A study of 48 EU countries for their blockchain and crypto-friendliness puts Switzerland, Gibraltar, and Malta at the top
Malta’s Transport Ministry and UK blockchain startup to develop a transport and logistics blockchain platform for the country
Today’s Bitcoin in Brief features several examples of harnessing crypto and blockchain technologies to improve quality of life around the world. The United Nations is involved in a crypto-funded project to power Moldova’s Technical University with solar energy. Initiatives in Malta and India will employ blockchain technologies to create more reliable public transportation and land registry systems.
UN Launches Crypto-Funded Solar Power Project in Moldova
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is launching this year a crypto-funded initiative to power a university in Moldova with solar energy. The project, to be realized in partnership with the South African solar power marketplace Sun Exchange, will allow people to buy solar cells and then lease them to the Technical University in Chisinau, which is one of the largest in the country.
According to a VOA report, the purchases will be made using Solarcoin, a crypto launched by the blockchain startup Electricchain. The idea is to find new sources of finance “to help buildings go green overnight, in this case with rooftop solar panels,” said Dumitru Vasilescu, program manager with UNDP in Moldova. “One of the biggest obstacles to countries investing in renewable energy is the lack of financing, as you often have to wait 10 to 15 years before you get a return on your investment,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Vasilescu added that the university will get a full 1 megawatt of energy installed in the summer as a result of the crowdfunding effort. The owners of the solar cells will in turn receive Solarcoins, as soon as the university produces energy, and will be able to earn about 4% interest on their investments. According to the UNDP representative, there is more than 10,000 square meters of unused rooftop space on public buildings in the country, which could potentially be covered with solar panels.
Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, is heavily dependent on energy imports, mainly from the Russian Federation. Cryptocurrencies have been gaining popularity in the former Soviet republic which is economically and politically on a crossroad between East and West. The local crypto community has recently opened the country’s first cryptocurrency exchange and presented a new digital token, both developed locally.
Malta Uses Blockchain for Better Public Transportation
Authorities in Malta, a country maintaining a crypto-friendly regulatory environment, are working on a project to use blockchain to improve the public transportation services. Maltese Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Ian Borg, has announced a partnership with Omnitude, a multi-enterprise blockchain platform. According to a press release, the deal is part of the nation’s blockchain strategy that will see the technology implemented to develop a transport and logistics platform using Omnitude’s blockchain middleware technology.
On the first stage, the government will work with the company to introduce overall improvements in transport reliability. Omnitude is a tech partner of Formula 1 team Williams Martini Racing and is working to assess the benefits that blockchain can bring to advanced engineering. Their project is said to be the first example of using blockchain in F1.
“We believe in Omnitude’s blockchain technology and its broad use-cases for the government […] It will improve the quality of life and enhance access to information for Maltese citizens. Blockchain technology is a key part of our overall technology strategy that will transform different sectors,” Ian Borg said. Earlier this year, Malta became one of the first countries in the world to approve a national strategy on blockchain technology.
Land Registry in India Made Reliable with Blockchain
The potential of the technology underpinning the majority of cryptocurrencies is not left unnoticed in other parts of the world. In India, blockchain will be used to trace transactions in property sales almost in real time. A newly announced project aims to build a land registry using blockchain technology for the Indian city of Panchkula, according to a blog post on the website of the London School of Economics.
The people behind the initiative – Alexandru Oprunenco, innovation advisor for the UNDP in Asia, and Chami Akmeemana, CEO of the Blockchain Learning Group – say their small venture is actually a “big deal” that represents a “meaningful and commercially viable solution” for the region. They point out that in many cities across the developing world land registry systems suffer from inefficiency and corruption. People selling a piece of land are often unsure if they legally own it, even if they have a legitimate sale deed. Potential buyers, on the other hand, are also not sure if the seller owns the plot.
“With blockchain we have a chance to fix many of these problems. The solution we are building incorporates many key benefits of the technology, such as an immutable history of transactions, so that no one doubts the authenticity of the records or be able to forge them,” Oprunenco and Akmeemana explain. Their project is using the Ethereum blockchain.
The Central Bank of Libya Says Bitcoin Is Illegal
Obviously failing to recognize the potential of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technologies, the central bank of Libya has declared “virtual currency” illegal in the country. Those who use it cannot be protected by Libyan law, the financial institution said, quoted by The Libya Observer.
