Perennial bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, claims bitcoin is positioned for major growth now that institutions are investing in it and big compananies are starting to accept it. Novogratz told CNNMoney’s “Markets Now” that big companies like Microsoft and Starbucks are allowing customers to use bitcoin and that, in the short term, more institutions will invest for fear of missing out (FOMO).

Novogratz, a former principal at Fortress Investment Group, last week said bitcoin would post a 30 percent increase by the end of the year once its surpasses major resistance levels at $6,800, $8,800, and $10,000, at which point institutions will enter the market through trusted custodian solutions. The price stood at $6,581 at the time of this report, according to CCN.

Institutions Step Forward

Citigroup and Morgan Stanley announced plans in the last month to add cryptocurrency custodian solutions. Coinbase and Bitgo, meanwhile, have regulated custodian solutions, providing products institutions can use to enter the cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin will become part of individual portfolios eventually, he said, and more people will also view bitcoin as a store of value, similar to gold.

Galaxy teamed with Bloomberg on the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index in May to track 10 digital currencies, including bitcoin and ethereum.

Bottom Already Hit?

While bitcoin surged to almost $20,000 late last year before losing nearly two-thirds of its value this year, Novogratz thinks it reached its bottom early in September. He said in mid-September that the market reached a low when a widespread selloff drove the market cap to around $186 billion.

He expects momentum to begin in the first quarter of 2019.

Novogratz is not as upbeat about cannabis — whose recent volatility has sparked comparisons to last year’s crypto rally — but he sees some comparisons to cryptocurrency in that both have a limited supply that will become a major factor in the next five to 10 years.

Some cannabis shares have surged on reports that big companies like Constellation Brands and Coca-Cola have taken an interesting it.

Novogratz said he will invest in cannabis on a “significant sell-off from here” when the cannabis companies shed half their value.

Oklahoma police have arrested two men who reportedly stole millions of dollars from a California-based cryptocurrency company, local media reported.

Fletcher Robert Childers, 23, and Joseph Harris, 21, of Missouri, were arrested on suspicion of grand theft, a first-degree felony, and identity theft, a Class C misdemeanor. If charged for both, the duo could receive up to 35 years of prison time, according to Oklahoma state laws.

Court documents filed by Crowd Machine, a San Jose-based decentralized IT company, named Childers and Harris for their alleged involvement in a $14 million theft. The report accused the twosome of swapping the victim’s mobile sim card with a fake to steal his identity and phone number. That allowed Childers and Harris to compromise a cryptocurrency wallet registered with the stolen sim and lift $14 million worth of CMCT tokens.

An investigator with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and members of the state’s Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) worked with the local Oklahoma police in tracing the phone used in the hack. It was later tracked to a hotel, where the subsequent arrests were made.

The confiscated phone, according to the court documents, was purchased by two white males from a nearby Walmart. The report cited video footages to back its claim that those two men were Childers and Harris. The car used by both the males in the video footage also belonged to Childers, another surveillance video at a local store proved. The same car was parked at the hotel they both were staying.

Crowd Machine had recently concluded a pre-ICO round of CMCT tokens. So far, the company has released 500 million token units to the market and was holding 1.5 billion ICO tokens in reserve. After the hack, the accused reportedly moved 1 billion CMCT to cryptocurrency exchanges, some outside the United States. Crowd Machine reached out to its community with a request to not deal with people associated with the compromised wallet address. In response, many exchanges halted trading of CMCT tokens.

“It is highly recommended that no one purchase CMCTs until the criminal investigations have ceased, at which time, we expect closed exchanges to re-open. Purchases of stolen tokens by those not involved with the theft will be honored,” Craig Sproule, the CEO and co-founder of Crowd Machine wrote.

Harris is now kept under custody at an Oklahoma jail without bond. The detention status of Harris was not clear at the time of writing.

It has not been smooth sailing for the Port of San Diego’s IT department this week following a cybersecurity breach.

In a statement, the Port of San Diego has disclosed that its computer systems were hit by a ransomware attack with the attackers demanding to be paid in bitcoin before they can decrypt files. According to the chief executive officer of the port, Randa Coniglio, the breach which was initially reported on September has led to the disruption of the IT systems of the agency. While acknowledging that the cybercriminals demanded ransom Coniglio did not reveal how much they were asking for.

