Europe Leads Institutional Cryptocurrency Adoption: Blockchain Expo Amsterda ScrgruppEn

Europe remains fertile ground for a thriving cryptocurrency ecosystem compared to harsher regulatory environments, according to prominent speakers at Blockchain Expo Europe 2023 in Amsterdam.

Cointelegraph attended the event held at the RAI Convention Center Amsterdam for the second year in a row, with the Blockchain Expo forming part of a larger technology expo event being hosted in the Netherlands.

The event has typically attracted prominent industry players from the financial world to showcase how blockchain technology is being leveraged to power innovative new products and solutions across a myriad of industries.

From finance, logistics, healthcare, and marketing, blockchain technology and Web3 functionality continues to be a major growth area for various players in the industry.

MiCA bodes well for institutional adoption

Regulatory matters remain at the forefront, as was evident in a fireside chat featuring Coinbase Co-Head of Institutional Sales James Morek and Zodia Markets Co-Founder Nick Philpott.

Trendmaster co-founder Chris Ohler, Zodia Markets co-founder Nick Philpott, and Coinbase Co-Head of Institutional Sales for EMEA and Asia Pacific James Morek on stage in Amsterdam. Source: Cointelegraph

Philpott described the EU’s Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA) regulations as a progressive regulatory measure to guide the growth of the sector while protecting users.

“Organizations feel more comfortable knowing that there is a framework within which they can operate, which is contrary to what happens in countries like America.”

Philpott’s nod to the US regulatory landscape centered on the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This was primarily driven by separate enforcement actions taken by the SEC against major industry players, including Coinbase, Ripple and Binance.US, for alleged securities violations.

Mork, who heads Coinbase’s institutional sales in the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions, also highlighted the establishment of clear regulatory standards across the EU and UK, which has helped cryptocurrency-related companies continue doing business.

Informal conversations also indicate that major players like Coinbase continue to attract interest from institutional clients looking to gain exposure or custody of certain cryptocurrencies outside the US.

Related: New EU Crypto Law: How MiCA Could Make Europe a Digital Assets Hub

This includes many potential clients, ranging from traditional fund managers to large corporations, private banks and a variety of corporates. Coinbase currently serves more than 1,300 institutional clients globally, Muric told Cointelegraph.

The legal frameworks that have long allowed companies to have onshore and offshore entities remain an important element in allowing cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses to provide services in different jurisdictions.

Philpott also highlighted the UAE as a fast-growing cryptocurrency hub and Web3 is actively looking to attract the biggest companies in the industry. Binance has already established a foothold in the UAE, while Coinbase was reportedly exploring establishing an operations base in the jurisdiction as early as 2023.

Symbolic future

Tokenization continues to be a drawcard for many institutions, including banks and major financial companies looking to issue and manage debt and investments.

Cointelegraph also spoke with Martin Sibrand, Director of the Digital Asset Ecosystem for Dutch bank ABN AMRO. He shared his thoughts on ABN AMRO’s recent issuance of a digital green bond using Ethereum’s Layer 2 scaling technology to raise €5 million ($5.3 million).

ABN AMRO’s Martin Sibrand takes questions from the audience during his presentation on the first day of the conference. Source: Cointelegraph

Seebrand said blockchain technology has proven to be a useful tool for banks to better serve capital markets:

“It’s funny, if we now have conversations within the bank, people say that capital markets have been around for a really long time, and yet we haven’t seen a lot of innovation. This could be one of the major changes that a lot of banks are investing in.”

Sibrand added that ABN AMRO is already showcasing its blockchain-based digital bond exploits at conferences and exhibitions to both capital market players such as major banks, as well as private companies looking to raise funds:

“We see two paths. We have institutional ones that serve traditional capital markets. But we also have an opportunity to help clients who are too big to crowdfund but too small to be able to capital markets.

Sybrand added that token debt offerings could be useful for companies that want to avoid selling stock. However, jurisdictional regulatory frameworks need to be further developed before ABN AMRO can create a practical roadmap to enhance its blockchain tokenization offerings:

“We believe that private equity markets, which are individual or with two or three investors, will be easier to scale than institutional markets.”

NFTs remain valuable to institutions

Mia Fan, Head of Blockchain and Digital Assets EMEA at Mastercard, looked at the value non-fungible tokens (NFTs) offer to institutional users. The sector has generated $1.9 billion in sales volume over the past year according to Fan, with the average number of Web3 wallets increasing despite sellers dominating NFT markets in recent months.

According to Phan, luxury brands like Breitling and Louis Vuitton are actively using NFTs to provide digital twins of items that also prove provenance. Meanwhile, major brands like Adidas and Nike continue to explore NFTs and metaverse activations that give users ownership of objects in both the physical world and metaverse environments.

Related: NFT-Style Debit Cards The Future of Web3 – Animoca Founder With $30M Investment Hi

Mastercard has also become an integral part of the Web3 ecosystem. Earlier this year, Animoca Brands announced a $30 million investment in neobank platform Hi. The platform’s unique offering is an NFT-style customizable crypto debit card. Users can design their own Mastercards using NFTs they digitally own, allowing a person to show off that award Bored monkey In the physical world.

Van will not be asked to comment on Mastercard’s blockchain and digital assets strategy and partnerships.

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