We all know these countries that are currently on top of all things Blockchain, leading the technology and its ecosystem towards global visibility and success. At the same time, there are so many countries out there staying in the shadows of those leading players but making their progress in harnessing Blockchain nonetheless. We chose 3 of the most promising countries from the worldwide Blockchain field. Each of them has its own background of relationship with Cryptospace, and each one of them has chosen its own way of approaching these innovations; this year, however, we bet on these countries to make a significant breakthrough and gain more recognition than ever — not mentioning some of them can even become new leaders.
The past year was more than eventful for the British overseas territory. If Bermuda was a time-to-time topic for the international Crypto media earlier, now it seems to be seriously intended to take a leading position on the global Blockchain scene.
The headlines in 2018 were all about how the country presented itself at several large Blockchain events. In August, last year, to point out the current Crypto- and Blockchain-friendly course of the Bermuda, Blockchain Futurist Conference was joined by Wayne Caines, the country’s Minister of National security, who has personally attended to participate in talks and discussions on Blockchain regulations and capital markets.
Even though we don’t know the actual essence of his appearances, the news says it all: Bermuda’s involvement in the international Blockchain community, as well as the country’s willingness to share and gain experience from like-minded experts was noticeable enough to become a subjects for jokes — was it Bermuda that hosted this event in Toronto?
And of course, the global community could not but memorize Bermuda participating in Blockchain Economic Forum at Davos (again, featuring Wayne Caines), along with the improvised “afterparty” happened a few days later in Bermuda, joined by a group of Blockchain enthusiasts having come there right from Switzerland.
However, within the internal workings of the Bermuda government, the work was also well underway. One important step for the country’s Blockchain ecosystem has been the implementation of several regulatory improvements: making amendments to the existing Banking Act, followed up by Digital Asset Business Act and an Initial Coin Offerings bill presented by David Burt after finding out that regulations and associated risks are standing between local banks and Blockchain companies. The mentioned ICO bill has had the most significant effect on Bermuda’s Blockchain field: new regulations turned out to be an excellent fit for the country’s regulatory system. It took only a couple of months for Bermuda’s government to award a Fintech company Ulala with certification and approve its ICO as the first one under these new regulations.
One more important milestone for the country’s Blockchain adoption became a partnership and MoU with the Chinese exchange giant Binance, from which the country received $15M as an investment.
To make this happen, the company’s CEO Changpeng Zhao has personally visited Bermuda and met the local government officials, including Prime Minister & Minister of Finance David Burt. The initial goal of this meeting was establishing a deal of implementing crypto, among other digital assets, in Bermuda.
During the Zhao’s visit it was stated that, according to the signed agreement, Binance will create a Global Compliance Center in a country’s territory, also providing 40 new jobs. Regarding the mentioned funds received from Binance, they are to be invested in the education of Bermuda residents ($10M) as well as the development of local Blockchain companies ($5M).
After such a fruitful year, what’s on Bermuda’s agenda for 2019? Well, this year has already marked a bright new beginning — Bermuda Premier David Burt has stated the country’s decision to offer crypto-oriented services globally by launching Crypto-and Blockchain-friendly bank. Of course, this plan is yet to be executed; however, if it happens, it would not only make the country one of the very few that implemented such an initiative on a state level but would also lead Bermuda to the top of the global Blockchain scene.
“Small boat turns faster” — that was said during the Binance meeting with the Bermuda officials. Well, so far this phrase sums up the country’s experience just perfectly!
UAE & Dubai
Another bright candidate to lead the global Blockchain scene this year, UAE and particularly Dubai has all the chances to make it to the top. The Dubai government proved itself to be really ambitious within this field and its aim is just the same: to become a capital for all things Blockchain. Dubai regulatory body’s plan to provide support for Blockchain initiatives in several different industries, including Healthcare, Transportation, Education, Energy, and others.
Just for instance: in late 2018 the Advisory Council of the UAE Banks Federation discussed the implementation of Blockchain-enabled KYC solution for its 50 member-banks. During the meeting dedicated to this resolution, the Digital Banking Committee study exploring the opportunity of creating an industry standard in Digital Banking was also presented; the study demonstrated various Blockchain applications, including cross-border payments, compliance reporting, customer onboarding, and others.
Talking about the study, Aref Al Ramli, the Committee’s Chairperson, stated that new technologies like Blockchain can assist banks “in creating new revenue streams, “which will in turn drive sustained business growth”.
