It’s easy to overlook just how far cryptocurrency (and, by association, blockchain tech) has traversed from the realm of libertarian ideology to cross over into mainstream consciousness, when we’ve just had a whirlwind year where Bitcoin went to the moon and ICOs stole headlines across the world.
It has been an arduous road — from the very first crypto exchange rate established by New Liberty Standard on October 5th, 2009 ($1 = 1,309.03 BTC), to the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) first recognising crypto as a digital currency a year later… from reaching parity with the US dollar on February 9th, 2011 to its all-time high near $20,000 just last month.
But if price had always been an indication of demand and value, crypto’s bigger success last year was not steeped in the open markets, but in the eyes of the conventional world of finance and banking. In April, Japan passed laws that recognised Bitcoin as a legitimate, legal means of payment — wiping away years of heartbreak from the spectacular collapse of Mt Gox. In December, Estonia declared that it would launch the world’s first national ICO backed by its eGovernment programme.
Many saw December as a true intersection of digital money and conventional finance, when the first major US stock exchanges — the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME) — offered the world’s first Bitcoin futures. Russian and Japanese stock exchanges were quick to announce their own plans to offer similar derivatives in 2018.
GBX: Mainstream of the mainstream
It was a promising year for crypto, and that almost every development mentioned has only involved Bitcoin should not be a dampener, as several other initiatives were also announced that would see serious adoption of the wider crypto and blockchain sphere.
One of these originates in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory that has quietly been one of the first to adopt — and embrace — crypto and blockchain. Its government has ambitions to be a leading hub of innovation, keen to attract businesses and start ups in the industry. Its Financial Services Commission (GFSC) announced plans for a “first instance of a purpose-built legislative framework for businesses that use blockchain or distributed ledger technology”, in essence, a financial services license for blockchain and fintech firms to begin from January 2018.
Two months earlier, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange had already revealed the beginnings of the world’s first “tokenised stock exchange ecosystem” in the shape of the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) that would be the first to benefit from Gibraltar’s Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulations that came into effect yesterday.
The GBX aims to be the global benchmark for an institutional grade token sale platform and cryptocurrency exchange. Leveraging the experience of governance and due diligence gained from GSX, the GBX will apply the same principles of decentralisation and consensus that founded the very concepts of crypto. Through a rigorous listing process that is centred around customer protection with the highest KYC/AML practices, it hopes to offer a space for quality token listings, paving the way not just for mainstream adoption but for legitimization from traditional finance, bringing traders, investors and businesses together in an open environment of global trust and acceptance of crypto.
It will be complemented by the GBX Alliance, a community-based international forum that will bring together legal advisors, tech firms, academia and investors to help govern the system by consensus, serving as a think tank that will continuously shape the evolution of Gibraltar’s crypto economy.
AmaZix is proud to be associated with this endeavour, having been appointed by GBX to lead its community management and engagement. AmaZix will also apply to become a “sponsor firm” once the opportunity becomes available in early 2018.
The GBX is a subsidiary of GSX, operating in an EU-regulated market which is recognised by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA, an independent EU regulator), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC, the UK regulator) as well as the self-regulated Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF). It is currently in the process of applying for a DLT license.
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