Zář 04

Anger At Call For Congress To Place ‘Effective Ban’ On Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin proponents have reacted angrily to what they warn is a fresh attempt to make US Congress ban public cryptocurrencies.


Murray: US Should Treat Miners Like Banks

As financial news outlet Business Telegraph reported, on September 3, an expert witness went before lawmakers to argue miners on blockchains such as Bitcoin’s should face full banking-style regulation. 

David Murray, vice president for product development and services at Financial Integrity Network, referred to miners as “virtual asset transaction validators.”

“At minimum, virtual asset transaction validators should be required to govern participation in their validation systems, with well-designed programs for vetting the issuers, exchangers, and custodians that they serve,” he testified.

Murray was speaking within the context of a debate which aimed to address international human trafficking. 

He singled out Bitcoin in particular as part of a financial phenomena group which allegedly exacerbate the problem. These, he said, should fall under the jurisdiction of the Bank Secrecy Act. 

A Bitcoin Ban ‘Couched As Regulating’

The idea of making miners identify network participants is impossible, critics said, as Bitcoin’s blockchain by design makes reliance on a centralized validator redundant.

Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin Center, argued Murray was simply trying to ban the ‘unbannable.’ 

“It’s couched as regulating but what it would be is an effective ban on American persons or businesses using open blockchain networks because it would require them to use it on a permissioned basis,” he told CoinDesk following Murray’s testimony.

In a report for Coin Center in March, Van Valkenburgh took on the idea of applying the Bank Secrecy Act.

“Regulating cryptocurrency software developers and individual users of that software under the Bank Secrecy Act would be unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because it would be a warrantless search and seizure of information private to cryptocurrency users,” he summarized.

Echoes of the FATF

As Bitcoinist reported, efforts to force identity requirements on decentralized networks have already met with disbelief this year. In June, intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommended member states do so for parties involved in cryptocurrency transactions worth over $1000. 

The idea, which over 200 countries should technically implement, sparked an immediate backlash. Authorities, sources said, still could not understand that a cryptocurrency transaction was not like a banking one. 

“The people trying to understand Bitcoin are not consulting with anyone who actually understands it and who can put it into a proper context,” Akin Fernandez, CEO of Bitcoin onboarding service Azteco, stated at the time.

What do you think about David Murray’s testimony? Let us know in the comments below!


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Zář 03

Int’l Finance Watchdog Appoints Japanese Cryptocurrency Regulator

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has appointed Ryozo Himino, Japan’s top cryptocurrency regulator, as the new head of its Standing Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Cooperation.


FSA Cryptocurrency Regulator Joins FSB

In a press statement issued on Monday (September 2, 2019), the international financial system watchdog announced Himino’s appointment.

According to the press statement, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) executive will serve a two-year term starting from September 2019.

Himino is taking over from Norman Chan — the head of Hong Kong’s Monetary Authority. For the FSB, Himino’s appointment is based on his experience in international policy regulatory matters, especially with respect to cryptocurrency.

As part of the FSA, Himino reportedly played a significant role in shaping Japan’s approach to regulating cryptocurrency exchanges. The FSA was the first financial regulator of a major economy to introduce clear-cut regulations for the industry.

Many of these regulatory policies have centered around the safe custody of customer funds by exchange platforms.

Despite these efforts, Japanese exchanges continue to be a target for hackers with many high-profile cases including the Coincheck affair, where more than $500 million in NEM tokens were stolen.

Himino has also been at the forefront of Japan’s efforts to galvanize the G20 in adopting streamlined cryptocurrency regulatory policies. Robust anti-money laundering (AML) laws are a major focus on the considerations around crypto governance.

The intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has also released guidelines on how countries should oversee their local crypto industries from an AML compliance point of view.

As at the end of 2018, cryptocurrency-related money laundering accounted for less than 2% of total money laundering cases in Japan.

Focus on Facebook’s Libra

According to local Japanese media outlet Excite News, Himino’s new position at the FSB will focus on the regulation of Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency.

Reports indicate that the FSB wants Himino to leverage his experience in drafting robust laws that will govern Libra’s operations in the 24 nations that follow its guidelines.

The Libra project continues to attract heavy criticisms from stakeholders in the mainstream finance sphere.

