Switzerland First in Ranking of Top 10 Most Blockchain-Friendly Countries in Europe

BlockShow’s rankings of the best European countries for opening a blockchain company puts Switzerland at the top of the list.

Switzerland is ranked number one in a list of the top ten European countries for starting a blockchain company, according to a study released by blockchain conference BlockShow Europe 2018.

In the list of best countries for starting a blockchain company, Gibraltar and Malta follow Switzerland in second and third respectively. The study consisted of 48 European countries that were examined for rankings by Initial Coin Offering (ICO) regulations, regulations on crypto as a payment service, and taxation frameworks for crypto.

Switzerland is known as a crypto-friendly nation due to both its establishment of a virtual currency hub, “crypto valley,” in Zug and its status as a tax-free haven for crypto investors. Gibraltar has reportedly attracted 200 ICOs before the planned launch of its Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), and Malta, the “blockchain island,” has welcomed major crypto exchanges Binance and OKEx recently.

BlockShow also released a poll this week on blockchain-based app Polys that allows users to vote on the leading women and companies in the EU blockchain space. The winners of the poll will be announced during the BlockShow conference at the end of this month in Berlin.

At the beginning of February, the European Commission announced the launch of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum as part of their aim to unite the economy around blockchain. However, more recently, newly approved EU privacy laws – which come into effect on May 25 – arguably conflict with the decentralized nature of blockchain technology.

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Malta Partners With Blockchain Startup to Improve Public Transportation

Malta has partnered with middleware blockchain startup Omnitude to create a transport and logistics platform to improve transport reliability.

The Transport Minister of Malta has announced a partnership with UK middleware blockchain startup Omnitude to improve the Maltese Public Transport Service, local news outlet The Malta Independent reported May 17.

Malta has expressed the aim of becoming the “Blockchain island,” a goal helped by major crypto exchange Binance – the world’s second largest crypto exchange by trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap  – announcing plans this March to open an office in the country. In April, OKEx, currently the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, also announced their intention of expanding to Malta.

Malta’s Transport Minister Ian Borg said that the partnership between Omnitude and the Maltese transport system to create a transport and logistics blockchain platform will “develop overall improvements in transport reliability.”

CEO and founder of Omnitude Chris Painter said that they “look forward to working with the Maltese Government to explore the capabilities of Omnitude’s broad based blockchain ecosystem:”

“Governments around the world are beginning to see the potential for blockchain to reduce costs and streamline services. Malta has an extremely progressive government and we’re excited about the potential this partnership brings.”

In mid-April, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) released a consultation paper on the possible introduction of a “Financial Instrument Test” that would legally define virtual tokens in another step towards regulatory clarity for blockchain and crypto projects.

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eSports Platform To Launch Peer-To-Peer Betting As It Consults Malta’s Government

An eSports gaming company is enabling fans to place bets with each other through blockchain, declaring: “There is no need for bookmakers anymore.”

An eSports platform which allows users to challenge each other instead of betting against a bookmaker is preparing to integrate blockchain technology into its newly relaunched website. This comes as it consults with Maltese officials on how its gaming licence could be extended to incorporate cryptocurrency.

HERO is a Vienna-based company that has the goal of bringing back the social element to betting. It believes that the gaming industry lacks innovation and the nature of online betting needs to change, and gaming has become a system where middlemen take unfair fees and untrustworthy bookmakers rip people off. HERO enables users to challenge one another in a system without odds and unfair conditions.

Its decentralized technology is initially going to be integrated into herosphere.gg, an existing platform specializing in eSports prediction and fantasy that has already amassed more than 200,000 registered users. Herosphere currently offers contests across four games: Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. Following the implementation, users will be able to place their bets using HEROcoin (PLAY) – a brand-new cryptocurrency. The bigger plan is to provide its blockchain technology to any other gaming provider over time.

Christina Roth, Head of Communications for HERO, told Cointelegraph: “Our goal is to reintroduce a social element to betting and make it fun and safe for everyone. We see the blockchain as a huge advantage for our industry, helping us to foster what has always been important to us personally: transparency, fairness, and consumer protection.”

“There is no need for bookmakers anymore”

The HERO Network’s launch comes at an exciting time for the eSports industry. Data from Newzoo suggests global revenues for this sector hit $655 mln in 2017, and this year, revenues of $905 mln are forecast – an increase of 38 percent. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is expecting that the market is going to grow by a compound rate of 22 percent in the three years to 2019 – transforming eSports into a “one billion dollar opportunity.”

Major players in the traditional sporting world have been watching the industry flourish with interest, and now, many want in on the action. The NBA recently announced plans to launch its own eSports league in 2018, and broadcasting behemoths such as ESPN have started to show eSports tournaments on their channels. According to research from The Next Level, 2017’s highest-rated show was Madden Challenge on CW, with 670,000 people tuning in. On Twitch, 40 mln hours were spent watching Dota 2 coverage – 21.3 mln of them eSports, according to Newzoo.

Although revenues per eSports fan are modest at the moment, they are growing. In 2016, it was estimated that every enthusiast was worth $3.50 a year – considerably lower than the average $15 that was spent by a basketball fan. However, HERO says expenditure and demand is increasing, with revenues of as much as $11 per fan, per year possible by 2019.

The HERO Network, a fully transparent system, allows the community to create games – with other users making peer-to-peer predictions on the outcome. Smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain are going to be used for automating the process of buy-ins and payouts, creating transparency and trust when transactions are being made.

Users who create a contest – for example, the opportunity for others to bet on the outcome of an eSports event – will be able to set their own reward, with a customized percentage of the total amount wagered being paid into their account. All contests will also come with something known as a General Reward, with at least 1 percent of the funds in pots across all platforms and providers going back to token holders.

Establishing new connections

HERO, which is based in Austria, has been pioneering legal changes in its home country when launching Austria’s first ICO last September.

“We are not focusing solely on our own product”, Paul Polterauer, CEO of HERO, told Cointelegraph, “but we are interested in enabling change for the industry as a whole.”

Currently, HERO is advising Malta on how cryptocurrencies could be used in the gaming sector and has just finished their feedback on the second draft of the license. The country has a gaming license which is applicable for businesses across the European Union, and is planning to have it ready for application within the next months. “It’s an exciting time for us, but also for the industry”, says Polterauer.

Roth added: “When Malta was looking for stakeholders, they wanted experts who were experienced in dealing with complex regulations and reached out to us.”

The company is on track for its official release of the first use, where herosphere.gg will integrate the HEROcoin within the next weeks and prove an example for other providers.

 

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