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Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the Industry

December 18, 2018 |

The government of Transnistria has recognized the importance of cryptocurrency mining for the territory’s economy and budget. The unrecognized republic in Eastern Moldova now plans to expand the industry by attracting more miners with a crypto-friendly business climate and favorable regulations.   

Also read: CEO of Romanian Exchange Coinflux Arrested on US Warrant

Tiraspol Plans for 100 MW of Mining Capacity

Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the IndustryEarlier this year, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) adopted legislation that legalized crypto mining and provided incentives for foreign investors to set up mining farms within its borders. Under its provisions, a free economic zone was established for these companies and authorities promised to provide the necessary infrastructure, including unrestricted access to the Transnistrian electrical grid.

The new law “On the development of information blockchain-technologies in the PMR” also allowed tariff-free imports of mining equipment and exempted mining incomes from taxation. As a result, facilities with a total consumption of between 5 and 7 MW of electricity are now operating in the country.

But the government in Tiraspol doesn’t want to stop there. According to its prime minister, Transnistria plans to increase that number to 100 MW and has already managed to secure the needed investments. In an interview recently broadcasted by two local TV channels, Aleksandr Martynov stated:

We adopted a fairly liberal law that stimulates mining activities in Transnistria. We also isolated them from our tax system.

The head of the executive power further emphasized that Pridnestrovian authorities do not exercise any control over the revenues from the production of cryptocurrencies and don’t claim any portion of the income generated by entities that operate mining facilities. He added that the main goal set by the government is to sell more electricity to the bitcoin farms, and Transnistria can offer a lot of it at a low price.

Miners Utilize Excess Generating Capacity

Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the IndustryThe largest producer of electricity in the region is the Russian-owned Moldavskaya GRES, a thermal power station built on the shores of Lake Kuchurgan on the Ukrainian border. It has an installed capacity of 2,520 MW. The station burns mainly Russian natural gas which the self-proclaimed republic does not even pay.

The fuel is billed to Moldova which claims sovereignty over the separatist territory in a frozen conflict with the government in Tiraspol that dates back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The $ 6 billion of money owed by the Kuchurgan power station are considered part of Moldova’s debt to the Russian supplier, Gazprom.

Cryptocurrency miners help to utilize the excess capacity of the power plant. And more mining farms means higher revenues for the station, which translates into increased budget receipts for Transnistria, Prime Minister Martynov explained. He added that the projected income, which he described as significant, has already been included in PMR’s draft budget for the next year.

What do you think of Transnistria’s policies towards the crypto mining industry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate Laws

December 16, 2018 |

Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate Laws

In the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in Russia, lawyers have taken matters into their own hands. A new advisory body of legal experts will look into cases where the current legislation does not reflect the specifics of the growing digital economy and propose solutions.

Also read: CEO of Romanian Exchange Coinflux Arrested on US Warrant

Legal Commission to Solve Problems Stemming From the Lack of Proper Rules

Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate LawsDuring a round table discussion on these issues, the Russian Lawyers Association and an educational organization called Blockchain Lawyers have agreed to establish a specialized commission that will address the legal challenges in the crypto industry. It will also work with companies in other related sectors such as blockchain development, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and the internet of things.

The commission’s main task will be to provide answers to outstanding questions and solve problems arising from the lack of proper crypto regulations, the Russian outlet Bitcrypto News reported. The participants in the round table expressed confidence that the new body will be able to give legal definitions to many new economic and technological phenomena in the digital space.

The members of the commission will help projects and organizations in the industry to overcome specific challenges. Some of them are related to accounting and taxation, for example. The Russian government currently treats cryptocurrencies as “other property.” In the case of ICO tokens, however, the digital coins can also represent property rights. The problem is that the Russian tax code applies different rates to these two categories.

Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate Laws

According to Mikhail Uspenskiy, partner at the law firm Taxology, keeping accounting records competently will be extremely difficult until Russian lawmakers finally adopt new laws to clearly define the legal nature of cryptocurrencies and tokens. However, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, has postponed the adoption of the legislation that was filed this past spring.

