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“Currency.com has offered what crypto industry needed and became to be the first in the world with that solution,” believes Nigel Crome, Head of Compliance & MLRO at Currency.com.
Nigel Crome is an expert in risk management and compliance management with experience of working in large banks.
Currently, he is the MLRO & Head of Compliance at Currency.com – the world’s first regulated tokenized securities exchange licenced in accordance with the Decree № 8 of the Republic of Belarus “On Development of Digital Economy.”
Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Prague (BCP).
Speaker: Nigel Crome (NC).
BCP: How did the idea to establish a regulated tokenised securities platform has appeared?
NC: The number of markets available to crypto investors is limited. There was a strong need for crypto owners to have an opportunity to invest in real assets without exchanging their crypto portfolio into fiat money and putting their crypto under price pressure. We wanted to change the situation and solve these two main problems on one blockchain platform.
It was pointless to launch another classic crypto exchange, as there are plenty of them in the market. Therefore, we thought about a project that would stand out in this sector and become the best platform for investing in tokenised securities. We offered what the crypto industry needed, and it turned out we are the first in the world to provide this solution.
The second point that allowed the project to be realized is the Decree No. 8 “On the Development of a Digital Economy,” which made Belarus the first country in the world to create a dedicated legislative framework tailored to cryptocurrencies and their industry.
BCP: What problems did the crypto exchange face in the beginning and how was it developing in the start?
NC: When we decided to start working on the project six months ago, we understood that there was no point in launching another crypto exchange that would fail to differentiate from others. Cryptocurrency owners have expressed a desire to diversify their portfolios and gain exposure to traditional financial assets. If you Google ‘security tokens’, you can see that this is one of the hottest trends around the use of blockchain technology.
Therefore, we decided to make a brand-new crypto exchange different from other projects in this industry and become the best platform for investing in tokenised securities.
It’s already clear that we’ve made a good decision. In just a week, the waiting list grew to almost 50,000 prospective clients. Currency.com has also appeared more than 1,000 times in the media, including in top international publications like the New York Times, Reuters, Euronews and the Daily Mail. Almost all of them sound very positive about our project, our country and its advanced IT legislation.
BCP: Currency.com was the first crypto exchange licensed in accordance with the Decree № 8 “On Development of Digital Economy” in Belarus. Tell us what were the steps to obtain the license and which difficulties did you face?
NC: The Decree provides legal clarity for dealing with digital currencies — clarity which has not yet been provided by most other countries — making Belarus a trailblazer in the blockchain technology space. So, Currency.com became an example of a ground-breaking cryptocurrency company being established in Belarus thanks to the new Decree.
The Decree required companies to receive a license before being able to start operating. In November 2018, we submitted documents to the High Technologies Park (HTP) of Belarus to become an HTP resident and obtain the right to carry out the activity of a crypto platform operator and other types of activity with cryptocurrencies and other tokens.
The HTP license requires companies to adhere to the strict international standard of KYC and AML measures and implementing structures that guarantee data protection to the same level as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the European Union.
In December 2018, Currency Com Bel LLC became an HTP resident and obtained the right to carry out the activity of a crypto platform operator and other types of activity with cryptocurrencies and other tokens.
Now, the company adheres to the strict KYC and AML measures required under the HTP license, in line with Financial Action Task Force standards. This includes verification of all blockchain transactions by blockchain intelligence services such as Coinfirm.
Сurrency.com has a committed management and compliance team who made it possible to meet all the requirements of the regulator and are prepared for an audit by one of “The Big Four”, follow KYC procedures at the appropriate level, and find solutions for cryptocurrencies’ AML verification and blockchain analysis.
BCP: Currently, the platform enables trading with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Do you plan to add more cryptocurrencies and which ones?
NC: We intend to add more cryptocurrencies to the platform in the long-term, like Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, NEO, Litecoin, Stellar and other coins. We have specific requirements that all coins/tokens must be able to be AML verified on the blockchain and are not anonymous, as this is forbidden by the regulator and by our own internal risk appetite.
BCP: What are current problems in the sphere of crypto trading and crypto investment? How is the platform trying to solve them?
NC: With limited access to regulated financial markets, crypto investors are missing out on the benefits of investing in global financial markets.
Currency.com provides a unique opportunity to cryptocurrency investors to participate in traditional financial markets by tokenized securities – linking the two worlds together.
Currency.com will revolutionise the cryptocurrency investment ecosystem by enabling cryptocurrency investors to trade, invest in, and benefit from investing in the financial markets without putting their crypto holdings under price pressure or swapping into fiat, allowing the investor to diversify the risk profile/volatility of their portfolio.
BCP: How does the platform plan to develop in the future? Which new solutions will it add to the existing ones?
NC: We will be adding new tokenised assets. We have started with more than 150 assets, and plan to offer over 10,000 available for investing and trading.
We will also learn more about our client base, once all those in the waitlist are onboarded. We are seeing an increasing demand from corporates, who want us to issue crypto bonds via smart contracts through our tokenised exchange platform. We expect to start offering these assets within the next three months.
We believe that the tokens will serve as an effective means for attracting funding to both the economy and businesses. Investing in tokens that promise to replace fiat money has the potential to bring both large gain profits and conversely, large losses, depending on a number of factors such as volatility and the price of the underlying asset.
We believe that in the next 10 years, crypto economics will significantly change our world. The fact that Belarus is at the forefront of these technological changes makes us proud and privileged to be able to support the ecosystem and jurisdiction.
Currency.com will also eventually work with regulators around the world to ensure that the platform can be downloaded and used universally and in a compliant manner.
We are currently operating in an open beta stage for the desktop platform only, with the aim of releasing our mobile based applications, deployable on Android and iOS devices, without loss of functionality. We are hopeful that the mobile applications will be launched in April 2019.
Currency.com will be a silver sponsor of the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Prague, while Nigel Crome will become a speaker at the conference and will deliver the presentation “How to realize the potential of tokenised securities.”
Learn more about blockchain from the expert at the conference!