Global crypto regulatory update from around the world

EU

Europen Union formulates cryptocurrency legal framework

The European Union has indicated that it will be coming up with a cryptocurrency legal framework that will be used across the region. This comes after realization by the institution that there was no concerted effort among member states to deal with legal issues arising from the fast-growing cryptocurrency industry.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU Commission Executive Vice President indicated that the decision came after realizing the lack of legal certainty for developing a sound crypto-asset market in the region. Dombrovskis continued by saying that time had come, where the EU needed to strengthen its international standing in digital finance and become a global standard-setter, reported a crypto news site, reported a crypto news site.

Ireland Will Transpose Latest EU Anti-Money Laundering Rules Into National Law

According to reports, cryptocurrency firms in Ireland will soon be regulated in line with the latest European legal framework for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing. On Aug. 10, the Cabinet of Ireland approved a bill to transpose the criminal justice elements of the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) into national law, thereby strengthening existing legislation.

Other News

Crypto Exchange Coincheck to Launch Japan’s First IEO

Coincheck, one of the largest crypto exchanges in Japan, announced that it would support a domestic company to launch the country’s first Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) and raise funds via a token sale.

Japanese Government Urges Blockchain ‘Cooperation’

The Japanese finance minister and deputy prime minister Taro Aso has addressed the country’s blockchain industry, asking for the sector’s “cooperation,” and speaking about the regulatory outlook for the industry. According to Japanese media outlet Coin Post, Aso told a Tokyo-based blockchain conference, “Some members of the blockchain community may still be hostile to regulators because of the belief they may slow innovation due to a lack of technological understanding. We need to work together to find the best ways to use this technology using optimal governance.”

Digitalising Japan & ASEAN Trade With Blockchain

In a move aimed at strengthening the relationship between Japan and ASEAN and promoting the digitalization of trade procedures, the Japanese government and a consortium of 20 of the country’s largest companies have announced the introduction of a digital platform to manage and integrate trade transaction information.

ASEAN is Japan’s third-largest trading partner (as a bloc) after China (including Hong Kong) and the United States (US), reported The Asean Post.

Asia bets on blockchain to battle online theft during pandemic

As the pandemic forces more companies to transact business online, hackers and other digital thieves are getting bolder, spurring Asia to embrace blockchain technology as a way to secure data.

According to The Business Research Company, the global blockchain market is expected to hit $15.88 billion in 2023 despite retreating 7.27% to $2.27 billion in 2020 — potential annual growth of over 91%.

Tomohiro Maruyama, senior manager of PwC Consulting, says “more companies should adopt blockchain after the pandemic.” He thinks that the widespread digital transformation triggered by the coronavirus has driven use of blockchain to guard against scams, reported Nikkei Asian Review.

Funds from Coincheck Hack Surface and Get Confiscated in Japan

Japanese police are going to confiscate cryptocurrency funds stolen during the Coincheck hack. If successful, this will be the first digital currency confiscation of the kind in the country, reported a local news outlet Kyodo.

Japan: Demographic Shift Sees Younger Folk Flock to Crypto

Japanese crypto exchange bitFlyer has reported that there has been a shift in the demographic of its user base, with more people in their 20s using the platform. According to a press release published, the exchange – one of Japan’s biggest – says that 34% of its customers are aged in their 20s. Two years ago, the biggest user group was people in their 30s (32%). Now, it says, thirtysomethings represent 28% of its user base. The exchange added that an increasing number of young people were first-time investors, turning their backs on more traditional tools like the stock exchange.

BitMEX Exchange Set To Shut Down Operations For Ontario, Canada-Based Customers

BitMEX, one of the largest Bitcoin futures exchange, will shut down its services to the Canadian province, Ontario, to users starting September 1st, 2020. According to a blog post published on the BitMEX website, the exchange will restrict any new users, new orders, or an increase in existing orders from Ontario residents.

4 of South Korea’s Largest Banks to Provide Cryptocurrency Services

According to reports, South Korea’s largest banks have revealed that they will be providing cryptocurrency services. With the country’s crypto regulation going into effect next year, cryptocurrency has been attracting the attention of traditional financial institutions, particularly for custody services.

Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank have said that they are considering introducing cryptocurrency services ahead of the enforcement of the Special Money Act next year.

