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Finland Begins Regulating Crypto Service Providers

April 28, 2019 |

Finland Begins Regulating Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Finland’s president has approved a law to regulate cryptocurrency service providers including exchanges, custodian wallet providers, and issuers of cryptocurrencies. The law will enter into force next week. Crypto service providers will need to register with the country’s Financial Supervisory Authority and meet statutory requirements.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case at Government’s Request

Finland Approves Crypto Law

Finland’s Ministry of Finance announced Friday that the president of the country has approved the Act on Virtual Currency Providers. The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (Fin-FSA), responsible for regulating Finland’s financial markets, independently announced Friday:

The Act on Virtual Currency Providers enters into force on 1 May. In accordance with the act, the Financial Supervisory Authority (Fin-FSA) will act as the registration authority and supervisory authority for virtual currency providers.

Finland Begins Regulating Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Registration Requirements

The Fin-FSA explained that registration is required for “virtual currency exchange services,” “custodian wallet providers,” and “issuers of virtual currencies.” These providers must comply with statutory requirements. For example, they must be reliable and able to hold and protect client money. They must also segregate client money from their own funds and comply with AML and CFT regulations.

The Finnish financial watchdog elaborated:

Going forward, only virtual currency providers meeting statutory requirements are able to carry on their activities in Finland. Virtual currency providers which do not comply with statutory requirements will be prohibited from continuing their business activities, enforced by a conditional fine.

The law has a transitional provision which allows existing crypto service providers to continue to operate in the country without registration until Nov. 1. The Fin-FSA will hold a briefing on May 15 at the Bank of Finland to explain the new rules to both existing crypto service providers and those planning to start offering related services.

Finland Begins Regulating Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Complying With EU’s Legislation

The Fin-FSA noted that these new requirements are based on the May 2018 amendments to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (the Fifth Money Laundering Directive), adding:

All EU member states must include services related to virtual currencies within the scope of AML/CFT legislation by 10 January 2020.

Further, registration with the Fin-FSA does not allow the service provider to operate in another EU country as each member state has its own law that must be followed.

Prior to the president approving the law, Helsinki-based crypto marketplace Localbitcoins announced that it had been working on improvement measures to conform to the new regulation and had launched “a new account registration process where users can verify basic information already during sign-up.”

Do you think Finland should regulate crypto service providers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances

February 11, 2019 |

Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances

The Venezuelan government has begun regulating cryptocurrency remittances. The regulator has set a monthly limit and will be collecting commissions of up to 15 percent of the transaction amount. Additionally, new details of its comprehensive registry of crypto service providers have been announced.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Regulating Crypto Remittances

The National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Sunacrip), the regulator of all crypto activities in Venezuela, announced on Friday that the new regulation for remittances using cryptocurrencies has entered into force. The decree enacting this regulation was published in the country’s Official Gazette No. 41.581.

Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances

The decree establishes “the requirements and procedures for the sending and receiving of remittances in crypto assets to natural persons in the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” Sunacrip explained.

According to the decree:

The sender of the remittances referred to in this ruling is obliged to pay a financial commission in favor of Sunacrip up to a maximum amount of 15% calculated on the total of the remittance.

The minimum commission Sunacrip charges is “equivalent to 0.25 euros [~$ 0.28] per transaction,” the gazette reads.

According to the text of the regulation, Sunacrip now has the power to establish the remittance limits, set values of cryptocurrencies in sovereign bolivars, specify tariffs, and request data from the issuers and receivers involved in the transactions, local news outlet Criptonoticias reported.

The monthly limit for sending remittances is equivalent to 10 petros (PTR), Venezuela’s national currency that the government claims to be a cryptocurrency backed by oil, gold, diamond and other natural resources. “This cap translates into US $ 600 per month, according to the quote set for the PTR. Any amount that exceeds this limit will require the Sunacrip endorsement, which will authorize up to a maximum of 50 PTR ($ 3,000),” the publication elaborated.

Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances

Following Sunacrip’s announcement, some people took to Twitter to voice their opinions about the new rules. One user commented that these rules are “the most absurd thing I’ve seen.” Another user tweeted, “An absurd regulatory framework. Instead of promoting the adoption of crypto assets, [they] are trying to centralize something that its genesis is the opposite.”

Crypto Service Registry

Following the initial enforcement of crypto regulation in Venezuela on Jan. 31 with the publication of Official Gazette Number 41.575, the government has proceeded to enact rules specific to the cryptocurrency service registry.

The Superintendent of Sunacrip, Ramirez Joselit, announced on Feb. 5 that the regulation for the “Integral Registry of Services in Crypto Assets [Risec]” has entered into force with its publication in Official Gazette Number 41.578.

Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances

The Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information explained that “Natural, legal, public and private persons, communal councils and other organizations of the People’s Power that intend to carry out activities related to the Integral System of Crypto Assets may be registered.”

According to the decree, Sunacrip is in charge of Risec “which will systematize the information related to the identity and other recurrent data of the user of the Integral System of Crypto Assets and related activities.” The regulator will designate a unit “responsible for the control, monitoring and verification of updating of the data contained in the Risec.”

What do you think of Venezuela regulating crypto remittances and keeping a registry of crypto service providers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Venezuelan government.

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The post Venezuela Starts Regulating Cryptocurrency Remittances appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Malaysia Starts Regulating Cryptocurrencies Today

January 15, 2019 |

Malaysia Starts Regulating Cryptocurrencies Today

Malaysia’s finance minister has announced that the order to regulate cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings as securities has come into force. Crypto service providers and exchanges are required to obtain authorization from the country’s Securities Commission, which will work with the central bank to ensure compliance.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Regulating as Securities

Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Monday that his country “will regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the trade of cryptocurrencies,” Reuters reported, adding:

An order to recognize digital currencies and digital tokens as securities will come into force on Jan. 15, under the regulation of the Securities Commission Malaysia [SC].

The order is known as “the Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019.” Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and their related activities must comply with relevant securities laws and be approved by the commission, the minister explained.

Malaysia Starts Regulating Cryptocurrencies Today

Following Lim’s statement, the Securities Commission Malaysia confirmed that it “will put in place guidelines to regulate offering and trading of digital assets.” The regulator noted that “the offering of digital assets, as well as its associated activities, will require authorisation from the SC and compliance with relevant securities laws and regulations,” elaborating:

The guidelines will among others, establish criteria for determining fit and properness of issuers and exchange operators, disclosure standards and best practices in price discovery, trading rules and client asset protection. Those dealing in digital assets will be required to put in place anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML / CFT) rules, cyber security and business continuity measures.

Furthermore, the commission stated that it “will enter into coordination arrangements” with the Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, in order “to ensure compliance with laws and regulations under the purview of both regulators.” In addition, the regulator revealed that “The relevant regulatory framework is expected to be launched by end-Q1 2019.”

Lim was quoted by The Star as saying, “Any person offering an ICO or operating a digital asset exchange without SC’s approval may be punished, on conviction, with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and fine not exceeding RM10mil [~$ 2.44 million].”

Malaysia Starts Regulating Cryptocurrencies Today
Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng

Ministry of Finance Sees Potential

The finance ministry “views digital assets, as well as … underlying blockchain technologies, as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries,” Lim further described, elaborating:

In particular, we believe digital assets have a role to play as an alternative fundraising avenue for entrepreneurs and new businesses, and an alternate asset class for investors.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia has repeatedly said that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in its country. The central bank has advised the public to carefully evaluate the risks associated in dealing with them.

Malaysia Starts Regulating Cryptocurrencies Today

Bank Negara Malaysia has published a list of companies that have declared themselves as cryptocurrency exchanges or service providers, but emphasized that it has neither licensed nor authorized these businesses. Among companies on the list are Belfrics Malaysia, Bit Malay, Bitpoint Malaysia, Bit Trade Enterprise, Bong Technology, Bxm, Luno Malaysia, Openbit, Udax International, Upbit Malaysia, and Xbit Asia.

What do you think of Malaysia starting to regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the Malaysian government, and Reuters.

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Draft Regulating ‘Electronic Money’ Prepared in Romania

July 7, 2018 |

Draft Regulating ‘Electronic Money’ Prepared in Romania

A draft ordinance aiming to regulate the issuance of “electronic money” has been presented in Romania. The document authored by the Finance Ministry specifies the entities that can act as issuers and clarifies the conditions under which e-money can be emitted. While it does not specifically mention cryptocurrencies, some of its definitions and provisions can affect digital coins and tokens.

Also read: Presidential Decree Sets the Stage for Legalizing Cryptocurrencies in Uzbekistan

Emergency Ordinance Aims to Regulate E-Money

The draft regulation released in Romania introduces definitions and rules regarding the issuing of what it refers to as “electronic money.” The “emergency ordinance”, published by the Ministry of Finance, proposes certain requirements for the issuers and tasks the Romanian National Bank (RNB) with the oversight of the process. The central bank will also be responsible for authorizing the issuing entities.

The document describes electronic money as “monetary value stored electronically, including magnetic, representing a claim on the issuer issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of performing payment transactions and which is accepted by a person other than the issuer of electronic money,” Business Review reported. The description covers some aspects of cryptocurrencies and can potentially influence the status of digital tokens minted through initial coin offerings, although these have not been mentioned explicitly.

Draft Regulating ‘Electronic Money’ Prepared in Romania

According to the draft text, any legal entity considering the issuance of electronic money must have a share capital of at least €350,000 EUR. Each member of a given organization should also be verified and approved by the central bank in Bucharest which will check the tax and legal records. The financial institution will issue authorizations valid for a period of 12 months. The companies will have to perform annual audits and file reports with the RNB.

The Finance Ministry has also listed several types of organizations that can emit electronic money. These include credit institutions, other entities authorized as issuers and providers of postal services issuing electronic money under the applicable national and European law, when they do not act as monetary authorities or exercise public authority.

Romanian Central Bank to Authorize Issuers

Draft Regulating ‘Electronic Money’ Prepared in RomaniaThe National Bank of Romania will grant authorizations after reviewing each application within three months of its filing. It will authorize only entities that are able to prove they have established prudent and sound management, carefully designed electronic money issuance process, clear organizational structure with well-defined responsibilities and effective procedures to monitor and manage risks.

The central bank will have the power to cancel any authorization if the respective entity is not issuing electronic money on the territory of Romania or does not start doing so within 12 months after receiving permission. Authorizations would be withdrawn if they were obtained on the basis of false information or through illegal means. The same will happen if an e-money issuer no longer meets the requirements of the regulation or if its activity endangers the stability of the country’s payment system.

Last but not least, the ministry warns that the unauthorized issuing of electronic money is punishable by Romanian law, either by imprisonment of up to 3 years or by fine. Only three entities are currently emitting digital currencies in the country – Capital Financial Services SA, Vodafone Romania M-Payments Ltd. and Orange Money Ltd.

Cryptocurrencies Deemed a Security Problem

Draft Regulating ‘Electronic Money’ Prepared in RomaniaThe e-money regulations have been proposed just weeks after the governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mugur Isarescu, made a statement against cryptocurrencies. Last month, he said it was hard to believe they could become actual money as they were unable to fulfil the basic functions of fiat currencies. In his opinion, the biggest problem with cryptocurrencies is the lack of a trusted issuer: “It’s not clear who the issuer is. From this perspective, it’s even a security problem.”

Isarescu added that cryptocurrencies could hardly be a means of exchange, noting the limited number of transactions and the insignificant number of retailers accepting bitcoin. The banker explained that the payments with virtual currencies take more time and cost more than the existing payment options. However, like many of his colleagues around the world, the governor suggested that the technology behind cryptos, blockchain, should be explored.

In February, BNR said it classifies digital currencies like bitcoin as volatile and risky speculative assets, stating that it discourages any involvement with them. The warning was also addressed to the country’s legacy financial institutions which were advised against providing services to entities investing or transacting in cryptocurrencies. In May, the oldest Romanian crypto trading platform, Btcxchange, shut down after Idea Bank closed its bank account in January.

Bitcoin, however, has been gaining popularity in Romania over the past years. A poll conducted in March found that more than half of Romanians living in the cities know about cryptocurrencies and half of the respondents under the age of 40 want to use them to pay for goods and services. According to local media, at least six crypto ATMs are currently operational in the country, most of them are located in the capital Bucharest.

Do you expect Romania to legalize cryptocurrencies and regulate coin offerings? Tell us in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Arizona Closer to Accepting Bitcoin and Regulating ICOs

February 9, 2018 |

Arizona Closer to Accepting Bitcoin and Regulating ICOs

Arizona may become the first U.S. state to legalize bitcoin as a payment option for tax purposes. Bills to that end have been advancing in the State Legislature, with one of them already passed by the Senate Finance Committee. First reading of a draft law regulating ICOs has been scheduled, too. The Grand Canyon State is sending a signal to everyone that it will be “the place to be” for cryptocurrency.  

Also read: New York Wants a Piece of the Ever Growing Bitcoin Mining Pie

Sending a Signal

Several bills that recognize bitcoin and other cryptos as currencies have been making their way in the Arizona State Legislature. Two of them, SB1091 and SB1145, will regulate income tax payments with cryptocurrency. One of them has already passed the Senate Finance Committee in mid-January. Another bill (HB2601) is expected to regulate crowdfunding and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Its first reading in the House of Representatives is scheduled for June 2, and a second reading will take place a month later.

Arizona Closer to Accepting Bitcoin and Regulating ICOs“We are sending a signal to everyone in the United States, and possibly throughout the world, that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future,” Representative Jeff Weninger (R) told Fox News. He believes that in the next 5 to 10 years crypto technology will change the world the way the internet did.

The income tax legislation he co-sponsored passed the Finance Committee with a 4-3 vote in mid-January. Weninger insists that the new law will make it easier for people to pay their taxes, without opening their “normal wallets”. “Being able to do it in the middle of the night, being able to do it at home, while watching TV… I think in a few years this isn’t even going to be a question”, he said.

Pros and Cons

According to a study by the University of Cambridge, the number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets may be up to 5.8 million. Phoenix businessman Jack Biltis, who is one of them, believes this is the way of the future. He told Fox:

We actually allow employees to receive their paycheck through bitcoin and even invest part of their 401k in bitcoin.

Biltis, who has a payroll company, is convinced that the new crypto technology will replace “what we have now with the inefficient credit cards and banking systems”. Cheap and instantaneous money transfers are possible with cryptocurrency, he noted. Jack Biltis wants Arizona to be a state that encourages these technologies.

Others are not so sure about the idea to pay taxes with crypto. Arizona State Senate Minority Leader Steve Farley (D) thinks that all taxpayers will be put at risk because of the volatile nature of bitcoin. He warns that if the new legislation is passed the state will be responsible for exchanging the cryptos. Farley claims that “certain special interests get advantage” with such amendments to the tax code and “the rest of us… get screwed”. In his opinion, taxpayers should pay only in fiat currency:

American dollars are good enough for me. They should be good enough for anybody else who pays taxes.

“It’s always a little scary and thrilling at the beginning. It was with the Internet”, business owner Jack Biltis says, however. “The world is going to look so different in 20 years”, he adds, “and the people that are going to be truly successful are those that embrace it now”.

Primus Inter Pares

Most U.S. states have yet to adopt comprehensive legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies but several have taken positive steps. These include Kansas and Tennessee, where authorities have issued memorandums indicating that money transmitter licenses will not be required to sell digital coins. According to Bitcoin Market Journal, the situation is similar in Texas, where bitcoin companies are not licensed when running a custodial exchange for in-state customers.

Montana has no money transmission laws and there is no indication that bitcoin regulations will be imposed in the future. In June New Hampshire Governor John Sununu signed a bill that exempted anyone who uses “virtual currency” from registering, as reported. The state effectively deregulated bitcoin after previous legislation had targeted cryptocurrencies with tougher regulations.

Arizona Closer to Accepting Bitcoin and Regulating ICOs

If adopted, the law to legalize cryptocurrency payments for taxes in Arizona will be country’s first. A similar legislation was voted down in New Hampshire two years ago with concerns like those expressed by the Senate Minority Leader in Phoenix. State Representative Eric Schleien (R), who introduced the NH bill, explained there would be no cost and no risk to the state, as conversion to dollars would be automatic to eliminate concerns about crypto volatility. If Arizona lawmakers approve the proposed amendments, the Grand Canyon State may start collecting taxes in bitcoin within two years.

Do you think that if Arizona accepts bitcoin as legal tender, other states will do the same? Tell us in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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FDA to begin regulating electronic cigarettes – Los Angeles Times

May 6, 2016 |

Los Angeles Times

FDA to begin regulating electronic cigarettes
Los Angeles Times
The fast-growing "vaping" industry faces a hazy future as the U.S. government said Thursday that it's taking the "milestone" step of regulating electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products as if they were traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug …

and more »

Business – Google News

FDA to begin regulating electronic cigarettes

May 6, 2016 |

The fast-growing “vaping” industry faces a hazy future as the U.S. government said Thursday that it’s taking the “milestone” step of regulating electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products as if they were traditional cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration finalized rules extending its…

L.A. Times – Business

Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Over Regulating Wall Street – New York Times

January 6, 2016 |

New York Times

Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Over Regulating Wall Street
New York Times
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a fiery speech on Tuesday laid out his plan to break up “too big to fail” commercial banks and pointedly attacked Hillary Clinton for taking speaking fees from the financial industry and, in his view, not going far
Bernie Sanders Volunteers Develop Canvassing AppTIME
Bernie Sanders invokes Elizabeth Warren in Wall Street reform
Bernie Sanders' New Message About Banks 'Too Big To Fail'ABC News
CNN –Wall Street Journal –CBS Local
all 534 news articles »

Business – Google News

Regulating state’s health premiums could hurt exchange, report says

May 8, 2014 |

Obamacare in California could suffer setbacks, delays and legal challenges if voters this year approve a statewide ballot initiative to regulate insurance rates, a new industry-backed report warns. Those predictions drew immediate fire from Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He said the…

L.A. Times – Business