Crypto Seems to be Frowned Upon (Regulatory Digest, Nov 23–29)

Some recent selected news about Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, US Colorado, UK, New Zealand's BTC-e, Nigeria, Uganda, Malaysia, Taiwan, etc.

  • The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) attains a license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. The GBX is said to be the first exchange to be authorized by the financial services body. It launched back in July and currently offers trading pairs with USD.
  • Colorado released cease-and-desist orders to four ICO projects. The four are Cred, CrowdShare Mining, CyberSmart Coin Invest, and Global Pay Net. Overall, the US State suppressed 18 illegal ICOs, including DavorCoin (DAV).
  • Venezuela’s Constituent National Assembly passes legislation on cryptocurrency regulation. The bill, proposed by Nicolas Maduro, legalizes the country’s cryptocurrency Petro. Petro can now be used as a unit of exchange to pay for goods and services in the country.
  • Thailand cultivates a friendlier environment for cryptocurrencies. Despite being in a military dictatorship, the country’s military junta worked to advance cryptocurrencies by approving exchanges, legalizing ICOs, and regulating the market. With the elections drawing near, it is said that cryptocurrencies will be a crucial part in Thai economics and politics.
  • New Zealand’s WEX.nz website, previously known as BTC-e, is suspended by the Domain Name Commission (DNC). The suspension comes as a result of suspicions on the authenticity of its registration details. WEX advised users to go to its site mirror wex.link.
  • Atiku Abubakar promises Nigerians he will be accepting of blockchain and cryptocurrencies if he wins the presidential elections. He plans to make Nigeria a technologically knowledgeable country by adding cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies into the elementary and tertiary curriculum. Akitu served as Nigeria’s Vice President for eight years until 2007. He is at present the country’s opposition leader.
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is proposing to use blockchain technology to fight tax fraud. Christian Hirte, Parliamentary State Secretary at BMWi, believes that using the technology could guarantee that taxes are trackable anytime.
  • The US SEC probe on Riot Blockchain is still ongoing. Riot Blockchain is investigated due to its nebulous registration statements presented by the company’s board. The company is also suspected of participating in a pump-and-dump scheme.
  • Uganda’s Planning and Finance Ministry completed a draft bill for a new crypto-related regulation. The East African country has seen a rise in Bitcoin Ponzi schemes and online scams with thousands of locals defrauded. The draft bill is expected to be introduced to the parliament for discussions and approval next month.
  • Taiwan strengthens regulations on AML directed at cryptocurrency exchanges. The newly approved legislation states the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has the authorization to monitor exchanges and prevent suspicious transactions. The country’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) says the government is laboring to meet international AML standards. But some speculate the new AML bill is compelled by China.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the UK is preparing to restrain fraudulent cryptocurrency activities in the nation’s market. 24 firms are being investigated for operating without a license or permission. In order to curb illicit activities, the FCA will be partnering with Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) and the Bank of England to confront the damages and promote a beneficial innovative future.
  • In an address to Parliament, the Finance Minister of Malaysia, Lim Guan Eng, forewarns locals and businesses against issuing new cryptocurrencies. The MP recommends waiting for lawful regulation from the Central Bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia.

Don’t do it without Bank Negara’s guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law

Lim Guan Eng, Finance Minister of Malaysia

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Indian Trade Association Nasscom Calls for Fast Crypto Regulation to Drive Growth

The Indian National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has released a report that calls for regulatory certainty, particularly in areas such as cryptocurrency. The lack of legal clarity and the crypto banking ban have hindered investments in this sector, hurt crypto exchanges, and driven investors out of the country, according to the association. Also read: SEC Chair Explains Key Upgrades Needed for Bitcoin ETF Approval Regulatory Certainty Needed At Nasscom’s flagship Technology and Leadership Forum held from Feb. 20-22 in Mumbai, Vice President Sangeeta Gupta unveiled key highlights from a report jointly developed by Nasscom and management consulting firm Avasant. It details the current state of India’s blockchain industry, including cryptocurrency. Asserting the “Need for regulatory certainty” for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, the report suggests that “A proactive, consultative and defined regulatory approach to blockchain will boost the blockchain ecosystem growth in the country,” noting: Industry participants in India are constrained due to the cautious regulatory approach taken with respect to specific elements of blockchain, such as cryptocurrency and digital assets. Nasscom is a non-profit Information Technology industry association which describes itself as “the apex body for the 154 billion dollar IT BPM industry in India, an industry that has made a phenomenal contribution to India’s GDP, exports, employment, infrastructure and global visibility.” Among Nasscom’s initiatives listed on its website is “Liaisons with government and industry to influence a favourable policy framework.” The association’s report emphasizes: India needs to act fast and work consultatively with the key stakeholders in the crypto/blockchain community and provide regulatory certainty and clarity around blockchain technology (specifically around cryptocurrencies and digital tokens). VC Investments Hindered Despite VC investments pouring into the blockchain ecosystem globally, India has seen less than 0.2 percent of global investments, Nasscom detailed. “Investment through VC firms or ICOs in the blockchain ecosystem in India has been considerably low (totaling to USD 8.5M) due to the uncertain policy and regulatory environment in the country,” the report claims, elaborating: Some of the initial, sizeable investments in India were on crypto exchanges such as Unocoin and Zebpay, which have now disabled trading through fiat currency due to an RBI directive … A restrictive regulatory environment in India is limiting the investment opportunities from both domestic and global investors into Indian start-ups. In addition, the report notes that the lack of regulatory certainly has driven India-based investors and startups to establish operations overseas in countries such as Malta, Singapore, the U.K., and Switzerland “to limit their exposure to regulatory risk associated with the use of digital tokens or assets in India.” Lack of Regulation Hurt Crypto Businesses While the Indian government has a favorable view of blockchain technology and is even considering introducing a national digital currency, the report describes that it has been “hawkish on cryptocurrencies.” Citing that there is “No explicit legal framework around ICOs or digital tokens/crypto-assets,” coupled with the government not considering cryptocurrency legal tender and the banking ban by the central bank, the Nasscom report concludes: While there is no formal regulatory framework governing crypto exchanges, preventing access to formal banking channels has led to the shutdown of prominent crypto exchanges in India. What do you think of Nasscom calling for fast crypto regulation in India? Let us know in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section. The post Indian Trade Association Nasscom Calls for Fast Crypto Regulation to Drive Growth appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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Over Half of UK Companies See Upgrading IT Systems as a Vital Short-Term Priority

New research by Maistro, the AI-driven B2B marketplace for services, has revealed that over half of UK companies (57%) think that upgrading their IT systems is a vital factor for improving efficiency and achieving their short term business objectives. By comparison, only 37% of businesses based in Switzerland and 42% in France agreed when asked the same question, indicating that the UK feels it has further to go than its European counterparts when it comes to upgrading technology.  Despite identifying IT improvements as key to their business goals, 22% of UK businesses also admitted that upgrading IT systems will be the hardest objective to achieve in the short-term. Additionally, nearly one-third of companies across Europe (30%) are acutely aware that new innovations in technology are accelerating faster than their businesses are equipped to handle. The same research provides additional insights into broader operational activities, including: A quarter of respondents in the UK (25%) and nearly three out of 10 in France (29%) are aiming to outsource services to improve efficiency as part of their short-term objectives in the next year Nearly one-third of all those surveyed (29%) want to reduce the time between decisions being made and implementing the change required Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) look to procurement to handle business transformation 29% of those surveyed are looking to procurement to expand in new markets Laurence Cook, CEO of Maistro, comments: “The research shows that businesses undoubtedly see the value in developing and upgrading their IT systems to keep pace with the industry. However, the need to achieve cost saving targets at the same time leaves many businesses dealing with a tough balancing act. “Traditionally, businesses could have one or the other, but would need to prioritise their goals. This is no longer the case. Investment in technology and cloud-based solutions have the ability to streamline business efficiencies and deliver cost savings. IT upgrades are now far less cumbersome due to cloud-based and AI-driven systems. As a result, companies who may be reluctant or cautious about change can now safely pilot these new ways of working.” The post Over Half of UK Companies See Upgrading IT Systems as a Vital Short-Term Priority appeared first on The Fintech Times.
The Fintech Times

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