South Korea’s Jeju Island Selects ICONLOOP Blockchain Technology for Private, Secure COVID-19 Contact Tracing

South Korea’s leading blockchain technology company announced that Jeju Island, the country’s most popular domestic tourist destination, will use its Decentralized Identity (‘DID’) blockchain technology to provide private, secure COVID-19 contact tracing to the island’s 15 million annual visitors. ICONLOOP and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province have signed a cooperation agreement to introduce this innovative COVID-19 and infectious disease prevention system. Visitors will use a mobile app to check into tourist destinations and businesses on Jeju Island, with their data kept private unless a COVID-19 case is discovered.

Blockchain-based driver’s licenses hit the road in South Korea

According to reports, over 3% of South Korean driver’s licenses are now digital IDs running on blockchain technology. Users display the license via a QR code (barcodes are apparently also a secure option) seen through the PASS mobile app. For non-Korean permanent residents and expatriates, their Korean driver’s license will be in English.

And the license is not just for road use, it is a legally recognized form of identification that can be used to authenticate an individual’s identity, as well as satisfy proof-of-age requirements where applicable, such as when purchasing controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco.

South Korean city is expanding its payments program by issuing blockchain-based digital certificates

One of South Korea’s major cities, Seongnam, is expanding its payments program by issuing digital gift certificates on the blockchain. Seongnam’s new offering will be available through a mobile app, with the city seeking to reach the elderly with simplified payment processes. The South Korean city has partnered with the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO) on the project. The new payment system will be acceptable by 45,000 merchants in the city, according to the local newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun report.

Upbit becomes first exchange to gain 4 licenses in Thailand

South Korea’s digital currency exchange Upbit is expanding to Thailand. The exchange confirmed that it has obtained four provisional licenses from the country’s regulator to operate digital currency-related businesses.

According to a press release, Upbit obtained the licenses from the Thai Securities and Exchanges Commission. The four licenses will allow Upbit Thailand to offer services in four categories: digital token exchange, digital token broker, digital currency broker and digital currency exchange. Upbit has become the first exchange to obtain all four licenses in Thailand.

North Korea’s Lazarus targets cryptocurrency vertical

According to reports, the Lazarus Group, the advanced persistent threat (APT) group aligned to the interests of the North Korean government, is orchestrating a cyber-attack campaign against organisations working in the cryptocurrency vertical located in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, the UK and the US, according to new research by F-Secure.

Hong Kong gives approval in principle to OSL for first crypto exchange license

Hong Kong’s markets regulator has agreed in principle to issue a license to cryptocurrency firm OSL Digital Securities, a unit of Fidelity-backed BC group (0863.HK), the company said in an exchange filing, reported Reuters.

Hong Kong Newspaper Published Full-Page Bitcoin Ad as Banks Broaden Scrutiny

According to reports, Apple Daily, a pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper, has published a full-page ad on its front page promoting Bitcoin to its readers after the arrest of billionaire owner Jimmy Lai.

According to images shared on Reddit, the ad featured a representation of the flagship cryptocurrency with the text “Bitcoin will never ditch you” right below it, adding in Cantonese: “Banks, it’s not you ditching me today. It’s me ditching you. Lai was arrested earlier this month as part of a controversial new national security law in the region. Right after his arrest, Apple Daily published an editorial vowing to “fight on” and upped the printers to publish 500,000 copies of the newspaper spreading the message, up from the usual 100,000 copies.

Hong Kong Police Arrest Three Men Over $30,000 ATM Bitcoin Scam

As cryptocurrency scams around the world continue to trick people in parting with their hard-earned money, police in Hong Kong have arrested three men who are allegedly tied to a HK$230,000 (US$30,000) bitcoin scam. According to reports, the three men are believed by authorities to be part of a larger group, which has scammed bitcoin ATMs out of the thousands of dollars.

Singapore blockchain group helps firms navigate payments regulations with MAS support

The Singapore Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Start-ups, (ACCESS) has announced the release of a Code of Practice intended to help blockchain firms successfully apply for a payment service license. The Code was released with support from the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which acts as a central bank and financial regulator for the country.