Russian Authorities Favor Conservative Approach to Crypto Regulation

Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate LawsAfter introducing a number of changes to the original texts, Russian deputies eventually dropped several key terms such as “cryptocurrency” and “mining” from the main bill, the law “On Digital Financial Assets.” Representatives of the crypto industry protested against its latest version and even proposed their own, alternative bill that grants cryptocurrencies a “special status.”

In a recent statement, Russia’s deputy prime minister Maxim Akimov defended the conservative regulatory approach. Commenting on the recent market slump that decreased the capitalization of most decentralized cryptocurrencies, he also said that authorities in Moscow do not plan to introduce any more significant amendments to the draft legal framework.

During the round table, the legal experts discussed a number of other related topics such as the need to regulate law enforcement in the crypto industry and provide protection for the rights of cryptocurrency holders. The new commission is expected to deal with these issues as well. The body will operate within the Moscow regional branch of the Russian Lawyers Association.

What do you think of the idea to create a legal commission to support the growing Russian crypto industry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Diar.


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

The post Lawyers to Help the Russian Crypto Industry Deal With Inadequate Laws appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bail bond industry moves to block sweeping California law, submitting signatures for a 2020 ballot referendum

November 21, 2018 |

A coalition of bail bond industry groups took a major step Tuesday toward blocking California’s historic overhaul of the bail system, submitting more than enough signatures required for a statewide referendum on the law in 2020.

If the signatures are verified by elections officials, the law signed…


L.A. Times – Business

Ian Siegel employs artificial intelligence to disrupt the job recruitment industry

November 11, 2018 |

Ian Siegel, 45, is chief executive of Santa Monica-based ZipRecruiter, the company he co-founded in 2010 to disrupt the recruitment and hiring industry. Since then, more than 1.5 million businesses and more than 430 million job seekers have used the online employment marketplace, according to the…


L.A. Times – Business

Bay Area voters decide tech industry should pay its dues

November 8, 2018 |

The technology industry has turned the Bay Area into an economic powerhouse that many of the world’s most valuable companies call home. But the influx of well-paid tech workers has also clogged the region’s infrastructure and sent housing prices soaring, exacerbating a homelessness crisis on the…


L.A. Times – Business

President Trump boasts he’s turned around American industry. With the election at hand, here are the facts

November 4, 2018 |

President Trump prefers sweeping superlatives when he talks about his record on the economy.

The Republican tax law has “the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history” (they’re not). The new trade pact with Mexico and Canada is “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made by far” (the changes…


L.A. Times – Business

Professional Course Prepares Russian Lawyers for the Cryptocurrency Industry

November 3, 2018 |

Professional Course Prepares Russian Lawyers for the Cryptocurrency Industry

Russian companies have organized an enhancement course to prepare legal experts for the challenges of working in the cryptocurrency space. The oldest university of economics in the country, two law firms providing services to digital businesses, and both houses of parliament are behind the project to help lawyers understand the specifics of the industry.  

Also read: Arbitrators to Resolve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency Industry

Lawyers to Study Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and Smart Contracts

The one-month educational program titled “Legal basis and practice of working with cryptocurrency and blockchain projects” is hosted by the Plekhanov University of Economics, the oldest and one of the largest business schools in the Russian Federation. It’s focused on matters related to the legislative regulation of the nascent industry as well as law enforcement practices in Russia and other jurisdictions.

According to Alexander Zhuravlev, managing partner at the Efficient Business Resources law firm and co-founder of the program, the successful completion of the course will allow jurists to work with blockchain products. Quoted by Politika Segodnya, he noted that the sixth edition of the course, starting Nov. 23, will cover cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs), digital asset exchanges, smart contracts, mining, and address the implementation of distributed ledger technologies in the private and public sector. Anti-money laundering (AML) practices and know your customer (KYC) procedures will be part of the curriculum as well.

