News Summary for July 2021: Gambling, Cryptocurrency & Payments

Fast Offshore brings you the top news from Gambling, Fintech, and Cryptocurrency in July 2021.

bullet Online Gambling News

Online gambling driven forward by apps, free play games, and accessibility

Mobile-based and online gambling in general have dramatically increased during the pandemic and are expected to continue growing over the following years. A new report from Grand View found that the growing availability of cost-efficient mobile apps is driving market growth, combined with increased mobile phone usage and internet penetration. Casinos are also focused on investing across multiple information solutions that will increase credibility and trust, crack down on illegality, and offer support to gamblers.

Increasing the development of new technologies such as virtual reality and blockchain is also driving the industry’s growth. This may be because several companies are now integrating blockchain technology into their online gambling business. This helps them ensure transparency in gambling activities and offers an enhanced user experience.

Grand View

Gibraltar tax hike spells trouble for gambling operators

Gibraltar has increased the corporate tax rate to 12.5% to align with OECD minimum standards. This is a 2.5% rise from the current 10% rate, which was “transitional”. But this isn’t the end; the tax rate is expected to increase further in the following years. This could negatively impact Gibraltar’s reputation as a hub for gambling. Increased taxes will mean many operators will be looking elsewhere to base their business. Ongoing uncertainty over Brexit could also add to its woes. 

This comes at a time many gambling companies are considering leaving Malta over the recent FATF greylisting. But this is good news for Kahnawake, a jurisdiction that offers zero tax while being legally compliant and has a gambling license with an excellent reputation.

bullet Blockchain & Cryptocurrency News

India launches world’s largest educational blockchain

India has launched the world’s largest educational blockchain network. The Maharashtra State Government has overruled a national ban on crypto technology to create and implement the project. The system will ensure higher levels of transparency for qualifications due to increasing competition in the employment sector. 

Concerns over the forgery of government-issued documents and the costs associated with it pushed the Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development to create the platform. Running on Ethereum, it was created in a collaboration between the Maharashtra State Innovation Society and LegitDoc. The company said they are in talks with the school’s department to expand the project’s scope.

Fireblocks raises $310 million to help institutions use cryptocurrency

Blockchain company Fireblocks has announced it’s raised some $310 million in capital. This has brought its valuation to an impressive $2 billion. The platform allows banks, payment companies, and other financial institutions to store, issue, and even move various cryptocurrencies within and outside of their system. Fireblocks stated that they would use the funds to increase their work with traditional financial assets. They hope to bring more assets to the blockchain, according to CEO Michael Shaulov. 

He also noted that the appetite among senior executives in once-conventional financial institutions was incredibly high for blockchain technology.  This has been reinforced by a big jump in the use of digital wallets. In the second quarter of 2021, there were over 70 million registered digital wallets globally. By the end of next year, this figure is expected to reach 1 billion.

Amazon sparks rumours over cryptocurrency payment integration

Amazon has advertised a vacancy for a digital currency product lead. This has led to speculation that it may start accepting digital currency as a payment method on its platforms. The eCommerce giant, one of the largest in the world, is poised to bring its online payment systems into the cryptocurrency era. The lucky individual is expected to have demonstrable experience in Central Bank Digital Currencies, Cryptocurrency, Distributed Ledgers, and Blockchain.

If Amazon starts accepting cryptocurrency, this will do wonders for mainstream adoption and public confidence. Currently, customers can use cryptocurrency to fund Amazon purchases indirectly. They must first purchase a voucher using crypto, which can then be used to pay for products on the site. Amazon brought in net revenue of $386 billion in 2020, and the introduction of crypto payments could see this rise significantly.

bullet Payments News

Skrill adds 20 cryptos to digital wallet, echoing growing confidence in virtual currency

Skrill has added another 20 cryptocurrencies to its digital wallet offering for customers based outside the US. The platform, a special division of payments giant Paysafe, now offers 35 cryptocurrency options in total. As well as the introduction of the new currencies, Skrill said they would operate in 11 additional US states and territories. NETELLER, another payment, and digital wallet provider, also under the Paysafe umbrella, is also said to be onboarding the same new coins.

Skrill is available worldwide and in a total of 48 US States. The most recent additions include California, Florida, and Massachusetts. This demonstrates a growing demand not just for digital wallets but for cryptocurrency as well.

Stocard sold for EUR 110 million to European fintech giant

One of the world’s largest and most successful fintech companies, Klarna, has a new acquisition under its belt. It’s rumoured that they purchased a German digital wallet provider, Stocard, earlier this month.

Stocard has more than 60 million users globally and was launched in 2011. It’s reported that the sale went through for a value of EUR 110 million. Stocard was established as an app that would hold all your loyalty cards in one place. One of the first digital wallets to be launched, the company announced they were considering launching a buy-now-pay-later product. This is what Klarna offers and is most likely how they got on their radar. Klarna raised more than $639 million in capital and bought social shopping platform Hero earlier in July.

Binance could replace CEO with compliance expert

Crypto-giant Binance is looking for a compliance expert who could potentially replace current CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao. The company launched in 2017 and is currently worth billions. But it’s been no stranger to controversy, particularly in terms of regulations and compliance. It’s been subjected to several investigations in the US and found itself banned in other jurisdictions for not registering with the relevant authorities. But earlier this month, Zhao said in a series of Tweets that if he found the right person, he would consider stepping down.

He added that the move wouldn’t be right away but that the action was necessary for the company’s progression. In a virtual press conference, Zhao said that it is essential to reiterate its dedication to regulatory compliance.

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