On Monday, Yves Mersch, executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB) described the Libra project as the “siren call of treacherous promises.” According to Mersch, Facebook’s “cartel-like” Libra will severely hamper the ECB’s ability to determine monetary policy in the region.

What do you think Himino’s appointment will do for the state of cryptocurrency regulations on the international stage? Let us know in the comments below.


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Čvc 29

Australia Wants To Limit Cash Payments Not Cryptocurrency

Draft legislation from Australia’s Department of Treasury has proposed limits on cash payments exceeding $10,000. Interestingly, cryptocurrency is not negatively mentioned in the document.


Australia Moves to Limit the Size of Cash Payments

Australia’s Department of Treasury recently published a new set of preliminary guidelines that govern the size of cash-based currency payments. The draft legislation proposes that a “payment limit of $10,000 for payments made or accepted by businesses for goods and services”.

The draft further stipulates that “transactions equal to, or in excess of this amount would need to be made using the electronic payment system or by cheque.” 

In 2018 the Treasury Department’s  Black Economy Taskforce proposed that implementing limits on currency transfers would significantly assist with combating tax evasion and other criminal activities. 

Cryptocurrency Makes the Exceptions List

The proposal also provides a detailed list of situations under which payments are not subject to the cash payment limit:

  • payments related to personal or private transactions (other than transactions involving real property);
  • payments that must be reported by an entity under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation, provided, broadly, the entity with a reporting obligation complies (or is reasonably believed to have complied) with their obligations under that legislation;
  • payments made or accepted by a public official in which the public official is legally required to make or accept cash payment in the course of their duties;
  • payments that exceed the cash payment limit because the payment is part of a transaction involving collecting, holding or delivering cash and this is undertaken in the course of an enterprise of collecting or delivering cash
    (i.e., providing cash-in-transit services);
  • payments that only exceed the cash payment limit because payment is or includes an amount of digital currency; and
  • payments that occur in situations where no alternative method of payment could reasonably be used.

Interestingly, one will note that cryptocurrency is not listed as a form of payment in need of additional oversight or restrictions. Typically, cryptocurrency is synonymously looped into discussions and legislation focused on illicit activity, money laundering, and terrorist funding.

In this case, cryptocurrency as a payment option falls under the second exception setting “payments that must be reported by an entity under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation.” As is common knowledge, the majority of major cryptocurrency exchanges have complied with the government’s requirement that exchanges implement adequate know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) processes. 

Australia Believes Crypto Needs Room to Grow

Section 9 of the draft legislation provides greater clarity on digital payments, along with the specifics of their exemption from the cash payment limit. According to a document released by the Department of Treasury: 

Digital currency is a new and developing area in the Australian economy. Unlike physical currency, it does not have a firmly established regulatory framework or industry structure. This makes it difficult to apply the cash payment limit in a way that would not largely prevent the use of digital currency in Australia or significantly stifle innovation in the sector.

At the same time, there is little current evidence that digital currency is presently being used in Australia to facilitate black economy activities. Given this, the Government has decided at the present time to effectively carve digital currency out from the cash payment limit.

This position will remain under ongoing scrutiny to ensure that the exemption for digital currency payments remains appropriate in light of the current use of digital currency in the Australian economy.

The Department of Treasury website clarified that the draft was “released for public consultation” and the government is planning to implement the cash payment limit starting on 1 January 2020. The public is encouraged to submit opinions to the consultation and all inquiries must be submitted by August 12, 2019. 

Do you think limits on the size of cryptocurrency payments should fall under the command of Australia’s Department of Treasury? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


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Čvc 19

Bitcoin Still Legal In India; Crypto Regulation in Works

Bitcoin will remain legal in India while the government works on regulations, a minister has said in new positive comments on the fate of the industry.


Finance Minister: Bitcoin Regulations Coming

Responding to a request for clarity on the state’s view of cryptocurrency, Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, firmly denied any token was illegal. 

The comments contradict the content of an alleged draft law which surfaced last week, which outlined plans for a blanket ban on cryptocurrency and prison sentences for its use. 

The document, which appeared online from a local lawyer, appeared to form the basis of the queries to Thakur, who nonetheless did not refer to its contents explicitly.

“No, Sir,” he replied when asked whether the government “has prohibited cryptocurrency.”

“Taking note of the issue, the Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary (EA). The IMC has submitted the Report to the Government,” he continued.

As Bitcoinist reported, India continues to find itself in a state of flux after highly-mixed messages from authorities and the central bank. 

In July 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) forbade banks from serving cryptocurrency businesses, resulting in shutdowns for some and exodus overseas for others.

The draft bill, which has not seen recognition, made further reference to the creation of a digital rupee, which its author or authors said would become India’s only legally-allowed domestic digital currency. 

The industry has meanwhile sought to overturn the RBI ban via the courts, a process which appears to have run into multiple delays. 

‘Careful Steps Forward’

Summarizing, Thakur struck a cautious tone, signaling that existing rules applied to cryptocurrency while Delhi thrashed out new regulations.

“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies. Hence, all concerned Departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, etc. take action as per the relevant existing laws,” he confirmed.

“Similarly, police/courts take action on IPC offenses. Further, in view of the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrencies, Government and RBI have been issuing advisories, press releases, and circulars to the public.”

His words saw a warm welcome among the local cryptocurrency industry, with Nischal Shetty, CEO of exchange WazirX, saying the government was taking “careful steps forward.”

The government saw direct backlash when the draft law emerged, with investor Tim Draper openly calling it “pathetic and corrupt” for allegedly suggesting the ban.


What do you think about the latest comments on bitcoin from India? Let us know in the comments below!


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Čvc 10

Singapore to Exempt Bitcoin from Goods and Services Tax

The U.S. is increasingly running the risk of being left behind other nations unless its authorities soon address issues surrounding Bitcoin. One of the main problems facing the cryptocurrency is tax treatment. In this regard, Singapore is now taking the lead.


Singapore to Exempt Bitcoin from Goods and Services Tax

Several countries, such as Japan and Switzerland, are already taking action to boost the growth of their crypto industry.

Most recently, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), acknowledging the importance and growth of crypto assets, proposed legislation to exempt cryptocurrencies from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), also known as value-added tax (VAT). The IRAS e-Tax Guide (Draft), dated July 5, 2019, highlights,

“Global development and growth in the use of cryptocurrencies have caused tax jurisdictions to review their GST position on cryptocurrencies transactions. Similarly, IRAS has reviewed its GST position to keep up to date with these developments.”

The new tax treatment would take effect on January 1, 2020.

In contrast, U.S. tax authorities seem to be aiming to stifle the nascent crypto industry with stricter controls. As award-winning writer Adriana Hamacher reports, “The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposes electronic surveillance to weed out Bitcoin tax evasion.”

The IRS to Update its Bitcoin-related Guidance

A few members of the U.S. Congress are becoming increasingly aware that the U.S. is falling behind other countries in the crypto industry. As a result, some of them are now considering bills aiming to clarify legal questions surrounding cryptocurrencies and thus stimulate the development of this new industry.

Presently, the U.S. IRS considers Bitcoin and all other all cryptocurrencies as property for U.S. federal tax purposes. Buying Bitcoin is not a taxable transaction.

However, paying with Bitcoin to buy something else is considered a sale of Bitcoin, such as the sale of a property. Consequently, it is a taxable event. The IRS notice IR-2018-71, issued on March 23, 2018, states,

“Virtual currency transactions are taxable by law, just like transactions in any other property.”

This tax treatment might soon change. Some policymakers are pressuring the IRS to update its 2014 guidance on cryptocurrencies, which according to the Wall Street Journal, could happen within weeks.

Taxes and the imposition of stringent regulations certainly disincentivize any budding industry.
Thus, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are hopeful that the forthcoming IRS guidance update will consider adequate tax incentives to stimulate the growth of the American crypto industry.

Do you think Singapore’s proposal to exempt Bitcoin from the GST, and the forthcoming IRS guidance update will impact Bitcoin’s value? Let us know in the comments below!


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Čvc 06

New Bitcoin Tax Rules To Boost Crypto Market Growth

According to the Wall Street Journal, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is expected to update its guidance on Bitcoin tax treatment within weeks. In the meantime, members of the U.S. Congress fear that the U.S. is falling behind other nations in the crypto industry. This fear is prompting them to consider bills to clarify legal issues surrounding cryptocurrencies and thus propel the development of the crypto industry.


Is a Bitcoin Tax Exception Within The Realm of Possibility?

Under pressure from lawmakers, the IRS is expected to update its 2014 guidance on cryptocurrencies within the next few weeks, according to the WSJ.

Presently, the IRS refers to Bitcoin and other crypto assets as “virtual currencies.” And it considers them to be an asset or property.

According to the IRS Notice 2014-21, Bitcoin is a convertible virtual currency. However, contrary to real currencies, virtual currencies have no legal tender status.

This is about to change, depending on how the IRS updates its Bitcoin-related guidance. In a letter addressed to Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) the IRS indicated that the guidance update, “would address methods for calculating taxes ‘and other’ issues,” the WSJ reports.

Some Lawmakers Are Acting To Level Bitcoin Playing Field

The U.S. is lagging behind in the global crypto industry race, as regulatory burdens and the lack of legal clarity are stifling innovation. As a result, some U.S. lawmakers are getting worried and pushing for legislation that would stimulate the growth of the crypto industry.

These lawmakers are aware that other countries are ahead of the U.S in the industry. For example, Japan and Switzerland already have in place regulatory frameworks to attract new projects and investments. Thus, Facebook preferred to incorporate the Libra group in Switzerland instead of the U.S.

Bitcoin supporters expect that U.S. legislation will avoid classifying cryptocurrencies as securities in order to facilitate the advancement of Bitcoin-friendly rules.

In effect, in April 2019, the 116th Congress (2019-2020) introduced The Token Taxonomy Act of 2019 that would require the SEC to amend the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to exclude crypto assets from the definition of a security. The change of the definition is a prerequisite,

“To adjust taxation of virtual currencies held in individual retirement accounts, to create a tax exemption for exchanges of one virtual currency for another, to create a de minimis exemption from taxation for gains realized from the sale or exchange.”

The IRS defines a de minimis as follows: “In general, a de minimis benefit is one for which, considering its value and the frequency with which it is provided, is so small as to make accounting for it unreasonable or impractical.”

Additionally, Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, and Science, and Transportation introduced the Blockchain Promotion Act of 2019, on February 26, 2019.

One of the purposes of the Blockchain Promotion Act is to exempt nonfinancial businesses using blockchain from being classified as money transmitters.

The Blockchain Promotion Act would also direct the Secretary of Commerce to set up a working group to study blockchain technology and subsequently determine a consensus-based definition of blockchain technology. At the introduction of the Bill, Senator Young said,

“Blockchain has the potential to be a catalyst for sustained economic growth across all industries in America. If America leads in its development, we can ensure that its benefits will be shared far and wide. Blockchain has the potential to not only provide financial and economic benefits at home, but humanitarian and social support in developing countries will benefit from American leadership.”

How do you think the IRS guidance update, the Token Taxonomy Act of 2019, and the Blockchain Promotion Act will impact Bitcoin’s value? Let us know in the comments below!


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Čvn 23

CZ on India Bitcoin Ban: The more it’s banned, the more people want it

With bitcoin currently trading at a $500 premium in India, Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), argues that the nation’s decision to outlaw cryptocurrencies is only driving more people towards decentralized assets.


Binance Contests India Bitcoin Ban

Binance CEO, CZ, posted a tweet this week commenting on India’s latest anti-bitcoin bill, which seeks to dish out jail sentences to anybody caught holding cryptocurrencies.

The head of the world’s largest centralised crypto exchange argued that the newly proposed changes to ban cryptocurrencies will only serve to make “more people want it”.

This has become increasingly evident over the last couple of days, as Bitcoin’s spot price on Bitbns platform – one of the few remaining bitcoin exchanges in India – has been reportedly trading at around $11,120 . This price is more than $500 higher than the average BTC price in other markets across the world, and is currently $450 higher than Binance’s BTC spot price.

This substantial premium compared to the rest of the market highlights the overwhelming demand for BTC in the country.

Bitcoin Premiums On the Rise

Premiums aren’t a strange occurrence for cryptocurrencies in general, and only last week a $160 Bitcoin premium was identified on a Hong Kong exchange, Tidebit, as reported by Bitcoinist.  But the situation in India is particularly peculiar, given the government’s increasing anti-crypto stance. With fewer avenues to purchase bitcoin, the increasing scarcity and rising demand appear to be rocketing up prices.

$500 Bitcoin Premium India

Bitcoin continues to be the poster child for a real life manifestation of the Streisand effect – where the more people that try to suppress it, the greater it grows. Despite numerous efforts from Indian lawmakers to restrict cryptocurrency adoption in the country, it appears the appeal of the top-ranked cryptocurrency hasn’t stopped growing.

This broadening appeal has even moved beyond retail speculation into mainstream institutional adoption.

What’s Causing the Indian BTC Premium?

But why would there be an increase in demand for BTC in India? Well, the country’s government has stepped up its capital control policies in a bid to protect the Indian Rupee (INR). However, with the country’s rising debt profile and growing inflation, the exact opposite of the desired outcome in terms of INR stability seems to be the case.

Bitcoin, therefore, constitutes a haven currency for Indians to store wealth in case the INR loses value significantly.

Indians do not have easy access to cryptocurrencies in general. The country’s central bank banned commercial banks from facilitating transactions for exchanges back in 2018 so platforms have no access to fiat.

Despite a vigorous challenge instituted against the policy, the Supreme Court has yet to reach any verdict. Banks have even gone further to close down the accounts of customers engaged in cryptocurrency trading.

The emerging digital crackdown even goes beyond bitcoin with reports of platforms like Telegram and Reddit being blocked in the country. Some banks have even reportedly ceased offering support for PayPal payments.

Cease Crypto Trading or go to Jail

India is even preparing to pass a law that completely bans all forms of cryptocurrency activity in the country. This new law will reportedly prohibit the trading, holding, and mining of cryptocurrency.

Anyone caught in contravention of the law would face a 10-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Such a move would even place India above China in terms of anti-crypto regulations.

Projects like Facebook’s Libra might not be allowed to operate in India given the country’s banking laws which prohibit banking networks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. Crypto stakeholders in India say the government’s stance will only drive the industry underground.

Will Modi’s government be able to ban bitcoin completely in India? Let us know in the comments below.


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Bře 21

Switzerland Moves Forward to Fit Cryptocurrency Into Traditional Regulations

 The Federal Assembly of Switzerland has voted in favor of putting cryptocurrency on equal footing as traditional assets.


A Hesitant Vote

99 members of the National Council, Switzerland’s lower house of the Federal Assembly, have supported a motion to put forward proposed regulations by liberal public representative Giovanni Merlini. 83 people voted against, while 10 refrained from voting at all.

The proposed regulations will now have to be considered by the Council of States, which is the Federal Assembly’s upper house. Switzerland’s Federal Assembly is the country’s legislative authority.

Per the proposed regulations, the existing legislation of both administrative and judicial authorities should be adapted and applied to cryptocurrencies as well.

While making his proposition, Merlini argued that:

Cryptocurrencies could be issued to anyone with a decentralized, cryptographic-based peer-to-peer data network. A large part of the cryptocurrencies is completely anonymous, which favored extortion and money laundering.

It’s worth noting that this narrative has little support given Europol’s assessment from late 2018. Reads Europol’s Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment:

The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups has only involved low-level transactions — their main funding still stems from conventional banking and money remittance services.

Surprising Move?

Merlini’s arguments, as well as the proposed regulations, seem somewhat surprising given the country’s pro-cryptocurrency stance. The country classifies virtual currencies as assets and it has fairly relaxed regulatory burdens and low entry barriers.

In December, the country’s finance minister Ueli Maurer said that instead of coming up with new cryptocurrency-specific regulations, the Federal Assembly will be adapting existing ones to fit the needs of the industry.

Following the motion’s approval, however, Maurer, stated that the proposal has gone further than the scope of the planned regulations.

Former UBS Bankers Raise Funds for Innovative Bank in Zug

Arguments have also been made against the motion, as it had failed to clarify how and if there are measures to be taken to mitigate any risks.

Additional doubts have been raised whether cryptocurrency trading platforms “should be equated with the financial intermediaries and subjected to Switzerland’s Financial market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Switzerland’s progress in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, on the other hand, can’t be unnoticed. Earlier this week, Bitcoinist reported that the country’s biggest online retailer started accepting bitcoin for payments on their platform.

What do you think of the latest move by Switzerland to approve regulatory changes proposed by Merlini? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Bře 09

US Regulators Should Give Bitcoin Some Breathing Space

The voices of a growing number of influential politicians and innovators are more loudly proclaiming the importance of preserving the United States’ supposed lead in the cryptocurrency industry. 


