BAR Global Blockchain Regulatory Round Up (May 27 – June 12)

Listed company in Japan to launch platform for DApps

According to reports, a publicly listed company in Japan that is a shareholder of one of the country’s first cryptocurrency exchanges says it is exploring new use cases for its digital asset.

FISCO is planning to roll out lending for the FISCO Coin (FSCC) — with multiple businesses set to be involved.

The company is also going to launch a platform that’s home to a range of DApps, all of which will be positioned as tools to make FSCC more valuable. These DApps are being established as part of a joint venture that also includes the IT development company Kuskim, as well as CAICA Technologies. It is hoped that this will lead to the creation of cutting-edge businesses.

U.S. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce Speaks Out Against Stringent Cryptocurrency Regulations

According to reports, to win a business licence as a legal trading platform, Korean exchanges are required to partner with local banks to open real-name bank accounts for customers. But banks are concerned that this could leave them liable for any money laundering in digital currencies.

Now, a deadline of September 24 from the Financial Services Commission is looming, and only a handful of exchanges are expected to meet the requirements, reflecting the pressure on the thousands of crypto exchanges that have sprung up around the world while global regulators tighten up on the market.“Many in the [global crypto] industry fear a big-four regulated exchange scenario similar to South Korea,” said one crypto market executive.

U.S. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce Speaks Out Against Stringent Cryptocurrency Regulations

Hester Peirce Calls for Self-Regulatory Framework. In an interview with Financial Times on Tuesday (June 8, 2021), Peirce expressed concerns about U.S. regulators wanting to enforce strict regulatory policies for the cryptocurrency industry. According to Peirce, handling the crypto sector too strictly is risky, as it could deter investors.

This is not the first time the SEC Commissioner is speaking in favor of the cryptocurrency industry. Back in April, Peirce stated that it would be a foolish thing for the U.S. government to ban bitcoin, adding that it was impossible. An advocate of robust crypto regulations, Pierce has always focused on friendly policies that would encourage innovation.

Coinbase ties up with Apple Pay, Google Pay in US for everyday shopping

Coinbase Global Inc. has launched a tie-up with Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google that will allow users to add cards from their accounts to the payment apps run by the two tech giants.

The Coinbase card added to the wallets can be used to buy everyday goods with digital currencies, the biggest US cryptocurrency exchange said, reported a finance news site.

Google Removes Ban on Cryptocurrency Exchanges & Wallets Advertising

According to reports, Google, a multinational technology corporation, has removed its prohibition on cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets utilizing its marketing services. In its Amendment to Financial Products and Services Policy, the internet company declared the end of the restriction (June 2021).

Kraken to Stop Margin Trading for U.S. Traders Who Fail to Comply with KYC Rules

The regulation crackdown on cryptocurrencies is spreading like wildfire with the crypto exchange, Kraken coming out with a new set of regulations for its U.S. users that engage in margin trading. Kraken announced in a recent statement that it would prevent users who fail to satisfy the condition of higher levels of identity verification from using its services on margin trading. This regulation will take effect on June 23 after which those who fail to comply with the rule before then will be denied access to margin trading. This rule will only apply to those who have only been able to complete the verification process on the exchange up to the starter level.

The new regulation released by the crypto exchange follows the decision by the governments of most North American countries like Canada to regulate the crypto space. Tokenhell, in one of its posts, had reported two days ago that the US Internal Revenue Service was making attempts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, reported a crypto news site.

South Korean Parliament Discusses Crypto Bills for First Time

According to reports, South Korean lawmakers have drafted crypto legislation for the National Assembly to consider as part of the government’s belated response to the industry’s call for regulatory clarity

This is the first time crypto-specific legislation is being discussed in the country’s parliament.

On May 7, Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Yong-woo submitted a bill called the “Virtual Assets Act” to the National Assembly. Ten days later, Kim Byung-wook, another Democratic Party lawmaker, pushed forward his own bill, the “Act for Fostering the Virtual Asset Industry and Protecting Investors.

South Korea’s First Regulated Crypto Exchange Could Launch in Q3

South Korea has asked crypto exchanges to comply with new regulatory requests. Should the exchanges complete the process by June, the country’s first regulated exchange could launch near the beginning of Q3 2021.

