Chinese Citizens Can Own Bitcoin Legally: OTC Trading is Also Legal

Chinese citizens are legally allowed to own bitcoin. This was revealed through a recent research report released by Council Member at the Bank of China’s Law Research Association— Sa Xiao Wei.
According to Sa Xiao, contrary to popular belief, owning bitcoin in China does not count as a legal offence, even with the ban in place.
Sa Xiao Wei Says OTC Trading is Legal
Furthermore, Xiao made it known that the “occasional exchange of bitcoins between individuals and individuals is legal.”
Sa Xiao also made it known that according to the country’s law, doing so is an act of “disposition of power” whereby an owners transfer an asset to a new owner along with rights associated with the asset.
Therefore, “how to dispose of it is the private right of the owner, and others have no right to interfere.
As such, crypto OTC trading is also not considered a crime.
Good But Not Good Enough
Although, positive news for the entire Chinese crypto community, there is no cause for celebration yet. This is mainly because there are several interconnected crypto laws in the country which can still get one in trouble.
Reportedly, China currently has 461 court judgments related to “Bitcoin”. This number is steadily increasing. As of the last five years, only 9 bitcoin-related judgement was in court.
According to local media CnLedger, Sa Xiao Wei and some other lawyers have reached an agreement that according to the Country’s Criminal Law, “non-p2p trading may fall under the Article 225, numeral 3 of the Criminal Law, “Other illegal business operations that seriously disrupt market order”.
According to the publication, Xiao’s views are centred around “the current legal framework which protects people’s rights of virtual properties (Bitcoin included).”
The Chinese Government is Heavily Invested in Blockchain Technology
The Chinese government has been investing in blockchain technology despite its ban on cryptos.
Recently, a Chinese city government blockchain fund was launched. The fund has $1.6 billion available to invest in innovative startups.
Reportedly, China accounts for more than70% of the total Bitcoin network’s hashrate.
Xi Jinping, the country’s president has also made it known that blockchain will be part of the “new industrial revolution.”
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Source: CoinGape

South Korean Government to Run Second Study Group on Blockchain Regulation

The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT has announced plans to run a follow-up study on blockchain regulations.
The study is a part of the South Korean government’s science and tech initiative aimed at figuring out how to improve blockchain regulation. This is part of the government’s plan to increase crypto adoption within its border.
First Study Group Was in June 2018
South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT
Reportedly, the South Korean Blockchain Regulation Improvement Study Group was launched in June 2018. Initially, the main focus of the study group is to help improve legal regulations pertaining to blockchain technology.
The areas of focus listed for the study group then were: the application of distributed computing systems, smart contracts, personal privacy, digital signatures, and electronic documents.
This year’s research group will focus on five institutional areas where blockchain tech can achieve widespread adoption: logistics and distribution, public services, healthcare, finance, and energy.
Five Strategic Industries Only
Reportedly, the second study group program will focus on five strategic industries only. The industries listed as part of the second study group are logistics and distribution, public service, healthcare, finance, and energy sector.
The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT has confirmed the reason why it is so invested in improving crypto regulation in the country. The ministry explained that:
“We plan to study ways to improve regulations in preparation for full-fledged pilot projects,”
It continued that:
“We plan to utilize research results derived from future study groups through industry hearings through public hearings, and through consultation with related departments, to lead to improvement of actual regulation.”
South Korean Crypto Investors Increase Holdings
Reportedly, South Koreans are increasing their crypto holdings. This was made known via the result of a survey conducted by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA).
A total of 2,500 South Korean residents who invested in cryptocurrencies like BCH, ETH, and BTC took part in the survey. Importantly, the result of the survey was from a poll conducted in December 2018. The poll revealed that 7.4% of the 2,500 individuals surveyed said they currently own digital currencies.
Moreover, residents of the country between the age of 25-64 years old who have at one point in time purchased cryptocurrencies over the last year have invested more than $6,000 on average.
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Source: CoinGape

India on Bitcoin: Will the Newly Elected Indian Government Pass Crypto-Friendly Laws?

