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Malta Is Fast Becoming a Central Hub for Cryptocurrency Businesses

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With huge names from the world of cryptocurrency making moves to call the island nation their home, Malta is emerging as something of a hub for digital currency activity. This is largely being driven by favourable legislation, as well as a Prime Minister who firmly believes in the future of cryptocurrencies.

Malta Wants to Create Regulatory Certainty in a Space Known For Precisely the Opposite

Malta might be the European Union’s smallest member but they’ve got some big plans for the future. They’re currently creating rules and regulations that will provide clarity for some of the largest names in cryptocurrency. This approach should allow the island to emerge as a central hub for digital currency activity. In a consultation paper about distributed ledger technology, the government stated:

 “The proposed framework will offer legal certainty in a space that is currently unregulated.”

Such legislation is already attracting cryptocurrency companies. Digital asset exchange platform Binance announced their intentions to move to Malta late in March. The company estimate that they will need to hire around 200 people in Malta to assist with their move from Hong Kong. Such developments will no doubt stimulate positive economic activity on the island. Binance aren’t the only big name to make the move either. OKEX Technology have also announced that they will be relocating to the Mediterranean nation too earlier in April.

It’s not just the regulatory certainty that is attracting companies to Malta, however. The nation has, for a long time, offered international companies some of the most favourable tax rates around. This has made the island popular with online gambling providers previously and is now attracting crypto startups. Paying just 5% in taxes will obviously appeal to many startups in the space.

In addition, the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, is also a firm believer in the revolutionary potential of cryptocurrencies. He publicly affirmed his position in a speech in Mqabba in late March:

“Have any of you ever thought about what gives paper money its value when it’s ultimately just pieces of paper? It is because society attributes value to it. Now some people, who in my opinion are geniuses, are arguing that that value can similarly be attributed to virtual currencies… The concept sounds confusing right now, but I have no doubt that it will form the base of a new economy in the future. Just as we attribute value to pieces of paper, so too will future generations attribute value to electronic storage systems.”

The lack of regulatory guidance from the EU itself has given Malta the opportunity to explore the possibility of creating a friendly legislative environment for digital currency startups. However, a harsh crackdown on cryptocurrencies from the supranational body could hinder Malta’s ability to provide such welcoming regulation. As it stands, the recent vote in favour of tightening EU controls to help protect against money laundering could hinder Malta’s legislative plans going forward.

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Blockchain

Microsoft teams up with Starbucks on predictive drive-thru ordering and bean-to-cup blockchain

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Starbucks

Starbucks is quickly becoming as much a tech company as a coffee company, but that hasn’t stopped its leadership from turning to a familiar Seattle ally to up its digital bonafides.

Today at Microsoft’s Build developers conference, the two companies ran down a series of initiatives they are working on together. The new projects include everything from using machine learning to gather customer preferences, to connecting coffeemakers in stores to the internet to blockchain services for tracing coffee.

Microsoft and Starbucks have teamed up before, and they have an established connection at the highest levels. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is a former Microsoft executive who ran the worldwide sales and the Windows divisions before joining the coffee giant in 2015.

In introducing the latest fruits of the alliance, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella applauded the collaboration between Starbucks’ software engineers and its business side. Nadella cited Starbucks as one of many examples of a consistent theme: increased hiring of software engineers at companies outside the industry that are embracing high tech solutions.

“They are coming together to completely take what is that iconic experience that is Starbucks and incorporating digital throughout,” Nadella said.

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Mexican State Incorporates Blockchain For Grain Tracking

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Hyperledger

In a movement furthering technological incorporation, the government for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas now supports the incorporation of blockchain technology for the tracking of grain. For the movement, the state will utilize blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) software provider GrainChain.

Similar to other recent blockchain projects tracing supply chain, the endeavor looks to bring clarity to the to the way grain is tracked from the farm to the marketplace. Tamaulipas Secretary of Rural Development Ariel Longoria Garcia explained to me in an interview:

“The vision of the Tamaulipas government, specifically in the area of rural development, is focused on helping all grain producers by monitoring the warehouses that the grain is stored.”

