Visa Bitcoin move brings timely boost for crypto community

Cryptocurrency’s journey towards mass adoption has sometimes appeared in danger of being derailed during the past 12 months but there have been enough positives to maintain momentum and, in the past week, an announcement from Visa was nothing short of a turbo boost.

The global payments giant has shown its strongest crypto commitment yet by announcing it had been working with digital currency platforms like Coinbase and Fold to “provide a bridge between digital currencies” and its global network of 61 million merchants.

A statement on the Visa Bitcoin project said: “Around the world, more than 25 digital currency wallets have linked their services to Visa, giving users an easy way to spend from their digital currency balance using a Visa debit or prepaid credential — anywhere Visa is accepted. …


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Picture: StarLadder

That was the meme doing the rounds on social media as it became apparent that esports was fast becoming one of the few surviving forms of live entertainment.

For traditional sports, the calendar has been obliterated, with very little light at the end of the tunnel.

EURO 2020, Champions League, Premier League, The Masters, NBA, The Grand National — the list includes pretty much every sport — have all been postponed or cancelled as authorities desperately try to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

But esports is different by definition and, therefore, more resilient in these difficult times. …


Another respected name from the world of finance has shown faith in the future of cryptocurrency as Lloyd’s of London moved into the blockchain space.

Lloyd’s — regarded as the world’s leading insurance market — announced on Tuesday it was launching a policy specifically designed to protect crypto held in online wallets.

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Although engaged with a limited number of businesses to date, the Lloyd’s crypto-insurance announcement is a strong move to openly provide services to the blockchain sector.

Lloyd’s worked with Coincover to launch the first of its kind liability policy to protect against losses arising from the theft of cryptocurrency held in online, hot wallets. …


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By Lee Hills on The Capital

The potential scale and ambition of Facebook’s own cryptocurrency, Libra, has many worried but, less than a year since it was first announced, the project has experienced many significant setbacks. SolutionsHub CEO Lee Hills explores what it will take for Libra to succeed, who stands to win and who would lose out if Libra goes ahead.

Several lawmakers have expressed concerns that Facebook’s Libra project would cut into countries’ monetary sovereignty. Why is this a worry?

Introducing a new party to the global financial system, in relative terms overnight, which may fall outside the current strict regulatory frameworks and oversight applied to financial services, introduces an unacceptable level of unaccountability, and risk to sovereign monetary policy.

The global financial system is delicately interwoven and moves in cycles. Regulation and oversight seek to silo negative events and mitigate risk of the domino effect suffered most recently in 2008 with US subprime mortgages causing the global financial crisis. …


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By Lee Hills on The Capital

China’s new-found love of blockchain tech has seen it forge ahead in the cryptocurrency race of nations. SolutionsHub CEO Lee Hills outlines how the confirmed development of a state-supported token, DCEP, threatens to leave everyone else — notably the US — in China’s wake

While the US is seemingly stuck in the process of defining tokens and unwinding ICOs it deems to have breached securities laws, China has been busy steadily introducing guidance and regulation, as well as supporting private, public sector partnerships.

The Deloitte’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey concludes 49% of Chinese firms “deployed blockchain technology in production,” compared with just 14% in the US. …


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The UK’s tax authority has issued a request for proposals for ‘cryptoasset analysis tooling’ to deal a blow to cybercrime.

The move is backed by a £100,000 budget, although the expectation is a subscription by user basis will be applied. This may prove problematic as the current marker leaders charge on variations of a per-check basis.

The move is inevitable, but perhaps fast-tracked due to the lack of information received while approaching digital asset exchanges for information on customers and transaction histories in an effort to identify and tackle criminal activity. …


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By Lee Hills on The Capital

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally spoken up to share its views on Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs).

Despite the insistence of many IEO providers that sales are different to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), the SEC said on crypto investors should still proceed with caution.

In a notice published on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the SEC said crypto exchanges are “not typically registered with the SEC” and “there is no such thing as an SEC-approved IEO”.

So, when it comes to IEO vs ICO, what’s the difference?

The original flagship of blockchain funding was an ICO.

An ICO is a concept of crowdfunding cryptocurrency and Blockchain companies and projects. ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering, (sometimes referred to as a “token generation event” or “crowdsale”). An ICO involves a company creating its own cryptographic tokens and selling them in exchange for cryptocurrencies with the purpose of funding the development of technologies and/or operations. It usually releases a certain number of crypto-tokens and then sells those tokens to its intended audience, most commonly in exchange for Bitcoin, or Ether. As a result, the company gains capital to fund product development, expansion and marketing, and the purchasers get access to services at a discount, or preferential rate to alternatives. …


The team at SolutionsHub are world leaders in licensing and regulation, specialising in blockchain-based technology and the gambling sector. The team, based in Douglas, have guided several businesses through the licensing process to become fully regulated in the Isle Of Man — one of the strictest jurisdictions available. With an increasing involvement in cryptocurrency in igaming, SolutionsHub COO Nick Wright offers insight into the process of obtaining a blockchain gambling licence.