On Tuesday, the CBL warned all Libyan citizens and businesses of the “security perils” of cryptocurrency, saying that it could be used in crimes, financing terrorism and money laundering – arguments often heard from financial regulators and central banks around the world. According to the notice, any use of virtual currency requires prior permission from the central bank in Tripoli.
What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Let us know in the comments section below.
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An eSports gaming network is aiming to eliminate bookmakers and odds, enabling users to create their own contests and bet with cryptocurrency #SPONSORED
Based on trade volume data, Morgan Stanley researchers claim that well-defined regulations are main factor for crypto exchanges when choosing a country to settle in #NEWS
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Changelly, a popular instant cryptocurrency exchange, has partnered with Binance, TOP-1 trading platform, to bring more tokens, faster transactions and better rates to users.
Konstantin Gladych, CEO of Changelly met Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance in Valletta, Malta – on the island recently becoming the new crypto harbor. During the meeting they discussed fundamental industry issues, government regulations and concluded a strategically important partnership.
Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ, CEO of Binance has commented:
“After meeting Konstantin in person to finalize our partnership, I am confident that Changelly has a professional team with great experience and even bigger potential. We believe that together we will provide users all over the world with a top-class level of service.”
Changelly acts as a broker between Binance and users, allowing to exchange cryptocurrency in a simple way avoiding complicated interfaces and processes on the professional trading platforms. Changelly’s integrated algorithm picks up the cryptocurrency rates from Binance and offers them to users in real time.
Changelly provides instant exchange API for partners such as Jaxx, Coinmarketcap, Breadwallet, Coinomi, Mycelium, Coinpayments, and other prominent companies. It enables their users to exchange cryptocurrency without using external exchanges. Changelly acts as a mediator between Binance and partners, bringing new exchange options and sharing profit.
Binance, in turn, opens up an opportunity for Changelly to add more prospective and popular trading pairs. It is the top exchange when it comes to the quality of coins and tokens listed: you can trade almost 120 of them. Due to this fact, all the cryptocurrencies supported by Binance can be easily listed on Changelly and become available for trading for user and partners.
Comparing to other trading platforms, Binance processes transactions in the fastest manner possible and provides more profitable rates. The high-performing matching engine of Binance is capable to process up to 1 400 000 orders per second, making Binance one of the fastest exchanges on the market. This means sped up transactions for all Changelly users.
Konstantin Gladych, CEO at Changelly has commented:
“This partnership is a huge honor for Changelly: I am sure that it will help us provide even higher-quality service to our users around the world and increase our presence on the crypto market. The top exchange trusts us to have business with – this gives us confidence in what we do, and also responsibility to ensure five-star user experience. We are up for the challenge!”
Changelly is a popular instant cryptocurrency exchange with 100+ coins and tokens listed. The service processes around 15K transactions daily. Operating since 2015, Changelly has attracted over 2M registered customers from around the world. Changelly offers its API and a customizable payment widget for any crypto service that wishes to implement exchange options. Key partners are Jaxx, Coinmarketcap, Bittrex, Coinomi, Breadwallet and others.
Binance Exchange is the TOP-1 trading platform in the world that performs the fastest transaction processing on the market. The platform is founded by a team of fintech and crypto experts and focuses on security, robustness, and execution speed as well as offering multi-tier and multi-cluster system architecture which ensures high safety stability attracting enthusiasts and professional traders alike.
This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.
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The Cabinet of Malta has approved three bills related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. One bill in particular, the Virtual Financial Assets Bill, provides a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.
Crypto Bill Approved by Cabinet
The Cabinet of Malta approved three bills on Tuesday, one of which is the Virtual Financial Assets Bill that provides the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to local media. The other two bills are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill and the Technology Arrangements and Services Bill.
All three were also presented to the Parliament of Malta for its first reading on Tuesday. The next stage is a debate between both sides of the House before they are passed into law, the Malta Independent explained. The news outlet noted that Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Silvio Schembri, “strongly believes” that:
Once new laws surrounding blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are enacted in Malta, banks would be less reluctant to welcome companies working in the industry, presumably due to the legal certainty it would provide.
He was also quoted by Malta Winds, saying, “As a government, we think that by regulating this market, it will ensure that the three main principles of financial regulation are adhered to and will be a market that protects the investor and provides market integrity and financial soundness.”