South Korea is set to see its first regulated cryptocurrency exchange launch in the third quarter of 2021, according to local media outlet Yonhap News. The publication states that financial regulators have plans to ‘reorganize’ the market with the launch of the exchange, which could launch as soon as August or September, reported a crypto news site.

South Korea Looks to Ban Crypto Exchange Employees From Trading on Their Own Platforms

The Korea Financial Services Commission (FSC) will impose a fine of 100 million won (around US$89,844) on exchange employees caught trading on the platforms for which they work. As of now, there are no laws that prohibit executives and employees of exchanges from trading crypto on their own platforms.

According to the FSC, officials from the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which operates under the FSC, met with the heads of Korea’s major crypto exchanges on June 3 to inform them of the updated decree, reported a crypto news website.

OnePlus might launch its own Cryptocurrency Wallet after Samsung, survey indicates

OnePlus Blockchain Research: Survey indicates OnePlus working on it’s own Cryptocurrency Wallet. As pointed out by MySmartPrice, the survey titled OnePlus Blockchain Research indicates the company’s interest in building a ‘product’ around cryptocurrency. The report notes that the survey is categorised into five different parts asking users to fill in basic details, questions on whether they invest in cryptocurrency, and the kind of platform they use to trade crypto. The survey also includes a question on understanding the inconvenience investors might have faced while investing in cryptos, reported a crypto news outlet.

Standard Chartered announces new bitcoin exchange

According to reports, Hong Kong has recently proposed tougher laws for crypto exchanges, but that hasn’t stopped Standard Chartered and Hong Kong-based BC Group from launching a new cryptocurrency exchange.

The BC Group is the parent company of digital asset platform OSL. Standard Chartered is a multinational bank headquartered in London. Its venture capital arm SC Ventures is spearheading the new joint venture with the BC Group.

Their new unnamed joint venture will see them launch a digital asset brokerage and exchange platform for institutional and corporate clients in the UK and Europe. “[The] new company will provide a brokerage and exchange platform to enable safe adoption and trading by the world’s largest and most demanding investors,” said Alex Manson, the head of SC Ventures. The new cryptocurrency exchange is expected to launch in the fourth quarter this year, pending regulatory approval.

Indian Government Poised to Loosen Tough Stance on Crypto: Report

According to reports, The Indian government may soon strike a more conciliatory tone on bitcoin, moving away from its initial plan to impose an outright ban on private cryptocurrencies.

The government may classify bitcoin as an asset class, industry sources told The New Indian Express, adding that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will regulate the cryptocurrency sector. The cryptocurrency regulation bill could be tabled during the monsoon session of the parliament set to begin next month, a source told the Indian publication.

Major crypto exchanges like U.S.-based Kraken, Hong Kong-based Bitfinex and rival KuCoin are already scouting for India’s entry in hopes that the market will explode once regulatory uncertainty subsides. Authorities across the globe are taking steps to regulate the fast-expanding market. Early today, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision recommended stricter capital requirements for holding bitcoin.

Binance-acquired WazirX gets show-cause notice claiming it’s ‘safe haven for money laundering’

According to reports, the ED initiated the FEMA investigation on the basis of an ongoing money laundering investigation into Chinese-owned illegal online betting applications.

The officially registered entity M/s Zanmai Labs Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2017 as a native Indian crypto-startup and the directors – Nischal Shetty and Sameer Hanuman Mhatre have been called out in the ED’s notice. Here, it should be noted that global crypto-exchange Binance had acquired WazirX two years after incorporation in 2019.

Restricting crypto trading to millionaires good for Hong Kong, says official

According to reports, Hong Kong’s Treasury Secretary says the government is right to pursue restrictive crypto regulations in the city. Christopher Hui, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury has defended the recent proposal by the city’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau to ban retail crypto trading.

In a speech delivered at StartmeupHK virtual fintech summit on Thursday, Hui said that the proposal was in line with the government’s plan to properly police the emerging crypto market.

JPMorgan Job Posts Hint at Bank’s Broader Cryptocurrency Ambitions

According to reports, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is on the hunt for crypto-savvy candidates to fill a growing number of digital asset crossover jobs.

The planned compliance, regulatory affairs and payments positions appear to stretch beyond JPMorgan’s well-documented (and aggressively hiring) Onyx blockchain project, an effort mostly concerned with wholesale banking. Instead, the six positions, which have been hitting JPMorgan’s jobs board since at least April, speak to a financial services giant bolstering its crypto readiness on multiple fronts.

