In an August 12 announcement, Saudi Arabia’s Standing Committee for Awareness on Dealing in Unauthorized Securities Activities in the Foreign Exchange Market declared digital currency trading to be illegal “inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” The committee statement cited issues with security, regulatory concerns, and market risks as reasons for its warning:
In an op-ed published this week, noted economist and American Institute for Economic Research Editorial Director Jeffrey A. Tucker suggested that governments and central banks should maintain a hands-off approach to cryptocurrency and other innovations.
For many years, our view of the governance model for information was based on the centralized approach. Even now, in the 21st century when most information is already stored in databases, we have gotten used to the idea that data that belongs to us… is not managed by us. Instead, it is managed by certain trusted parties such as governments (national registers), banks (financial databases), private companies (social networks) and so on. However, the rise of Bitcoin has sparked a new debate about the need for those controlling third-parties. Now that we’ve managed to build a transparent, auditable, independent financial system that requires no intervening third-parties, blockchain advocates naturally wonder why we can’t apply these properties – or at least some of them – to other systems. After all, the blockchain has opened the door to a fundamentally new way of managing data – one that belongs to the community. This is the primary question that we’ve decided to cover in this article.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly looking into cryptocurrency deals at brokerages, according to a report from Bloomberg. The regulatory agency is seeking answers to questions about brokerage business practices involving trading fees, financing, and ICOs.
North Carolina’s election officials have determined that candidates for state offices will not be permitted to accept cryptocurrency donations for their campaigns, according to News & Observer. The decision was made in response to an inquiry from Republican Emmanuel Wilder who had the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide formal guidance on the issue.
Cryptocurrency exchange Blocktrade.com is now open for beta testing, becoming the first fully-regulated digital currency exchange, according to Forbes. The new exchange will offer trading for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple, with plans to list “Crypto Traded Indices™. Security Tokens, and Tokenised Assets” later in the year.
Nasdaq reportedly hosted a meeting in Chicago several days ago to facilitate efforts to bring new legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry. The closed-door gathering brought together representatives from Wall Street and cryptocurrency exchanges, including the Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini exchange. Nasdaq has acknowledged that the meeting took place but provided no other official statement on the gathering.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Thursday rejection of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF drew a sharp dissent from Commissioner Hester Peirce, who suggested that her fellow regulators erred in their decision. Peirce commented immediately on Twitter and made her case against the SEC denial in a post published on the SEC website.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has denied the latest attempt to list shares for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, voting 3-1 to reject a proposed rule change submitted by BATS BZX Exchange. Thursday’s decision marks the second time the SEC has rejected the proposed Winklevoss ETF.
Recent media reports suggest that the government of Iran is forging ahead with efforts to develop a national cryptocurrency. That news comes as the threat of renewed U.S. sanctions looms larger in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the non-treaty Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the previous U.S. administration. Iran’s increasing interest in a state cryptocurrency is at least partially intended to evade those sanctions.
Finance Ministers representing the member states of the Group of Twenty (G20) gathered in Argentina this last weekend to discuss issues ranging from financial inclusion and the global tax system to the impact of technology on the world’s financial system. The group later issued a communique that downplayed cryptocurrency’s risk to global financial stability and set an October deadline for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to explain how its standards apply to cryptocurrency assets.
The City of London Police has created a new cryptocurrency training program for its officers, according to a report at City A.M. The Economic Crime Academy will provide the course to help officers better manage investigations involving cryptocurrencies by providing them with the basic education and skills needed to better understand the technology.
Quebec’s energy regulators have decided to allow the Hydro-Quebec utility firm to impose higher electricity costs on customers mining cryptocurrency, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette. The Régie de l’énergie decision will permit Hydro-Quebec to charge those miners’ electricity consumption at 15 cents per kilowatt hour – twice the rate paid by the company’s other customers.
On Wednesday, a United States House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade hearing provided representatives with an opportunity to learn more about the various issues surrounding the nascent cryptocurrency industry. Committee members heard testimony on issues ranging from digital currency’s potential as a viable currency to its possible impact on the nation’s monetary policy and financial system.
A new report from the Financial Stability Board (FSB) suggests that the financial watchdog doesn’t believe that cryptocurrencies “pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time.” That assessment conforms to a similar claim made by FSB head Mark Carney earlier in 2018 when he told G20 central bankers and finance ministers that Bitcoin was not a “systemic risk” to that financial system.
Spotlite USA confirmed on Monday that its plans for a Kodak-branded Bitcoin miner leasing operation have been shelved, according to reporting from the BBC. The plan, which involved renting Spotlite’s Kodak KashMiners mining rigs to would-be crypto miners, has reportedly been blocked by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is preparing to launch a blockchain-based trade finance platform, according to a report from Financial Times. The project is a joint effort between the HKMA and Chinese firm Ping An Group’s financial technology subsidiary OneConnect, which designed the platform. 21 banks are expected to be involved, including HSBC.
U.S. Representatives serving on the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade will be conducting a hearing entitled “The Future of Money: Digital Currency” on Wednesday, July 18, according to a memorandum from the Financial Services Committee. The Committee memo announcing the hearing and scheduled witnesses suggested that testimony is expected to encompass a broad range of crypto-related topics:
Police in the Chinese province of Guangdong announced on Thursday that they have disrupted a major World Cup gambling operation that hosted $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency wagers, according to reports from the South China Morning Post. The official statement suggested that authorities had arrested six suspects, seized cryptocurrency assets worth at least 10 million yuan, and frozen their bank accounts.
The Korea Times has reported that government officials in South Korea are weighing options that would ease restrictions on cryptocurrency assets. The news comes as South Korea’s government is working to develop a legal and regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry as part of the G20 commitment to establishing “unified regulations” by July.