William Essex
William Essex

The Bitcoin Rock

Newly listed on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is BitcoinETI, an asset-backed Exchange Traded Instrument that is “invested exclusively in Bitcoin, making it the first European regulated product for the leading digital currency,” as the paperwork puts it. Nick Cowan, Managing Director of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX), and Paul Astengo, Senior Executive at The Gibraltar Finance Centre, spoke to William Essex about Bitcoin, Europe and Gibraltar’s role as an “innovative financial jurisdiction”.

Nick Cowan Paul Astengo William Essex: Isn’t there a reputational issue around Bitcoin? How do you regulate a virtual currency, especially one with a past? Nick Cowan: Is it Bitcoin that has the reputational issue or the misuse of Bitcoin that is the problem? If the US dollar is misused, we don’t ban the currency but focus efforts on preventing misuse and catching the criminals. Paul Astengo: Bitcoin is an international, multi-device, electronic and internet-based open-source protocol which is secured cryptographically when it is used for transactions and, at this point, by a very large amount of computational power. The prospect of bringing it under regulatory control would require a very serious level of international cooperation. That would be the only way to produce enough computational power. Nick Cowan: So regulation will just have to adapt. It’s hard to give a precise answer about the shape that regulation should or will take, but there are some broad things that...continued

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