BAR’s Biweekly Global Regulatory Roundup

Regulation News

Singapore

Monetary Authority of Singapore to fully regulate all crypto-related activity

Following an amendment passed on January 4, 2021, all cryptocurrency service providers must now obtain a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s financial regulatory body.

Previously, only those service providers that were in possession of the money or cryptocurrency involved were regulated. But under the new law, all entities that facilitate the transmission, exchange, or storage of cryptocurrencies are supervised by the MAS.

Such entities now must cooperate with the authority to be formally licensed and must devise customer due diligence and transaction monitoring programs that comply with MAS regulations, reported a crypto news outlet.

Other News

XRP Finds Strong Support in Japan Amid Cryptocurrency Delisting

According to a note by Sadakazu Osaki, a researcher at Japan’s biggest economic research firm, Nomura Research Institute, XRP is categorized as a crypto asset under the Funds Settlement Act in Japan. He added that the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple will have no impact on the status of XRP in Japan because the cryptocurrency does not fall under the category of security in the Asian country.

SBI Holdings, one of the largest financial firms in Japan, supported the explanation outlined by Osaki and added that due to XRP’s treatment as a crypto asset, digital exchanges in the country will continue the trading under local regulations, reported a crypto news site.

Japanese telecoms giant Softbank Corp joins crypto regulatory group JSTA

According to reports,  Softbank Corp, the telecommunications arm of Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group, has confirmed its membership of the Japanese Security Token Association.

The company now joins other firms such as Mitsui Trust and Qunie, the consulting subsidiary of NTT Data, as members of the crypto advocacy body. The JSTA also includes crypto and blockchain member firms such as security token platform TokenSoft and Japan’s largest cryptocurrency trading service BitFlyer.

ICONLOOP to Develop Blockchain-Based Mobile Driver’s License Under Regulatory Sandbox Approval in South Korea

Korea’s leading enterprise blockchain technology company, ICONLOOP (https://www.iconloop.com/en/), announced that,  it is developing a blockchain-based mobile drivers license under regulatory sandbox approval in South Korea. South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT granted ICONLOOP permission to test its Decentralized Identity (DID) technology on mobile driver’s licenses with the goal of better preventing forgery and protecting personal data.

In today’s centralized system, driver’s license information is stored on a single server, leaving it vulnerable to leaks or attacks. ICONLOOP’s pioneering Decentralized Identity technology solves this, allowing people to directly manage their own data by storing authenticated personal information on their mobile devices using the Zzeung app. When a user needs to submit their authenticated data, they can simply select and submit the necessary information.

South Korea’s 20% Crypto Tax Still on Track for 2022: Report

South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance said it has finalized a legal amendment after tax rules were revised in 2020. According to a legislative notice, the amendment is now to be implemented within a month, pending final meetings by vice ministers and South Korea’s Cabinet. The Ministry said cryptocurrency users will face a 20% tax on profits over 50 million South Korean won (US$45,685), reported a crypto news site.

Mass Hong Kong Arrests Of Legislators And Activists Show Why Bitcoin Is Essential

In Hong Kong, over 50 pan-democrat legislators and activists were arrested in a show of force. They were allegedly arrested for organizing a primary after elections were delayed due to COVID-19 and for planning to veto government budgets. Prosecuted under the new national security law for “subversion”, some of them face up to a lifetime of imprisonment. Hong Kong police said that 1000 officers were involved in the arrests. Among other things, they froze about $1.6m in Hong Kong dollars during the operation — about $200,000 USD, or about $4,000 USD per person if you divided that amount evenly, reported Forbes.

Goldman, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley to delist some Hong Kong products after US ban

According to reports, US banks Goldman Sachs JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley will delist 500 Hong Kong-listed structured products, following a U.S. ban on investments in companies Washington deems linked to China’s military.

The products are linked to telecom companies China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom and local indexes including the benchmark Hang Seng Index, the three investment banks said in filings to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong

PayPal Leads Investment In Crypto Tax Automation Startup TaxBit

Cryptocurrency tax automation software startup TaxBit said it has received a new round of funding led by new investors PayPal and Coinbase Ventures, along with existing backer Winklevoss Capital.

The new funding by major FinTech players helps to “reinforce the importance” of the role that custom software solutions play in advancing widespread cryptocurrency adoption, TaxBit said in a press release.

JustChain launches a blockchain-based legal notary platform in UAE

JustChain, a startup based in the United Arab Emirates focused on implementing distributed ledger blockchain solutions for justice and public safety, announced Sunday a legal notary platform called NotaryChain.

