Bridge Protocol Crypto Regulation Update — October 2018

This update is brought to you by Bridge Protocol (TOLL) as part of a series on cryptocurrency regulations.

Bridge is a blockchain identity provider specializing in compliance for services like Know-Your-Customer (KYC), Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and more.

Read last month’s update here.

United States

  1. CFTC positive statements on crypto;

J. Christopher Giancarlo, Chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission had some positive thoughts on crypto in an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money.

“I personally think that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. I think there is a future for them,” said the Trump appointee. “I’m not sure they ever come to rival the dollar or other hard currencies, but there’s a whole section of the world that really is hungry for functioning currencies that they can’t find in their local currencies. There’s 140 countries in the world, every one of them has a currency. Probably two-thirds of them are not worth the polymer or the paper they’re written on, and those parts of the world rely on hard currencies.”

He also went on to say that, “Bitcoin cryptocurrency may solve some of the problems. But whether it is Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, we are not talking two years, we are probably talking ten years.”

2. On the heels of some positivity from the CFTC, the scammers have made their rounds already;

This prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to release a public warning about false claims related to cryptocurrency investments. Fraudsters are claiming to be backed by these government agencies; using SEC or CFTC seal to promote ICOs, claiming these bodies are working with promoters to bring digital products to new financial markets. The announcement reiterated they do NOT endorse or sponsor digital currency offerings.

3. Early 2018, the SEC issued many information-seeking subpoenas surrounding ICOs and now more;

According to a report posted on Yahoo Finance, a new round of subpoenas has been issued. This time focus on offerings that used a Simple Agreement for Future Token (SAFT) and did not do due diligence in ensuring their tokens were sold to exclusively U.S. accredited investors. Reports are arising that the agency is exerting pressure to settle the cases from early 2018 where malfeasance was found; but many startups have said they are struggling to meet the demands of the regulators and are uncertain on how to handle it.

4. Nouriel Roubini who is referred to as “Dr. Doom” had some harsh remarks;

In a recent Congressional hearing,An economist who is known with correctly predicting the last recession and housing bubble. During his most recent testimony to U.S. Senators, he has taken a negative interest in ICOs and cryptocurrency. On Thursday he said in testimony that crypto is “the mother or father of all scams and bubbles.”

5. Michael Arrington, the co-founder of TechCrunch, announced that his venture capital firm has decided to move out of the US;

The firm will relocate to Asia after the SEC sent two subpoenas to XRP Capital. Citing the lack of regulatory decisions is forcing the United States to continue to be left behind. Jake Chervinsky, as government enforcement defense & securities litigation attorney at Kobre & Kim LLP said, the US Congress is nowhere close to passing any crypto-related legislation due to the lack of companies and consortia pushing lobbyists in Washington D.C. to convince the government to pass a piece of legislation to solidify policies surrounding the crypto market.

Chervinsky said:

“There’s no money behind it yet. Like it or not, if you want to push legislation through Congress, you need lobbying infrastructure. The friend I mentioned is a fairly savage political operative. His question is basically ‘who’s gonna pay me to get this done?’”

China

  1. China issues a fresh warning for ICOs and Crypto;

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has issued this notice to investors and the people of China.

“ICOs are suspected of illegally selling tokens, illegally issuing securities, illegal criminal activities, financial fraud, pyramid schemes, and other illegal and criminal activities,” says a roughly translated excerpt from the announcement.
 
 The warning also cites their success; “ the Chinese central bank hailed the crackdown as a success, stating that the share of local crypto transactions has fallen from 90% to less than 5% of the global total, “effectively avoiding the virtual currency bubble caused by skyrocketing global virtual currency prices in the second half of last year in China’s financial market.”

2. Companies in China finding ways to circumvent the ICO ban;

An investigation by the Xinhua News Agency has shown it is possible to bypass China’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) ban, according to an article published September 26. Opening foreign shell companies in places like Malta allowed Chinese to not violate relevant policies while providing trading services to domestic users. Blocks to ICO projects in China have continued, but this is easily curtailed with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

3. Chinese billionaire says publicly that he is done investing in blockchain and ICO projects.

Li Xiaolai stated on China’s largest social media platform Weibo:

“From this day on, Li Xiaolai personally will not invest in any projects (whether it is blockchain or early stage). So, if you see ‘Li Xiaolai’ associated with any project (I have been associated with countless projects without my knowledge, 99% is not an exaggeration), just ignore it. I plan to spend several years to contemplate on my career change. As for what I’m doing next, I’m not sure just yet.”

The reasons for the halt are only speculation, but rumors state due to the ban in China and correction of over 80% this year alone has spooked investors. Li and his fund still hold a significant amount of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, estimated to be worth over $1 billion dollars.

South Korea

  1. South Korea announcing final ICO stance in November. South Korea seemed to follow suit of other nations and outright ban ICOs in September 2017, calling them a “risky gamble.” According to Hong Nam-Ki, Chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the nation will release its final stance on ICOs in November.
Speaking recently during a parliamentary audit, the government official stated; “The Korean government is likely to announce its stance on the much–disputed status of initial coin offerings [ICOs] in November.” The government has been under pressure from a section of its lawmakers and lobby groups to reverse the ban.

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