Malaysian cryptocurrency regulation comes into effect on Tuesday, Reuters reports on Monday, Jan. 14.

The Malaysian finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, reportedly said today that the Capital Markets and Services Order 2019 would become effective on Jan. 15. According to Reuters, the new regulation classifies digital currencies, tokens and crypto-assets as securities, placing them under the Securities Commission’s authority.

Starting from Tuesday, any person operating unauthorized initial coin offerings (ICOs) or digital asset exchanges in Malaysia will be reportedly facing a 10-year jail sentence and a 10 million ($2.4 million) ringgit fine.

According to Malaysian news outlet The Star, Eng noted the positive outlook of the Ministry of Finance on the cryptocurrency industry, stating:

“The Ministry of Finance views digital assets, as well as its underlying blockchain technologies, as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries.”

Namely, Eng noted that the ministry believes digital assets offer both an alternative fundraising method and a new asset class for investors.

As Cointelegraph reported, the Malaysian government was still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies just two days ago.

Still, it has reportedly been clear since November of last year that Malaysia will enact regulations for cryptocurrency and ICOs in Q1 2019, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

*This post is credited to CoinTelepgraph

Co-founded by veteran game developer Brian Fargo, Robot Cache will purportedly be the first blockchain-based digital marketplace for video games.

Brian Fargo Launches Blockchain-Based Steam Competitor

The PC games platform is set to launch sometime in 2019 but has already signed up 22 publishers and 700 games for its blockchain-based competitor to Steam.

Robot Cache has several unique features. It plans to offer the option for game users to re-sell their game purchases and mine a “virtual currency” called IRON when their machines aren’t in use.

Lee Jacobson, CEO of Robot Cache, told VentureBeat:

“Reselling games is huge, with the publishers getting a cut, and gamers being able to make money. Some users want to monetize their digital library. They can play a game for a few months and then sell it back. Then they can use it to buy more games.”

The new platform has also committed to giving game publishers and developers in the region of 95% of the value of new game sales. In comparison, Steam gives back 70%.  Selling used titles on Robot Cache will still reward the publisher with 70% of the revenue and give the gamer 25%.

Robot Cache is based in San Diego, California, and co-founder Brian Fargo has also created game developers Interplay Entertainment and InXile Entertainment. He has delivered titles for Activisionand Apple and directed the wildly popular “Wasteland” RPG.

So far, the platform’s Partner Portal for game publishers to register is open, and it hopes to offer a combination of big and indie labels.

The latest publishers to join Robot Cache include 1C Publishing, Bigben Interactive, Ci Games, Dankie, Devolver Digital, Headup, Hyperkinetic Studios, Revival Productions, and Running with Scissors. They join 14 others. Jacobson says Robot Cache is talking to “everybody in the industry” and that the platform will “have the largest launch library in the history of video games.”

IRON Won’t be a Cryptocurrency

The company had planned to create an ERC20 token called IRON but has shelved those plans as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cracks down on utility tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Jacobson explained to VentureBeat:

“We didn’t want to go down that road of upsetting governmental authorities.”

IRON will instead be a virtual token limited to the Robot Cache platform, any IRON users “mine” on the platform can be used to pay for game titles.

The SEC classes most ICO tokens as securities, despite the increase in the use of the term utility token. It has promised to look at each ICO on a case by case basis, deterring even credible ICOs from launching due to the complication of securities legislation. The latest statistics on ICOs may also indicate that the funding model is a dying trend.

*This post is credited to CCN

In the past 24 hours, the cryptocurrency market added $7 billion to its valuation as Bitcoin and Ethereum rebounded by around five percent.

Bitcoin (BTC) successfully defended a relatively weak support level at $4,000 with strength and Ethereum (ETH) prevented a further drop below the $110 level.

However, based on the level of the momentum of major cryptocurrencies throughout the past several days, if the dominant cryptocurrency does not cleanly breakout of the $4,000 to $4,200 range, a short-term drop to the mid-$3,000 region still remains a possibility.

Where Bitcoin and Ethereum Go Next?

Bitcoin and Ethereum remain as the only two cryptocurrencies to hold a strong daily trading volume. As of December 1, the daily volume of BTC hovers at around $5.5 billion, while that of ETH is stable at $2 billion.

