Crypto Regulation Digest: Coins will be on NASDAQ in 2019, usual suspects against blockchain adoption found by PWC, geopolitical tokenisation, BRICS blockchain agreement
28th August — 11th September
INITIAL EXCHANGE RANKINGS REPORT: a report claiming that the global crypto exchange market is faking $6 billion of its daily volume. The researchers at BTI evaluated the user activity and traffic of the market’s biggest crypto exchanges, comparing their projected trading volume to other metrics. Slippage, a method utilized by cryptocurrency researcher Sylvain Ribes in his investigation of crypto exchanges, was employed by the researchers to analyze order book liquidity and to confirm whether exchanges are demonstrating accurate volume.
PWC SURVEY IDENTIFIES ‘USUAL SUSPECTS’ AS HINDRANCES TO WIDESPREAD BLOCKCHAIN ADOPTION: A recent PwC survey has identified the usual suspects — regulatory uncertainty, and lack of trust, among others — as the major factors that hamper the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.
Securities Cases Involving Cryptocurreny Rising — Lex Machina Report: Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company and creator of the Legal Analytics® platform, has released its 2018 Securities Litigation Report. The document showcases the recent trends and insights from its database of over 15,000 securities cases litigated in federal district court since 2009.
Report: EU to Discuss Further Crypto Regulation Amid Concerns About Lack of Transparency: Economic and financial affairs ministers from the European Union’s (E.U.) 28 member states will reportedly hold an informal meeting on the challenges posed by digital assets and the possibility of tightening regulations, Bloomberg reported August 29. Participants will discuss a general lack of transparency and the potential for cryptocurrency to be used for tax evasion, terrorist financing and money laundering at a September 7 meeting in Vienna, Austria.
EXCLUSIVE: NASDAQ SOURCE: “The listing of several coins will happen in 2019…”: The NASDAQ is attempting to be the first mover in crypto exchange governance, order execution, and at the forefront of institutional movement into the crypto ecosystem. While there have been other headlines connected to global exchanges dipping their toes into the crypto waters via partnerships and futures trading; the NASDAQ may just go all in.
The Tokenization of Geopolitics: As Germany calls for an end of US dominance in global payments, as Russia backs Turkey in local currency international trade, as Iran unveils plans for a national cryptocurrency and as Turkey hints at blockchain tech utilization for money outside of political interference, the tokenization of geopolitics has probably begun.
US, Canadian Securities Regulators Are Involved in Over 200 Crypto Probes: The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced that there are “more than 200 active investigations” by state or provincial-level agencies into initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other crypto-related investment products.
Including U.S. Citizens in Your ICO or TGE: The current lack of clarity governing Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency more broadly in the United States’ legal system has led some to consider whether including U.S. citizens in an ICO or Token Generation Event (TGE) opens a company to unnecessary liability. With ample investment opportunities outside of the States in more certain or liberal legal environments, some have taken a skeptical eye toward the U.S. investor, posing a fair question: why even take the risk?
SEC Initiates First Action Against Hedge Fund Manager For Unregulated Digital Assets: The Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated its first enforcement action finding an investment company registration violation by a hedge fund manager based on its investments in digital assets.
SEC Cracks Down On “ICO Superstore” For Selling Unregistered Securities: The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that TokenLot LLC, a self-described “ICO Superstore,” and its owners will settle charges that they acted as unregistered broker-dealers.
Breaking: New York Judge Rules Securities Laws Can Apply to Cryptocurrencies:In what appears to be the first U.S. court case to address the matter, a New York federal judge has ruled that U.S. securities laws are applicable for prosecuting crypto fraud allegations, Reuters reports September 11.
Washington’s Grant County Approves Energy Rate Hike For Crypto Miners: The Grant county public utility district (Grant PUD) in Washington state has approved a rate hike for cryptocurrency miners.
California Legislature Passes Blockchain Bill: A bill requiring the creation of a blockchain study group has passed both houses of the California legislature.
Colorado Investigating 3 ICOs: Gerald Rome, Colorado’s securities commissioner signed orders requiring three cryptocurrency companies to show cause for allegedly promoting unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to an announcement published by Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Canada Delays Regulation of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Companies: The Canadian government has postponed the release of its final regulations for cryptocurrency and blockchain companies. The final published regulations were due this fall, but the government now says they won’t be published in the Canada Gazette until late 2019.