The elections for the seat of power in the largest democracy of the world came to an end on 23rd May 2019. The current ruling political party won the elections again as the people of the nation chose Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister for the second time.
The election in India began on April 11th, 2019, since then India has been under ‘aachar sanhita’ or code of conduct, according to which the Government can pass no new law. Nevertheless, with the election results announced, the pending work of the lawmakers would also resume. Subsequently, cryptocurrency regulations can be expected soon as well.
Winning Party’s Manifesto Includes Blockchain Technology
The manifesto of the ruling party recognized ‘Blockchain Technology’ as a potential tool for development in agriculture and small businesses. According to their declaration,

“Machine Learning, Blockchain technology, Big Data analytics etc. for more predictive and pro table precision agriculture.” It also included, “They will expose MSMEs to Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, BlockChain technology, and Etc.”

Hence, as the political visionaries have recognized the potential of Blockchain, a complete ban on cryptocurrencies would not make sense entirely. The Department of Economic Affairs in India had noted in January 2019, that the cryptocurrency regulations are in its final stages. It said,
“The report of the Committee is in the finalisation stage, hence, prohibited under section 8(3) of RTI Act, 2005,”
Complete Crypto-Ban or Stringent Regulations?
Reportedly, an economic committee under the Indian Government has drafted a bill the “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019.” The discussion on the bill is being held between the various branched of the Government. The bill will be introduced in the parliament for approval if sanctioned by the departments.
Also Read: Crypto Vs RBI: Indian Crypto Matter Adjourns Till July; Why Delayed at Government’s Counsel?
Evan Luthra, an entrepreneur, and blockchain expert explained the situation of cryptocurrencies in India as,
“While we see a lot of progress happening in India and multiple state governments pressing forward with blockchain and blockchain based solutions, India has also been the leader when it comes to scam projects.”
There have been many dubious Ponzi schemes in India which were able to siphon millions of dollars from investors. Furthermore, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have also been used for money laundering. The non-regulatory nature of it also gives room for tax evasion.
Nevertheless, a complete ban of cryptocurrencies would also hamper the growth of the FinTech industry with major global players now working directly with Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. IBM is working with Stellar, while Microsoft with Bitcoin itself. Cryptocurrency is a way of incentivizing the blockchain. Hence, while it maintains an affirmative standard towards blockchain, the Government must allow for legitimate value-based transactions on it as well.
Also Read: Indian Academicians Rise In Support for Cryptocurrencies, Urges Govt. to Regulate but Not Ban Cryptocurrencies
Facebook is also looking to pilot its cryptocurrency project with Whatsapp in India. Reportedly, the project Libra is currently in the development and test phase.
Moreover, the sentiments towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrency from Indian investors are healthy as well. The ban imposed by the Indian Central Bank after 5th July 2018 was put to contest before the Federal Courts. However, the apex court has withheld all proceedings until the Government passes a law.
Do you think that the regulations would be lenient or India will completely ban cryptocurrencies? Please share your views with us.
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Source: CoinGape

Indian Law Makers Call for Immediate Ban on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

A committee under the Indian Government has drafted a bill the “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019” which seeks to ban cryptocurrency transactions within the country entirely. Reportedly, discussions and consultations on the draft bill are being held between the various portfolios of the Government.
Indian Lawmakers have taken an aggressive, hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies suggesting “an urgent need of a ban.”
In February, the Apex court in India had passed a deadline of four weeks for the Government to come with complete cryptocurrency regulations. Moreover, a committee under the Government with representatives from various ministries under Finance Secretary, Shubash Chandra Garg was drafting the bill since 2018.
The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) under the Indian Government have suggested an outright ban on the purchase, selling and issuance of cryptocurrencies.
The Indian Central Bank, RBI, had last year prohibited the banks from providing service to the firms dealing in cryptocurrencies. Moreover, while a case against the ban was resting with the Apex Court, it suggested first the Government must come up a law on cryptocurrencies.
The Indian lawmakers have suggested in the bill that there is an urgent need to completely ban cryptocurrencies in the country as it leads to ponzi scams and supports money laundering activities.
Also read: Crypto Vs RBI: Indian Crypto Matter Adjourns Till July; Why Delayed at Government’s Counsel?
A ministry spokesperson told the media that cryptocurrencies were being issued and sold as tremendous investment opportunities which more often than not involved frauds and Ponzi schemes to “defraud gullible investors.”
Furthermore, the draft bill also suggested that until a law is passed the transactions must be banned temporarily under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The new Government which will take charge of the largest democracy in the world post-May 2019 Indian Elections will finally vote on the proposed bill.
Will an outright ban in India affect the price of cryptocurrencies as a whole and put regulatory pressure on other countries as well? Please share your views with us. 
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Source: CoinGape

Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Huobi and Fisco Raided By Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA)

Japanese Financial Regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) have reportedly, conducted raids at two Cryptocurrency Exchange offices in Japan. Reportedly, the two exchanges “underwent major changes to management structures” which were brought to an investigation by the FSA.
Huobi Japan Inc., a Singapore based Exchange from China and Fisco cryptocurrency Inc., Minato-ku-based Exchange were the two firms put under surveillance.
According to a press release from Reuters,
“The FSA investigations were designed to ensure appropriate measures have been implemented for customer protection and legal compliance after the management changes, the sources said.”
Furthermore, the sources remained anonymous as they are not authorized to speak to the media. Huobi Japan Inc. was established under its parent company based out of Singapore after it acquired the Government registered, BitTrade Exchange.
Fisco is a financial services provider in Japan that deals in equity, foreign exchange, bonds, and commodities markets. It acquired Government registered Zaif Exchange to enter into cryptocurrencies in 2016.
The Japanese Regulators have so far brought a total of 123 companies under its surveillance that deals in cryptocurrencies; Japan is one of the first developed countries to regulate Cryptocurrency Exchanges.  The Exchanges are required to register with the Government and comply with the rules of customer protection and legal formalities laid down by the Government.
Also Read: Japan to Launch Blockchain Payment Experiment for Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Hence, the raids carried out by the FSA were to ensure that the regulatory compliances have been followed at the two Exchanges after management changes. Furthermore, Japanese banks are the forerunners of the institutions that plan to integrate Blockchain and cryptocurrency in the current financial system.
Do you think that the raids call for an ominous tiding or it was just a routine check? Please share relevant details with us.  
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Source: CoinGape

New York Regulators Officially Rejects Bittrex’s BitLicences Application – Here’s Why

A quick letter released by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) reveals that Bittrex’s application to secure BitLicese is rejected, if it would have approved, the exchange could process trading operation in New York.
BitLicense Rejected
A letter addressing to Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara, published by NYDFS on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, reads that NYDFS has apparently rejected BitLicense application which was submitted in July 2018. The application was declined due to a number of factors which was however essential for every trading platforms intends to operate within New York.
The exchange was, however, operating under the terms of a ‘safe harbor’ a law that permits an exchange to operate within jurisdiction while its application to obtain BitLicense remains in pending status.
Daniel Sangeap, deputy superintendent and deputy counsel at NYDFS says that;
“Throughout Bittrex’s application process, the Department worked steadily with Bittrex to address continued deficiencies and to assist Bittrex in developing appropriate controls and compliance programs commensurate with the evolving nature of the sector,”
But Why?
Reports revealed that the regulators continuously reached Bittrex via several deficiency letters. However, the reason for such rejection comes after regulator’s notice of deficiency towards ‘Bittrex’s anti-money laundering procedures, its coin listing process, exchange’s capital, and Foreign Assets Control compliance. Mentioning these details, regulators specifically adds that;
Exchange’s failure to demonstrate that it will conduct its business honestly, fairly, equitably, carefully, and efficiently.
Beside rejection, NY regulators also ordered Bittrex to close its business in New York within 60 days and thus unauthorized to operate within the jurisdiction. Additionally, regulators highlighted Bittrex’s poor performance in conducting customer’s due diligence, the absence of required tax identification numbers or customer names are a few more factors that led Bittrex’s BitLicense failure. Nevertheless, regulators also point at the ‘obscene terms and phrases’ that many Bittrex accounts were containing – such as ‘Elvis Presley, Give me my money, Donal Duck’.
Following the rejection status, Bittrex, unfortunately, has to wind up its operation in New York, given that it is already having 35000 New York-based users. Sangeap further adds that;
“This was due to the fact that partial files were provided to the examiners, and moreover, actual compliance in certain files could not be established. Sangeap continued, Some tokens were listed despite some applicants refusing to complete the necessary paperwork – “and in one case … there was no application on file at all.”
In a nutshell, Bittrex’s BitLicese application is rejected and is expected to close his New York-based operations within a period of two months (probably within June 10) – however, the exchange has only 14 days to confirm to regulators that it has ceased existing business in New York and put an end to any upcoming business plans for NY residents.
So readers, what’s your view on NYDFS’s move towards rejecting Bittrex’s BitLicense? do you think the exchange deserved it? Let us know in the comment below 
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Source: CoinGape

South Korea To Revise Existing Crypto Policies – Is it Removing ICO Ban?

