According to a report from Reuters, Mexican officials have drafted a legislative proposal that would regulate the country’s FinTech industry. President Enrique Pena Nieto has said that the proposed bill will be introduced in the Mexican Senate by September 20. The draft language recognizes the important contribution that the financial technology sector makes to the nation’s economy, and stresses the need for regulatory action:
A Columbus GA medical clinic announced this week that it will now accept Bitcoin as payment for services. In a press release announcing the decision, the clinic referred to the digital currency as a “completely independent money system” and praised its lack of restrictions, outside controls, and hidden fees. The announcement claims that the center will be among the first in its area to accept the world’s most well-known digital currency.
Nebraska attorneys who have been wondering whether they can ethically accept Bitcoin from their clients received an answer this week from the state’s Lawyers Advisory Committee. In an opinion dated September 11, the eight-person ethics panel ruled that the state’s lawyers can accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without raising ethical concerns, if they take certain precautions.
BTC China has announced that it will no longer provide a platform for digital currency trading, effective September 30, 2017, and has already moved to halt new account registrations. The news comes as statements from unnamed official sources indicate that Chinese regulators have started to deliver shutdown directives to the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges.
As the United States and the international community continue their efforts to isolate North Korea by tightening the existing sanctions regime, recent reports suggest that the country’s government may be pursuing alternative means for financing its nuclear goals. CNBC and CNN recently reported on intelligence indicating that the rogue nation is increasingly focused on mining and stealing Bitcoin.
As Bitcoin has risen in value throughout 2017, there’s been an increase in calls for regulation of the digital currency space. Various governments around the world have moved to change laws and regulations to provide some level of control over the industry. According to a group of economists at the Bank of Finland, however, those regulations might be unnecessary.
Citizens in the Swiss municipality of Chiasso will soon have the option to pay some of their taxes using Bitcoin. Beginning in January 2018, the government will initiate a trial that will permit area residents to use the digital currency for up to 250 Swiss francs of taxes. The decision comes as officials in Chiasso continue their efforts to attract more digital currency startups to the area.
Russia’s complex relationship with digital currency took another interesting turn this week, as news reports suggest that the government is preparing to provide electricity subsidies to its domestic Bitcoin miners. The Russian news outlet Izvestiya reportedly broke the news, as Institute for Internet Development (IRI) project activities director Arseny Shcheltsin reportedly confirmed that authorities are creating a test program to provide the country’s digital currency miners with discounted electricity.
A report from Caixin sent the Bitcoin community into a tailspin today, after the Chinese media outlet suggested that the nation’s regulatory authorities were preparing to shut down domestic digital currency exchanges. The report is based on information from unnamed sources, who claim that the authorities have already issued an order directing local regulators to begin the process of closing those exchanges.
For digital currency users in the United States who might want to use their cryptocurrency for real-world commercial transactions, the rules under the existing tax regime are both complex and inexplicable. Those rules can turn even the most minor transactions into reportable capital gains – which is why digital currency users currently need to carefully record their transactions to track any potential tax obligations that may arise. A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives could help to ease that burden.
In August, Coinbase revealed that the company’s latest funding effort yielded $100 million – which brought its total valuation to $1 billion and made it the first so-called “unicorn” in its industry. Moreover, recent data from the Coinbase website indicates that the exchange’s volume has increased to $20 billion. According to that data, the company has reached another milestone as well: Coinbase now serves 10 million digital currency customers.
A property development company in London has recently announced that it will begin accepting Bitcoin from its tenants. The Collective is now accepting rental deposits in Bitcoin, and has said that tenants will be able to use the digital currency to pay their monthly rental payments beginning later this year. According to a report in The Guardian, the company is now the first property developer in the United Kingdom to accept Bitcoin.
Australian firm Stargroup plans to modify the company’s network of ATMs to provide them with Bitcoin trading capability, as part of a new deal with blockchain company DigitalX. The initiative will begin with the conversion of 500 of Stargroup’s Australian machines, dramatically increasing the number of Bitcoin ATMs in the country. As part of the deal, Stargroup will reportedly share ATM transaction fees with DigitalX.
A report published by LendEDU this week reveals that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of digital currency-related complaints to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. In 2016, there were a total of seven such complaints filed with the Bureau. This year, experts expect that number to rise to roughly 425.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has issued yet another trading suspension for a Bitcoin exchange – this time targeting American Security Resources Corp (ARSC). That suspension was issued last week, on the same day the SEC also suspended trading for First Bitcoin Capital Corp due to the agency’s questions about that company’s lack of transparency. The agency’s suspension notice detailed its concerns about ASRC:
News outlet VietnamPlus reported this week that the nation’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has directed the Ministry of Justice to oversee an effort to create a regulatory framework for digital currencies. Justice has been tasked with leading a collaborative effort that will also include the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Public Security. The nation’s central bank will also participate in the project.
The Securities and Exchange Commission moved to suspend trading of First Bitcoin Capital shares on Thursday, citing concerns about the Canadian company’s transparency and structure. In its statement announcing the suspension, the SEC described it as temporary, and set a preliminary termination date of September 7, 2017. In detailing the regulator’s action, the statement notes:
An announcement from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has revealed that at least 50 Bitcoin exchanges have filed registration applications with the agency. Those exchanges are currently being examined by the FSA to ensure that they have taken the right steps to ensure that their customers are properly protected, as required by recent amendments to the nation’s fund settlement law.
The Internal Revenue Services has reportedly purchased software to assist it in its efforts to uncover the identities of Bitcoin-using tax cheats. The news was reported today by The Daily Beast, which posted a document that appears to be an IRS purchase agreement with an outside contracting firm called Chainalysis. The company provides analysis software to various government agencies and companies in the financial services sector.
A report from the Daily Caller suggests that several Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate may be in the process of drafting a bill that would offer protection from government interference to cryptocurrencies that meet certain specific criteria. The Caller’s report cites unnamed sources from Capitol Hill, who reportedly told the news outlet that one Senator and two Representatives are looking at issues like anti-money-laundering compliance as they work through the process of creating the legislation.