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South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

January 17, 2019 |

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

A regulatory working group in South Africa, which includes the country’s central bank, has released a consultation paper on crypto assets this week. According to the document, all exchanges, wallet providers, Bitcoin ATMs and payment processors will have to register with the government in 2019. 

Also Read: Bitpay Reports Processing Over $ 1 Billion Transactions in 2018

Consultation Paper on Crypto Assets

South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) jointly released on Wednesday their consultation paper on crypto assets. The group was formed to review the state of cryptocurrency in the country under the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) at the start of 2018.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper includes background on the subject and provides the scope of the activities that have been assessed. It highlights the benefits and risks, as defined by the regulators, reviews the approaches taken by other jurisdictions, and presents recommendations for dealing with crypto assets from a local perspective. The South African public and impacted parties have been asked to provide comments on the document by Feb. 15, 2019, and the regulators promise that the input will help determine the way in which crypto assets will be regulated.

Crypto Service Providers Will Have to Register

The group recommends that crypto assets remain without legal tender status and not recognized as electronic money, but they won’t be banned for now. It proposes a regulatory framework to be developed in phases, starting with a registration process for crypto asset service providers. This could eventually lead to formal authorization as a licensed operator in South Africa. Registration will be required for all cryptocurrency trading platforms, vending machines (Bitcoin ATMs), wallet providers, custodial services and payment service providers.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper also recommends that crypto asset service providers be required to comply with AML/CFT regulations under South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act. This means that the companies will have to conduct ongoing monitoring of their clients, keep records of their activities and file reports on suspicious and unusual transactions, including all cash transactions of 25,000 South African rand (around $ 1,900) and above. Details about the registration process will be published later and it is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2019.

Is this development good for cryptocurrency users in South Africa? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

U.S. Ship Sails Near Disputed South China Sea Islands in Challenge to Beijing

January 8, 2019 |

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer patrolled near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea Monday, challenging Beijing’s maritime claims there, U.S. military officials said.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

CNN

A British military base on the South China Sea is not a far-fetched idea

January 4, 2019 |

When the British defense minister revealed this week that new military bases were being considered in Asia, critics questioned whether London has the money — or strategic vision — to carry out such a plan.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

Report: 70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Shut Down in 2018

January 4, 2019 |

Report: 70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Shut Down in 2018

Chinese state television has sought to document the toll taken on South Korean cryptocurrency companies by 2018’s bear market, with Financial Channel (CCTV-2) producing a report detailing the challenges faced by Korean miners. According to the report, last year’s bear trend was further exacerbated by a 97.5 percent drop in Korean cryptocurrency premiums, driving between 70 and 80 percent of miners to desist operations.

Also Read: Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in Bitcoin 

70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Estimated to Have Ceased Operations During 2018

Report: 70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Shut Down in 2018The report discusses the start of the South Korean cryptocurrency mining industry with the operator of a mine who purchased roughly 1,000 mining rigs for generating ether while prices were approaching all-time record highs during January last year.

Financial Channel estimates that the cost of mining a single ether was roughly 214,000 Korean won (KRW) (approximately $ 190) at the start of 2018, adding that the surging altcoin markets of mid-January would see ETH trade for 2.35 million KRW each.

Despite the exorbitant profits that were on offer while prices were hovering near early 2018’s record highs, the operator estimates that four out of every five South Korean mining businesses operating at the start of the year has since shut down. “To my knowledge, 70 to 80 percent of mining farms have ceased operation, and many even declared bankruptcy,” the miner stated.

Korean Share of Global Cryptocurrency-to-Fiat Trade Drops by Half Year-Over-Year

Report: 70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Shut Down in 2018Financial Channel asserts that the challenges faced by Korean miners were compounded by a dramatic slump in the premium on cryptocurrency prices in Korea — the so-called “Kimchi premium” — from as high as 40 percent at the start of 2018 to just 1 percent today.

The report adds that as of Dec. 31, 2018, South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea, estimated that KRW pairings accounted for approximately 5.8 percent of global trade between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies, a more than 50 percent drop when compared with KRW volume as of the end of 2017.

Do you know any miners who had to cease operations last year due to falling cryptocurrency prices? Share your story in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Report: 70 to 80 Percent of South Korean Miners Shut Down in 2018 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

South African Officials Create Regulatory Working Group Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies

January 2, 2019 |

The Minister of Finance of South Africa, Tito Mboweni, explained in a letter on Jan. 2 that the region’s government has created a regulatory working group dedicated to cryptocurrencies. According to Mboweni, the working group includes representatives from multiple South African agencies and aims to produce a comprehensive regulatory response to the growing digital asset economy.