Reports revealed that South Korea’s govt officials are looking to review crypto regulations that are already set and finalized within the nation – one such stubborn regulation is ICO ban.
On stage at Deconomy conference, held in Seoul, Korea on April 04 and 05, 2019, government officials reportedly talked about revising the existing regulations around digital currencies, ICOs and crypto market.
Top officials involved in a discussion include;
• Min Byung-Doo, chairman of the National Assembly
• Jung Byung-Kuk, chairman of the 4th Industry Special Committee of the National Assembly
• Song Hee-Kyung, co-president of the 4th Industry Forum of the National Assembly
• Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Cheju Island
South Korea – Highlights of the Discussion on Crypto & Blockchain
Speaking about the growth and crypto regulations, Min Byung-Doo, Chairman of the National Assembly expressed his view and said that ‘policies on cryptocurrency must be re-evaluated to assure they shouldn’t hinder the growth of an industry.
Citing the regulatory sandbox, Song Hee-Kyung, co-president of the 4th Industry Forum of the National Assembly says that governmental bureaucracy hampers the industry’s aim of expansion and growth. She says;
“The government has misunderstood the virtual currency and tried to meet the real currency standards, so there are various problems. The industry does not stand still while waiting for the regulatory sandbox authorization, so it is just like keeping it in the box.”
Beside less-restrictive regulations, one official Jung Byung-Kuk, Democratic Party Member talks about policies that can also protect citizens. He says;
“Public officials and bureaucrats have a responsibility and an obligation, and they have to be conservative and require institutional devices”
Yet another official, Won Hee-Ryong, Free Republican Party Member, aims at forming regulatory sandbox at Korea’s sub-jurisdictions by quickly pointing at Jeju Island. He says;
“If we are concerned about regulation, we can operate a regulatory agency with the government in a limited area called Jeju Island,” said Won Hee-Ryong. “We will make a case study and try to create a foundation for the government to look at cryptocurrency.”
While crypto friendly countries such as Switzerland, Singapore, and Australia are racing to lead the blockchain industry with potential policies, South Korea is on its hard stance, calling ICO as almost ‘a gamble’.
Nevertheless, following the above conversation, it’s time for South Korea to simplify the government’s hard stance and promote crypto and blockchain innovation within the nation. In addition, officials have no clear view on how they revise existing regulation – as such, they didn’t reveal anything about removing ICO ban either.
What do you think about South Korea to review the regulation and find where the bottleneck is occurring? Let us know your thought.
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Source: CoinGape

SEC Takes a Historic Step as it Clears its Stance on Token Offering

2018 was all buzz about US SEC and its considerations of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but nothing actually materialized nor there was any clarity on what the regulator looking at. But finally, the air has been cleared as SEC has released a Statement on “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets”
SEC explains how Howey test should apply to digital assets
Finally, the US regulator for securities and exchanges, the SEC, has issued its first ever letter that provides an insight to companies that are considering token offering for raising capital or thinking of an ICO.
The first of its kind “No-Action Letter,” was received by the company called TurnKey Jets(TKJ), which is a startup that offers an all-inclusive private jet service including the plane crew, and pilot. Interestingly, the company’s website has no mention of a crypto-token, which appears to play a role in the actual reservation of the services. The no-action letter includes six key points as specifically relates to TurnKey Jets giving the world the points which is considered to reach this decision. To quote from the letter

TKJ will not use any funds from Token sales to develop the TKJ Platform, Network, or App, and each of these will be fully developed and operational at the time any Tokens are sold;
The Tokens will be immediately usable for their intended functionality (purchasing air charter services) at the time they are sold;
TKJ will restrict transfers of Tokens to TKJ Wallets only, and not to wallets external to the Platform;
TKJ will sell Tokens at a price of one USD per Token throughout the life of the Program, and each Token will represent a TKJ obligation to supply air charter services at a value of one USD per Token;
If TKJ offers to repurchase Tokens, it will only do so at a discount to the face value of the Tokens (one USD per Token) that the holder seeks to resell to TKJ unless a court within the United States orders TKJ to liquidate the Tokens; and
The Token is marketed in a manner that emphasizes the functionality of the Token, and not the potential for the increase in the market value of the Token.

