Authorities in South Korea raided the UPbit cryptocurrency exchange’s offices on Thursday and Friday, according to multiple media reports. Prosecutors reportedly believe that the exchange had deceived customers by selling digital currencies that it did not hold. News of the raid appears to have contributed to a broad decline in cryptocurrency prices on Friday.
Cryptocurrency exchanges seeking to register with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) will face increased scrutiny, according to a Sunday report from Nikkei Asian Review. The FSA’s tighter review standards are part of a government effort to stave off future heists like the January hack of the Coincheck exchange through early identification of potential risks.
South Korea’s new Financial Supervisory Service Governor, Yoon Suk-heun has confirmed speculation that the country’s strict cryptocurrency regulations may be scaled back, according to a report in The Korea Times. Yoon signaled the potential change in remarks to reporters after his nomination to head the FSS was approved by South Korea’s President.
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:
Earlier this week, Malta’s cabinet approved crypto-related bills, according to a report from Finance Magnates. The three bills are designed to provide regulatory guidance for the industry, protect investors, and ensure greater market integrity. They now advance to the House of Parliament, which will debate the measures.
Officials in the Philippines have decided to approve 10 digital currency and blockchain companies to operate in one of the country’s special economic zones, according to reporting from Reuters. The move follows a February decision by regulators that helped to provide a legal way for those firms to take advantage of the tax benefits that economic zones offer.
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.