In today’s Bitcoin in Brief, Belarus, which legalized crypto activities this spring, is now turning its attention to adopting standards for companies operating crypto exchanges and issuing tokens. We’ve covered the decision of the Russian payment provider Qiwi to motivate its employees with tokens. The Daily also features crypto news from China and Canada.
Belarus Working on Standards for Crypto Exchanges
Having legalized crypto-related activities earlier this year, Belarus is now fine-tuning and expanding the regulatory framework. The Hi-Tech Park in Minsk (HTP) is currently developing standards for companies operating crypto exchanges and providers of services related to issuing and placement of tokens. According to media reports, state bodies and representatives of the legal and tech communities in the country are involved in the process.
The new set of rules and regulations is intended to supplement the basic framework outlined in the presidential decree “On the development of the digital economy”, which entered into force on March 28, Denis Aleinikov, senior partner at a Belarussian law firm, told Forklog. He shared details on the progress so far: “We’ve established that a token is not a security […]. Any organization is allowed to issue and sell tokens through residents of the High-Tech Park.”
The legal expert added that entities in the field will be obliged to prove charter capital of at least $500,000. The standards will also regulate the activities of HTP residents and detail the requirements for those that want to issue and trade digital tokens. The Hi-Tech Park is actively participating in the process after it was granted right of legislative initiative with another presidential decree in June.
Payment Provider Qiwi to Award Employees with Tokens
The blockchain subsidiary of the Russian payment provider Qiwi plans to supplement the salaries of its employees with awards paid in tokens. The motivational program will be launched by Qiwi Blockchain Technologies in the second half of 2018 and will be based on the Russian Masterchain platform. Several dozens of employees will receive their awards in QBT tokens by the end of the year. The subsidiary plans to allocate up to 50 percent of its profit to the program.
The tokens will be divided into two categories. Part of them will come with voting rights, allowing their holders to participate in different company decisions. Employees won’t be able to exchange the tokens for fiat money but will have the opportunity to convert them to corporate bonuses. According to Konstantin Koltsov, Director for Corporate Affairs, the system will allow employees to be directly involved in the company’s development. Qiwi also plans to create a blockchain-based HR platform.
Companies with ‘Blockchain’ in The Name Surge in China
It’s no secret that adding “crypto” or “blockchain” to the name of a company comes with some image benefits. Since cryptocurrencies are not favored by authorities in Beijing, Chinese companies from the crypto sector have been left with only one choice. As a result, China has seen a sixfold increase in the number of new firms registered with “blockchain” in their names, The South China Morning Post reported.
According to an estimate based on government data gathered by Qixin.com, there are now more than 4,000 Chinese companies that identify with blockchain. Over 3,000 firms registered since January use the Chinese translation of the term describing the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – “qukualian”. In comparison, their number for the whole 2017 was only 555.
The analysis of the official data has produced another interesting finding – 16,600 companies that were established within the past 12 months had “blockchain” listed as part of their lines of business. SCMP comments that despite the reservations of the Beijing government on crypto exchanges, coin offerings and mining, the interest towards the technology in China remains strong.
Bitcoin Ownership and Awareness Increase in Canada
A survey conducted by the Bank of Canada has detected a twofold increase in the number of people owning bitcoin (BTC) over 12 months. About half of crypto owners said they regularly use bitcoin to buy goods and services or transfer money. The Bitcoin Omnibus Survey was carried out in December, when the prices of cryptocurrencies reached all-time highs, but the results were published recently.
According to another study, “Bitcoin Awareness and Usage in Canada: An Update”, the awareness of Canadians about bitcoin increased from 64 to 85 percent during the same period. The authors also found that the residents of the predominantly francophone province of Quebec were the most Bitcoin-aware citizens.
Meanwhile, the province’s state-owned power company Hydro-Québec has been allowed to charge crypto miners and blockchain promoters increased rates until regulations for the industry are introduced. Régie de l’énergie du Québec, the local energy sector regulator, has recently accepted most of the new Hydro-Québec’s demands. A rate of 15 cents (CAD) per kWh, double the tariff for residential clients, will be applied.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, HTP.
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