This development follows the recent approval of regulations from the UAE Cabinet on digital signatures and the application to notary services in line with the UAE’s Vision 2021 involving digital technology, reported a crypto news website.

UK Treasury Calls for Feedback on Approach to Cryptocurrency and Stablecoin Regulation

According to reports, the U.K. Treasury has released a consultation paper to gather feedback from stakeholders concerning the government’s regulatory approach to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

The consultation solicits opinions on how the U.K. can make sure its regulatory framework is “equipped to harness the benefits of new technologies, supporting innovation and competition, while mitigating risks to consumers and stability,” and incorporates advice from the Cryptoassets Task Force.

Ukraine to use Stellar blockchain for CBDC development

According to reports, the Ukrainian government has chosen the Stellar blockchain to develop its central bank digital currency. The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine announced yesterday it would be working with the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) to develop a virtual assets ecosystem and national digital currency of Ukraine.

The SDF and Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help achieve their aims. The MOU drafts Ukraine’s strategy for its CBDC infrastructure and developing digital assets. It includes various methods of providing support to projects specialising in digital assets, implementing and regulating stablecoin circulation and boosting the CBDC development.

How Mexico’s Central Bank Plans To Move Payments To Digital

In Mexico, the pandemic is moving the needle toward digital payments — specifically mobile payments — to become more widely embraced by businesses and consumers alike.

In an interview, Miguel Diaz, general director of payment systems and  market infrastructures at the Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico), said that  making and receiving payments across devices in an affordable manner, with faster payments infrastructure already in place, means that “every Mexican can send and receive electronic payments regardless of their economic background or any other conditions”, reported a crypto news site.

Swedish Bankers Air Concerns Over E-Krona Digital Currency Plan

According to reports, Swedish banks have expressed apprehension over the central bank’s proposed e-krona digital currency and how it could affect their industry.

With Sweden the nation that uses cash the least globally, the Riksbank has been considering taking digital payments using the e-krona mainstream. Late last year, Sweden’s financial markets minister, Per Bolund, said the Riksbank finance committee had launched a review into the prospects of switching the country to the digital currency, a study that will be completed in November 2022.

Bitcoin faces regulatory scrutiny in US after record-breaking rally

According to reports, the cryptocurrency tripled, surpassing $20,000 for the first time as it notched record after record. The diehards cheered it as an inflation hedge in an era of unprecedented central bank largesse. Wall Street veterans from Paul Tudor Jones to Stanley Druckenmiller blessed it as an alternative asset, adding to the rally. And companies like MicroStrategy Inc. and Square Inc. moved cash reserves into crypto in search of better returns than near-zero interest rates deliver.

US Treasury Wants Complete Cryptocurrency Control

According to reports, the Treasury Department mentioned that crypto exchanges currently operating in the US are required to verify the identity of owners if the transaction exceeds $3,000. The Treasury also asked exchanges to submit the information of the owner of a crypto wallet directly to the Department if a transaction exceeds $10,000.

The crypto community termed the recent action by the SEC as an effort to take full control of the cryptocurrency market. Digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum are known for their decentralized nature.

Cryptocurrency investors could ‘lose all their money,’ UK regulator warns as Bitcoin price drops from all-time high

According to reports, People who invest in cryptocurrencies could well “lose all their money,” the UK’s financial regulator said on Monday as the volatile price of Bitcoin slid from an all-time high of almost $42,000.

Bitcoin’s startling rise of more than 300% over the past year has captured the attention of the public and institutional investors alike. But the cryptocurrency is highly volatile; from Friday to Monday, it dropped by about 15%, from a record high of about $41,800 to $34,645.

India to Impose 18% Tax on Bitcoin Trading

India’s Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), an important part of the Indian Finance Ministry has put forward a proposal to the Government to impose an 18% tax on Bitcoin trading in the country.

According to a report published by the Times of India, an estimated amount of the total Bitcoin transactions in India stands at around 40,000 crore INR ($5.5 billion), the newly proposed 18% good and services tax (GST) on Bitcoin transaction means at least 7,200 crore INR ($1 billion) additional tax revenue for the Government.

China’s Central Bank Orders Ant Group to Meet Strict Regulatory Guidelines 

According to reports, Regulators with China’s central bank have ordered online financial services giant Ant Group to restructure its operations to meet regulatory guidelines.

The People’s Bank of China said in a statement that its regulators issued the requirements during a meeting with Ant Group executives the day before. Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng said the Bank outlined a list of problems with Ant Group, including a lack of sound governance, a defiance of regulatory demands, using its market dominance to squeeze out competitors and harming the rights and interests of consumers.

 

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