Along with the no-action letter, SEC has also released a document called “Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets,” where it lays out a detailed explanation of how the existing Howey Test used to determine what is security is being applied to digital assets issued on a blockchain. The vast majority of the document details how the SEC views what is considered a reasonable expectation that profits will be derived from the efforts of others, a crucial factor of the test.
Also Read: Over 40 Central Banks Are Considering Blockchain Currencies: Davos Report
The most interesting section begins on page nine, with 12 characteristics that if present, mean the token offering is less likely to pass the Howey test. The first two are crucial.
“The distributed ledger network and digital asset are fully developed and operational,” and  “holders of the digital asset are immediately able to use it for its intended functionality on the network, particularly where there are built-in incentives to encourage such use.”
While there are still some gaps to be filled, the efforts of the SEC were well appreciated by the community. According to Jake Chervinsky, the lawyer who has been keeping an eye on legal and regulatory movement around cryptocurrencies tweeted saying
“The SEC published its DLT Framework today, giving us an in-depth look into how they think the Howey test should apply to digital assets. It isn’t perfect, but it is a *huge* upgrade from the DAO Report. I’ll throw some shade at the SEC later today, but for now, I give them 👍👍.”
The community has given its thumbs up to SEC which has finally broken its silence. There is a sense of optimism already that SEC may now move a bit quicker with decision-related to cryptocurrencies.
What is your view on SEC’s Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets? Do let us know your views on the same.
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Source: CoinGape

Crypto Vs RBI: Indian Crypto Matter Adjourns Till July; Why Delayed at Government’s Counsel?

When many Indians were excited about today’s hearing (March 29) and hoping to receive positive crypto revolution, the Supreme Court’s decision shattered their hopes within minutes. Indian crypto matter was set to receive court’s hearing on March 29, after it postponed from March 25 and the court in no time adjourned the case to next week of July.
Hopes Shattered
The news was first leaked by Indian crypto media ‘CryptoKanoon’ stating that “Supreme Court has adjourned the #CryptoVsRBI matter on the request of Government’s Counsel”. It is to remind that the supreme court provided a month time to Indian Govt to frame regulations on cryptocurrency, specifically, it was expected Govt to announce its decision by March 25. With this, the court had also mentioned that if in case Govt didn’t finalize anything, Supreme court itself will take action on Indian crypto matters. Routinely, Govt failed to respond anything and the Supreme Court declared March 29 as the date to announce its own decision.

Following the Supreme Court’s announcement, Indian crypto community was bringing the midnight oil and apparently keeping all their hopes on Court’s decision. Nonetheless, Govt shattered the hopes and adjourned the crypto matter to the 2nd week of July. Per the reports, it was adjourned on the request of Government’s Counsel and consequently, next hearing will be on a miscellaneous day (i.e Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday).
Is India Missing Crypto Boat?
At one point, Countries like Australia, Switzerland are jumping on the bandwagon of the crypto and blockchain technology, one the other hand, Indian crypto influencers, and community at large forcing Govt to join the party (even if it is late). Neither the Supreme Court nor Govt seems to join the party – more likely missing the boat.
Government is Pessimistic but Community is Optimistic – #IndiaWantsCrypto
Cryptocurrency exchanges, volunteers and other crypto enthusiasts in India are continuously fighting against reluctance on crypto aspects by government authorities. As such, campaign #IndiaWantsCrypto continued with a full buzz that demands Govt to look at the crypto initiative by other countries and consequently formulate favorable regulations within India. As such, it is day 148 for the campaign and Nischal Shetty, the founder of WazirX, the Indian Crypto Exchange is on his mission, continuously tagging Prime minister and finance minister in his tweet.
Meantime, volunteers and crypto enthusiasts across India began nationwide roadshow on March 29. Accordingly, an open town hall campaign is organized across 4 Major cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore) of India in the month of March alone. With this open meetups, crypto enthusiasts and experts intend to draw a joint report of their voices that will be presented to the Government of India with a purpose to consider in upcoming crypto regulations. Blockchain Indian community have successfully completed roadshow for three countries and yet to organize in Bangalore on March 30. Concerning the similar context, Akshay Aggarwal, Co-founder and country head of Blockchained India (who began this initiative) states that;
I am excited for this already, looks like it’s going to be quite interesting with such varied perspectives at Bangalore open townhall tomorrow.
As for now, the Supreme court adjourned the case to July 2nd week and there’s no definite rules/policies regarding cryptocurrency in India. To note, this is the peak time of Election in India which may likely be a reason for today’s hearing that says – at the request of Government counsel.
Do you think Indian crypto community will see positive aspects of crypto in Country on July 2nd week? Let us know.
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Source: CoinGape

