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Jurisdictions That Attracted Investors In 2018: Will They Retain Leadership?

Denis Goncharenko

2018 was full of news regarding regulation and legislation. The officials from various states seemed to wake up after a long-lasting slumber and started the industry regulation race. As a result, the world jurisdictions divided into three categories according to their views on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The first group approves crypto and ICOs, another one consists of strict opponents, and there is a third one — those who didn’t decide upon the topic and depicted complete uncertainty.

And if the second ones make their statement clear enough, and while nobody wants to deal with the third group because of unpredictability, the first group is to be studied thoroughly. What did they manage to achieve in the previous period, and will they be able to retain leadership in 2019?

Quick decisions, intrigue, opponents, and partnerships

The key players are already determined, says Paul MIZEL, CEO at Asure Network: “What’s more interesting though, when we look at them closely, we can clearly see that most of them belong to the group of rather small countries that have tax advantages for a long time. Such states are usually called tax havens. For the other countries, the move to become blockchain-friendly is not that simple.”

Some of the crypto-friendly countries entered the race for projects and investors even before 2018 came. They gained some experience, and all they needed to do in 2018 — to specify the regulative rules or guidelines and provide the transparency of the legislation. Many of them succeeded, and some, on the contrary, made wrong steps, thus missing the crucial moment to attract some serious investments to their territories.

Let’s take Switzerland as an example. The country has been the undisputed leader and the self-proclaimed “Crypto Nation” until mid-2018 when the Swiss officials were suddenly surprised by an outflow of capital and startups: the reluctance of banks to cooperate with crypto projects and opening bank accounts scared them off. Many startups have moved to Liechtenstein. Having quickly realized the mistake, the Swiss began to create some sort of blockchain consortium with their neighbors. Frankly speaking, Liechtenstein officials proved to be more decisive in matters of regulation. However, the experience took its own and FINMA, the Swiss regulator, prepared the comprehensive legal and regulatory guidelines for distributed ledger technology at the end of the year.

Marc WEINSTEIN, Principal at Genesis project, highly appreciated this initiative: “I believe that Switzerland pulled the rug out from under Malta. While Malta has been very public in trying to attract new crypto companies to their jurisdiction, Swiss FINMA released comprehensive guidelines.”

Speaking about Malta, everybody was talking a lot about their crypto miracle. In a short period, the country received recognition from the largest companies in the industry, and many of them were glad to open a business on their territory.

2019: keep the gains and go on with the developments

“Places like Malta and Singapore will keep playing a central role in 2019, no doubt on that,”Stefano COVOLAN, founder of Korporatio, makes his prediction. “Also, many new players are entering the space, not only small offshore jurisdictions like Seychelles and Mauritius but even US states as we saw it already in Ohio. 2019 will be a big year from the regulation part, but this time, there would be laws for accepting cryptos rather than rejecting them.”

Of course, crypto-enthusiasts paid a lot of attention to the moves of the USA, the world economic and political leader, as well as to the responsible departments of this state. It seems that the new year would indeed be more positive. For example, recently it became known about a number of bills being discussed in Wyoming and the approval of blockchain businesses by their new governor.

Emerging markets don’t plan to stand still as well. “Look out for markets like the Philippines, where they have created special economic zones like CEZA in Cagayan that are friendly to crypto issuers,”Marc WEINSTEIN pays his attention. The Baltic countries have also been in the spotlights during the past year. Estonia and Lithuania have long been famous for their welcoming attitude towards startups, and they gladly accept blockchain businesses as well. Both jurisdictions have declared their support and the development of legislation. It is possible that in 2019 they will maintain the pace and won’t do any wrong to the development of their blockchain hubs.


Nobody expects any dramatic changes in the list of the leading countries regarding the legal attractiveness for crypto businesses. Japan and Singapore are confidently overtaking the closest possible competitors in Asia. In Europe, the projects are concentrated in blockchain hubs, while in the US everyone is waiting for a legislative thaw. If it comes, the whole blockchain world will take a deep breath of relief. Developing countries are on their way to copy successful examples of legislation from experienced jurisdictions, but they are not on a competitive level — at least, not this year.

Image courtesy of Finder.com

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