Blockchain buzz is expanding across the globe. The rate of research and adoption of blockchain has grown in a short period of time. Blockchain is all set to reshape the world with its transparency, security, safety, and global accessibility.
Although Blockchain was introduced in 2009 only a few countries expanded the territories to explore its vast potential. However, this rate experienced a tremendous rise after the beginning of 2018. The leaders of some of the countries directly or indirectly took the regulatory measures as an initiation in the blockchain market.
The wide application of this technology is expected to affect people's lives, education, finance, governance, business, and other sectors. That’s why its enormous potential is explored by different countries. This article features the countries that have embraced the blockchain innovation in their country to help solve various problems.
Malta is known as “blockchain island”. It is also looking forward to setting up a crypto bank. It all started when Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges inaugurated its office in this country. It is the first place where a decentralized bank and stock exchange was established. Since then, Malta has experienced tremendous growth for ICOs and blockchain projects. After Binance, the favorable regulations for the virtual currency has led other exchanges that includes OKEx, BitPay as well to move there.
The parliament of Malta approved a regulatory framework for blockchain technology on July 4, 2018, that made Malta one of the most blockchain friendly countries in the world. A legal framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT) was passed on March 12, 2018, which included Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) Act, Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) Act, and the Virtual Currencies (VC) Act
Malta is also actively involved in improving and enhancing new regulations that are friendly for blockchain startups. This country is so ahead in terms of blockchain adoption, even its prime minister while speaking in favor of blockchain predicts that Malta will be the best place for blockchain startups. The regulations of Malta encourages investors and startups to get involved with blockchain related projects.
Malta’s leader has understood the business opportunity created in progress of blockchain regulation. The prime minister of Malta, Minister Joseph Muscat wants to be on the frontline to embrace the blockchain technology and let other countries follow their footsteps.
Estonia is the first country to establish a blockchain based e-residency programme.
It is genuinely a digital society that has adopted new technologies to benefit the people and the finance of the country. It is willing to implement blockchain in Healthcare, banking services, and e-governance as well.
Estonia was the first country to use blockchain based e-voting service. This voting also enabled the people to become the shareholder of Nasdaq’s Tallinn Stock Exchange. It also hosts a number of Bitcoin-based ATMS.
Majority of the government services offers 24/7 online and the data integration is ensured by blockchain technology. It has the highest penetration rate of internet in the world. It has even started offering e-citizenship for those wishing to be a residence of Estonia and attracted a lot of blockchain startups. Estonia itself has declared as a remarkable country in blockchain technology.
The constant desire of Estonians has led the government to improve and innovate constantly. It is said that Estonia is running its country like a tech company. Undoubtedly, it is a perfect example that explains how developing countries could largely benefit from the advantages provided by the blockchain technology.
Switzerland is one of the famous adopters of blockchain technology in the world today. Switzerland ranks 1st as a crypto-friendly country in Europe in 2018, according to Blockshow. It is also the home of Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non-profit that developed Ethereum, one of the largest blockchain platforms with the help of developers from around the world.
Switzerland has a transparent legal system, economic stability, and well functioning digital infrastructure and advanced data security. The government policies offer excellent service to startups and established companies to pursue their blockchain powered businesses. Further, Swiss citizens have a high level of knowledge of blockchain.
The political landscape and the laws of this country have attracted a lot of cryptocurrency exchange, cryptocurrency fund managers, cryptocurrency brokers and many other types of stakeholders of blockchain-based businesses. Also, the corporate tax rates are comparatively very low.
Switzerland also has different blockchain labs for the investigation of this disruptive technology. The blockchain labs at the ETZ Zurich (CH) and TU Delft (NL) are the frontrunners among the world.
The most attractive regions for blockchain is Zug, Zurich, and Geneva. Among which Zug is well known as ‘cryptovalley’ among the blockchain community. It offers a tax-free haven for the crypto investors.
The government of Zug province launched the issuance of digital IDs through the registry department on November 15, 2017. This digital id is based on Ethereum. The province has succeeded in terms of attracting investors with low tax rates. Some of the startups to receive investments includes Bancor, iProtus, Melonport, and Shapeshift.
In December, the Swiss parliament proposed regulation and termed Bitcoin as a foreign currency. This increased the activities related to cryptocurrency in the country. Currently, it even supports the utility bills in the crypto.
The guidelines provided by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) has resulted in the possibility of ICO capital. The government’s involvement in ICO surely has increased the trust among the ICO investors. That’s why hundreds of millions of dollars raise is possible with the ICO capital.
Blockchain in Switzerland is expected to impact financial service, insurance, logistics, Energy and healthcare in the near future.
Switzerland is ahead of most of the other countries and is moving rapidly to pave the way to create a decentralized future.
4. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most digital-friendly nations. It is also well known as one of the advocates of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The government of Dubai has a very ambitious goal when it comes to the blockchain. According to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation, the government has a vision of creating a paperless digital enterprise. It plans to become the first country in the world to have a “blockchain powered government by the year 2021. With the implementation of this strategy, UAE expects to save the government a massive $3 billion USD annually.
This announcement was done in 2016. After the announcement, the Smart Dubai Office (SDO) partnered with IBM as the Blockchain Lead Strategic Partner. Ever since the city has witnessed blockchain powered innovations with the collaboration of organizations and government entities.
Dubai is an early adopter of cryptocurrency. At the beginning of 2016, the government created its own coin named Dubai Coin (DBIX) and has been using its own digital currency since then. Although this coin lags behind in comparison to Bitcoin in terms of prices, it signifies UAE’s interest in the blockchain. The jurisdiction is also very co-operative towards the blockchain and crypto industry.
Dubai is also one of the preferable countries for blockchain startups. The blockchain initiative in this country is believed to transform the transaction of citizens, government efficiency, advance the legislation and create an opportunity of global entrepreneurship.
Also, the government plans out to roll out different blockchain based initiatives through Global Blockchain council to support education, energy, health care, and Road and Transport.
This Arabian country is an optimist in welcoming the global cryptocurrencies. Further, it plans to remain the most advanced societies in the world by embracing and promoting emerging technologies
Singapore is a leading example of blockchain in the Asia Pacific region.
The dominance of blockchain technology has affected the Singapore government’s policy. According to the research by Global Market Insights On October 13th, 2017, the partnership between the Monetary Authority of Singapore(MAS) and a consortium of financial institutions launched a new interbank system based on Blockchain.
The government also has formulated different plans to tokenize the state’s currency on the Ethereum network. The Singapore authority has even announced an allocation of over $225 million dollars dedicated to blockchain research and development. Similarly, Singapore has adopted blockchain in the financial sector through Project Ubin.
Currently, Singapore has the third largest ICO market. The blockchain craze in Singapore is able to attract a lot of global investors. It has an incredibly high number of successful blockchain startups among whom many of them are the biggest in terms of market cap.
It has the world’s best blockchain researchers. The country is also exploring the use of blockchain to link National Trade Platforms to global trade platforms.
Singapore’s government and the financial services are all set for the great Blockchain Revolution. Through blockchain technology, the government aims to streamline its society by promoting transparency which is one of the salient features of blockchain technology.
The United Kingdom has the second most number of blockchain startups in the industry.
The government of UK has planned to improve its regulation against identity theft and slow financial services with the proper implementation of the blockchain technology.
The UK is paving a path for blockchain implementation in both public and private spheres. A group of professors is looking forward to the creation of the world’s first “blockchain university” with the aim of democratizing the traditional structure of higher education.
On August 3rd, 2016, The government of Uk launched Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) as a part of ‘Innovate UK’. This is used for paying welfare checks and student loans. However, The application is not only limited to these services, but it could be further enhanced and deployed to the general public.
Also, the department for work and pensions in the UK allows the pensioners to claim payments through blockchain enabled mobile apps. These records are stored in a Distributed ledger.
The governor of the Bank of England believes in the power of blockchain thus it lies among the highest priority among them.
According to the news published by Guardian, UK has the potential to become a leader in the blockchain technology by 2022.
The ICO investments in Uk rose from 50M USD in 2016 to 150M by 2018, which is 300% growth according to the report by the Big Innovation Centre. The report states that over £500 million investments were made into British based blockchain startups in 2017-2018.
Not only the blockchain community, The UK government officials and politicians have also been promoting the technology. Even the housing minister has called on for the countries leader to make the blockchain development a priority in the government sectors. It is said that the government believes that Blockchain will assist to enable social freedom and increase efficiency and rebuild societal trust.
China is also well known for having thousands of blockchain based startups. It supports its own cryptocurrency and smart contract platform such as NEO, VeChain, Qtum, TRON, and others.
The Chinese government is against cryptocurrency and its mining. Although China has banned cryptocurrency and its mining, it is rapidly moving forward in terms of blockchain adoption.
However, the cryptocurrency business has not received a significant amount of support from the Chinese government. China was considered to be a leader in the crypto mining before the government banned the cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings in September 2017.
The number of Chinese blockchain patent application has nearly quintupled since 2016. Now China holds the first place in terms of blockchain and cryptocurrency patents ownership. (Link)
Through Alibaba, China is working with the city of Changzhou to establish a blockchain based healthcare and with the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing to built a blockchain based startups.
The programmers at the major cities of Shanghai, Shanxi, Henan, Guangzhou, Guiyang, and Hangzhou are encouraged for the blockchain development according to the China Internet Report. Similarly, other areas are being explored for the development of the blockchain hub.
The country aims to become a blockchain powerhouse harness the power of public-private partnerships.
Japan was among the earliest adopter of the Blockchain technology.
