Category: Regulation

Nigerian Agency Refuses Blockchain Start-Up Application — Says Tech Not Recognized by Government

Nigerian Agency Refuses Blockchain Start-Up Application — Says Tech Not Recognized by Government

Nigeria’s company registration agency, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), reportedly rejected an application for registration by a start-up on the basis that blockchain is yet to be recognized by the Nigerian government.
Decision Disappoints Blockchain Community
According to a report, the unnamed start-up, which is building an API connection for blockchain gaming rewards, was told the agency will only process the application once the reference to blockchain technology is resolved. The CAC reportedly wrote: “Blockchain is yet to be recognised by the Nigerian government, kindly expunge.” As expected, the decision has angered some members of Nigeria’s blockchain community.
One of those expressing their disappointment with the CAC is Adedeji Owonibi, the founder and COO at Convexity, a blockchain incubating hub. As the report by Cryptoassetbuyer explains, Owonibi’s displeasure with the agency stems from the fact that CAC is one of the 27 institutions in Nigeria that are supposed to implement the country’s blockchain strategy.
Lamenting what some see as a backward decision, Owonibi said:
I can’t believe we have this level of ignorance in govt circle, at least not the agency saddled with company registration in Nigeria. The staff that queried this application for company registration on the pretence that blockchain is not approved by the Nigerian Govt need to be educated immediately for ease of doing business to improve in Nigeria.
Nigerian Government Asked to Intervene
In addition to Owonibi’s remarks, the report also quotes Convexity’s other co-founder, Charles Okaformbah, similarly expressing his disapproval of the CAC’s decision. In his own statement, the co-founder asks the country’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo (one of the few figures inside the Nigerian government to back fintechs), to intervene.
Following the CAC’s decision, the Cryptoassetbuyer report concludes that Nigeria is now unlikely to achieve its goal of generating $10 billion in revenue from blockchain technology.
What does the CAC’s refusal to process this application mean for Nigeria’s blockchain industry?

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US Senators Urge Facebook to Discontinue Crypto Wallet Pilot Citing ‘Insufficient’ Ability to Keep Consumers Safe

US Senators Urge Facebook to Discontinue Crypto Wallet Pilot Citing ‘Insufficient’ Ability to Keep Consumers Safe

A group of U.S. senators has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discontinue his company’s crypto wallet pilot and commit to not bringing the cryptocurrency Diem to market. “Facebook cannot be trusted to manage a payment system or digital currency when its existing ability to manage risks and keep consumers safe has proven wholly insufficient,” the lawmakers said.
US Senators Urge Facebook to Stop Crypto Wallet Pilot
U.S. Senators Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, and Tina Smith wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the company’s cryptocurrency project Tuesday after the social media giant launched a pilot for its crypto wallet Novi.
Facebook has chosen the Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange Coinbase as its custody partner for the pilot. “Novi users who can participate in the pilot can acquire pax dollar (USDP) through their Novi account, which Novi will hold on deposit with Coinbase Custody. Novi users will then be able to transfer USDP between each other instantaneously,” Coinbase explained.
Citing several scandals involving Facebook, the senators wrote:
Given the scope of the scandals surrounding your company, we write to voice our strongest opposition to Facebook’s revived efforts to launch a cryptocurrency and digital wallet, now branded ‘Diem’ and ‘Novi,’ respectively.
The letter explains that Facebook has said on many occasions that it would not launch a digital currency absent federal financial regulators’ approval.
The lawmakers noted that “Despite these assurances, Facebook is once again pursuing digital currency plans on an aggressive timeline and has already launched a pilot for payments infrastructure network, even though these plans are incompatible with the actual financial regulatory landscape — not only for Diem specifically, but also for stablecoins in general.”

