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South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

A regulatory working group in South Africa, which includes the country’s central bank, has released a consultation paper on crypto assets this week. According to the document, all exchanges, wallet providers, Bitcoin ATMs and payment processors will have to register with the government in 2019.  Also Read: Bitpay Reports Processing Over $1 Billion Transactions in 2018 Consultation Paper on Crypto Assets South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) jointly released on Wednesday their consultation paper on crypto assets. The group was formed to review the state of cryptocurrency in the country under the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) at the start of 2018. The paper includes background on the subject and provides the scope of the activities that have been assessed. It highlights the benefits and risks, as defined by the regulators, reviews the approaches taken by other jurisdictions, and presents recommendations for dealing with crypto assets from a local perspective. The South African public and impacted parties have been asked to provide comments on the document by Feb. 15, 2019, and the regulators promise that the input will help determine the way in which crypto assets will be regulated. Crypto Service Providers Will Have to Register The group recommends that crypto assets remain without legal tender status and not recognized as electronic money, but they won’t be banned for now. It proposes a regulatory framework to be developed in phases, starting with a registration process for crypto asset service providers. This could eventually lead to formal authorization as a licensed operator in South Africa. Registration will be required for all cryptocurrency trading platforms, vending machines (Bitcoin ATMs), wallet providers, custodial services and payment service providers. The paper also recommends that crypto asset service providers be required to comply with AML/CFT regulations under South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act. This means that the companies will have to conduct ongoing monitoring of their clients, keep records of their activities and file reports on suspicious and unusual transactions, including all cash transactions of 25,000 South African rand (around $1,900) and above. Details about the registration process will be published later and it is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2019. Is this development good for cryptocurrency users in South Africa? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com. The post South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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South Africa Cracks Down On Crypto, May Track Bitcoin (BTC) Transactions

South Africa May De-anonymize Bitcoin Per an article from Business Insider’s South Africa-based branch, the Reserve Bank (Sarb) will be releasing a “policy paper” regarding Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader crypto ecosystem in the coming months. Sarb will purportedly be advising on how crypto wallet providers and related startups, like exchanges, e-commerce platforms, etc.,  should register with local regulators. The Reserve Bank claims that its up-and-coming registration system should aid in the crusade to protect investors and consumers from the shortcomings of the budding crypto ecosystem. Reports claim that the financial entity is also looking to integrate such a system to ensure crypto-related laws are paid in full — a purported issue that global governments have been struggling with since Bitcoin’s first trip around the proverbial block. Sarb seeks to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task by de-anonymizing BTC transactions, ensuring that exchanges, wallets, and projects of similar caliber actively track transactional data, namely who sent X, who received X, transaction amounts, and other pieces of pertinent data. As put by Business Insider, this system will be much like how “banks are required to know their customers.” Service providers will also be mandated to comply with anti-money laundering systems, along with reporting and monitoring suspicious transactions, drawing attention to 25,000 Rand+ ($1,800 U.S Dollars) transactions as an example of something deemed questionable. No comments were on whether assets like Monero or ZCash would be banned. While their sentiment towards cryptocurrencies seems overly negative, in a consultation paper, made for its role in the Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFGW), the organization did laud this innovation. Sarb purportedly “accepted the reality” of crypto being an important step forward in the financial-technology realm, but remains concerns about certain facets of this ecosystem. More specifically, the Reserve Bank revealed that it is wary about how cryptocurrencies pose a risk to investor protection. As such, Sarb made it clear that intends to keep an eye on cryptocurrencies — potentially the future of securities/commodities — but is not currently willing to curb trading and innovation fully, as China has controversially done in recent years. Regulators Looking To Curb Crypto This recent move comes just days after the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) also commented on this nascent asset class, issuing an advisory report to the E.U. on cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, last week. Per Forbes, the E.U. advisory committee recently issued an in-depth report on “crypto-assets.” In the 49-page primer, the ESMA outlined current issues with the underlying crypto market. Although the document was lengthy, a theme became quickly apparent. The ESMA explained that cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, could pose notable threats to investor protection and market integrity. Via the report, the ESMA explained that it currently sees an array of pertinent issues. More specifically, the financial entity called out market volatility, fraud, money laundering, market manipulation, and multi-million dollar cyber-attacks. ESMA’s analysts and researchers also explained that liquidity in a majority of cryptocurrency markets is shallow, meaning that investors often have “limited possibilities” to cash out of their positions if the worse comes to worst. The detailed report explained: “These issues are not unique to crypto assets trading platforms they may be exacerbated in the case of crypto-assets because of their high price volatility and often low liquidity.” The ESMA subsequently advised local governments to abstain from formally legalizing this asset class. Moreover, the body went on to warn traders of crypto to stave away from allocating capital, making it clear that digital assets aren’t sound financial instruments. And as such, the ESMA went on to call for a universal regulatory approach, which could accentuate crypto and related technologies’ benefits, while mitigating underlying flaws. So, with this, along with a recent Gemini advertisement campaign, it seems that 2019 may become the year of crypto regulation. Title Image Courtesy of Tim Johnson on Unsplash The post South Africa Cracks Down On Crypto, May Track Bitcoin (BTC) Transactions appeared first on Ethereum World News.
Ethereum World News

