Between a Rock and stupid place: the Gibraltar Stock Exchange ICO

Is this the moment that cryptocurrency really, truly, seriously went legit?

The Gibraltar Stock Exchange is a relative baby, having only been established in 2014, and not fully operational until the early part of 2015. The Main Market is EU-regulated, recognised by ESMA, and offers listing services for open and closed-ended funds, as well as bonds and asset-backed securities.

It also has a subsidiary blockchain exchange, which is where the ICO comes in.

Why?

It’s a way to give cryptocurrency a kind of legitimacy to those who have sensibly been wary of something that doesn’t exist, has (theoretically) no value, and is traditionally the currency of choice for assassins and drug lords. It benefits particularly from the regulatory framework which covers value – i.e. cryptocurrency – not covered under other frameworks.

Due diligence is not a dirty word when it comes to safeguarding investments. Nick Cowan, the Minister for Financial Services in Gibraltar described it as “necessary if the blockchain sector is to reach maturity”.

Also, this comes after what will undoubtedly go down in financial and digital currency history as The Year of the Bitcoin. It’s inevitable that anything that rises 1500% in value against the dollar in a single year will take a while to find its own level, but suddenly, everyone is at least dimly aware of what cryptocurrency is.

What?

The cryptocurrency is, perhaps predictably, to be called the ‘Rock Token’, and will be used for a variety of functions at first, not least as an early access medium for other token sales, and GBX services which relate to token listings. The December pre-sale of 210 million Rock Tokens raised $21 million.

2017’s fun and games mean that it’s not just startups that are keen to find a way in to digital currency; the established financial industry is also sitting up and taking sharp notice. The GBX ICO funds will be used to develop the exchange as “the world’s first licensed and regulated token sale platform and digital asset exchange” in the EU (Cowan), but it’s anyone’s guess what impact Brexit will have on that as Gibraltar is technically part of the UK, even though it’s off the edge of Spain.

When?

The main event, however, is between 7th and 14th February, where another 60 million will raise $6 million; that’s quite a Valentine’s gift.

And?

This is a situation to watch rather than an investment opportunity, and particularly in relation to the wider impact Brexit might have on EU-regulated investment. Brussels is tightening the thumbscrews to unpick 300 years of Anglo-Spanish dispute on the Rock of Gibraltar, not least because the no-man’s land that “territories under British protection” will occupy after March 2019 will be a sticky one – the main area of dispute with Spain even now is the strip that the airport is situated upon.

At present, there are no plans and no deals for Brexit, and certainly no clue as to how the GBX will be affected.

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