“As previously stated, the investigation has detected that ransomware was used in this attack,” said Coniglio in a statement. “The Port can also now confirm that the ransom note requested payment in Bitcoin, although the amount that was requested is not being disclosed.”

FBI and DHS Now Involved

Perhaps an indication of the seriousness of the incident, the port facility located in San Diego County, California has called in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The port is also closely communicating and coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard.

While the IT systems of the port which handles nearly three million tons of cargo annually have been disrupted with some of them being proactively shut down out of caution, operations at the facility are going on normally with a few exceptions.

“The temporary impacts on service to the public are in the areas of park permits, public records requests, and business services,” added Coniglio.

Despite reports suggesting that cybercriminals are embracing cryptojacking malware at the expense of ransomware, incidents of the latter are still common though they have fallen by around 22.5% according to Kaspersky Labs, as CCN recently reported:

“The total number of users who encountered ransomware fell by almost 30%, from 2,581,026 in 2016-2017 to 1,811,937 in 2017-2018.”

Still Lucrative

Earlier this month, for instance, Midland, a Canadian town in the province of Ontario disclosed that it had paid ransom in bitcoin in order to obtain encryption software from hackers who had infiltrated its computer network. While regretting that it had given in to cybercriminals, authorities in Midland argued that they had been left with no other option.

Additionally, the servers of Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America were last month compromised by hackers who decrypted files consisting mostly of creative materials meant for use in print and digital marketing communications. At the time the golfing body indicated that it would not pay the ransom.

But while some ransomware creators, such as those who targeted the PGA, may fail to hit pay dirt, this has not been the case with the makers of the SamSam ransomware who are estimated to have obtained bitcoins worth more than US$6 million since late 2015 per Sophos, a cybersecurity firm.

Earlier this month, CCN reported that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) sent government officials to Japan and Switzerland to better understand Bitcoin and crypto-related regulations prior to a supreme court hearing on a crypto trading ban imposed by the country’s central bank.

At the time, many investors in India were optimistic towards the intent of SEBI to obtain better understanding and knowledge of the global standard on cryptocurrency regulation by closely cooperating with officials in Japan, the largest cryptocurrency exchange market in the world.

But, a case can be made that it is already too late for regulators in India to salvage the local cryptocurrency exchange market.

Bitcoin Exchange Zebpay Calls it Quits

On September 28, Zebpay officially shut down its popular cryptocurrency exchange in India, unable to obtain any banking service from commercial banks and financial institutions in the country following the blanket ban imposed by the central bank.

“The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business,” the Zebpay team said.

The decision of Zebpay to terminate its service in India is monumental, not merely because of its status as one of the three most widely utilized and trusted Bitcoin trading platforms in the region but its patience in dealing with impractical policies implemented by local financial authorities.

Throughout the past few years, Zebpay, as a leading Bitcoin exchange in India, has proactively established industry standards including Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems to ensure that exchanges are able to provide relevant information to governments despite the lack of regulations.

Sandeep Goenka, the co-founder of ZebPay, which has millions of users in its mobile app, stated in February that the company wholeheartedly welcomes the government’s willingness to eliminate the possibility of utilizing exchanges and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to launder money by criminal groups and that local trading platforms will implement necessary solutions to assist the government.

Goenka said at the time:

“Every citizen and business in this country should play their role in eliminating financing of illegitimate activities, regardless of whether such financing is done using legal tender, cryptocurrency, gold or any other medium. We welcome this move by the government and want to wholeheartedly support the government in this move. We encourage the government to work with our members, as we are committed to detect, report, and eliminate suspicious transactions in pretty much the same way as other institutions do.”

It requires additional resources, capital, and development work to integrate strict KYC and AML systems to create a seamless process for governments to deal with suspicious transactions from unknown sources. Zebpay, Unocoin, and other leading exchanges in India voluntarily integrated these solutions to establish standards in the local crypto market.

