Treasury Committee Criticizes UK Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

Treasury Committee Criticizes U.K. Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

The parliamentary report published by the UK Treasury Committee has advocated for regulation of the “wild west” crypto-assets sector. The report criticizes the “ambiguity” of the current stance of UK regulators, arguing that with effective regulations, the United Kingdom could become a “global center” for the emerging cryptocurrency sector.

Also Read: Brazil’s Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade

Treasury Committee Criticizes UK Regulators’ “Unsustainable” Crypto Stance

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe recent UK parliamentary report into cryptocurrencies has found the current “ambiguity of the UK Government and regulators’ position [regarding crypto-assets] is clearly not sustainable.”

The report states that “Crypto-assets, and most Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), are currently not within the scope of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation,” and as such, “Crypto-asset investors are currently afforded very little protection from the litany of risks, namely there are no formal mechanisms for consumer redress, nor compensation.”

The Treasury Committee advocates “strongly” that “regulation should be introduced,” proposing, “At a minimum, regulation…address[ing] consumer protection and Anti-Money Laundering (AML).”

U.K. Has Potential to Become “Global Center” for Crypto-Assets

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe report asserts that “In deciding the regulatory approach, the Government and regulators should evaluate the risks of crypto-assets, and assess whether their growth should be encouraged.”

“If growth is favored,” the Committee continues, “regulation could lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market, including the move toward a more mature business model and increased liquidity.”

The report emphasizes that “If the UK develops a proportionate regulatory environment for crypto-assets, the UK could be well placed to become a global center for this activity.”

“Consumer Warnings” Comprise “Feeble Corrective” to Misleading ICO Adverts

U.K. Treasury Committee Calls for Regulation of "Wild West" Crypto-AssetsThe parliamentary report also argues that the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has insufficiently responded to “misleading adverts” for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The Committee asserts that “The advertisements of both ICO issuers and crypto-asset exchanges are not regulated by the FCA. One-sided adverts imply that the crypto-asset market will only go up, and that anyone can make a lot of money easily.”

The report describes “The FCA’s consumer warnings” as comprising “a feeble corrective to such misleading adverts,” concluding that “The regulator needs more power to control how crypto-asset exchanges and ICOs market their services.”

What do you make of the UK parliamentary report’s findings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Danske Bank’s Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $234 Billion, CEO Quits

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO Quits

The investigation into Danske Bank’s alleged money laundering has uncovered new funds. The amount of “questionable money” flowing through the bank’s Estonian branch has grown from $150 billion to approximately $234 billion. In response, the CEO of Danske Bank turned in his resignation.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

From $150B to $234B

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO QuitsDenmark’s largest bank released the report detailing the results of its internal investigation into the money laundering allegations involving its Estonian branch on Wednesday.

Prior to this release, $150 billion allegedly flowed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch to suspicious accounts of non-resident clients from 2007 to 2015. However, the bank’s investigation has revised this number. Danske has “acknowledged that about €200bn [~US$234 billion] in questionable money flowed through its small Estonian branch in one of the largest money laundering scandals ever uncovered,” the Financial Times reported.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister, was quoted by the news outlet:

I’m shocked. The numbers that came out today are of an astronomical magnitude. It is, of course, deeply disappointing that a bank that I consider to be an important player for Denmark has become involved in this kind of activity.

Danske’s Investigations

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO Quits“The investigations have been led by the Bruun & Hjejle law firm,” Danske Bank described, adding that “The scope of the investigations covers approximately 15,000 customers and 9.5 million payments.”

According to the report, “Some 12,000 documents and more than 8 million emails have been searched, and more than 70 interviews have been conducted with current and former employees and managers…Overall, approximately 70 people have worked full time on the investigations.” In addition, the report states that approximately 6,200 high-risk customers have been examined, “and the vast majority of these customers have been deemed suspicious.”

The Financial Times added that “The non-resident customers came from countries including Russia, the UK and the British Virgin Islands, but the bank said it could not yet estimate how much of the total was illicit.” The news outlet noted that Russia’s central bank said that Danske customers “permanently participate in financial transactions of doubtful origin,” estimated at billions of roubles monthly.

CEO Borgen Resigns

On Wednesday, Danske Bank also announced that its CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, has resigned. He has been the bank’s CEO since 2013 and was in charge of international banking including Estonia from 2009 to 2012. Borgen said:

It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia. I deeply regret this…I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign.

According to the bank’s announcement, Borgen will continue in his position until a new CEO has been appointed.

Donation and Revised Outlook

Danske Bank's Alleged Money Laundering Now Totals $235 Billion, CEO QuitsAnother announcement made by Danske Bank on Wednesday concerns the donation of DKK 1.5 billion (~$235 million).

