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In a “move likely to be controversial,” Japanese regulators have granted an operations extension for an aging nuclear reactor similar to the ones at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that melted down following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Reuters reports. The 40-year-old Tokai Daini reactor, which was also damaged in 2011,…
Chevron Corp. has agreed to pay a nearly $ 3-million fine and spend $ 160 million on environmental improvements and upgrades of oil refineries to resolve allegations that it violated pollution laws, federal officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. Justice Department said the agreement ends investigations…
The California Public Utilities Commission approved an increase in exit fees charged to customers who buy electricity from government-run community choice programs rather than traditional utilities such as Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.
After reviewing two competing exit…
Korean lawmakers are increasingly pushing for the regulation of initial coin offerings (ICOs) with multiple bills currently pending at the National Assembly. This includes a proposed amendment to the Electronic Financial Transactions Act. Meanwhile, the Korean Blockchain Association has also come up with its own set of guidelines for crypto exchanges and ICOs.
Five Crypto-Related Bills
It has been about a year since initial coin offerings (ICOs) were banned in South Korea, but the government has yet to introduce a set of guidelines for them.
There are more than five crypto-related bills pending in the National Assembly, Chosun wrote on Friday. In addition, lawmaker Park Yong-jin of the Democratic Party has proposed an amendment to the Electronic Financial Transactions Act, which would regulate cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, the publication added.
Representative Ha Tae-kyung said last week that ten lawmakers who worked on this bill are pushing for the government to lift the ban on ICOs. The bill proposes definitions of crypto-related businesses such as trading, brokerage, and management.
Furthermore, ICO issuers must ensure that their tokens adhere to certain standards and obtain approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) before launching ICOs, Asia Economy TV explained. Chosun added that with the FSC being part of the process, it will “strengthen the stability and credibility” of the crypto industry.
At a National Assembly meeting on Tuesday, the FSC was questioned about its ICO policy.
“Min Byung-doo, a Democratic Party member asked [the FSC about] the possibility of a change in the government’s policy on the ICO ban,” the Korea Economic Daily reported. He explained that a number of other countries such as the U.S., Switzerland, and Singapore have embraced ICOs.
Responding to Min’s question, FSC Chairman Choi Jong-ku emphasized that “The current policy of banning ICOs has not changed,” adding:
We are investigating the side effects of initial coin offerings (ICOs) from cases in overseas countries.
After token sales were banned in September last year, local companies have been fulfilling their needs abroad in countries which allow ICOs, such as Singapore and Switzerland.
The Korean Blockchain Association unveiled its self-regulatory guidelines for crypto exchanges and ICOs at a blockchain event in Seoul on Tuesday, Asia Economy Daily reported. The association has been trying to enforce self-regulation on its members that are crypto exchanges.
The association’s chairman, Chin Dae-je, detailed that an ICO will be permitted after the group has examined the feasibility of the project by reviewing its whitepaper, the publication conveyed. The whitepaper must include information such as project name, services, investors, technology sources, schedules, and investment risks. In addition, the token issuer must collect “only transparent funds” from identified investors.
Also in the guidelines is an exchange registration system, a capital requirement of more than 2 billion won (~$ 1.77 million), listing criteria, fee disclosure requirements, a complaint management system, and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements.
Do you think South Korea will regulate ICOs soon? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSC.
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Following the hack of Zaif, one of Japan’s regulated crypto exchanges, the country’s financial regulator immediately responded, launching an emergency inspection of the exchange and a survey of all other crypto exchanges. Finance Minister Taro Aso has also commented on the situation. In addition, the recently established self-regulatory body has asked all exchanges to inspect their systems.
FSA Launches Emergency Inspection
Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has responded to the hack of Zaif, one of its regulated crypto exchanges. Japan only has 16 exchanges registered with the FSA.
Zaif announced on Thursday, Sept. 20 (Japan time), that it was hacked on Sept. 14 but noticed the breach on Sept. 17. The exchange claims that at least 5,966 BTC were stolen and estimates the total damage to be approximately 6.7 billion yen (~US$ 60 million). Other than BTC, it believes that some BCH and MONA were also stolen.
Following Zaif’s announcement, the FSA immediately launched an emergency inspection of the exchange, according to local media. The Mainichi Shimbun reported:
The FSA inspected the company’s base in Osaka on the same day in order to confirm the circumstances…We will examine in detail the [exchange’s] safety management system etc.