Yet, Zebpay, which has been supportive towards the agenda of the government, was forced to shut down its business as banks rejected exchanges and denied any service to crypto-related businesses.

India Will be Isolated

The attitude of the government of India in its delay in regulating the cryptocurrency market is quite clear; it believes that as soon as it regulates the local market, businesses will come in and the crypto market of India will flourish.

Malta, Switzerland, Busan, Seoul, Japan, and France have focused on establishing friendly regulations for crypto startups to bring in leading exchanges and blockchain projects into their regions. Once local exchanges leave the market of India, it will be difficult for the country to revive its local crypto and blockchain market and it may take years, if the government continues to pursue its approach of pressuing existing companies, for the local industry to recover.

The real estate market of Hong Kong is said to be one of the most expensive in the world, alongside New York, London, and Sydney. Yet, crypto startups are moving into the most valuable skyscrapers in the city.

On August 22, CCN reported that BitMEX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates Bitcoin and Ethereum margin trading, moved its headquarters to Cheung Kong Center’s 45th floor, renting out 20,000 square feet at $28.66 per square foot.

Its old headquarters were based in Victoria Harbor, a region within Hong Kong that is known for expensive residential properties. In Victoria Harbor, BitMEX paid around $3.18 per square foot and in Cheung Kong Center, BitMEX is paying $573,200 per month, at a rate of $28.66 per square foot.

BitMEX will operate its office in the most valuable skyscraper with Hong Kong alongside major financial institutions such as Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Bloomberg LP, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Banks are Moving Out of Skyscrapers

According to a report released by SCMP, a mainstream media outlet in Hong Kong, even major banks like Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas have started to explore cheaper locations for their offices in Hong Kong due to rising rental fees.

Annual office rental costs in Hong Kong Central average around US$307 per square foot a year, a rate that easily surpasses London’s West End and Beijing’s Finance Street.

BitMEX and Diginex Global, two crypto startups based in Hong Kong, are renting out 72,000 square feet in total, paying around $1.3 million per month.

“Blockchain companies show no signs of slowing their expansion in Hong Kong. These firms are leasing space in top-tier office buildings to attract and retain talent.” Philip Pang, an associate director of office services at Colliers, told SCMP.

The local publication reported that Goldman Sachs is relocating from Hong Kong Central to Causeway Bay in the next few months to save 30 percent on rent. BNP Paribas has also relocated its office to Swire Properties’ Taikoo Place.

While JPMorgan has leased the Quayside in Kwun Tong near Victoria Harbor, the cost of rent comes nowhere close to the rent BitMEX will be paying throughout the years to come.

Landlords Not Confident in Crypto

Over the past nine months, despite the 80 percent drop in the valuation of the crypto market, cryptocurrency-related businesses have prospered. Specifically, exchanges have continued to generate large revenues.

However, local publications have reported that Cheung Kong Center demanded BitMEX to pay a year’s rent upfront, which is estimated to be around $6.8 million, demonstrating the lack of confidence in crypto-related businesses by major landlords in the Hong Kong real estate market.

“It’s pretty common for landlords to ask for larger deposits from tenants with weaker covenant strength. Landlords are always open to taking on new tenants, it’s just a matter of balancing rent against flight risk,” said Denis Ma, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

With the one year’s rent at Cheung Kong Center, it is possible to purchase multiple story buildings in many major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Min, Tokyo, and Busan.

The stakes must have seemed high already in 2013, when the largest bitcoin wallets safeguarded by blockchain security provider BitGo held about $1o million-worth of the cryptocurrency.

Later on, in 2015 they crept up to around $100 million. And what had perhaps been unthinkable in the years previous, by 2017 the largest crypto wallets in BitGo’s charge reached close to $1 billion.

Looking ahead to the next milestone, BitGo CEO Mike Belshe will give a talk next month at Stanford University entitled “Securing the Trillion Dollar Wallet.” In a world of tokenized everything – not to mention hedge funds and other institutions redefining the meaning of a whale crypto investor – this no longer seems far-fetched.

“Now we are really thinking, what’s it going to take to secure a trillion dollars?” Belshe told CoinDesk. “It may be a little far away, but we have to start thinking about it now; we have to start designing it now in order to get there.”

