The Week’s Developments in the Crypto Currencies World

Switzerland’s FINMA Introduces “FinTech” Licenses for Cryptocurrency Companies

Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) will now allow licensed financial companies or “fintech” companies, outside of conventional banks, to handle transactions worth up to 100 million Swiss francs, the equivalent of around $134 million CAD. The FinTech License will allow financial innovators, including cryptocurrency companies, to extend the scope of their services in Switzerland. Cryptocurrencies and related operations are legal in Switzerland, an early proponent for digital currencies and blockchain technology. As a result of this new Fintech license, we may see a lot of crypto companies setting up in Switzerland.

(Source: “Switzerland’s FINMA Introduces “FinTech” Licenses for Cryptocurrency Companies?”, available at: https://news.coinsquare.com/government/switzerlands-finma-introduces-fintech-licenses-for-cryptocurrency-companies/).

A Look at the Growing Demand for Blockchain Jobs, Salaries, and Taxes in the Crypto Market

On LinkedIn there are 13,816 blockchain openings and 2,749 related to cryptocurrency. In addition, some employers are paying employees in digital currency. However, tax treatment of cryptocurrency salaries varies by country. For example, in France, digital currency is subject to the country’s capital-gains tax. As for Germany, it does not tax crypto when it is used as a means of payment. Meanwhile in the UK, the employee and the employer have to pay National Insurance and income tax on salaries paid in crypto.

(Source: “A Look at the Growing Demand for Blockchain Jobs, Salaries, and Taxes in the Crypto Market”, available at https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/a-look-at-the-growing-demand-for-blockchain-jobs-salaries-and-taxes-in-the-crypto-market/)

TechFinancials Acquires Footies, a Secondary Blockchain Sporting Ticket Software Service

TechFinancials has bought blockchain-based ticketing service Footies. They are aiming to make ticketing more seamless and efficient. TechFinancials is creating a diverse portfolio of small and medium sized companies that are tackling real world problems through the use of modern technology and sports ticketing is a good example of how blockchain is being used to solve a real challenge. The company is bringing Ian Are, Liverpool FC’s ex-CEO on board as the chairman.

(Source: “TechFinancials Acquires Footies, a Secondary Blockchain Sporting Ticket Software Service”, available at https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/techfinancials-acquires-footies-a-secondary-blockchain-sporting-ticket-software-service/).

Fidelity, Nasdaq Ventures invest in cryptocurrency exchange ErisX

Nasdaq and Fidelity continue to invest in crypto infrastructure, buying into ErisX which has raised a further $27.5 million for its Chicago-based digital exchange for crypto assets. The funding round also included participation from notable crypto industry firms, including crypto mining giant Bitmain and Ethereum development studio ConsenSys.

(Source: “Fidelity, Nasdaq Ventures invest in cryptocurrency exchange ErisX”, available at https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-crypto-currencies-erisx/fidelity-nasdaq-ventures-invest-in-cryptocurrency-exchange-erisx-idUKKBN1O31KY?rpc=401&/).

 

No Coins for You! Beijing Says Security Token Offerings are Illegal

Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Finance chief, Huo Xuewen, has advised against projects considering a security token offering as a means of fundraising, stating that security token offering (STO) fundraising is currently illegal in Beijing.

He commented on the replacement of ICOs with the new concept of STOs, saying “they were still out of bounds”. While Chinese authorities are retaining their hard stance on crypto-fundraising, other governments are more open to STO fundraising.

(Source: “No Coins for You! Beijing Says Security Token Offerings are Illegal?”, available at https://www.ccn.com/no-coins-for-you-beijing-says-security-token-offerings-are-illegal/).

A Top 5 US Hospital is Exploring Blockchain for Patient Data

One of the top-five hospitals in the U.S., Massachusetts General Hospital, is partnering with Korean blockchain startup MediBloc in the hopes of finding better ways to store and share patient data. Synho Do, director of the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, a joint venture between the hospital and Harvard Medical School, the partnership is aimed at exploring the potentials of blockchain technology to provide secure solutions for health information exchange, as well as other purposes. The opportunities to use blockchain technology to improve efficiency of sharing data in the healthcare sector are significant.

