Cryptocurrency: Expert discusses success of Bitcoin
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The bank, called Xapo, is an entity that specialises in cryptocurrencies. It provides a bitcoin wallet combined with a cold storage vault and a bitcoin-based debit card. Xapo has been granted a European e-money license in Gibraltar which has allowed it to provide electronic fiat money custodial and transfer services.
Gibraltar’s Finance Minister Albert Isola told news outlet Decrypt: “Xapo have now established themselves in Gibraltar as a fully-fledged bank.”
A representative from international law firm Isolas LLP, Joey Garcia spoke about how Gibraltar is extending its regulatory guidelines for digital asset exchanges.
Mr Garcia said: “The framework aims to guide those who have the potential to form important foundational concepts for the work of other international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force, the European Commission and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
“Gibraltar has long been a leader when it comes to fostering innovation and in the development of virtual asset service providers’ regulatory standards and we are confident the 10th Core Principle will aid us even further in our mission to achieve this.
“Particularly as the integrity of these markets is such a key focus internationally.
“We already have some of the largest groups in the world regulated in Gibraltar and this should continue to place those groups at the forefront of standard-setting in the industry,”
Xapo is capitalising on the boom in cryptocurrencies and was founded by the Argentine businessman Wences Casares.
The bank now has its physical headquarters in Grand Casemates Square, Gibraltar.
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The bank is the first such entity in Europe to have a physical branch.
Within the Xapo building is a series of ATMs where customers can manage their cyber-currency transactions.
Another hint of the forward-thinking atmosphere at the bank’s headquarters is the fact that the furniture within has been manufactured using 3D printing technology.
A statement from the new bank said: “Xapo exists to provide you with the gold standard of protection for your wealth.
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“Now that we’ve established ourselves in Gibraltar and acquired a banking license, we’re thrilled to be able to offer you a full-fledged suite of financial tools.
“Xapo is a licensed bank regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).
“Your funds are safe in a crypto-friendly financial hub with a lengthy history of outstanding legal protections for consumers.”
The company has described how “the private keys that lock your bitcoins away are protected from every angle” in a deep vault within the Swiss Alps.
Xapo state that they have employed a global team of experts in financial crime and use the latest in blockchain analysis technologies to ensure that savings are kept secure.
The bank plans to focus on clients “mostly in emerging markets.”
Speaking to Coindesk the bank’s founder Mr Casares said that these clients must have between $30,000 and $1million in funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.
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