What are some of the projects have you worked with so far?

Some of the blockchain gambling businesses we’ve helped to secure licences include Robet, Unikrn, Luckbox and Quanta.

How long does the licensing process typically take ?


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

There are plenty of people — some ignorant, some with vested interests — looking for any excuse to highlight the apparent shortcomings of blockchain technology. Sometimes — too often, actually — the industry leaves them a gaping open goal.

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Little does more to undermine the faith in cryptocurrency than a security scandal. Accounts are hacked, user data is mishandled, millions are stolen — it’s understandably headline-grabbing stuff and it’s massively damaging to the reputation of the crypto space.

How can we expect blockchain to be taken seriously and achieve the mass adoption we hope for when security remains such a perceived failing? …


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

You might have heard about the tech-savvy enterprising souls making a small fortune from mining Bitcoin. There they are, sitting back, counting the profits while the computer does all the work. Certainly, it sounds like a nice way to earn a bit of extra cash but, in 2019, is it a realistic way of making money from home?

Bitcoin Mining — What Is It?

In order to secure newly released Bitcoin, one has to ‘mine’, the process of using computing power to secure the network and process every Bitcoin transaction, achieved by solving computational problems which chain together blocks of transactions.

Every 10 minutes, a “block” of bitcoin transactions is solved by miners and added to the bitcoin blockchain and the ‘block reward’ of 12.5 BTC is released to miners. …


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

Just last week I was asked by a journalist if I thought it was realistic to expect the value of Bitcoin to climb to $50,000 by 2021.

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Bitcoin reaching a landmark figure is always headline-grabber, particularly among the mainstream media, where there is often a lack of space or willingness to delve into the nuances of price movement and driving forces, so, my response was short and sweet — and exactly what the reporter wanted to hear.

I said I thought that not only was $50,000 BTC by 2021 realistic, I believed it to be conservative. That was all she needed and follow-up questions were thin on the ground. …


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

The Isle of Man government’s open-minded and modern approach to blockchain technologies is already paying dividends, with cryptocurrency-focused businesses choosing the island as a base and, therefore, boosting the local economy.

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In 2017, the Gambling Super Commission released Practice Note GSC85 which gave licensees both current, and prospective, guidance on several key points associated with virtual currencies and, two years later, with the benefit of experience, has now published an update to the note.

SolutionsHub COO and blockchain licensing expert Nick Wright takes a look at the update and what it means.

The Isle of Man has long embraced new emerging technologies and no one more so than the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision. Commission (“GSC”). The GSC has a proven track record in working closely with the sector in order to stay abreast of new and emerging technologies. …


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

Facebook Libra — the social media giant’s own cryptocurrency — has been the talk of the industry since it was announced in June. Some have welcomed the fact that one of the most famous companies in the world is adopting blockchain tech, while others have warned that a dangerous game is being played and it’s bad news, not least for banking. SolutionsHub CEO and blockchain expert Lee Hills look at the effect Libra could have on banking and the wider finance industry.

On June 18th, 2019, Facebook published the Libra white paper following months of speculation regarding Facebook’s intention to move into the cryptocurrency market with its own token, initially scheduled for launch in the first half of 2020. …


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By Lee Hills on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

ICOS — Initial Coin Offerings

The original flagship of blockchain funding was an ICO.

An ICO is a concept of crowdfunding cryptocurrency and blockchain companies and projects. ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering, (sometimes referred to as a “token generation event” or “crowdsale”). …


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EGR Awards 2019, Cryptocurrency services supplier; SolutionsHub Limited

How SolutionsHub started — walking the walk

I previously worked for most of my career in the regulated fiduciary sector where I specialised in obtaining licences for remote gambling businesses.

In 2016 I started considering establishing my own advisory firm. My intention was simple; I worked for many years advising startups,but never had the responsibility or control of one myself. I wanted to challenge myself, prove I could “walk the walk” and improve my life and the life of my family. Through the support of my Fiancee, Zita, I decided to back myself and opened SolutionsHub in June 2016.

Three years down the line, we have an amazing team, brilliant clients who have been with us from the beginning, rapidly growing customer base and revenues, and still at the forefront of everything blockchain. Stressful? Of course. Rewarding? Exponentially. …


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MetaVault, a digital asset custody provider offering insured and uninsured safe custody of assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, is delighted to announce the opening of a new office in the Isle of Man. With the office opening, MetaVault is responding to the growing demand for gaming, exchange and financial institutions to be able to accept and store digital assets securely.

