BAR Biweekly Regulatory Round up (March 27 to April 11)

Regulatory Update


Thai central bank plans stablescoins regulations this year

Thailand’s central bank expects to issue regulations on asset-backed stablecoins this year, an assistant governor said on Friday, after warning against use of a new baht-denominated stablecoin that was created abroad.“The central bank is receiving opinions from market regulators and participants before announcing regulations, Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya told a briefing.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) will regulate foreign currency-backed stablecoins, asset-backed stablecoins, and algorithmic stablecoins that are not illegal, she said.The rules will not cover those without asset backing, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum and investors will have to take their own risks, Siritida said, reported Reuters.

Other News

Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘Chinese Financial Weapon’, Urges US To Tighten Rules On Crypto

PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel on April 6 urged the US government to consider tighter regulations on cryptocurrencies and warned them against a possible attack from China. While speaking at a virtual event by Richard Nixon Foundation, Thiel revealed that he believes that cryptocurrency has the potential to undermine the United States. “I do wonder whether, at this point, Bitcoin should also be thought [of] in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the US,” Thiel said, reported a crypto news site..

Bitcoin Mining Operations in China Threaten Climate Goals

In China, the range of crypto- and blockchain-related scams run the gamut. According to local reports, there are companies promoting blockchain-backed traceability platforms, blockchain-supported insurance, and even blockchain investment training workshops that exploit people who had heard the word “blockchain” but knew little about it.

Even though China banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) in 2018, many token projects still went ahead and sought to attract investors among the general public. Some 755 types of “zero token” were found, which according to the government, are either not backed by any real initiatives or have fallen to less than 1% of their original value, if not zero, not long after their inception. Besides that, 102 kinds of token projects were identified as pyramid sales, or Ponzi schemes, according to data provided by The National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China (CNCERT/CC), a state-owned cybersecurity technical center.

Hong Kong-listed Meitu buys more Bitcoin, now has US$100 million in crypto

The Hong Kong-listed software company Meitu Inc. announced that it has bought over 175 Bitcoin, its third purchase in two months of the cryptocurrency, for a total value of US$100 million.

Meitu, based in Xiamen in the Fujian Province of China, is known for its photoshop app that adds cute filters on selfies. On March 5 the company purchased 15,000 Ether and about 379 Bitcoin. It further expanded its holdings with 16,000 Ether and about 386 Bitcoin on March 17. Today’s purchase was by Meitu HK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meitu Group, and part of Meitu’s ambitious Cryptocurrency Investment Plan. In total, Meitu’s crypto assets are worth about US$100 million.

Korea’s Bitcoin kimchi premium explodes as Kakao rises on Upbit rumors

According to reports, a rising storm of cryptocurrency interest in South Korea has not only pushed local Bitcoin prices above US$70,000 — a whopping 21% premium over BTC prices everywhere else in the world — but the rumored New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) public listing of Dunamu, the parent company of one of the nation’s top crypto exchanges Upbit, is also generating spikes in prices for its shareholders.

Visa will allow some transactions to be settled with cryptocurrency

Visa is continuing to embrace cryptocurrency. It’s running a pilot in which transactions on the network can be settled with USD Coin (USDC). The company is working with cryptocurrency and payment platform on the project, which it plans to expand to more partners later in the year.

USDC is a stablecoin that’s pegged to the value of the US dollar. That means it doesn’t have nearly the kinds of wild swings in value that many other cryptocurrencies have, making it a viable option for settling payments. This move should streamline the payment process when you want to, say, pay for pizza with a sliver of Bitcoin, reported a finance news website.

UK Crypto Companies Now Have to Submit Financial Crime Reports

According to reports, a new policy statement from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
includes crypto companies on the list of businesses required to submit a financial crime report. Businesses that are required to submit financial crime reporting are referred to by the FCA as “REP-CRIM”, under which crypto asset companies are now to be included.

Previously, this applied to just 2,500 of the 22,000 firms supervised by the FCA under anti-money laundering regulations. This number will rise to 7,000 with “all crypto asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers” included in those added.

2 Indian-origin Singaporean entrepreneurs urge India to not ban crypto currencies

Two Indian-origin Singaporean blockchain entrepreneurs, who spent a whopping USD 69.3 million in cryptocurrency for purchasing a digital artwork recently, have urged the Indian government to not ban the virtual currencies, arguing that these can be an “equalising power” between the West and the rest of the world, reported a news outlet.