South Africa to Start Tracking All Cryptocurrency Transactions in 2019

Owning bitcoin in South Africa just got a little harder, or at least it will do by the end of quarter one this year. According to a consultation paper published yesterday by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), some hefty new regulation surrounding and exchanges and ATMs is about to be enforced. South African Regulators Are Cracking Down on Bitcoin The paper points to the several problems that cryptocurrencies present that spur the need to develop a proper regulatory response. Among these, it states that crypto assets may have a serious impact on the financial sector in the country. And that they present too many opportunities for “regulatory arbitrage.” Furthermore: Crypto assets do not fit neatly within the current regulatory framework This means, they argue, that they must draft new legislation, particularly at a time of growing interest from the public. The paper also points to other problems with cryptocurrency, including the rising number of scams and hacks. Currently, none of the consultation paper’s proposed approaches to regulating Bitcoin 00 have been enforced. The paper is still open to public comment until Feb 15. The Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG) The IFWG formed a group to create this consultation paper. The group, called the Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group, includes members from the SARB and the Treasury. Its aim is to forge a way forward for the regulation of cryptocurrency in South Africa. Traditional financial institutions and the country’s Reserve bank are laying the way forward for crypto’s future here. It’s hardly surprising then, that owning bitcoin in South Africa is about to get a whole lot harder. Within the paper, the group acknowledges the possible advantages of cryptocurrency within the South African market, such as: Customers purchasing crypto assets could seek to diversify their investment portfolio to an asset class that is not necessarily related to specific country risk. However, the paper weighs more heavily on the problems of leaving cryptocurrency unregulated. This is hardly surprising when you consider the members that comprise the group. Although the potential benefits of crypto assets that are related to lower transactional costs, greater speed and enhanced security of transactions are often touted, actual use cases thus far are yet to demonstrate that crypto assets payments are consistently faster, safer and cheaper than existing options. Moreover, they go on to reiterate the ease with which Bitcoin can assist in criminal activities such as money laundering. They would. These are bankers after all. Bitcoin-ing in South Africa Will Get Harder by End of Q1 The paper is currently in a draft version and nothing is set in stone yet, however: The regulatory authorities will specify the way forward through a policy instrument such as a guidance note or position paper aimed for the first quarter of 2019. The Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group believes that regulation should not be delayed any further and that a clear approach is necessary. Some of the main actions that will be taken are regarding the monitoring of cryptocurrency transactions. This will focus heavily on AML/KYC and ensure that cryptocurrency exchanges, custodial services, and Bitcoin ATMs comply with existing South African financial security legislation. They will also need to register with the IFWG and comply with AML/CFT (combating the financing of terrorism) conditions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act. Moreover, service providers will need to monitor user transactions, particularly large ones that may signal terrorist activity. Any service providers that fail to comply with these requirements will have sanctions imposed upon them. Congratulations, South Africa, you’re starting to catch up to China. What do you think of the proposed measures to regulate Bitcoin in South Africa? Share below! Images courtesy of Shutterstock The post South Africa to Start Tracking All Cryptocurrency Transactions in 2019 appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.
Bitcoinist

Reserve Bank of South Africa Releases Consultation Report on Regulation of Crypto