“Danske Bank does not wish to benefit financially from suspicious transactions that took place in the non-resident portfolio of its Estonian branch in the period from 2007 to 2015,” the bank wrote, adding:

As the bank is not able to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of suspicious transactions made by non-resident customers in Estonia during the period, the Board of Directors has decided to donate the gross income from the customers in the period from 2007 to 2015, which is estimated at DKK 1.5 billion, to an independent foundation.

The foundation will be “set up to support initiatives aimed at combating international financial crime, including money laundering, also in Denmark and Estonia.”

The bank further explained that its net profit for 2018 has been revised downward due to this donation. “We now expect net profit for 2018 to be in the range of DKK 16-17 billion [~$2.5-2.7 billion],” the bank clarified, noting that previously it “expected net profit for 2018 to be at the lower end of the DKK 18-20 billion [~$2.8-3.1 billion] range.”

Why do you think regulators are going after crypto when there is so much money laundering in the banking system? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

Japanese government-approved cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has confirmed that it has been hacked. After a preliminary investigation, the exchange says at least 5,966 BTC have been stolen, with an estimated total damage of $60 million. Some of the stolen coins belong to the exchange but the majority belong to customers.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Zaif Hacked

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenJapanese crypto exchange Zaif has been hacked, its operator announced on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Tech Bureau Inc., which operates Zaif, explained that the exchange “detected server abnormality” on Monday and immediately suspended several services, including deposit, withdrawal, and merchant payment services.

The company revealed that unauthorized access to its hot wallet was detected between 17:00 and 19:00 on Sept. 14, elaborating:

Some of the deposit and withdrawal hot wallets were hacked by unauthorized access from the outside, and part of the virtual currencies managed by us was illegally discharged to the outside.

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenThe exchange believes that three cryptocurrencies may have been stolen: BTC, BCH, and MONA. While it has confirmed that 5,966 BTC were stolen, the theft of the other two cryptocurrencies is still being investigated. Tech Bureau explained that the extent of the damage is currently unknown because the exchange’s server will not be restarted until it is confirmed to be secured in order to prevent further damage. Nonetheless, the company clarified:

It is estimated that the total loss due to the damage…is equivalent to about 6.7 billion yen [~US$60 million] (including MONA and BCH) in Japanese yen.

Out of the total damage, the company says 2.2 billion yen (~$19.6 million) belong to the exchange and 4.5 billion yen (~$40 million) belong to customers. Tech Bureau said it has asked for 5 billion yen (~$44.6 million) in assistance from a subsidiary of Fisco Ltd. to help repay affected customers, Kyodo News described.

Investigating and Rebuilding

In its announcement, Tech Bureau stated that it reported the breach to the Treasury Department on Sept. 18. “This case is a criminal case,” the company wrote, adding that it has requested an investigation into the breach. The company detailed:

Currently, we are checking and strengthening security, rebuilding the server, etc., in order to restart the system of depositing / withdrawing virtual currency.

The Osaka-based exchange, established in 2014, is one of the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges in Japan. The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued the company two business improvement orders: the first was on March 8 and the second on June 22. The agency ramped up its oversight of crypto exchanges after hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from Coincheck in January.

What do you think of Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop Trading

Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop Trading

Russia is preparing for the long-awaited legislation tailored to regulate its crypto space. According to the latest reports from Moscow, the term “cryptocurrency” has been taken out of the legal texts. Nevertheless, Russians have no reasons to doubt the existence of the decentralized electronic cash. They have many options to get involved in cryptocurrency, regardless of what the law says about it.

Also read: Iran to Allow Mining Hardware Imports, Cyprus Creates Fintech Hub

Report: Revamped Law on Digital Assets Drops ‘Cryptocurrency’

The Russian crypto regulatory framework has been delayed for months. In May, three bills were filed in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, and were scheduled for adoption in July, as ordered by President Putin himself. However, deputies found it hard to synchronize and compile the drafts into a single legislation – after the first reading this spring, they postponed the second reading and the final voting for the fall session.

The revised law “On digital financial assets” will be presented for public discussions in October and hopefully adopted by the end of the year. The word cryptocurrency has created a lot of headaches for Russian lawmakers. They’ve been trying to come up with legal definitions for a number of new terms associated with the fintech industry without contradicting the current law which regards the ruble as the only legal tender and bans all money surrogates. It turns out they have decided to get rid of “cryptocurrency” altogether, according to Izvestia – the outlet claims to have seen the latest version of the draft.

Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop Trading

Another significant update concerns crypto mining. Initially, the law defined the activity as the process of creating cryptocurrency. Now Izvestia writes that the document describes it as the issuance of tokens for the purpose of attracting capital investments – a definition that better suits ICOs in fact. In any case, tokens will represent property rights and ownership stakes. Registered local and foreign companies and private individuals will be allowed to issue digital coins, provided they are secured with other assets.

It’s also worth noting that an alternative bill has been proposed by an industry organization uniting some of the largest business enterprises in the country. Unlike the state-sponsored law, this draft authored by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) stipulates granting a special status to cryptocurrencies.