Switzerland Parliament Favors Crypto Regulations with 99 Majority of Votes

In a wake of blockchain and crypto-focused laws by Japan, Swiss parliament approved the motion presented to launch regulations on crypto assets. Following the motion approval in the National Council or lower House of Switzerland’s federal legislature, it will now be reviewed by the parliament’s upper house ( Council of States).
Votes in Favors of Crypto Regulations
As per the Swiss news media outlet, National Council received the majority of votes that favors crypto regulations within the country. A motion to adopt a regulation for digital currency had presented in the lower house of Switzerland parliament by Giovanni Merlini. The latest press reports on March 21 revealed that the motion was approved with 99 to 83 votes while 10 declines to vote. As a result of major votes favoring the laws on cryptocurrency, the National Council approved a motion.

The National Council approved a motion by Giovanni Merlini by 99 votes to 83 with 10 abstentions. It calls on the Federal Council to adapt the provisions on judicial and administrative procedural instruments so that they also apply to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

To note, a motion was presented by Giovanni Merlini who is a liberal public representative in the Federal Assembly. The motion instructs and influences federal assembly to look after the crypto industry in Switzerland. Referring to motion, he argued that such regulations will help the country reduce the crime and existing gap in the market which is indirectly affecting an investor’s interest. While Merlini talks in favors, many others argued in all opposite view thus with 83 votes, the motion approval wasn’t easy. Few people also raised a question on the crypto trading platform – whether these exchanges be regulated as financial intermediaries or will be regulated under FINMA the Swiss Financial Market Superiority Authority.

Cryptocurrencies can be issued by anyone with a decentralized, cryptographic-based peer-to-peer network, argued Merlini. A large part of the crypto currencies was also completely anonymous, which favored extortion and money laundering. In addition, it should be clarified how risks can be contained and whether the persons responsible for the cryptocurrency trading platforms should be treated as equivalent to the financial intermediaries and placed under the supervision of the Financial Market Authority Finma.

As a result of the discussion, it was decided that the crypto exchanges will be recognized as financial institutions and will then be overseen under the purview of FINMA. Merlini earlier claimed that the use of cryptocurrency can help the country reduce criminals for various acts such as money laundering.
As for now the motion is approved in the lower house of the Swiss parliament and will now be considered by the upper house.  Stay tuned with Coingape to know the proceeding matter of the motion.
Note – the quotes mentioned above are translated via Google translator 
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Source: CoinGape

Russian Federation Passes a Law on Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts

The Lower House of the Russian Federation has voted to enact a law on ‘digital economy’ which will come to effect from October 2019. President Putin had asked the Federation to draft a bill related to digital assets so that they can be regulated in Russia. The Federation recognized the widespread use of Blockchain and cryptocurrency in Russia, and have hence, included it in the Russian Law.
The law is passed to regulate the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets in Russia while providing conditions for introduction and transaction of the same. The Russian senate has also envisioned the ‘tax regime’ is a relation to such digital assets.
However, the bill is introduced as a series of norms for the citizens rather than a direction to the executives; regarding the responsibilities of the citizens while using such ‘digital assets.’
Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the Russian State Duma, said the digital rights law “forms the basis for the development of the digital economy. This is a new area for our rights, thus it is important for us to consolidate the basic concepts.”
Cryptocurrencies are Digital Rights, Not Money
According to the Senate, the law on digital rights will apply to ‘digital money’ as well. The bill specifies that: the creation of digital rights, the scope of their use and turnover will be determined by federal laws containing regulations public law and developed with the participation of the Bank of Russia, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development and other departments.
According to the new law, ‘digital rights’ rules will apply to ‘digital money (or cryptocurrencies).’
The law also established that ‘digital money’ or more commonly cryptocurrencies are not legal means of payments. Nevertheless, individuals and entities can accept it as a means of payment in controlled quantities.
Moreover, it also hinted at the requirement of KYC and AML compliances and called for technical recording mechanism to retain transparency with the Government.
Smart Contracts Too Get A Partial Approval
The law also defined the concept of ‘smart contracts’ being an automated process and confirmed that the same rules of digital rights apply to smart contracts as well. Hence, identity verification and record transaction are essential for its use in Russia.
The Russian Federation confirmed that post its implementation, the unregulated ‘tokens market’ will cease to exist. The Federation is concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorism and money laundering. Hence, the inclusion of ‘digital rights’ law into the Russian civil code will provide for a legal framework for establishing a tax regime on it as well.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies being regulation in Russia will set an example for other smaller neighboring countries and create a positive impact on the cryptocurrency markets.
Which countries do you think will regulate Bitcoin next? Will it be a positive regulation? 
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Source: CoinGape