Canadian Bitcoin Fund Receives Status as Mutual Fund Trust: Canada’s “first” and “only” regulated Bitcoin (BTC) fund First Block Capital Inc. has obtained mutual fund trust status, allowing investors to put their fund units in self-directed registered accounts, according to a press release published September 10.
EU To Step Carefully With Cryptocurrency Regulation: On Friday, September 7, Brussels-based think tank Bruegel presented its findings to a meeting of 28 European Union (EU) member state representatives in Vienna, Austria. The report by Bruegel’s senior staff recommended increased scrutiny of cryptocurrency trading. It also recommended EU policymakers try to improve their understanding of the economic potential of blockchain technology.
Positive News for Crypto: Germany Seeks for Independent SWIFT System Devaluating US Dollar: Given the aggressive sanctions policy led by the U.S., Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is planning to introduce its independent payment system, which won’t depend on the United States anymore. Experts believe that such an initiative may significantly strengthen the positions of Bitcoin.
Poland Clarifies Crypto Taxation In New Bill: Poland’s Government Legislation Center has published a new draft bill that clarifies the country’s current crypto taxation policy. The draft bill, which has been offered for consultation, is aimed to simplify and clarify the income reporting and taxation procedures for activities related to cryptocurrencies. The bill defines virtual currency as a “digital representation of value.” It also divides virtual currencies into two groups — cryptocurrency and centralized virtual currency. The draft law states that virtual currencies can serve as a means of exchange and be a means of payment, stored and transmitted electronically, and used in e-commerce.
Belgium’s Financial Regulator Adds 28 Scam Sites To Crypto Blacklist: Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) said that despite its earlier warnings, the agency continues to receive complaints from consumers who have invested in cryptocurrencies.
British Maritime Society Builds Blockchain Tool for Ship Registration: British maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register has developed a prototype blockchain platform aimed to enable more efficient shipping registration, the organization announced Tuesday.
Abra to Allow European Bank Accounts to Buy and Sell Crypto: Abra, an all-in-one crypto wallet and exchange, has revealed its support for Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) bank accounts, which will allow those living in the SEPA zone, including 28 EU nations, to make direct transfers from European banks to Abra wallets.
South Korea Begins Training For Blockchain Experts: The South Korean government has commenced a six-month training course to turn its first batch of applicants into “blockchain specialists.”
Central Bank Of South Korea Calls For Monitoring Of “Kimchi Premium” In Crypto Prices: The Bank of Korea (BOK), the country’s central bank, has called for continued monitoring into local crypto markets to nullify the so-called ‘kimchi premium’ in cryptocurrency prices.
Korean Entertainment Project Taps Ethereum Blockchain in K-Pop Idol Search: Z-POP Dream Project, a South Korea based entertainment provider, plans to use blockchain technology to find the next K-pop talent and develop a new entertainment platform. K-pop is a form of South Korean popular music.
North Korea is planning its own blockchain and cryptocurrency conference: North Korea plans to host leading blockchain experts from around the globe during a two-day conference on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. The conference, called the “Korean International Blockchain Conference,” was developed out of Pyoungyang’s desire to show off their capabilities in the area. It remains unclear who will be speaking at the conference — or how the event will work, logistically speaking.
Hong Kong Eases Immigration Policy To Attract Tech Professionals: Hong Kong is looking to boost its economy by enticing professionals from 11 desired areas, including experts in distributed ledger technologies.
Crackdown Continues: Chinese Authorities Issue Joint Warning on ‘Illegal’ Crypto Fundraising: Chinese regulators including the central bank have issued a new joint statement condemning illegal fundraising by schemes purporting to affiliate with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The warning comes as a joint statement from the People’s Bank of China — the country’s central bank, the Ministry of Public Security, the Banking Regulatory Commission, the General Administration of Market Supervision and the Central Network Information Office.
China expected to become global blockchain superpower by 2023: America’s days as the recognized leading superpower of blockchain tech development may be numbered, a report by PwC suggest. Instead, it is China that is expected to close the gap and take the lead. The survey, which asked 600 executives across 14 nations, found that 29 percent of respondents saw the US as world leaders when it comes to development of the decentralized technology, followed by China at 18 percent.