Historically, the process for recording grain and its movement through the supply chain has been cumbersome and inefficient, often hosting mistakes along the way. Traditionally, people would need to record data by hand, such as the grain’s weight, its condition, etc., Garcia said.

“Everything was done by hand, and that wasn’t very transparent at all,” he explained. “Sometimes that led to special circumstances where the grain producers were pretty much taken advantage of.”

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Mainnet KIN is Now Available on Coinbase Custody

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Coinbase Says

Today announcing that Coinbase Custody offers the secure storage of mainnet Kin. Coinbase Custody will add the new native implementation of KIN to the platform with KIN’s pending migration from ERC20 to mainnet.

KIN holders can now benefit from Coinbase Custody’s industry-leading offline storage platform and insurance coverage. As a limited-purpose trust company chartered and regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”), Coinbase Custody has met the high standards of the NYDFS and is a Qualified Custodian.

As a leading institutional crypto custodian, we’re excited to continue to provide solutions to custody directly from new networks at launch, solving a significant pain point for the industry. As more networks launch tokens, institutional investors face a critical challenge in finding ways to securely hold each new unique asset. Coinbase Custody solves this problem by offering secure and trusted custody solutions for new network launches.

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FedEx CIO: It’s Time to Mandate Blockchain for International Shipping

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FedEx

With governments calling on manufacturers and shipping companies to more closely guard their chain of custody as parts and products move between borders, FedEx sees a single, standardized ledger as common sense.

When railroad tracks were first laid across the western U.S., there were eight different gauges all competing to dominate the industry – making a nationwide, unified rail system impossible; it took an act of Congress in 1863 to force the adoption of an industry standard gauge of 4-ft., 8-1⁄2 inches.

FedEx CIO Rob Carter believes the same kind of thing needs to happen for blockchain to achieve widespread enterprise adoption.

While the promise of blockchain to create a more efficient, secure and open platform for ecommerce can be realized using a proprietary platform, it won’t be a global solution for whole industries now hampered by a myriad of technical and regulatory hurdles. Instead, a platform based on open-source software and industry standards will be needed to ensure process transparency and no one entity profits from the technology over others.

“I think we’re in the state where we’re duking it out for the dominant design,” Carter said during a CIO panel discussion at the Blockchain Global Revolution Conference here. “We’re not an organization that pushes for more regulatory control, but there are times regulatory mandates and pushes can be incredibly helpful.”

For example, Carter said, mandated blockchain standards would help customs and border agents create a chain of custody to better track the provenance of goods, enabling them to identify – and then block – the importation of things such as illegal drugs and counterfeit medical devices.

“There’s an incredible amount of information moving with an international package,” Carter said. “An incredible amount of paperwork [such as] certificates of origin, and certain commodities require specific licenses. That information moves sometimes in digital forms and sometimes paper forms. As we move toward a more digital world, blockchain is where you piece all that together.”

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Samsung Launches Nexledger Universal, the Next Version of Enterprise Blockchain Platform

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Samsung

Samsung SDS (President & CEO Dr. WP Hong) announced the launch of ‘Nexledger Universal’, the next version of its enterprise blockchain platform. Nexledger Universal provides standard application programming interface (API) that is commonly applicable to Samsung SDS NCA (Nexledger Consensus Algorithm) and general blockchain such as Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

Through this, customers can develop application services such as user authentication, payment settlement, and proof of originality using only one of three technologies and can easily apply to other technologies.

Moreover, Nexledger Universal provides faster performance compared to the previous version and has improved security functions by applying white box cryptography technology.

In particular, Nexledger Universal is available as platform as a service (PaaS) in the Microsoft’s Azure marketplace, allowing customers to experience it in cloud environment without the need for separate server and application installation.

