regulators Archives -
Both of California’s health insurance regulators said they will investigate how Aetna Inc. makes coverage decisions, as the lawsuit of a California man who is suing the nation’s third-largest insurer for improper denial of care heads for opening arguments Wednesday.
The Department of Managed Health…
India will soon have its own rules on bitcoin. The responsibilities of various regulators have been determined, a high-ranking official revealed. Relevant institutions are currently finalizing a comprehensive government policy on cryptocurrencies. Representatives of the Indian crypto community, meanwhile, have quashed fears of an imminent ban.
Crypto Policy Being Framed
The roles of various regulators in regards to cryptocurrencies have been decided already, the Chairman of India’s Securities and Exchange Board told reporters on Saturday. Amid continuing volatility on the markets and growing concerns about investors’ protection, Ajay Tyagi said the expected regulations should be out soon, the New Indian Express reported. He declined to provide further details, insisting officials would do that after the comprehensive government policy is finalized and announced.
Tyagi’s comments come after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Budget 2018 this month. While explaining its key policies, Jaitley reiterated a previously stated position: Cryptocurrency is not recognized as legal tender in India and the government “will take all measures to eliminate“ its use in financing illegitimate activities. Indian authorities will instead encourage blockchain technology in payment systems, he said in his budget speech on February 1.
SEBI has asked the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to call a meeting on regulation matters on the next day, the Board’s chairman revealed. Ajay Tyagi was obviously referring to the panel set up to propose a regulatory framework after examining cryptocurrencies and their implications. “We have actually decided which regulator will do what and the committee should come out with the regulations very quickly”, he added. Tyagi promised his agency “will fully contribute to this” objective and insisted, “We want a policy to be framed first”.
Back in December the Finance Ministry announced it was creating a special panel to follow developments, including the volume of bitcoin related trade, and help speed up the process of adopting crypto regulation. Representatives of DEA, the Reserve Bank of India, and the Income Tax Department were invited to join the committee.
Suspense in India, but no Fear
According to previous media reports, new regulations were expected by the end of March. They are likely to involve anti-money laundering procedures and measures to prevent tax evasion. Suspecting dubious transactions, authorities have targeted cryptocurrency exchanges in the country and banks have suspended some of their accounts. More recently, India’s Income Tax Department announced it had issued notices to 100,000 cryptocurrency investors after monitoring the operations of leading trading platforms.
The Indian crypto community expected more clarity from Budget 2018 in regards to taxation of cryptocurrency incomes, profits and transactions. Mining and trading companies have also asked for clear policy guidelines from the government. Minister Jaitley’s reaffirmed position, however, did not answer many of the outstanding questions. Some see an imminent threat of an outright ban of bitcoin in his vow to “eliminate” cryptocurrencies. Others point out that he actually meant their use for illicit purposes.
Ajeet Khurana, head of India’s Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC) recently said he was happy that cryptos were mentioned in the state budget. “Having the finance minister say that cryptocurrency is not legal tender is perfectly logical. Every nation, barring Japan, has taken this stance. It doesn’t mean crypto trading is illegal, but that it comes with its own risks like any other investment asset in the market”, Khurana explained, quoted by Forbes. “There are multiple dimensions to bitcoin – technology, security, privacy. It is important to be aware of every aspect, to understand bitcoin better and make informed decisions while trading,” Khurana added.
Sandeep Goenka, cofounder of one of the biggest crypto exchanges in India, Zebpay, believes that the current government is open-minded and says this is a welcome change for those developing revolutionary technology. “The ideal way to strengthen the system is by using approved banking channels to onboard new customers and legitimize bitcoin trading”, he stated. Goenka also noted that the major exchanges in country are already implementing such measures and they should be a standard practice.
In the absence of official statistics, there have been several attempts to gauge the Indian crypto market. Ajeet Khurana says there are at least five million active traders in India that use existing regulated banking channels. One in every 10 bitcoin transactions in the world takes place in India, according to Constantin Papadimitriou, president of Pundi X. The Indonesian company conducted a survey in six countries, which discovered Indians were quite optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies. The Indian branch of the job site Indeed claimed in a report that as of September last year there were 1.5 million wallet users in India. The number of crypto-related job postings on its platform has increased by 290 percent in just six months.
The Indian crypto sector definitely looks “too big to fail” now. Both the government in Delhi and the Indian crypto community seem to realize that fact. That, surely, is the main takeaway from all this.
How far will authorities in India go with establishing new regulations on Bitcoin? Tell us in the comments section below.
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The post Roles of Regulators Decided in India, Rules on Bitcoin Coming Soon appeared first on Bitcoin News.
The South Korean regulators have started investigating two major cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s National Tax Service has conducted an on-site investigation of Bithumb and Coinone. In addition, Coinone is also being investigated by the Korean police for allegedly offering illegal gambling services to investors.
Tax Authority Investigating Bithumb and Coinone
The South Korean National Tax Service (NTS) has launched a tax investigation of two of the country’s largest bitcoin exchanges, Bithumb and Coinone, Yonhap reported on Wednesday.
“The Seoul Regional Tax Office is investigating books and related materials including sales figures,” the news outlet described. Investigators were sent to Bithumb’s headquarters in Gangnam-gu and Coinone’s headquarters in Yeouido.
“It’s true that the NTS has come out with an investigation, but it is difficult to confirm the details of the investigation,” Bithumb was quoted by the Hankook-Ilbo. The publication elaborated:
The investigation is related to the virtual currency taxation industry analysis. The government is considering ways to impose a capital gains tax on virtual currency investment returns.
Coinone said the tax investigators asked basic questions such as the company size and the number of employees, the Hankyoreh detailed. According to SBS News, in addition to asking questions, the “investigators have confiscated financial data and computer hard disks” from Bithumb.
The Korean regulators are actively discussing ways to tax cryptocurrencies. Last week, they announced that some taxes are possible under the current law such as corporate tax, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
Coinone Also Investigated by Police
In addition to being probed by the NTS, Coinone is also being investigated by the South Korean police, local publications reported on Tuesday. The police have launched “investigations of margin transactions that took place via Coinone, viewing them as gambling and a breach of the Capital Markets Act,” the Korea Herald explained. Cryptocurrency exchanges are not licensed to offer such services. The Hankook-Ilbo elaborated:
The police believe that Coinone is a kind of gambling [business] that provides members with a margin trading service that predicts the market price after a maximum of one week and chooses the number of short sales and makes profit or loss according to the result.
However, a Coinone official contested, stating that “We have already reviewed the law [to ensure] that there is no illegality before starting the service, and we have already stopped the service from concerns of the financial authorities.”
What do you think of the Korean government launching investigations of Bithumb and Coinone? Do you think more crypto exchanges will be investigated? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Investors in Thailand can now trade bitcoin futures listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The country’s financial authorities say that these instruments should be offered in Thailand and one company is already offering them to their customers.
Bitcoin Futures Trading Available Now
Phillip Securities Thailand Ltd. announced on Monday the launch of its bitcoin futures trading services for investors wanting to invest in bitcoin futures listed on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), local publications reported.
Apisak Vongvanij, head of global markets at Phillip Securities Thailand, explained that customers “must apply for the company’s global derivatives service,” the Bangkok Post detailed. This service, launched 6 years ago, allows them to trade futures on 15 global futures markets, including CBOE and CME, Vongvanij continued, adding that “Thais are seen as reasonably active investors.”
Prices are quoted in US dollars and investors have to put money down to cover their investment margin, he noted. “In principle, investors should prepare money as a buffer for price movement around 20-30% above the margin.”
In its advertisement, Phillip Securities “claims to be the first and only brokerage company in Thailand to offer bitcoin futures trading in the CBOE and CME,” the Nation reported.
In response to the company’s claim, the assistant governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT), Chantavarn Sucharitakul, expressed her concern. “This statement might mislead investors into believing that its service has gotten approval from the BOT. The BOT has never legalised bitcoin as a currency for financial transactions,” she clarified.
