The UK has opened a new contract seeking proposals for a software tool that can track Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies that might be used for illicit purposes. According to a report from The Next Web, HM Revenue and Customs plans to prioritize bids from developers who offer tools that can also track the use of Dash, Zcash, and Monero.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has confirmed that it has been testing a simulated central bank digital currency to determine its usefulness for intrabank settlement of customer payments. While the central bank continues to question the need for a CBDC in Australia, it apparently plans to continue its experiments, Ledger Insight reports.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced charges against two individuals and two businesses accused of conducting a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). According to the SEC complaint, one of the defendants, convicted felon Boaz Manor, used a disguise and alias to conceal his identity.
U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 in the House of Representatives today, digital asset advocacy group Coin Center reports. The bill is a revised version of a 2017 proposal and would create a de minimis tax exemption for small cryptocurrency transactions.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency intends to implement a new rule that would place limits on leverage in digital asset margin trading, The Japan Times reports. The Times’ sources confirmed that the rule will be inserted in the language of a new Cabinet Office order related to changes in the country’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced Friday that it will be supervising the digital asset industry’s compliance with anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist-financing (CTF) requirements.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde recently indicated that she’s still open to the idea of an ECB-issued digital currency. During an interview with the French magazine Challenges, Lagarde suggested that the bank would continue to explore cryptocurrency technology’s potential benefits for maintaining citizens’ access to currency as demand for physical cash diminishes over time.
The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) priorities for 2020, confirming that regulators intend to continue to scrutinize digital assets and cryptocurrency-related services. In a January 7 announcement, the SEC noted that it will continue to review fintech innovations like digital currencies and electronic investment advice services:
The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority has announced a ban on all virtual asset services, International Investment reports. The ban will reportedly cover all digital asset trading, transfers, payments, and investments, except digital securities and other instruments regulated by the nation’s central bank or Financial Markets Authority.
The Ethereum developer who was arrested in November and accused of trying to help North Korea use cryptocurrency and blockchain to evade sanctions has been released on a $1 million bond, the Inner City Press reports. Reports indicate that the accused, Virgil Griffith, will be required to remain with his parents during his release. The bond was reportedly secured by two family members’ homes.
In response to new concerns about rising interest in cryptocurrencies, Chinese regulators have issued yet another warning to remind citizens not to engage in cryptocurrency-related activities. That warning, titled Risk Tips on Further Preventing ‘Virtual Currency’ Trading Activities, noted that any activities that violate China’s restrictions on cryptocurrency use are illegal and disrupt the country’s “economic and financial order.”
Swiss president Ueli Maurer told broadcaster SRF that Facebook’s Libra project has failed in its current form, CNBC reports. According to Maurer, the project will need to make serious changes if it hopes to gain the regulatory approval it needs to achieve its vision.
People’s Bank of China digital currency research institute head Mu Changchun recently said that the central bank’s new sovereign digital currency will be different than private cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, the South China Morning Post reports. Most notably, Mu asserted that the digital yuan will not be open to speculation:
Eight members of the U.S. Congress have asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide additional information about the agency’s cryptocurrency tax guidelines. In a December 20 letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the representatives asserted that the guidelines released by the agency in October “creates many new questions related to the topics it seeks to address.”
Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar has introduced a draft discussion bill designed to bring order to the regulation of digital asses in the United States. The Crypto-Currency Act of 2020 would provide clarity on issues like licensing, registrations, and which regulatory bodies are responsible for regulating different kinds of digital assets, Forbes reports.
Libra Association board member Patrick Ellis told Reuters on Thursday that the organization still plans to launch its Libra digital currency payment system next year, despite having no firm plan for the currency’s rollout. However, he suggested that the organization’s discussions with regulators will determine the scope of that rollout.
In remarks celebrating European Central Bank executive board member Benoît Coeuré, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard focused on the risks associated with digital currency and stablecoins. Brainard was part of a panel focused on future monetary policy challenges.
The UN-Related International Organization for Migration (IOM) is launching a blockchain-based tool to aid it in its efforts to protect migrant workers in Hong Kong from exploitation. The launch was announced today by IOM’s partner in the venture, blockchain technology firm Diginex.
On Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors brought charges against five men who engaged in a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme to defraud investors of $722 million, NBC News reports. The allegations were presented in a 27-page indictment in a Newark, New Jersey U.S. District Court.
The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division released its annual report on Thursday, revealing that it is continuing to prioritize cybercrime, employment tax concerns, and cryptocurrency tax-related issues, Accounting Today reports. The division reported that it had identified a total of $1.8 billion of tax fraud so far this year and has successfully prosecuted 91.2 percent of its financial crime cases.