The US regulation of digital currencies is out of date, impractical, and damaging to a potentially lucrative economy. The lack of unity in state regulations has created an unworkable system that makes the operations of Fintech (Financial Technology) companies complicated and confusing. A unified and clear regulatory policy would clear these muddy waters and benefit the digital currency industry, and have a positive impact on the American economy as a whole.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has reportedly joined the R3 blockchain group, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal. The regulator is collaborating with the group’s banks and blockchain tech firms to test the technology’s capabilities for recording and settling transactions. The formal entry into the consortium is simply the latest evolution in the relationship between the regulator and R3 – a partnership that has seen the parties work together on similar tests in recent months.
It’s been a stressful few days for China’s Bitcoin enthusiasts, as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) seems to have expanded its investigation of the country’s Bitcoin exchanges. After last month’s meetings with the three largest domestic exchanges saw those companies implement new fees and other policy changes, the PBOC this week turned its attention to nine of the smaller Bitcoin platforms. In a meeting with those exchanges on Wednesday, the central bank reportedly focused on the need for greater anti-money-laundering efforts.
In a recently-published transcript of a speech given at the FinTech Forum in Paris last month, French central bank Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau signaled that the Banque de France is seeking greater collaboration with FinTech startups focused on blockchain technology. In the speech, de Galhau revealed that the central bank intends to open a new lab to strengthen its partnership with those blockchain firms and facilitate its broader goal of encouraging more FinTech innovation across France.
Venezuela’s Bitcoin community has felt the pressure in recent weeks, as the nation’s law enforcement agencies have intensified their crackdown on Bitcoin mining. Raids, detentions, and public announcements have contributed to a general sense of unease for Venezuelans, as nearly a dozen people have been detained as authorities confiscated Bitcoin mining equipment from a number of different sites. Now, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the country, Surbitcoin, has announced that it has temporarily suspended its operations.
When the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Central Bank issued new regulatory guidelines for digital payments last month, many observers took note of an apparent ban on “virtual currency” usage by companies that were subject to the new regulations. In a new statement, the central bank has now provided new clarity on the subject by announcing that the new rules do not apply to Bitcoin or other digital currencies.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a new notice this week, warning digital currency users and traders about the risks faced by anyone engaged in cryptocurrency transactions. The central bank reminded Indians that it has not yet authorized any of those digital currency activities, nor provided licenses to any cryptocurrency companies.
With government resources around the world straining as many economies remain mired in slow growth, government officials are increasingly turning their attention to new technological solutions. A new study from IBM has attempted to gauge those officials’ interest in blockchain technology, and their current plans to leverage it at an organizational level.
A communications analyst formerly employed by the Fed was sentenced on Friday for secretly installing Bitcoin mining software on a central bank server. That former employee, Nicholas Berthaume, pled guilty to the charges last October, after initially trying to mask his activities by deleting the program. The court sentenced him to a twelve-month period of probation and fined him $5,000.
Most experts within the blockchain industry estimate that China’s banks are as much as twelve months behind their Western counterparts when it comes to adopting distributed ledger technology. If the Chinese government has its way, that gap may soon be closed. According to a new report from Reuters, the nation’s regulators have been pushing banks to modernize outdated systems and processes by adopting blockchain technology.
Large corporations, particularly multinationals, as well as some of the wealthiest members of society, often go to great lengths to get out of paying income tax. Their unlimited resources give them access to the best lawyers and accountants that can scour the tax code looking for any loophole that will allow them to pay less. Deep pockets and connections allow them to come up with complicated and often convoluted flow of capital plans, that sees their money move in and out of shell accounts in various tax havens around the world.
Tax avoidance and evasion by this elite segment of society has a trickle-down negative psychological effect on everyone. When an individual or small business owner who is barely getting by, sees this privileged group getting away with it, they are more likely to engage in similar illegal or immoral activities.
San Francisco blockchain tech provider BitFury Group and Hong Kong FinTech firm Credit China Fintech Holdings Limited this week announced the launch of a joint effort in the Chinese market. The deal represents BitFury Group’s first major foray into China, and will see Credit China Fintech invest $30 million to establish the venture and purchase shares of BitFury.
Reports from Venezuela indicate that the nation’s federal police took four Bitcoin miners into custody today after arresting them in Charallave. The news, reported by Bitcoin news site Criptonoticias, revealed that the suspects were all charged with cyber fraud and electricity theft. Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC) director Douglas Rico posted a statement to Instagram that accused the foursome of negatively impacting “the consumption and the stability” of Charallave’s electricity services.
In statements posted on their websites Sunday night, Chinese Bitcoin exchanges BTCC, OKCoin, and Huobi announced that they will impose new trading fees to “curb speculation and prevent price volatility.” The announcement of the new 0.2 percent charge on each transaction comes in the wake of recent meetings between the exchanges and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The new policy is scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday.
The three day Global Conference on Money Laundering and Digital Currencies, organized jointly by Interpol, Europol, and the Basel Institute on Governance, wrapped up January 18, 2017 in Qatar. In attendance was over four hundred financial crimes investigators and experts, looking to gain an understanding of what is needed to detect and fight crimes involving cryptocurrencies.
In Though voters in the state of Washington used a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in 2012, a bill recently introduced in the state Senate would add new restrictions on businesses that sell and distribute those products. That bill, SB 5264, would alter the rules on those sales by prohibiting those businesses from using digital currencies for their transactions. The bill would require that:
In remarks to Reuters, BTCC Chief Executive Bobby Lee has claimed that recent Chinese media reports were wrong when they suggested that the country’s central bank had determined that the exchange was “engaged in illegal operations and financing activities.” That report from the China News Service relied on reporting from the state-run Beijing Youth Daily, which also claimed that two of the other large Chinese exchanges – OKCoin and Huobi – were also found to be engaged in similar illegal activities.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had some positive words to say about the blockchain on Wednesday during an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. After delivering a speech in which she opined on everything from the strength of the economy to the Federal Reserve’s plans for interest rates, Yellen sat down to discuss those and other important issues with Ed Wasserman, the event moderator and Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
In a press release on Tuesday, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced that it has granted Coinbase, Inc. the virtual currency and money transmitter license needed to continue its operations in New York. The company had announced that it applied for the state’s “BitLicense” in August, 2015, and has been operating in New York under the terms of a safe harbor provision while it waited for formal approval.
The Times of India is reporting that the research arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has concluded its first trade application test of blockchain technology. The end-to-end test was conducted in collaboration with banks and other financial institutions, clearing houses, and regulators, and was facilitated by the RBI’s Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT). The project received technical support from cryptocurrency firm MonetaGo, which provided the technology used in the test.