Also read: Australian Crypto Company Rapped for Paying Bounty Hunters for Glowing Reviews

South African Regulatory Working Group Aims to Provide a Cohesive Regulatory Response to Cryptocurrencies

South African Officials Create Regulatory Working Group for Cryptocurrencies
South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

The cryptocurrency economy has grown significantly in South Africa according to multiple studies conducted last year. Last November, research commissioned by the firm Luno indicated that 70 percent of South African consumers define digital currencies as an investment, with respondents also claiming to hold cryptocurrencies over the long term. The peer-to-peer exchange Paxful has seen a 25 percent increase in 2018 and Localbitcoins volumes have swelled as well. The South African government has noticed the rising trend and members of the SA Revenue Service (Sars), South African Reserve Bank, Treasury, Financial Sector Conduct Authority, and Financial Intelligence Centre have formed a cryptocurrency working group to better grasp the situation.

In a written letter to parliament, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni explained the new regulatory group will dedicate resources toward a governmental response to cryptocurrencies and the technology’s surrounding economy. Additionally, Mboweni detailed the group plans to publish a study of its findings and some of the working group’s ideas toward a unified cryptocurrency regulatory standard throughout South Africa.

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019,” Mboweni emphasized in his letter to Parliament.

South African Officials Create Regulatory Working Group for Cryptocurrencies
Research from Luno suggests 70 percent of South Africans have heard about virtual currencies, and most people have been using them as a hedge against inflation.

Mboweni: ‘Crypto-Taxation Is Still Difficult and Needs Reform’

The Minister of Finance and former Governor of the South African Reserve Bank further explained that Sars was having a hard time trying to track the number of capital profits and losses declared on cryptocurrency investments throughout the year’s collection of income tax return forms. Mboweni believes provisions must be added so South African taxpayers can declare the earnings and losses citizens record annually with these types of financial instruments.

“Work is underway within Sars to consider the amendment of the tax forms for the 2019 tax season in order to cater for the description of other assets (which will include cryptocurrencies) by means of a specific description field on the form,” Mboweni noted.

The Finance Minister continued:  

Taxpayers who have made some form of declarations regarding cryptocurrency trades have captured such trade as a form of ‘other trade income’ or ‘other trade loss’, and have made reference to a description of digital/cryptocurrency trading (e.g. bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), ethereum (ETH), zcash (ZEC) to name a few).

The recent Taxation Laws Amendment Bill of 2018 details how cryptocurrencies should be treated when it comes to filing income tax and VAT records in South Africa. Mboweni concluded that the amendments proposed in that bill would bring better efficiency to the tax office as cryptocurrencies grow more popular in the region. Further, Mboweni noted that the amendments should clarify whether or not cryptocurrencies can be classified for personal use or for taxes involving capital gains.

What do you think about South Africa’s government creating a working group to better regulate cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.  


Images via Shutterstock, and Wikipedia. 


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section. 

The post South African Officials Create Regulatory Working Group Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bills to Regulate Cryptocurrency Industry

December 31, 2018 |

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bills to Regulate Cryptocurrency Industry

South Korea’s top financial regulator has exclusively shared with news.Bitcoin.com information about six cryptocurrency-related bills that have been submitted to the National Assembly. The most recent bill seeks to protect the rights of crypto owners and to ensure the safety and reliability of crypto transactions.

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

Six Crypto-Related Bills

South Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), exclusively shared some information with news.Bitcoin.com on Thursday about various crypto-related bills that have been submitted to the National Assembly. A spokesperson for the regulator said:

There are six proposals made by the National Assembly members … [however] there is no crypto-related bill submitted by the FSC to the National Assembly.

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bill to Regulate Cryptocurrency IndustryWhile each bill contains unique proposals for crypto regulation, all of them include clauses for user protection such as damage compensation, prohibition of money laundering and market manipulation, use of nonpublic information, and disclosure requirements.

The South Korean government has not announced any follow-up measures relating to cryptocurrencies since it implemented the real-name system in January. In addition, initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been banned domestically since September last year.

First Crypto Bill

The FSC spokesperson confirmed that the first crypto-related bill submitted to the National Assembly is an amendment to the Electronic Financial Transactions Act introduced in July last year by Rep. Park Yong-jin.

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bill to Regulate Cryptocurrency Industry
Park Yong-jin.

The bill presents that, with the rapid rise in crypto transactions, users have been hacked and “investment fraud has been increasing due to multi-level sales.” Noting the lack of “definition for virtual currencies and regulations for virtual currency transactions in the current law,” it proposes definitions for virtual currency, virtual currency handling business, virtual currency brokerage business, virtual currency issuer, and virtual currency management business. The bill also proposes a few measures to protect crypto users including restricting transaction methods.

Registering With FSC

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bill to Regulate Cryptocurrency IndustryThe next two bills were submitted to the National Assembly in February. The first of the two was submitted by lawmaker Jung Tae-ok. It “institutes a virtual currency exchange system to guarantee freedom of business and protect investors,” Yonhap News Agency described.

This bill defines and proposes obligations for crypto-related entities including “virtual currency trading business, virtual currency account management business, and virtual currency assistance business,” according to the Korean government’s website. It further states:

Those who want to operate a virtual currency trading business or a virtual currency account management business shall be approved by the Financial Services Commission.