The Dogs Bark but the Caravan Moves On

Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop TradingIt’s highly unlikely that the Russians will suddenly stop buying, selling and using cryptocurrency, just because the term does not appear in the legal lexicon of their deputies. A great number of trading platforms offer them the opportunity to enter the crypto ecosystem. Payment processors and banks continue to work with exchanges and exchangers, despite the legal uncertainty at the present moment and the upcoming ambiguous legislation.

Local crypto media listed some of the most popular platforms in Russia – Exmo, Livecoin, Yobit, Hitbtc, C-cex, and Spectrocoin. Another article rated the platforms according to their trading volume – Binance, Exmo, Livecoin, Yobit, Hitbtc, Poloniex, and others. Some of them, like the UK-based Exmo, support crypto-ruble trades and are popular not only in the Russian Federation, but also in the former Soviet space, including Ukraine where it is one of the three leading exchanges, along with Kuna and BTC Trade UA.

Russian Law Won’t Mention ‘Cryptocurrency’, Russians Won’t Stop TradingThere are plenty of options to trade and no law is going to take them away from Russian citizens who want to get involved in cryptocurrency. A third post published recently detailed how crypto enthusiasts in Russia can exchange coins with rubles and get their money sent to their bank accounts, crypto and fiat wallets. A plethora of platforms process both crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat transactions, whether members of the State Duma realize that or not.

A useful service called Best Change offers Russians the opportunity to get the most favorable exchange rate for their currency, digital or fiat. Just pick a pair – BCH or BTC to a Qiwi rubles wallet, Yandex Money to Ethereum, or a number of other combinations with bank transfers and card payments – and the website will spit back dozens of verified online exchangers supporting the desired transaction. Traders can check the digital reserves of each platform, use statistical market data, and even get email notifications when someone is ready to meet their price.

Do you think the future of cryptocurrencies depends on the regulations adopted by governments? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Best Change.


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

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Major Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next Month

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next Month

Major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit will reportedly begin operations in Singapore next month. The new exchange will offer Singapore dollar trading as well as crypto-to-crypto pairs in three markets offered by Bittrex, Upbit’s US-based partner.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Upbit Expands to Singapore

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthDunamu Inc., the operator of the Kakao-backed exchange Upbit, said on Wednesday that it is launching a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore next month, Yonhap reported.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthUpbit is currently South Korea’s second largest crypto exchange. At the time of writing, its 24-hour trading volume is approximately $229 million, second only to Bithumb which has a 24-hour trading volume of $392 million. At present, Upbit has 271 cryptocurrencies listed.

Dunamu established a Singaporean branch office in February and has been preparing for an exchange launch ever since, the news outlet conveyed. Kim Kook-hyun, head of Upbit’s Singaporean branch, was quoted saying:

As Singapore has proactively supported blockchain technology, our advancement into the nation will help us secure many chances to lead a variety of relevant projects and to have global competitiveness.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthWithout revealing the exact launch date, the company confirmed that it will be in “early October.”

Singapore was picked as the firm’s first overseas expansion because of “the city-state’s strong support for blockchain and related technologies,” the Investor stated, adding that the firm plans to expand to more countries in the future.

At the Upbit Developer Conference held on Jeju Island, Dunamu CEO Lee Sir-goo confirmed that Upbit will not be issuing its own cryptocurrency. Referring to the exchange’s expansion to Singapore, he told reporters:

We don’t want to lose out on the opportunities now…If we wait until the Korean crypto exchange environment improves, we could lag behind our global competitors.

Plans for Upbit Singapore

The new exchange will be headed by Alex Kim who previously served as the head of Kakao Indonesia, the Investor described, elaborating:

The Upbit Singapore [exchange] will be serviced in English and offer Singapore dollar trading. It will also support crypto-to-crypto pairs, including Upbit’s US partner Bittrex’s bitcoin, ethereum and tether markets.

Major South Korean Crypto Exchange Upbit Opens in Singapore Next MonthLee detailed, “In the future we would like to add other fiat currencies and expand to other countries in Southeast Asia,” emphasizing that Upbit will continue to strengthen its partnership with Bittrex as it expands globally.

For the launch promotion, trading fees in the Singapore dollar market will be waived for one month for “users who complete their subscription and self-certification,” the publication noted.

Recently, several companies have expanded to Singapore. Line, the Japanese subsidiary of Korean internet giant Naver, has launched a crypto exchange called Bitbox in Singapore. In addition, Binance is beta testing a fiat exchange in the country, CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed last week.

What do you think of Upbit expanding to Singapore? Let us know in the comments section below.


