BAR’s Biweekly Global Regulatory Round up (Jan 13 to Jan 26)

Regulation News

Philippines

Philippines’ central bank to license crypto trading and custody firms

In keeping with the emergence of clear-cut crypto regulations across Southeast Asia, Philippines’ central bank, BSP, has enacted a broader licensing regime for digital asset firms in the country. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, all crypto financial service firms in the country must now be licensed by the BSP. Thus, exchanges dealing in crypto-to-crypto trading pairs and custody platforms must now obtain approval from the central bank. The expanded regulatory regime also covers cryptocurrency derivatives platforms.

Other News

Lack of Crypto Regulations a Turnoff for Japanese Investors

The head of the Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck said there are relatively “few” crypto-keen institutional investors in Japan – and has complained of the lack of a framework to help foster professional crypto investors.

In an interview, Satoshi Hasuo, the Representative Director and President of Coincheck, warned that “there is a possibility that the entire Japanese [community] will lose out on investment opportunities,” while their counterparts in the West begin to step up their crypto investments, reported a crypto news site.

Japan’s Coincheck lists Enjin Coin (ENJ) after regulatory approval

According to reports, Coincheck, the popular Japanese bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, announced it will list Enjin Coin (ENJ). Focused on the virtual gaming market; Enjin enables anyone to manage, explore, distribute, and integrate blockchain assets. The ENJ token will be listed on the Coincheck exchange on Tuesday, January 26th. ENJ is the first gaming cryptocurrency authorized for use in Japan.

Enjin’s tools and services can also be used by companies of all sizes and industries seeking to create blockchain products or utilize tokenized digital assets as part of their acquisition, retention, engagement, and monetization strategies.

Japan’s top brokers compete with crypto-native exchanges for market share

According to research by Messari, the top three online brokerage firms in Japan are experiencing surging revenue from their cryptocurrency exchange services.

In its Asian Crypto Landscape report, Messari noted the operating revenue and net worth of exchange platforms operated by Japan’s top securities brokers is quickly catching up to that of their crypto-native rivals, reported a crypto news outlet.

Singapore’s DBS bank becomes first in Asia to offer crypto exchange

According to reports, Singapore-based DBS — the largest bank in Southeast Asia — has become one of the first traditional banks in the region to launch its own digital exchange. Following an announcement last month, the bank’s crypto trading services is now live.

The exchange leverages blockchain technology to provide tokenization, trading and a custody ecosystem for digital assets. The move follows DBS’ in-principle approval as a recognized market operator by the country’s central bank and regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Huobi Korea acquires key certification amid South Korea’s new crypto rules

According to reports, Huobi Korea, South Korean subsidiary of crypto exchange platform Huobi Global, has acquired a major certification to help it comply with local regulations. On 18 January 2021, Korea Internet and Security Agency or KISA granted the information security management system (ISMS) certification to the digital asset platform. Huobi Korea will now be able to make use of a comprehensive management system through the certification for managing the physical security and safety of customers’ data, assets and information.

IOTA Foundation to Enhance Blockchain Development for Smart City Projects

According to reports, IOTA Foundation has entered into a strategic agreement with the South Korean Observer Observation and Tanglehub to apply for smart city projects in South Korea, Asia, and Europe. The agreement which is set to kick in this year is expected to expand the use cases of IOTA in these regions.

South Korea’s Dunamu Launches Bitcoin ‘Fear and Greed’ Index to Guide Traders

South Korean fintech firm Dunamu, operator of cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, has developed a digital assets “fear and greed” index aimed to help investors and traders make better decisions.  Dunamu’s new tool will reflect five different levels of sentiment, from ”extreme fear“ to ”extreme greed,” according to The Korea Herald’s report

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

Thailand stock exchange to open digital asset trading… without crypto?

According to reports, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, or SET, is planning to launch a digital asset trading platform in the second half of 2021, but it will not include cryptocurrencies.

The headline in The Bangkok Post “Digital asset trade imminent” appears at first glance to be bullish for the industry in the region but the report notes the bourse does not want to include cryptocurrencies:

“The SET says cryptocurrencies do not meet its product qualifications and could facilitate money laundering, while causing harm to the bourse’s image as a ‘high trust’ exchange.”

Anchorage Becomes First OCC-Approved National Crypto Bank

Crypto custodian Anchorage has secured conditional approval for a national trust charter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), making it the first national “digital asset bank” in the U.S, reported a crypto new site.

Blockchain-aided voting trials to begin in India

Trials of blockchain-aided voting in India that would enable voters to post ballots from outside their home provinces are to begin soon.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that research using the cutting-edge technology had already started and that mock trials were to be launched in the very near future, as reported by a news site.

Chinese Regulators Propose New Antitrust Rules For Payments Sector

The Chinese government is preparing to crack down on what it views as antitrust behavior in the payments sector by tech giants such as Ant Group and Tencent Holdings.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has issued new draft rules that seek to rein in any non-bank company that dominates at least half of the payments market or combination of two companies that dominate at least two-thirds of the market. Remedies would include breaking up offending companies to limit their dominance, according to a Bloomberg report.

