Steve Wozniak Compares Ethereum to Apple at Vienna Conference

Steve Wozniak said that in the future, Ethereum may become as influential as Apple.

At the WeAreDevelopers tech conference in Vienna, Steve “Woz” Wozniak compared Ethereum’s platform with Apple and said it could become just as influential, Forbes reported May 18.

While delivering his speech at the conference, Wozniak was enthusiastic about Ethereum (ETH), describing it as a platform similar to Apple’s. He said that in the long-term Ethereum can become just as influential as Apple is. He added:

“Ethereum interests me because it can do things and because it’s a platform.”

According to Forbes, Wozniak happened upon Bitcoin and Ethereum in its early days, although he divested from crypto in early 2018. Wozniak said he still owns one Bitcoin (BTC) and two Ethereum (ETH) to “experiment with paying for different things.”

On Thursday, in his opening speech at the conference, Wozniak called blockchain “the next major IT revolution that is about to happen.” He said that both blockchain and cryptocurrencies will achieve their full potential in a decade. In October of last year, Wozniak said at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas that Bitcoin is better than gold or the US dollar.

After Apple, Wozniak has remained part of the the tech world, founding the coding academy Woz University that has 31 coding centers across the US.

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Norway Central Bank Considers Developing Digital Currency

Norway’s central bank considers introducing its own cryptocurrency to “ensure confidence in money and the monetary system.”

Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, is considering developing its own digital currency as a supplement to cash to “ensure confidence in money and the monetary system”, according to a working paper May 18.

The report, prepared by a Norges Bank working group, investigates aspects they believe should be considered when assessing the issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The authors emphasize at least three possible CDBC applications: the introduction of a reliable alternative to deposits in private banks, a suitable legal tender as a supplement to cash, and an independent backup solution for electronic payment systems. Norges Bank Governor Øystein Olsen wrote:

“A decline in cash usage has prompted us to think about whether at some future date a number of new attributes that are important for ensuring an efficient and robust payment system and confidence in the monetary system will be needed.”

The report states that a CBDC could provide customers with an alternative means to store assets. According to Norges bank, the foundation of a CBDC must also not interfere with the ability of the bank and other financial institutions to provide credit. Norges Bank will reportedly continue to issue cash as long as there is demand for it. The working group has only completed the initial phase of studying a potential CBDC, stating:

“It is too early to conclude whether Norges Bank should take the initiative in introducing a CBDC. The impacts of a CBDC – and the socio-economic cost-benefit analysis – will depend on the specific design. The design, in turn, will depend on the purpose of introducing a CBDC.”

Other countries in Europe have also begun to consider issuing a digital currency through their central bank. Similar to Norway, Sweden’s Riksbank is considering an e-krona as a result of declining cash circulation.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that the Swiss Federal Council has requested a study on a state-backed digital currency examining the risks and opportunities of its introduction. Now, the lower house of the Swiss parliament has to decide whether to support the Federal Council’s request for research. Should the proposal be approved, the Swiss Finance Ministry will conduct the study.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, IOTA, EOS: Price Analysis, May 18

Latest technical analysis on top 9 cryptocurrencies from an expert trader.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Despite the expectations, Bitcoin prices failed to go higher after the NYC crypto conference Consensys. In fact, prices started to decline during the very conference.

Therefore, it is better if the digital currencies consolidate the huge gains of 2017 and allow the fundamentals to catch up. The longer time spent in the range, the stronger will be the breakout.

Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak believes that the blockchain technology and Bitcoin will reach its full potential in about a decade. However, with many crypto enthusiasts trying to bring the technology to mainstream use, acceptance might come much earlier.

As this is a new asset class, there might be a danger of potential scams. According to a study by The Wall Street Journal, about 18.6 percent initial coin offerings (ICOs) were using “deceptive or even fraudulent tactics.” This is why investors should not allow greed to blur their judgment while doing the due diligence.

Let’s see if we find any low-risk buying opportunity today?

BTC/USD

Bitcoin has failed to attract buyers. It has continued to slide and is now at the critical support of $7,941.68. If this level breaks down, the digital currency will plunge to $7,000. The 50-day SMA is flat and the 20-day EMA is turning down, moving towards a bearish crossover. This is a negative development.

BTC

If the support at $7,941.68 holds, the bulls will attempt a pullback, which will face resistance at the moving averages.

We can confirm that the BTC/USD pair is range bound once the price breaks out of the 20-day EMA. As it is yet to bounce off the supports, we are avoiding any buy recommendations.

