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A UK man has been banned from driving after he pleaded guilty to switching from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat of his vehicle as it traveled down a highway at 40mph. Per the BBC , Bhavesh Patel was behind the wheel of his Tesla on England’s M1 motorway when…
Blockbid is now registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac). This makes it only the third company granted permission to legally operate as a cryptocurrency exchange in Australia since new regulations came about last week.
Austrac has approved an application by cryptocurrency exchange Blockbid, in accordance with the new regulatory powers given to it starting 3 April 2018. The platform’s main differentiating feature compared with most other marketplaces is providing insurance to users against any potential cyber-attacks. It also plans to offer the ability to trade with at least seven different fiat currencies in the next 6-12 months, with four available during an upcoming beta launch.
David Sapper, COO at Blockbid commented: “Since its inception Blockbid has always wanted to put customers security and peace of mind at the forefront of building a one-for-all platform, allowing our users to trade with confidence. As a registered digital currency exchange in Australia we are looking forward to opening up our doors worldwide to all traders and investors who want to use a platform that is legitimate and provides asset insurance as well. This is a big step not only for the Australian cryptocurrency space but also for our company as it means that our vision to allow you to trade with confidence has been acknowledged by the Australian government under AML/CTF guidelines.”
Blockbid also revealed further details about their beta launch, set to go live April 16th. It will begin with a limited number of users, who will explore the platform without trading real currency, and will continue until developers and users are satisfied with delivery.
After upgrading the system based on user feedback and further testing, phase one of the beta launch will open to general the public. This will commence with five cryptocurrencies and four fiat currencies: bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin gold (BCG), litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), USD, AUD, JPY, and EUR. Lastly, many additional tokens will be introduced in phase two of the beta launch.
Should Australians feel safer with local exchanges getting licensed by the authorities? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Coinbase appears poised to increase its global market share for licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. It recently hired a mergers and acquisitions veteran who handled more than 40 deals for Linkedin, signaling its intent to start gobbling up competitors in the industry. Now it’s also established a new legal beachhead in the UK from which it can further penetrate the European bitcoin market.
FCA E-Money License
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced it has been granted an e-money license by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), allowing the company to issue “e-money” and provide payment services. This means Coinbase will have to match operations by traditional operators like the segregation of client funds, where all customer fiat balances must be separated from company funds and kept in separate bank accounts. Furthermore, the FCA license allows financial services companies to trade freely in any other European Union member state with minimal additional authorization under what is known as the EU passporting system.
“For our customers, this will ultimately help us deliver a better experience through new partnerships and an easier to use product. We are committed to making sure customer funds are always secure and this update means that our e-money operations have safeguards and operational standards at par with other regulated financial institutions,” commented Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz. “Our e-money license will extend beyond the UK to 23 countries within the EU. We believe that this is an important step towards our commitment to making cryptocurrency accessible to everyone.”
Coinbase also announced it will add support for the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), offering local clients a familiar, seamless and faster payment experience which is supported by all major UK banks. Replacing the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will start with a pilot, giving just a selected number of institutional users access to FPF, but will eventually begin rolling out to all UK customers in a few weeks.
Lastly the company is set to significantly up its manpower in the British capital. “Since we began offering our services to European users in 2014, we have seen the crypto space grow significantly. The EU grew twice as fast as any of our other markets in 2017, and the UK continues to be our largest market here. In order to meet this increasing demand we plan to grow our London team 8x by the end of this year,” stated CEO Feroz.
Is Coinbase going to take over the global market for licensed bitcoin exchanges? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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The largest free economic zone in the UAE, with zero percent personal and corporate income tax, has started issuing licenses to firms trading cryptocurrencies. The first license has been issued to a gold trader that has recently started offering cryptocurrency services.
Attracting Crypto Businesses
The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is a government entity established in 2002 to enhance commodity trade flows through Dubai. DMCC Free Zone is the largest and fastest growing free economic zone in the UAE.
“We perform a range of roles which continue to position Dubai as the preferred destination for global commodities trade and DMCC as the world’s No.1 Free Zone,” offering zero percent personal and corporate income tax, the center’s website states. Today, more than 14,100 multinational corporations and startups call DMCC home, with almost 90,000 people living and working there.
The Centre has started issuing licenses to allow firms trading in cryptocurrencies to operate from its free zone, Thomson Reuters Zawya reported on Monday.