Professional Course Prepares Russian Lawyers for the Cryptocurrency Industry

IT Technologia, a company providing legal advice to IT businesses, and the Russian parliament are also among the organizers of the program. They have invited a number of lecturers from different fields, including legal experts, academics and representatives of the business community like Gerbert Shopnik, CEO of the Russian branch of mining company Bitfury and Alexander Mikhailov, cofounder and director of Lavka Lavka, an organic food farmers’ cooperative and restaurant chain that has its own token.

As part of the “Blockchain Lawyers” course, participants will visit the State Duma and the Federation Council, the upper and lower house of Russia’s legislature, and introduce lawmakers to their own ideas about the regulation of the digital economy, including the cryptocurrency industry. The students will also have the opportunity to meet representatives of the Russian internet giant Mail.ru Group. The lawyers will join a community of experts working to improve the legal framework for the fintech sector which is still under development.

Russian Cryptocurrency Industry Remains Unregulated

Professional Course Prepares Russian Lawyers for the Cryptocurrency IndustryThe cryptocurrency space in Russia is still unregulated after the adoption of a package of three bills, approved on first reading in May, was postponed for the parliamentary session this fall.

Public discussions on the drafts are currently underway, with representatives of the crypto community criticizing the state-sponsored legal framework for not covering important aspects of the industry. Russian lawmakers removed key terms like cryptocurrency, mining and smart contracts from the texts of the main bill, the law “On Digital Financial Assets.”

The Russian Association of Cryptoindustry and Blockchain (RACIB) and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) have put forward their own regulatory proposals. An alternative draft law prepared by the RSPP grants cryptocurrencies “special status.” The lawyers taking the enhancement course have been encouraged to share their professional opinions on the matter during the upcoming meetings with legislators in the State Duma and the Federation Council.

What do you think of the plan to educate legal experts on the specifics of the cryptocurrency industry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

The post Professional Course Prepares Russian Lawyers for the Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency Industry

November 1, 2018 |

The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong has announced new plans to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. The regulator issued two circulars on Thursday outlining new rules for crypto exchanges as well as crypto asset portfolio managers, intermediaries, and fund distributors.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

New Regulatory Approach

Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency IndustryThe Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued two circulars on Thursday concerning cryptocurrency regulations. The first outlines “a new approach which aims to bring virtual asset portfolio managers and distributors of virtual asset funds under its regulatory net,” the commission wrote. It also “sets out a conceptual framework for the potential regulation of virtual asset trading platforms.” The second document addresses intermediaries that distribute crypto funds.

Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency IndustryThe SFC defines a virtual asset as “a digital representation of value, which is also known as ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘crypto-asset’ or ‘digital token’.”

Citing “significant risks virtual assets pose to investors,” the commission announced that it will “adopt new measures within its regulatory remit,” elaborating:

The SFC will impose licensing conditions on firms which manage or intend to manage portfolios investing in virtual assets.

In addition, the regulator noted that it will explore whether crypto exchanges “are suitable for regulation in the SFC regulatory sandbox.”

Risks Under Existing Law

Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency IndustryIn the first document, the securities watchdog expressed concern over “the growing investor interest in gaining exposure to virtual assets via funds and unlicensed trading platform operators in Hong Kong.” The SFC explained that investors are not protected since the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) currently does not apply to unregulated exchanges or portfolio managers, adding:

Under existing regulatory remits in Hong Kong, markets for virtual assets may not be subject to the oversight of the SFC if the virtual assets involved fall outside the legal definition of ‘securities’ or ‘futures contracts’ (or equivalent financial instruments).

The regulator proceeded to outline the “significant risks” associated with investing in crypto assets which it has identified such as volatility, liquidity, cybersecurity, safe custody of assets, market integrity, money laundering, terrorist financing, conflict of interest and fraud.

Licenses and Regulatory Sandbox

Under the new rules, crypto asset portfolio managers will be subject to the SFC’s supervision “irrespective of whether the crypto assets meet the definition of securities or futures contracts.”

Noting that firms which distribute funds that invest in crypto assets in Hong Kong will need to be licensed, the commission detailed:

Licence applicants and licensed corporations are required to inform the SFC if they are presently managing or planning to manage one or more portfolios that invest in virtual assets.

Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency IndustryThe SFC will then evaluate whether the firm is capable of meeting the expected regulatory standards. If the firm does not comply with the proposed terms and conditions, its licensing application will be rejected. Licensed corporations failing to comply will be required to unwind their crypto portfolios within a reasonable period of time.

“If the SFC grants a licence to a qualified platform operator, it will impose appropriate licensing conditions and the operator will proceed to the next stage of the sandbox,” the regulator described. “This would typically mean more frequent reporting, monitoring and reviews,” the commission added, stating:

After a minimum 12-month period, the virtual asset trading platform operator may apply to the SFC for removal or variation of some licensing conditions and exit the sandbox. Licensing conditions (and terms and conditions) imposed in this stage would be made public in the usual way.

Crypto Asset Funds

Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency IndustryThe second circular addresses both authorized and unauthorized intermediaries that distribute crypto funds. They are required to comply with the SFC’s Code of Conduct. “Specifically, intermediaries should ensure that the recommendation or solicitation made is suitable for clients in all circumstances,” the regulator emphasized.

Intermediaries should also provide their clients with all the necessary information to make informed investment decisions “in a clear and easily comprehensible manner.” Furthermore, the SFC explained that they must conduct due diligence on the fund manager, the fund itself, and the fund’s counterparties, noting:

Intermediaries are reminded to implement adequate systems and controls … before they engage in the distribution of virtual asset funds. Failure to do so may affect their fitness and properness to remain licensed or registered and may result in disciplinary action by the SFC.

What do you think of the SFC’s new rules to regulate the crypto industry in Hong Kong? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Hong Kong SFC.


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The post Hong Kong Regulator Announces New Plans for Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Arbitrators to Resolve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency Industry

November 1, 2018 |

Arbitrators to Solve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency Industry

A leading industry organization in Russia has decided to establish an arbitration body to look into disputes within the digital economy, including matters related to cryptocurrency transactions, as well as rights and responsibilities in token sales and the implementation of smart contracts.

Also read: Ukraine Plans to Fully Legalize Cryptocurrencies Within Three Years

Industry Organization Appoints Arbitration Board

The absence of comprehensive regulations for Russia’s fintech sector has been a source of continued legal uncertainty. In recent years, courts have been challenged to consider a growing number of so-called “digital cases,” many of which have been filed as a result of business disputes in the nascent cryptocurrency industry.

Experts from relevant fields have been invited to join the new arbitration body, which will be formed by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP). The influential organization recently criticized new draft legislation designed to regulate the crypto space, after lawmakers proposed a number of complicated rules and removed key terms such as “cryptocurrency” and “smart contracts” from the bill. The Russian business community has responded by promoting an alternative draft that would grant cryptocurrencies “special status.”

Arbitrators to Resolve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency Industry

The arbitration body will review disputes between parties to smart contracts that have been recorded in distributed ledgers, as well as disagreements between participants in cryptocurrency transactions and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Elina Sidorenko, the head of a parliamentary group assessing the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, is the leading candidate to chair the new arbitration board, according to the Kommersant newspaper. She told the business daily that its members have already been selected.

Sidorenko also noted that the Russian judicial system faces a number of challenges in resolving cryptocurrency-related disputes, as there are currently no legal mechanisms in place to protect the rights of investors in the digital economy. The number of competent legal experts who understand the specifics of the largely unregulated sector is also still insufficient.

Courts Struggle With Cryptocurrency-Related Cases

Arbitrators to Resolve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency IndustryThe number of civil disputes related to the use of digital technologies continues to grow. Russian courts reviewed 148 such cases between 2014 and 2018, 45 percent of which were related to the fulfillment of obligations under smart contracts and the use of cryptocurrencies and tokens. The ICO boom that started last year is likely to lead to even more disputes in the next few years. Russian courts are expected to deal with up to 4,000 cases per year by 2025.

Sidorenko said the new arbitration board will convene in the early weeks of 2019. In addition to cryptocurrency-related cases, the panel will look at disputes over digital services, as well as issues related to the implementation of artificial intelligence, robotics and other advanced technologies in different sectors of the economy.