The news outlet added that “On the same day, the Financial Services Agency launched a simultaneous survey on the customers’ property management situations of all virtual currency exchange operators.”
The Japanese regulator is still dealing with the aftermath of Coincheck’s hack in January when hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$ 534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM. Since then, the agency has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges, including on-site inspections. Last month, it revealed the result of the inspection of 23 crypto exchanges which shows many problems.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso was quoted by Nikkei speaking at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Sept. 21 (Japan time):
It is regrettable that virtual currency of about 6.7 billion yen leaked from illegal access from the virtual currency exchange company Tech Bureau…There is a problem with [its] system and governance…We will grasp the actual situation and conduct administrative responses necessary for user protection.
Third Business Improvement Order
Following Zaif’s hack announcement, Reuters reported that the FSA is considering issuing a third business improvement order to Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif. The firm has already received two business improvement orders: one in March and another in June. However, the news outlet noted:
Even with repeated administrative sanctions, strengthening of the [exchange’s] internal control system did not proceed.
The Sankei Shimbun quoted an investigator saying, “I am overly concerned about [Zaif’s] security,” noting that the situation could “repeat the same thing as [the] Coincheck incident.”
Response From Self-Regulatory Body
The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) has also issued a statement regarding the hack of Zaif. The association is a self-regulatory body whose members are the 16 registered crypto exchanges including Tech Bureau.
“Although the situation is unknown at this time, our association will also request the company to take measures necessary for user protection, such as protection of user property and prompt disclosure of information,” the president of the association, Taizen Okuyama, announced on Sept. 20. He added:
Also, in order to avoid the same situation, the association [has] requested all members to conduct emergency inspections of [their] virtual currency management systems.
A number of crypto exchanges in Japan have made announcements about their own systems after the news of Zaif’s hack spread.
“In light of the recent theft of assets from Tech Bureau Corp., we have conducted an immediate inspection of our asset management systems. We detected no signs of unauthorized activity,” Bitflyer claims. Japan’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume has stopped accepting new customers since it received a business improvement order from the FSA in June.
GMO Coin, the crypto subsidiary of Japan’s internet giant GMO, has made an announcement in response to customer inquiries about the possibility of theft from its platform. The exchange wrote:
We check customer balances and the balance of the virtual currency kept by our company every business day, and also check [for] the existence of theft and spill in the process of sorting and storing customers’ virtual currency and our own virtual currency separately…we have confirmed that there is no problem even today and in the past confirmed results.
Another crypto exchange, Bitpoint, has notified its customers that it has “carried out urgent re-inspections and confirmed that no illegal outflow of virtual currency is taking place and that there are no problems with security measures.”
What do you think of how the Japanese regulators respond to Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, Zaif, and Money Partners.
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The parliamentary report published by the UK Treasury Committee has advocated for regulation of the “wild west” crypto-assets sector. The report criticizes the “ambiguity” of the current stance of UK regulators, arguing that with effective regulations, the United Kingdom could become a “global center” for the emerging cryptocurrency sector.
Treasury Committee Criticizes UK Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance
The recent UK parliamentary report into cryptocurrencies has found the current “ambiguity of the UK Government and regulators’ position [regarding crypto-assets] is clearly not sustainable.”
The report states that “Crypto-assets, and most Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), are currently not within the scope of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation,” and as such, “Crypto-asset investors are currently afforded very little protection from the litany of risks, namely there are no formal mechanisms for consumer redress, nor compensation.”
The Treasury Committee advocates “strongly” that “regulation should be introduced,” proposing, “At a minimum, regulation…address[ing] consumer protection and Anti-Money Laundering (AML).”
U.K. Has Potential to Become “Global Center” for Crypto-Assets
The report asserts that “In deciding the regulatory approach, the Government and regulators should evaluate the risks of crypto-assets, and assess whether their growth should be encouraged.”
“If growth is favored,” the Committee continues, “regulation could lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market, including the move toward a more mature business model and increased liquidity.”
The report emphasizes that “If the UK develops a proportionate regulatory environment for crypto-assets, the UK could be well placed to become a global center for this activity.”