SEC Announces a Public Forum to Discuss Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

The Securities Exchange Commission of the US will host a ‘public forum’ to discuss digital assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and the underlying Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
SEC Press Release
The announcement was made through a press release on 15th March 2019. The public forum will be administered by the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).
The FinHub public forum will be hosted at the SEC Washington DC’s Headquarters on May 31, 2019; the event will be streamed live on the SEC’s official website.
Topics of Discussion
The forum will host major FinTech leaders and people for academia. The goal of the forum is to foster greater communication and understanding around issues involving DLT and digital assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Press Release included:
Panelists will explore such topics as initial coin offerings, digital asset platforms, DLT innovations, and how these technologies impact investors and the markets.
SEC has already cleared its stance considerably and put a hold to illegal and unregulated Initial Coin Offerings. In a recent letter addressed to the legislative body, the SEC chairman outlined the updates on the regulatory improvements applied to cryptocurrencies and their approach in the future.
The Bitcoin ETF proposal also rests with the SEC. Hence, their take on DLT and digital assets especially Bitcoin is paramount to the success of DLT and cryptocurrencies. An Exchange Traded Fund licensed by the SEC would open doors for a plethora of derivates contracts and open the floodgates for financial institutions.
Since the US is the largest economy of the world, SEC’s approval or disapproval sets an example for other countries as well, especially the weaker economies.
What other outcomes do you expect from the forum? Please share your views with us. 
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Source: CoinGape

Thai SEC Approved First ICO Portal but Remains Unnamed

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly said yes to country’s first initial coin offering (ICO) portal. The portal would oversee the issuance blockchain based tokens.
SEC’s Approval for Unnamed ICO Portal
However, it is delayed but SEC Thailand has finally approved the dedicated ICO portal which was announced in late last year. It’s worth to note that this dedicated ICO portal is yet to be named.
The ICO portal with Thai SEC’s approval is on forwarding step – nevertheless, the approval from other central agencies such as Commerce Ministry is still pending. As for now, the status of ICO portal is almost ready but one step away – as the other agencies are yet to approve it. However, Archari Suppiroj, director of the fintech department at the SEC confirm that other bodies are also reviewing to offer green signal. Nevertheless, the time-frame of ICO project from this portal is not specifically determined, but the director hints as near future. Suppiroj Said;
“The first ICO deal will be available for [a] public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree…
Per the announcement, the portal will be held responsible to review ICOs, prove smart contract source codes, conduct due diligence, and also screen know-your-customer process (KYC). Concerning the trends of ICO and the concept it carries, she said;
ICO market has started to graduate from project-based and intangible ideas to ICOs backed by physical assets such as real estate.
Also Read: Thai SEC Revealed Eligible Cryptocurrencies for ICO Investment, Banned 3 Major Coins
Guidelines on STO is on Way
While Thailand SEC’s approval is only concerning the ICO, the concept of tokenization will not be served under this – since the law for securities is different. In particular, companies with STO will have to register under the Securities and Exchange Act in Thailand.
However, more likely, the regulators will soon issue separate guidelines for Securities token offering (STO) as well. As confirmed by Archari Suppiroj;
In the future, the SEC will issue a criterion that allows companies to apply tokenization to securities and other assets. This will help bridge the digital asset royal decree and securities law.”
The post Thai SEC Approved First ICO Portal but Remains Unnamed appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum Classic Lose Support From the Thai SEC: Expert Opinion

