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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