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PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention Efforts

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention Efforts

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has issued a statement detailing its efforts to stop and prevent crypto and initial coin offering activities in the country. The bank outlines measures against the widespread of overseas exchanges servicing domestic users such as blocking trading platforms and closing down 3,000 trading accounts.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Servicing Domestic Users From Overseas

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention EffortsThe Shanghai Head Office of the People’s Bank of China provided an update on the bank’s risk prevention measures for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention Efforts“In recent years, speculation related to virtual currency has prevailed, prices have skyrocketed, and risks have accumulated rapidly, seriously disrupting economic, financial and social order,” the bank proclaimed. “In order to maintain financial stability,” the central bank referred to the announcement in September last year which shut down all crypto exchanges in the country.

Consequently, the bank emphasized that the country’s “global share of domestic virtual currency transactions has dropped from the initial 90% to less than 5%.” However, through tracking and monitoring the activities of crypto exchanges that left the country, the bank found:

Some virtual currency trading platforms originally set up in China have left, registered overseas and continue to provide [service] to domestic users.

In addition, the bank noted that other methods of token issuance have emerged. “Another issue is initial coin, fork and exchange offerings (ICOs, IFOs and IEOs) and cyber currencies that are hyped up under the guise of a sharing economy,” Yical Global quoted the bank.

PBOC’s Responses

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention EffortsIn response to the consequences of shutting down crypto exchanges in the country, the PBOC has deployed the National Internet Financial Risk Special Remediation Leading Group and adopted a series of targeted measures.

The first is to “strengthen the monitoring of virtual currency trading platforms” that provide trading services to domestic users from abroad. The publication detailed:

China’s central bank has blocked 124 cryptocurrency trading platforms that targeted Chinese residents while using overseas servers to sidestep local laws.

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention EffortsThe second is to strengthen the clean up of crypto-related payment and settlement services, including efforts to “guide the relevant payment institutions to strengthen payment channel management, identify customers and provide risk warnings, establish a monitoring and inspection mechanism, and stop providing payment services for suspicious transactions.” The bank disclosed:

Currently, the relevant payment channels have been checked and about 3,000 accounts engaged in virtual currency transactions have been closed.

Fighting ICOs

PBOC Provides Update on Its Crypto Prevention EffortsThe third measure the PBOC described relates to ICOs and similar products. The bank aims to strengthen the research and evaluation of these instruments in order to “fight early…prevent problems…and transmit clearer regulatory signals to the market.” As part of this plan, the bank wants to ramp up censorship efforts, including “the disposal of domestic ICOs and virtual currency transaction related websites.”

In conclusion, the central bank reminds consumers and investors to increase awareness of the risks of ICOs, their issuers, and individuals and organizations that facilitate crypto transactions “for domestic residents through the deployment of overseas servers.” The bank also urges citizens to report suspicious activities relating to cryptocurrencies and ICOs to the authorities.

What do you think of the PBOC’s efforts to stop domestic crypto and ICO activities so far? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients

Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, reportedly knew that some of its Estonian branch’s clients were on the Russian government’s blacklist but did not close their accounts for two years. The bank is currently being probed by three countries over $150 billion money laundering allegations.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Danske ‘Ok’ With Blacklisted Clients

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsDanske Bank is currently under investigation by authorities in three countries: the US, Denmark, and Estonia. Its officials reportedly “knew earlier than previously indicated about problems at its tiny Estonia branch, including that it held accounts for blacklisted Russian clients,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing correspondence it has seen. The publication elaborated:

Officials at Danske Bank were aware almost two years before it started shutting questionable accounts that the small but highly profitable branch was involved in potentially illicit money flows.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsThe Estonian branch was one of the bank’s profit drivers, generating a net profit of €63 million (~US$73.5 million) in 2012, the most lucrative year. The whole bank reported €636.6 million (~$742.6 million) in net profit that year, the publication noted.

The largest bank in Denmark has been at the center of one of Europe’s largest money laundering cases. Between 2007 and 2015, an estimated $150 billion was suspected to have flowed through the branch to accounts belonging to non-Estonian customers including Russian clients. However, the bank has not confirmed how much of that figure comes from suspicious transactions. It has launched an internal investigation and is expected to announce the results on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Discriminating Email

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsAccording to the Wall Street Journal, an April 2013 email reveals that the bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) chief based in Denmark had asked colleagues in the Estonian branch “about client accounts whose owners appeared on a blacklist generated by Russia’s central bank.” The Bank of Russia keeps a database of individuals and companies suspected of financial wrongdoing which it shares across borders. The list currently has about 500,000 names.

The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (FSA) said on Tuesday that “it repeatedly complained to Danish counterparts about the branch’s blacklisted customers,” the news outlet conveyed, adding that in a 2013 email, Niels Thos Mikkelsen, the bank’s then-compliance executive, wrote:

They have the impression that we do not take the issue seriously.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients
Thomas Borgen.

Furthermore, the news outlet added that a spokesman for the Danish FSA pointed out that a reprimand ruling against Danske Bank in May states that the authority received “misleading” information from the bank between 2012 and 2014. Danske claims the information came from the branch.