With Nexledger Universal, customers can reduce the time and resources required for securing blockchain developers and verifying the technology, therefore, business innovation through blockchain technology can be achieved conveniently.

“We plan to expand our cloud-based blockchain platform by registering Nexledger Universal on other cloud marketplaces,” said Jeanie Hong, senior vice president, leader of Blockchain Center of Samsung SDS.

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Innovative Cryptocurrency Mixing Technology Offers Total Anonymity

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2323

As the global take-up of cryptocurrencies increases, so does the regulatory and public scrutiny of digital transactions. The blockchain has long provided pseudo-anonymity for users from across the wide spectrum of industry sectors, but with that has come the growing demand for advanced security and identity protection.  

That is until now.

Introducing BitMix.Biz – the Secure Bitcoin Mixer

With growing numbers of global cryptocurrency holders expecting enhanced transaction security as standard; the need for a service that provides user anonymity has never been greater.

The mission of our service is to deliver unrivaled privacy to our growing number of users.

The way in which Bitcoin (BTC) or any other cryptocurrency transactions function is that public but entirely secure, but the non-anonymous log is created and chained together in a blockchain registry.

However, whilst these traceable records provide a trail from one chain to the next – by temporarily blending your inter-wallet funds with those of others the trail is disrupted.

It is a simple but highly effective way to deliver complete blockchain anonymity.  

The Secure Alternative to Crypto Transactions

By creating an order, the platform mixes a received amount of coins to disrupt the record back to the source. Whatever the source of funds, our digital solution provides the isolation need to ensure the user’s transactional security.

Completely anonymous service requests only the minimum of information to get set up and as an additional measure, all transaction logs, as well as any personal information, is deleted in less than 72 hours.

The Simple & Verifiable Coin Mixing Platform

To get setup is simple – all you need do is complete a short form and the account is created.

BitMix accepts BTC, Litecoin and will shortly be adding ETH to the currencies available. Once you have registered, select and send the amount that you wish to blend to the BitMix address and the coins will then be sent directly back as cleared coins after mixing, It’s a simple, fast and secure process!

In the interests of transparency, a fully verifiable Letter of Guarantee is also provided.

Lowest Commissions with Complete Privacy

With some of the lowest commissions in the industry, coupled with cutting edge technology means that no-one can access the user’s transaction history, the process could not be simpler.

In most cases (may take up to 24 hours) the transaction is instant and works like any other cryptocurrency service – BitMix just provide that additional level of privacy!

Leading Technology – The Future of Bitcoin Mixers

The system allows you to instantly clear your funds and provides unparalleled discretion. The technology is brand new but tested, proven and with thousands of happy users the Mix technology is continuing to prove a hit with the customers.

As an additional level of security, the system has a built in a feature that offers complete transaction randomization – simply select ‘auto-randomization’ to disrupt chain-analysis attacks by selecting two or more output blockchain addresses to deliver funds.

As the platform continues to grow so does our network, with attractive commissions you can also become part of the BitMix partnership network.

Join the thousands of users blending their coins today!

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Crypto.com Lists BAT, Powering Brave Browser’s 6m Active Users

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Bitcoin Core

Crypto.com, the pioneering payments and cryptocurrency platform, announced today it has listed the Basic Attention Token (BAT) to the Crypto.com app, joining bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB), XRP, Enjin Coin (ENJ), and its own MCO and CRO tokens.

The Basic Attention Token (BAT) aims to improve the efficiency of digital advertising. BAT is a utility token that can be exchanged between publishers, advertisers, and users on the Brave platform, which leverages blockchain to provide digital advertising and services. The token also powers the Brave web browser, a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software Inc. Built by a team of privacy-focused, performance-oriented pioneers of the web, Brave has over 5.5 million monthly active users and features over 28,000 Verified Publishers. Users can choose to replace ads with Brave’s ad network, and receive BAT from advertisers from viewing their ads.

