By David Drake
Regulatory confinement hinders progressive growth of the cryptocurrency industry in the US, but the rest of the world is quickly catching on. Ivan Duque, the newly elected President of Colombia is all set to spur the country into a new era of business. The president welcomed the use of blockchain and its affiliates, setting off a campaign to make Colombia a technological leader.
In recent years, blockchain technology has gained popularity across the globe due to its ability to secure transactions, increase transparency, eliminate intermediaries, and facilitate faster and affordable transfer of funds. In the past two year, blockchain has captured the attention of developers, allowing for creation of innovative solutions in different sectors.
Some startup companies that are launching innovative solutions include Gath3r a web mining monetization platform, BQT, the peer to peer trading platform and portfolio optimization platform LiveTradr. Other companies in the social and marketing space are NoizChain, an interactive marketing platform, IOU, the online customer satisfaction platform, ONe Network , the social media security platform and URAllowance, the family smart contract platform.
President Duque believes, among other things, that blockchain technology can curtail pervasive corruption in the country by enhancing transparency and accountability for public funds. In line with this, the Columbian President Duque has offered income tax relief for all cryptocurrency firms that set camp in the country for a period of five years. The only requirement to qualify for tax relief is each company provides a set number of jobs to the locals.
But beyond this, Colombia is competing with the Island of Malta in its wide scale adoption of cryptocurrency. Having announced that it has no plans to meddle with cryptocurrencies recently, South Korea has joined the league of countries that are increasingly making their borders crypto friendly. This move by President Duque elevates Colombia’s status among countries with big ideals.
Jori Falkstedt, CEO of Verifer says, “The actions proposed by the Colombian President have already proved to be good. In Estonia, companies do not pay taxes and have brought thousands of companies to Estonia from Finland and other countries. Estonia has also become one of the world’s most famous countries with its crypto friendliness.”
If things go according to plan, blockchain would be beneficial on the social and political landscape as well. It would prove useful in the electoral process, and for public resource management. In addition, it would help combat other social problems associated with health, and aid in boosting national security.
Government officials have not always been receptive of cryptocurrencies in Colombia. In fact, earlier this year, Buda, a Colombian crypto exchange, had all its accounts closed by local banks. Needless to say, the country has come a long way since then. The sitting Colombian Senate is highly optimistic about the benefits it hopes to attain through the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in general.
With the way this is shaping, Colombia may very well become the crypto hub of South America.
Simon Cocking, Editor-in-Chief of CryptoCoin.News says, “It looks like smaller countries are giving the US a run for its money when it comes to innovative blockchain legislation. Colombia, Malta and Estonia are all introducing crypto-friendly legal frameworks, while the US is tightening regulations. We are seeing the effect of this today already, most of the ICOs that raised over $10m are based outside the US. We expect this to continue, and Colombia could certainly become a strong contender for Latin-American ventures.”
In a market that is non-oppressive and open to blockchain companies globally, President Duque’s move is a celebrated one. Companies looking to establish headquarters will find fertile soil in Colombia. His obsession with artificial intelligence and robotics triggered his large-scale acceptance of blockchain. Government officials were not far behind.
While that may have been the main trigger, Colombia is set on a path that could very well shift the crypto world on its axis.
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.