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Jeju Wants to Become the Latest Blockchain Island

The Jeju Island just off the coast of the Korean Peninsula is eyeing becoming a favorite destination for blockchain and cryptocurrency enterprises. Policy officials in the Island’s government administration have begun preliminary deliberations on how to achieve the goal.

Details of the Jeju Island Blockchain Plans

Governor of Jeju Island, Won Hee-ryong, held a meeting in Sejong with high-ranking government officials and policymakers on August 8th. In the meeting, the governor formally requested that the central government designate the island a special zone for the emerging technology. Present at the meeting was Korea’s finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy, Kim Dong-yeon.

The governor proposed that the central government, the provincial government of Jeju Island, and private experts form a task force. This task force will discuss how the Island could become a cryptocurrency hub in Korea. Further buttressing his point, the governor said:

Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform development. Blockchain can cut costs, provide stable transactions and essentially has the potential to become a game changer that could alter the ecosystem of the internet platform industry. For Korea to become a leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry, we need to quickly allow [the operation of] blockchain and cryptocurrency [firms].

Won further said that blockchain startups would be free to hold initial coin offerings (ICO) on the Island. This proposition will attract Korean blockchain startups who have held ICOs in crypto-friendly countries to conduct fundraising activities on home soil. Leading decentralized technology companies, including Icon, a Korean blockchain project, support the Island’s idea and are willing to cooperate.

Korea at the moment, is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency trading. In 2017, the Korean government designated ICOs a “fundraising activity without permission,” thereby rendering them illegal. The country has, however, not rolled out regulations to completely ban ICOs.

The government’s stance may be a significant hurdle for Won and the provincial government of Jeju Island. But the provincial government is not deterred as it is determined to encourage cryptocurrency business on the Island.

The Quest to Earn the tag of “Blockchain Island”

On July 5, 2018, Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, confirmed in a press conference that the Maltese parliament unitedly decided to approve three bills. These approved bills were to promote blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency use. The decision by the parliament gives these projects a legal status.

Previously in June, the Maltese government passed three cryptocurrency, making it the first country to do so. The government of Malta has time and again, proven itself to be Blockchain Island it set out to be. Antigua and Barbuda is another island that is striving to achieve the same goal. Together with tycoon, Calvin Ayre, the Island’s government is making giant strides to plant the country on the global decentralized technology map.

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Malta Tells Crypto Companies To Step On The Brakes

As nations around the globe roll out crypto regulations and tax schemes, blockchain startups eagerly eye the next crypto-friendly destination. Malta has modeled itself as exactly that and firms have been flocking there in droves. So much so that the government has told them to hold their horses while it rolls out a regulatory framework.

According to local media the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a statement on Friday saying that it was still developing the framework underlying recently passed cryptocurrency laws. It added that operators need to wait for a public announcement from the agency before filing a request for approvals and authorizations.

The Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act, passed earlier this month, comprised of three bills, one of which is focused on new regulations for the blockchain sector. The act makes Malta the first country to provide a legal regulatory framework for custom blockchain projects and companies.  The VFA act included the creation of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, a regulatory body responsible for overseeing the industry. Another law as part of the act was Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act which focuses on cryptocurrency exchanges and companies specifically.

Until these frameworks are complete the MFSA notified operators that they would have to wait. In the meantime they should monitor the official webpage for announcements for updates and developments. The announcement noted that the bill will not take effect until “such date as the Minister for Digital Economy may establish by notice in the Government Gazette.” The Authority has been gathering stakeholder opinion on regulations relating to the VFA Act over the past two weeks.

There has been no timeframe given for this limbo period but when over it is expected that the MFSA will start issuing regulations and rules for the VFA Act in preparation for bringing it into force. Then Maltese doors will be officially open to the world’s crypto and blockchain organizations, many of which have already opened offices there in anticipation.

“Blockchain Island” has already attracted huge names in the industry such as Binance which will be working towards the launch of the first Maltese “decentralized and community-owned bank” dubbed the Founders Bank. Just this week OKEx also announced that it was partnering with the Malta Stock Exchange to launch a new securities trading platform called OKMSX.

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