On Crypto.com’s Wallet & Card App, customers may securely buy, sell, and send BAT, as well as other cryptocurrencies with no fees and no markups, as Crypto.com’s proprietary Vortex Trading Engine is able to offer the true cost and best execution prices possible. At the same time, BAT holders may enjoy the option to spend their digital assets in the real world at over 40m merchants through the MCO Visa Card.

Kris Marszalek, Co-Founder and CEO of Crypto.com said: “Crypto.com shares the same goal as the Brave team – to eliminate the middleman with the power of blockchain. We are keen to support their goals in the advertising sector, and by bringing onboard BAT users we are yet another step closer to accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”

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Flexa Raises $14.1 Million to Catapult Retail Blockchain Adoption

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Cryptocurrency

Flexa, the pioneering payment network uniting retail and blockchain technologies, announces today that it has raised $14.1 million in funding, led by Pantera Capital, 1kx, Nima Capital, Access Ventures, and other strategic partners. The funding announcement precedes the company’s public launch in May 2019.

The Flexa network enables retailers to take control of their own payments by reducing costs, overhead, and fraud through frictionless, instantaneous, and reliable blockchain-based settlement. Flexa’s upcoming mobile app also helps customers make practical use of the cryptocurrencies they already own, unlocking the hundreds of billions of dollars stored in the global crypto ecosystem.

“The anti-fraud and cost benefits of global cryptocurrency payments are enormous, but there are many barriers to mainstream adoption for merchants and consumers alike. Flexa’s going to change that, and very quickly,” said Tyler Spalding, Co-Founder and CEO of Flexa. “With this funding, we’ll continue to develop our network infrastructure to support our retail network and strategic partners.”

“Flexa is one of those extremely rare applications in the cryptocurrency space that actually touches consumers in an impactful way while also solving a major problem of high fees in payments today,” said Joey Krug, Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital. “I’m excited to see people actually be able to spend their crypto!”

Flexa will announce a major product rollout in May, at the Consensus conference in New York City.

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Provenance.io Blockchain Raises $20 Million in Security Token Offering

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French ICO

Provenance Blockchain, Inc., the administrator for the Provenance.io blockchain, announced it has completed a $20 million security token offering to support the continued development and expansion of the Provenance.io ecosystem. The Reg D private placement included broad participation from both blockchain and traditional technology investors.

Provenance.io was built by Figure Technologies, a leading fintech company founded by former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney. Figure has been an early adopter of Provenance.io, originating, financing and selling its HELOC loans entirely on the blockchain. Jefferies is providing a warehouse facility for Figure loans, using Provenance.io.

The token sale coincides with Figure spinning out Provenance.io and its administrator, PBI, as independent entities. Proceeds will go to staff the administrator and finance operations including compliance, technology and business development, as adoption of Provenance.io grows. Figure continues to be a Hash™ holder and is assisting in the establishment of the PBI board and providing certain services to PBI.

The security token on Provenance.io, Hash, is the underlying equity of the blockchain. Hash serves two purposes: it provides a means to distribute fees paid into Provenance, and it provides a governance voting structure for PBI. There are 100 billion Hash tokens, and Hash can neither be created or destroyed. The price of Hash floats, and its value should be driven by the use of – and fees paid – on Provenance.

“This is a seminal moment for the blockchain industry in financial services,” said Sheila Bair, former Chairwoman of the FDIC. “Provenance.io has the potential to bring massive improvements to the industry, across asset originators, the buy and sell side, as well as regulatory benefits and better consumer protections. In particular, it will provide loan-level transparency around the quality of securitized assets and a clear, unalterable record of ownership—two things that were sorely missing during the financial crisis.”

Figure built and deployed Provenance.io, a distributed stakeholder blockchain, in 2018. The company leverages the security, efficiencies and cost advantage of blockchain for loan origination, financing and sales. A diverse set of funds, banks and dealers are active on Provenance.io today.