The daily volume of ETH is larger than the daily volume of Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Stellar (XLM) combined.

Several reports released in the past month have shown that the recent sell-off of ETH was not hugely affected by the liquidation of ETH by initial coin offering (ICO) projects.

Chris Burniske, a partner at Placeholder VC, said:

“So, in reality just $8 million worth of ICO treasuries’ ETH directly hit exchanges during November 14–30, 2018. Given the data we have, we are confident to say that ICO projects reacted to the market conditions, rather than dictated them.”

The high daily volume of ETH and BTC suggest that the two cryptocurrencies are not free falling with low sell-pressure, unlike the majority of major cryptocurrencies and small market cap cryptocurrencies in the market.

The danger and the risk of trading low volume cryptocurrencies in a highly volatile period is that if sell orders hit the market, digital assets with low volume will be the first to fall by a significant margin.

A high daily volume is also what allowed BTC and ETH to recover by more than five percent in the past 24 hours while XRP and BCH demonstrated a daily increase in price in the range of 1.5 percent to 3 percent.

If BTC and ETH can breakout cleanly above major resistance levels, which are estimated to be $4,300 for BTC and $120 for ETH, then the two cryptocurrencies could lead the market through a strong short-term rally.

But, if the two assets continue failing in breaking out of their respective resistance levels, it will be challenging for the market to see a major upward price break.

Fundamentals Show Ethereum is in a Good Position

Joseph Todaro, a managing partner Blocktown Cap, reported that the Ethereum blockchain network is settling $500 million in daily transaction volume from 600,000 daily transactions, and virtually every emerging decentralized application (dApp) or project is being built on Ethereum.

“$500 mil daily transaction volume, 600,000 daily transactions, 1/3 reduction in issuance Q1, ETH locked up keeps growing (ie dai), down 92%, absolutely terrible press, basically anything of interest is built on ETH,” Todaro said.

Joseph Todaro@j3todaro

Bull case for $ETH starting to look good

– $500 mil daily tx vol
– 600k daily txs
– 1/3 reduction in issuance Q1
– ETH locked up keeps growing (ie dai)
– down 92%
– absolutely terrible press
– basically anything of interest is built on ETH

*This post is credited to CCN

Considering there are well over 2,000 cryptocurrencies on today’s market, the average blockchain investor faces being veritably overwhelmed by choice.

That certainly sounds like a lot, but pretty much all cryptocurrency falls into one of three token categories: currency, utility, or investment.

Depending on the country, cryptocurrency startups may have to register their business with regulators depending on the token issued.

Each group requires different rules and regulations to ensure their issuance and exchange is above board with government regulators.

So, let’s take a look at what each of the classifications mean, quickly.

Currency tokens

This is the original (and most straight-forward) form a blockchain-derived token can take.

Tokens can be classified as currencies if (and only if) they were created entirely as a means of payment for goods and services external to the platform running the token.

For example, Bitcoin is seen as a currency as it was created with the intention of replacing fiat money. As such, Bitcoin holders are able to use their Bitcoin to purchase goods and services from shops, online retailers, and other merchants.

It’s worth noting that the SEC has deemed both Bitcoin and Ethereum to be currencies, after both were found to be too decentralized to be anything but.

Utility tokens

These digital assets are built to provide investors with something other than a means of payment.

This typically comes in the form of access to a particular product or platform. For example, many cryptocurrency exchanges have issued their own native cryptocurrencies for customers to use to reduce trading fees.

The primary difference between a currency and a utility lies in the fact that holding a utility token gives access to a function provided directly by the businesses who issued it.

In our cryptocurrency exchange example, the holder is only granted access to reduced trading fees through the use of that token.

Most tokens created on blockchains (like EOS and Ethereum) are essentially utility tokens, as each one is intended to be used natively on a single platform, such as a decentralized app (dApp).

Investment/asset tokens

Investment tokens are perhaps the most complicated to classify. Inevitably, most become securities in the eyes of financial regulators like the SEC and FINMA.

Tokens found in in this group are the assets that promise a positive return on their investment (besides profits generated from rising market prices).

Such returns are usually distributed by the platform itself or the company that created it.

The most famous example is the MakerDAO – an autonomous, smart-contract powered blockchain organization that reinvested profits from its ICO to generate more profit for holders.

