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Swiss Regulator: Crypto Assets Need 800% Risk Weighting In Absence Of Formal Rules

Swiss financial regulator has informally signaled cryptocurrency investments should have a risk weighting ratio of 800 percent of the original amount.


FINMA Highlights Bank, Dealer Queries

According to local news media outlet Swissinfo, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) revealed the figure in October in response to a query by trustee and accountant association EXPERTsuisse.

In the letter, dated October 15, FINMA suggested it had come under pressure to provide clarity on the issue from banks and associated players, but the requisite regulatory guidelines were yet to appear.

Swiss Based

“FINMA has recently received an increasing number of inquiries from banks and securities dealers holding positions in cryptoassets and are subject to capital adequacy requirements, risk distribution regulations and regulations for the calculation of short-term liquidity ratios,” Swissinfo quotes it as stating.

Switzerland has several years’ experience of formal integration of cryptoasset-based products in its banking sector, has taken a proactive role in creating a supportive legislative environment for the new instruments.

At the same time, Swissinfo notes, FINMA can only give ballpark figures until all-encompassing formal statutes are set in stone by the international adjudicator Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

A decision may come as soon as the Committee’s next meeting at the end of November.

‘No Impact’

In the meantime, cryptoassets should be “assigned a flat risk weight of 800% to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book,” the letter continues.

According to sources commenting on the situation, the 800 percent figure is high, but not prohibitive.

SEBA, a startup which in September raised $103 million to build a cryptocurrency bank in the country, said the recommendation “had a limited impact on its business model.”

“It’s encouraging to see banks no longer turning down the increasing number of client requests for crypto services but asking for guidance and providing their input along the way,” lobby group the Bitcoin Association Switzerland added to Swissinfo.

What do you think about FINMA’s recommendation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Danske Bank’s $235B Money Laundering Tops Entire Cryptocurrency Market Cap

Danske Bank, the Danish lender at the center of a giant Russian money laundering scandal, illegitimately processed more cash than the entire cryptocurrency market cap combined.


One Bank, $235 Billion

The astonishing figure, noted on social media by Morgan Creek Digital founder and partner Anthony Pompliano this weekend, comes as the true extent of the banking sector’s latest revelation remains unknown.

Danske laundered a reported $235 billion through just one of its branches in Estonia over an eight-year period, according to claims.

This week, the bank appointed an interim CEO in the form of its current Danish operations head Jesper Nielsen after abruptly firing extant boss Thomas Borgen.

Commenting on Twitter, Pompliano appeared to suggest the episode should give renewed faith to cryptocurrency investors subdued by criticism of the industry or sustained low prices.

“REMINDER: A single bank location at one bank laundered more money than the entire market cap of cryptocurrencies,” he wrote. “Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers.”

At press time, the combined cryptocurrency market cap totaled $223 billion, slightly down on previous levels seen over the past few days.

Pots And Kettles

Danske had meanwhile taken a highly hawkish stance on cryptocurrency. Before the laundering scandal broke, a dedicated statement implored customers not to invest in the industry at all.

“…Most importantly, the lack of transparency and regulatory control have made cryptocurrencies a target for criminal purposes and we know that they on several occasions have been involved in criminal transactions like money laundering or extortion,” the statement reads, striking a now grimly ironic tone.

As a financial institution, we have an obligation to assist in the fight against financial crime and money laundering. At the current stage, cryptocurrencies do not offer the sufficient level of transparency in order for us to live up to our obligations within anti money laundering regulation.

The hypocrisy of the bank’s views is nothing new. Rabobank, the Dutch lender which found itself at the center of a money-laundering scandal involving its operations on California, had gone as far as to refuse accounts to Bitcoin businesses. This, it said, was down to “compliance risks.”

What do you think about Danske Bank’s money laundering? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Twitter/@APompliano.

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Poland Bitcoin Community Files Complaint Against Bank Account ‘Denials’

Poland’s cryptocurrency industry lobby group the Polish Bitcoin Association (PBA) confirmed it has complained to regulators about banks’ denial of services to businesses June 27.


Banks ‘Aim To Remove Virtual Currency’

In a statement sent to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP), the PBA cites financial institutions closing and denying bank accounts as proof they “clearly aim at removing virtual currency entities from the market.”

Poland continues its chequered history regarding cryptocurrency, which still lacks official laws but faces a de facto ban on ICOs.

The government has sought to change the situation, various media outlets note, but its position appears to jar with that of the country’s banking sector.

The PBA claims a total of fifteen institutions refused an account to 52 cryptocurrency-related businesses, and closed the accounts of a further 25.

Of these, mBank, Poland’s fourth-largest banking group, refused nine accounts and closed three.

Poland The Black Sheep

“…The effects of the banks’ actions described clearly aim at removing virtual currency entities from the market, despite the fact that such activities are legal and conducted with dignity,” the complaint states.

In view of the above, action by the regulators is necessary, and this notice and its requests are fully substantiated.

