SOME have called it a bubble, a trend or, worse even, a scam. However, with a $300bn market cap, it seems that digital currency is here to stay.

Gibraltar has seen the potential and embraced the industry, with nearly an entire floor of the WTC occupied by blockchain companies.

And with new regulations being implemented in 2018, the Rock has found its next niche!

So, what is blockchain and why is it important to not only Gibraltar but the global economy?

Simply put, blockchain technology provides a means by which a process may be decentralised and made more efficient.

For example: imagine you are buying lunch.

If you pay with a debit card, the bank deducts the funds from your account and then sends them to the restaurant.

The transaction takes time and requires a trusted third party to process,  charging a commission along the way. The same transaction could be handled on the decentralised blockchain, allowing your lunch payment to be settled immediately, with no middleman and no fee to the restaurant.

Blockchain technology can be used to disrupt many traditional business practices, and is being deployed by thousands of start-ups to decentralise processes like credit ratings, gaming, lending and shipping.

These start-ups have also used blockchain as a means of raising funds – via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

An ICO is very similar to a new stock offering, but rather than shares you receive tokens which usually have certain benefits attached to them. ICOs allow supporters of a project to contribute financially to that project, much like a crowdfunding event.

In the past year over 3.5 billion USD has been raised via an ICO process, with relative ease when compared to venture capital or other more traditional fund raising methods.

As ICOs are unregulated its important to understand which ones are investment worthy or not, this can sometimes prove difficult.

Ignite is a Gibraltar-based software start-up, which is creating the world’s first decentralised asset ratings service bowered by blockchain technology.

By setting this up, we aim to leverage pure wisdom of the crowd theory and deliver reliable investment intelligence to any would-be investor.

We have a new office at the World Trade Centre, with a solid team of technology, legal and finance professionals. We look forward to an exciting future.

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