China: WeChat Blocks Bitmain Sales Account as Well as Further Crypto ‘Hype News’ Channels: WeChat, the 1 billion-user Chinese social media platform developed by Tencent, has blocked the official sales channel of Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Bitmain, according to an announcement posted to its channel yesterday, September 10. As of press time, Bitmain’s other Wechat accounts, including after-sales services and its official account, remain active.
Blockchain Evidence Legally Binding, Says China’s Supreme Court: China appears eager to be at the forefront of technological development and adoption. In 2014, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering took 3D-printing technology to a whole other level when it printed a 10-house village in less than one day. In May 2015, what is apparently the world’s largest floating solar plant was completed and connected to the power grid in China’s Anhui province. And now there are plans in China to build a 161-kilometer solar expressway that charges electronic cars as they drive along. In 2016, president Xi Jinping laid out plans for the country to be a leading worldwide innovator by 2030.
Rest of the World
Iran, North Korea and Venezuela turning to cryptocurrency to bypass US sanctions, experts warn: Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela are all investing in the technology in an attempt to counter American economic might — and an expert says these nations are forming alliances through the technology.
Cryptocurrency Mining Recognized As An Industry In Iran: Abolhassan Firoozabadi, secretary of Iran’s Supreme Cyberspace Council, said that various government ministries have agreed to officially recognize crypto mining as an industry.
Venezuela’s Maduro Orders Banks to Adopt Petro Cryptocurrency: Venezuelan banks have been ordered to use the petro, the Maduro government-launched cryptocurrency, as a unit of account.
Special Report: In Venezuela, new cryptocurrency is nowhere to be found: Reuters reports on the many layers of scam that is Venezuela’s Petro.
UAE Securities Regulator To Regulate ICO Tokens As Securities: The United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has approved a plan to regulate initial coin offerings (ICO) and recognize tokens as securities. SCA chairman and Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said on Sunday that the approval comes after a review of best practices in other countries.
From Qatar to Palestine: How Cryptocurrencies Are Regulated in the Middle East: On Sept. 4, the government of Bahrain, a constitutional monarchy in the Persian Gulf, emphasized the importance of blockchain for the country’s economy. While the kingdom seems to be taking a rather positive approach toward crypto, the Middle East at large has proven to be a difficult region for virtual currencies, as a large chunk of countries there have banned crypto trading. Nevertheless, the Middle East seems to be on its way to become the global blockchain powerhouse: From Dubai to Tel Aviv, the technology is being thoroughly researched and adopted. The list in the article is based on thorough news research, but should in no way be considered complete.
Australian Regulator Hints at Increased Crypto Exchange and ICO Scrutiny: Australian regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed plans to increase scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in its ‘Corporate Plan’ published this week. ASIC, which acts as a supervisory organ for financial market operators, highlighted the exchange sector as an area of priority through 2022.
Russian Financial Monitoring System Seeking Tool to Track Crypto Transactions: The Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service has ordered an analytical tool to track crypto transactions, especially those in Bitcoin (BTC), BBC News Russia reported Wednesday, August 29.
Russian Police Seize 22 Cryptocurrency ATMs Under Central Bank Request: Russian police have recently seized cryptocurrency ATM machines under orders from the country’s central bank. The ATM developer impacted by the seizure plans to appeal the action, and has incurred economic damage and costs to its reputation, said Sarkis Darbinian, an attorney for the Center of Digital Rights, which defends the company.
Gazprom, S7 and Alfa-Bank Complete Smart Contract Based Aviation Refuelling Transaction: One of the biggest oil and gas corporation in the world, Gazprom, together with Russia’s biggest airline, S7, and their biggest commercial bank, Alfa-Bank, have announced the world’s first smart contract based aviation refueling transaction has been completed.
Government Expert: Russia Not Ready for Issuance and Circulation of Cryptocurrencies: A special representative of the Russian president said that the country is not yet ready for the circulation and issuance of cryptocurrencies, according to local news agency RIA Monday, September 10.
