Category: crypto regulations

Pakistani high court orders government to regulate crypto in three months

Pakistani high court orders government to regulate crypto in three months

The High Court of Sindh (SHC), the highest judicial body in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, has asked the government to come up with modalities for cryptocurrency regulation.According to Pakistani English daily The Express Tribune, the SHC gave the instruction while hearing a petition brought before the court challenging the legality of the country’s 2018 crypto ban.The SHC instructed regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the central bank to work with government agencies such as the Ministries of Information Technology and Law to develop crypto regulations within three months.As part of the proceedings, the SHC also requested that a report on the steps taken to regulate cryptocurrencies be submitted in the same time period.As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the SECP has been considering crypto regulations since November 2020.Combating money laundering and terrorism financing is reportedly at the heart of government consultation surrounding cryptocurrencies especially amid pressure from the Financial Action Task Force.The SHC’s instruction on Wednesday puts Sindh as the latest province to demand some form of recognition for cryptocurrencies in Pakistan.Back in December 2020, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly called on the federal government to legalize crypto. At the time, the lawmakers pointed to the broad-based nature of digital currency adoption as an indication that cryptocurrencies were poised to replace fiat in the future.Related: Pakistan’s central bank is ‘carefully studying’ CBDCs, says governorIn March, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, another of Pakistan’s four provinces, announced plans to pilot crypto mining farms in the region.Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), like many other central banks across the world, is also studying central bank digital currencies.In a separate crypto-related case before the Lahore High Court involving stakeholders such as the SECP, the SBP and the federal government, the court asked for participants to present legal points on the matter in subsequent proceedings.Lahore is the capital of Punjab, another of Pakistan’s four provinces.

Estonia Considers Revoking Crypto Licenses as Government Mulls Tougher Regulations

Estonia Considers Revoking Crypto Licenses as Government Mulls Tougher Regulations

Authorities in Estonia are working on new legislation expected to stiffen the rules for the country’s cryptocurrency sector. The Baltic nation’s regulator for the industry is considering whether to revoke previously issued crypto licenses and restart authorization from scratch.
Licensed Crypto Companies Register Millions in Turnover, Estonia Gets Little
With only around 1.3 million people, Estonia is one of the least populated member states of the European Union and the Eurozone. However, the small nation has become a magnet for a large number of crypto companies attracted by the friendly regulatory regime it established a few years ago.
These firms process transactions for more than 20 billion euros, equal to over 40% of the cross-border transfers in the local banking sector, according to an interview with Matis Mäeker who heads the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Only one in 10 companies has a bank account in the country.

The Estonia-licensed crypto businesses have at least 5 million customers around the world, Mäeker revealed speaking to the Eesti Ekspress newspaper. He added that more and more often the anti-money laundering agency identifies entities that have almost nothing to do with Estonia and its market.
Many of them neither invest nor create jobs in the country, the official remarked. Their only aim is to acquire an Estonian license allowing them to process serious amounts of money, from which Estonia does not receive anything.
The FIU executive said that if officials in Tallinn had been able to predict the risks associated with crypto companies back in 2017, they would not have allowed the ensuing explosive growth. “Definitely the decision would have been different. We are learning… the entire world is learning,” he commented for Bloomberg.

Head of FIU Supports Rescinding All Crypto Licenses
Since late 2018, the government in Tallinn has been tightening its regulations for the crypto industry. Authorities have so far revoked around 2,000 licenses issued to crypto service providers such as exchanges and wallet operators.
Earlier this year, officials indicated they were planning to introduce even stricter regulations. A new bill has been drafted by the Finance Ministry and is currently being discussed with other institutions. The legislation is likely to introduce higher capital requirements and annual audits for crypto companies along with due diligence thresholds on transaction volumes.
Matis Mäeker wants to go even further. Asked what the government should do, he told Eesti Ekspress that Tallinn has to “turn the regulation to zero and start licensing all over again,” agreeing with the publication that authorities should revoke all permits and issue new ones. The FIU chief said:
We will toughen our supervision, we will toughen our approach which concerns the market entry.
Later, the Financial Intelligence Unit told the crypto news outlet Forklog that it is not considering an automatic cancelation of all previously issued licenses for crypto-related activities. The agency added that it supports the upcoming regulations which will also increase its own powers in the authorization process.
Do you expect Estonia to adopt new tougher licensing rules for crypto companies? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Right-wing Indian group calls for stricter crypto regulations

Right-wing Indian group calls for stricter crypto regulations

Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS — a right-wing Hindu nationalist society — has urged India’s government to pursue crypto regulations “in the larger interest of society.”According to Asian News International, the RSS chief made these remarks during his speech marking the celebration of the Hindu festive Dussehra.Despite numerous reports of looming crypto bans, the narrative from government sources has been that stakeholders prefer to create a framework for regulating the market.A coalition of pro-crypto entities was even able to secure a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a previous ban imposed by the central bank that prevented banks from offering services to cryptocurrency exchanges.Bhagwat’s comments come amid reports of increasing crypto popularity in India despite the lack of a clear-cut regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and numerous reports of a possible ban on virtual currencies.In September, Cointelegraph reported that Indian crypto exchanges were preparing targeted advertising campaigns in preparation for the festive season. However, such content might need to adhere to ad disclaimer policies that educate viewers about the risks involved in cryptocurrency investments.This growing crypto popularity has also reached India’s entertainment sector with Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan launching their own cryptocurrencies or endorsing major exchanges in the country.Related: Indian central bank remains anti-crypto, affirming ‘no change’ in its stanceBhagwat’s stance could indicate a conservative repudiation of the spreading crypto acceptance among the more liberal segments of India’s society.Indeed, the RSS chief also took streaming platforms to task for failing to censor some of their content from underage viewers.Bhagwat claimed drug abuse was on the rise and that the money circulating in these markets was being used to promote “anti-national activities.”

Binance continues push to become regulated crypto exchange with new hire

Binance continues push to become regulated crypto exchange with new hire

Crypto exchange giant Binance has hired Mark McGinness, former head of international relations at the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), as its chief regulatory liaison officer.According to an announcement issued on Thursday, Binance stated that McGinness will contribute to the company’s push toward better relations with regulatory bodies across the globe.Indeed, McGinness is the latest Binance hire with expertise in regulatory compliance and engagement with financial regulators. Before his stint with the DFSA, McGinness was also the head of international relations at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.The former DFSA executive has also held advisory positions at the International Monetary Fund.In a conversation with Cointelegraph, McGinness stated that he plans to leverage the experiences gained and relationships cultivated during the course of his career to improving Binance’s standing with regulators, adding:“I am looking forward to bringing this experience to Binance where I shall be working with these industry leaders and policymakers to assist not only in setting best practice and regulatory frameworks but also in broadening their understanding of the blockchain and crypto industry.”Commenting on McGinness joining the Binance compliance team, the company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, identified the former DFSA executive’s 30 years of experience working with regulators and other policymakers around the world.Zhao called McGinness’ appointment “a huge step forward” for Binance, especially as the business tries to navigate a stricter crypto regulatory climate.Related: Binance hires former IRS-CI special agent to head intelligence divisionAs previously reported by Cointelegraph, Binance has been forced to discontinue several crypto trading services in many jurisdictions around the world. In September, Binance blocked fiat deposits and spot crypto trading services for users in Singapore. The platform has also stopped offering crypto futures trading in Australia.The exchange giant continues to be the subject of significant scrutiny from state agencies, many of which say Binance is not licensed to operate in their respective jurisdictions.McGinness told Cointelegraph that Binance maintains a long-term commitment to the industry and is keen to create a “sustainable ecosystem around blockchain technology.”“In addition to localizing our operations and business to comply with local regulations, we are striving for productive dialogue with regulators so that we can formulate best practices and regulations that are for the long-term benefit of all participants,” McGinness wrote to Cointelegraph.Earlier in October, reports emerged that Binance may situate its headquarters in Ireland. The exchange has been the subject of “globe-trotting” accusations by critics who say the platform’s actions are indicative of attempts to circumvent regulatory provisions.

VC firm a16z pursuing crypto lobbying push in Washington

VC firm a16z pursuing crypto lobbying push in Washington

Anthony Albanese, chief operating officer of Andreessen Horowitz’s (a16z) crypto division, and Katie Haun, general partner at the firm, are among a high-powered delegation from the venture capital giant who will engage with lawmakers and administration officials in the United States on crypto regulations.According to CNBC on Wednesday, the move is part of efforts by the Silicon Valley-based VC outfit to promote favorable regulation of the emerging Web 3.0 ecosystem.Speaking to CNBC, a16z global policy chief Tomicah Tillemann decried the broken state of the current Web 2.0 status quo. According to Tillemann, Web 3.0 offers an alternative to the challenges posed by the issues in today’s internet.In a Web 3.0 policy document issued on Wednesday, the VC firm argued for better regulatory standards for the new internet paradigm, stating, “The easiest way to lose out on all of this potential is to treat web3 as if it were a monolith,” adding:“Policymakers should focus on calibrating regulatory activities to the specific applications and their associated risks. Treating all digital assets the same is like having a single regulatory framework for stocks, real estate, cars, art, watches, and trading cards. We need policy that’s fit for purpose.”Related: Former CFTC brass joins Andreessen Horowitz as an advisorA16z’s current lobbying efforts for digital technology and Web 3.0 come amid fears of stringent policy measures that industry stakeholders say could derail America’s ability to establish itself in the expanding digital economy.Crypto has come in for some negative comments from policymakers in Washington, with the prevailing rhetoric being that digital assets require more regulatory oversight.Indeed, a16z joined the push against plans to enact stringent regulatory measures targeted at self-hosted crypto wallets earlier in the year.Back in August, a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen called crypto a “fundamental technological breakthrough.” As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Silicon Valley VC firm launched the largest crypto venture fund valued at $2.2 billion at the time. The fund has since grown to reach a $3.1 billion valuation.

Sri Lanka Appoints Committee to Draft Digital Currency Policy, Seeks Crypto Investments

Sri Lanka Appoints Committee to Draft Digital Currency Policy, Seeks Crypto Investments

In preparation to regulate its fintech space, the government of Sri Lanka has established a special committee tasked to formulate the country’s policy on digital banking and crypto-related activities. The committee comprises professionals from the public and private sectors.
New Committee to Propose Rules for Blockchain Industry in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan authorities have unveiled the composition of а newly established committee of experts gathered to formulate the nation’s policy in three key areas related to cryptocurrencies, the local Daily Mirror reported on Saturday. The members are expected to present regulations for entities operating in the digital banking, blockchain, and cryptocurrency mining industries.
According to an announcement by the Government Information Department, the professionals involved in the project are Viraj Dayaratne, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, Rajeeva Bandaranaike, CEO of the Colombo Stock Exchange, and Dharmasri Kumarathunge, director of payments and settlements at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The team also includes Jayantha Fernando, chairman of the Sri Lankan Data Protection Law Drafting Committee, Sandun Hapugoda, director of Mastercard Sri Lanka, T.G.J. Amarasena, who is the chief executive of the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team, and political activist Milinda Rajapaksha. Sujeewa Mudalige, managing partner of PwC Sri Lanka, will chair the committee.

The experts, representing both government institutions and private companies, will help Sri Lanka to draft laws, rules, and regulations that will allow the country to attract investments into the digital banking and blockchain technology sectors as well as to create conditions for crypto mining enterprises in the country. The information department elaborated:
The necessity of developing a system that integrates digital banking, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency mining and other essential services has been identified to facilitate the creation of a digital business environment.
According to the report, Digital Technology and Enterprise Development State Minister Namal Rajapakse has played a leading role in setting up the committee. Rajapakse, who is also responsible for development projects’ coordination and monitoring, sought the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to appoint the body’s members.
The upcoming regulations will allow the Sri Lankan Board of Investment to take the necessary steps to facilitate the said crypto industry investments. The move comes despite the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) maintaining a cautious approach towards cryptocurrencies. In April, the monetary authority issued a notice warning about the associated risks as crypto investing and trading spiked around the world and in the South Asian nation.
Do you think the Sri Lankan government will create a business-friendly environment for crypto companies in the country? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Iranian Lawmakers Oppose Crypto Restrictions, Call for Supportive Regulations

Iranian Lawmakers Oppose Crypto Restrictions, Call for Supportive Regulations

Members of the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, have voiced concerns over Tehran’s restrictive policies towards innovations such as cryptocurrencies. Following the release of a study recommending a new approach towards the crypto industry, the lawmakers have called for the adoption of friendlier regulations.
Iranian MPs Urge for Change in Crypto Policies After Research
Some parliamentarians in Iran have set out to change the government’s regulatory attitude towards cryptocurrencies, citing opportunities to use them to improve the nation’s sanctioned and troubled economy. “Taking a restrictive approach only pushes innovative solutions underground,” the spokesman of the Majlis Economic Commission, Gholamreza Marhaba, told Iranian media. Commenting on the results of the research on the matter carried out by the commission, he also stated:
Our studies show that 50% of crypto activities are in the informal market. This is while supportive regulations can help enhance contribution of the digital currency to the economy.
The authors of the report, which was presented in the Iranian legislature last week, are recommending a new approach to regulating the cryptocurrency industry, the English-language newspaper Financial Tribune reported. They believe the sector can contribute to Iran’s economy suffering from decades of foreign sanctions and mismanagement.
Under current government rules, crypto mining is legal in Iran for entities authorized by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade. The minting of digital coins was recognized as an industrial activity in 2019. However, the trading of crypto assets isn’t tolerated and Iranian authorities have been cracking down on local exchanges with a notable exception — banks and licensed moneychangers are allowed to use digital currency mined in Iran to pay for imports.
Hadi Nejad Beigi, another member of the Majlis, noted that the administration of former president Hassan Rouhani had been reluctant to legalize crypto trade, fearing it would attract private investment. However, the growing popularity of bitcoin among Iranians prompted lawmakers to prepare a draft law which, while proposing to ban the use of cryptocurrencies in payments, at the same time aims to support mining and regulate trading.

Crypto Mining Can Help Iran to Expand Its Power Generation Capacities
According to the study, cryptocurrency mining can solve some problems facing the Iranian energy sector, including financial issues. That’s why the lawmakers have suggested that the government should allow miners to buy electricity through the Iran Energy Exchange or even directly from local and foreign producers. They have also put forward a proposal to introduce “barter deals” in which mining companies can pay for the subsidized energy they use with the digital currency they mine, selling it “at reasonable rates set by the Central Bank of Iran.” Beigi emphasized:
I think there are solutions. We need a mechanism to link the crypto miners and power plant owners.
A colleague of his, Ehsan Arkani, added that by promoting the development of crypto mining, Iran can accelerate the rehabilitation and expansion of its power plants. He also highlighted the potential use of cryptocurrencies to evade U.S.-led economic sanctions. “Cryptos are becoming an inseparable part of the global financial industry,” Arkani pointed out, stressing that “Policymakers need to be aware of this technology so that we can make benefit from it.”
The energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining has been blamed for electricity shortages and blackouts across Iran during the hot summer months. This spring, then-President Rouhani announced a temporary ban on the activity for authorized miners while the number of shut-down, illegal crypto farms has now exceeded 5,300. Last month, Iran’s state-run power utility, Tavanir, said restrictions should be lifted on Sept. 22 as energy demand goes down with temperatures.
Calls to legalize and properly regulate the Iranian crypto industry have been mounting this year. In May, the Iranian parliament urged capital market regulators to create efficient investment vehicles for legal crypto trade. Then in June, the country’s economy minister warned the government could not interfere with the development of crypto technologies for too long. And in mid-August, the country’s securities watchdog said the Central Bank of Iran should address the use of cryptocurrency by the Iranian people.
Do you think Iran will establish a more supportive regulatory regime for crypto companies in the future? Share your expectations in the comments section below.

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BBA pushes for crypto regulatory clarity in Massachusetts

BBA pushes for crypto regulatory clarity in Massachusetts

The Boston Blockchain Association, or BBA, together with Boston-based media house Media Shower and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, are working to lobby for favorable crypto regulations in Massachusetts.According to a release issued on Monday, the BBA in collaboration with Media Shower and the Chamber of Digital Commerce has released a crypto regulatory toolkit for lawmakers in the state.Dubbed the Massachusetts Edition of the Legislator’s Toolkit for Blockchain Technology, the document reportedly aims to guide the state’s policymakers toward enacting laws that will benefit the cryptocurrency industry within the Commonwealth.The policy document reportedly covers five core recommendations for crypto-related legislative actions including tax laws, regulatory sandboxes, and the creation of a working group to study blockchain technology.Legal and regulatory sandboxes often provide a suitable environment for crypto startups to begin early operations without being burdened by onerous laws and guidelines.According to the announcement, the policy document is similar to the Texas Edition of the toolkit developed by the Texas Blockchain Council.The crypto regulatory toolkit comes as Massachusetts lawmakers are considering three cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused pieces of legislation including Senate Bill 200, which is aimed at studying novel tech and its areas of application.Related: Massachusetts regulator seeks to revoke Robinhood’s broker-dealer licenseCrypto policy toolkits by industry proponents are becoming a regular feature of the dialog between blockchain groups and policymakers. These interactions are often aimed at smoothening regulatory concerns to prevent the establishment of unfavorable crypto laws.Indeed, the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) stated back in March that several provisions of the European Commission’s Markets in Crypto Assets regulations could be disadvantageous for smaller cryptocurrency startups.As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the World Economic Forum published a policy toolkit for decentralized finance regulations back in June.

Central Bank of Iran Should Regulate Cryptocurrencies, Securities Watchdog Says

Central Bank of Iran Should Regulate Cryptocurrencies, Securities Watchdog Says

With bitcoin mining being a regulated activity in Iran, the head of the country’s securities and exchange regulator believes the central bank has to turn its attention to cryptocurrencies. The regulator is ready to consider accommodating crypto trade when digital assets are regulated.
Capital Market Regulator to Look Into Crypto Trading if Central Bank Regulates Cryptocurrencies
Iran’s Securities and Exchange Organization (SEO) has no immediate plans for hosting cryptocurrency trade in the country’s capital market but that may change if cryptocurrencies are properly regulated. That’s according to a statement by Mohammad Ali Dehqan who heads the authority.
Quoted by the Ibena news agency and the English-language Iranian business daily Financial Tribune, Dehqan noted that government rules for the mining of cryptocurrencies are currently the only crypto-related regulations. He further insisted:
Use of the mined cryptocurrency by the people is what the CBI should be dealing with.
The SEO official pointed out that as the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has not made a specific announcement regarding the use of cryptocurrencies, digital currency trading in the Iranian capital market is not possible at this stage. However, Mohammad Ali Dehqan also emphasized:
We will look at the issue if the Central Bank of Iran regulates cryptocurrencies.

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