Maitland ICO Monitor – Wednesday 16 May 2018

16th May 2018

The Big Read

ICOs offer a brave new world to the insurance sector

The insurance industry is reticent to embrace innovation, particularly developments associated with blockchain. However, ICOs offer insurers a chance to dip their toe in the water; ICOs can be extremely profitable and would increase competition in the insurance industry. With 46% of the ICOs launched in 2017 failing, there is clearly an opportunity for those willing to take the risk. The Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2018

Cryptos unmasked

The EU agreed on Monday to force crypto-exchanges to identify users, maker it harder for criminals to use tokens to hide their ill-gotten gains. One key update is that the exchanges will be required to carry out the same know-your-customer checks as ordinary banks. If more trading happens out of the shadows, it might just become respectable. Reuters Breakingviews, 14 May 2018

HSBC/blockchain: missing links

Sixty years ago, the simple shipping container started a boom in global trade. Many think blockchain might have a similar effect. This week, HSBC used a blockchain technology to process the documents needed for a shipment of soyabeans in 24 hours, five times as fast as it normally takes. That said, like the container, the greatest challenges facing blockchain are social, rather than technological. FT Lex, 14 May 2018

New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about

New ICO Fund: CoinShares Fund II

Carey Olsen’s investment funds team in Jersey has announced it played a central role in advising CoinShares Group on the successful first close of CoinShares Fund II, the successor to the groundbreaking ICO fund. Like its predecessor, the closed-ended fund will invest in a range of opportunities in the blockchain space including new ICOs. The fund has been authorised under the Jersey Private Fund Regime, a regime which provides for a streamlined regulatory authorisation process as it is a selective offering – limited to 50 sophisticated investors.

New ICO Platform: ICOVO

ICOVO claims to be the world’s only ICO platform that can solve these three problems: 1) project drafters running away with the procured funds, 2) projects stopping in development due to decline in the motivation of project founders, and 3) high barriers for ICO participation. ICOVO plans to host its own ICO by issuing its OVO tokens from July 2018.

Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity

Cryptocurrency Exchange Upbit Raided by Korean Authorities

Upbit, the fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, was raided by authotities last Thursday and Friday. The Exchange has said that services such as transactions and withdrawals were unaffected and that client assets were safe.  Over the past few months, Korean authorities have raided several smaller crypto venues, outlawed initial coin offerings and banned minors, foreigners and financial institutions from domestic exchanges. Bloomberg, 11 May 2018

Iran Sanctions: Citizens Use Crypto To Move $2.5 Bln Out Of Country

Mounting anticipation that the Obama-era accord would collapse has brought Iran to the brink of a national currency crisis, with the Iranian rial losing around a quarter of its value in the past six months. Without access to the international banking system, the moves have straitjacketed those Iranian citizens hoping to move cash out of the country. According to Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, chairman of Iran’s economic commission, Iranian citizens have so far succeeded in syphoning $2.5 bln out of the country by using cryptocurrencies. CoinTelegraph, 10 May 2018

Bulls & Bears of the week

“The future of ICOs will be determined by the transparency of blockchain technology and the ability to set new standards that are accepted by all participants,” Ernst & Young

Virtual currencies are an “index of money laundering,” BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink