After conducting a review of digital currency’s potential benefits as a central bank-issued currency, the Bank of Korea (BOK) has determined that it will not issue its own. Citing concerns about societal costs and the potential moral hazard, a recent BOK report suggested that the central bank should continue to have total control over the issuance of Korean currency.
SEC Director of the Division of Corporation Finance William Hinman used a speech on Thursday to offer a fairly detailed assessment of the agency’s standards for determining when a cryptocurrency or ICO can be defined as a security. In his remarks to attendees at the Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto Conference, Hinman said that the agency’s assessment depends on the way a coin or token is being sold and what investors expect to get from their purchase.
Banking giant Wells Fargo has confirmed that its customers will not be allowed to use their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency, according to a report from CBS News. A bank spokesperson suggested that the bank made the decision after reviewing the “risks associated with this volatile investment.”
Hong Kong officials have confirmed that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is not currently considering any plans to issue a central bank digital currency, or CBDC. Acting secretary for financial services and the treasure Joseph Chan told legislators that the Monetary Authority’s research of the issue concluded that the technology would not be a clear improvement over Hong Kong’s existing payment infrastructure:
South African financial services group Sygnia has revealed plans to introduce its own domestic digital currency exchange later this year, according to a report from Bloomberg. The plans were included within the company’s recent interim financial report, which suggested that the exchange is one of Sygnia’s top priorities for 2018 and 2019.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Coinbase met with regulatory officials early in 2018 to discuss possible acquisition of a banking license. The meeting was reportedly conducted with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to an unnamed “person familiar with the matter.”
Switzerland’s Federal Council has formally requested that the Finance Ministry conduct a study of the risks and potential benefits of a government-backed cryptocurrency, according to a Thursday report from Reuters. The request was made at the urging of the vice president of Switzerland’s Social Democratic Party, Cedric Wermuth, and now moves to the lower house of parliament for approval.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has reportedly ordered the nation’s financial institutions to stop all transactions related to cryptocurrencies, according to local media reports. NewsDay reported this weekend that RBZ Director and Registrar of Banking Institutions Norman Mataruka issued the directive on May 11 and has given Zimbabwe’s banks 60 days to comply.
The San Francisco Federal Reserve published a paper on Monday that suggests a link between the introduction of Bitcoin futures trading and the cryptocurrency’s price decline from record highs set in December 2017. The paper’s authors assert that Bitcoin’s rapid price increase and subsequent decline are “consistent with trading behavior that typically accompanies the introduction of futures markets for an asset.”
Goldman Sachs announced this week that the bank plans to launch its own Bitcoin trading operations, using the firm’s funds to trade Bitcoin futures contracts for its clients. In addition, Goldman has plans to develop a more flexible product, the non-deliverable forward. On Thursday, Blockchain Capital partner Spencer Bogart said that he expects other banks will follow the Goldman Sachs lead.
Business Insider Japan has reported that Japanese financial firm SBI Group plans to launch its own digital currency exchange sometime this summer. SBI Group CEO Kitao Yoshitaka reportedly expressed confidence that his company’s venture into the cryptocurrency space would bring it quick success:
The UK’s self-regulating cryptocurrency industry trade group, CryptoUK has answered the Treasury Select Committee’s ongoing digital currency inquiry with a written response that urges MPs to enact new regulatory guidelines for the industry. The proposed rules would be designed to ensure that the UK’s digital currency industry is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
In a Monday appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson suggested that the regulatory body will eventually be considering options that could help initial coin offerings comply with existing securities laws. According to Jackson, the SEC continues to be concerned about risk to investors, and is currently focusing its efforts on protecting them from potential fraud:
An article on the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s blog site earlier this week argued that Bitcoin and fiat currencies share some important characteristics. The post, published on Wednesday, identified three key areas of similarity: the lack of intrinsic value, the defined and limited supply, and the lack of a middleman.
In a move that some media outlets are describing as an effort to ban cryptocurrencies, Iran’s Central Bank has directed banks and other financial institutions to avoid all crypto-related transactions. According to Bloomberg, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the ban applies to every finance-related institution in the country:
Current San Francisco Federal Reserve president John Williams suggested in a speech on Friday that cryptocurrency is unlikely to replace the current fiat currency system, according to reporting from CNBC. Williams, who has led the San Francisco Fed since 2011, was recently chosen to take over as president of the New York Federal Reserve when William Dudley retires on June 17.
In an interview with Reuters, Monex Group CEO Oki Matsumoto reportedly suggested that Japan should exercise stricter regulatory authority over the nation’s digital currency exchanges. He compared the exchange services to those provided by banking institutions and said that a move toward tighter regulation is just “common sense.”
In a blog post this week, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde called for policymakers around the world to “keep an open mind” about cryptocurrencies and focus on developing what she called an “even-handed regulatory framework.” According to Lagarde, that approach will enable regulators to minimize potential risks in a way that doesn’t stifle creativity and innovation.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, has issued a new directive that seeks to broaden the country’s efforts to better regulate cryptocurrencies, according to reports from Xinhua and local media outlets. The move was reportedly in response to increasing government concerns about trader vulnerability and the potential damage that digital currencies could do to the nation’s financial markets.
Digital currency exchanges with operations in Australia have been given a deadline of May 14 2018 to register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). The government’s financial intelligence agency has been given the responsibility of regulating those exchanges using new cryptocurrency laws that will ensure that exchanges are subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.