About the Three Bills
The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill establishes a new department named the Malta Digital Innovation Authority along with its duties and responsibilities. It also focuses on internal governance arrangements, explained Mamo TCV Advocates law firm. One of the key roles of the Authority is “the certification of DLT [Distributed Ledger Technology] platforms to ensure credibility and provide legal certainty to users wishing to make use of a DLT platform.”
The second piece of legislation, entitled the Technology Arrangements and Services Bill, deals with the registration of technology service providers and the certification of technology arrangements, such as concerning system administrators and auditors.
The Virtual Financial Assets Bill, the law firm described, focuses on ICOs “and the regulation in respect of certain service providers which will be involved in activities related to ICOs.” The firm added that “The bill will also outline the regulatory regime which will be applicable to cryptocurrency exchanges,” noting:
Malta has witnessed an exponential worldwide interest from exchanges seeking to relocate to Malta and issuers of ICOs wishing to launch from Malta. The proposed bill will further strengthen Malta’s position on the DLT front and solidify its reputation as a blockchain island.
Moreover, the bill empowers the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) “with the necessary regulatory and investigatory powers” such as “the powers to issue directives, to adopt and publish rules, to require information…[and] to suspend either an ICO or the trading of a VC on an exchange.”
Do you think Malta will become a crypto island? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Binance releases statement denying allegations of breaking an exclusivity contract with Sequoia, reports that courts ruled Sequoia’s injunction invalid #NEWS
For some obvious reasons, but also irrational fears, big players like China, Russia, and the European Union are wary of cryptos like bitcoin. Centralized control doesn’t square with decentralization. However, often that’s not how their own regions and smaller neighbors feel about cryptocurrencies. In today’s Bitcoin in Brief we cover some recent developments mirroring this divergence of interests. The balance between center and periphery is likely to determine the future of cryptocurrencies in Eurasia and beyond.
Only Cryptoyuan, Only Cryptoruble
China will not allow any cryptocurrency other than a digital yuan, a Chinese entrepreneur recently told Russian media. Huan Zhang’s company, DAEX Blockchain Group, is working on a clearing ecosystem for cryptocurrencies in collaboration with Russian counterparts. She believes the decentralized nature of blockchain technologies and a centralized clearing platform should be balanced well for the crypto market to function properly. “China treats the blockchain in a positive way, but fears cryptocurrencies,” Zhang told Sputink. “The central bank is working on its own digital coin, cryptoyuan, and authorities won’t allow any other cryptocurrency in the country,” she said on the sidelines of the economic forum in Yalta, Crimea.
The Central Bank of Russia is also wary of decentralized cryptocurrencies. On multiple occasions, its representatives have spoken against their uncontrolled circulation and free exchange. The idea of a cryptoruble has its supporters among Russian officials, including in the CBR. For many Russian regions, however, a centralized crypto as a state-issued alternative is simply not good enough. The western exclave of Kaliningrad and Russia’s far-eastern capital Vladivostok, for example, are willing to create offshore zones for businesses working with decentralized cryptocurrencies.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which hosted the Yalta Forum, has been dealing with sanctions since it joined the Russian Federation. Local officials are convinced that a vibrant crypto sector could help the region overcome international isolation and develop economically. They have recently asked for permission to set up a crypto offshore zone, crypto exchange, crypto cluster, and even issue a Crimean crypto. The Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association is actually working on a “Crypto-Crimea” plan encompassing all proposals.
Forget about China, Think of Hong Kong
Beijing’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies has turned China’s own Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong and the Asian city-state of Singapore into wanted destinations for investors and businesses raising crypto funds. The number of startups launching initial coin offerings (ICOs) in these two territories has sky-rocketed in recent months, according to local fintech entrepreneurs, lawyers, and industry organizations. “Yes, there has been a lot of activity,” said Anson Zeall, chairman of Singapore’s Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Startups. Like many others in the sector, he thinks the increase is related to China’s retreat from ICOs.
Thanks to its independent legal system, Hong Kong has also seen significant ICO growth. As reported by Chinese media, all ICO platforms and Bitcoin exchanges have already exited the Chinese market as a result of official warnings of the risks associated with investing in these projects. Well, others, including Hong Kong, which is part of China, are still willing to accept the risks, supporting innovation and economic growth.
Europe and the Europeans
While United Europe has recently confirmed serious intentions to end anonymity for crypto traders, with a vote in the European parliament last week, crypto exchanges are not turning back on Europeans, not yet. Many trading platforms have decided to move closer to the Old Continent, not too close, though – Switzerland, Gibraltar, Malta, even the exiting UK.
