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Jamaica Stock Exchange to Introduce Crypto and Tokens Trading via Canadian Fintech Firm

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) has selected Canadian fintech company Blockstation to facilitate the trading of digital currencies and tokens on the JSE, according to an August 14 press release.

Upon implementation of the project, JSE will provide trading, quotes, execution, and settlement services for cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Kirk Brown, Head Trader for a broker member of the JSE, underlined the importance for investors “to be able to invest in digital assets through their traditional financial institutions.” Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the JSE said:

“We are very comfortable moving forward based on the training and support provided by Blockstation, and because their trading platform incorporates familiar compliance rules to ensure a fair marketplace.”

Prior to the deal, five broker members participated in a live workshop with representatives from local regulators, while Blockstation completed beta testing in Jamaica with the participating institutions.

The JSE also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Blockstation, agreeing that the two organizations would collaborate in the future.

Incorporated in 1968, the JSE Main Market capitalization rose to over $1.19 trillion following the successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Mayberry Jamaican Equities at the end of July this year. The total number of companies listed on the exchange reached 74 this year, while the total number of securities is 107.

In the beginning of August, Germany’s second largest stock exchange, the Stuttgart Börse, revealed plans to develop a new platform for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as well as a multilateral crypto trading venue. Alexander Höptner, CEO at Börse Stuttgart, said the exchange developed the platform in response to “demand from both retail and institutional investors for a regulated and reliable environment for trading with cryptocurrencies.”

Last month, the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) announced its collaboration with digital asset exchange OKEx to build a new institutional grade security-tokens trading platform. The joint project is entitled OKMSX and aims to become a platform for digital asset exchanges with security expertise and client due diligence.

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Jamaica Stock Exchange to Trade Crypto Assets in 2018

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) has announced that it will soon be offering cryptocurrencies as tradeable assets for its clients.

The company said Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with blockchain startup Blockstation for the creation of a new digital assets trading platform. While it is not clear which tokens will be initially listed, the platform is set to go live by the end of the year.

JSE managing director Marlene Street Forrest told CoinDesk that offering cryptocurrencies as investment products fits in with the equities, bonds and other investment products that the exchange already offers.

She said:

“So the end game at the end of the day is to trade tokens, the end game is smart contacts, the end game is to provide that area of the market that would like this product, to start to do so in a secure manner.”

Blockstation is providing the technology, she explained, while the JSE’s infrastructure will be networked to the new platform, allowing qualified investors to conduct purchases or trades.

Aside from listing cryptocurrencies for trade, Street Forrest said the stock exchange will continue to look at how blockchain technology can benefit the platform and its clients, going so far as to indicate that JSE’s plans may include issuing its own cryptocurrency at some time in the future.

“The environment changes, the entire ecosystem changes, so at that point in time that might be the case, [although] at this point in time that is not a discussion,” she said.

Blockstation co-founder and chief enterprise architect Jai Waterman told CoinDesk that the startup has been working with the JSE for roughly six months in order to develop a custom version of its platform for the exchange. Specific requests from the JSE have included tools to track market manipulation and other regulatory needs, he noted.

“Our mission is to provide … a secure method of trading cryptocurrencies with broker-dealers and stock exchanges,” he said. “We’re providing the stock exchange the technology for a broker-dealer network and repository, so that from end-to-end, their life cycle of trading – just like with securities – they can do the exact same thing with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

The JSE is in no rush, however, and is taking its time to ensure that the launch is safe for investors, Street Forrest said.

“We have a steering committee that was designed and formulated to look at the Blockstation product, to look at the blockchain technology in general and to go through the phases to ensure that we understand what we are getting involved with and are also trained in what this entire trading of cryptocurrency involves,” she explained.

As such, she said, the exchange’s integration of blockchain will be “gradual.”

Jamaica image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Jamaican Police Take Aim at Human Traffickers’ Bitcoin Pockets

As part of their strategy to attack the scourge of human trafficking, the Jamaican police are refining their activities to strike at those criminal who are seeking haven in Bitcoin and digital payments.

More and more human trafficking perpetrators are switching to digital currencies to help them burrow underground and receive payment for their illicit activities, but the police in Jamaica are on to them.

Big business in Jamaica

Unfortunately, the human traffic and sex slavery market is far larger than it should be, estimated to be worth around $150 bln. In Jamaica, it is estimated that there are 7,000 women, children and men living in slavery, with their handlers charging anywhere from $2 to $470 for their services.

The announcement of the crackdown came at two-day Anti-Money laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism Conference in New Kingston where law enforcement urged traditional banks to collaborate with the police in efforts to track the money trail that is making its way into the formal money system.

Bitcoin transactions

The police also noted the new challenges that were emerging in the form of digital currencies as these criminals burrow underground to use seemingly anonymous coins like Bitcoin and others.

There has been noticeable movement towards cryptocurrencies for criminals, including human traffickers. Their business transactions are kept away from the banks making the money trail much harder to follow. Additionally, these transactions are happening on the dark web.

“They are asking for payment in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a new factor which creates problems for law enforcers,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry.

Typically, Bitcoin transactions mask the identity of persons trading the cryptocurrency. But Berry said the Jamaica Constabulary Force has: “crafted a plan to treat with the flow of illicit money. We will hit them in the pocketbook.”

Progress made

Despite the high numbers estimated to be sold into modern slavery in Jamaica, the Island nation recently managed to get itself off an international watch list for human trafficking after securing four convictions and rescuing more than 70 victims.

But Berry cautioned that there was a lot more work to do.