“Consumer Warnings” Comprise “Feeble Corrective” to Misleading ICO Adverts
The parliamentary report also argues that the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has insufficiently responded to “misleading adverts” for initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The Committee asserts that “The advertisements of both ICO issuers and crypto-asset exchanges are not regulated by the FCA. One-sided adverts imply that the crypto-asset market will only go up, and that anyone can make a lot of money easily.”
The report describes “The FCA’s consumer warnings” as comprising “a feeble corrective to such misleading adverts,” concluding that “The regulator needs more power to control how crypto-asset exchanges and ICOs market their services.”
What do you make of the UK parliamentary report’s findings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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In recent news pertaining to cryptocurrency exchanges, Australia’s financial regulators have expressed skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported trade volume, Paysend has partnered with Bitstamp to facilitate cryptocurrency purchases through its Global Account, and Seed Cx has announced a $ 15 million USD Series B funding round.
Australian Regulators Skeptical of Purported Coinjar Volume
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Jordan Michaelides, Coinjar’s head of institutional investment, expressed his frustrations with the slow pace at which he perceives Australia’s regulatory institutions to be reacting to innovation within the crypto sector – claiming that the exchange facilitated $ 1.4 billion AUD (approximately 1.07 billion USD) in trade volume during the first half of 2018.
In response, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) expressed skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported volume, with a spokesperson stating: “Tracking the actual industry is even newer than the sector itself, […] aspects of the volume of transactions can be quite opaque, and you could imagine some of the claims by participants might warrant a certain skepticism.”
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) appears to share ASIC’s skepticism, with a spokesperson stating: “AUSTRAC does not monitor or collect information that allows us to quantify total transaction volumes by a reporting entity or industry.”
Seed Cx Announces $ 15 million Series B Funding Round
Chicago-based Seed Cx has announced a $ 15 million USD Series B funding round. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and brings the company’s total funding to $ 25 million.
Edward Woodford, Seed CX’s co-founder and CEO, stated: “As a licensed exchange for both spot and derivatives trading, we deliver the operational risk safeguards, strong institutional technology, operational support, and regulatory compliance that institutions demand. What is particularly exciting is that our unique offering brings large institutional traders, who have so far sat on the sidelines, into the crypto space for the first time.”
Salil Deshpande, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures, stated: “Institutions are seeking regulated, secure, and reliable crypto venues with diverse products that allow them to earn strong returns. Today, trading venues are retail focused, limited to spot trading, often unregulated, and in foreign jurisdictions. The lack of institutional exchanges is the single largest barrier to crypto asset class growth. Seed Cx is serving this unmet need of institutions and has assembled an outstanding team of executives to support this vision.”
Paysend Partners With Bitstamp to Compete With Revolut
Paysend has launched it’s “Global Account” – a product designed to compete with Revolut. The app will allow users to spend and transfer money via mobile app and debit card. The app supports EUR, GBP, USD, RUB, and KZT, and provides access to the cryptocurrency markets on Bitstamp – owing to a partnership between the two companies.
Paysend’s head of product, Alex Murashko, stated: “We are quite different from both a technical infrastructure and consumer offering viewpoint. We own and control our own processing and this gives tremendous ability and flexibility to deliver a wide variety of services whilst controlling the entire consumer journey.”
Mr. Murashko continued: “[…] We believe in simplifying the consumer experience so that instead of feeling like they are bombarded with a long list of features they have available a focused group of benefits.”
What is your response to ASIC and AUSTRAC’s skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported trade volume? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Paysend
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The Securities and Exchange Board of India has sent officials to Japan, the UK, and Switzerland to study cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings from each of the three countries’ financial regulators. The securities watchdog aims to engage with international regulators and gain a deeper understanding of their crypto mechanisms and systems in order to improve its own process.
Officials Sent to Japan, UK, and Switzerland
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) revealed in its annual report 2017-18 that it sent some officials to three countries to study how the regulators there deal with cryptocurrencies.
The report explains,“SEBI on a regular basis enables study tour of SEBI officials to overseas authorities. These study tours help engage with the international regulators and gain [a] deeper understanding of the systems and mechanisms.” The securities watchdog noted that in the past, it “has benefited a lot from these experiences and the knowledge transfer helps improve the processes within SEBI.”
For the fiscal year 2017-18, the regulator detailed:
SEBI organised study tours to Financial Services Agency (FSA) Japan, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) UK, and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) Switzerland to study initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.