PayBito to aid new crypto exchange in Singapore

According to reports, a Singaporean company will be building a crypto trading platform using PayBito’s infrastructure

In an up-and-coming project, PayBito will be licensing its scalable white label crypto exchange technology to a Singaporean based firm. The firm using the white label software was not identified by PayBito. The technology will assist the firm in building digital asset exchange in far less time than it would take if all the design work was done on a bespoke basis.

Singapore bank says Bitcoin, crypto is “no more” the wild west

A prominent Singapore bank said Bitcoin and other public cryptocurrencies present a “new frontier” for contactless payments and digital money, one that’s past their days of being dismissed by bankers.

DBS, one of the top banks in Singapore with an estimated $234 billion under management, said in a report that Bitcoin and other state-issued currencies are leading innovation across the broader financial ecosystem, with supply chains and cross-border banking seeing a particular benefit.

China has a Blockchain strategy

The Chinese government’s Blockchain strategy has been to invest heavily in Blockchain development, innovation, and implementation, while cracking down on Blockchain systems it cannot control. The Chinese government has invested billions of dollars in Blockchain partnerships with Chinese firms and China has filed more patents than any other country, by far. Between 2014 and 2019, China’s patent office—the National Intellectual Property Administration—filed 2,218 Blockchain patents, compared with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which filed just 227. Beijing has also signed memorandums of understanding regarding Blockchain research with numerous countries, including Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa, reported The Sunday Guardian.

China Testing Cryptocurrency in Major Cities, Including Beijing and Hong Kong

China’s Ministry of Commerce reported that a pilot run of the nation’s national bank advanced money (CBDC) will start in “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei district, and Yangtze River Delta locale.”

As indicated by the service, the advanced yuan is as of now under preliminary in four urban areas: Xiongan New Area in North China’s Hebei region, Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong territory, Suzhou in East China’s Jiangsu region, and Chengdu in Southwest China’s Sichuan region. It will likewise be tried during the 2022 Winter Olympics games in Beijing, and be extended to different districts as fitting, the service included.

Bitcoin mining industry in China hardest hit in 2020

TokenInsight Inc., the cryptocurrency industry-focused research and consulting firm based in Beijing, recently published a report covering the latest developments in the crypto mining industry. Researchers and analysts from the firm say that the industry experienced grew in the past six months but added that Chinese Bitcoin mines “suffered a great impact” in the first half of 2020, reported a crypto news site.

Report finds $50 billion of cryptocurrency moved out of China hinting at capital flight against Beijing rules

According to reports, over $50 billion of cryptocurrency moved from China-based digital wallets to other parts of the world in the last year, pointing to possibilities that Chinese investors are transferring more money than allowed out of the country, a new report claims.

Chinese citizens are only allowed to buy up to $50,000 of foreign currency a year at a financial institution. The Chainalysis report said this could point towards the possibility of Chinese citizens using cryptocurrency to move their money out of the country.

China Plans to Use Its Digital Yuan at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Sun Guofeng, top of the money related arrangement office at the People’s Bank of China, told a public interview the national bank would not alter its fiscal strategy course or its adaptable way to deal with strategy and liquidity would likewise remain sensibly adequate, which would permit China’s economy to come back to its possible development, reported a crypto news website.

China’s Blockchain Service Network to launch stablecoin support in 2021

According to reports, China’s nationwide blockchain project, the Blockchain Service Network, or BSN, will be integrating stablecoin support in 2021. Piloted in late 2019, China’s BSN is a state-backed initiative that intends to support medium-sized businesses in building and deploying blockchain applications.

Will Cryptocurrency-based payment cards be the next big thing in India?

According to reports, Visa has revealed its plans to partner with blockchain companies and bridge the gap between global merchants and cryptocurrencies. Similarly, MasterCard has launched a global initiative issuing payment cards through an authorised cryptocurrency platform for virtual currencies, and the developments are likely to peak enormous interest in India.

Government Considers Law to Ban Cryptocurrency as Usage Surges

The lockdown also proved beneficial for the local crypto exchanges that witnessed a ten-fold increase in trading volume. The Indian cryptocurrency market is on an upswing with global exchanges looking to expand in India. Home-grown crypto-exchanges are also launching at breakneck speed with venture capitals increasingly looking to invest in Indian cryptocurrency startups. In response to the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the digital currencies, the government of India is now mulling a law that would ban the use of cryptocurrencies in India. Reportedly, the finance ministry has already initiated inter-ministerial consultations for the ban, reported a local news site.

