In Venezuela, citizens reportedly now need to use the country’s new Petro digital currency to pay for passports, Coindesk reported. A new passport will now come at the cost of two Petros, which is equivalent to 7,200 of the country’s bolivar currency. President Maduro Petro officially rolled out the Petro last week, but the cryptocurrency had been available for pre-sale earlier this year.
And Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon unveiled a $108-million plan to make the capital into a blockchain-enabled smart city, Coindesk reported. He said that multiple public services such as elections and labor welfare will use the blockchain technology. The initiative, which is known as the Blockchain Urban Plan for 2018–2022, was announced in a Zurich visit. In addition, Park plans to dedicate $53 million to two large complexes that would be home to 200 startups in the blockchain space.
In other news, regulators in the European Union are looking at initial coin offerings (ICOs) to determine if they need to be regulated, Reuters reported. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) along with national regulators are looking into ICOs on a case-by-case basis. “Some of these ICOs are like a financial instrument,” European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Chair Steven Maijoor said. “Once it is a financial instrument it comes under a whole regulatory framework.”
And U.K. telecom regulator Ofcom notched $915,000 in funding for a blockchain project, Coindesk reported. The research is described as “a project that uses blockchain technology to improve U.K. telephone number management.” The technology might be able to make for more efficient porting and lower costs, among other benefits. In a statement, Ofcom Chief Technology Officer Mansoor Hanif said, “We will be working with industry to explore how blockchain could make it quicker and easier for landline customers to switch providers while keeping their number — as well as reducing nuisance calls.”
On another note, The United Arab Emirates is planning to create rules to allow domestic companies to use initial coin offerings (ICO), Coindesk reported. The rules, which could be introduced next year, could let companies use token sales instead of more typical methods like an initial public offering (IPO). Obaid Saif al-Zaabi, who is the head of the U.A.E.’s securities regulator, said at an event, “The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”