RBI Also Observes Foreign Regulators
SEBI is not the only Indian regulator to pay attention to other jurisdictions. Recently, the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), published its annual report for 2017-18 with a section on cryptocurrency. After referencing how a few foreign regulators deal with crypto, the central bank wrote:
On a global level, regulatory responses to cryptocurrency have ranged from a complete clamp down in some jurisdictions to a comparatively ‘light touch regulatory approach’…Japan and South Korea account for the biggest shares of crypto asset markets in the world.
The RBI also confirmed it is “keeping a close watch on cryptocurrency,” reiterating that it issued a circular, banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses.
When the circular was issued in April, Quartz quoted Shubham Yadav, co-founder of Indian crypto exchange Coindelta, commenting that “several firms are looking at registering their head offices out of India.” The news outlet added that these locations include Singapore, Switzerland, Estonia, Malta, Japan, Dubai, and the Cayman Islands.
Crypto Regulations in India
The Indian government has been working on cryptocurrency regulations. According to Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, the proposal was supposed to be ready in July. Garg heads the panel, set up in December last year, tasked with proposing crypto regulations. However, it was reported earlier this month that the regulations are unlikely to be ready before the year-end.
Meanwhile, the country’s supreme court is hearing all petitions against the central bank’s crypto banking ban on September 11. SEBI will also be at the hearing. The crypto industry is hopeful that the court will lift the ban imposed by the RBI.
What do you think of SEBI sending officials to learn about crypto from regulators in Japan, the UK, and Switzerland? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, RBI, and SEBI.
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PR: Brock Pierce and Company Will Bring Together Exchanges, and Regulators Around Spanish Crypto Summit FuturamaAugust 24, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.
Brock Pierce, considered to be the center figure of cryptocurrency culture, tweeted about an upcoming event that will have all blockchain lovers, raving to go, or as crypto enthusiasts would say, ‘Futurama to the moon!’
The event is none other than the Futurama Blockchain Innovators Summit, known to create ripples in the cryptocurrency community, and this time it’s in Europe. After a very successful debut in Dubai, it heads to Ibiza.
The event’s success is ensured by world famous Venture Funds, Crypto Exchanges and companies:
- Bithumb World’s first-ranked cryptocurrency exchange
- Coinsbank Full-fledged cryptocurrency platform and brand new Blockchain Cruise host
- ENS Consultants Futuristic software development and outsourcing company
- Bitinka The quickest exchange platform for top range cryptocurrencies
- DNA Capital The most helpful fund which encourages Blockchain Startups
They need no introduction
What’s unique about Futurama is that their organizers managed to realize something that no other had been able to do before – to bring in the representatives of key exchanges, state officials and regulators, even with their super busy schedules, to provide guests with an exclusive three-day opportunity of priceless networking.
Representatives from the largest cryptocurrency exchanges like Bithumb, Coinsbank and Bitinka, and the most powerful lawmakers such as Malta’s Chris Ellul and Jersey’s Chris Griffin will debate about centralized vs decentralized exchanges.
Futurama Blockchain Innovator’s Summit in Ibiza has a lineup of extravagant personalities who can be witnessed on centre stage – from Bitcoin Foundation Chairman Brock Pierce to the real sector giants like Huawei. Roger Ver, the world’s first investor in Bitcoin startups, Crystal Rose, tech-savvy entrepreneur, and Miko Matsumura, investor of Pantera Capital ICO Fund are just a few of the names from 30+ TOP speakers that will later be revealed.
Work and Play the Perfect Combination
Even the most sophisticated attendees will be very impressed by the entertainment collection: a welcome party by Coinsbank, known for their brand new cruises, a remarkable ELROW tech-house performance, and a sci-fi SteamPunk party. Can’t get better than this, except the fact that guests will fast forward into an even more radical Future Matrix Party.
Business aspects of the conference will begin with an opening remark followed by the Shark Tank like contest between distinguished ICOs that will compete for a chance to get listed on top exchanges, receive investments, and have a lineup of advisors ready at their disposal.The key topics will be dedicated to critical issues of in the crypto industry such as the role of centralized exchanges in the decentralization movement, the battle of crypto jurisdictions, and the future of exchanges on blockchain.
The Summit will conclude with a tranquil Sunset Cruise sure to relax you as you float by the glorious Ibiza coastline. Choose from six separate vessels that will take you on one of the most memorable sea excursions.
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