This was deemed to be the critical factor that allowed the SEC to retroactively classify the digital assets issued by MakerDAO as investment tokens (and by extension, securities).

Well, there you have it! The three major types of cryptocurrency assets. It’s worth mentioning that they can also come in hybrid forms, such as utility/investment tokens, but that’s for another day.

*This post is credited to Thenextweb

The SEC in the United States has finally offered some parameters on cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

As it continues to turn its deliberations into actions where cryptocurrencies are concerned, the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now issued some firm guidance on crypo.

Under the header ‘Statement on digital asset securities issuance and trading’, there’s not an awful lot of surprise to be found in its words. The statement comes in the light of recent rulings on firms such as Paragon, Crypto Asset and AirFox, with remedies agreed with some of those organisations.

Those are detailed in the statement, and boil down to – for example – AirFox and Paragon having to register their tokens as securities, rather than them be allowed to exist as decentralised entities. Furthermore, those who have invested in both must now contact investors to give them the information they would have had, had the tokens concerned been registered as securities from the start.

“These two matters demonstrate that there is a path to compliance with the federal securities laws going forward, even where issuers have conducted an illegal unregistered offering of digital asset securities”, the SEC writes.

It now requires that any platform trading “in digital asset securities and operates as an ‘exchange” must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange. That, or be exempt for some reason from registration.

Furthermore, anyone providing a marketplace for bringing together buyers and sellers of securities must work out if, under US law, they are falling under the definition of an exchange. If they are, they also have to register. Irrespective of technology, the SEC declares that it’ll be taking a “functional approach” – specifically giving itself leeway to include circumstances – when identifying what it regards as an exchange.

ICOs don’t escape, either. Any entity issuing ICOs or undertaking secondary trading in digital asset securities will need to register with the SEC. Furthermore, they have to become part of a self-regulatory group as well.

The SEC statement ends with declaring that its divisions are looking to “encourage and support innovation”. The 19 footnotes that follow that assertion suggest it’s not that straightforward.

*This post is credited to CryptoNewsReview

Thailand Gets Ready For Its First ICO Portal

The securities regulator of Thailand has affirmed that at least one Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portal will be opened in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul, the secretary general of Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has affirmed that ICOs will possibly start to be regulated in the country by December.

It looks like the market for cryptos and ICOs in Thailand might just be starting to be on the right development track as regulation is started to be enforced in the country for these cases. Everything began with a royal decree back in May that was used to confirm the development of a framework for cryptos in the country. Now, the Thai SEC will regulate and oversee the whole process.

First, the companies will have to applicate for the new regulation and then they will have a 90 day to comply with the regulation created by the SEC, which is trying to diminish the risks of the markets in the country. Also, the SEC has affirmed that it will not amend the royal decree in any way.

However, the authorities are not necessarily pro-ICO yet. They affirm that ICOs are always very risky and that regulation will diminish the risks for the scam but that there are still issues to be solved.

At the current moment, there are six businesses trying to operate digital asset exchanges in the country: Bitcoin Co (bx.in.th), Bitkub Online Co Ltd (bitkub.com), Cash2Coins Co Ltd (cash2coins.com), Satang Corporation Co Ltd (tdax.com), Coin Asset Co Ltd (coinasset.co.th) and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd (seadex.io).

The two businesses trying to operate as digital asset dealers are Coins TH Co (coins.co.th) and Digital Coin Co Ltd (thaiwm.com).

Another platform that could receive some attention is J Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Jaymart Plc., which has been wanting to create its own decentralized digital lending platform for quite some time now.

By approving these entities and their businesses, the government and the regulatory agency hope to create a safe environment for the people who want to trade these assets free of legal trouble and uncertainty.

In somewhat related news, the country is now trying to use the blockchain technology in the validation of taxes paid by the citizens in an effort to speed up the tax refund process. This, the government believes, could be very beneficial for the whole process.

*The post is credited to Bitcoin Exchange Guide

Investors should expect more initial coin offering (ICO) projects to fail in the next few months as the global regulatory environment has tightened amid a cryptocurrency bear market, says Aaron Ting, secretary of Access Blockchain Association Malaysia.

“A good example is the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to regulate cryptocurrencies under its federal securities laws. As a result, [the providers of] digital tokens that function as securities are required to adhere to the rules and regulations of the SEC,” he adds.