However, she also said that the central bank allows “Thai investors to invest in foreign financial assets,” but “they should be aware of the high risks associated with digital currencies”
The president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), Kesara Manchusree, concurred about the risks but believes that “since Phillip Securities is a member of the CBOE and CME markets, which offer bitcoin trading, it could provide the bitcoin investment service to Thai investors.”
Citing that both the CME and CBOE are under the supervision of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the assistant secretary-general of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Paralee Sukonthaman, said:
Thai brokerage companies could provide trading service in bitcoin futures in those two futures markets.
A statement from the Thai SEC obtained by the Bangkok Post reads, “Since this product is under the supervision of a standardised regulatory body, a point of concern, in this case, is not about fraud or money laundering, but rather how this product has high risks.”
Do you think bitcoin futures will become a popular trading option in Thailand? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Federal energy regulators Monday rejected a Trump administration proposal aimed at shoring up struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants.
WSJ.com: US Business
The bill for the regulation of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Russia is ready. It was jointly developed by the country’s central bank and finance ministry. The regulators have shared some details of the bill including how mining activities are to be taxed.
Russian Crypto Bill Presented
The Russian Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia jointly presented the bill for the regulation of cryptocurrencies and ICOs at the finance ministry’s meeting of the public council on Thursday. The bill is expected to be adopted in March, according to the chairman of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee, Anatoly Aksakov. President Vladimir Putin has mandated the regulatory framework for both cryptocurrencies and ICOs be finalized by July 1 of next year.
The central bank’s first deputy chairman, Olga Skorobogatova, said at the meeting that the bank “does not consider and will not consider cryptocurrencies as settlement or payment means,” Tass reported.
The finance ministry has proposed defining cryptocurrencies as “other property.” Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev explained that, based on this definition, “you can buy a cryptocurrency and exchange it for other property,” including ICO tokens.
No Support for Cryptoruble
On the subject of Russia’s national cryptocurrency, the cryptoruble, “both the finance ministry and the central bank equally negatively assess the prospects for the creation and release of the national cryptocurrency,” the publication described.
Moiseev said that the finance ministry does not see the need for the cryptoruble.
Skorobogatova concurred, stating that the central bank “does not think this is advisable from the point of view of the macroeconomics of the population.” On the other hand, she revealed that “The Bank of Russia is considering the possibility of introducing a supranational digital currency within the BRICS or the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC).”
The central bank’s deputy believes that “the issue of a common cryptocurrency for a number of countries is very promising, more than that for a single nation,” RT reported and quoted her saying:
The participants of different economic events where I usually take part… all come to the conclusion the issue of a virtual currency is not needed much by one country…it makes sense to discuss the cryptocurrency on the level of several countries such as BRICS and EAEC. It makes sense to set one equivalent for all payments.
As news.Bitcoin.com reported earlier this week, the bill allows for ICOs but establishes restrictions on them. Those who are not qualified investors “will be able to purchase tokens of a certain type for an amount not exceeding 50 thousand rubles (~USD$ 869),” Tass reiterated. The ministry also suggested limiting “the maximum amount of funds raised by an ICO [to] 1 billion rubles (~$ 17.4 million).”
Regarding the ICO limits, the president of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RABIC), Yuri Pripachkin, argued that ICO fundraising should not be limited as they can “attract an unlimited amount of foreign investments to Russian projects.”
The bill presented on Thursday also contains the definition of mining and how it will be taxed, according to the news outlet. Moiseev told reporters that individual entrepreneurs and legal entities could engage in mining activities, adding that:
The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation expects to levy a mining tax by analogy with the taxation of business activities.
He elaborated that the current tax legislation will apply and the Federal Tax Service will decide if there is a volume threshold for the taxation of mining.
What do you think of this Russian bill? Do you think it will be good for the crypto community? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Experts in US securities laws say that some of Barry Silbert’s many tweets on ETC prices, as well as a recent “pro tip” he shared with a shorter, may raise red flags for market regulators in charge of preventing price manipulation.
Barry Silbert or Barry Shillbert
The continuing efforts by Barry Silbert to promote Ethereum Classic (ETC) are again coming into the public focus. We first reported about his problematic behavior and its potential regulatory implications over a year ago. Now a couple of American securities lawyers tell Reuters that they believe Silbert’s ETC cheerleading on social media may soon capture the watchful eyes of U.S. regulators.
“It is risky,” said Trace Schmeltz, a partner at the Barnes & Thornburg law firm. “I think if I were advising Mr. Silbert, I would suggest that he is better off as a cryptocurrency expert at large rather than making specific comments on one particular cryptocurrency in which he has a heavy concentration of holdings.”
Robert Long, a former senior attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and currently a partner at the law firm Bell Nunnally, said that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) considers cryptocurrencies as commodities and can “police the virtual currency markets for manipulation and other misconduct.” Long, a former federal prosecutor himself, added that the commission “could take an interest given the nature and timing of some of the statements.”
Besides Twitter, Silbert recently started using another social media platform, Discord. Publicly talking with a follower about attending a DCG ethereum classic event in Hong Kong, Silbert wrote: “pro tip: close out your ETC short before the Summit…”. This exchange specifically might be considered a form of trading advice.
Regarding Silbert’s Discord message Schmeltz commented: “If you have a fund that is issuing a security and the value of the security rises and falls with the price of a cryptocurrency and you are telling people to close their shorts in that cryptocurrency, that is a problem.” He also warned it could be “market manipulation.”
Silbert is CEO of Grayscale, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG). In April the company launched the Ethereum Classic Investment Trust whose “shares are the first securities solely invested in and deriving value from the price of” ethereum classic. It isn’t registered with the SEC, in accordance with a regulatory exemption, but is still subject to US securities laws.
Should regulators crack down on cryptocurrency influencers for pumping up their own investments? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the weed killer Roundup and one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture, likely does not cause cancer.
The assessment contradicts the conclusion of a European scientific panel as well as California…
Welcome to the latest installment of This Week in Bitcoin stuffed with all the highlights and lowlights from the past seven days. In this edition: Korea, Korea, Korea, and a handful of stories that aren’t about Korea just for some variety. In the past week we’ve also experienced another all time high (what’s new) and no major hacks – and that is new. Since we started this feature one month ago, it’s the first time there’s been no large-scale thefts to report. Can you spell progress?
Regulators Try to K-Pop the Bitcoin Bubble
Lets start with South Korea, since it drives much of the world’s cryptocurrency trading and thus what happens in the Asian nation reverberates around the world. Regulation was all around this week, not least in Korea, where officials announced a slew of measures aimed at bringing order to the house of bitcoin. Our most popular story of the week by some distance revealed news of Korean banks being obliged to distance themselves from cryptocurrencies. We said:
South Korean regulators have announced a plan to ban banks from activities involving cryptocurrencies, prompting major banks in the country to declare they will no longer issue accounts required for crypto trading. South Korea’s top bitcoin exchanges are all affected.
There were fears at one stage that the Korean government was going to lay the ban hammer on bitcoin but thankfully that didn’t come to pass. Incidentally, we try not to get self-congratulatory, but our Korean coverage this week was more extensive than that of any other news organization outside of the country. Just so ya know.
Speaking of Bubbles…
Regulators have yet to K-pop Korea’s bitcoin bubble, but should the global “bubble” burst, one app claims to be able to provide early warning so you can dump your coins, do a 360 and moonwalk away. It remains to be seen whether it works, and indeed whether it’s bitcoin that will burst or the global financial system. If it’s the latter, bitcoin might just become the world’s first impermeable bubble. Get inside while you still can, but don’t mortgage the house or sell your kids to do so.
Do that and you’re either gonna have a good time or a really bad time. Whatever the case, it’s really not worth the risk. Intriguing as that bitcoin bubble app is (created using one of this year’s overused buzzwords, AI, it didn’t make our top 10 bitcoin apps that should be on your smartphone. Like, right now.
And speaking of bubbles, someone’s created a website called Send Crypto People Tulips. Choose the percentage that the market should drop by before your designated crypto bull is sent a picture of a tulip and a snarky message while you “Relish in that fact that You Were Right™”. Fedoras doffed to whoever created that slice of smugness.
Bitcoin Gets Real
Back in the real world, Tuesday brought news that GMO employees in Japan could now claim a portion of their salaries in bitcoin, the lucky devils. Could crypto wages be the new pension funds?
Many of our most popular stories emanated from Asia this week, showing the extent to which the east is dominating the crypto markets. In the easy reading stakes, we brought news of a Chinese investor snapping up £4 million worth of Formula One cars with litecoin. Had they just waited 48 hours, they could have bought £8 million worth of F1 following litecoin’s crazy midweek run.
We examined the reasons for litecoin’s sudden success in Bitcoin Can’t Stop Breaking Things, writing:
Accelerated fees for bitcoin transactions are currently around $ 25. For the same price five days ago you could have bought a quarter of a litecoin. As the only remaining ‘cheap’ coin on Coinbase, and one of the few sub-$ 100 alts in the cryptocurrency top 10, it was inevitable that litecoin would rise sooner or later.
Bitcoin Celebrates Seven Days Hack-Free
Since Nicehash got owned last week, there hasn’t been a major breach on any bitcoin-related platforms; just the usual exchange shadiness. (Yes, Bitfinex included.) There was plenty of petty crime to report though, and evidence of an emerging trend: governments seizing bitcoin only to discover, months later, that they’re sitting on a small fortune. It feels wrong somehow, as they seem to be incapable of appreciating their good fortune or speaking kindly of the digital currency that’s just boosted their departmental budgets.
As a coda to last week’s story about a woman getting busted for ordering a deep web hitman, it’s been reported that she’s just been jailed for six years. Don’t order a darknet assassin to whack your lover. It’s just not worth it.
Thursday’s biggest stories pertained to the Israeli PM speaking of bitcoin’s inevitable rise and yet another bitcoin fork. United Bitcoin has failed to live up to its name and bring the community together, enraging critics with its proposal of repurposing coins from inactive wallets. Yep, even Satoshi will be deprived of his United Bitcoins unless he stirs from hibernation to claim them.
One More Thing…
Okay, a few more things. We’re way overlength with this week’s roundup, but blame bitcoin for being so busy. We reported on major bitcoin cash developments including Bitpay support and the first atomic swap. The pineapple fund, involving an anonymous benefactor giving millions in BTC to charity, was this week’s feel-good story.
We rounded things off on Sunday with Eric Wall’s trading column in which he recommended buy and hold strategies for 2018. As bitcoin started making eyes at $ 20k territory, it was a fine end to another fine week in bitcoin. With CME futures launching tomorrow, the stage is set for another memorable seven days ahead.
What was your favorite story this week? Let us know in the comments section below.
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It appears that South Korea is bowing out of the race for bitcoin futures trading, leaving the field wide open to the Americans and Japanese. This is not because established financial companies are reluctant to offer the new instruments in the bitcoin obsessed country, but due to another official ban.
FSC Futures Ban
After securities brokers in South Korea were already gearing up to introduce bitcoin futures trading to their clients, the country’s top financial regulators have decided to place a ban on the practice. The Financial Services Commission’s issued this directive on December 5, applicable to all the members of the Korea Financial Investment Association.
In response, Korean brokers such as eBest Investment & Securities and Shinhan Financial Investment had to cancel pre-planned client seminars for bitcoin futures trading, this according to a report by The Korea Herald.
South Korean authorities have already banned the practice of ICO, started looking into taxing bitcoin payments and established a governmental task force to regulate trading. And the local industry is not willing to take all this laying down.
Kim Jin-hwa, the former head of Korbit is reportedly working on bringing together the country’s leading bitcoin venues Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit to establish an association to represent the interests of the industry. “An entry of new technology into Korea is hamstrung by the regulation,” he told the newspaper.
The Race Is On
While South Korea might be leaving the race for now, other countries are moving full steam ahead with bitcoin futures trading.
Cboe is preparing to launch its offering on Sunday, and CME Group will follow the week after. Meanwhile in Japan the Tokyo Financial Exchange won’t be left behind for long and is now planning to launch its own bitcoin futures.
Retail brokers have already started to prepare their clients for the new exchange-traded bitcoin instruments, beginning with TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest.
What does a ban on bitcoin futures trading mean for Korean investors? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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