Australia Pressures 600,000 Crypto Users to Pay Their Taxes

The Australian government has initiated a clamp-down on crypto traders and crypto activity after finding a massive increase in investments from 2020. The government has made it clear that the anonymous mechanisms of cryptocurrencies won’t hide or excuse Australian crypto traders from the taxman.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh explained that financial regulators will be tracking these traders through their bank accounts: “We are alarmed some taxpayers think the anonymity of cryptocurrencies provides a license to ignore their tax obligations. While it appears cryptocurrency operates in an anonymous digital world, we closely track where it interacts with the real world through data from banks, financial institutions, and cryptocurrency online exchanges to follow the money back to the taxpayer”, reported a crypto news site.

DBS Bank tapping on tokenized bonds as a new way to invest

DBS Bank, Southeast Asia’s largest lender by assets, launched its first security token offering (STO) — a S$15 million (US$11 million) digital bond issuance — on its DBS digital exchange.

The issuance by the Singapore-based bank is a milestone in its “asset digitalization strategy” as it taps into the growing trend of asset tokenization and expands the offerings on its DBS digital exchange. An STO involves the issuance of digital tokens in the form of regulated securities using blockchain technology. The token is a digital representation of a real-world asset and can include ownership of assets such as gold or real estate or economic rights such as a share of profits, reported a crypto news outlet.

Thailand’s SEC Has Banned NFTs And Meme-Based Tokens

According to reports, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has issued guidelines barring crypto exchanges from supporting four different types of tokens.In an announcement from the Thai SEC, the regulatory body said that Secretary-General Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol had approved crypto exchange guidelines, Notification 18/2564 on “Rules, Conditions and Procedures for Undertaking Digital Asset Business,” on Wednesday to go into effect. The new rules ban Thai exchanges from handling meme-based tokens, fan-based tokens, non fungible tokens (NFTs) and exchange-issued tokens.

Bank of Thailand to roll out digital Baht soon

According to reports, digital Baht will soon hit the Thailand economy once the central bank tests its viability and feasibility. Cryptocurrency wave has prompted the government to take steps for financial inclusion. Regulations in place to open digital accounts combined with the money laundering law. Thailand is one of the 13 countries to legalise cryptocurrency and move ahead from its counterparts. The second-largest economy in Southeast Asia witnessed a trading volume of $ 2.5 billion on its local exchanges last year.

RBI Circular on Cryptocurrency Clarifies No Ban in India: Will UPI, Online Payments Return?

According to reports, on May 31, the Reserve Bank of India issued a circular that offered some clarification towards the official state of cryptocurrencies in India. After widespread reports claimed that both private and public sector banks have been actively advising users against investing in cryptocurrencies, while withdrawing payment support for Indian crypto trading platforms, the RBI circular underlined that banks can no longer prevent users from making crypto investments by citing the 2018 circular. However, the circular may not be viewed as a direct endorsement of cryptocurrencies by the central bank, therefore still leaving the Indian crypto space wide open for an official regulatory framework, which cannot arrive soon enough.

China arrests over 1000 for using cryptocurrency to help launder proceeds of phone scams

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies has reached a new crescendo, with the nation’s Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday proclaiming it has arrested over 1000 people and shut down 170 gangs that provided crypto-linked money-laundering services.

The Ministry’s announcement says it detected, and dismantled, gangs that provided money-laundering services to criminal organisations. Some of those organisations allegedly laundered ill-gotten gains from other ventures by building coin-mining farms.

Iran President Directs Lawmakers To Prepare Legal Framework To Regulate Cryptocurrencies

According to reports, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked his administration to start working on a framework to regulate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as their market continues to expand worldwide. He believes that  clear communication about the laws and rules will help discourage dishonourable crypto businesses, who’ve had a free run so far. With the US’s crippling economic sanction and a ban on the American dollar, Iran, known for its conservative regulations, has openly welcomed crypto trade.

“For legalizing the activity of cryptocurrencies and protecting people’s capital in this area, we must think of a solution as soon as possible and lay down and communicate the necessary laws and instructions,” Rouhani remarked at a recent meeting.