Maltese authorities are on a crusade to make their island the friendliest jurisdiction for the crypto sector. Proposed regulations are tailored to provide crypto exchanges, brokerages, asset managers, and crypto users with “legal certainty”. Two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms have confirmed intentions to relocate operations to Malta. Binance, which announced it is moving to the “Blockchain Island”, recently said it will hire up to 200 people there. Following its decision, the Chinese rival Okex said it’s also coming to island. Other crypto companies have followed in their footsteps, including Berlin-based blockchain firm Neufund and the gaming platform operator Abyss.
Looking to expand beyond Asia, another Chinese exchange, Huobi, is planning to set up an office in London, despite Brexit. “Our statistics show that London is the most active trading scene across Europe,” Chern Chung, Huobi’s senior business development manager for Europe, has been quoted as saying. “Absolutely – London, Britain is the entry point for the European market for us,” Vice-President of Huobi Group Peng Hu confirmed.
Crypto businesses are often known for swimming against the stream. The crypto exchange Golix, which has recently felt the heat from competition in bitcoin-loving Zimbabwe, has announced plans to expand its operations to neighboring South Africa. In partnership with the local crypto hub Blockstarters, the trading platform wants to increase its network on the continent, tapping into the very active South African market.
Authorities in the regional powerhouse have recently taken steps to tax crypto incomes and transactions, which can curb crypto trade. On the other hand, self-regulation has been mentioned as a solution for the South African crypto sector. So, at the end of the day, Golix might have taken a sound business decision.
Do you agree that the diversity of interests in each country and region helps cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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The post Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: Wary Giants, Eager Dwarfs appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Kraken will be ending its services in Japan at the end of June, but has not ruled out coming back in the future #NEWS
Malta’s proposed Financial Instrument Test would determine whether a virtual asset falls under EU regulation or Malta’s potential Virtual Financial Assets Act. #NEWS
The Maltese government’s plan to bring more international cryptocurrency business to booster the local economy, by positioning itself as a hospitable jurisdiction within the EU, appears to be paying off. Following Binance moving to the island just last month, Malta has now succeeded in attracting yet another exchange, Okex.
Maltese Blockchain Ecosystem
Okex, the Chinese-run cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong, has announced today that it will be expanding to the European island nation of Malta. The country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, commented: “We welcome Okex, a world-leading digital exchange, to our growing blockchain ecosystem. Malta is fast becoming the jurisdiction of choice for Distributed Ledger Technology companies in the European Union and globally.”
Chris Lee, CEO of OKEx, said: “We look forward to working with the Malta government as it is forward thinking and shares many of our same values: the most important of which are protection of traders and the general public, compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer standards, and recognition of the innovation and importance of continued development in the Blockchain ecosystem.”
Warm Welcome to Crypto Companies
Unlike other regions, Malta offers crypto firms with an environment where the government is not only open to their business but actively seeking it as well. For example, before making its decision Okex management was able to meet with members of the Maltese government and regulatory leaders. This allowed them to understand the country’s legislative and regulatory plans, provide written feedback and engage in open dialogue, they explained.
Tim Byun, Chief Risk Officer and Head of Government Relations of OKEx, commented: “Malta’s Virtual Financial Asset Act is a solid foundation for the industry and the government to work together in fostering the nascent blockchain/digital asset industry. More specifically, Malta’s sound risk-based approach will help cultivate a responsible, compliant, and healthy ecosystem.”
Back in March 23, Binance revealed that it would be moving its operations and starting to recruit 200 people to work on the island as soon as possible. Okex are now establishing an entity in Malta in accordance with the expected regulations and framework and will apply for a license when it becomes available. If and when the company obtains such a license, they expect to have a full team of local management, front office staff, as well as KYC and AML officers, a representative told news.Bitcoin.com today.
Should other governments in Europe soon follow the example of Malta to foster the growth of the local crypto ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Another major cryptocurrency exchange is about to set up shop in Malta, cementing the small Mediterranean island nation’s status as a burgeoning hub for cryptocurrency startups. OKEx, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange as measured by daily trading volume, on Thursday announced that it will open an office in Malta and make it a “foundation for … Continued
The post OKEx to Become Second Major Cryptocurrency Exchange to Move to Malta appeared first on CCN
OKEx will expand into Malta, following on the heels of Binance’s announcement to open an office there last month #NEWS
Binance headquarter and other features of ‘Maltese Blockchain Order’ #ANALYSIS
Welcome to the Friday edition of Bitcoin in Brief. The fourth instalment of this new feature from news.Bitcoin.com is the most eclectic yet, encompassing everything from Satoshi Nakamoto’s faux birthday to juicy snippets from the Tezos lawsuit. According to court documents, the project’s co-founder, Kathleen Breitman is a “one woman band”.
Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Busted in Bangkok
Happy Birthday Satoshi Wherever You Are
On Thursday, bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator was sent birthday greetings from all corners of the cryptosphere. The DOB Satoshi Nakamoto entered on his Bitcointalk forum profile is almost certainly not his true birthday. Nevertheless, April 5 now rivals January 3, when the genesis block was mined in 2009, as unofficial Satoshi Day.
It has been suggested that Satoshi chose this date because on April 5 1933 President Roosevelt signed an executive order “forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States”. Saving gold was henceforth a crime punishable with a $10,000 fine ($200k today) and upto 10 years in jail. Then again, perhaps people are reading too much into all this. For what it’s worth, if his Bitcointalk DOB was correct, Satoshi would be 43.
Good News and Bad News for Tezos
This week Tezos eased closer to launching its mainnet, which is scheduled for Q3 of this year. That’s the good news. Meanwhile, juicy details have been emerging about the class action complaint filed against Tezos. That’s the bad news as far as Kathleen Breitman and husband Arthur are concerned. The plaintiffs are seeking their bitcoin and ethereum back plus monetary damages to cover the shortfall in the assets’ subsequent appreciation.
In particular, the class action complaint, filed on April 3, outlines evidence that Tezos was offering U.S. investors tokens that constituted a security. Amusingly, the criminal complaint includes quotes from r/ethtrader and r/tezos from Arthur Breitman, serving as a reminder that anything an ICO writes – in its whitepaper, on its website, and on social media – can and will be used as evidence against it. The class action filing also cites a Reddit AMA Kathleen Breitman held, highlighting the fact that she referred to herself as a “one woman band”.
Binance Delists Centra, Bigs Up Malta
Binance has moved to delist centra (CTR), the token whose ICO founders were arrested on April 1 as one of them was trying to leave the U.S. As reported in Bitcoin in Brief on Tuesday, the CTR token subsequently plunged in price, while exchanges moved to distance themselves from a tainted asset that had been branded as a security. On a brighter note, Binance chairman CZ claims that over 20 crypto companies are looking to move to or invest in Malta, where his exchange is presently relocating.
In other cryptocurrency exchange news, IDEX has just passed 100,000 users and claims to be accounting for over 50% off all ethereum DEX volume. Naturally it’s using this news to try and drum up interest in its ICO for a staking token that promises a profit share from future trading fees.
This Week in Weird ICOs
On the one hand, ridiculous ICOs don’t deserve the oxygen of publicity they so desperately crave. But on the other, the Royal Wedding ICO is so crazy it warrants a mention. Apparently, the crowdsale enables “the people of the world to feel a part of the Royal Wedding, whilst being able to provide an engaging outlet for interested parties to not only contribute to a decentralised wedding gift, but also appeal to their financial prowess in the creation of an investment mechanism such as the Royale Coin.” One can only hope that’s the last time the words “decentralised wedding gift” are ever used. In comparison, Eric Voorhees’ suggestion that Tesla holds an ICO seems pretty sensible.
IOTA Burns More Bridges
IOTA is going through a very messy public break-up with a team member. The project’s David Sønstebø has accused now-former employee Per Lind of all sorts of misdeeds. He’s also deleted a Medium post dating from 2016 in which IOTA welcomed Lind into the fold. Lind, for what it’s worth, has refuted the accusations that have been made against him. An unusually high proportion of the people David Sønstebø meets wind up betraying him, if the IOTA co-founder is to be believed. He really does have rotten luck.
Buy the Dip
Finally, a trailer has appeared for a forthcoming crypto comedy called Buy the Dip. A “biting satire on the world of cryptocurrency” it looks every bit as silly as it sounds.
What other bitcoin stories caught your attention today? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Operator of Japanese crypto exchange GMO Coin establishes new group to increase security measures for customer information #NEWS
The Malta Gaming Authority has recently published guidelines on crypto and Blockchain application in the gaming industry. #NEWS