SEC Lawsuit Against Ripple Is ‘Against Crypto At Large,’ Says CEO

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple Labs Inc, shares an update on the SEC lawsuit against the company alleging that sales of their XRP token fell under unregistered sales of a security. He also says the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in cryptocurrency regulation and that Bitcoin is ‘exceptional’ as a store of value. Garlinghouse speaks to Emily Chang on “Bloomberg Technology.”, reported a news website.

Texas Blockchain Council looks to move legislation forward, following Gov. Abbott’s endorsement of the technology

According to reports, Denton County District 63 House Rep. Tan Parker introduced the bill, in collaboration with the council, which would amend that state’s Uniform Commercial Code define what a virtual currency is, as well as how a currency controlled and used in trade. Under the bill, which is still in committee, a virtual currency is defined as a “digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange,” giving multiple blockchain-enabled cryptocurrencies to be used. The bill goes on to define how a digital currency could be used in making payments and in loan disputes.

US Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase hiring IT professionals in India

According to reports, Coinbase looks to hire engineering, software development and customer support executives in India and plans to be a remote-first company. The new hires in India, Canada and elsewhere will have the option to work across various locations in their country of hire.

Japan Set To Implement FATF Travel Rule for Crypto By 2022

According to reports, FSA revealed that it would implement the FATF travel rule by April 2022. The regulation to be adopted requires all virtual asset service providers to share transaction data of senders and recipients of crypto-assets.

The FSA also revealed that it had requested the Japan Virtual and Crypto Assets Exchange Association (JVCEA) to advise its members to prepare for the implementation of the rule. FATF created the travel rules to prevent cryptocurrencies from being used to finance terrorist and money laundering activities. Japan authorities have been concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies to perpetrate financial crimes within the country.

Japan’s BitFlyer Has a New President – Again

Tokyo-headquartered global cryptocurrency firm bitFlyer has a new president – for the third time in two years.

According to an announcement, the new president, Goldman Sachs alum Kuniyoshi Hayashi, replaced outgoing President Kimihiro Mine on March 30. bitFlyer is the leading digital assets exchange in Japan, with over 2.5 million users worldwide. IT is licensed in Japan, the U.S. and the European Union.

Japan to test potential central bank currency

The Bank of Japan’s committee on central bank digital currencies has met for the first time, and an initial test is scheduled to start during the spring. The committee wants to ensure stability for settlement and payment systems. Its document did not provide details, but there are concerns globally that CBDCs could adversely impact traditional bank deposits, reported a crypto news site.

South Korea turns to blockchain for COVID-19 vaccine passport roll out

South Korea said today it plans to use distributed ledger blockchain technology as part of its “Green Pass” COVID-19 vaccine documentation program for immunized citizens, also known as “vaccine passports.”

According to Reuters, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the mobile app, which allows international travelers to prove vaccination status, officially launches this month. It will also use blockchain technology as a stopgap against counterfeits. Expanding Payment Card to Australia After Becoming Visa Principal Member

According to reports, Hong Kong-based has become a principal member of Visa Australia, allowing it to expand its card offering to the nation.

The principal membership means is able to directly offer the Visa card in Australia, a factor it says allows the firm to “have a direct relationship with cardholders.” Laying the groundwork for the move, the firm secured an Australian Financial Service License through an acquisition in December.

New Zealand central bank eases restrictions on bank dividends

According to reports, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it was easing dividend restrictions placed on retail banks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a stronger-than-expected rebound in the economy.

The changes will allow banks to pay up to a maximum of 50% of their earnings in dividends, with the 50% dividend restriction to remain in place until July 1, 2022, the central bank said in a statement.

Singapore’s Central Bank Warns Crypto ‘Certainly Not Suitable for Retail Investors’

According to reports, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said that cryptocurrency is “certainly not suitable for retail investors.”

In response to a parliamentary question, Shanmugaratnam added that the crypto market in Singapore remains small when compared to shares and bonds. The combined peak daily trading volume of bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and XRP (XRP) in 2020 was only 2% of the daily trading volume of securities on Singapore Exchange (SGX). The statement came days after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was caught up in a token scam on blockchain social media platform BitClout.