Thailand is becoming a critical country for blockchain: Thailand’s government is mapping out its own central bank digital currency. Since the start of the year, the Thai government has become increasingly outspoken and welcoming of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges. In just a few months, Thai regulators have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. More importantly, the country has attracted foreign companies by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate.
Thai Money Laundering Watchdog Looks to Tackle Crypto-Related Crimes: Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) is considering creating its own digital wallet to investigate crypto-related cybercrime. The matter was discussed at a local seminar cryptocurrency crime within the current legal system. Secretary for AMLO, the regulator wants to adapt to the new technology by making it possibly for the government to confiscate crypto involved in fraud. “We have discussed launching our own ‘AMLO Wallet’ to hold or confiscate digital currency from illegal sources,” he said.
Reserve Bank Of India Creates Technology Research Unit: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a new unit to research use cases for blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The unit will be responsible for researching how these emerging technologies can benefit India’s banking industry and may be required to not only draft rules and regulations governing their use but also oversee how these technologies are used in the future.
Indian State Government Will Issue Birth Certificates on a Blockchain: Two local governments in West Bengal, India are integrating the application for birth certificates on a blockchain system developed by Lynked.world, a blockchain app company based in the Netherlands. Bankura Municipal Corporation and Durgapur Municipal Corporation will be using blockchain tech to handle administrative operations such as processing requests and verifying legal identities to make processes like applications for legal documents such as birth certificates more streamlined.
Turkish Minister Hints at Utilizing Blockchain Tech for Apolitical Money: Following a crash in the value of Turkish Lira, it looks like Turkey is potentially looking at utilizing peer to peer technology for money transfers. Mustafa Varank referred to the digital economy at the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Argentina this Friday, yet it sounds like he is talking about blockchain technology.
Oxfam to Empower Cambodian Rice Farmers With Blockchain: Oxfam has launched a pilot project in Cambodia to help rice farmers getting paid their fair share using blockchain technology. Blockchain for Livelihoods from Organic Cambodian Rice, or Blocrice, will analyze and test how 50 farmers can be empowered by having up-to-date information and value distribution in their supply chain.
Philippines SEC To Release Draft Crypto Exchange Regulations This Month: The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be releasing a draft of new guidelines on crypto exchanges this month. SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong said that the agency will put out a draft rule for virtual currency exchanges within the first half of September, and hopes to come out with final rules before the end of this year.
Philippines Remittance Market looks to Ethereum (ETH) as the Future: The Philippines has been a growing economy for some time, owing to that researches, studying the country’s remittance market conclude that a growth spurt will be experienced by 2023. Ken Research spearheaded the study, which affirmed the use of cryptocurrency being the transforming factor that will push the country’s financial sector and bring forth growth.
Japanese Police to Fund Crypto Criminal Tracking Tool: Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) is to fund development of new software to help track individuals behind illicit crypto transactions. According to a news report from NHK on Thursday, the NPA will budget 35 million yen ($315,000) for 2019 to fund creation of the product — outsourcing technological development of the software to the private sector.
JAPANESE CITY INTRODUCES BLOCKCHAIN-BASED VOTING SYSTEM: Tsukuba is now the first Japanese city to test a voting system that incorporates blockchain technology.
NEW COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT EXTENDS A WELCOMING HAND TO BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY: Colombia looks to be the next nation on the map that, like Malta, is making a strong pivot to blockchain and virtual currencies.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency Tightens Registration Process For Crypto Exchanges: Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has reportedly introduced a stricter screening process for crypto exchanges seeking approval to operate in the country.
Central Bank of Samoa: Crypto Companies Will be Treated as Financial Institutions: The Central Bank of Samoa has warned that individuals who promote cryptocurrencies in the island nation will be subjected to the same treatment as financial institutions. Promoters of cryptocurrency will have to abide by the country’s existing legislation on money laundering. Consequently, such cryptocurrency promoters will be required to obtain the necessary licenses and follow the reporting requirements like all other financial institutions.
‘A Huge Step Forward’: Bahrain Minister Hails Blockchain Technology, Urges Adoption: Bahrain Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza has called blockchain technology a “true mark of progress” as he urges companies to take full advantage of its benefits.
Uzbekistan Looks to Lure Crypto Exchanges With New Tax Benefits: The Uzbekistan government is welcoming cryptocurrency exchanges to set up shop within the country.