Troubled Crypto Project Qoin Faces Membership Ruling by New Zealand Blockchain Body

A BlockchainNZ membership review is reportedly focused on alleged conflict of interest between the Qoin project and related companies.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2021 at 4:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:23 p.m. UTC
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Following last month's ejection from Australia's leading blockchain industry body, retail-focused cryptocurrency project Qoin is being considered for a similar expulsion across the Tasman Sea.

According to a report on Tuesday by local news outlet Radio New Zealand, BlockchainNZ (BCNZ) is reviewing a submission as to whether Qoin should be removed from its member list.

BCNZ is reportedly looking into the project's transparency and operations, which has previously led some to accuse the company of being a “scam” in Australia.

The review in question is focused on an alleged conflict of interest with BPS Financial Limited, a company with ties to Qoin, according to public information on the Australian Business Register. BPS is said, in the Radio New Zealand report, to own the Block Trade Exchange (BTX) – the sole marketplace on which the project's native cryptocurrency can be traded.

Qoin's chief marketing officer, Andrew Barker, initially told CoinDesk via email that Qoin is not "owned" by any company and that BPS, Bartercard International Limited and Block Trade Exchange Limited were merely "service providers."

"BTX is the first official exchange for the Qoin community and further exchanges are being considered to approach by the Qoin Association," Barker said.

BTX and Qoin are registered to the same address in Southport, Queensland, according to public records. Meanwhile, BPS and Bartercard listings don't state the full address, but all have the same Southport postal code.

When asked about the above details, Barker clarified his prior statement.

According to Barker, BPS owns the Qoin wallet and has set up a subsidiary (Qoin Australia Pty Ltd) to conduct sales and marketing activities in Australia while also registering the trading name. Meanwhile, Bartercard "provides the trading and support services to the Qoin community in Australia and New Zealand."

Barker added that Qoin had communicated with New Zealand's industry body "when the BCA [Blockchain Australia] issue surfaced," outlining "timelines and facts" regarding the organization's decision.

He said Qoin was later contacted by BCNZ on Feb. 24 to inform the company it had received the submission and that BCNZ would be "back in touch should there be further queries."

Qoin has since had no further communication with BCNZ, according to Barker.

'Not unusual'

Stephen Macaskill, a member of the executive council at BlockchainNZ, said that while the industry body was yet to make a decision, a company operating a cryptocurrency that was tied to one marketplace was not unusual.

"There's an international exchange that has their own digital asset and initially when they launched you could only buy their own digital asset on their own exchange," said Macaskill. "There are a few of them out there like that."

The council member added he personally believes Qoin is legitimate, but also recognized friction caused arising from Blockchain Australia's merger from two separate entities in 2019.

The merger was designed to bring two separate camps together – one advocating for an open-source model and the other business enterprise. Macaskill said he could see where those within the crypto community observed Qoin and took a negative stance due to the project not being "open-sourced" or "decentralized."

"We agree with most of Stephen Macaskill’s comments," said Barker. "The fact [is] that a very small number of the 'Crypto Community' do not understand the utility nature of the Qoin project."

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