“I bought bitcoin for the sake of my children”, says this MP from Gibraltar

"I bought bitcoin for the sake of my children", says this MP from Gibraltar

Located in Europe, at the southern tip of Spain, the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is a hotbed of cryptocurrency adoption.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services in the Government of the Queen of Gibraltar, explained the territory’s approach to cryptocurrencies and shed light on its own interests in cryptocurrencies.

Mr Isola played a key role in the establishment of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory framework in Gibraltar. But he is also a bitcoiner.

Isola (left) in front of a photograph of the peninsula of Gibraltar, known as ‘The Rock’.

Speaking from ministerial offices in Gibraltar, he told Joe Hall: “I have bitcoin.” It continues:

“I’m not yet at the stage where I use it regularly, it’s more about buying it for my children in the years to come. I don’t touch him”.

Although he may not be spending bitcoin (BTC) at one of the Costa Coffees that now accepts bitcoin in Gibraltar, he explains that bitcoin adoption will increase, “as more and more jurisdictions are starting to regulate it” .

“I’m not yet at the stage where I use it regularly, it’s more about buying it for my children in the years to come. I don’t touch him”.

Gibraltar is an attractive regulatory jurisdiction for cryptocurrency businesses. Since 2018, when the legislation for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) came into force, more and more companies are considering the European territory. Obi Nwosu, co-founder and CEO of Fedi, told Cointelegraph: “When it comes to regulatory jurisdictions, Gibraltar has always been the most interesting. He brought Coinfloor (now CoinCorner) to Gibraltar four years ago, following the 2018 regulations.

Xapo, a private bank dedicated to bitcoin recently chose to open its international branch in Gibraltar. Its CEO, Wences Casares, is known as “Patient Zero” after exploding Silicon Valley executives, and Xapo’s offices are carved out of the former military defenses of Gibraltar. Arabic fortifications dating back to 711 – the oldest ramparts in Gibraltar – now protect the wine cellar from the offices.

The door to the Xapo wine cellar. The walls are 1,300 years old.

Indeed, despite a small population of 35,000, the territory packs a punch in the crypto space. Cryptocurrency companies like Damex and are or were present in this small territory. In addition, the Mexican exchange Bitso partnered with Gibraltar late last year to digitize government services.

The regulation is “no joke – it’s a partnership style,” Anouska Streets, Xapo’s chief technology officer, told Cointelegraph. Indeed, in recent months, Gibraltar has introduced regulations to combat market abuse. Isola reinforced this point:

” If they are [les entreprises DLT] they are not ready to meet the regulatory and quality standards we aspire to, they will not be allowed”.

The government used the same rigorous but partnership-focused process for the gaming space in 2014. Today, around 75% of UK online gambling takes place from Gibraltar, Mr Isola said.

Isola also presided over gambling and trading activities on the Rock.

Also read: Andorra gives the green light to bitcoin and the blockchain with the law on digital assets

2018 was the last bear market in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency space where DLT regulation was removed, and in the bull market that followed in 2020 and 2021, Gibraltar reaped rewards. In the 2022 bear market, or “down time”, as Isola describes it in detail, Gibraltar companies are “in a very good position to take advantage and at the same time manage themselves in the down time”.

“I think our DLT businesses are well positioned to weather the storms and then take advantage when it comes.”

While bitcoin-backed businesses benefit from Gibraltar’s approach to regulation, given bitcoin’s recent bear market rallies, Isola may be right to want to hold on to his bitcoin for the next generation.

Cointelegraph traveled to Gibraltar to conduct this video interview which will add to the media coverage of Cointelegraph on Youtube. Subscribe here.

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