South Korean government sold confiscated bitcoin with $10.5 million in profits

South Korean prosecutors have sold a Bitcoin haul they confiscated from a criminal in 2017. The stash is now worth $10.5 million more than it was at the time of the arrest. The cash has reportedly been deposited in the coffers of the country’s national treasury. This is the first time South Korean authorities have sold confiscated Bitcoin and the first time the coins in question have moved since being put into cold storage in 2017.

Visa to allow payment settlements using cryptocurrency

Visa Inc said it will allow the use of the cryptocurrency USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network, the latest sign of growing acceptance of digital currencies by the mainstream financial industry.

Visa has launched the pilot program with payment and crypto platform and plans to offer the option to more partners later this year, it said. The USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the U.S. dollar, reported a finance news outlet.

Thai Central Bank to Pilot Its Retail Central Bank Digital Currency in 2022: Report

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) will begin piloting its retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the second quarter of 2022, according to a published report.Thailand’s central bank assistant governor announced that, it is open to accepting public feedback on its retail CBDCs by 15 June this year.

BoT said the main objective of the currency is to provide citizens with access to more convenient and secure financial services. The bank is planning to fully implement the currency over the next 3-5 years, according to a Reuters report.

Britain will focus crypto rules on stablecoins, minister says

Britain will focus first on regulating stablecoins rather than the broader cryptocurrency market, its financial services minister said, citing the threat to competition should any major private effort dominate the emerging field. Facebook Inc’s move in 2019 to introduce its own stablecoin Diem, then known as Libra, raised concerns among governments and central banks that a major payments competitor could emerge overnight. “We need to manage risks to competition,” John Glen told a City & Financial conference, reported Reuters.

US isn’t prepared to regulate new industries like crypto, says Ripple CTO

David Schwartz, chief technology officer of Ripple Labs, said United States regulators’ response to the crypto industry may help XRP in the end but is also likely to hurt burgeoning companies.

The Ripple chief technology officer told Cointelegraph he believes many crypto and blockchain firms considering getting started in the United States or relocating from abroad face a deterring regulatory environment. He described U.S. regulators as “overlapping regimes” wherein bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission might not come to a consensus as to what a security is versus a currency in terms of digital assets, reported a crypto news site.

Goldman Sachs chief predicts changes in crypto regulation

David Solomon, chief executive of the investment banking company Goldman Sachs, is convinced that the regulatory landscape in the US will soon see a big change. The American investment banker projected that crypto regulations will see a shift regarding financial institutions.

Solomon describes the change as a “big evolution” that will affect how regulatory bodies in the US regulate Bitcoin and other crypto assets, reported a crypto news site.

UK Crypto Taxation Guidelines Issued by Revenue and Customs Agency

According to reports, the UK’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued crypto tax guidelines for businesses. The regulations cover various assets and processes.

The United Kingdom’s tax collection body, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued a new document that explains taxation guidelines for cryptocurrency.

Spain Seeks Public Comments on Potential Cryptocurrency Regulations

According to reports, Spain’s national securities regulator seeks people’s opinion on newly proposed cryptocurrency regulations.

Cryptocurrency regulations across different countries continue to be a hot topic, and Spain is the latest to join in. The nation’s watchdog has asked industry participants, investors, and consumers for their opinion, and they have until April 16th to respond.

India’s Millennials Embrace Digital Gold Despite Proposed Bitcoin Ban

Bitcoin might become for India’s millennials what gold is for their parents, no matter what the government says.

India, the fifth-largest nation by nominal GDP, often makes headlines for its attempts to outlaw crypto, real or rumored. But the government’s less-than-friendly attitude toward crypto has not curbed Indians’ curiosity about it. Nor do rumors scare away the giants of the crypto world. Just last week, Coinbase announced it is planning to establish its presence in India. Another powerhouse, Binance, has been there since 2019 when it acquired India’s largest crypto exchange, WazirX, reported a crypto news website.

India mandates new disclosure rules for cryptocurrency companies

India is introducing new cryptocurrency disclosure rules. Any company that deals in cryptocurrencies will have to disclose their entire crypto holdings to the government as part of their financial statements.

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), a state regulatory authority on corporate affairs in India, every company that “has traded or invested in cryptocurrency or virtual currency during the financial year” is now obligated to disclose all cryptocurrency holdings, total profits and losses, and deposits or advances received from anyone trading or investing in cryptocurrencies.


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