Designing a system like this involves a complex blend of hardware and software, policies and procedures, not to mention meeting externally audited regulatory requirements (BitGo recently received approval in the U.S.to act as a qualified custodian for digital assets on behalf of institutional investors).

However, as one security consultant told Belshe’s team, building a secure vault for such a large sum of money basically comes down to two things: kids and fingers.

It’s one thing to keep the cryptographic private key controlling a bitcoin wallet in cold storage, i.e. on a piece of paper or a hardware device disconnected from the internet and locked in a safe. But if a bad guy comes into your office and is ready to cut off your finger or put a gun to your child’s head, what are you going to do? Obviously, quick and ready access to those assets means the security will be cracked.

The trick is to marry technology with process and controls such that it’s difficult to get the money out – or at least so that moving the vast majority of the assets involves lots of independent, separate people whose key signatures are all required, said Belshe.

He added:

“Some of the technology guys out there are saying, ‘hey we can get you out of cold storage in 10 minutes.’ I’m sorry, but if you can get a billion dollars out of cold storage in 10 minutes, that means there’s somebody’s finger that you can threaten.”

Big money

Stepping back, becoming a qualified custodian has taken Belshe years and has seen BitGo come close to acquiring qualified custodian Kingdom Trust, before going it alone to establish BitGo Trust.

With the addition of a regulated trust function, BitGo, which currently handles around $15 billion in monthly crypto transactions, is arguably pulling ahead in the race to secure digital assets for the institutional set. Competitors in this space include the hardware maker Ledger, the traditional U.S. custodial bank Northern Trust, and blockchain startup itBit.

But Belshe views the inevitable evolution towards digital assets as a rising tide that will benefit everyone in the industry. He also admitted clients are really looking for custodians with big balance sheets, something which BitGo does not have today.

“I would love if the big players came in and put their balance sheet behind the security of their custodianship of digital assets. It would be amazing for all of us,” he said.

Since the 2008 crash, the onus has been on diversifying custody arrangements, something the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has encouraged. These days, hedge funds will often be using 15 to 20 custodians with perhaps only 5% in each to limit their exposure, noted Belshe.

He said BitGo has been in talks with many hedge funds and found there are “literally dozens” that can’t wait for the end of a 30-day review period (during which the public can register objections to South Dakota’s approval of the company as a qualified custodian) so they can use its trust service.

In the detail, achieving parity with established qualified custody providers involves gaining third-party certification of policies and procedures, or SOCs (system and organization controls). BitGo has now attained SOC I and II certifications, with the auditing of those carried out by Deloitte.

It’s a length which few, if any, other crypto companies have gone to, said Belshe, and it encompasses a wide range of eventualities.

“You can have the most secure software in the world and the most secure hardware. But inside your company what’s the policy for keeping things safe? What happens if your data center goes down?” he said. “We have policy, procedures and plans for all this, that have been tested and are in place.”

Insurance claims

Following BitGo’s qualified custodian announcement, the startup’s next big step is a crypto insurance product to be released within a couple of months. Such insurance typically covers investors for risks such as theft.

BitGo wouldn’t write the policies, but rather white-label the product with an established insurer. Belshe wants to do this right and has amassed a deep knowledge of the subject along the way. The experience has left him circumspect whenever he hears about crypto insurance being offered in the market.

“The insurance claims out there are wide and wild and often not really of value,” Belshe said (meaning “claims” as in representations about insurance, not requests for payment from an insurer). “Anybody that’s looking at insurance, or a provider that claims to be insured, ask them to really show you what the [coverage] limits are.”

This can take some digging. As hard as it is to differentiate BitGo’s cold storage from somebody else’s cold storage solution, it’s equally hard to differentiate one claim of full insurance from another, said Belshe. Oftentimes, you’re dealing with small policies of $10 million or less that may not even cover theft.

Typically the questions that need answering are: Who is the underwriter? What cases are covered? What about insider theft? What about executive insider theft? What are the caps, what are the deductibles? Can you cover your deductibles?