While the Financial Times recently reported that Thomas Borgen, the bank’s CEO, was notified in October 2013 about suspicious transactions at the Estonian branch, Borgen insists that “he was not informed in detail at the time about the problems,” Reuters described on Tuesday, elaborating:

The Danske Bank case has led to speculation in Denmark that its chief executive Thomas Borgen, who was in charge of its international operations, including Estonia, between 2009 and 2012, will step down.

Why do you think the regulators are after crypto when they let Danske Bank service blacklisted clients for two years? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Danske Bank.


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Exchanges Round-Up: Palestinians Use Crypto to Transfer Offshore, LXDX Targets Retail Investors

Exchanges Round-Up: Palestinians Use Crypto to Transfer Offshore, Lxbx Targets Retail Investors

In recent news pertaining to cryptocurrency exchanges, Palestinians are reportedly turning to crypto brokers to facilitate cross-border transactions, XBT Provider has revealed plans to launch an exchange-traded product that will track between 5-10 cryptocurrencies, and LXDX has announced that it will make its platform available to retail investors.

Also Read: P2P Markets Report: Record Volume in Peru, Argentina, Philippines

Palestinians Turn to Crypto to Facilitate Cross-Border Payments

Ahmed Ismail, a Gaza-based financial analyst, recently told media that a growing number of Palestinians are using cryptocurrency to conduct cross-border payments.

Mr. Ismail attested that there are over 20 unofficial cryptocurrency exchanges in the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, stating that he himself has 30 clients whom he assists with using cryptocurrency to purchase offshore investments such as stocks.

Gaza-based cryptocurrency broker Mohammed also stated that he has helped up to 50 families a month purchase BTC. “Bitcoin, in their opinion, is cheaper, safer, and quicker. Nothing works with Palestinian banks. Bitcoin wallets are alternative banks,” he said.

LXDX to Make Platform Available to Retail Traders

LXDX, a Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange, has announced that it will soon make its platform available to retail traders, in addition to the institutional investors it already serves.

Joshua Greenwald, a former Spacex engineer and chief executive officer of LXDX, stated: “The mission of LXDX is to make capital markets better. Our immediate focus is on cryptocurrency and enabling every investor to utilize the exclusive tools, like smart order routing, that only institutions previously could access.”

XBT Provider to Launch Product Tracking Basket of Cryptocurrencies

Exchanges Round-Up: Palestinians Use Crypto to Transfer Offshore, Lxbx Targets Retail InvestorsStockholm-based XBT Provider has announced that it will launch an exchange-traded product that will track a basket of between five and ten cryptocurrencies.

The chief executive officer of XBT Provider, Laurent Kssis, described the product as “something that the market is looking for,” stating: “They are telling us ‘I’d just like blended exposure to 5 or 10 cryptocurrencies.’”

Do you think there is demand for exchange-traded products that track a basket of cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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A Third of Humanity Remains Financially Excluded

Statistics: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially Excluded

Unrestricted access to financial services is one of the main preconditions for achieving economic freedom. However, large portions of the planet’s population, especially in the developing world, remain excluded from the traditional banking system. The number of the unbanked or underbanked citizens of the industrialized, digitized nations is also unexpectedly high, now when almost everyone, everywhere has a smartphone in their pocket.

Also read: More Banks Sanctioned for AML, Fraud-Related Violations

Women and the Poor Less Likely to Have a Bank Account

Statistics: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially ExcludedCryptocurrencies offer an alternative path, a fast track to financial inclusion. Unfortunately, instead of facilitating it, overly worried states, authorities and regulators often hamper the economic emancipation of those whose interests they are supposed to uphold. Trying to please political powers, many banks around the world have been busy raising barriers to both individuals and businesses dealing with cryptocurrency. That’s not to say they’ve done enough to broaden the availability of their fiat-related financial services and products.

Statistics from a number of sources, multiple reports and analyses show that the share of the financially excluded members of societies remains large, despite some positive trends recently. The spread of mobile phones and improved access to the internet have accelerated financial inclusion – over 500 million adults have opened bank accounts since 2014 – but this process develops unevenly across different regions and countries, according to a report by the World Bank.

The Global Findex Database 2017, a study on how people in 144 economies use financial services which was published in the spring of this year, shows that almost a third of the planet’s population remains unbanked. 69% of adults now have an account at a bank or with a mobile money provider. However, while the global number of account holders has increased significantly from 62% in 2014, the progress in nations, characterized by large disparities between men and women, where the gap remains unchanged year after year, and between rich and poor, has been much slower.

Regions That Suffer the Most From Exclusion

Statistics: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially ExcludedMobile money services have had a positive effect on financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. The number of people using them has doubled in three years but, nevertheless, remains very low – at 21%, while the share of adults holding accounts with a traditional financial institution stays flat. A fifth of the populations in 8 countries – Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe ­– use only mobile money accounts. Still, 95 million unbanked adults in the region, receive only cash payments for agricultural products, for example. In North Africa and the Middle East, there is another problem – only 35% of women have an account, the largest gender gap among all studied regions. Also, up to 20 million unbanked adults send or receive domestic remittances using only cash or over-the-counter services.

In Europe and Central Asia, account ownership has increased to 65% in 2017, driven largely by digital government payments of wages, pensions, and social benefits – 17% of the holders opened their first account to receive government payments. At the same time, 40% of the people are currently not making or receiving digital payments. In South Asia, 30% of the adults do not have a banking account. India is a notable exception, with 80% of Indians having an account with a financial institution. In East Asia and the Pacific, however, the growth in account ownership has stagnated during the researched period – close to 30% of the people in the region remain unbanked.

Statistics: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially ExcludedLess than half of Indonesians, whose country has actually scored an increase, currently have an account. Digital financial transactions have accelerated in China, where the share of account owners using the internet to pay bills or purchase goods more than doubled – to 57 percent. The People’s Republic has witnessed the rapid growth of mobile payment services like Alipay and Wechat Pay, while authorities have escalated the crackdown on crypto-related activities. Statistical data shows, however, that over 400 million account owners in the region still pay their utility bills in cash, despite the fact that 95% of them have a mobile phone.

More than half of the adults living in Latin America and the Caribbean own a mobile phone and have access to the internet, which is 15% more than the developing world average. Despite that, only about 20% of account holders in countries like Argentina and Brazil use their mobile devices or the World Wide Web to make financial transactions. By digitizing cash wage payments, the World Bank says, businesses could expand account ownership to up to 30 million currently unbanked adults. Almost 90 percent of them own a mobile phone, according to the report.

The Land of Opportunities Isn’t Faring Much Better

Statistics: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially ExcludedWell, you would’ve thought that the situation is way better in developed economies like the US, but it actually isn’t that different. When the level of development of financial services is taken into account, results should be much more encouraging. According to a detailed report from 2016, produced by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 7% of American households are unbanked – yes, that’s households, not individuals. The unbanked black households, however, were over 18% of the total, more than 16% among Hispanic households. Unbanked rates for Asian households actually increased during the examined two-year period, from 2.2 to 4%.

According to another study, a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development titled “The Most Unbanked Places in America”, almost 18% of US households are ‘underbanked’ – the term describes people with insufficient access to mainstream financial products such as credit cards and loans. Lacking proper access to common services from retail banks, many of these citizens are often heavily reliant on micro-finance services such as those offered by loan sharks and pawnbrokers. According to the authors, cities where over a fifth of the residents do not have bank accounts include Miami (Florida), Detroit (Michigan), and Newark (New Jersey).

Do you think cryptocurrencies can significantly improve financial inclusion? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  


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Five Major Banks Penalized in State Funds Theft Case in Kenya

Five Major Banks Penalized in State Funds Theft Case in Kenya

Kenya’s central bank has penalized five major commercial banks for handling stolen state funds in the corruption scandal involving the country’s National Youth Service and Ministry of Devolution and Planning. In addition, the banks’ CEOs and employees could face arrest, fines, and jail time.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Handling Stolen State Funds

Five Major Banks Penalized in State Funds Theft Case in KenyaThe Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Wednesday, Sept. 12, fined five major commercial banks for handling stolen state money. The banks were “used by persons suspected of transacting illegally with the National Youth Service (NYS),” the CBK wrote.

The NYS is an organization under the government of Kenya, established in 1964 to train young people in important national matters. In 2015, it became the focus of a corruption scandal involving the country’s Ministry of Devolution and Planning. The scandal led to the resignations of the then-Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Anne Waiguru, and the NYS director at the time, Nelson Githinji.

Originally, at least 791 million Kenyan shillings (~US$7.65 million) were said to have been stolen from the ministry. However, in May, the Daily Nation reported a new 10.5 billion Kenyan shillings (~$104 million) NYS scandal. “Dozens of senior government officials and business people were charged in May with various crimes related to the theft of nearly $100 million from the NYS marking a new effort to crack down on widespread corruption,” Reuters added.

Five Banks Are Just the Beginning

The five commercial banks fined last week were the ones that handled the largest flows of funds received from the NYS, the central bank described.

Five Major Banks Penalized in State Funds Theft Case in KenyaThey are Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, Equity Bank Kenya, KCB Bank Kenya, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, and Diamond Trust Bank Kenya. They handled a total of 3.58 billion Kenyan shillings (~$35 million) of funds received from the NYS, the CBK detailed, adding that they have been collectively fined 393 million Kenyan shillings (~$3.9 million).

Concerning NYS-related bank accounts and transactions, the banks were found to be in violation of some anti-money laundering and combating of terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regulations, the CBK elaborated.