“Failing to do so could prompt the regulator to announce that the projects are illegal and action could be taken against them. It is not hard to imagine that the price of these digital tokens would fall if such an announcement was made.”

Last month, the SEC took its first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency hedge fund when it issued Crypto Asset Management LP and its founder Timothy Enneking a cease and desist order and a fine of US$200,000. The fund was marketed as “the first regulated crypto asset fund in the US” even though it operated as an unregistered investment company.

“Not only have regulations tightened, so has enforcement. Local investors should be aware of this as a number of them have invested in ICO projects overseas. It is a global issue and local investors could be affected,” says Ting, who is also vice-president of the Malaysian Investors’ Association.

The bear market has reduced liquidity and exposed the highly speculative nature of the cryptocurrency market to a wider group of investors, he adds.

As at Oct 19, bitcoin — the dominant cryptocurrency in the market — had fallen 53.82% year to date to US$6,517. Ether, the cryptocurrency with the second largest market capitalisation, fell 72.84% to US$203.01, according to CoinMarketCap. Many digital tokens raised via ICOs (also known as alternative coins) have seen their prices fall by 90% or more.

“Previously, the wealth created by the bitcoin rally flowed into ether and other digital tokens. Everyone was happy when prices were up. But now, the reverse is happening. Money is flowing from the various digital tokens to bitcoin and fiat currencies,” says Ting.

As a result of the plunging prices, some ICO projects have failed and investors and speculators have suffered losses. Ting expects more of this going forward. “Investors should expect to see more failed projects. Some of them may be scams operating in the grey area since the beginning,” he says.

Ting says the bear market exposes the weaknesses of the cryptocurrency industry. Many ICO projects have not been carried out properly and investor money has not been utilised as stipulated in the white paper.

“There are many mismatches when you compare the details laid out in the ICO white papers with the projects’ underlying businesses. It is akin to the project promoter telling you that it is venturing into a café business that requires US$100 million. Then it raises that amount and only invests a few hundred thousand in buying a space and there are no business operations. Nobody knows where the rest of the money has gone. When times are bad, more of these projects will fail fast,” says Ting.

Access Blockchain Association Malaysia’s primary goal is to promote the use of blockchain technology in the country’s public and private sectors.

Players prefer stricter regulations
When cryptocurrency prices were soaring, industry players called for less restrictive regulations for ICO projects. But now, after suffering losses and feeling the pain, some of them are calling for stricter regulations, says Ting.

“They also acknowledge the fact that the industry is not sustainable without rules and regulations to protect investor interest. Yes, you can say that the players are trying to redefine the industry and are calling for more regulations,” he adds.

As a result, the industry now uses the term “security token offering”, or STO, instead of ICO, says Ting. This means that a company issues its securities in the form of digital tokens and adheres to the country’s securities laws. It is the adherence to rules and regulations that separates STOs from ICOs, he points out.

“You can see that ICO project owners [in the US] are starting to approach the SEC and trying their best to adhere to the country’s securities laws before issuing tokens to the public. An example is the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), which has established a listing process for ICO projects to enhance investor protection. More ICO project owners have approached the exchange recently,” says Ting.

STOs have been touted by industry players as a safer way to invest in businesses vis-à-vis ICOs as they are backed by tangible components such as the company’s profit, revenue or assets.

Ting says most of the players who are serious about growing the cryptocurrency industry are talking about STOs and only a few of them still support unregulated ICO projects. “The market is correcting itself,” he adds.

However, a trend reversal could cut off retail investors’ access to ICO projects. That is because traditional securities exchanges deem it as a risky asset class that should only be available to accredited investors. For instance, GBX adheres to the SEC’s definition of accredited investors and only allows those who earn US$200,000 a year or have a net worth of more than US$1 million to trade security tokens listed on the exchange.

While Ting agrees that there should be more rules and regulations for ICO projects, he does not support the idea that such investments should only be open to accredited investors. “I would say a person’s net worth does not reflect his knowledge about cryptocurrencies and ICO projects. This also defeats the purpose of tokenisation, which aims to provide retail investors with access to illiquid investments,” he says.

Tokenisation is underpinned by blockchain technology. It enables the owner of an illiquid asset, such as an expensive property, to convert its value into digital tokens that allow retail investors to own a fraction of the asset, which they would not otherwise be able to afford.

