But in the long run, everyone comes to embrace change as they see the positive side of things it brings. Even if you try to highlight the prospects, people would still take it with a pinch of salt.
The cryptocurrency world is no different. When Bitcoin was launched people did not take it seriously because they felt it was not possible to have a sort of bank online that would be controlled by the coin holders. It wasn’t simply possible for a currency to be run outside of the traditional regulatory system, so they thought. But today everyone knows better. Bitcoin is a reality after all! Everybody wants to have it including nations. It’s no longer a thing people think might be useful in the future; it has come to stay with us.
The decentralized, digital nature of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin is increasing the security of financial transactions, ensuring that payments are free of fraud and that middlemen no longer cut the shots. This is making the demand for cryptocurrencies to increase daily. This increase in demand is also increasing the need for more miners.
Miners play the role of adding ‘blocks’ to the ‘blockchain’ which guarantee transactions confirmation and prevent cryptocurrencies from vanishing without a trace. Every miner who creates a new block is compensated with priceless cryptocurrency.
Some savvy cryptocurrency traders already know that the best way to make huge money in the crypto-world is by being a miner, though cryptocurrency is relatively new as a money-making concept. This awareness is creating an increasing demand for university courses to teach the computer science of cryptocurrency as well as blockchain coding.
Startup of cryptocurrency societies have already been witnessed in some universities, with the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) playing the role of a focal point for ideas between student societies.
The crypto-world is full of fluctuations. It is really difficult to be an expert in the field of cryptocurrency without some kind of formal training. Some university courses are already emerging around cryptocurrency and one of such is the ‘Digital Currency, Blockchains and the Future of Financial Services’ at NYU Law.
Aggelos Kiavias, chair in cybersecurity and privacy and director of the blockchain technology laboratory at the Edinburgh University, told the Financial Times that the university is considering launching a cryptocurrency course that would be the first of its kind in Europe. He added that “Blockchain technology is a recent development and there is always a bit of a lag as academia catches up.”
The data received by the Financial Times from Linkedin revealed that in June alone, over 1,000 blockchain-related jobs were advertised, which is thrice the amount advertised in the previous year.
Speaking to the Study International, George Benton, the co-founder and co-president of Leeds University Union Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Society, said that “Students currently have the chance to be involved in the early stages of a technological revolution. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology resonates with my generation because of the power it gives to individuals.”
Blockchain technology and Financial Innovations Researcher, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Tamar Mentenshashvili, believes that blockchain is a technology with the possibility to upset several industries. Yet, it poses a lot of interesting intellectual riddles that must be cracked in order to realize its full potential.
With the potential that cryptocurrency promises to bring into the financial world and as more people embrace the blockchain technology, we expect to see more universities creating courses that are specifically targeted at producing more future digital miners.
The governor of Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), recently confirmed that the country would announce its decision on whether they will ban cryptocurrency at the end of 2017. Currently, there is no cryptocurrency regulation in Malaysia.
According to governor Muhammed bin Ibrahim, the government will make a decision and announced it at the end of 2017. However, his subsequent statements hinted at there is a strong chance of cryptocurrency activity being banned. Governor Ibrahim stated that before the close of the year, the Malaysian financial authorities intend to address several concerns. Some guidelines that will be issued are expected to include concerns regarding registering investors, collecting information, and ensuring that all cryptocurrencies are used towards legal practices.
China’s recent ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and domestic cryptocurrency exchange encouraged a mass capital outflow, which in turn caused the Malaysian markets to reach record highs.
Up until now, all cryptocurrencies have been unregulated. During 2014, BNM released a statement wherein they emphasized that Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, were not considered legal tender within Malaysia. The bank also confirmed in this statement that they did not regulate Bitcoin or other currencies. Last month, BNM issued another statement which warned potential investors about fraudulent ICOs.
Several financial experts have claimed that by legalizing Bitcoin, Malaysia could have an alternative to changing currencies. Recently the Malaysian ringgit endured strict capital regulation's following President Trump's election and the dollar surge that followed. These events caused a mass devaluation of the Malaysian currencies.
Several players in currency exchange were affected severely, especially multinational banks and investors, as they could not convert the local currency to US Dollars. All expatriate remittances to the country also suffered a blow. Considering Bitcoin’s decentralized system, many have argued that Bitcoin could allow capital to flow in and out of the country with more ease.
While a ban is possible, other financial authority officials have also hinted that Malaysia would accept cryptocurrencies if it were regulated. The assistant governor or BNM dropped several other hints regarding the matter. According to the assistant governor, BNM’s main objective in the coming months would be to balance both the safeguarding of their own fiat currency, while making the necessary room for innovation and progress. The governor also hinted that the Malaysian government might soon revise its strict anti-money laundering policies.
ICOs as a way of raising money for start-ups involves issuing new crypto coin and users buy them using Ethereum or Bitcoin. Just like crowdfunding, it is a way of raising money but involves cryptocurrency. Data website Coinschedule.com estimates that start-ups have raised up to $2.4 billion from ICOs this year.
The Abu Dhabi Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) on Monday, issued guidelines on ICOs and virtual currencies for the first time.
It noted that if an ICO possessed the characteristics of a security, like issuing a person ownership of shares in a company, then FSRA will place it under regulation, just like a company issuing new stock.
Head of fintech strategy at the FSRA Christopher Kiew-Smith, told CNBC in a telephone interview that there is a high level of diversity in the IOC market when it comes to quality, with some ICOs constituting high risk. He further stated that there are no disclosures or financial statements and they are extremely high risk for people who are seeking returns.