Ripple plans to introduce XRP into the Indian market for remittance services

The Managing Director of Ripple in South Asia and MENA, Navin Gupta, has come out to confirm that the growing Indian remittance market is a target area for the blockchain company, and it is keen on introducing native crypto XRP into the market for transaction purpose. Navin Gupta, during an interaction with the Editor of indiainfoline.com, Shweta Papriwal, revealed that Ripple began operation in the Asian country in 2017 with two offices in popular cities Bengaluru and Mumbai, reported a crypto news site.

Former RBI governor expresses views on the future of Bitcoin and Libra

During CNBC’s “Beyond the Valley” podcast, Rajan expressed his views on Bitcoin and Libra.

According to reports, for Rajan, Bitcoin is a bit like gold but also differs from the precious metal because “gold has some value because we value it for jewelry but bitcoin you can’t even do that.” However, he added that BTC has its use either as a store of value or as a speculative asset.

Rajan also expressed his views on Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra. “Libra is an attempt to create a currency which is used for transacting,” he said. “So the ultimate underlying value is going to be from the central banks, they’re going to preserve the value, not of libra but of what libra can be exchanged into.”

India Ranks Second in Blockchain Wallet Transactions

Despite the vague crypto regulations, the Indian crypto industry is breaking its record. As per the report, there was a significant increase in the blockchain wallet transactions in India. The country ranked second in a list with a 17.4 percent surge. Peru topped with 18.3 percent wheat Indonesia ranked 12.6 percent respectively.

India considers using blockchain for elections

According to reports, the Indian Government is considering the possibility of adopting blockchain technology to encourage residents to vote.

Using distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enhance their electioneering process would help eliminate geographical barriers and make it more accessible for citizens to vote, regardless of where they are. This is an urgent priority for the government, particularly as they continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Telangana, a state in South India, has expressed its interest in using blockchain for e-voting, and currently is planning to create and test a blockchain-based method which will encourage people living in remote areas to vote online.

Jayesh Ranjan, the Principal Secretary of Information Technology, indicated that the first experiment will be conducted within a particular region, and afterwards, implementation will be extended to national-level  blockchain e-voting.

India among top whistleblower tip providers to US market regulator

India is among the top five countries outside the US where individuals have submitted whistleblower tips to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) between 2011 and 2019 fiscal years. The tips relate to companies listed in the US, reported The Times of India.

RBL Bank of India Partners with Accenture to build A Digital Bank Infrastructure

RBL Bank announced that Accenture consulting firm will join their ranks to transform the bank’s information technology (IT) networks and services.

Through the partnership, Ratnakar Bank (RBL Bank) hopes the institution’s business processes, banking services, and overall scalability will be improved. This year, the bank has reportedly suffered from “unprecedented disruption.” RBL Bank officials are hoping that by changing the digital structure of their services, this will lead to future growth and an overall healthier bank infrastructure.

Binance launches “Build For Bharat”, a DeFi-focused Hackathon in India

According to reports, Binance, the global blockchain company behind the world’s largest digital asset exchange launched ‘Build for Bharat’, a twofold program with a hackathon and acceleration opportunities for blockchain developers and startups in India.

The hackathon is sponsored by Google Cloud, along with leading technology companies Matic Network, Marlin Protocol, Band Protocol and Ankr cloud infrastructure, while the acceleration comes under Polaris, an initiative by the Blockchain for India 50M fund, launched by Binance and WazirX in March 2020.

UK’s FCA Approves Gemini as a Registered Crypto Exchange

Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange Gemini has received greenlight the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to start its operations in the United Kingdom. The UK regulator added Gemini Europe Limited, a local subsidiary of the New York-headquartered exchange, to its register on August 19, the same day it approved Archax, reported a crypto news site.

UK FCA wants to include crypto firms in financial crime reporting rules

Cryptocurrency firms in the United Kingdom could soon be faced with more extensive Anti-Money Laundering (AML) reporting requirements.

In a consultation paper published this month, the Financial Conduct Authority proposed broadening annual financial crime reporting obligations to include all crypto asset exchange and custodian wallet providers.

The regulator says that by extending its reporting rules to a wider range of firms, it will be able to deepen its understanding of which firms may have intrinsic money laundering risks due to their activities.

UK Crackdown Pulls Thousands of Crypto Scams Offline

Over the past four months, the National Cyber Security Centre, or NCSC, removed over 300,000 URLs pertaining to fake celebrity-endorsed investment opportunities. More than a half of these sites belonged to fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes.

According to an announcement published by the NCSC on August 14, an increasing number of these scams utilized fake endorsements from national celebrities, such as Ed Sheeran and Richard Branson. This raised red flags for authorities, prompting the launch of a massive retaliatory campaign.

Bank of England attends digital currency meeting

According to reports, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) hosted representatives from several major financial situations including the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, Magyar Nemzeti Bank and ING Group alongside enterprise-focused blockchain platform Cypherium, in a virtual roundtable on August 19, 2020 to discuss central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and their infrastructural designs.

Cryptocurrency Exchange bitFlyer USA Rolls out to Hawaii

bitFlyer USA has announced that its cryptocurrency exchange will soon be available to customers in Hawaii. The exchange will be offered thanks to the newly formed Digital Currency Innovation Lab,  a partnership formed between the state of Hawaii’s Department of Financial Institutions and Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC). The pilot program is the first regulatory sandbox of its kind in the state and will allow cryptocurrency service providers to do business in Hawaii without obtaining a state money transmitter license for a period of two years.

US Federal Reserve is reportedly experimenting with a national digital currency

According to the Bloomberg report, The United States has finally joined the bandwagon of countries testing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The report cited Governor Lael Brainard saying that during a virtual technology event yesterday that the US Federal Reserve, in collaboration with research teams from Boston Fed and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is conducting experiments with a hypothetical digital currency. Many Founder Junior associates working with digital currencies in other countries have stated the importance of CBDC earlier, and the USA is finally joining the list of countries that are exploring digital currencies.

Binance-Owned Crypto Cards Provider Swipe to Launch in the US

According to reports, Swipe, a digital asset wallet and debit card platform, has just announced that it will soon be launching its services in the US with plans to expand elsewhere in the country after receiving the necessary regulatory sign-offs.

The news comes a few weeks after Swipe’s takeover by Binance and issuance of a Swipe-powered crypto debit card, branded for the influential crypto exchange.

US DoJ Seizes Millions in Crypto Funds From Al-Qaeda and ISIS Networks

According to Aug. 13 announcement from the United States Department of Justice, the authorities have seized millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from over 300 accounts.  The announcement does not specify the specific amount, but does identify the operation as the largest to target terrorist funding in cryptocurrency.

Crypto exchange Binance can now provide its services in Florida.

Crypto exchange giant Binance has finally received regulatory approval to launch its services in the state of Florida. Initially, the US arm of Binance was launched in 37 states, and the firm avoided states that had more stringent requirements. The expansion into America’s third most populous state is enabled by Binance.US’s July obtainment of a money transmitter license. Binance is now “fully registered and regulated crypto and digital asset exchange,” and Floridians can transact in all the digital currencies that Binance.US supports. Bitcoin news aggregator platforms like Cryptopanic are a great way to keep up with crypto exchange news, reported a crypto news site.

The central bank of Brazil sets up a working group to study digital currencies

Brazil’s central bank said online payments have been growing in recent years, and a digital currency would allow Brazilians to interact with their money entirely online. The central bank has set up a working group to study digital currencies. A digital real would also help cut costs of issuing and maintaining banknotes and coins, said Brazil’s central bank. The estimated cost of handling paper money in Brazil is around 90 billion reals ($16 billion) per year, said the central bank, adding that it is usually between 1% and 2% of countries’ gross domestic product or GDP, reported a crypto news site.

Germany’s Finance Ministry Introduces Crypto e-Stocks Bill

Germany’s Finance Ministry has distributed a draft charge that expects to put stocks gave on open or private blockchain on a similar balance as stocks gave through conventional methods.

“In line with the overarching principles of capital market laws, such as technological neutrality and proportionality, the bill sets up no preferential specifications for individual register techniques so that the market can develop and offer innovative solutions,” the Ministry said.

The necessity for stocks or government bonds to have a paper endorsement will soon no longer apply in Germany with stock backers ready to keep up their own register dependent on blockchain innovation, reported a crypto news website.

 

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