News Summary: September 2020

Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Crypto News in September 2020.

Cryptocurrency News

EU set to present draft legislation on cryptocurrency

The European Union has put forward a proposal for regulating the cryptocurrency and virtual assets market, bloc-wide. The 167-page draft proposal will make the EU the first big jurisdiction to regulate cryptocurrencies. Following a similar model to the Maltese authorities two years ago, the proposed regulations borrow from existing finserv legislation and apply them to the cryptocurrency sector.

The draft provides different definitions for token, crypto assets and distributed ledger technology. It also provides regulatory certainty for trading platforms, exchanges, administration of crypto assets, and those executing orders for cryptocurrency and other virtual assets. Interestingly, it also provides a transition period for those that are already operating such activities in the region to avoid disruption of their activities. Those applying and gaining authorisation under the new regulations will find it’s valid for the entire EU region.

Study reports 101 million cryptocurrency users globally in 2019

Cambridge University in the UK has conducted a study that has estimated there are 101 million cryptocurrency users worldwide. The Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study has examined the current market including off-chain activity, mining, regulation, security and the profile of those that use crypto. The study found that the market is growing at a rate of 21% as per figures from 2019.

In terms of popularity, Bitcoin comes out on top followed by ethereum and bitcoin cash. Litecoin, ripple, monero and zcash are also popular. In 2018, the study estimated that there were 35 million cryptocurrency users globally. In just one year, this has almost tripled across 191 million different cryptocurrency accounts. Researchers also noted that crypto companies non-compliance with KYC dropped by over 30 percentage points to just 13%.

Cryptocurrency performing better than gold in 2020

Cryptocurrency and virtual assets are the best performing assets of 2020 so far. According to the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, virtual currencies are up around 65% which far exceeds the performance of gold which rose by just 20%.

One of the main reasons behind the surge is because Ethereum, which accounts for around ⅓ of the crypto market, has enjoyed significant gains. This is due to the widespread adoption of decentralised finance and Ethereums position as a market leader in this area. Analysts say that the DeFi market is now worth $9 billion up from under $700 million at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, crypto has done well during the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek to retain value while fiat currencies fluctuate wildly.

Online Gambling News

Holland postpones enforcement of iGaming laws

The Dutch authorities have once again delayed the launch of online gaming in The Netherlands. The eagerly awaited Remote Gambling Act is now set to come into force as of 1 March 2021 with businesses able to operate from 1 September. The Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker confirmed that the legislation was being delayed by two months with the market opening six months later.

The reason for this is to allow more space for all involved parties to prepare for the law. It was previously scheduled for 1 January 2021 but additional delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are also believed to have had an impact. The Dutch authorities have also sent a copy of the regulation to the European Commission for approval. The new rules will include a necessity for operators to create an addiction prevention policy and a maximum credit limit on accounts. Bonuses will also be restricted and advertising bans between 6 am-9 pm will be in place.

Mercedes-Benz to sponsor League of Legends eSports

Mercedes-Benz has announced it will be the main sponsor of League of Legends eSports. As well as presenting the trophies at big events, it will develop its own branded content and run adverts, commercials, and social media content focussed on the tournaments. It is the first big-name automotive brand in the world, to get behind the eSports industry.

Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Esports Partnerships at Riot Games said that Mercedes-Benz was the first to “truly embrace eSports at a global scale while developing a deep understanding of the unrelenting passions fuelling the game and the League of Legends eSports community.” eSports and eSports betting has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity over the last year and it’s well on it’s way to being a mainstream sporting event. The backing by Mercedes-Benz will put even more attention on the sector and open it up to a previously untapped market.

Fintech News

Stripe named #1 global payment provider

Payment processor Stripe has been recognised as the number one global payment provider in 2020 according to Forrester. It came out on top in terms of its strategy and offering and was credited with “increasing the GDP of the internet” through its use of tech, innovation, and disruptive features.

Forrester said that they believe no other company in the sector is ready to serve the full range of clients from startups through to Fortune 500 companies. Stripe also recently lead a $12 million Series A round of funding for Philippines-based online payment platform, PayMongo. Stripe said they invested in the platform as they were very impressed with how the company increased payment integration and e-commerce accessibility for Filippino companies.

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