For instance, a RM3 million property could be converted into three million digital tokens. This would enable a retail investor to purchase 3,000 tokens for RM3,000 to get a 0.1% stake in the property.

Ting suggests that the authorities and exchanges come out with a process to assess the knowledge of retail investors on digital tokens, blockchain technology and the different business models offered by STO project owners. “They should be allowed to invest in these tokens if they pass the test,” he says.

Possible trends
The cryptocurrency market may have plunged, but Ting remains confident in the future of STOs. He expects the listing of digital tokens by securities exchanges to be more common when the rules and regulations become clearer.

“You could see securities exchanges around the world setting up their own security token exchanges. This could be a trend worth observing. And when that happens, it will be a new segment for investors to look into,” says Ting.

He also says regulators around the world could begin segregating the function of digital tokens and there could come a time when hybrid tokens are no longer allowed in the market.

A hybrid token could function as a utility token (like tickets at amusement parks) as well as a security token (which offers investors a stake in a business in exchange for capital funding).

“These hybrid tokens that function as utility and security tokens are listed on cryptocurrency exchanges, and they are difficult for the regulators to regulate. However, going forward, hybrid tokens may no longer be allowed,” says Ting.

“If it is a utility token, the price should be fixed using a specific mechanism. There should be no speculation as it is merely used to gain access to certain blockchain services. And if it is a security token, it will be regulated under the country’s securities laws and could be traded on exchanges like stocks. This could be a trend going forward.”

*This post is credited to TheEdgeMarkets

Malta has recently earned the name “Blockchain Island”, being the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt blockchain regulations – three in fact. And, the Mediterranean island has already attracted the two largest crypto exchanges, Binance and OKEx, and most recently ZBX, now opening offices in the rising crypto hub.

In July this year that the Maltese Parliament passed law setting the framework blockchain (distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptocurrency and digital assets.

And, the following month, Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation (responsible for implementing Malta’s Blockchain Strategy, was quoted on Forbes explaining how Malta has become the world’s blockchain island.

Clearly, the politicians here have big aspirations. This is after all one of the world’s smallest countries (122 per square miles/316 km2) as well as most densely populated (c.475,000).

The massive scale of the Malta Blockchain Summit, which takes place this coming week (November 1-2), reflects this new-found momentum. The summit, which has been in the planning since last December and will see banks and some big names in venture capital (VC) space attending, is set to take place at the InterContinental Hotel at St Julian’s on the island. The event consists of four conferences over the two days, namely:

  • A Regulatory conference;
  • A Marketing and Investment conference;
  • A Developer and Technology conference; and,
  • A Tokenomics and Crypto conference

These proceedings are set around an already sold-out exhibition floor. Added to that there is a two-day Hackathon with around 300 blockchain developers taking part, with a €50,000 (c.$57,000) prize up for grabs to the winners.

Rounding things off, there is an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) pitch battle between what are described as thirty of the “hottest” start-ups in the crypto sphere. Each entity, who will be competing for $100,000, will have 10 minutes to make a pitch to a panel of judges.

It all comes on the heels of another blockbuster blockchain event on the island, the Delta Summit, which was convened at the start of October, which was attended by a little over 4,000 attendees from far and wide. But the Malta Blockchain Summit is on course to top that number according to the organizers.

Melanie Mohr, CEO and founder of WOM protocol, which is building a blockchain-based protocol that allows brands, content creators, publishers and social networks to monetize “word of mouth” (i.e. WOM) recommendations on any app or platform, chose Malta as a jurisdiction because the organization believes it is at the “forefront from a regulatory standpoint” in the blockchain and DLT space.

“A significant number of very knowledgeable people from the global blockchain community have worked diligently together with the government [here] to develop a legal framework, which regulates wisely and supports the further development of blockchain and DLT,” said the Berlin-based entrepreneur who is working at the forefront of the global digital revolution.

WOM indicated that they had also found a “great level of support” on the island.

Having founded video m-commerce platform YEAY in 2016 with the aim of providing GenZ with a bespoke space to share and shop, Mohr added: “The recent Delta Summit [October 3-5] showed how well Malta has positioned itself already. It delivered great content from top-notch speakers and attracted the global community to join. It was packed and for me THE blockchain event of the year to date.”