(Source: “A Top 5 US Hospital is Exploring Blockchain for Patient Data”, available at https://www.coindesk.com/a-top-5-us-hospital-is-exploring-blockchain-for-patient-data).

DOVU Partners with TokenMarket For The First UK Tokenised Crowdfunding Campaign

DOVU, the unified token, wallet and marketplace for earning and spending mobility related rewards, initially secured funding from Jaguar LandRover and carried out an ICO October 2017 and now are working with GoAhead bus operator as well as a variety of multinational car manufactures who are using the DOVU coin to reward customers for loyalty and to pay for data and information about their journeys. DOVU are also looking at issuing a Security Token Offer (STO) so one wonders how many ICOs that are running short of cash now that Bitcoin and Ethereum have fallen so much in value will also try and do a STO in 2019?

(Source: “DOVU Partners with TokenMarket For The First UK Tokenised Crowdfunding Campaign”, available at https://tokenmarket.net/news/security-tokens/dovu-partners-tokenmarket-first-uk-tokenised-crowdfunding-campaign/).

Major Latin American Bank Conglomerate Itau to Create Blockchain Platform for Small Loans

As regulators become more comfortable about the security and robustness of blockchains, cost advantages of issuing bonds on blockchains will enable smaller bond issuers to offer investors a wider choice. We have seen Nivaura in November 2017 in the UK issue a bond on the blockchain while being in the FCA sandbox. More recently BVVA issued a syndicated loan for $160million on a blockchain.

(Source: “Major Latin American Bank Conglomerate Itau to Create Blockchain Platform for Small Loans”, available at https://cointelegraph.com/news/major-latin-american-bank-conglomerate-itau-to-create-blockchain-platform-for-small-loans?utm_source=newsletter1&utm_medium=email/).

Fieldfisher and TeamBlockchain launch Blockchain and Crypto Telephone Surgery to offer rapid bespoke legal advice to businesses in the cryptocurrency and digital payment platforms sector

International law firm Fieldfisher and consultancy TeamBlockchain have launched a Blockchain and Crypto Telephone Surgery for companies looking for expert professional guidance on cryptocurrency and digital payments. Focusing primarily on issues affecting tokenisation and distributed ledger financial technologies (fintech), the surgery will also offer advice and insights on the wider fintech universe. Fieldfisher partners and TeamBlockchain consultants will give advice on different regulatory and legal issues in the context of specific industries, supported by relevant, real life examples of how organisations are using blockchain and the increasing role of cryptocurrency in digital business. Surgery sessions will last between 40 minutes, in the form of one-on-one appointments or small group discussions, as clients prefer. Sessions will be interactive, enabling participants to get a better understanding of the subjects under discussion. Clients will be asked to provide some prior briefing on their sector of interest, objectives and concerns in order to maximise the benefits they receive from surgery appointments. This type of consultative support has proved helpful for professional advisors and their clients, who want to be more active in the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors but lack the in-house skills to realise their ambitions.

Fieldfisher and TeamBlockchain’s experts are independent advisors who provide clients with honest, pragmatic advice on a range of fintech issues day-to-day. These surgeries are designed to provide, swift, tailored advice on an as-need, no obligation basis, with follow-up support available as required. The cost of each surgery is £500 +VAT and includes a pre-briefing, phone consultation and follow-up materials. For more information, please contact one of the Surgery Team: claire.cummings@cummingslaw.com; tim.bird@fieldfisher.com; and jonny.fry@teamblockchain.net.

Claire Cummings

Claire practises financial services law with a focus on regulatory issues, cryptocurrencies and tokens, trading and brokerage documentation and advising both existing and start-up funds and fund managers.

If you would like to discuss any of the points we raise, please contact me or one of our other lawyers.

Phone: 0207 585 1406
Email: claire.cummings@cummingsfisher.com

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