The next bill, submitted by lawmaker Jung Byung-guk, proposes to regulate cryptocurrency transactions. In addition to user protection measures, this bill seeks to require all persons in charge of a cryptocurrency transfer business — including trading, brokerage, and management — to register with the FSC.

Other Bills

South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bill to Regulate Cryptocurrency IndustryThe fourth bill submitted to the National Assembly is the Act on the Reporting and Utilization of Specified Financial Transaction Information. It was submitted by Rep. Je Youn-kyung of the ruling Democratic Party.

The fifth bill, submitted in September by lawmaker Ha Tae-keung, proposes more amendments to the Electronic Financial Transactions Act.

It calls for crypto businesses that sell, buy, broker, exchange, manage, and issue cryptocurrencies to obtain approval from the FSC. “In order to ensure the safety and reliability of the currency transaction, it is necessary to establish and implement technological, physical and administrative security measures in accordance with the standards set by the Financial Services Commission,” the bill states.

The sixth bill, submitted in November by lawmaker Kim Sun-dong, is known as the Digital Asset Trade Promotion Act. According to the text of the bill:

The purpose of this law is to protect the rights of digital asset owners and to ensure the safety and reliability of digital asset transactions and to contribute to the development of the national economy by stipulating matters concerning the transactions of digital assets.

What do you think of all these South Korean crypto-related bills? Do you think more regulations will be introduced soon? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Park Yong-jin.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post South Korea Ends Year With 6 Bills to Regulate Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Japanese stocks rally after Wall Street’s big rebound, but South Korea and Shanghai markets drop

December 27, 2018 |

An incredible day on Wall Street, where major indexes finished at least 5 percent higher, lifted Japanese stocks but received a mixed reaction in the rest of Asia on Thursday as some traders returned from a Christmas break.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rebounded 3.9 percent to 20,077.62. It tumbled…


L.A. Times – Business

South Carolina girl, 7, who spoke to Trump about Santa says she still believes

December 26, 2018 |

The child who President Trump queried about their belief in Santa Claus has been identified as a 7-year-old South Carolina girl who, yes, still believes in jolly old St. Nick.
FOX News

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA Program

December 23, 2018 |

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA Program

A major business school in South Korea is now offering a master’s degree in cryptocurrency. Crypto MBA is a one-and-a-half-year program that covers topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, smart contracts, crypto funds, Dapp planning, game theory, and how to write persuasive whitepapers. Meanwhile, the government is working on follow-up crypto regulations.

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

Crypto MBA

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramSeoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies, often known as Assist, announced on Friday that it is now offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The new course is “a master’s degree program in blockchain, cryptoeconomics and token economy courses from technological, cryptoeconomic and business strategic perspectives,” the school described.

Claiming that it has “launched the world’s first crypto MBA course for a business graduate school,” Assist wrote:

The mission of Assist business school’s Crypto MBA program is to remedy the lack of academic research and systematic education currently available in the industry, despite a high level of social interest in the blockchain and cryptocurrency.

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramThe professional graduate school has been offering master’s degrees and doctorate degrees in business administration since 2004. Its website claims that the school “has been evaluated as the no. 1 graduate school for business administration,” noting that large corporations such as LG Electronics, KT, Doosan Infracore, and Korea Electric Power Corporation continuously use its courses.

Crypto Curriculum and Regulation

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramAccording to Friday’s announcement, “The curriculum includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, smart contract, cryptology, EOS, deep learning and system dynamics mechanisms. The cryptoeconomics curriculum consists of digital currency studies, microeconomics, macroeconomics, behavioral economics and theory on currency finance, game theory and mechanism design.” In addition, students will learn about “management mechanisms, strategic statistics, digital financial accounting, digital marketing strategies, crypto funds, Dapp planning and writing strategy for the persuasive whitepaper.”

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramThe South Korean government is currently working on additional crypto regulatory measures following the implementation of the real-name system in January. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been banned domestically since September last year. However, a number of lawmakers have introduced several bills to regulate them.

Recently, a fintech startup filed a complaint with the country’s constitutional court alleging that the government’s ICO ban is unconstitutional.

Crypto Classes on the Rise

While Assist offers an actual MBA degree in crypto, a growing number of business schools worldwide have added crypto classes including Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Mcdonough School of Business. Cnbc previously reported that these top schools “are expanding classes in digital currency and blockchain to keep up with demand from students and their future employers.”

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramStanford’s business school, ranked number one globally by the Financial Times this year, added a course called “Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technologies.” The school’s website describes, “The course covers all aspects of cryptocurrencies, including distributed consensus, blockchains, smart contracts and applications. We will focus in detail on Bitcoin and Ethereum as case studies.”

Wharton, ranked number one by Forbes, added a class in the fall called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology,” while Georgetown offers an elective that teaches topics such as the history and evolution of fintech, blockchain technology, and their applications.

What do you think of the Crypto MBA program? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Assist, and the South Korean FSC.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA Program appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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