Ireland, Thailand, and Colombia – International Blockchain News Roundup

A new organisation in Ireland, new regulations in Thailand, and new discrimination in Colombia.

Ireland

A new blockchain organisation has arisen, this time in the emerald isle.

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The Blockchain Association of Ireland aims to “position [Ireland] as a dominant force on the world stage.”

The BAI is a creation of IDA Ireland, according to the Irish Times. IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Authority) is an agency responsible for attracting foreign investment. Operational for over 60 years, it became autonomous from the government (although still state-sponsored) in 1969. According to its website, by the end of 2017 more than 210,000 people in Ireland were employed by foreign-owned companies, which surpassed the goal of its five-year-plan.

The new organisation has been formed to both develop blockchain usage in Ireland and attract foreign blockchain companies also. It is a result of the work of a number of groups – the Irish Blockchain Expert Group (an IDA forum), the Department of Finance, Enterprise Ireland (another economic development agency that today announced an unrelated €750,000 fund for blockchain/fintech venture), and Consensys.

Consensys is a New York-based blockchain outfit that develops and promotes applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The report states that it plans to hire 60 people to work on Ethereum products at an ‘innovation studio’ in Dublin.

Keith Fingleton, CIO of IDA Ireland, said to the Irish Times: “IDA Ireland’s strategy has always been to identify and secure reference projects from leading technology companies. We regard blockchain as an area with huge potential and we are seeing great interest among IDA Ireland’s client base. This initiative will enhance the blockchain industry in Ireland and our position as a global blockchain centre of excellence.”

Thailand

The Security and Exchange Commission of Thailand has legalised cryptocurrency, according to the Bangkok Post. The regulator will allow trading of seven cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Stellar, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic. Trading pairs will be assessed by the authority according to “Consensus credibility and cryptocurrency liquidity”, according to the report.

All parties that wish to conduct business with cryptocurrency, be they brokers, exchanges, or ICO issuers, must register with the SEC within 90 days of the effective date. The regulator expects about ten licence applications, half from cryptocurrency exchanges and half from brokerages.

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Punishment for unauthorised cryptocurrency dealing has been set an no more than twice the value of each illegal transaction, or at least 50,000 baht ($1,558), and up to two years in jail.

There are also guidelines as to what constitutes a legitimate ICO – for example, that they must be operational for at least one year and must have a minimum registered capital of 5 million baht ($155,800). This figure also represents the amount that cryptocurrency exchanges will have to pay to register for a licence.

Cryptocurrency was defined as an asset in Thailand on the 14th of May this year after several rounds of public hearings. Earlier that same month, the country’s main stock exchange launched a fund for blockchain startups.

The new laws are to come into effect later this month, and operators have until the 14th of August to apply for a licence.

Columbia

Buda, a South American cryptocurrency exchange dealing mainly with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin, has been shut out by Colombian banks, according to its CEO. Alejandro Beltran announced that Bancolombia, BBVA, and Davivenda all decided to close the exchange’s account.

The Buda team says that the banks offered no explanation, according to CCN.

We last reported on Buda on the 30th of May when it won a court injunction against Chilean banks after they had taken a similar decision. In the end, Banco Estado reopened its doors to the exchange.

One difference between these events and what happened in Chile is that Chilean banks shut their doors to all cryptocurrency exchanges, while in Colombia Buda has been singled out, according to CCN.

According to infobae.com, the country’s senate had a discussion about regulating cryptocurrency only last week.

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