DMCC’s executive director for commodities, Sanjeev Dutta, told the publication that the Centre is “beginning to facilitate” a market in cryptocurrencies which, he acknowledged, is unregulated. Citing that firms looking to set up in the zone would be considered on a “case-by-case” basis, he elaborated:
To me, what is important is the fact that you are still evaluating it as part of your innovation strategy. You are not saying ‘no’ to something. You are not saying ‘yes’ either, but you are exploring, so you are clearly ahead of the others when the time to make a decision comes.
Cryptocurrencies as Commodities
DMCC is a member of the Global Blockchain Council, which began as a Dubai Smart City project and has 46 member organizations globally today. The Centre’s director of innovation hub, Franco Bosoni, said that a global consensus is emerging which favors classifying cryptocurrencies as commodities, the news outlet detailed and quoted him explaining:
DMCC’s view is that these [cryptocurrencies] meet the test of a commodity. They’re priced based on supply and demand, produced and sold globally at a uniform quality and (are) indistinguishable between products.
Wai Lum Kwok, head of capital markets for Abu Dhabi Global Markets Regulatory Authority, told the publication on Sunday that the regulator is “reviewing and considering the development of a robust, risk-appropriate regulatory framework” for crypto exchanges and intermediaries. Emphasizing that no timeframe has been set, he added:
As we develop our framework, we will also want to check in and have the conversations with, for example, US regulators, Japanese regulators and so on and so forth, so that there is some alignment of approach to avoid any regulatory arbitrage.
First License Issued
The first license for the Free Zone reportedly went to Regal Assets, a gold trader and storage provider with offices in the US, Canada, and the UAE. The company added cryptocurrencies to its product line at the end of last year, offering brokerage services and an insured, high-security cold storage service for bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, ripple, and dash.
According to Bloomberg, “Dubai gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in the Middle East to get a license to trade cryptocurrencies.” The news outlet quoted DMCC acknowledging in a statement, “The company will offer storage of bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in a vault located in DMCC headquarters in Almas Tower in Dubai.”
DMCC Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem was quoted by the publication, “At the heart of DMCC’s long-term strategic growth plan is the use of technology and innovation to disrupt and connect new markets, industries and customers,” adding that “the announcement today embodies this approach.”
Do you think more crypto companies will move to this free economic zone? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and DMCC.
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The Japanese financial regulator will be issuing its first warning since the legalization of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment in Japan. An overseas initial coin offering agency has reportedly been attracting Japanese investors without a license, repeatedly ignoring the agency’s advice to cease operating in the country.
Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) will issue a warning to an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) agency, which has been conducting business in Japan without a license, Nikkei reported. The news outlet elaborated:
The warning will be issued to Blockchain Laboratory, based in Macau. The agency has decided the company’s activities could cause investors to incur losses. The FSA will work with the police and the Consumer Affairs Agency to bring criminal charges if the company fails to respond to the warning.
Headquartered in Macau, “Blockchain Laboratory operates as an initial coin offering agency to raise funds using cryptocurrencies,” the publication described. The company’s activities include cryptocurrency and ICO consulting services and conducting seminars to attract investors.
The FSA has repeatedly advised the company to “halt its business activities in Japan, without success,” the publication detailed. According to the officials of the agency, the FSA “will warn the company directly, and name it on the FSA’s home page.” If the operator still fails to comply, criminal charges will be filed.
License Needed to Operate in Japan
Since the revised payment services law went into effect in April of last year, Japan has recognized cryptocurrencies as a legal method of payment. The law also requires crypto exchanges to register with the FSA. It “allows only registered operators, or those that have applied for registration, to operate in Japan,” Nikkei emphasized.
The warning to Blockchain Laboratory will be the FSA’s first under the revised payment services law. “The move is part of the FSA’s more aggressive scrutiny of the activities of unregistered operators in Japan,” the news outlet conveyed, adding that:
The revised law prohibits such unregistered exchanges from operating and soliciting in the country.
Currently, there are 16 cryptocurrency exchanges with a license to operate in Japan and another 16 are under review, including Coincheck which suffered a loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$ 533 million) in a recent hack.
In a recent interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Bitflyer CFO Midori Kanemitsu said:
Now people understand that they need to use safe exchanges, which are registered with FSA and have a high standard of security.
What do you think of the FSA’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSA.
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Dominic Monaghan had some landscaping done at his place by a guy he thought was qualified to do the job — but turned out to be far from it … this according to a new lawsuit. The “Lord of the Rings” and “Lost” star just filed suit against Bruce De…
The Central Bank of Bahrain has awarded bitcoin technology provider, Belfrics Global, a sandbox license to open and operate a cryptocurrency exchange in the Arabian Gulf nation. As such, Belfrics is reported to have become the first company to receive an official mandate to open a cryptocurrency exchange in the Middle Eastern/North African region.
Central Bank of Bahrain Grants Sandbox License to Belfrics
Malaysian-based cryptocurrency technology provider, Belfrics Global, has successfully received a mandate from Bahrain’s central bank to open a cryptocurrency exchange in the nation. The approval granted by the central bank of Bahrain is expected to give Belfrics access to the $ 50 billion USD digital transaction industry of the Middle Eastern/North African nation.
The Chairman and CEO of Belfrics Global, Mr. Praveen Kumar Vijayakumar, has welcomed the sandbox licensing, stating “We are excited to receive this approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) as it provides access to a $ 50 billion digital transaction market in the MENA region alone. This is a first of many licenses that we are targeting for the year 2018. Bahrain is an ideal region for us to showcase our cryptocurrency-based payment systems, and with the help of CBB and other central banks, we will be able to implement our identity management solutions using the Belrium Blockchain pretty soon.” Jabeer KM, Belfrics’ Chief Operating Officer, described the approval as “a perfect start for the year 2018,” adding, “We are also working closely with central banks in Africa, Middle East and Asia to regulate the cryptocurrency space using our innovative KYC-based blockchain, Belrium.”
Belfrics Expands International Operations
The news comprises a follow-up to announcements from Bahrain’s government in September 2017 that indicated the country’s intention to develop ‘sandbox’ legislation for the cryptocurrency, industryakin, to those enacted by Singapore and the United Kingdom. Alongside the announcement, Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, then indicated the country’s desire to issue bonds via distributed ledger technology. The move has been perceived as intended to further Bahrain’s bid to become a regional fintech hub, despite the nation’s small population.
Founded in 2014, the Kuala Lumpur-based company presently operates in Singapore, India, Kenya, China, Indonesia, Malaysia Dubai and Hong Kong, in addition to providing point of sale (POS) and other payment technology to merchants wanting to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment. Belfrics’ Singaporean exchange comprises what it describes as a ‘global exchange’ that provides cryptocurrency pairings using USD as its base currency, whilst the company’s other exchanges are described as ‘local’ – exclusively offering pairings in the national currency for the country in which the exchange is domiciled. Belfrics has also indicated its intention to expand its African presence by opening exchanges based in Nigeria, Botswana, and Ghana.
What do you make of Belfrics being awarded a sandbox license to open an exchange in Bahrain? Share your thoughts in thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Belfrics
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A high school teacher in Oklahoma was fired Thursday after she and her 16-year-old student allegedly applied for a marriage license, according to reports.
The Kentucky county clerk who made headlines two years ago for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is up for re-election next year—and one of the men she denied a license to has announced plans to run against her. Reuters reports that David Ermold of Morehead will…
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Tallinn, Estonia – CoinLoan, the Estonia-based blockchain startup, took the Fintech world by storm today, when they announced that they have been granted a full Economic Activities License by the Estonian Government.
With CoinLoan receiving a license, it means that they have now cleared all regulatory hurdles to enable them to process transactions in crypto and fiat currencies. Because CoinLoan lets members leverage crypto assets like Bitcoin as collateral for loans in conventional currencies, obtaining a financial license prior to launch was essential. CoinLoan can now legally let borrowers access capital on demand using cryptocurrency as leverage for a loan, while retaining crypto-assets as security and having a range of options for tax payments.
Estonian law has legalized the exchange of cryptocurrencies for traditional (fiat) currencies, meaning CoinLoan is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the demand for effortless crypto-to-fiat conversion. CoinLoan’s new license means they now have access to the entire EU market.
Presently, investing in ICOs can be fraught with danger, as many are likely to fail due to overambitious claims, but CoinLoan’s financial license demonstrates that they are building a viable, long-term business. “Unlike most ICO start-ups, we don’t plan on raising and spending funds only to discover we’re not successful.” said Max Sapelov, CoinLoan’s co-founder. “Our project has been running for over a year, and complying with regulations means that we can offer a fully operational product – not just a concept – when we go to market in early 2018″.
CoinLoan went through a series of rigorous checks for legality, financial stability, and security to obtain the license, showing that they are a viable, legitimate business. CoinLoan has made great strides in demonstrating that they’re a worthy investment by adding a number of seasoned blockchain specialists to their advisory team; and then reconfiguring their token offering to make it even more compelling. After successfully raising over $ 800,000 during their pre-ICO fundraising round, they expect to raise the remaining amount via its ICO, which is presently underway.
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