“Toughen up the regulation, we won’t ban cryptocurrencies” The cryptocurrency landscape is transforming rapidly across Africa. The central banks and financial regulatory bodies are evolving with the technology to create safe and functional laws that will not stifle innovation in the blockchain field. The Reserve Bank of South Africa is the latest regulator that has called for progressive regulations to be placed to promote secure development and adoption of cryptocurrencies. The consultation paper released by the Reserve Bank further called on the public to contribute and review the paper. The public has been offered a month, till February 15th to review the draft paper on future fintech regulation. The Reserve Bank Consultation Paper The paper was created by the Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG) in conjunction with the Treasury and Reserve Bank’s delegates. In the report offered by IFWG, regulation is a key factor to be considered as the field of cryptocurrency evolves and grows. The report further highlighted that the first quarter of 2019 will offer policy instruments on the future regulation of the industry. The report wrote, “Upon conclusion of the consultation phase, the regulatory authorities will specify the way forward through a policy instrument such as a guidance note or position paper aimed for the first quarter of 2019.” The Purpose Of The IFWG Consultation Paper The purpose and scope of the Consultation paper on the regulation of cryptocurrencies outlined three key points: To provide an overview of the perceived risks and benefits associated with cryptocurrencies. Introduce progressive regulations for the field. Present policy proposals to the industry participants and stakeholders. Furthermore, the paper stated the proposed purpose of the regulations is to keep in check non-governmental issued cryptocurrencies. In the case of government-issued cryptos, the Reserve Bank will create new regulations. This opened a conversation on whether the Reserve Bank is looking forward to issuing cryptocurrencies to its citizens. The cryptocurrency field has seen massive appreciation in Africa in the past year. However, the rise in popularity of the digital assets has caused scams to increase as well. The IFWG outlined in the paper that regulations on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financial terrorism (CFT) will greatly reduce the prevalence of these scams. However, the commission does not intend to completely ban cryptocurrencies but rather place regulations on AML/CFT to ensure illegal activities do not take root in the country.
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Bitcoin Twitter Scam Dupes Cricket Team in South Africa, Inviting Them to Win 20 BTC

Twitter has been the host of multiple Twitter scams over the course of the last year, and it is clear that hackers aren’t planning to take time off for the start of 2019. A report from Indian Express indicates that a recent hack on Twitter took the national cricket association in South Africa as its victims, promoting a fake Bitcoin lottery (BTC). Exposing the scam, Cricket South Africa (CSA) tweeted about the alleged participation. Based on the information provided in the hack, it appeared that the organization had decided to collaborate with UK crypto-wallet platform Luno, giving users the chance to win 20 BTC. That amount is valued around $70,000. The tweet on Cricket South Africa said, “@OfficialCSA is partnering with @lunomoney for the fist South African Bitcoin Lottery. Simply send 0,01 BTC to 13My18T92DCzGdrtiCgRuS32T6rFLjnG56 and your BTC Wallet Address will be entered into a BTC Lottery for 20BTC (That’s Over R1Mil). Lottery closes at 15 Jan @ 10PM.” Since the tweet was discovered, it has been deleted. However, it included a Bitcoin address, asking that the participants send in 0.01 BTC. It looks like the company was quick to notice the tweet, considering that it was only up for five hours. Once removed, CSA wrote a follow-up tweet, saying, “Apologies to all our Twitter followers who were affected by the hack overnight. We are back in control & ready to bring you what promises to be an even more eventful Day 4 of Test cricket. Thank you to our friends at the @ICC for your assistance this morning.” Separately, Luno released a statement to confirm that they were not directly a part of this alleged partnership, saying, “We distance ourselves from this tweet that is going around. We have not partnered with [CSA]. Even though both of these parties had confirmed that the tweet was a hacking situation, PPC Newlands Cricket still had a tweet on their page to indicate that the giveaway was still live. Considering that the current balance of the provided Bitcoin address is only 0.02 BTC at the moment ($70), it looks like only two users actually sent funds. Twitter has been working to tackle this issue that seems to keep recurring, but the bots have remained aggressive in their hacks. Based on this information, it is possible that the bots are being run on a substantial network that has the ability to learn and adapt to conditions, preventing them from being shut down.
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Ripple’s RippleNet XRP Showcases Real-World Effectiveness: Mercury FX