As such the German entrepreneur is “more than convinced” that the upcoming Malta Blockchain Summit will show that the island is “really in the spotlight of the global blockchain development” with thousands of attendees from around the world. “And, it can proudly call itself Blockchain Island,” she asserted.

Crypto Exchanges & Malta Exchange

In the case of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last month (September 11) with MSX Plc, the fintech and digital asset subsidiary of the Malta Stock Exchange.

This initiative was to launch a new digital exchange for security token trading, with the new trading platform poised to leverage Malta Stock Exchange’s 26-year track record of operating as a regulated stock exchange.

The MoU follows a decision by Binance to extend its business to Malta, in recognition of the country’s crypto regulatory climate. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, commenting at the time said: “Malta has become a global hub for blockchain technology through active and transparent crypto regulations.” (Note: Zhao’s net worth was put at north of $1.1 billion by Forbes in February 2018).

And, when I visited the exchange in Valletta this July for a tour, one could see that space was being set aside for innovative fintech start-ups in incubator hubs in the building.

Apart from admission and trading, the exchange that resides in the Garrison Chapel looking out over the harbour offers a comprehensive range of back-office services.

This includes maintenance of share and bond registers, clearing and settlement and custody services via its Central Securities Depository (CSD), which is situated in-house. It also has a link with Clearstream Banking in Frankfurt (part of Deutsche Boerse), and in Luxembourg that facilitates international access.

As explained by Simon Zammit, CEO of the Malta Stock Exchange during my visit, the exchange announced in May 2107 that it was to continue its use of Deutsche Boerse trading technology, extending an agreement from 1 January 2017, for another five years from that point – until 31 December 2021.

They also extended the exchange’s trading hours from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Zammit pointed out of that time that Deutsche Boerse’s technology was “extremely reliable” and highly performant. The partnership has been in place since 2012.

Boasting what the organizers claim are 5,000 delegates attending the huge event in a few days time, hundreds of investors, around 100 speakers and some 300 sponsors and exhibitors, the Malta Blockchain Summit will set the stage to announce the new crypto, ICO and blockchain regulations for Malta, as well as host debates surrounding the potential applications of blockchain across a myriad of industries such as entertainment, government, and banking.

Well, that is the tune being disseminated from the island in recent weeks by the organizers.

One delegate who I spoke to at CoinAgenda Europe (2018) on the island ventured in relation to the best – or perhaps the “right” – jurisdiction for crypto or blockchain businesses and regulation ventured: “Everyone decides to pick what they think is the right country. And, right now it clearly looks to be here [Malta]. We will see whether that lasts. I think it has a good chance of lasting here. But my motto is: Jurisdictional Diversification.”

Proactive Approach

It is the Maltese government’s forward-thinking approach to blockchain regulation, their low corporate-tax, being part of the European Union (EU)-zone and the warm climate that allures the vast number of various blockchain related companies to escape to Malta and the migration trend is incremental.

Indeed, when I was last in Malta this June for the CoinAgenda 2018 event during which Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, gave a Keynote address, you could be forgiven for thinking one was in paradise.

Siim Õunap, the COO for Celerexx, a new exchange launching in 2019, commenting on the jurisdictional landscape said: “The Maltese government has been seeking to get crypto-related companies to boost their economy for quite some time and they been successful in their approach.”

The Estonian added: “While their governmental services and legal procedures are behind e-countries such as Estonia or Lithuania, special regulations allow Celerexx to offer lower prices and better services to our customers, which makes [for us] the move to Malta worthwhile.”

It is not just the exchanges that choose a more contributing environment in Malta for their operations. Coinvest, the crypto investment trading firm, announced a new collaboration with the Maltese government to establish a blockchain council. In addition, the new regulatory framework also supports ICO companies in their financial products, attracting many new and innovative projects to set up their base camp on Blockchain Island.

Malta Blockchain Summit & New Bills

During the Malta Blockchain Summit, three new decentralized ledger technology bills will come into force: (1) The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act; (2) The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act; and, (3) The Virtual Financial Asset Act.