The letter also points out that “In addition to the risks products like Diem pose to financial stability, you have not offered a satisfactory explanation for how Diem will prevent illicit financial flows and other criminal activity.”
“Facebook‘s decision to pursue a digital currency and payments network is just one more example of the company ‘moving fast and breaking things’ (and in too many cases, misleading Congress in order to do so). Time and again, Facebook has made conscious business decisions to continue with actions that have harmed its users and the broader society,” the letter continues.
The senators further wrote:
Facebook cannot be trusted to manage a payment system or digital currency when its existing ability to manage risks and keep consumers safe has proven wholly insufficient.
“We urge you to immediately discontinue your Novi pilot and to commit that you will not bring Diem to market,” the lawmakers concluded.
What do you think about U.S. lawmakers attempting to stop Facebook’s crypto wallet pilot? Do you agree that Facebook cannot be trusted? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Losing Everything in Vegas Is Legal, but Heaven Forbid We Buy Crypto Assets: Raoul Pal to SEC

Losing Everything in Vegas Is Legal, but Heaven Forbid We Buy Crypto Assets: Raoul Pal to SEC

Macro guru Raoul Pal says that federal regulations on crypto investing are inconsistent with existing laws in other areas.
In a new interview, the Real Vision chief executive officer says that it makes little sense for regulators to allow consumers to risk losing all of their money in Las Vegas while also keeping a close eye on their crypto investments.
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Treasury Says Crypto Reduces Efficacy of US Sanctions, Seeks More Funding

Treasury Says Crypto Reduces Efficacy of US Sanctions, Seeks More Funding

The U.S. Department of the Treasury says that the growing use of crypto assets challenges the efficacy of American sanctions. “We are mindful of the risk that, if left unchecked, these digital assets and payments systems could harm the efficacy of our sanctions,” the Treasury Department explained.
Treasury Says Crypto Threatens Efficacy of U.S. Sanctions
The U.S. Department of the Treasury released its 2021 Sanctions Review Monday. “Technological innovations such as digital currencies, alternative payment platforms, and new ways of hiding cross-border transactions all potentially reduce the efficacy of American sanctions,” the report details, elaborating:
While sanctions remain an essential and effective policy tool, they also face new challenges including rising risks from new payments systems, the growing use of digital assets, and cybercriminals.
“We are mindful of the risk that, if left unchecked, these digital assets and payments systems could harm the efficacy of our sanctions,” the Treasury Department stated.
To “mitigate those challenges and bolster the effectiveness of Treasury’s role in sanctions moving forward,” the report provides several recommendations.
One of them is “modernizing Treasury’s sanctions technology, workforce, and infrastructure.” The Treasury Department “must have the right expertise, technology, and staff to support a robust and effective sanctions policymaking and implementation process,” the report emphasizes, adding:
Treasury should invest in deepening its institutional knowledge and capabilities in the evolving digital assets and services space to support the full sanctions lifecycle of activities.

On Tuesday, Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the Treasury, told lawmakers that the Biden administration’s financial intelligence and sanctions units need significantly more funding and staff to combat national security threats, including those arising from ransomware and cryptocurrency markets, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“One of the most important areas for us, frankly, is ensuring that we have a workforce that understands these issues going forward,” Adeyemo said, noting:
Many of these crypto exchanges and cybercriminals that facilitate ransomware exist outside of the United States and have an impact here.
Do you think cryptocurrency challenges the efficacy of U.S. sanctions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Aussie Senate committee proposes overhaul of crypto taxes, DAOs and exchange licenses

Aussie Senate committee proposes overhaul of crypto taxes, DAOs and exchange licenses

The Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Center (ATFC) has just tabled its third and final report in Parliament which has 12 far-reaching recommendations for the regulation of the digital asset and fintech industry down under.It proposes new licenses for crypto exchanges, new laws to govern Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, an overhaul of capital gains tax in DeFi, and a tax discount for crypto miners using renewable energy.In general, the report found that there is a need for more regulatory clarity and certainty while avoiding stifling innovation with onerous requirements.A key recommendation is to establish a new DCE Market License for digital currency exchanges including requirements relating to capital reserves and auditing. The requirements should be scalable so that smaller operators are not squeezed out of the market.The capital gains tax rules should be updated to provide more clarity around the tax treatment for crypto assets and DeFi staking. The committee suggested that unlike in the current system, capital gains tax should only be applied when cryptocurrency transactions “genuinely result in a clearly definable capital gain or loss.”The committee also recommended that the Treasury lead a policy review of the viability of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), as well as put forward a proposal for a company tax discount of 10% for crypto miners who use renewable energy. One world-leading recommendation is to establish a new regulatory structure for DAOs, which refers to decentralized community ownership and governance of a protocol.“DAOs do not clearly fall within any of Australia’s existing company structures… this regulatory uncertainty is preventing the establishment of projects of significant scale in Australia.”Asher Tan, CEO of Australian crypto exchange Coinjar, praised committee chair Senator Andrew Bragg and the team for “the forward-thinking approach they’ve taken with this proposed regulatory framework. “In our view, the AFTC report strikes a commendably optimistic tone that sees blockchain technology as the historic innovation that it is — and one that comes with matching opportunities and risks.”The committee heard from a range of experts and industry players including Blockchain Australia, leading exchanges, and firms such as R3 and Ripple. The latter recommended that any regulatory framework should use a “risk-based approach to identify digital asset services that pose sufficient risk to warrant regulation.”Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia, said the organization was keen to hear from stakeholders and industry for their feedback on the recommendations.Senator Bragg said the proposed regulations would help Australia to become a leader in digital assets. “The committee has recommended a comprehensive crypto framework to deliver Australian leadership. We’ll be competitive with Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. “He added: “This will drive investment and jobs into Australia.”Related: Average Aussie crypto portfolio grew 258% in FY 20–21, survey revealsThe Australian Taxation Office estimated that more than 600,000 taxpayers have invested in digital assets in recent years. Independent research suggests that 17% of Australians currently own cryptocurrency.The report concluded that a robust regulatory framework was required in order to protect consumers, promote investment in Australia, and to remain competitive globally.“The potential economic opportunities are enormous if Australia is able to create a forward-leaning environment for new and emerging digital asset products.”

Gary Gensler Explains Why SEC Approves a Bitcoin Futures ETF

Gary Gensler Explains Why SEC Approves a Bitcoin Futures ETF

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has shared why the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided to approve a bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) to trade on the NYSE. Meanwhile, the Commission has not approved a spot bitcoin ETF.
Why SEC Approves Bitcoin Futures ETF
As the first futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the U.S. debuted on the NYSE, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explained why the regulator greenlighted a bitcoin futures ETF but not a spot bitcoin ETF.
In an interview with CNBC Tuesday, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler reiterated that his agency “should be technology neutral, but not policy neutral.” He elaborated:
What we’re trying to do is ensure to the best we can within our authorities to bring projects into the investor protection perimeter.
“Bitcoin futures have been overseen by our sibling agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], which I was once honored and proud to serve there and that’s been four years,” the SEC chief continued.
He added that one of the applications “went effective with regard to those products over at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange [CME] that our sibling agency oversees.”
Responding to a question about why the SEC has approved a bitcoin futures ETF but not a spot bitcoin ETF, Gensler noted that he will not comment on any specific application or project. However, the SEC chief clarified:
What you have here is a product that’s been overseen for four years by a U.S. federal regulator, the CFTC, and that’s being wrapped inside of something that within our jurisdiction called the Investment Company Act of 1940. So, we have some ability to bring it inside of investor protection.

While emphasizing that bitcoin is “still a highly speculative asset class and listeners should understand that underneath this, it still has that same aspect of volatility and speculation,” the SEC chairman concluded: “Our sister agency is overseeing this for four years and then it brings it inside an 80-year-old law here at the SEC.”
The Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, ticker “BITO,” began trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). “The fund seeks to provide capital appreciation primarily through managed exposure to bitcoin futures contracts,” its website details, adding that it “does not invest directly in bitcoin.”
What do you think about the SEC approving the first bitcoin-based ETF and Gensler’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Celsius responds to NYAG crackdown on crypto lending platforms

