(In the image is image of Tirana City in Albania, Image courtesy Video Magazin)
The government of Albania is planning on coming up with regulations that encourage firms to invest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the country, hence making it an innovation hub for this nascent industry.
The Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama says the developing country is working on a regulatory framework that will help them achieve this. During the weekend launch ceremony of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline that will transport Caspian gas to Europe, the premier said the intention is to help the country create "new opportunities for well-paid jobs and qualified people."
He said the government is now at the stage of developing the regulatory framework, having studied and analyzed thoroughly this matter and will even promote the country's willingness to become a blockchain and crypto hub outside Albania if the results are satisfactory. Such a regulation could address issues relating to use of digital currencies in money laundering and fraud, in addition to encouraging their investment.
It means companies looking for crypto business friendly destinations could look in Albania in addition to Malta, Gibraltar, and Switzerland, for instance. Although these jurisdictions are cautious in regard to use of digital assets in fraud and money laundering, they have created regulation that is considered as favorable and which allows for establishing and thriving of crypto and blockchain startups. For instance, more banks in these places are able to partner with crypto businesses to offer them required services without much frustrations as has been reported in some few places/countries/regions.
Like any other authority, the government has had to address the implications of digital asset regulation before. In July 2017, the central bank told the public that no company had been issued with a license by the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority to create and distribute virtual currencies. But it never banned cryptocurrency dealings saying that investments were a responsibility of individuals.
For central bank, the main five issues include the use of digital currencies in money laundering, terrorism, drug smuggling and fraud; the issue of their regulation and registration; vulnerability of exchange platforms to cyber attacks; the unstable nature of cryptocurrency prices; and use of identification tools (used to digitize identity when dealing with a cryptocurrency scheme) that are not subject to the laws and regulations for the protection of personal data or safety standards.
If the said regulatory framework becomes a reality, the country could become a hub for crypto and blockchain business in a region -- Western Balkan -- that is considered as still skeptical to digital currency.