Together these will provide what are being described as a “clear and navigable” framework for innovative technology businesses in a way that rules and governance are not the roadblocks to innovation. Blockchain and crypto pundits out there contends that the current indecisiveness and half-hearted regulation of most of the national regulatory bodies are just as inhibiting and near-sighted – as is the outright prohibition of innovative solutions.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act establishes the governance body to regulate the Distributed Ledger Technology, or DLT, industry with its principal goals to ensure businesses accepted as Technology Service Providers and the services they provide are in accordance with the principle of being honest and transparent to protect the consumers and financial markets.

The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act is created as the futureproof regime for the registration and certification of Technology Service Providers and Technology Arrangements as it envisages the possibility of unforeseen technology developments.

The Virtual Assets Act is a framework within there is Financial Instruments Test that provides clear indication whether cryptocurrency or token issued in an ICO would qualify as a financial instrument that needs to be regulated as a security or virtual token that falls outside of the scope of regulation.

If the asset cannot be classified as either, it will be considered as a Virtual Financial Asset and regulated by the new law once it has enforced. ICOs and crypto exchanges can now breathe easy knowing that they are in compliance with the authorities and do not have to worry about being shut down.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who will inaugurate the regulatory conference, in giving a keynote speech on July 16 at the CoinAgenda Europe (2018) event at the Westin Hotel, St Julian, described the enactment of the three new laws as a “sweeping round” of legislation (i.e. covering the blockchain, crypto and digital asset space), saying: “This is not the end but just the start and the Maltese Government had to be innovative.”

One of the most keenly anticipated speakers at the conference is Dr W. Scott Stornetta who co-authored a paper that described for the first time a digital hierarchy system that utilized digital time-stamps for ordering transactions, the solution that entity called Satoshi Nakamoto later used in his Bitcoin protocol. This has earned Dr Stornetta the recognition as the founding father of blockchain technology.

The Winklevoss twins are attending as VIP investors and John McAfee, the famous British-American programmer and businessman, who I bumped into on a Blockchain cruise from Barcelona to Monte Carlo  this September organized by Coinsbank, is now confirmed as a speaker for the developer’s conference of the summit.

In 1987, he founded McAfee Antivirus, and under his leadership the company executed a meteoric rise to the top of the computer security industry. If his keynote to delegates on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship is anything to go by delegates at the Malta Blockchain Summit are unlikely to feel short changed.

And not to be outdone by her human counterparts, Sophia, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) humanoid robot has been confirmed as a speaker at the upcoming Summit. The Saudi Arabian citizen will join her creator in a fireside chat during proceedings. It all brings back memories of IPsoft’s Amelia, a digital personal assistant, who I saw in action earlier this summer in New York’s financial district at Cipriani.

The Hanson Robotics’ creation has become something of a media darling, appearing on popular late-night talk shows, gracing magazine covers, and taking up sought-after seats on plum panels and high-level conferences. Her status as a cultural icon has allowed her to ignite advanced conversations on how robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate people’s lives.

The event has already attracted hordes of investors to witness an ICO battle that provides a highly valuable opportunity for thirty blockchain-based companies to get support for the next step in their roadmap.

One of those ICOs to pitch at the Malta Blockchain Summit is Zelectrix, a team of talented specialists that will change the way electric vehicles (EVs) and their own EV rental fleet are powered with improved chargers utilizing renewable energy and underpinned by the state-of-the-art Thought AI blockchain.

Raido Lensment, CEO of Zelectrix, commenting said: “As part of the service to our customers using our chargers and renewable energy grid, we are looking at creating financial products as part of Zelectrix payment scheme.”

He added: “Our research is showing that Malta may be the right choice for our company and the opportunity to pitch our project at the Malta Blockchain Summit is greatly anticipated by our team. We just hope the Winklevoss brothers will be listening.”

The Malta Blockchain Summit, is already on its way to becoming an annual landmark event in the global blockchain calendar. And, when I spoke to one of the organizers, Dennis Avorin, a Swedish national, at the start of October it was pretty certain that the event will see a repeat in 2019.

The organizers are also inviting “C-level” executives and investors from within the sphere to exclusive invite-only dinners throughout the year under the Maltese-themed title ‘Knights of Blockchain’.

Eman Pulis, Founder of the Malta Blockchain Summit, said: “I wish to welcome every blockchain enthusiast to the Malta Blockchain Summit, a melting pot for global influencers in technology, civil society, democracy promotion and innovation.”