Celsius responds to NYAG crackdown on crypto lending platforms

Crypto lending firm Celsius Network has confirmed it is one of three platforms requested to provide information to the New York Attorney General’s office.In a Tuesday blog post, Celsius said it was not one of the two unnamed crypto lending platforms that New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered to “cease any and all such activity” around selling or offering cryptocurrencies. Rather, Celsius said it was “working on providing regulators in New York” with information regarding its business. “If any regulatory or technical changes are required in a specific jurisdiction, Celsius will provide clear and timely communication as needed,” said the lending platform. “We know that the only way to thrive and ensure our long-term growth is through clear regulatory guidance. We anticipate and plan for these kinds of routine checks and balances.”The statement from Celsius comes following the NYAG’s office issuing a non-legally binding request for information from three unnamed crypto lending platforms operating in the state — although the AG did hint at a possible subpoena. James asked the businesses to provide details on their lending products, policies, procedures, clients in New York and other relevant information.While Celsius has not received a cease and desist order from New York state, the platform is the target of regulators in Texas and New Jersey. On Sept. 17, the Texas State Securities Board filed for a hearing with the potential to impose a cease and desist order against crypto Celsius for allegedly not offering securities licensed at the state or federal level. The same day, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities ordered the lending platform to stop offering and selling interest-earning cryptocurrency products.A Celsius spokesperson said at the time that it “wholeheartedly disagreed” with the allegations and was working with United States regulators “to operate in full compliance with the law.” According to the platform’s response to the NYAG’s request for information, Celsius is “having a very open and productive dialogue with regulators around the world.”Related: Crypto lending firm Celsius Network raises $400MOf the other four firms targeted in the NYAG crackdown, Nexo Financial confirmed on Monday it received one of the two cease and desist orders. However, according to a Nexo spokesperson, the company does not offer its Earn Product and Exchange in New York state.“It makes little sense to be receiving a cease and desist order for something we are not offering in New York anyway,” said the spokesperson. “We will engage with the NYAG as this is a clear case of mixing up the recipients of the letter.”The other three companies that received notices from the NYAG remain unidentified. Under New York law, all crypto brokers, dealers, salespersons and investment advisers must register with the NYAG’s Investor Protection Bureau if they are doing business in the state. Those without an exemption who fail to do so will be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

Iran to Pilot ‘National Cryptocurrency,’ Amend Central Bank Law

Iran to Pilot ‘National Cryptocurrency,’ Amend Central Bank Law

The central bank of Iran is gearing up to begin the pilot phase of its digital currency project in the near future, its new head announced to representatives of local media. The monetary authority is also preparing to move forward with a plan to reform the legislation that governs its own activities.
Iran Preps Pilot for Sovereign Digital Currency
The “national cryptocurrency” of Iran will enter its pilot stage soon, the recently appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Ali Salehabadi has unveiled. Speaking to reporters after his first meeting with lawmakers, the high-ranking official said the regulator is now studying potential risks and benefits associated with the initiative. Quoted by IRIB News and the Financial Tribune, he explained:
The pilot trial will start, once the Money and Credit Council approves it.
Salehabadi, who has been heading the CBI since Oct. 6, did not provide any further details regarding the Iranian central bank digital currency (CBDC). According to the English-language business daily, the new phase of the project is likely to be in line with earlier plans for the development of a national crypto.
The report notes that three years ago the Informatics Services Corporation, CBI’s subsidiary operating the country’s banking automation and payment services network, was tasked to develop a sovereign digital currency. A CBDC prototype was designed using the Hyperledger Fabric platform, later statements by its representatives revealed.
It became clear that the digital version of the Islamic Republic’s national fiat, the rial, was being developed on a private blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies based on public blockchains such as Bitcoin, the Iranian state-issued coin is not going to be mined.
The public was never updated on the progress of this initial project until more recent announcements came out that a “crypto rial” plan is underway. Officials have emphasized that the Iranian crypto is going to be a digital currency circulated by the CBI and not a decentralized cryptocurrency that could be used for small, cashless transactions, the publication details.

