✈️Binance Move to Malta 🗞️News Roundup — Cryptos for the Rest of Us
A while ago we mentioned that Japan accounts for ~60% of BTC trading volumes. As such we’ve been working on analysing Japanese crypto sentiment to give insights into a big chunk of the market. We’re making good progress and can share some early insights:
- Binance is the more popular than many domestic exchanges
- G20 is the hottest news topic right now
- PAC token gets discussed more than LTC!
We’ll be publishing the full results in a report soon that will cover, amongst other insights, cryptos that are popular in Japan but relatively unknown in the West, which exchanges are most popular with the Japanese, and what the general buy/sell sentiment is.
If you’re interested in learning more you can sign up to the pre-launch list here and we’ll keep you updated!
🇲🇹 Binance Move to Malta
What’s the Story?
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is moving its business from Hong Kong, where the company was founded, to Malta.
Why the Move?
Binance has had trouble with Asian regulators recently. Earlier this month it was one of seven regulators in Hong Kong to receive a warning letter from the Securities and Futures Commission, one of Hong Kong’s financial regulators for handling tokens that may be considered securities under Hong Kong law.
In addition, they received a warning from Japanese regulators for operating an unlicensed exchange. When this news broke it hit the market hard.
It’s been reported that Binance has been in discussions with Hong Kong’s regulators for the while. Reading between the lines it appears these discussions have not gone well.
Malta on the other hand recently launched a ‘Digital Innovation Authority’ in February 2018 which has helped create regulatory certainty for cryptocurrency related businesses and the ICO process.
Very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech
– Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng discussing Malta
What Does this Mean?
Although only a little over a year old Binance is already a massive company. Profits last quarter alone were reported to be over USD200 million. They also plan to hire over 2,000 staff this year.
For Malta, this could be a big windfall. For Hong Kong, a big loss.
The regulators are no doubt caught between a rock and a hard place. Nobody would deny that having Binance in Hong Kong is a good thing. However, their role is to enforce existing laws within Hong Kong. Making an exception just to keep Binance would be clearly unfair to other financial operators who abide by these rules — many of which are put in place to protect investors in the first place.
The case is reminiscent of when Hong Kong lost Alibaba’s listing to the New York Stock Exchange because dual-class shares are not permitted on the Hong Kong Exchange. Weighted voting rights via dual-class shares are a common feature of Western technology companies these days and in the end, the Hong Kong Exchange ended up capitulating and changing their requirements.
In the case of cryptocurrencies, as long the demand exists we’ll either see regulators changing or businesses shifting to jurisdictions more favourable.
🗞️ News Roundup
Privacy-focused cryptocurrency startup Verge has asked users for $3 million in donations to unveil a ‘potential partnership.’ There are no details about the partnership other than if it goes through it could ‘make Verge a top 10, maybe top 5 coin’ and that the partnership won’t go through unless the full donations come through. Many in the community smell a scam. The donation target was met and we should know if a few hours…
Following the G20s decision not to regulate cryptocurrencies, a leaked document shows that they believe cryptos “lack the traits of sovereign currencies” implying that they consider them less ‘currencies’ and more ‘assets’. Speculatively this could pave the way for standard taxes to be applied on cryptos as ‘assets’ in G20 member nations.
Yahoo Japan are reported to be taking a 40% stake in BitARG Exchange Tokyo. Critically, BitARG are licensed by the FSA, the Japanese regulators, to operate a cryptocurrency exchange. It’s speculated that this marks the beginning of Yahoo Japan’s entry into the cryptocurrency exchange game, following the footsteps of other Japanese internet giants DMM, Rakuten, and Line. BitARG themselves are denying the Nikkei report on their website.
French Economy minister Bruno Le Maire revealed ambitions to create an ICO framework and attract fintech startups to France.
“France has every interest in becoming the first major financial centre to propose an ad hoc legislative framework that will allow companies initiating an ICO to demonstrate their seriousness to potential investors”.