However, it seems like the most interesting part is waiting for us in mid-2019 — that’s exactly when, according to the country’s Securities and Commodities Authority, new ICO regulations will be revealed; this will become the next logical step after approving offerings as securities on a state level.
The goal of this initiative is to provide businesses with a new and more secured fundraising option, uncovering the potential of Blockchain technology. But it takes more than just creating regulations — one also needs the proper ecosystem so these regulations can work efficiently. That’s exactly why the SCA aims to partner Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market — in order to join forces in creating ICO-focused trading platforms.
There’s even more to it! In January, UAE has announced an agreement to collaborate with Saudi Arabia for creating their own cryptocurrency. This resolution is supposed to be a part of the Strategy of Resolve established between countries and including several initiatives in numerous industries, Crypto among them.
According to Emirate News Agency reports, the initiative seeks “to protect customer interest, create standards for technology, and consider the cybersecurity risks while determining the impact of central currencies on monetary policies”. Well, I guess we all should just wait and see!
It wasn’t so long ago when Brazilian state institutions tended to be somewhat hostile towards Crypto, Bitcoin in particular. However, it seems like 2018 has marked some kind of a thaw within the country: the number of organization feeling enthusiastic about this growing trend has increased, and many started thinking about how underestimated and underregulated this field is in Brazil.
This tendency led the country to many great developments — one of them was the foundation of The Brazilian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (ABCB), the country’s very first Blockchain organization created and led by Atlas Project. The goal of ABCB is to raise awareness of Blockchain use cases as well as present more regulatory solutions to the space.
Atlas Project is not going to stop where it is, though. The company has its mission — ‘to take global innovations and developments and integrate them into the Brazilian space’ and to make it happen, the project plans to launch several more initiatives similar to ABCB in the near future.
One of the other significant developments within the Brazilian Blockchain field is the country’s participation in the BRICS Bank Consortium, in which Brazil, along with Russia, India, China, and South Africa is tackling possible benefits the Blockchain technology could bring to the Brazil economy. What’s more important, The Brazilian Development Bank seems to be assigned to lead this initiative, which particular goal is to set large-scale research on Blockchain “for the potential development of digital economy”. Considering the fact that The Brazilian Development Bank is a state-run institution, the tendency is definitely encouraging.
Education has always been one of the pillars of every community — and this works with Brazilian Blockchain community as well. Since 2018, the Blockchain Academy was launched in São Paulo, with the mission of establishing an “innovative ecosystem of entrepreneurs, new business models, and initiatives that adopt cryptocurrencies and Blockchain platforms”. Strictly speaking, the academy was open back in 2016, and up to the current moment it managed to hold over 30 open courses for more than 2000 students, but its important milestone was reached in late 2018 when the organization went international by launching Ethereum development courses in Portugal.
Just as was said before, 2018 turned out to be a pretty good year for the Brazilian Blockchain space, with global experts like Don Tapscott and Joseph Lubin providing support to it, but let’s see what was going on in the political field at this very time. In October 2018, Brazil has held the election of the country’s 38th president, which happened to be tense and emotional — for the local Blockchain ecosystem as well, all because our beloved technology was used as a presidential race tool by no less than three candidates.
The first one was Marina Silva, a candidate from REDE Party, who created Blockchain-enabled record of donations made to her campaign. Then, João Amoêdo of New Party made a public statement that in case of his election he would provide Brazilian people with a Blockchain-enabled electronic IDs by implementing a “Digital Government”. But perhaps the most memorable one was the case of the Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, the second-most-popular one during this election. The candidate made a statement that his electorate has been manipulated by creating fake news about his personal life and professional activity, as well as by twisting the essence of his presidential proposals. To fight this, Haddad has put his government plan on Blockchain to create record unable of being changed and therefore used against him during the campaign.
No one of the mentioned candidates won this election (even though Haddad was really close), which brings us to the current state of affairs, a bit unsettling. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current President (which was already dubbed as the Brazilian version of Donald Trump) has assumed his post on January 1st, and in less than a week the information about the “indigenous cryptocurrency” project shutdown appeared in the media. The project which appeared to be a kind of a ‘social cryptocurrency’ made under an agreement with the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) for a budget of roughly $12M, was suspended “due to the cost”. Was it a justified measure, or just an excuse? It’s hard to judge from our position. Yes, Brazil has a long way ahead towards the frontline of the global Blockchain leadership, but a constellation of many events of 2018 has made this country much more visible in the field; from our part, we can only hope that this positive dynamics will keep going, despite all the controversial decisions of local politicians.