‘The US Cannot Afford to Lose Its Place as the Front-Runner in Crypto’

The importance of maintaining world technological supremacy is gaining momentum. In the United States, defenders of innovation and job creation are pushing for giving Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies some breathing space.

In this regard, Thomas W. Hodge, Senior Associate Attorney at Brock & Scott PLLC and founder of Crypto and Policy, argues that the US has always nurtured the growth of new technologies entering the market. “We foster its growth rather than stifle it with burdensome regulations,” he said, adding:

Today there are many new technologies on the horizon: artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and perhaps most importantly, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, which will change the way we conduct our lives — from banking to voting […] Simply put, the United States cannot afford to lose its place as the front-runner in crypto.

To this end, Hodge joins the congressman for Minnesota, Tom Emmer, in asking to not stifle free market competition and have government regulatory bodies to provide transparency on their regulatory intentions.

Hodge hopes for renewed leadership in the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and changes at the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). According to Hodge, these developments will encourage cryptocurrency companies “to continue to drive innovations in ‘fintech’ around the world.”

‘The SEC Must Open Its Doors to Innovation’

At the SEC, key officials are moving towards improving the treatment of crypto technologies. For some time, Commissioner Hester Peirce has been proposing to open the SEC to innovation and free enterprise. She complains:

[W]e regulate an industry that is a key gatekeeper for progress and productivity in the rest of the economy.

Specifically, Pierce calls for an innovative and improved regulatory framework that is more adaptable to the cryptocurrency industry.

As the 2020 U.S. presidential election approaches, crypto enthusiasts are eager to spot Bitcoin-friendly candidates and to know how their policies will foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Already, one candidate has declared he will be accepting campaign donations in cryptocurrencies. Andrew Yang is a presidential candidate and proponent of a universal basic income. He recently announced that he accepts donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and any other cryptocurrency complying with the ERC20 standard, as well as Venmo payments.

Do you think the US government should foster the growth of the crypto industry to maintain technological supremacy? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! 


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Úno 28

Japan Police: 98.3% of Money Laundering Cases Don’t Involve Cryptocurrency

Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) say cases of suspected money laundering reportedly linked to cryptocurrency increased by 900 percent in 2018 when compared to the previous year. However, this still comprises only 1.7 percent of all money laundering investigations.


Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Up Tenfold in Japan

According to The Japan Times, the NPA reports that it recorded 7,096 cases of suspected cryptocurrency money laundering. This figure represents a tenfold increase from the 669 cases reported between April and December 2017.

Back in early December 2018, the NPA released a report stating that alleged cases of cryptocurrency money laundering for the year stood at almost 6,000. At the time, the period accounted for was between January 2018 and October 2018.

Since Q2 2017, regulators have required cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan to report instances of suspected illegal virtual currency transactions. This move was part of a whole host of reforms targeted at combating illicit activities carried out via digital currencies.

The NPA says many of the suspicious transactions involved multiple accounts with different bio-data information but using the same photo ID. Other cases involved accounts using foreign IPs even though details of the accounts show listing addresses based in Japan.

According to the NPA’s figures, the increase in crypto-related money laundering is indicative of a general rise in illegal financial transactions across the board in 2018. The NPA says it recorded more than 417,000 cases of alleged money laundering, an increase of over 17,000 from 2017.

Also, the percentage of crypto-related money laundering in the general reckoning has also increased. In 2018, 1.70 percent of money laundering was from cryptocurrency transactions compared to 0.16 percent in 2017.

Robust KYC/AML/CFT Rules to the Rescue

In August 2018, reports emerged that the NPA was set to commit more than $300,000 to develop a tracking software for cryptocurrency transaction. The NPA plans to implement this tool as a way of combating the rise of cryptocurrency theft and other illegal transactions.

FSA Japan

As reported by Bitcoinist in January 2019, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations on cryptocurrency will come into effect by Q3 2019. These regulations which center around KYC/AML protocols will apply to the G20, of which Japan is a member.

Experts believe such international standards will hinder the ability for criminals to launder money via cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) continues to implement stricter regulatory standards for cryptocurrency exchanges based in Japan.

Do you think the introduction and enforcement of KYC/AML regulations will curb money laundering? Let us know your thoughts below!


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