ETH/USD

Ethereum continues to outperform the other top cryptocurrencies. It is well above the 50-day SMA and just below the 20-day EMA. It is trying to hold the neckline of the bearish head and shoulders pattern. The pattern will complete on a breakdown and close (UTC) below the neckline, which has a lower target of $418.

ETH

As the 50-day SMA is still rising and the 20-day EMA is flat, we don’t expect the ETH/USD pair to sink to $418 in a hurry.

We anticipate a strong support at the 50-day SMA, which is close to the 50 percent retracement levels of the rally from $363 to $838.

The first bullish sign will be a breakout of $745 levels. Until then, every pullback attempt will be met with a strong selling pressure.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash has completed the head and shoulders pattern, which gives it a lower target objective of $650. Currently, it is close to the 50-day SMA, which might act as a support and a pullback to the neckline of the bearish H&S pattern is probable. If the bulls fail to scale above the neckline, chances of a breakdown increase.

BCH

As the BCH/USD pair had risen vertically from $777.5304 on April 18 to $1,590.7825 on April 24, there are no supports in between $800-$1,130. Below the 50-day SMA, the cryptocurrency can plunge to $800 levels where some buying can be expected.

We suggest waiting for prices to stabilize before buying. Catching a falling knife can be dangerous.

XRP/USD

Ripple is trying to hold the May 12 lows of $0.632 but it seems weak as it is not finding buyers even at these levels. A break and fall to the critical support level of $0.56270 looks probable.

XRP

On the upside, the bulls will have to break out of the resistance zone between the 50-day SMA and $0.76 to exhibit strength.

We suggest waiting for the XRP/USD pair to show some strength before initiating any long positions.

XLM/USD

Stellar has broken below some key support levels and is currently at the neckline of the head and shoulders pattern. A break and close (UTC) below the neckline will complete the pattern which has a lower target of $0.2.  

XLM

Even if the neckline support holds, it will be a tough climb for the bulls because the XLM/USD pair will face resistance at the 50-day SMA and the 20-day EMA.

The first sign of strength will be on a break out above the May 13 highs of $0.38692920. The longer the price sustains below the moving averages, the weaker it will get. Hence, we are not suggesting any trade on it.

LTC/USD

Litecoin has been trading below the 50-day SMA for the past three days, which shows a lack of buying even at these low levels. The bulls are trying to defend the $127 levels. If this level breaks, a slide to the $115 levels is possible.

LTC

On the upside, any bounce to the 50-day SMA or the 20-day EMA will attract selling. We remain bearish on the LTC/USD pair until it shows consistent buying.

The trend will change only on a breakout and close above the $170 levels. However, if the digital currency falls to $115 levels and holds, we shall risk a buy.

ADA/BTC

Cardano has broken below the trendline and the 50-day SMA. It has minor support at the May 12 lows of 0.00002870. If this level breaks, the next support on the downside is at 0.000025.

ADA

On the upside, the bulls will face stiff resistance at the 50-day SMA and the 20-day EMA. Once these two levels are crossed, the final hurdle will be the horizontal resistance at 0.00003445.

We shall turn positive once the ADA/BTC pair sustains above this level. Until then, it remains in a no-trade zone.   

IOTA/USD

IOTA is trying to hold the horizontal support at $1.63, which is just below the 50-day SMA. If the support holds, a move back to $2.2117 is possible but the up move will face resistance at the 20-day EMA and at $2 levels.

IOTA

If the support breaks, the IOTA/USD pair can slide to $1.28 levels. The 50-day SMA is rising while the 20-day EMA is declining.

Chances of a range bound action are high. We need to wait for a buy setup to emerge before suggesting any long positions on it.

EOS/USD

EOS has been attempting to hold on to the 50-day SMA for the past two days. The 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level of the recent rally is also close to the current levels. An attempt to rebound off the supports on May 17 met with selling pressure close to the 20-day EMA.  

EOS

The EOS/USD pair might remain range bound between the 50-day SMA and the 20-day EMA for a few days before breaking out or breaking down from it.

The next support on the downside is at $10 levels, while the overhead resistance is at $14. We shall look for buying opportunities once the digital currency sustains above the descending channel.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Ethereum Foundation Advisor: SEC Lacks Fundamental Understanding of Core Nature of Crypto

William Mougayar, advisor to the Ethereum Foundation, claims that the SEC is “trying to fit a square peg into a round hole” regarding crypto regulation.

William Mougayar, author of “The Business Blockchain” and advisor to the Ethereum Foundation, said in an interview with CNBC May 18, that regulators lack a foundational understanding of cryptocurrencies.

