Advancing Slowly but Steadily (Regulatory Digest, Nov 16—22)

Crimea and international trading center, Estonia licensing crypto products, CBDC to lessen risks for cross-border payments, Canada's and Romania's regulation ideas, SWIFT expelling Central Bank of Iran, Catalonia to vote via a blockchain, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and China on digital currencies

  • The Crimean Republican Association of Blockchain Investment Technologies (Krabit) plans to set up an international training center to teach students from economically and politically sanctioned countries about blockchain – the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies. The course will be taught as part of the university curriculum and lecturers will include members of the association.
  • According to Bitnovosti, Estonia issued licenses to almost 500 cryptocurrency exchanges and 400 wallet providers. A law firm called Njord studied data from the country’s Registrar of Economic Activities and found that procuring a license for cryptocurrency-related businesses is easy and uncomplicated. To keep exchanges and other related businesses in check, the lawmakers of Estonia created the Estonia Money Laundering and Terrorist Finance Prevention Act.
  • According to a joint report by the Central Banks of Canada, Singapore, and the UK, a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will lessen risks for cross-border payments. The report delved into existing challenges presented by extra-territorial payments and the disadvantages of the current correspondent banking model.
  • Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) proposed cryptocurrency regulation measures to thwart money laundering. The country’s Members of Parliament recommends crypto-to-fiat exchanges to register as a money service business.
  • Oxfam, a global charity organization, spearheads BlocRice in Cambodia to boost the transparency and tracking of the country’s rice logistics. BlocRice is an app that applies the distributed ledger technology for implementation of smart contracts. The ledger will record the fresh from the farm price of organic rice, its trade volume and the means of transport.
  • Global financial payments system, SWIFT, expels the Central Bank of Iran. This will present a challenge for Iran when it comes to effecting clean intercontinental transactions. To mitigate this, Iran will launch its own state-backed cryptocurrency: the Crypto-Rial.
  • Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) is probing if the ‘Rezist’ movement is being financed through cryptocurrency. The DIICOT is examining crypto transactions that moved through several organizations. The public prosecutor responsible for the investigation is looking into the possibility that every transaction might have originated from the Stefan Batory Foundation located in Poland.
  • Erol Yarar, chairman of International Business Forum – a Muslim-focused lobby group, said the US currency has become a ‘sanctioning tool’ losing its function as a tool for international trade. Yarar further says that because of this, a common cryptocurrency for Muslim countries will be made to impair US dominance in the global financial system.
  • UnionBank of the Philippines is in the works to launch an island-to-island (i2i) blockchain project to give provincial banks the means to obtain access to the central banking network. It also intends to reach those without access to banks in the country’s rural areas.
  • Singapore’s Central Bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), completes the basic regulatory bill for the country’s payment services, and it includes cryptocurrencies. The Payment Services Bill was forwarded to the Singaporean parliament. MAS detailed the bill as bestowing a welcoming environment for innovation in the area of payments services. At the same time, it will lessen the probability of risks in the payments value chain.
  • Information from La Vanguardia, a Spanish newspaper, tells that the government of Catalonia is prospecting blockchain technology for electronic voting. The Director of Citizen Participation of the Government of Catalonia, Ismael Peña-López, disclosed the plan for the e-voting system will be introduced in the year 2020.
  • Bloomberg reports that Silver Castle, an investment company in Israel, set in motion two crypto funds, while another is pending. It is anticipated to gather $50 million by the end of this year.
  • The Thai News Agency (TNA) reports that the Bank of Thailand (BOT) governor has said that replacing money with a Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC, will take time. The complicated nature of the process, technological efficiency, and the eagerness of citizens to adopt such a change are components that have to be considered. Thus, Thailand is not likely to make the switch in the next 3 to 5 years.
  • A document written by the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China encourages hastening the development of blockchain standards within the country where he relays that the technology has the potential be applied not only to finance, but also to social welfare, logistics, and entertainment industries. He invites his country to ‘play a key role’ in the technology’s international development, whilst restructuring the standards to fit China’s general environment.
  • China’s Ping An Bank will establish a boutique bank operating on the blockchain, IoT, and cloud services. The cutting-edge, sophisticated technologies will enhance management and service capabilities.

... And Not to Miss Out

  • The US SEC issued a public statement on 16 November regarding the issuance and trading of digital asset securities. According to the statement, the SEC is encouraging innovations within the field but market participants are called to conform to the federal securities law framework. The statement cited its most recent actions against various crypto companies and exchanges, which includes AirFox, Paragon, and EtherDelta’s founder.

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Crypto exchange exec says Bitcoin ban in India not final yet, is there any hope?

This week, the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) of India officially recommended the imposition of what has been considered a blanket ban on crypto assets like bitcoin. According to Reuters, the panel led by finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has suggested a fine of $3.63 million and imprisonment for both individuals and businesses that engage in any crypto-related activity including mining, investing, transfers, and issuance. Is there any hope to bitcoin ban turnaround? The official report submitted by the IMC to the finance industry obtained by Inc42 explicitly stated that crypto-assets lack underlying intrinsic value, an argument critics have consistently brought upon to describe the speculative nature of the asset class since the inception of bitcoin in 2009. The document read: “There is no underlying intrinsic value of these private cryptocurrencies. These private cryptocurrencies lack all the attributes of a currency. There is no fixed nominal value of these private cryptocurrencies i.e. neither act as any store of value nor they are a medium of exchange. Since their inceptions, cryptocurrencies have demonstrated extreme fluctuations in their prices. Therefore, the Committee is of clear view that the private cryptocurrencies should not be allowed.” If the report is accepted by the finance ministry and the ban goes through, executives fear it would effectively put an end to the potent crypto market in India, restricting the ability of companies in dealing with crypto assets. Already, most leading crypto exchanges in India have closed operations in India and moved to other markets. Since April 2019, local reports indicated that due to regulatory uncertainty, funding for exchanges in India has started to dry up. Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of Unocoin, told ET at the time: “We did ask people to leave last week, but our operations will continue for the foreseeable future. We have some amount of reserves to push through for the next couple of months and will wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict.” However, Nischal Shetty, the CEO of WazirX, a bitcoin exchange based in India, said that the ban on crypto has not been finalized yet and that there still is hope that the government could turn around the suggestion of the IMC. He added: “Crypto is not banned in India,” said Nischal Shetty. “Crypto Ban is a suggestion by the IMC report Section 1.1 of the report suggests the government should form a standing committee to revisit this Everyone loves talking the negatives but let’s understand this is not over yet.” Negative sentiment Upon the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, many analysts speculated that the government of India could take a tougher stance on the crypto market as the Modi administration has done throughout the past two years. Related: India Stalls Cryptocurrency Regulations, Uncertainty Continues Whether it is a blanket ban or strict restrictions, continued uncertainty in the crypto industry of India is likely to lead to a decline in confidence for investors and an impractical ecosystem for local startups. While industry executives have expressed hope in recent months, Sathvik Vishwanath, the co-founder of Unocoin, one of the biggest bitcoin exchanges in India, said that shall the ban go through as proposed by the IMC, it would result in the crypto sector of India significantly falling behind other leading markets. he said: “If the government decides to take such a drastic step then India will stand to lose out significantly on the technology front.” The post Crypto exchange exec says Bitcoin ban in India not final yet, is there any hope? appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Iran Recognizes Cryptocurrency Mining as a Proper Industry

Iran Gives Cryptocurrency Mining a Nod In a move easily juxtaposed with US policies on cryptocurrency, the government of Iran has officially recognized cryptocurrency mining as an independent industry. A move on July 21st by the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture ratified an economic commission approving crypto mining as a legitimate industry. The committee also passed a previous proposal to apply export rates for electricity used by domestic miners. Similarly, Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy Homayun Haeri stated that government ministers would later vote on an approved electricity rate for mining farms. Later deliberations on government regulations will be held in a cabinet meeting, as announced by the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdolnaser Hemmati. Despite the recent legitimacy procured by the Iranian mining community, the sea to legal cryptocurrency mining in Iran has been far from smooth sailing. A statement made by the Iranian Energy Ministry in late June announced that mining processes increased national electricity consumption by seven percent over the summer. This is due to the nation’s relatively low electricity rates, making mining attractive and profitable to cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The ministry consequently proposed for electricity export rates to be applied to miners, a bid echoed by the Iranian government on Sunday. Following the lead of the Energy Ministry, the Iranian Power Generation and Distribution Company (known locally as TAVANIR) had previously announced that using electricity for mining purposes is illegal and household of commercial users found to be mining cryptocurrency would be cut off from the national grid. In addition to the previous protests from Iranian energy executives, earlier statements made by Iranian officials included a recommendation by the CBI to bar cryptocurrency for domestic payments in January 2019, marking the future of cryptocurrency as a payment method in Iran uncertain. Despite this, the recent backpedal on mining by the CBI seems to be foreshadowing a victory for cryptocurrency in Iran, with Iranian enthusiasts hopeful for the future. Title Image Courtesy of Aleksi Raisa The post Iran Recognizes Cryptocurrency Mining as a Proper Industry appeared first on Ethereum World News.
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India’s Ban On Cryptocurrency: Several Crypto Proponents Ready To Hold Talks With Indian Regulators

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) released a report and a draft bill proposing a total ban on cryptocurrency and the harsh measures to be taken on any Indian citizen who holds, sells or buys cryptocurrency. Eventually, Is India Banning Cryptocurrency? This comes after months of confusion as the crypto community is still in the dark about India’s stance on bitcoin and cryptocurrency. On July 15th, an unverified document was published revealing a supposed draft bill titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Assets”. According to this Act, no person is allowed to handle cryptocurrency in any way. If a person defies this law, they are to face up to 10 years imprisonment or/and a hefty fine. However, on July 19th, the Finance Minister of State and Minister of Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur, addressed this bill saying currently there’s no law in India restricting the use of Cryptocurrencies as reported by Inc42.  Presently, a report has already been drafted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee and is to be taken before the Indian Parliament for approval or dismissal. If a majority of the house members approve it, then it will be passed as a law. This proposal portrays cryptocurrency as “private cryptocurrencies” that should be banned.  The report reads in part, “The Committee endorses the stand taken by the RBI to eliminate the interface of institutions regulated by the RBI from cryptocurrencies. The committee also recommends that all exchanges, people, trade and other financial system participants should be prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrencies. Accordingly, the committee has recommended a law banning the cryptocurrencies in India and criminalizing carrying on of any activities connected with cryptocurrencies in India.” Out Goes Crypto, In Comes Digital Rupee Although India is clearly at the forefront of banning cryptocurrency, the proposal doesn’t suggest a ban on crypto research. In fact, banks and financial institutions will still be allowed to use the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain technology. The Committee even proposed that the Central Bank of India should develop a “Digital Rupee” to be the sole cryptocurrency in India. Cryptocurrency Proponents Are Concerned On July 16th after the aforementioned unverified document proposing banning of cryptocurrency surfaced online, bitcoin enthusiast and Tezos investor Tim Draper bashed this move referring to the Indian government as “pathetic and corrupt”. Other crypto-proponents have viewed this recent report to ban cryptocurrency in India as a major cause for concern. Among these people is the founder of Morgan Creek Digital and a renowned crypto analyst, Anthony Pompliano. He expressed this in a tweet citing, “We need to pay attention to what is happening in India around cryptocurrency regulation. I’m willing to fly to meet with lawmakers and regulators if someone can get me a meeting. Who can help?” In response to this tweet, a veteran bitcoin investor, Peter McCormack tweeted saying, “I’ll join you on that fight”  Finally, Charlie Shrem, founder of and bitcoin investor replied saying he would help set up a meeting with the Indian regulators, pointing out that next month he was scheduled to have an unofficial meeting with an Indian MP. The post India’s Ban On Cryptocurrency: Several Crypto Proponents Ready To Hold Talks With Indian Regulators appeared first on ZyCrypto.

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