‘The decision to expand into the Isle of Man was a logical step in our business growth strategy,’ said Justin Short, Co-Founder, MetaVault. ‘The Isle of Man boasts gaming and financial services regulators proactively engaging with blockchain enterprises.’

‘Supporting player protection mechanisms, exchanges and financial institutions with secure, insured and uninsured digital asset custody provides confidence in the technology for regulators, businesses and consumers by removing significant risks from the ecosystem’. …


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The Isle of Man has become a hotspot for blockchain businesses thanks to its open approach to emerging and transformative technologies, according to an award-winning business in the Island.

SolutionsHub, based in Douglas, is a B2B service provider and licensing specialist focused on cryptocurrency companies.

SolutionsHub is celebrating “a true honour” after being recognised with a prestigious industry award when it was named Cryptocurrency Services Provider of the Year at the prestigious EGR B2B Awards 2019.

CEO Lee Hills says the Isle of Man government deserves credit for embracing new technologies. Digital Isle of Man’s launch earlier this year of Blockchain Isle of Man, a unique hub dedicated to growing the blockchain sector in the Island, is further proof that the Isle of Man is fast becoming the go-to destination for blockchain-based companies. …


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SolutionsHub is celebrating “a true honour” after being recognised with a prestigious industry award when it was named Cryptocurrency Services Provider of the Year at the prestigious EGR B2B Awards 2019.

CEO Lee Hills says the Isle of Man government deserves credit for embracing new technologies. Digital Isle of Man’s launch earlier this year of Blockchain Isle of Man, a unique hub dedicated to growing the blockchain sector in the Island, is further proof that the Isle of Man is fast becoming the go-to destination for blockchain-based companies.

The Isle of Man has become a hotspot for blockchain businesses thanks to its open approach to emerging and transformative technologies, according to an award-winning business on the island. …


In order to fight tax fraud, evasion and avoidance, the EU Code of Conduct Group (the Code Group) assessed the tax policies of various countries in 2017. …


Lee Hills, founder of SolutionsHub, talks about how ICO companies can use the Isle of Man’s formidable reputation as a financial services regulator to reassure investors

Organisers of initial coin offerings (ICOs) understand the community is generally skeptical and easily spooked when it comes to token sales. This is because a large number of past ICOs have turned into ‘pump and dumps’, and there is a growing understanding of the regulatory risks associated with token sales.

These risks have always been present, but the passage of time has seen issues with anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) really come to the fore. …


There are many considerations when planning a successful ICO that is future-proofed against government action, exchange delisting and other catastrophic actions:

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ICO founders (past and present) now realise they require access traditional financial institutions, the most basic of which being banks. It is easier for an ICO funded business to have a sensible discussion with a bank when they can demonstrate the source of their funds were clean and they know who funded the business.

Perhaps in 2016 one could launch an ICO without disclosing who the founders were, especially as the crypto community accepted the explanation of ‘privacy’ blindly and naively as a legitimate reason for those establishing a new tokenised business to not disclose themselves. However, in 2016/17 we saw too many ‘pump-and-dump’ scams and the ethos has completely swung away from privacy of the founders to absolute transparency. This has meant that individuals running ICO’s are far more concerned with the legal implications of their actions. Now, founders and operators understand that mistakes in the area of AML/CFT carry enormous personal risk and unverified source of funds leads to significant money laundering risks, terrorist financing risks and other potentially criminal activities, punishable by a significant custodial sentence. …


I am often asked about what makes for a successful ICO. In reality, it comes down to a lot of factors; the business must have a real-world application and a crypto-specific need for the solution. Its founders must be reputable and transparent, and any ICO must be carried out with proper regulatory engagement.

These are just the basics, and don’t take into account factors such as company structures, tokenmics, influencers and advisors, etc. In short, launching a successful ICO is a serious undertaking, and in reality, a lot of business are simply not capable of pulling it off.

SolutionsHub are advisors to Xriba, a perfect example of what an ICO company should look like. …


We are engaged in numerous ICOs and our management team took the first (and only) blockchain gambling operator through the licensing process, including designing world first crypto and player protection solutions.

Our team is renowned for its knowledge and expertise in dealing with new legislation and previously unseen business models, designing complaint solutions stands us in the highest regard with the authorities.

Having been engaged to apply for a remote gambling license for a decentralised lottery using Ethereum smart contracts, we were presented with many regulatory issues including identification of token holders (source of funds), ensuring participants are of the legally age to play, sourcing a Basel 2 compliant bank of operational expenses and even (but not limited to) a stipulation that ‘The account/address used to deposit crypto should be the account/address used for withdrawal transactions. …

About

Lee Hills

CEO of SolutionsHub; regarded as the world’s leading authority in crypto and blockchain gambling, as well as the Isle of Man’s experts in Blockchain businesses.

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