The world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, was handled from Tokyo. At that time millions of transactions took place through Mt. Gox in Japan. The collapse of Mt. Gox after the major hack made the Japanese government to create a regulatory framework for the better development of the blockchain and the cryptocurrencies. (link of Hack)
The inventor of Bitcoin is also rumored to be Japanese because of the Japanese name Satoshi Nakamoto used as their pseudonym. The name will forever link Bitcoin to Japan.
Japan was a crypto-hub since the early days. In Fact, Japanese were among the first to start the mining and use Bitcoin ever when it had very little value in the real world.
Currently, Japan is the first and only country to have proper legal cryptocurrency regulation. The Tokyo government has passed a law recognizes Bitcoin as a legal tender in April 2017.
Japanese call it “digital currency” instead of calling it ‘cryptocurrency’. As per the record of Japan has 3.5 million citizens trading the cryptocurrency in 2017.
According to the study by a Cyberius, digital marketing group, Japan is one of the leading Asian nations in terms of accepting cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), more than 3.5 million individuals trade in cryptocurrencies and believes the digital asset to be the current asset.
Both the tech-oriented population and the government is engaging and encouraging the blockchain technology in Japan, trying to be the forefront in international technological development.
The United States of America holds the highest number of startups. It has over 40% of total blockchain startup market. Just like the internet boom, the USA is leading the way in the smart economy.
USA is a major player in the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem. 16 percent of global ICO is acquired solely by the US.
The U.S. state governments have recognized the potential of blockchain for the benefits of public services and implementing it in various stages. Some of the states have already cleared a path for the blockchain adoption as well.
The concentration of the technical leaders in Silicon Valley has geared up as a head start among all the countries.
Many US-based financial companies are investing on how blockchain technology could streamline the current work and create a more efficient network to process financial transactions.
The adoption rate of cryptocurrency is increasing significantly as well. The largest American companies such as Overstock, Subway, Microsoft, etc., accept the payment and digital currency.
It is all set to explore the enormous potential of blockchain beyond the digital currency.
Also, different conference and events are hosted in US for creating awareness among the public. The “Consensus 2016: Making Blockchain Real” organized at New York City had notable speakers like Vitalik Buterin, Larry Summers, Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell.
After the launch of a pilot project for blockchain based mobile application in West Virginia, The US government is all set to launch it in all the state during the midterm election. This app is expected to largely benefit the military members who would be able to cast their votes and have a say in the democracy.
They also have the highest number of Bitcoin Atm and Bitcoin trading volumes globally.
Sweden has been in the race to eliminate cash since a long time ago.
Sweden enters in the blockchain business with a new concept. It aims to be the first country to have a blockchain based property title process.
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has publicly declared Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. However, any business willing to interact with the fiat must file for a license according to the AML/CTF and KYC regulations.
Although Sweden implemented a paperless, digitized land registry in 1970. With the growing threat of cybersecurity, transparency, and digitization, Swedish land department is exploring the possibility of land registry to blockchain.
The Swedish government agency, Lantmäteriet, the country’s authority responsible for the land ownership patterned with the banks and telecommunication operator Telia.
The trial of Blockchain land registry has already concluded in its second stage of testing in March 2018 after the successful deployment of smart contracts.
According to an estimate by the consultancy Kairos Future, The proper implementation, the Swedish taxpayer is expected to save over €100 million ($106 million) a year.
This project benefits all the parties including Banks, government, brokers, buyers, sellers involved in the transactions are able to track the progress of the agreement.
This would greatly benefit for the confirmation of the valid transactions guaranteeing the high level of security and integrity.
Apart from real estate, the US Nasdaq and Swedish bank SEB began testing on Blockchain based trading platform for mutual funds in September 2017. This project aimed to make the trading of the funds faster, smoother and easier for all the parties.
The growing demand for cryptocurrency has reflected the increase in crypt based startups. Sweden is also a home to numerous startups including Safello bitcoin exchange and KnCMiner.
The list does not end here. These are only a snapshot of how government around the world are adopting and implementing blockchain. There are other countries like Australia, Denmark, Gibraltar, France, Korea, Denmark, South Africa embracing blockchain rapidly.
Blockchain is considered to race over in the decades to come. It is considered to boom, and this will be entirely different from the internet boom.
There are different countries that are striving for the Blockchain to flourish. Few countries are changing their legislation while some nations are against the cryptocurrency while still encouraging its growth. Also, Blockchain is used to boost government services and economic well-being. The technology is being tested and used at an incredibly rapid pace.
Since there is certainly no global standard for the countries to pick and chose the adoption of Blockchain. Blockchain provides a lot of options for innovation.
The expansion of blockchain startups is very high and lots of countries are willing to accept it. It would be more interesting to see the blockchain adoption list in 2020 and beyond. As the market conditions of countries changes, the global changes continue to occur. Blockchain still has a long way to go.