Five Major Banks Penalized in State Funds Theft Case in KenyaThey failed to report large cash transactions and undertake adequate customer due diligence. In addition to a lack of supporting documentation for large transactions, there were also lapses in the reporting of suspicious transaction reports to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC).

Kenya’s central bank governor, Patrick Njoroge, was quoted by Citizen TV in May saying, “The issue is not regulations or lack thereof, the guidelines are there; the issue is not enforcement or lack of understanding of the regulations either. It is deliberately not following guidelines.”

CEOs and Employees Face Arrest, Fines, Jail Time

A day after the central bank fined the five banks, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Noordin Haji, told the Daily Nation in an interview:

Chief executives and employees of banks who helped ship out billions of shillings from the National Youth Service (NYS) will be arrested and prosecuted.

The publication explained that “Bank executives and persons who are convicted of handling illicit cash face a Sh1 million [~$10,000] fine and a three-year jail term, while institutions including banks, credit unions facilitating such deals could be fined up to Sh20 million [~$198,294] upon conviction.” Moreover, banks could also lose their licenses.

Penalizing five banks is the result of the first phase of the NYS-related investigation. In May, the authorities started investigating ten commercial banks for processing clients’ transactions from the NYS. For the next phase of the investigation, an additional set of banks will be identified and investigated, the central bank revealed.

Why are regulators going after crypto with so many problems in the banking system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto Traders

Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto Traders

Two major South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have announced that they will no longer allow unverified users to make withdrawals in Korean won. Starting next month, users of Bithumb and Coinone must have verified real-name accounts in order to deposit and withdraw the fiat currency.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Bithumb Goes All Real-Name

Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto TradersBithumb, the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in South Korea, announced on Friday, Sept. 14, that it will terminate fiat withdrawal service for all users without verified real-name accounts.

The service will end on Oct. 1 for corporate members and on Oct. 15 for individual members. Bithumb says the move is to comply with the government’s anti-money laundering policy.

However, the exchange clarified that this announcement only affects fiat withdrawals, emphasizing:

Cryptocurrency transactions and withdrawals can be used normally.

Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto TradersThe South Korean government introduced the real-name system for crypto exchanges at the end of January. Members of an exchange using this system can convert their accounts to real-name ones at the bank that provides the conversion service to the exchange.

So far, banks have only been offering this service to the country’s top four exchanges – Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone, and Korbit. Nonghyup Bank provides this service to Bithumb and Coinone.

Despite efforts by the government, banks, and exchanges, local media recently reported that only about 40-50 percent of accounts at the four exchanges have been converted to date. News.Bitcoin.com reported last week that banks have been pressuring crypto exchanges to take measures to ensure conversion in order to reduce the risk of money laundering.

Coinone Makes Similar Move

Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto TradersSouth Korea’s third-largest crypto exchange, Coinone, also made a similar announcement on Friday.

The exchange explained that “Nonghyup Bank requested Coinone to limit the withdrawal of Korean currency” for members who have not verified their accounts by a certain date “pursuant to the Act on Reporting and Utilization of Specific Financial Transaction Information.” Coinone elaborated that effective Oct. 15:

In order to comply with the government policy related to virtual currency transactions, we will limit the withdrawal of persons who have not completed the real name verification.

Bithumb and Coinone Terminating Fiat Withdrawals for Unverified Crypto TradersAfter Oct. 15, users who do not have real-name accounts will be “unable to deposit and withdraw in Korean currency,” Coinone wrote. The exchange is asking users to make withdrawals before that date if they do not plan to convert to real-name accounts by then.

“When you authenticate real-name verified accounts, you can deposit and withdraw in Korean currency,” Coinone described. Like Bithumb, the exchange reiterated that the notice does not affect crypto trading, deposits, or withdrawals. Both exchanges have also confirmed that corporations, minors, and foreigners are not eligible for real-name conversion.

At the time of this writing, Upbit and Korbit, which do not use Nonghyup Bank, have not announced that they will stop providing Korean won withdrawal service to unverified users.

What do you think of Bithumb and Coinone disallowing fiat withdrawals for users without real-name accounts? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation Updates

Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation Updates

Japan’s financial regulator has recently unveiled the current state of the crypto regulations in the country. Three crypto operators are currently being reviewed. With 160 companies wanting to enter the space, the regulator plans to add more personnel to help review new applicants. In addition, a self-regulatory plan for crypto exchanges has also been submitted to the regulator.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Current State of Crypto Regulations

Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), published several documents from its fifth crypto study group meeting on Wednesday, September 12. The current state of crypto regulations and exchange registrations were discussed.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation UpdatesThe agency confirmed that out of the 16 companies that have been allowed to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed, only three have survived the agency’s recent inspections. Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin are currently being reviewed. The FSA reiterated that it is “currently reviewing the work improvement report” of Coincheck and, going forward, it will periodically conduct on-site inspections of registered exchanges.