New Commission to Prepare Amendments to Iran’s Central Bank Law
Besides the digital currency announcement, Iranian media has also learned that the central bank’s new management and members of the Majlis agreed to establish a joint commission tasked to reform the legislation concerning the CBI. Its members will be expected to quickly finalize a long-awaited plan to update the law that governs the central bank’s activities.
Governor Salehabadi also said that a special working group will be formed to clarify the positions of the bank and the government regarding cryptocurrencies. While, executive authorities in Tehran have been going after crypto investing and trading, only allowing banks and licensed moneychangers to use coins minted in Iran to pay for imports, lawmakers have opposed the restrictive policies. They believe that friendlier regulations would help Iran to circumvent U.S.-led sanctions and boost its economy.
Mining has been the one crypto-related sector that has received more clarity in terms of regulation. Iran recognized the extraction of digital currencies as a legal industrial activity in 2019 and introduced a licensing regime for entities involved in the business. And although mining farms have been blamed for electricity shortages during the extremely hot summer this year, restrictions have since been lifted for authorized crypto miners which number over 50, according to the state-run power utility Tavanir.
Do you think Iran will eventually issue its own digital currency? Share your expectations in the comments section below.

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Hindu Paramilitary Group Calls on Indian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies

Hindu Paramilitary Group Calls on Indian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies

Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has called on the Indian government to regulate cryptocurrencies. “The government has to ensure that it is regulated in the larger interest of the society,” the group reportedly said.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Calls for Crypto Regulation
Mohan Bhagwat, head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said during his speech at an annual event marking the Hindu festival of Dussehra Friday:
Clandestine, uncontrolled currency like bitcoin has the potential to destabilize the economy of all countries and pose serious challenges.
The RSS is a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group founded in 1925 by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in Nagpur. According to the group’s website, any Hindu male can become a member of the group by attending an RSS shakha, a daily gathering. There is no formal membership procedure and there are no fees to join.
The group’s website further states that the RSS does not keep a record of the number of members. However, it notes that in March 2017, there were 57,185 daily RSS shakhas held at 36,729 places (including rural and urban), in addition to weekly gatherings at 14,896 places and monthly meetings at 7,594 places in Bharat. According to the Muslim Mirror, there are now more than 10 million active RSS members across India and over 100 affiliated bodies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also a member of the group.
Bhagwat was also quoted as saying, “I have no idea which country regulates a currency like bitcoin or if there are any rules governing them.” He added:
The government has to ensure that it is regulated in the larger interest of the society.

The Indian government is currently working on a cryptocurrency bill. In July, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the crypto bill was ready for the Cabinet. In September, Jayant Sinha, a lawmaker with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, revealed that the cryptocurrency legislation will be distinct and unique.
However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) continued to have “serious concerns” regarding cryptocurrencies. In addition, the RBI is working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which will be launched in phases. The central bank expects to unveil a digital rupee model by the end of the year.
What do you think about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh calling for Indian crypto regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Fraud-Accused South African Bitcoin Trader to Turn Himself Over to Police: Report

Fraud-Accused South African Bitcoin Trader to Turn Himself Over to Police: Report

Sandile Shezi, the young South African bitcoin trader who is facing fraud charges, has denied allegations he scammed shareholders in his Global Forex Institute.
Shezi: Shareholders Signed Up for Education, Not Investments
Despite his rejection of the allegations, a spokesperson for the country’s police told the Sunday Times newspaper that Shezi has agreed to turn himself in. As reported by Bitcoin.com News, a warrant for Shezi’s arrest had been issued after two aggrieved investors reported the bitcoin trader to the South African police.
Now, as he contemplates turning himself in, Shezi — who is referred to as South Africa’s youngest millionaire — has also launched a spirited defense of his actions. He further beat back suggestions that the Global Forex Institute is a financial services provider. According to a report by the Sunday Times, Shezi said:
These shareholders signed up, not for investments, but our education programme. Our training includes technical analysis, fundamentals and a bit of this and that. You go through us to run your own small personal portfolio, not trade for HSBC.
Shezi Exploring Possibility of Buying Out Aggrieved Shareholders
The 29-year-old bitcoin trader added that he finds it strange that some shareholders are making these allegations when in fact they were part and parcel of the business. Nevertheless, Shezi said he is now exploring the possibility of buying out the shareholders.

In the meantime, Shezi’s lawyers have vowed in a statement released via Instagram on October 15, that they will launch legal proceedings against those accusing Shezi of defrauding them.
What are your thoughts about this story? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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