For the time being, the legal status of cryptocurrencies in Russia remains undetermined. In a ruling on a bankruptcy case in May, a Russian arbitration court of appeals recognized cryptocurrencies as property with value. Public discussions are now underway on the latest version of the legislation, which was adopted on first reading by the lower house of Russia’s parliament earlier this year. The Federal Financial Monitoring Service will oversee the cryptocurrency industry once the regulatory framework has been approved.

Do you think arbitration is a good approach to resolving disputes in the cryptocurrency industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

The post Arbitrators to Resolve Disputes in the Russian Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency Industry

October 30, 2018 |

Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency Industry

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service has revealed that it will regulate cryptocurrency-related transactions in the country, with a senior official saying that the agency will also oversee the broader cryptocurrency industry, in accordance with recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Also read: Ukraine Plans to Fully Legalize Cryptocurrencies Within Three Years

Rosfinmonitoring to License
Exchanges and ICO Platforms

Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency IndustryRosfinmonitoring, as the regulator is known in Russia, plans to register, license and monitor cryptocurrency exchanges, crowdfunding platforms and providers of wallet services for digital assets, Russian media outlets have reported. Pavel Livadny, the agency’s deputy director, said that all states participating in the FATF are expected to amend their legislation to introduce registration and licensing regimes for companies that trade cryptocurrencies and launch initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The intergovernmental organization, originally tasked with developing measures to prevent money laundering, recently updated its recommendations and glossary to include “virtual assets.” The FATF uses the term to refer to “digital representations of value that can be digitally traded or transferred and can be used for payment or investment purposes, including digital representations of value that function as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and/or a store of value.” It emphasized that virtual assets are distinct from fiat currencies and said that it will continue to review them to determine if further updates to its standards are necessary.

The financial watchdog will regulate the exchange of cryptocurrencies and fiat money, as well as transactions between digital assets. It will also monitor the transfer, custody and issuance of digital coins, the Izvestia newspaper reported. The minimum value of cryptocurrency transactions that will trigger regulatory action has yet to be determined, but the agency has said that it will track deals involving the transfer of 600,000 rubles (~$ 9,000) or more. It has been reported, however, that transactions below 15,000 rubles, or around $ 230, may remain anonymous.

Industry Organizations Criticize
Government-Sponsored Legislation

Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency IndustryThe Russian cryptocurrency industry is still largely operating in an atmosphere of legal uncertainty. This past spring, lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, supported on first reading three bills aimed at regulating the sector, but then postponed their final adoption for the fall session. The main draft law, “On Digital Financial Assets,” has since been revamped, with legislators removing key terms such as “cryptocurrency” and “mining.”

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) recently sent regulatory proposals to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the Speaker of the Duma Vyacheslav Volodin and Andrei Belousov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin. In the documents, RSPP President Alexander Shokhin criticized the current draft legislation, arguing that it sets unreasonably high standards and introduces complicated regulatory procedures. He has called for the adoption of a consolidated position, to be approved by all market participants and state regulators. An alternative bill, drafted by the RSPP, not only mentions cryptocurrencies but also grants them “special status.” According to the Kommersant newspaper, the RSPP’s proposals will soon be discussed by three different ministries.

Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency Industry

Meanwhile, Yuri Pripachkin, the president of the Russian Association of Cryptoindustry and Blockchain, warned that implementing the regulatory framework without taking the industry’s views into account would lead to an exodus of investment capital and young talent. “There is no point in adopting the legislation in its current form,” he said, as quoted by the Vedomosti business daily.

Pripachkin added that the bills in the Duma do not even deal with the areas that determine the development of the new industry — including cryptocurrency, mining, smart contracts — but merely focus on the vague term “digital assets.” Adopting a law that addresses only tokens circulating within companies could put an end to the cryptocurrency economy, he said.

Do you think Russia’s financial watchdog should also be responsible for regulating the crypto industry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Russia’s Financial Watchdog to Oversee the Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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