Israel Wants to Speed Up the Blockchain and FinTech Licensing Process Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 20 August 2019 Israel is opening its doors to technological innovation, and both blockchain and FinTech companies will be the first beneficiaries of this mandate. The Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority, a division of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, is looking into speeding up the process of getting a license to operate within the ’country’s FinTech and blockchain industries. The development was first picked up in a report from Calcalist, a business news outlet based out of Israel. According to the report, the financial authority has already commissioned dedicated teams, some of which will focus specifically on blockchain companies, to get on the job. The report states that this initiative will aim to enhance local competition and innovation by providing easier licensing for more companies within the ’country’s FinTech space. Moshe Barkat, an industry insider who was appointed as the Supervisor of the Department a little over a year ago, reportedly touted the importance of technological and business innovation, especially as regards how the Authority operates. Speaking on the ’agency’s mandate, he added, “The Authority is engaged in the licensing and regulation of FinTech companies regularly, including digital insurance companies, P2P platforms, and credit providers, digital wallets, blockchain-based FinTech ventures, and other payment services providers.” Calacist also showed that preliminary research by the Israeli Securities Authority, one of the ’country’s top stock trading regulators, showed that several companies could potentially receive a work permit in Israel to operate without making any significant changes to their underlying technologies or business models. The Authority is also said to be in the process of reviewing its current standards as regards FinTech Insurance. The decision is part of the broader objective of the Israeli Ministry of Finance to promote financial innovation. Calcalist revealed that the financial watchdog recently joined the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), a global body which has the World Bank and International Monetary Authority (IMF) as members as well. While the development is undoubtedly good news for the blockchain industry, in particular, it remains unclear whether the initiative will have any benefits for ’Israel’s embattled crypto space. Moreover, if there is anything that seems to require an intervention right now, it would have to be the later. Over the past couple of weeks, multiple reports have surfaced, depicting the negative sentiment that crypto assets- and by extension, just about anyone who chooses to associate with them- are getting within Israel. As things stand, it would seem as though banking institutions aren’t paying much mind to the crypto space. There have been reports of Bitcoin trading experts and other crypto investors being denied access to bank accounts; a situation which has led many stranded and unable to do things as basic as paying taxes. However, some resolution seems to be in the works. Earlier this week as well, it was reported that the Israeli Bitcoin Association had filed a petition against local banking institutions, with a bid to get some clarity on what their policies are concerning crypto assets. If this petition does pass, banks will be forced to provide disclosure, and hopefully, both industries can reach a compromise that will be mutually beneficial.