Last month saw local cryptocurrency exchange operator BitBay suspend all activity in Poland and relocate to Malta, copying a move by industry heavyweight Binance in March. Its motive also appeared to be banking difficulties.

The situation differs increasingly from neighboring Lithuania, where a concerted effort to formalize the cryptocurrency and ICO sector has been underway this year.

As Bitcoinist reported this week however, the country’s progressive stance on crypto is not without its problems.

Banking sources have expressed concerns about Russian capital entering the local economy, something which is undesirable, a central bank board member said.

Lithuania released formal ICO guidelines in June, the government announcing the “brave new” cryptocurrency economy was “here to stay.”

What do you think about Poland’s banks’ stance on cryptocurrency businesses? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Čvn 01

Six Russian Banks Lose US$25.7m To Hacker Collective

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Hacker Collective

According to Russian news sources, over US$25.7m has been stolen from Russian banks. This has nothing to do with yet another Swift network breach, though. A hacker collective is involved in the creation and distribution of malware, used to steal money from Russian bank accounts.

Also read: Sandjacking iOS Exploit Threatens Bitcoin and Ethereum Wallets

Earlier today, Russian law enforcement officials have arrested fourteen people of an undisclosed hacker collective. All of these people are suspected of being involved in the usage of malware to steal funds from Russia bank accounts. Preliminary results indicate more than US$25.7m has been taken. The Russian Federal Security Service has also confiscated a lot of computer equipment, combined with financial documents, bank cards, and cash sums.

The Rising Number of Hacker Collective Threats

 

A total of six banks has been affected by this hacker collective, including the Russian International Bank, Metropol, and Metallinvestbank.The attacks took place between March and April of 2016, although no specific dates were announced. All of these banks suffered from remote access attacks, which were made possible due to the distribution of malware.

Kaspersky Labs has indicated the hacker collective made use of the Lurk banking trojan. Doing so allowed the assailants to steal funds from bank accounts in both Russia and other countries. Lurk has been a powerful tool in the hands of the wrong people, as it has been used for over five years by hackers looking to sluice funds to offshore accounts.

It is not the first time these types of attacks take place in Russia, though. Damages caused by hackers and internet criminals have exceeded US$45m over the past year. Especially the number of attacks against financial institutions seems to be increasing exponentially. Since mid-2015, law enforcement has tracked 18 different incidents, resulting in over 3 billion rubles being stolen.

At the same time, several attacks have been prevented from causing even more damage. If that had not been the case, there would have been an additional US$30 million in damages, according to TASS. After thorough investigations, over 50 hackers have been arrested, and more than 80 searches have been conducted so far.

What are your thoughts on the rising number of cyber attacks against banks? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: TASS

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

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Six Russian Banks Lose US.7m To Hacker Collective

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Zimbabwe Banks Lack Cash Reserves To Honor Customer Withdrawals

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Zimbabwe

The country of Zimbabwe is not associated with financial stability by any means, yet things have taken a turn for the worse. Now that cash supplies are nearly non-existent, banks have to turn customers away. An excellent breeding ground for Bitcoin adoption, or will a different solution save the country?

Also read: Industry Report: Dr. Satoshi, BitPay Launches Bitcoin Debit Card

Zimbabwe Runs Out Cash

Even though various countries around the world are contemplating to go cashless in the future, running out of cash is not what most of them have envisioned. Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, that is exactly what happened. Not that this is a complete surprise, mind you, as the country has been using various foreign currencies since the collapse of their own fiat currency in 2009.

Especially the US Dollar has been a focal point for Zimbabwe, but due to their slump in global commodity prices and lower exports, not enough funds is coming in. As a result, local banks have started to turn away customers looking to withdraw cash, simply because they have no reserves to meet the demand.

For the time being, the central bank is looking to print bond notes, which would be tied to the US Dollar value kept in the country’s reserves. Moreover, withdrawals will be limited to US$1,000 per day, and people are advised to use either Euros or South African rand. That latter is not a viable option either, though, considering the rand lost 20% of its value compared to the US Dollar in the past twelve months.

This goes to show that central banks cannot continue to create money out of thin air to solve their financial problems. Yet that is exactly what the Zimbabwe central bank is doing, as they issue a brand new currency to temporarily alleviate some of the financial pressure. At the same time, they limit how much of it can be used by consumers on a daily basis, though, which will not help stabilize the economy in the long run.

Bitcoin could resolve these financial issues as well, although there is no guarantee consumers and enterprises see the value of this cryptocurrency just yet. Solving a financial crisis does not happen overnight, but Bitcoin is ready to be embraced by Zimbabwe if they want to offer consumers a financial ecosystem that is not bogged down by central bank dominance.

What are your thoughts on the situation in Zimbabwe? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: CNN Money

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

The post Zimbabwe Banks Lack Cash Reserves To Honor Customer Withdrawals appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Zimbabwe Banks Lack Cash Reserves To Honor Customer Withdrawals

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