While the crypto markets are slowly maturing and becoming recognized across the globe, there are still vast differences in the way that each country handles them. Some are taking a more supportive stance and some are unfortunately not. Amongst all, the Thai regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has removed BCH, LTC, and ETC from the list of accepted cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Stellar Lumens have been reaffirmed
While the report has come to a shocker for the three coins that have lost support- BCH, LTC, and ETC- the report has reaffirmed support for Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Stellar Lumens. More specifically, the SEC has made it clear to specify that this support is referring to issuing tokens on top of those respective blockchains (ICOs) and using these cryptos as a base pair for trading at exchanges. Meaning, that it is now illegal to issue an ICO on the Litecoin blockchain and exchanges are banned from allowing pairs like ETC/XXX.
Although the ban has come in it is less likely to have a real-time impact as of the three cryptos that have seen support removed, none of them are currently being used for ICOs nor are they being used by exchanges as a base currency. Overall, Thailand has been a fairly small market for cryptos so in any case, the impact of this announcement of the coin prices would be really negligible.
But what’s interesting here is that even after being a small market the, Thai regulator has actually doe their homework and getting into specific cryptos almost like an investor might.
Only time will tell if this strategy will pay off but what is clear is that they may be creating more work for themselves as they may need to update the status of individual coins based on market forces. Should any single crypto asset gain or lose ground in the market, they could be forced to update their policy. Also, they’ve only weighed in on 7 cryptos, leaving the rest with a big question mark.
Will other countries all go the Thai way of individual coin regulation? Do let us know your views on the same.
The post Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum Classic Lose Support From the Thai SEC: Expert Opinion appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Victory for Ripple – The Class Action LawSuit Case Will Remain in Federal Court

Flashback – The class-action lawsuit case against Ripple has been presented before the court in May 2018 that claimed ‘XRP is not a token but a security’. To remind, it was filed by law firm Taylor-Copeland( plaintiffs) and defended being payment startup, Ripple, its subsidiary XRP II and individual CEO Brad Garlinghouse on the matter that Ripple’s sale of native XRP token violates the US securities laws.
However, the case is been before the court since that time and the recent post of a US lawyer Jake Chervinsky states that ‘Ripple scores a minor but meaning victory for Ripple’. This is because, on Thursday, i.e Feb 28, 2019, the class action lawsuit against Ripple at the U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton from Northern District of California heard that the case would remain in the federal court itself – which is a minor victory for Ripple, as per the lawyer Jake Chervinsky. Nevertheless, the case paper is disclosed via the recent post of Jake, posted on March 01, 2019 on Twitter;

Ripple securities class action update: The Court has denied the plaintiffs' motions to remand. This means the case stays in federal court, a minor but meaningful victory for Ripple.
The plaintiffs will file an Amended Consolidated Complaint by March 30.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 1, 2019

Since the period of case filing, (indeed since November), the court had undergone various changes – however, the latest hearing resulted that the case against Ripple will remain in the federal court itself. If in case, shifted back to lower courts – corporate defendants may not likely comfortable. Consequently, as the report reveals judges in lower courts are locally selected thus more sympathetic to plaintiffs than defendants (Ripple, its subsidiary and CEO Brad).
The document added the court’s previous note;
“[b]ecause interstate class actions typically involve more people, more money, and more interstate commerce ramifications than any other type of lawsuit, the Committee firmly believes that such cases properly belong in federal court.”
As Chervisky noted ‘Ripple fought hard’ to keep the filing in federal court level. Moreover, per the document, its worth to note that both the parties have 14 days to meet and finalize the proceeding as to whether the litigation should proceed – and in addition before 30 days of the order, the filing party or plaintiffs is expected to file ‘an amended consolidated complaint’ while defendant also got 30 days to files a ‘motion to dismiss’ – or in case if Ripple doesn’t intend to do so, it is expected that Ripple should notify the court.

So readers, what’s your view on the next move of the parties? Do you think they’ll meet, determine and end the case here? Let us know what do you think.
The post Victory for Ripple – The Class Action LawSuit Case Will Remain in Federal Court appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape