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Is NZ’s transition to a living laboratory for blockchain a good thing?

New Zealand is becoming a global blockchain centre, FintechNZ general manager James Brown says. 

NZ is a living laboratory for global tech developments and inventions and Kiwis are producing blockchain businesses that have a global marketplace, he says.

Brown states, “There are a growing number of blockchain launches involving Kiwi firms including Blockchain Lab NZ which has helped raise over NZ$410 million through initial coin offerings.

“Some of New Zealand’s tech stars are involved in a global team which recently launched the world’s first ever blockchain platform for the multi-billion-dollar global online ratings and review industry.”

“Kiwis involved included the 2017 New Zealand chief executive of the year award winner Leigh Flounders, NZTech and FintechNZ chair Mitchell Pham and Blockchain Labs NZ chief executive Mark Pascall.”

Blockchain, a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography or coding, is a relatively new technology that is being used to solve problems in an increasing number of industries.

A New Zealand financial technology advisory services provider, Capital Trust Group (CTG), has forged partnerships to form three blockchain projects in Wellington.

Brown says Kiwi firm Centrality recently raised the equivalent of NZ$110.5 million in virtual currency that can be used in an online marketplace.

He continues, “In Christchurch, Cryptopia has grown from being a two-person team 12 months ago to employing 50 people and being one of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

“A year ago, Cryptopia had 30,000 users, which jumped to one million in December 2017, after the first week of January this year, the number of users hit 1.4 million.”

Yet we may be at risk of adapting our regulation too slowly. 

Not just in New Zealand but globally, some of the best minds in blockchain are working on the development of regulatory frameworks.

Brown concludes, “We are seeing a significant number of people on the Edmund Hillary Fellowships that are focusing on the blockchain. 

“The co-founder of one the world's biggest blockchain businesses has talked to New Zealand regulators about opening up the market here."

Late last year, an Edmund Hillary Fellowship group of specialists produced a paper saying blockchain would be the next internet which will transform society and commerce over the next 20 years.

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