One of the prominent guests at BlockShow Asia 2017 was Nick Cowan, the managing director and founder of GSX, Gibraltar’s first regulated stock exchange. Cowan is an fervent supporter of the Fintech market so I was interested to discover what he said in the numerous interviews he gave following the show about his personal position and what this might mean for a financial centre like Gibraltar.
It is important to note that Cowan loves networking the crypto communities and admires their dynamism. As far as he can see there are two very important dynamics operating in the crypto market at the moment: the first is distributed ledger usage and the ways in which blockchain platforms can transform a range of businesses and second, the trade in cryptocurrencies. He told Cointelegraph that during one trip to one Asian country, he met about 500 people with an average age of 60 who were all cryptocurrency traders. Considering the perception is that the cryptocurrency market targets those in the 25-45 age range, it would seem that the traders are somewhat older, at least in Asia.
However, Cowan also pointed out that there are significant differences between jurisdictions. For example, in the next country he visited (he didn’t say which one) the focus was more on crypto fund management and institutional engagement with this emerging market. He also answered some questions about what are the drivers behind the interest in crypto. He said: “A lot of it is driven by regulation, in terms of the acceptance of the technology and cryptocurrencies in general.” But what impressed him most was the level of knowledge in each country he has visited.
As he said, and it is evident to anyone who is curious about this market, the interest in everything crypto is snowballing and the perception that it is going to go mainstream is growing. Cowan said: “You are seeing more and more companies, Fintechs that are looking to start their business or grow their business tapping into token sale space as a way of raising money.” He described the sector as being “on fire.”
Gibraltar GSX got involved in crypto about two years ago and the fact that it is a small jurisdiction enables it to be a bit more flexible than other stock exchanges. It got involved by launching a Bitcoin asset-backed security approved by the European Union. As Cowan, explained, when they started on the project Bitcoin was $300, but they knew little about it and the whole team had to dive in and find out everything possible about this whole new world.
The Gibraltar government is also interested in blockchain and has been talking to various communities globally about whether or not there should regulations for operators of blockchain-based financial services. As a result, Gibraltar is introducing regulations in January 2018. Cowan sees this as an opportunity and GSX is applying for a license so that it is in a position to explore the ICO token space to its fullest and use all the knowledge its team has acquired. In fact, watch this space because GSX is launching its own security token next year on its main exchange.