Belshe acknowledged that underwriters are there to provide a service and don’t want to be used as marketing, but in the end, full transparency has to be made available for customers.

Someone offering a great insurance program would find a way to get “solid green lights” from anyone who wanted to review it, even if they had to do that under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), said Belshe, concluding,

“If they are not willing to talk to you about it, it’s a red flag. I guarantee you, if it’s in secret, there’s a reason it’s in secret.”

On 27th September, Bittrex, the popular cryptocurrency exchange officially announced its support for the 4th largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash [BCH] in the USD market. The date of launch of the BCH market was stated to be 3rd October. Furthermore, users who activated their Bittrex before 4th September are already eligible for USD trading.

“On October 3 we’re launching a US dollar (USD) market for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Eligible #Bittrex accounts created before September 4 are already enabled for USD trading.”

Prior to the listing of Bitcoin Cash, Bittrex recently added Litecoin [LTC] and Tron [TRX] paired with USD to its platform. At the time of adding TRX, the exchange also notified that it is the first USD market for TRX to be available in the United States. The platform also clarified the purpose of launching diverse USD markets for cryptocurrencies. It stated that this is to avoid a particular cryptocurrency to hold dominance in the market.

The cryptocurrency platform also has other big coins listed for trading, such as Cardano [ADA] and Zcash [ZEC]. However, Bittrex is available in a relatively lesser number of regions and receives many requests from potential customers to expand its services to their respective areas.

Recently, Bitcoin Cash has also seen adoption at a massive scale. Yesterday, the reputed cryptocurrency exchange Gemini got the green regulatory signal to add Bitcoin Cash to its platform. It announced that the coin will be listed soon.

Earlier this week, the Bitcoin Cash network made a significant advancement adding a new feature containing a censorship-resistant file storing system. This will assist multiple parties to exchange information via files on the Bitcoin Cash network in a seamless manner.

A Twitter handle named A.C.I.L(AllCryptoIsLegal) commented on the announcement and wrote:

“You will everyone’s attention when you add $NEO / $USD pair,
or when you add $ELA or $ONT”

VahiD, another Twitter user an crypto-investor also complained:

“My account ban for no reason. Support center stuck in loop of same robot answer. Who is responsible for my holdings?”

A Blockchain enthusiast and cryptocurrency space follower, Dee French stated:

“The fine exchanges have to have the high-quality coins, @BittrexExchange make sure you add @DeepOnionx, $ONION is the future #DeepOnion”

Zebpay, one of India’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced the shuttering of all exchange services on Friday following the central bank’s banking ban on the crypto industry.

Launch in 2015, Zebpay started trading with an app-only service that quickly became one of India’s most-downloaded bitcoin wallet and exchange apps. With a know your customer (KYC) model, Zebpay struck half a million downloads on Android – the country’s most-popular smartphone platform – in mid-2017 and quickly doubled to hit a million app downloads during 2017’s bear run in October.

The company forecasted up to half a million new users joining the platform every month at the time, up from 200,000 new users already joining the platform.

On its website, Zebpay indicates it has 3 million users using its iOS and Android apps, with support for 20 cryptocurrencies and 22 trading pairs.

Rumored to be in talks to raise an additional $4 million in funding at one stage, Zebpay is now stopping all exchange services at 1600 local time on Friday. The move is a direct consequence of a crippling policy introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, to force all regulated financial institutions – including banks – from offering services to the domestic cryptocurrency industry.

In an announcement, Zebpay said:

The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business.

All unexecuted crypto-to-crypto orders will be canceled, Zebpay added, with all tokens to be credited back to customers’ wallets. The wallet service “will continue to work” for customers to deposit and withdraw their coins, the company said. However, it remains to be seen if wallet gains development support in the future.

In late June, Zebpay warned that fiat withdrawals could become impossible ahead of the looming banking ban that took effect on July 5, 2018. A day before the banking freeze, the company stopped all fiat deposits and withdrawals at the exchange. Other exchanges, meanwhile, are finding novel ways to circumvent the ban.

Calls to Zebpay’s representatives went unanswered at press time.