FinCEN Proposed Regulations To Change Bitcoin Usage In America

According to reports, Bitcoin’s usage might take a more complicated turn than its previous uses in the US, mainly because of the country’s agency, FinCEN. FinCEN is a body that acts as a watchdog against financial crimes in the USA. Years ago, experts predicted that the more Bitcoin grew, the more governments will try to restrict its use. The mission of creating a financial system with the owner’s sole autonomy does not sit well with some authorities and agencies.

Countries believe that giving people exclusive autonomy over their money could breed crime in various aspects. Today, criminals use the platform’s anonymity to request ransom from victims, especially after stealing their data and threaten to expose them to the public.

Central Bank Digital Currencies Not a ‘Fad,’ MetLife Investment Says

Institutional investor MetLife Investment Management (MIM) has released a new macro strategy primer outlining the forthcoming role of blockchain-based assets, particularly central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The investments giant also notes that a “true CBDC launch among Western countries seems unlikely to occur anytime soon” as key technical questions have yet to be addressed, reported a news portal.

U.K. Treasury Classifies XRP as Non-Security Asset

According to reports, the UK Treasury (aka Her Majesty’s Treasury) has released a new report on cryptocurrency regulations. The report says there are three broad categories of digital tokens: e-money tokens, security tokens and unregulated tokens. XRP has been listed under unregulated tokens, along with Bitcoin and Ethereum, implying it is not a security.

Former CFTC Chair Gary Gensler Selected to be Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lauded for Being Fintech Friendly

Gary Gensler, the former Commodities Futures Trading Commissioner Chair, has been selected by President-elect Joe Biden to helm the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gensler previously led the CFTC during the Obama administration. Prior to the CFTC, Gensler spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs. He is also a member of the New York Fed Fintech Advisory Group, reported a crypto news site.

European Parliament Petitioned to Create Crypto Crime Compensation Fund

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.

Bitstamp To Follow Netherlands’ KYC Requirements For Wallet Owners

Some weeks ago, several agencies raised the importance of a well-regulated industry to curb crime rates within the space. State-owned agencies made some regulatory framework, especially the American agency, FinCEN. FinCEN still faces some controversy concerning the new proposed bill, which it explained that it would reduce cases of money-laundering.

The American legal system is strict about money-laundering, which was the major push for US bodies to create related regulations. Being a world power, America influenced a lot of rules and agitated for transparency pertaining wallets. In the Netherlands, with the new KYC requirements passed by the nation, exchanges like Bitstamp must follow the due process to function in the country, reported a crypto news site.

European Parliament Petitioned to Create Crypto Crime Compensation Fund

According to reports, a petition has been submitted to the European Parliament, asking to implement a scheme to compensate crypto-related victims. The crimes mentioned in the petition 0421/2020 include fraud, piracy, and extortion.

According to the author, lawyer Jonathan Levy, the petition asks the bloc to implement a series of regulatory schemes to “compensate victims” of crypto-related crime activities.He pointed out that, to date, “no crypto asset funding has been set aside to compensate the victims of directly related criminal activities” in the European Union (EU). The lawyer proposes implementing a .0001 cent per euro fee on crypto transactions, which will go to a “victim superfund.”

ECB president Lagarde renews calls for global regulation of Bitcoin

According to reports, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has repeated her insistence that global regulators need to tighten the rules to ensure Bitcoin (BTC) falls under more coordinated oversight.

In an interview at the Reuters Next conference, amid an unprecedented bull market for the veteran cryptocurrency, Lagarde argued: “[Bitcoin] is a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.”

French Central Bank Finished CBDC Pilot for Interbank Settlement

French central bank, Le Banque de France, has announced it had successfully conducted a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot with the company IZNES for interbank settlements.

According to an announcement, the pilot included processing of €2 million worth of tokenized shares. Cash settlements were simulated by CBDC issued on the blockchain network. From a technological point of view, the experiment required the development and deployment of smart contracts so that the central bank could simultaneously issue and control the circulation of CBDCs.

Top Brazilian Bitcoin Exchange Plans International Expansion

Mercado Bitcoin, the largest Bitcoin exchange in Brazil, announced the closure of a BRL 200 million (around $38 million) funding round and revealed its plans for international expansion.The funding round was led by local private equity firm, GP Investimentos and early-stage venture capital, Parallax Ventures along with the participation from several other parties, mostly from the local market.

“We want to develop the crypto ecosystem in Brazil and create a market as developed as that of the United States. To do this, we want to be one of the five largest digital exchanges in the world,” Reinaldo Rabelo, CEO of Mercado Bitcoin, said.

The exchange is now aiming to surpass 3 million users by the end of 2021, reported a crypto news website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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