“Blockchain technology will disrupt financial services in ways that unlock tremendous value through improving current processes but also introducing new ways to do business,” predicts Jenny Johnson, President and COO of Franklin Templeton, a founding node manager for Provenance. “We are excited to facilitate and support blockchain adoption because change will happen when the technology is embraced by the market. The technology platform combined with the ecosystem makes Provenance stand out.”

Concurrently to the token sale, PBI released a white paper (available at provenance.io for download) on how blockchain can impact credit ratings. The paper, with comments from leading rating agencies, argues that blockchain should ultimately reduce the cost of ratings and drive ratings improvement.

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Blockchain’s Aviation Potential Explored at Inaugural ICAO-UAE Summit

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aviation

An ICAO chief has acknowledged the foundational of distributed ledger or ‘blockchain’ approaches and noted the clear areas where they could bring benefit to civil aviation customers and operators.

Speaking at a high-level audience of government and air transport officials for the inaugural ICAO-UAE Blockchain event in Dubai, ICAO Council president Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said: “With traffic growing at its exponential rate, one of the new challenges and risks is the growing number of logistical, administrative and oversight activities which will result from projected traffic growth.”

“Blockchain technologies could be of tremendous benefit to reduce the pressure on current human resources, while at the same time sustaining increasing demand and quality levels.”

Global air traffic volumes are anticipated to double within the next 15 years. Increases in the number of aircraft and flights translate to increased ground, passenger, ticketing, and cargo handling activities, and a parallel expansion of the associated tracking, documentation, approval, and certification requirements.

“Blockchain has the potential to virtually exclude loss, distortion, or forgery of vital log data in all aviation sectors where certificates are issued and controlled,” Dr Aliu said. “It can ensure the integrity of the ever growing certification-based system which is integral to aviation, with the potential to increase efficiency while reducing errors, and therefore enhancing both safety and security.”

The application of blockchain technology can be envisioned for almost all areas of the aviation system where complex and safety critical records are managed and updated, such as personnel licensing, aircraft maintenance, operational approvals, or cargo manifests.

Another promising application of blockchain for aviation and governments concerns the methods we use to establish traveller identity.

While offering many benefits, the integration of the technology would nonetheless present many challenges, and could cause fundamental changes in the structure of today’s aviation systems.

“The aviation system today relies mostly on human agents or intermediaries to assume validation activities, and so we can foresee that the integration of blockchain processes in support of a State’s aviation safety oversight system, for example, would likely require substantial adjustments to related regulations, procedures, and responsibilities,” Dr Aliu explained.

Along with this potential there will be risks, to be sure, mainly as relying on a set of servers and smart contracts to validate documents and issue certificates poses clear cyber risks,” he said. “It is therefore important to recall one of the outcomes from the 2017 ICAO Cyber Summit, also hosted here in the UAE, that collaboration and exchange between states and stakeholders is key to an effective and coordinated global cybersecurity posture for civil aviation. This becomes even more valid if we rely on blockchain to manage critical safety and security processes.”

ICAO said the organisation of the summit represented a very important step in aviation’s consideration of the technology, with the invited specialists expected to explore both its merits and its risks. It most certainly responded to the expectations of the ICAO Council and Air Navigation Commission, which have shown growing interest in blockchain potential.

“I am looking forward to some provocative ideas and insights from our key presenters as we seek to ensure a suitably robust and resilient blockchain preparedness in the civil aviation sector,” Dr Aliu concluded.

“The hosting of this summit, and creating a forum with a collaborative platform, is of high importance to the UAE and the entire international aviation industry. Staying ahead of evolving threats is a shared responsibility, involving governments, airlines, airports, and manufacturers,” explained HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

Accompanied by several representatives on the ICAO Council, the director of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau Stephen Creamer and by the ICAO regional director for the Middle East Office in Cairo, Mohamed Rahma, the president held a series of bilateral meetings with senior government officials from states in attendance.

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