Pulis amongst others said that we can “expect riveting discussion” about the world-changing potential applications of blockchain across multiple verticals. “But also, some good, old fashion networking under the sun of the Blockchain Island,” he added. And, given the scale of the event, if they had motto it would be that “Business is not made between companies – it is made between people.” Time will tell.

*This post is credited to Forbes

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning about investing in nine digital tokens and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which have not been accredited by the regulator, news outlet Bangkok Post reported Oct. 26.

The SEC reportedly initiated an investigation into digital tokens and ICOs being promoted on social media platforms for investment, and found nine cases wherein promoted digital assets had not been authorized by the market regulator.

Per the SEC, the alleged digital assets and ICOs have neither filed an application for the SEC’s approval, nor have they met the necessary qualifications and had smart contracts assessed by ICO portals. The SEC said that those who have invested in the alleged assets should be wary of associated investment risks.

The SEC reportedly reiterated a warning about Ponzi schemes that persuade people to invest in digital assets by promising investment returns generated from tokens. “Information disclosure for investment decision-making is also inadequate, while these digital assets might not have sufficient liquidity to trade and cannot be converted into cash,” the regulator added.

In August, the SEC said that almost 50 ICO projects expressed interest in becoming certified following the Finance Ministry’s announcement to introduce ICO regulations. The authorization process takes up to five months as upon submission of an application, the SEC will transfer the document to the Finance Ministry within 90 days. After that, the Ministry has 60 days to make a decision whether to approve a license.

Later that month, the SEC approved seven businesses to conduct cryptocurrency operations as part of the formalization of the country’s domestic market. The move forms part of a package of “transitional” rules governing crypto businesses operating in Thailand prior to the first tranche of regulations that came into force May 14.

The 100-section law defines cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens,” and brought them under the regulatory jurisdiction of the SEC. Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong reportedly assured that the new measures are not intended to prohibit cryptocurrencies or ICOs.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

The prolonged cryptocurrency bear market has seen a substantial number of organisations finding new opportunities for growth via consolidations and acquisitions. According to a CNBC report, investors are seeking more and more deals within the blockchain space, even in the face of declining or stagnant crypto prices.

Despite market volatility and a peak-to-trough bitcoin price decline of nearly 70 percent, the past year has witnessed an increase in merger and acquisition activities in the past year as revealed by data from JMP Securities and PitchBook.

According to the data, token values associated with startups have remained correlated to bitcoin rather than actual company value. This is perhaps understandable when taking into account the fact that bitcoin has been in existence for about a decade, which makes it an elder statesman compared to most of the crypto industry.

Speaking to CNBC, Satya Bajpai, a specialist consultant on mergers and acquisitions and head of blockchain and digital assets investment banking at JMP, explained the phenomenon.

In his words:

“Even for great businesses, the value of the token remains correlated to bitcoin, which can create an ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers.”

JMP’s data shows that mergers and acquisitions are becoming a more favoured option versus starting up new companies or divisions from scratch. Over the past year, more than a hundred cryptocurrency or blockchain-related deals have already been announced, with a projection of 145 by the end of 2018. To put that figure in perspective, the equivalent figure for all of 2017 was 47 at a time when the bitcoin price touched $20,000.

coinbase
Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has been one of the industry’s most prolific companies when it comes to “acqui-hiring.”

Bajpal describes the current strategy adopted by most investors as a “land grab” approach, where they are compelled to buy rather than build. Explaining that building takes quite a long time, he says companies benefit from the expensive option of buying because the acquired entity already has some technology and, often, market-ready products.

In a chat with CNBCBajpal stated that that the strategy is also a land grab for talent as the new entity benefits from having employees with business and technical backgrounds because blockchain engineers are not easy to come by. He specifically referenced the example of Coinbase’s acquisition of Earn.com, which saw Earn’s founder and CEO becoming Coinbase’s first-ever CTO.

He also added that users  — an essential part of any startup’s assets — are on-boarded almost immediately through an acquisition.

It is not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as mergers and acquisitions have some challenges, too. Given the nascency of the space, valuations are not always simple. Companies that have raised funds through initial coin offering (ICO) listings have to consider the different forms in which new investors are compensated. This gets even more complicated as the new companies are often still in the developmental phase when new offers begin to spring up.

*This post is credited to CCN