After partnering up with the firm behind the second largest coin XRP [XRP] Ripple as one of the +200 costumers, Mercury FX announced via their official twitter handle that they transacted their largest payment across RippleNet with a positive conclusion. 1/1 We've made our largest payments across RippleNet using #XRP – 86,633.00 pesos (£3,521.67) from the U.K. to Mexico in seconds. pic.twitter.com/WsHJuZTiOy — Mercury-fx Ltd (@mercury_fx_ltd) January 17, 2019 Using XRP, the firm transferred £3,521.67 or $4,552.41 while they cited that UK based Mustard Foods was able to save £79.17 and 31 hours on the transaction. Mustard Foods could be one of the best examples of the impact of using RippleNet could have as it opened doors to cheaper expenses, quicker orders and faster payments. As covered by John P. Njui on EWN a few days ago, The Ripple company has announced via its website that 13 new financial institutions have joined RippleNet thus propelling the number of total global customers to over 200. RippleNet currently operates in 40 countries across 6 continents. Out of the 13 aforementioned financial institutions, 5 are confirmed as using XRP to source instant liquidity for their cross border payments. The are JNFX, SendFriend, Transpaygo, FTCS and Euro Exim Bank. By the end of this year [2018], major banks will use xRapid as a liquidity tool. By the end of next year [2019], I would certainly hope that we will see…in the order of magnitude…of dozens. But we also need to continue to grow that ecosystem…grow the liquidity. – Brad Garlinghouse The success behind the team from Ripple could be standing by their marketing strategy and future plans of making the financial industry a better place to be. While not displacing traditional banking systems but helping them make payments cheaper and faster, it is finding its way to take spotlight in the crypto-verse. The post Ripple’s RippleNet XRP Showcases Real-World Effectiveness: Mercury FX appeared first on Ethereum World News.
Ethereum World News

BRD Wallet Expands Crypto User Access Across Europe With Coinify Partnership

Coinify, a European-based financial platform that provides a wallet, trading and payment processing solution, has announced that they are integrating BRD Wallet into their platform to deliver BRD wallet access to users across the European region.Specifically, the partnership provides access to virtual currencies, like bitcoin, to 34 countries across the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The SEPA region is a collection of member states in Europe who are part of a payment system that simplifies bank transfers denominated in EUR. The launch is also enabled largely in part by Coinify’s newly rebranded trading solution for wallet partners.Customers will now be able to use BRD Wallet to “purchase bitcoin at cost-efficient rates with SEPA bank transfers” within Coinify’s trading platform. With BRD integration, customers will also retain control over their private keys while using Coinify.Essentially, this provides a large number of users with an efficient and secure way to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and then allows them to immediately store it in a manner where they control what happens to their money. Typically, a user will entrust the custody of their private keys to a centralized exchange while they are waiting for trades to be executed and sometimes for much longer than that.Aaron Lasher, co-founder and chief strategy officer at BRD, highlighted the advantages of the integration for security-focused users of the Coinify platform.“We like exchanges and think security will get better in the future, but by using our integrated purchase and trading solutions, you get to keep your funds under your control 99 percent of the time, and only put them at a slightly higher risk for a short period when you make the exchange,” Lasher told Bitcoin Magazine.“Using a non-custodial wallet means that you and you alone control your funds. It’s similar to having physical cash in a (highly secure) safe at home. Only in this case, we provide our customers a digital safe (the BRD wallet) that they can keep in their pocket and carry along. Nobody else in the world has access to your funds but you, and nobody can stop you from sending or receiving funds.”Integrating a wallet that allows users to own their funds and seamlessly make trades on a platform like Coinify could help to push bitcoin adoption forward."The financial industry is ripe for disruption and we see bitcoin and the other virtual currencies as the future of payments,” said Rikke Stær, chief commercial officer at Coinify, told Bitcoin Magazine. “At Coinify, we have experienced first-hand the rising adoption of bitcoin and working with BRD as a user-friendly, decentralized wallet will only encourage the global reach of the currency."“Since launching as the first iOS bitcoin wallet in the App Store over 4 years ago, we’ve grown tremendously in North America,“ Adam Traidman, CEO and co-founder of BRD, said in a statement. “Europe will be strategic in the next phase of BRD’s global growth, and the partnership with Coinify will ensure our success in this crucial endeavour.”In August 2018, Canadian-based Coinberry exchange launched a similar BRD integration, allowing users to quickly and seamlessly buy, deposit and withdraw bitcoin on the Coinberry platform, while keeping control of their keys at all times. This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.
Bitcoin Magazine

Crypto Payments Service BitPay Reports It Saw Over $1 Billion in Transactions in 2018

Crypto Payments Service BitPay Reports It Saw Over $1 Billion in Transactions in 2018 Major cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay has reported $1 billion in transactions this past year, according to a press release Jan. 16. According to the report, the company also set a new record for itself in terms of transaction fee revenue. […] Cet article Crypto Payments Service BitPay Reports It Saw Over $1 Billion in Transactions in 2018 est apparu en premier sur Bitcoin Central.
Bitcoin Central
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