Liechtenstein’s Parliament has unanimously passed the Act on Tokens and Entities Providing Services Based on Trusted Technologies (TVTG), also known as the Blockchain Act.
Pioneer in comprehensive regulation
On Oct. 3, the Parliament of Liechtenstein approved the Blockchain Act, which aims to improve investor protection, combat money laundering and establish clarity. The new law will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2020. The parliament’s announcement claims that this act will make Liechtenstein the first country to have comprehensive regulation of the token economy.
The newly approved law will regulate civil law issues in relation to client and asset protection while establishing adequate supervision of the various service providers in the token economy. Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Adrian Hasler said:
“With the TVTG an essential element of the financial center strategy of the government is implemented and Liechtenstein is positioned as an innovative and legally secure location for providers in the token economy.”
Thomas Nägele, attorney and co-author of the Liechtenstein Blockchain Act, was quick to share the news with his social media followers. Nägele’s colleague, CEO of Bitcoin Suisse in Liechtenstein, Mauro Casellini, outlined the importance of the Blockchain Act:
“The positive decision without dissent from the Liechtenstein government shows the importance of the “Blockchain Act”. The TVTG not only creates legal certainty for all market participants, but also heralds a new era, the token economy. With its pioneering role, Liechtenstein proves once again that it is the ideal location for FinTech and Blockchain companies and thus for us too, in the heart of Europe.”
Crypto companies move to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein’s friendly approach to blockchain has already attracted several blockchain companies. Cryptocurrency trading platform Bittrex recently announced its new trading platform, Bittrex Global, to be headquartered in Liechtenstein. Bittrex chose to establish a trading platform in Liechtenstein because of the small country’s clarity in regulating digital currencies and blockchain technology.
Is Crypto Growing In Africa?
Crypto adoption is making significant advances in Africa, with crypto ownership, trade volume, and regulation all moving toward greater adoption. A recent report by Arcane Research and Luno found that Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya are frequently among the top 10 countries by Google searches for the word “Bitcoin.” The report describes the continent as “one of, if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies,” emphasizing Africa’s combination of low existing crypto adoption alongside an “enormous” domain possibility. The firms emphasize that Africa exhibits a young population, frequent monetary crises and currency failures, large unbanked or underbanked populations, and expensive means of payment.
While Nigeria has long dominated the continent’s trade volume, the report found that South Africa has the highest percent of cryptocurrency ownership or use among internet users in Africa with 13%, followed by Nigeria with 11%. Worldwide, South Africa ranks fifth for crypto adoption among connected citizens. This past week saw South Africa post its second-strongest weekly volume on peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) marketplace Localbitcoins, with nearly $1.65 million worth of BTC changing hands.
The surge in trade activity saw total P2P volume for South African trade edge out Kenya last week with $1.95 million in trade across Localbitcoins and Paxful. Last month, South Africa’s financial regulator issued a policy document asserting that crypto-assets and activities relating to virtual currencies “can no longer remain outside of the regulatory perimeter.”
Nigerian P2P trade is rallying to record highs, producing $9.2 million in combined weekly trade. Kenyan trade has also seen a recent spike, with Localbitcoins trade between BTC and the Kenyan shilling producing its second-strongest week on record for the third consecutive time. Morocco and Egypt have also posted record trade activity in recent weeks. The increase in volume across the continent has also seen P2P volume from Sub Saharan Africa beat out Latin America for the first time.
Blockchain May Play A Huge Role In VR-Powered Social Media
Virtual reality media platform, Sensorium, has announced its membership in the Global Blockchain Business Council, or GBBC — a Swiss-based non-profit industry association for blockchain. Sensorium will participate in GBBC’s upcoming virtual forum on May 28, which will see the firm’s director of technology Alex Blagirev discuss his predictions for how virtual social media will change the way that people interact online.
A GBBC representative stated that the convergence of VR and social media is already beginning to gain momentum, noting that major platforms such as Facebook “are providing users with new ways to share and experience content.” “Within this context, blockchain technology will likely play an important role in the creation of digital assets and an online virtual economy,” the representative stated. “Furthermore, blockchain technology could be used to protect ownership and copyright, as well as create new models of advertising in virtual worlds, much as it is already doing in the real world.”
Sensorium’s CCO, Brian Kean, emphasized the security benefits offered by distributed ledger technology, or DLT, stating:
“Identity theft, fake accounts, etc. all will be to a large extent eliminated as human participants in the socially-virtual world will be required to verify their identity via the blockchain.”
Kean also revealed that blockchain will also be used to “facilitate payment for created, third-party content.”
As a GBBC member, Sensorium will participate in a range of GBBC activities aimed at “advancing adoption of blockchain technology and educating regulators, policymakers, and business leaders on the benefits of the technology.” The two entities first began formally working together at the GBBC’s flagship event, Blockchain Central Davos, where Sensorium participated. “We closed out the evening with a special demo of Sensorium’s VR platform and a performance by GBBC Arts and Music Ambassador and Former Drummer for Guns N’ Roses, Matt Sorum,” added the GBBC spokesperson.
Yiedl Speaks About A Marketplace For NFT Rentals and Mortgages
Tokyo-based crypto startup Yiedl has announced that it will launch a non-custodial peer-to-peer, or P2P, mortgage and rental market for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Yiedl founder and chief executive Kohshi Shiba asserted that the platform will support a myriad of tokens as most real-world assets are tokenized. “For assets that have persistent external utility, I believe NFT is an appropriate token form,” Shiba stated, listing subscription rights, decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, memberships, and intellectual property rights, and in-game items as examples of assets that will see increasing tokenization.
Yiedl will comprise a P2P marketplace in which users propose their preferred lending or rental terms. When another user fills the order, Shiba stated that “the agreement is set on Yiedl protocol and [the] transaction occurs,” — with access to the leased NFT being provided following the receipt of initial rent. If loan repayment is not met on time, the NFT is automatically returned to its owner, with the entire process taking place without intermediaries. “I believe Yiedl opens up a new horizon for the NFT ecosystem, and there will be massive new NFT owners in the future,” said Shiba. “Owning NFT will also become an investment since Yiedl enabled NFT owners to earn passive income with their assets.”
To facilitate the platform, Yiedl created a modified version of the ERC-721 standard that has been made available as open-source for other developers to adopt, dubbed ERC-X. Shiba stated that the new toke standard “added two user classes to the existing ERC-721 standard” in the form of “user and lien.” “The idea behind it is that by supporting three user classes as default, application developers can assume that tokens can be rent[ed] out or collateralized,” said Shiba. “With ERC-721, it was impossible, and it caused difficulties when NFT owners rent/collateralize NFTs as the ownership is taken over by the contract address or tenant.”
Many companies are betting that NFTs will emerge as a leading use-case for crypto assets, with blockchain gaming and asset tokenization promising to expose distributed ledger technology or DLT, to wider audiences. However, it is still early days for the NFT sector in terms of infrastructure, with a surprise auction for a limited run of CryptoKitties leading to the Winklevoss-backed top NFT marketplace Nifty experiencing downtime last week.
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