Ever heard of the term crypto laundering? North Korea (DPRK) is trading, laundering and mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and possibly Monero (XMR) in order to evade U.S. sanctions, intelligence experts tell Asia Times. The isolated country with a population of 25 million could be raising up to $200 million USD to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs through digital coins.

Lourdes Miranda, a financial intelligence analyst, and Ross Delston, an expert in terrorist financing, told the paper that Kim Jong-un’s regime is trading cryptocurrencies on various exchanges as well as mixing coins (which obscures the senders and receivers of tokens). These have the effect of money laundering by concealing the source of funds for the purpose of raising cash and funding its military including nuclear and ballistic missile programs that are rattling the region. According to the experts, DPKR is able to circumvent U.S. sanctions and cash out their cryptos using sophisticated methods (outlined below).

“DPRK can create their own crypto-currencies or use established ones like Bitcoin. Having their own crypto-currency would also facilitate their ability to open online accounts under the guise of a non-adversarial nation using anonymous communication to conceal the user’s locations and usage on the internet.”

Some crypto observers have long suspected that Kim Jong-un’s regime has been mining cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, to earn money for the cash-strapped peninsula. And there are persistent rumors on the web that the dictator and/or his regime owns thousands of bitcoins.

To put things in perspective, cryptos aren’t just a fundraising activity when it comes to the volatile peninsula: It partially solves a national security threat of defecting cabinet officials and military generals as Kim Jong-un has been desperately struggling to pay and feed his army. It’s plausible that DPRK is also using privacy coins such as Monero that specialize as being unregulatable and undetectable.

In their joint statement, Miranda and Delston said that North Korea is using advanced methods to confuse information on the blockchain. That includes creating DPRK’s own blockchain and wallet services as well as using anonymous communication and cross-border payments with overseas agents who have accounts with U.S. correspondent banks.

“To obscure the origin of DPRK-mined crypto-currencies, DPRK could transfer its crypto-currency from multiple European-based wallets and use multiple mixing services in order to purchase Bitcoin – the most popular and legitimate crypto-currency,” they said. “Then, using other mixing services, DPRK could split their Bitcoin and transfer them into multiple mixing services, breaking the linear pattern of transactions on the blockchain while remaining in the same crypto-currency type – Bitcoin.”

The experts believe that North Korea is using operatives who are possibly located in China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines, among other countries, to support its crypto-laundering, but they advised that more intelligence funding is needed to discover the full scope of operations.

Earlier this month, a former CIA analyst who specializes in terror financing told Congress that terrorists in the Middle East have so far been unsuccessful in using cryptos. Yaya Fanusie testified to House Financial Services Committee that cryptos have been a poor form of money because terrorists purchase goods and weapons with fiat cash (i.e., U.S. dollar) in places that have little or no infrastructure. He said jihadists prefer cash because it’s an anonymous method of funding.

Italy is about to enter the European Blockchain Partnership, according to the country’s Member of Parliament (MP) Mirella Liuzzi, as cited by Cointelegraph Italy Thursday, September 27.

According to Liuzzi, the partnership — a collaboration of 26 EU countries — will be signed by the Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies Luigi Di Maio on September 28 in Brussels. In an interview with Key4biz, Liuzzi added:

“Joining the partnership will allow Italy […] to define its own line in the development of [blockchain] technology — a practice which the previous government had never implemented”.

Luizzi, the MP from the governing Five Star Movement, also mentioned that the government will soon hire experts in blockchain to develop a national strategy for the crypto-related sector.

The European Blockchain Partnership was created back in April 2018 to serve as vehicle of cooperation amongst EU member states. First joined by 22 countries, the organization then extended to include 26 as Greece, Romania, Denmark and Cyprus joined the group.

As Cointelegraph reported in June, the Southern city of Naples had launched a focus group supported by the local mayor to promote blockchain and and a possible municipal Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Later, the Southern region, continuously attempting to expand its autonomy, announced that it was willing to launch its own cryptocurrency.

Italy is reportedly trying to apply crypto-related technologies on a broader scale. For instance, Juventus – one of the most famous soccer clubs in the country — is planning to launch its own “fan token” in partnership with blockchain-based fan engagement platform Socios.com.