Compared to stricter regulatory environments, Europe remains fertile ground for the development of the crypto ecosystem, according to key speakers at Blockchain Expo Europe 2023 in Amsterdam.
For the second year in a row, Cointelegraph attended the event held at the RAI convention center in Amsterdam, with the Blockchain Expo forming part of a larger Tech Expo event held in the Netherlands.
The event typically attracted major players from the mainstream financial industry to demonstrate how blockchain technology is being leveraged to create innovative new products and solutions across numerous industries.
From finance to logistics, from health to marketing, Blockchain technology and Web3 capabilities remain a key growth area for many industry players.
MiCA bodes well for enterprise adoption
Regulatory issues remain in focus, as revealed in a conversation with Coinbase Co-Head of Institutional Sales James Morek and Zodia Markets Co-Founder Nick Philpott.
Philpott described the European Union’s regulation of cryptoasset markets (MiCA) as follows: A progressive regulatory measure aimed at stimulating the growth of the industry and protecting users.
“Organizations feel calmer when they know there is a framework within which they can operate, unlike what happens in countries like America.”
Philpott’s reference to the US regulatory environment focused on the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This was essentially determined as follows: Separate enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission against major industry playersIncluding Coinbase, Ripple, and Binance.US for alleged securities violations.
Morek, who leads Coinbase’s institutional sales in the EMEA and APAC regions, also emphasized that clear regulatory parameters have been established in the EU and the UK that help ensure that crypto-related businesses can continue to operate.
Off-the-record conversations also suggest that major operators like Coinbase continue to attract interest from institutional clients outside the United States who want to access or hold certain cryptocurrencies.
This includes many potential clients, from traditional fund managers to large corporations, private banks and diverse businesses. Morek told Cointelegraph: Coinbase currently serves more than 1,300 institutional customers worldwide.
Legal frameworks that have long allowed companies to have both onshore and offshore assets remain an important element in allowing exchanges and companies to provide services across different jurisdictions.
Philpott also highlighted that the UAE is a fast-growing crypto and Web3 hub that actively aims to attract the largest companies in the sector. In fact, Binance has already established a foothold in the United Arab EmiratesCoinbase is reportedly considering the possibility of opening an operational base in the region in early 2024.
A tokenized future
Tokenization remains an interesting topic for many institutions, including traditional banks and financial companies looking to issue and manage debt and investments.
Cointelegraph interviewed Martijn Siebrand, head of digital asset ecosystem at Dutch bank ABN AMRO. Siebrand shared information on the subject the bank’s recent issuance of digital green bondswho used it Polygon’s Ethereum layer-2 scaling technology Raising 5 million euros ($5.3 million).
He said blockchain technology has proven to be a useful tool for banks to better serve the capital markets:
“If we talk about banks, it’s funny, people say capital markets have been around for a long time but we haven’t seen a lot of innovation. This could turn into a big change that a lot of banks are investing in.”
Siebrand added that ABN AMRO is already presenting its blockchain-based digital bond offerings at conferences and exhibitions to both capital market players such as traditional banks and private companies looking to raise funds:
“We see two directions. The institutional one serving the traditional capital markets. But we also have the opportunity to help clients that are too large for crowdfunding and too small for the capital markets.”
The executive ultimately concluded that tokenized debt offerings could be useful for companies that want to avoid selling stock. But before ABN AMRO creates an operational roadmap to advance its blockchain tokenization offerings, There is a need to further develop regulatory frameworks at the judicial level:
“We believe private markets with private issuance involving one-to-one or two or three investors will be easier to scale than institutional markets.”
NFTs retain their value for institutions
Mia Van, Mastercard’s EMEA head of blockchain and digital assets, explored the value of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for institutional users. According to Van, the industry achieved $1.9 billion in sales volume last year, driven by an increase in the average number of Web3 wallets Although sellers dominate marketplaces In recent months.
According to Van, luxury brands such as Breitling and Louis Vuitton are actively using NFTs to provide digital twins of products that document their provenance. Meanwhile, Mainstream brands like Adidas and Nike continue to experiment with NFTs and metadata applications that give users ownership of objects in both the physical world and virtual environments.
Mastercard is also becoming an integral part of the Web3 ecosystem. Animoca Brands announced at the beginning of the year that it would invest $30 million in the neobank Hi platform. The feature of the platform consists of a customizable crypto debit card. Users can actually personalize their Mastercards with the NFTs they own digitally and thus display their valuable Bored Apes in the physical world.
Van did not comment on Mastercard’s strategy and partnerships regarding blockchain and digital assets.
Translation by Walter Rizzo