Speaking to CNBC, Mougayar explained that in an attempt to regulate digital currencies, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lacks an understanding of the core nature of the industry, trying to apply a one-size-fits-all approach:

“The SEC is still trying to educate themselves, not just educate the public … Right now they are still grappling with it and for them the box that they play in is that they see all these cryptocurrencies as a security. But in reality not everything is a security. They want everything to play in that box.”

Answering a question about whether the SEC wants to keep digital currency classified as a security, specifically so they can regulate it, Mougayar responded:

“Exactly. That’s their box, the box they play in. They see everything as a security and they are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, but not everything is a security right now.”

Regarding Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s recent statement that Bitcoin (BTC) will be the native currency of the Internet, Mougayar said that he considers BTC one of the native currencies, but “it’s not going to be the only one, there will be others.”

Mougayar stated that Ethereum (ETH) will “definitely” overtake BTC because it has the “largest ecosystem of developers and start-ups, and venture capital, and all kinds of support going around it.” He said:

“What’s important is not just the technology itself – it’s who is using it.”

Mougayar further explained that currently, cryptocurrencies are underused in their capacity as utilities with real use cases, where they would serve a real purpose and not merely be speculatory instruments. He pointed out that 53 percent of Ethereum transactions are on smart contracts. According to Mougayar this shows that it is “not just as a currency, [but] a utility.”

Recently, the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at the SEC launched a fake initial coin offering (ICO) website, the goal of which is to increase awareness of the typical warning signs of scam ICOs and to promote investor education. According to the SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, the regulator supports the adoption of new technologies, but it also encourages investors to educate themselves and understand what fraudulent offers look like.

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Iran and Russia Discuss Transacting in Crypto to Avoid International Sanctions

Both Iran and Russia are reportedly looking into using cryptocurrency as a way around Western sanctions

Iran and Russia could start using cryptocurrencies to avoid Western sanctions, Russian news portal RBC reported yesterday, May 17.

Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the head of the Iranian Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs, referred to cryptocurrencies as a promising way for both countries to avoid US dollar transactions, as well as a possible replacement of the SWIFT interbank payment system.

At a meeting with Dmitry Mezentsev, the Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, Pourebrahimi said that they have “engaged the Central Bank of Iran to start developing proposals for the use of cryptocurrency.”

Pourebrahimi added that he discussed this topic in the State Duma’s Committee on Economic Policy the day before and that Iran had established cooperation with Russia on this issue:

“They [Russia] share our opinion. We said that if we manage to move this work forward, then we will be the first countries that use cryptocurrency in the exchange of goods.”

In turn, Mezentsev noted that “interbank relations between our countries should be of great importance” against the backdrop of international sanctions currently in place against both Russia and Iran. The meeting of the interbank working group on financial and interbank cooperation will be held in Tehran on July 5 of this year, RBC reports.

Last week, Pourebrahimi had reported that without access to the international banking system, Iranian citizens have so far succeeded in siphoning a staggering $2.5 bln out of the country in crypto.

Venezuela, another country facing international sanctions, recently released its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, in a move that some critics saw as an illegal way to enter the international financial markets. After the Petro’s launch, both Turkey and Iran had expressed interest in releasing their own state-backed cryptocurrencies as well, with Russia’s own CryptoRuble reportedly set to launch in mid-2019.

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New Steps of Adoption: Dutch National Blockchain Research Agenda

The Dutch government’s foray into blockchain enterprise could represent a third prong to mainstream adoption following banks and major corporations.

On May 8, 2018 it was reported that the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a unit tasked with researching the further development of blockchain across technology.

This could represent a major step forward for the adoption and application of blockchain technology as governments are not only taking the new technology seriously with their regulatory work on the cryptocurrency side of things, but now they are actively looking into the benefits of the technology.

Blockchain technology is now on the cusp of a new wave of adoption that is running concurrently, but separately from cryptocurrencies.

The banks are looking as to how blockchain can aid their advancement, racing to be the first-to-market in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Major corporations ar also following suit with their own blockchain products as their own race rages with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle all trying to outdo one another.

The Dutch blockchain research agenda

The Dutch government’s move into blockchain and viewing its potential was delivered by Rob van Gijzel, ambassador of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, who presented the national research agenda which was commissioned by the Dutch ministry.

The research agenda will look at three key areas in order to address whether blockchain can be adapted nationwide for the benefit of the country with its potential.

Firstly, they are looking to determine if the trust-less nature of blockchain can be trusted. They want to know if blockchain technology can truly replace legal and social institutions which require trust in individuals and organizations.

