Japan’s sixteen licensed digital currency exchanges have reportedly agreed to unite to create a new organization which will self-regulate the nation’s exchange marketplace. That entity will be called the Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Association, according to a report from media outlet Asahi Shimbun.
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:
The Supreme Court of Russia has ordered the City Court in St. Petersburg to take up a complaint involving a ban on cryptocurrency-related websites. The decision on Friday directs that court to review an appeal of the 2016 District Court decision that blocked Bitcoininfo.ru, according to a report from The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).
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.”
On Tuesday, the New York Attorney General’s office sent letters of inquiry to more than a dozen digital currency exchanges, requesting information about their ownership, user fees, money laundering, and other areas of concern. The move was welcomed by several large exchanges, including the Winklevoss-owned Gemini exchange. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, however, announced on Twitter that his company will not comply with the request.
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.
ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings are used by cryptocurrency startups as a way of getting around the heavily regulated capital-raising process demanded by banks and investors. ICOs offer a percentage of the cryptocurrency for sale to early investors in exchange for fiat – or crypto – currency, but most commonly for Bitcoin. Because it is unregulated, it’s very popular in today’s crypto industry. According to Coinschedule, more than US $2bn was raised in March 2018 alone, and nearly US $5bn in the first financial quarter. Basically, they function like Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) or crowdfunding.
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.
Last week, Poland’s Finance Ministry unveiled a new tax law interpretation for digital currency transactions – an interpretation that many have called draconian in its approach. Now, Polish cryptocurrency traders have responded by launching a petition on Change.org. That petition calls upon the government to reverse its decision so that the Polish people can take an active role in the digital currency and blockchain revolution.
A research group backed by the Japanese government has developed a set of proposed guidelines that could provide “regulatory definition and approval” for initial coin offerings, according to a report from CNBC. If adopted, the proposed rules would provide the controversial cryptocurrency funding option with legal status in the country, while offering increased protections for investors.
The Reserve Bank of India has announced that regulated financial entities like banks will be barred from providing services to customers who deal with digital currencies. The announcement came in a statement released on Thursday and comes on the heels of several warnings to the public about the potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
On Wednesday, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) ordered 12 domestic digital currency exchanges to make revisions to their user adhesion contracts. The regulatory body has reportedly investigated those exchanges and has identified more than a dozen contract terms that it considers unfair to customers, according to a report from Korea Joongang Daily.
A fatwa against the use of digital currencies by Muslim has reportedly led to two Islamic imams losing their jobs in Turkey, according to a report from Ahval News. The two men were apparently caught engaging in Bitcoin trading on the internet during an investigation by that country’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet.
The Chinese central bank is planning to take further action against digital currencies in the coming months, according to media reports. Reuters on Thursday also reported that People’s Bank of China deputy governor Fan Yifei has confirmed that the country will develop its own digital currency.
CBOE Global Markets president Chris Concannon recently sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), arguing in favor of regulatory approval for cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The letter attempted to address concerns raised by the agency earlier this year, when the SEC cited issues of liquidity, investor protections, and the potential for market manipulation as reasons to proceed cautiously with approval of those funds.
With Facebook and Google both deciding to ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising on their online platforms, it was probably only a matter of time before other powerful online companies followed suit. According to media reports, Twitter is planning to institute a similar ban in the next couple of weeks. The Twitter ban will reportedly include ads for cryptocurrency token sales, digital currency wallets, and initial coin offerings.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that the agency had obtained a federal court order halting the activities of three online cryptocurrency companies the agency has accused of deceptive business practices. The court order came in response to a sealed civil complaint filed by the FTC in February. That complaint identified four individuals whose cryptocurrency-related companies all did at least part of their business in South Florida.
With cryptocurrency markets coming under increased scrutiny from government regulators, some have openly called for industry players to take a more active role in regulating themselves. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have apparently decided to take up that challenge. The twins have proposed the creation of a self-regulatory organization (SRO) that they are calling the Virtual Commodity Association.
Despite Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s recent claims about the successful launch of his oil-based petro digital currency, most outside observers have expressed opinions ranging from skepticism to outright disapproval of the venture. In a recent piece on its website, the Brookings Institute joined that chorus of criticism, and suggested that Maduro’s attempt to exploit the new technology could do harm to legitimate cryptocurrencies.