Crypto Exchange Bybit Gets Warning From Japan’s FSA

According to reports, Crypto derivatives exchange Bybit Fintech Limited has been officially warned by the FSA for running its operation without proper registration. Bybit functions as a crypto derivative exchange offering futures in digital currency, perpetual swaps, and a number of other contracts used by crypto traders.

The warning alleges that Bybit’s operations are giving Japanese traders the ability to leverage the exchange and that the exchange has yet to register with the FSA. This marks the first warning the FSA has sent out in more than three years to a crypto exchange.

The last being Binance back in 2018 for failing to meet similar registration requirements. Currently, Japan has more than two dozen crypto exchanges operating with proper registration under the FSA.

Swedish Central Bank Working With Handelsbanken For Digital Coin Trial

Sweden’s central bank Riksbank said on Friday (May 28) that it is collaborating with lender Handelsbanken to test the digital currency e-krona, Reuters reported.

The collaboration will test how the e-krona will be able to handle payments in an everyday setting, the bank said per the report.

Central banks worldwide are examining the use of digital currencies (CBDCs) as cryptocurrencies enter the mainstream and the use of cash continues to decline. Further, there’s been an increased need for real-time cross-border payments, reported a crypto news website.

South Africa’s Central Bank Starts Research On Retail-Focused Digital Currency

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has begun a study to investigate how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would work for general purpose retail use alongside cash, according to a press release.

A retail CBDC is a digital form of cash which works to combine the best aspects of both cash and digital payments, the release stated.

With the study, SARB will investigate how a CBDC would impact its policy position and mandate, according to the release. The study will look at how a CBDC can be implemented practically across various tech platforms. It will take into account several factors, including policy, regulatory, security and risk management implications.

Many cryptocurrency firms are not meeting money laundering rules, UK watchdog warns

According to reports, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority warned that a “significantly high” number of cryptocurrency firms are failing to meet U.K. money laundering rules. The FCA said this has resulted in an “unprecedented number” of crypto firms withdrawing applications to register with the regulator. It has pushed back the deadline for a temporary licensing regime for crypto companies from July 9, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

Irish MEP wants tougher crypto regulations in Europe

According to reports, Chris MacManus, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has called for stricter crypto and stablecoin regulations in Europe.

MacManus, who is representing Midland Northwest, has submitted 45 amendments to the EU with hopes that the region will toughen its crypto stance. The Irish MEP wrote in his proposed crypto regulations that: Under my proposals, all new and existing crypto-assets will require authorization by a ‘competent authority’ like the Central Bank. Currently, currency founders simply have to deposit a white paper that outlines the cryptos’ purpose and technology, with no scrutiny whatsoever. These white papers, under my amendments, would also require a lot more detail and transparency. MacManus has also set his sight on crypto mining. According to him, state authorities need to examine the potential impact of crypto mining activities on the environment before giving the go-ahead to such projects.

Bitcoin Continues to Gain Traction after the El Salvador Endorsement

Mexican politician Eduardo Murat Hinojosa shared a tweet recently that outlined his support for Bitcoin’s growth. Furthermore, he vowed to promote enabling regulations that will advance hand in hand with the new generation currency, Bitcoin.

According to the ‘Global Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Market 2021’ research, an increasing interest in blockchain and cryptos has been recorded. The publication also indicates that developing countries are leading the market. Today, Russia and Ukraine are in top rankings in cryptocurrency adoption, reported a crypto news site.

Crypto Company Blockchain.com Moves U.S. Headquarters to Miami

Blockchain.com, one of the most widely-used consumer crypto products and the leading institutional crypto solutions provider, announced that it has moved its U.S. headquarters from New York City to Miami. As part of the relocation, plans for expansion include aggressive hiring throughout the local Miami job market as well as investment to support the local STEM community. Earlier this morning, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez made the announcement at City Hall with Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith, ahead of the highly anticipated Bitcoin Miami conference this week, reported a finance news website.

UK Authorities Seeking Expanded Power to Freeze Crypto Assets

According to reports, cryptocurrencies have become such an issue with police in the United Kingdom that they are asking for more power to freeze digital assets in criminal investigations.

Detectives for the London Metro Police have requested the ability to freeze crypto assets of individuals or businesses that are being investigated for criminal behavior in the same way they can prevent them from making transfers. In addition to the ability to freeze, authorities have begun to lobby the government to make legislative changes to make it harder for criminals to make transfers as well — especially criminals suspected of money laundering.

 

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