Secondly, the government is looking for sustainability. They will be analyzing energy consumption costs, scalability, and resilience against power concentration or hostile takeovers.

Finally, it needs to be determined how the blockchain will be managed and governed.

Because blockchain technology has potentially far reaching implications in its application, governments could use it to streamline and cut costs in varying aspects of society’s needs.

However, like all sectors currently delving into blockchain’s potential, there needs to be a level of experimentation to see if it is indeed suitable and successful enough to do what it says it can.

It follows that if governments can find a path towards using blockchain successfully, they could well be a large sector that could speed up adoption of the revolutionary technology.

Following banks and businesses

While there are less corporate pressures and capitalist competition at the government level, there is still an obligation and a focus to conduct government business efficiently as part of their mandate towards their citizens. That is why it is understandable that the Dutch government, among others, are looking into new competitive technologies as blockchain.

However, their drive to expand the possibilities of the technology could be considered the latest push in adoption, making it the third prong, following from banks and businesses who are in an ‘arms race’ to be first-to-market with blockchain products.

Looking at the private sector, Banks are not only rushing to try and get crypto trading desks out to their customers, they are also looking at what blockchain technology can do internally for their own processes. Strong banking rivals Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are building and experimenting with blockchain to get a working product out to market first – a long way from when the likes of Jamie Dimon and others were calling it a fraud.

Even Microsoft, Amazon, and other major corporations – who are traditionally centralized powerhouses – are looking to branch out into the decentralized world and offer products that go strongly against the corporate mandate of capitalization and monopoly. There is building evidence from the banking sector and corporations that blockchain can be the next wave of technology so it is important to be ahead of the curve, hence the competition between these other sectors.

Government interest

When governments begin looking at new ways in which to conduct business, they do not have the same corporate competition as these organizations in the private sector, but the push and drive from those sectors must be noticed. Governments, such as the Dutch, with their research agenda, show that even these leaders of countries are also looking at the potential blockchain can bring with its promises of transparency, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The Dutch, however, are not the only ones that have started looking into what the blockchain can do at this level. There are a lot of driving forces in different nations wanting their governments to take note of the future.

For example, the UK government has heard British MPs raising the question of the role nation states have in setting frameworks for decentralized, cross-border systems that blockchains enable. Furthermore, and more directed at the cryptocurrency side of things, the UK also set up a cryptocurrency task force in order to determine the best route for regulation.

Even China, with its hard-line approach to Bitcoin, is still noticing that blockchain technology can have an important role to play in the future. On May 10, the Chinese government released ‘blockchain standards’ in order to advance nationwide development of the blockchain industry by the end of 2019.

South Africa has set up a ‘sandbox’ through its central bank in which certain companies and businesses can operate with less stringent regulations in order to grow the blockchain environment in the African country with the government keeping a close eye on what emerges from it.

Another avenue of adoption

Considering that Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and even blockchain technology were being scoffed at no more than a year ago as ‘rat poison’, and ‘pixie-dust’, the way in which it is being viewed a few months down the line is a staggering turnaround.

Banks, once seen as Bitcoin’s biggest enemy, are now hiring blockchain experts by the dozens; corporations that have always traditionally been at the top of their game are now looking to breakdown and decentralize because they know that is where the next wave of industry will be.

Now it is governments who are legitimizing the power of blockchain as their best and brightest explore this latest technology, and implement its uses to make society more efficient, streamlined, and advanced.

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Indian Supreme Court Upholds Central Bank’s Crypto Dealings Ban Until July Hearing

The Supreme Court of India has blocked all further petitions in High Courts against the central bank’s block on crypto dealings, local sources report.

The Supreme Court of India has decided that no petitions can be filed in any High Court of India against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) April 6 circular about ending all dealings with cryptocurrency, according to local news outlet Inc42.

Citing a Twitter post May 17 from a team of Indian lawyers involved in crypto regulatory analysis, Inc42 reports that the Supreme Court has refused to pause RBI’s crypto ban and has ruled that no further petitions against RBI’s ban can be filed in any High Court. The Supreme Court has also reportedly set the next hearing date for the existing petitions for July 20, 2018. 

Last week, the Supreme Court declined to grant an injunction sought by 11 different crypto-related businesses against the RBI decision, with the new court case set for May 17. The legal team’s tweet adds, as of the Supreme Courts May 17 decision, any petitions already pending against the RBI’s anti-crypto circular will be transferred to the Supreme Court.

At the end of April, the High Court of Delhi also issued a notice to the RBI, the Ministry of Finance, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council that alleged the decision to end crypto dealings violated the constitution.

