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Gibraltar’s Blockchain Interest With China Deepens

Avatar Olusegun Ogundeji

Gibraltar may have become the first jurisdiction to introduce a purpose built Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory framework in January 2018, its romance with China in the area of blockchain technologies has been steady of late.

It has awarded DLT licences through the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to crypto-to-crypto lending platform Lendingblock, cryptocurrency exchanges CEX.IO and Bitso, and Quedex, a crypto-centric futures and options exchange.

Now, as it continues to cement its credentials as a major global player in new technologies, its representatives have been attending  events including those related to China in the area of DLT innovation as part of Gibraltar’s efforts to strengthen ties.

After hosting a DLT seminar in October, Gibraltar’s Minister for Digital and Financial Services, Albert Isola, was at the 15th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention in London. He said he used the biennial Convention which was held in Europe for the first time in its 30-year history to highlight the opportunity Gibraltar has for Chinese entrepreneurs involved in the Belt and Road Initiative as a viable gateway to the UK. He added that he also illustrated his country’s success in the insurance and online gambling sectors and its recent ascension as a bonafide fintech hub. He said:

 “Reflecting on the London Convention, the comments made by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday 24 October take on increased importance. Speaking in Beijing, President Xi Jinping declared that China should seize the opportunity afforded by blockchain technology and honed in on the necessity “to implement the rule of law network”, also calling for a top-down approach to implementing guidance and regulation.”

“My Government’s decision in 2017 to introduce a regulatory framework for DLT, the first of its kind, positions Gibraltar and our digital economy extremely well to participate in the future development of the digital Belt and Road Initiative which is gaining greater and greater importance.”

Isola has since participated in events to secure more investment from Chinese entrepreneurs in Gibraltar, particularly in the digital economy and to channel some of the future investment from China into the UK via his country.

At the Hainan Free Trade Zone Global Digital Economic Cooperation Forum as invited by the founder of Huobi Group, Leon Li, Isola was in a panel on international exchange and cooperation in digital economy alongside representatives from Bahrain, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Kazakhstan. He later joined other representatives and officials to sign the agreement that bring into effect the “International Cooperation Forum on Blockchain and Digital Finance”.

On the other hand, the Gibraltar Finance Senior Executive Paul Astengo contributed to a panel on the “Belt and Road Countries – New Opportunities in the Digital Economy”.

It could be recalled that the University of Gibraltar has a working arrangement with Huobi University. In their signed Memorandum of Understanding, both institutions will jointly explore the development of blockchain education and research initiatives including the creation and delivery of short courses in key areas including blockchain, cryptotechnology, and fintech.

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