Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman believes there is a lack of transparency and oversight surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). Friedman is absolutely correct. There are too many ICOs rounding up too much money to tokenize unneeded products. Some ICOs promise large returns to take advantage of investors. With the SEC and other regulatory agencies looking into crypto closer than ever, expect many regulatory actions regarding ICOs in the near future.
Source : CCN.com
Political Action Committees (PACs) are formed to influence political decisions. With tons of capital to work with, the Coinbase PAC will be going to bat on behalf of the entire crypto community. As we have seen, politicians are really influenced by who is donating to their campaigns. There has been a lot more money being thrown at politicians to counter crypto than to help progress the industry. That could be changing.
Source : fec.gov
Last week Facebook lifted it’s temporary ban on crypto advertisements after creating an application process. It looks like Google is following Facebook’s lead. With so much money behind the company, Coinbase advertisements will presumably be popping up everywhere in the near future. It’s important to keep in mind that a lot of their marketing budget was not being spent during these temporary bans. Personally, I have already seen one on Facebook and one on Instagram in the last couple days.
Vietnam has had a ban on crypto payments since late 2017, but that was not enough. Now the Vietnamese central bank prohibits crypto mining hardware from being imported into the country. The Viet Nam News reports the ban will “improve the management of currency flows in Vietnam, since the use of crypto mining equipment in the country makes it more complicated.”
Source : Cointelegaph
Speaking at Congress today, Rep. Brad Sherman said, “We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies.” Mr. Sherman has made waves with his crypto opinions previously. In March of this year, Sherman claimed, “Cryptocurrencies are a crock. They are popular with guys who sit around in their pajamas and tell their wives they’re going to be millionaires.” Of course crypto-enthusiasts dug up some info on the California representative. Sherman’s biggest campaign donator is Allied Wallet, who was fined $13 million a couple years back, and offers an online merchant payments service. Of course cryptocurrencies are a direct competitor to Allied Wallet. When politicians make large claims without evidence like Sherman did, it is usually easy to find out why (money).
Source : The Crypto Dog on Twitter
The report conducted by Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics claims the United Kingdom could be a blockchain leader by 2022 given the £500 million investment last year. Using today’s exchange rate, £500 million is equivalent to $657 million. Another reason for optimism is the UK Parliament’s “commitment to support the accelerated development of the digital economy via a variety of government initiatives.”
Source : The Guardian
Japan’s SBI Holdings has finally launched it’s crypto trading platform VCTRADE to the public after beta testing with selected users during this last month. The launching was the first ever bank-backed crypto exchange. SBI Holdings now offers Japanese citizens aged 20 to 70 the ability to purchase crypto with the Japanese Yen. Last year, SBI Holdings received approval for an operating license by the Financial Services Agency.
Coinbase is the largest mobile crypto exchange, and it will likely only get bigger with this news. A Coinbase spokesperson announced the U.S. Security Exchanges Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) approved “acquisition deals for currently regulated firms.” Coinbase is now able to purchase Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc. and Digital Wealth LLC. This approval also gives Coinbase federal licenses to eventually list tokens deemed as securities on it’s exchange. Coinbase recently announced five crypto assets ( Cardano, ZCash, Stellar, 0x, and Basic Attention Coin) were being evaluated for a future listing on it’s exchange. The SEC and other U.S. regulators have made the crypto industry more of a priority in the last couple months.
Source : Bloomberg
The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) has a market cap of $5 trillion and is the 4th largest exchange in the world. China still has a ban on crypto but has increasingly been open to blockchain development. The SSE announced it’s use of distributed ledger technology for their security transactions.
Source : Cointelegaph
The three bills are titled “The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act,” “The Virtual Financial Assets Act,” and “The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act.” The Maltanese government is aiming to be a leading blockchain hub, and it is already succeeding. Major crypto exchanges, Binance and OKEx, have moved their headquarters to Malta.
Source : Silvio Schembri on Twitter
The Federal Reserve Economics Database (FRED) is a very popular database used for economics studies since it’s data is verified by the United States government. FRED announced it is now tracking Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin prices the database is receiving from Coinbase. There is a chart of the Coinbase Index which uses the combination of the four crypto assets listed. This is another example of the United States beginning to take crypto assets seriously.
Source : FRED
Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis said, “Florida can no longer remain on the sidelines when it comes to cryptocurrency. I have directed my office to create a position that will oversee how current securities and insurance laws apply to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies as well as shape the future of these regulations in our state. ICO and cryptocurrency companies based in Florida will also be required to register with the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) under the supervision of the cryptocurrency chief. The new position will coordinate the efforts of OFR and Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) regarding the development of policy, legislation and regulation.” Patronis continued, “We cannot allow the cryptocurrency industry to expand in Florida unfettered and unchecked with the potential for so many, including our large population of seniors, to be exploited. By taking an active, comprehensive and balanced approach, our state will provide an appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies. It is absolutely essential that Florida create safeguards to protect our consumers from fraud.”
Source : My Florida CFO
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) created a Digital Currency Research Lab 12 months ago and the lab has been applying for patents with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) ever since. One patent is for a digital wallet with the ability to track transaction data with a centralized issuance registration agency. This is just one of 41 total patent applications submitted by the Digital Currency Research Lab, according to CoinDesk.