Public outcry against the ban included an online petition for “Mak[ing] India at the forefront of Blockchain Applications Revolution” that has garnered over 44,000 signatures. American billionaire tech investor Tim Draper referred to the ban as a “huge mistake” that could cause a brain drain in the country.

Despite its no tolerance stance toward decentralized cryptocurrencies, RBI is reportedly considering issuing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). RBI has formed an inter-departmental group to investigate the potential advantages of a CBDC.

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Colombia: Newly Formed Blockchain Association Aims for Dialogue With Government

Crypto businesses in Colombia launched a local Blockchain Association this week, aiming to support the industry and inform the government on the technology.

Six public and private Colombian companies have joined forces to launch the Colombia Blockchain Association, Spanish news agency EFE reported May 17. The Association describes itself as aiming to support the country’s crypto and blockchain ecosystems and to advise the national government on matters concerning regulation of the crypto sphere.

The companies involved are Buda Colombia, Bitcoin Colombia, Cajero.co, IntiColombia, Panda Group and RSK. Representatives from each, as well as Mauricio Tovar – co-director of  inTIColombia, a research group of the National University of Colombia – reportedly attended an event this Wednesday in Bogota to discuss the agenda of the new organization.

As Diario Bitcoin reports, Tovar spoke out at the event against an “abusive” traditional financial sector that encumbers Colombians with unnecessary costs. Citizens “distrust” the current system, he suggested. He said the new association should act as an interlocutor to the state in order to encourage the “informed” adoption of new financial technologies, without compromising the decentralized principles of blockchain, as well as to prevent stifling overregulation.

Buda CEO Alejandro Beltrán contributed his perspective on the potential future of crypto across Latin America, noting that there are estimated to be over 200 mln unbanked citizens in the continent who could be served by a crypto economy. He also noted how complicated it currently is for migrants to send remittances back to their countries of origin using fiat money.

Beyond financial applications, event participants reportedly discussed the use of blockchain in other fields, including information security, intellectual property, the energy sector, electoral systems and real estate registers.

Last year, the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released a report stating that blockchain technology could help address problems facing the ailing banking sector across the continent. Countries in the region with underbanked populations, such as Venezuela, have been encouraging their citizens to educate themselves about crypto. Under pressure from international sanctions, Venezuela launched an oil-backed national cryptocurrency, the Petro, earlier this year.

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Chinese Gov’t Study Detects 421 Fake Cryptos, Outlines Key Features of Fraud

China’s Ministry of Industry and IT says it has detected 421 fake cryptos, identifying key signs of fraudulent tokens in its recent report.

A government-led study in China has detected 421 fake cryptocurrencies, according to a report published today, May 18.

IFCERT, a national committee of internet financial security experts initiated by China’s Ministry of Industry and IT, has warned of the dangers of fraud in the crypto space. The committee’s report notes that as of April, over 60% of the 421 detected fake cryptos are run from overseas servers, making them “difficult to find and to track.”

IFCERT’s ongoing monitoring identified three key features of fraudulent digital currency profiles.

Firstly, their reliance on a so-called ‘pyramid scheme’ operational model, in which investors are first compelled to make a payment, and then promised returns on the basis that they enroll others in the scheme.

The second feature of a fraud crypto, according to IFCERT, is the absence of open-source code of the fake digital asset, allowing its creators to dupe investors into an illusion of skyrocketing growth by artificially splitting the tokens to create an impression of proliferating rewards. The fraudsters claim that the more tokens are generated, the more wealth increases, “only rising without falling.”

Lastly, according to IFCERT, given that bogus coins cannot be traded on legitimate crypto exchanges, they are largely traded through over-the-counter deals, or even on transient phony platforms. With no transparency, scammers can manipulate apparent price surges, while at the same time preventing investors from withdrawing funds in order to benefit from such ‘spikes.’

The report concludes that such virtual currency scams are cases of “illegal fundraising,” with a high risk that their creators will disappear and wreak huge losses for investors, left unable to defend their rights.

The features of a fraud cryptocurrency identified by the IFCERT in their recent study are  strikingly similar to those identified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC). In a recent campaign aimed to educate investors, the U.S. SEC created a website for a fake Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that went live just two days ago. The SEC’s mock HoweyCoins.com lures investors with a “too good to be true investment opportunity” – using the very “red flags” the organization claims to have identified in the majority of fraudulent ICOs – and redirects those who attempt to purchase the ersatz tokens to an educationally-oriented page on the SEC’s own site.

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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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