Business 1 May 2018

Erik Gibbs

Cryptocurrency entrepreneur enters mayoral race in Taipei

In Taiwan, cryptocurrencies are met with a fair amount of skepticism. Regulators don’t support the digital currencies, but nor do they oppose them. The muddy waters could soon get a little clearer, as a cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur has thrown her name into the hat to be Taipei’s mayor.

Cheng Yi-ting, CEO of the OTCBTC cryptocurrency exchange, announced her intention to run for mayor on April 13. The election will take place in November, and could see Cheng duking it out metaphorically with the independent incumbent as well as several candidates from the primary parties. Cheng is not backed by any party, choosing instead to run as an independent.

One of the candidate’s pitches is to raise the crypto industry in Taiwan. If she is able to garner enough support to win the election, she would be the first crypto entrepreneur to be elected as a political leader anywhere in the world. It could also mean a great future for the crypto industry. Lance Morginn, CEO of Blockchain Intelligence Group (BIG), said, “If a crypto exchange owner were elected, the policies that exchanges would be required to meet could be relaxed or tightened to favor their business objectives, depending on both the leader’s moral values and the checks and balances within the particular political structure.”

Cheng is a true supporter of the cryptocurrency evolution. The 35-year-old said that she feels that Taiwan has a good chance of becoming a world cryptocurrency leader. Her exchange has around 300,000 users, mostly in China, and a daily trading volume of the equivalent of $30 million.

“I think I can draw off my cryptocurrency expertise and tech background to connect the city. I’ve found that Taiwan’s politicians and candidates, when it comes to business and technology, are all disconnected,” she said.

Taiwan’s central government has already begun exploring if the cryptocurrency industry should be more tightly controlled, or if it should be liberalized. The country understands the benefits of opening it up, which would bring more jobs and support its FinTech sector, but also view the risks involved. Having a mayor such as Cheng onboard could help to persuade policymakers to continue the push toward greater adoption.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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