Source : Scribd
Speaking at the Upper House Budget Committee meeting, the Prime Minister of Finance Taro Aso said crypto transactions should be taxed differently than the current “miscellaneous income” tax designation, according to CoinTelegraph. Aso believes crypto should be taxed as a “separate self-assessment taxation” which would change the tax percentage. Japan currently has a 55% maximum tax rate on crypto transactions but a change to a “separate self-assessment taxation” would bring it to a flat 20% rate. Aso has doubts the Japanese public would be open to the change. The Prime Minister of Finance also is uncertain of cryptocurrencies in general pointing to controversies the financial sector doesn’t have.
Source : CoinTelegraph
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) sent a message to financial institutions saying it prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies. The CBI claims that “Virtual currencies have the option to be used for money laundering, supporting terrorism, and exchange of sums between wrongdoers.” While the quote isn’t false, the same argument can be made with any other currency including the Iranian rial. Last February, Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister revealed that Iran’s central bank is developing a it’s own cryptocurrency which shows how ridiculous the most recent statement is. This is just a government scared of the capabilities and potential of a decentralized power.
Source : Islamic Republic News Agency
By a 574-13 vote, the European Parliament voted in favor of “5AMLD” which is the European Union’s anti-money laundering directive. Europe has been tightening anonymity in response to the spike in terrorist activities in the region over the last decade. According to Cointelegraph, the new reform “requires crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers to apply customer due diligence controls, to be registered, and … to reveal holders of virtual currency.” European Union member states have 18 months to the reform into national law.
Source : Cointelegraph
The New York Attorney General sent thirteen letters to some of the top crypto exchanges asking to fill out a lengthy questionnaire to give customers more transparency in their investments. At least five of the thirteen quickly welcomed the request, but Kraken has made it public they will not. In response to the AG’s request, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell said, “Kraken’s BitLicense-prompted exit from New York in 2015 pays another dividend today.” Kraken previously was headquartered in New York but moved after state regulations were adopted in 2015. The decision to not fill out the questionnaire leaves Kraken customers wondering why they won’t make their policies public.
Source : Yahoo Finance
Earlier this morning the New York Attorney General sent letters to thirteen major crypto exchanges asking to fill out a 34 part questionnaire. The request is asking for more transparency for users, and at least five of the thirteen – Gemini, Bittrex, Poloniex, bitFlyer and Bitfinex – have commented that they are already cooperating according to CoinDesk. The request will likely take the exchanges some time to properly fill out. The Attorney General will make the results public.
Source : CoinDesk
Specifically, the feature that allows users to pay taxes directly with their banking accounts feature is down. New York State Tax Department has a mobile app that is also down.
Source : Zero Hedge
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking for more transparency from cryptocurrency exchanges. According to the Wall Street Journal, his office has reached out to thirteen exchanges “specializing in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” in attempt for investors to have more information to protect their investments. The letter is asking the exchanges to fill out a 34 part questionaire, but it is unclear what actions the New York AG will do with it.
Source : New York Attorney General
Credit Karma said that only 100 people out of the last 250,000 has reported capital gains from crypto to the IRS. The complexity of filing crypto capital gains is likely driving U.S. citizens from adding them. In 2015, the IRS reported that only 802 people in total had reported crypto in their tax filings. If the IRS wants more people to add crypto capital gains, they should think about making the process less complex.
Source : CNBC
The announcement came at their “Blockchain Strategy 2021.” By using blockchain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) expects to save $3 billion annually on transactions and 77 million hours of work among other positives. The Prime Minister of UAE said, “The adoption of this technology will reflect on the quality of life in the UAE and will enhance happiness levels for citizens.” The United Arab Emirates had a GDP of $387 billion in 2016.
Source : Open Gov Asia
A court in Moscow decided to block access to Telegram “in the near future” which could mean “days, maybe hours, maybe minutes.” Telegram CEO Pavel Durov did not send lawyers to the court room but did issue a fighting statement saying “human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.” Russian media outlets have suggested an easy option for users to “circumvent the block.” This would be good news to the 10 million Telegram users in Russia.
Viet Nam News reports that Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc wants to “limit the risks and adverse impacts on society, as well as promptly detect, prevent and handle fraud.” Vietnamese authorities have warned about the cryptocurrency risks including money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud. In an attempt to solve these issues, the Prime Minister asked the State Bank of Vietnam to “direct credit institutions and intermediary payment service organizations not to conduct illegal transactions related to digital currencies.” The Prime Minister has put the Justice Ministry in charge to come up with further solutions. As of now, Vietnam prohibits the use of virtual currencies as a means of payment.
Source : News.Bitcoin.Com
Nikkei reports that Gateway and Mr. Exchange are going to close after customers get their assets out. Current Japanese regulations require crypto exchanges to register with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) after hackers stole over $500 million in assets from the Toky-based Coincheck in January (a reminder not to keep your assets in crypto exchange address). The regulation requires exchanges to have data security and other systems on par with other agencies that the FSA monitors. It is unclear why Gateway and Mr. Exchange are ending business but more news will be coming.
Source : Nikkei