In recent weeks we've been meeting with British Members of Parliament to discuss our new whitepaper on privacy and anonymity in digital currencies. We were also exploring legislative options that we feel would greatly benefit the digital currency sector in the UK through supporting consumer confidence. Options that would bring our sector in line with our global competitors in this exciting and fast-moving area of the economy, without undermining its core appeal.
There's no doubt that we're covering a lot of ground - from anti-money laundering legislation, the potential for the UK government to raise billions of pounds in unclaimed capital gains tax, to cryptocurrencies impact on economic policy - the disruptive power of digital currencies is wide ranging.
The consumer potential is already being demonstrated, with businesses like Etsy and Subway now accepting bitcoins. It is also starting to rub off on the public sector globally.
Singapore and Russia are the countries leading the charge, by creating their own cryptocurrencies. Recently Putin announced that the Russian government will investigate the digital currencies market to see how it could fit into their boarder regulatory framework. It is alleged that the Russian government is working on the CryptoRuble, its own form cryptocurrency, but this has yet to be confirmed. It has, however, been given the go-ahead in Singapore.
Recently, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has developed three different models for inter-bank payments using blockchain. MAS aims to finish its own currency trial by next year. Several major banks have become involved in the project and MAS hopes that the project will demonstrate the positive impact of the new financial technology.
North Korea, however, have been using them to make mischief. Recently it has emerged that North Korean hackers are breaking into foreign computers and using them to mine without the owner's knowledge or permission. Malware crypto-mining is a new trend among hackers because it is a successful alternative to risky high-intensity attacks. North Korean hackers typify the illicit side of cryptocurrencies.
In the Philippines, one of LEOcoin's biggest users, the government have started to regulate cryptocurrencies. Manila has decided to engage with the digital currency sector as it sees the transaction method as useful for sending remittances (international transfers). In the last year cryptocurrency transactions have grown by 200%.
Rodrigo Duterte's (the Philippine President) government has introduced digital currencies regulation to protect users in response to concerns about digital currencies ability to facilitate money laundering and other criminal activities.
Many countries that are still on the fence about cryptocurrencies are slowly embracing them under a regulatory framework. However, nations like Saudi Arabia don't think that cryptocurrencies have matured enough to be regulated at all. For these and many other countries they are choosing to take a back seat and wait to see what happens before they make any definitive moves.
Globally the resistance towards cryptocurrencies is waning as they are becoming a more accepted transaction method. This is great to see. Though I've always advocated the disruptive power of digital currencies, and their opportunity to break the status quo, I've never wanted the world of cryptos to remain a 'wild west'. Consumers need to be confident that they're using a safe product.
However, the regulation needs to be sensible, and we must guard against any draconian measures that might stifle this burgeoning technology that could benefit the un-banked and speed up international transactions exponentially. But limited regulation is allowing digital currencies to move into the mainstream banking sector in many parts of the world, and I hope the trend continues here in the UK too.