Marshall enlists blockchain expert in cryptocurrency development

1:09 pm on 15 January 2019

The Marshall Islands has enlisted renowned blockchain expert, Steve Tendon, to help it develop its cryptocurrency.

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Photo: AFP

Last year the Marshalls government of Hilda Heine announced it would launch its own national cryptocurrency, the Sovereign, or SOV.

It has now been revealed that Mr Tendon will be advising and assisting with the "drafting, design, and issuance" of the SOV.

The Malta-based consultant heads the blockchain firm ChainStrategies and is the founder and president of the Blockchain Malta Association.

Finance Magnates reported he is also Chief Technology Officer for FinTech firm Anticipay.

According to a news release issued by the SOV team on Thursday, Mr Tendon is credited as "the architect behind Malta's transformation into a 'Blockchain Island'".

It is hoped the SOV would enable the Marshall Islands to replicate the success of the Cayman Islands, the news release said.

The Cayman Islands, which is estimated to incorporate 75 percent of the world's hedge funds and has a similar population to the Marshall Islands, featured prominently in last year's Paradise Papers data leak on how companies and wealthy individuals used tax havens to minimise or evade tax.

This month it was placed on a Dutch tax blacklist targeting tax evasion.

"We plan to develop an ecosystem in the Marshall Islands, which will attract existing and new banks, exchanges, and start-ups to operate physically and virtually from the Marshall Islands and grow a new industry there with a friendly and inviting regulatory framework, served with a native sovereign cryptocurrency," the SOV team said.

SOV has also issued 7.2 million units of the cryptocurrency, or around 30% of initial circulating supply, to the Aijar Jenlik Foundation (AJF), which will assist blockchain financial services and other companies wanting to establish a presence in the Marshall Islands in cooperation with SOV.

SOV has also partnered with smart banknote platform Tangem, which is helping it to issue SOV crypto-cash to circulate within the Marshall Islands.

Another company, ID PASS, will enable SOV to "provide identity and pre-paid card solutions across the 1000+ islands in the Marshall Islands," the SOV team said.

Tusk Ventures, which helped Uber win their regulatory battle to operate in New York, and Guidepost Solutions, a leading fintech compliance firm in the US, are have also become partners.

Israel-based company Neema is developing SOV's digital infrastructure ahead of an initial coin offering.

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