He noted that "But we are aware of and are working with some firms that want to use ICO tech to fund in a transparent fashion. We have asked firms to bring them within the regulatory framework."
The guideline provides that any company which wishes to execute an ICO must approach the FSRA to ascertain whether it falls under the body’s regulation. Just like a firm for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock market, under this regulation, companies are also required to publish a prospectus. The FRSA must approve any market intermediary or secondary market operators that are dealing with ICOs.
However, there are some ICOs which will remain unregulated. Any token which when offered as part of an ICO does amount to “offer of securities” would not be regulated. When that is the case, investors are advised to tread with “extreme caution.”
The FSRA’s guidelines state that "The risk of fraud and loss of capital is therefore significantly higher. This is particularly likely to be the case where a token issuer promises extremely high investment returns that are disproportionately high relative to those generally available in the market."
The Abu Dhabi financial regulators also noted that virtual currencies are not money but “commodities” which are in the same category as precious metals or fuels. They, therefore, stay unregulated.
There have been contradictory regulations from one country to the other over the past months regarding the use of cryptocurrencies and accepting them for transactions. For instance, Dubai recently planned to build its economy around blockchain and has allowed it major companies to start testing out how they can adopt blockchain in doing business.
Japan has also gone ahead to make bitcoin legal tender. Japan’s GMO recently invested $90 million in cryptocurrency mining. Besides, Japanese e-commerce giant DMM is equally considering investing money in the crypto market. The country is obviously creating an enabling environment for cryptocurrency business to thrive.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of China, which has already placed a ban on ICOs because they felt it wasn’t safe for their citizens. This development has seen an exodus of start-ups going to launch their ICOs in Japan which has a friendlier environment.
The executive director of capital markets at the FSRA Wai Lum Qwok told CNBC by phone that "For us, we do see a lot of challenges in regulating something which was designed not to be regulated. We recently established a fintech reach with the Japanese FSA, and through such cooperation, we hope to see how they regulate these and if there are risks they see. We are open to carving virtual currencies into the regulated space."
FSRA is of the opinion that ICOs could be a way for companies to transparently raise money and in less expensive manner if appropriately regulated. They went ahead to say that were trying to remove disproportionate barriers to innovations that are sensible.
Looking at the way some ICOs have been launched recently, there’s need to have some regulations to create a sane environment and minimize the way some investors are being ripped off.
A regulated cryptocurrency gambling platform will soon be available in large part of Europe.
Earlier this week, the popular eSports platform, Unikrn, announced that they'd been allocated a license in Malta which will enable its platform to real-money wagering using its UnikoinGold crypto token.
This crypto token is based on the ERC-20 ethereum principle and is currently available via a token sale or initial coin offering (ICO). The UnikoinGold crypto token will be utilized as a substitute of real-money wagering in the licensed area. Since Malta has extended the license, this will be available in 80% of Europe.
Rahul Sood, chief executive of Unikrn, recently stated that expanding into Europe will a large and growing market of users. Users that include both previously established users and those who are attracted by the real-time money transition.
Unikrn EU was established through a collaborative venture with RBP, France's leading gambling platform. Currently, RBP boasts over 300 000 registered users, and an average of 1 million unique monthly visitors.
In addition to this, eSports are experienced a growing popularity, especially amongst younger users. eSports comprises of video games played competitively both online and in front of audiences, many consider this to be the world’s fastest growing sport. According to market research conducted by Newzoo, eSports will generate $696 million in revenue for 2017. This will mark a 41% growth from 2016. Experts have predicted that eSports could rake in approximately $1.5 billion by 2020.
So far Unikrn has attracted high-profile investors such as Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, and Elisabeth Murdoch.
Until recently, Unikrn only enabled its real-money betting feature in Australia and the United Kingdom where it held gambling licenses. In other countries, Unikrn allowed free betting mostly on the popular first-person shooter and multiplayer arena video games such as Counterstrike, Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Dota 2.
Free betting was facilitated by previous free Unikoin tokens. However, these tokens will become out of use as Unikrn introduces their new UnikoinGold token.
The introduction of the UnikoinGold token, as well as the Malta licensure, were both critical factors which played a part in Unikrn’s moving from a free betting platform to implementing real money. This expansion will also allow for creating a broader amount of uses that the token owner can access from non-betting related areas.
Unikrn will release another token, UnikoinSilver, which will be released in unlicensed areas so as to keep users engaged. However, the tokens will not be allowed to trade on any other platform.
According to Sood, the decision to transition from free-play to implementing real-money was an easy one. Sood stated that the popularity of Unikoin was unexpected as they turned over a quarter of a billion in less than two years.
A large part of the new token’s appeal is that users don’t always have to place a wager to earn tokens. Many users can earn tokens purely by participating in a tournament or by viewing a match online or in person.
According to Sood, earning and using UnikoinGold won’t be restricted by regions. Sood stated that they will work to ensure that token owners can get more uses out of tokens so as to make them more valuable.
This principle sparked a discussion in the gambling community all over the world, as most gambling platforms are searching for ways to be more appealing to younger audiences. This is particularly true in the Las Vegas gambling industry. Last week, panel sessions regarding this issue was held during the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.
While Sood recognized this, he cautioned the gambling industry that the only way to appeal to younger audiences is to do so by following the rules. He emphasized that the Malta license confirmed his company's dedication to providing its users a safe, legal, and regulated platform.