintech players to CEZA and the Philippines.” It will help the country “become one of the major offshoring destinations for fintech and blockchain related work.”

Recently, the authority announced that it has granted two licenses to cryptocurrency firms. Seventeen companies in the crypto space have already paid in full and the authority is expected to generate $68 million from licensing 25 crypto and fintech firms.

Generating Economic Boom

Philippines Building Crypto Valley of Asia“The goal is for the CVA to generate an economic boom that will allow more Filipinos to pursue careers in technology,” e27 conveyed, adding that third-party business providers (BPOs) will bring employment to the area.

Northern Star has committed to investing $100 million over the next 10 years and has already secured funds from several international and regional companies that will be located within the CVA, the news outlet noted. Chairman Enrique Gonzalez commented:

Crypto Valley of Asia and CEZA will put the Philippines on the global map of fintech and blockchain. Similar to other progressive jurisdictions such as Zug of Switzerland, we will create an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and critical skills development thru education and BPO training.

He reiterated, “with strong global partners that have confirmed entry into our master-planned development, we are confident in the continued momentum in positioning the Philippines as the leading destination for blockchain offshoring.”

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