Tiny territory strives to be world’s crypto capital

Gibraltar is looking to integrate its stock exchange with cryptocurrencies’ trade

The British overseas territory of Gibraltar could soon host the world’s first integrated bourse, where conventional bonds can be traded alongside major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

According to The Guardian, the peninsula’s regulators are currently reviewing a proposal that would prompt blockchain firm Valereum to buy the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) in the new year. Valereum focuses on providing technology for linking mainstream conventional currencies such as the pound and the dollar with crypto assets, says its chairman, Richard Poulden.

He told the daily that the firm is trying to harness a cryptocurrency sector that is worth around $3.5 trillion, roughly the combined value of all companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. It will be a major task to overhaul an exchange that is currently staffed by only three employees, and will require a change in Gibraltar’s regulations to govern how crypto is going to be traded on the GSX, Poulden said.

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Gibraltar’s regulator has so far approved 14 cryptocurrency and blockchain firms for its licensing scheme. If all goes to plan, the territory of just 33,000 people could become a global cryptocurrency hub, experts say. In case controls set by the regulators fail, Gibraltar risks reputational damage and sanctions by countries such as the US that could threaten its economy.

Gibraltar insists it has addressed the issue with its eyes wide open, having consulted on the regulation for the crypto sector for four years before introducing it in 2018. That helped it to secure a reputation as “Blockchain Rock,” says Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s minister for digital, financial services and public utilities.

“I don’t understand how there can be any increased risk in Gibraltar, when you can go to any other European country today and run exactly the same business without being supervised, without being licensed, and without being regulated. So how can we be more exposed by regulating them? It’s completely the opposite,” Isola added.

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