‘Blockchain Rock’: Gibraltar Moves to Become World’s First Cryptocurrency Hub

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On the southern Mediterranean coast, nestled in the shadow of the Rock’s sheer limestone cliffs and its tangle of wild olive trees, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is quietly preparing for a corporate takeover that could have global consequences for the former naval garrison, The Guardian reported. Less than half a mile away, next to the blue waters of Gibraltar’s mid-harbor marina, the peninsula’s regulators are reviewing a proposal that would prompt blockchain firm Valereum to buy the exchange in the new year – meaning the British overseas territory could soon host the world’s first integrated bourse, where conventional bonds can be traded alongside major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and dogecoin. It is a bold move for a territory of just 33,000 people, where the financial sector – which accounts for roughly a third of Gibraltar’s £2.4bn economy - is overseen by a regulator staffed by 82 employees. If all goes to plan, the enclave could become a global cryptocurrency hub; if the controls set by the small team of regulators fail, it risks reputational damage and ultimately diplomatic sanctions that could threaten its economy. While countries including China and the U.K. have either banned or openly warned against investments in crypto assets, Gibraltar has bucked the trend, having committed to formally regulating cryptocurrencies in an attempt to future-proof the territory’s status as a financial hub. It comes as Gibraltar struggles to shake off a reputation as a global tax haven, with the government having sued a Spanish newspaper in an attempt to restore its global standing. Read more.