Presenting CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2019

One of the great things about reporting on the blockchain/crypto industry is the infinite variety of interesting, smart people doing bold, crazy things. From daring entrepreneurs and builders, to inspired thinkers and communicators, this space has no shortage of colorful characters pushing the envelope.

The selection was made in a three-step process. First, CoinDesk staff drew up a long-list. Then, we asked readers to vote for their favorites in a survey. Then, based on all opinions, CoinDesk made a final choice.

It’s in this spirit that we present this year’s Most Influential, a selection of people who did exceptional things in 2019. Whether it was Caitlin Long establishing Wyoming as the “blockchain state”, or Rune Christensen corralling MakerDAO, or David Marcus launching Libra, these people made an impact and shaped the conversation, for better or for worse.

Note: People are chosen for having exemplary years, perhaps the most significant year of their careers. This is not an all-time influencer list. Some well-known OGs were not included, even though they are obviously important (before the #xrparmy starts asking about Brad Garlinghouse).

For instance, Jack Dorsey made the cut this year not only for championing bitcoin in Silicon Valley, but funding a development team to work on its core protocol. Gerald Cotten, of Quadriga infamy, helped us learn (again) the truth of the old adage: “not your keys, not your coins.”

Whatever your views of this selection, we hope you enjoy the discussion it is likely to spark. Debate, bicker, ponder, but most of all tag #mostinfluential2019 on Twitter. Happy Holidays.

Pre-Brexit, Koine Wins E-Money License From UK’s FCA, Now Seeking Luxembourg, UAE, US Permissions

Digital asset custodian Koine Money Ltd. has secured an electronic money license from U.K. regulators, while it prepares for the eventualities of a future Brexit by seeking permissions abroad.

On Thursday, the U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority granted Koine an e-money license – known as an EMI license – allowing Koine to issue its own digital cash and provide other payment services to institutional clients.

The EMI license, however, does not certify or sanction Koine’s digital asset custodian services, the company said in a statement. Those services “are currently outside the UK regulatory perimeter”, Koine said.

For the moment Koine’s EMI license applies across European markets while the UK remains in the E.U. That would change if and when Brexit comes to Britain; the current leave date is set for January 31, 2020.

A Koine spokeswoman told CoinDesk that Brexit would not impact their business approach.

“We believe in the importance of the UK as a focal point for our line of business, to the extent that we have applied to additional permissions in the country for securities. However, we retain our international vision and, in applying for licenses in Luxembourg, a major financial center in its own right, this provides optionality in the event of an adverse Brexit scenario.”

She further noted Koine is also considering pursuing licensing in Abu Dhabi and across the U.S.

In a company statement, Koine CEO and Chairman Hugh L. Hughes said that the EMI licensing clears the way for more digital asset developments:

“With our EMI authorisation now issued by the FCA, we are rapidly moving to implement the market infrastructure necessary to support institutional participation in the digital assets marketplace.”

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