Out of the 16 companies, one was rejected by the agency and 12 others have withdrawn their applications. In addition, approximately 160 companies have expressed their intention to register crypto exchanges, as previously reported by news.Bitcoin.com.

FSA Expanding Crypto Team

The FSA’s vice commissioner for policy coordination, Kiyotaka Sasaki, said at the meeting that “The biggest problem is how to deal with new operators,” Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto RegulationsHe noted that the agency currently has 30 personnel whose jobs include monitoring crypto exchanges and traders, supervising unregistered operators, and reviewing registration applications.

However, with over 160 companies wanting to enter the market, the FSA is seeking additional workforce to help with reviewing applicants. The agency is requesting 12 more personnel in the financial year 2019 to swiftly respond to crypto exchange operators, the publication conveyed.

Plan for Self-Regulation

Also discussed at the meeting are self-regulatory rules established by the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea).

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto Regulations
Yasunori Okuyama.

Currently, the members of the association are the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges: Money Partners, Quoine, Bitflyer, Bitbank, SBI Virtual Currency, GMO Coin, Bittrade, Btcbox, Bitpoint Japan, DMM Bitcoin, Bitarg Exchange Tokyo, Bitgate, Bitocean, Fisco Virtual Currency, Tech Bureau, and Xtheta.

The president of both the association and Money Partners, Yasunori Okuyama, explained to the meeting attendees the long list of self-regulatory rules, Impress Corporation reported. One of the rules relates to the handling of cryptocurrencies at exchanges, which states:

When handling a new virtual currency, after conducting an internal review by the member, it is necessary to notify the association beforehand, and if the association gives an objection, it will not be handled.

Another rule concerns the management of customer assets. The association explained that extra restrictions have been added such as “measures concerning margin trading using virtual currency” in compliance with the fund settlement law and the administrative guidelines.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto RegulationsThe leverage limit designated by the association is four times but members can choose their own limit under certain circumstances. The margin trading rule aims to “suppress the risk of loss of users and excessive speculative transactions in leverage transactions using virtual currency,” the association explained.

Furthermore, exchanges must have anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) measures as well as rules regarding anti-social forces. Among other rules are ones covering basic transactions, dispute resolution, solicitation and advertising, trading guidelines, ethics and how to handle initial coin offerings (ICOs).

While the association says that “the self-regulatory rules will generally be enforced “at an early stage in order to acquire the accreditation of our association,” it acknowledges that some rules may take longer to comply.

What do you think of the Japanese crypto regulation and self-regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Exchanges Round-Up: Coinbase to Hire 130, EF Hutton Backs Acex Exchange

In cryptocurrency exchange news, Coinbase plans to hire 130 additional staff at its New York office by the end of 2019, a recently announced exchange which will be backed EF Hutton has declared that it will launch before January 2019, and Digifinex has announced that it will replace its USDT pairings for TUSD.

Also Read: Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI Ban 

Coinbase NYC Office to Hire 130 Employees

Exchanges Round-Up: Coinbase to Hire 130, EF Hutton Backs ExchangeCoinbase has indicated that it plans to hire 130 employees at its newly opened New York office by the end of next year. The hirings would bring the number of staff working at the facility to roughly 150.

“We have to create a bridge between financial services and technology,” Adam White, the general manager of Coinbase International, stated. “In order to do that, we need to pull from some of the best and brightest minds that have worked their whole careers in other kinds of traditional financial firms.”

Mr. White stated that the exchange has continued to grow despite declining trade volume due to increased institutional investment in the sector, stating: “When we saw the market begin to correct, which we all expected, institutions didn’t lose interest. It was exactly the opposite. They look at it as an opportunity to enter when things are not too frothy.”

EF Hutton-Backed Exchange to Launch by January

Exchanges Round-Up: Coinbase to Hire 130, EF Hutton Backs ExchangeEF Hutton has announced that it will be sponsoring a virtual currency exchange, American Cryptocurrency Exchange (Acex). According to a press release, the exchange currently expects to commence trading digital assets by January 2019, and that Acex will comprise “a first of its kind membership exchange in North America.”

The chief executive officer of EF Hutton, Christopher Daniels, said: “We are building a unique fintech infrastructure in Arizona that encompasses a large number of brokers and advisors. Acex membership structure benefits every Member firm – all of whom benefit directly from the growth of Acex.”

At launch, Acex will support BCH, BTC, ETH, LTC, BTG, ETC, OMG, EOS, DASH, TRX, XMR, VEN, IOTA, ZEC, and TUSD, and plans to list initial coin offerings next year.

Digifinex Replaces USDT Pairings With TUSD

Exchanges Round-Up: Coinbase to Hire 130, EF Hutton Backs ExchangeDigifinex, the 14th largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume according to Coinmarketcap’s adjusted rankings, has announced that it will phase out USDT pairings on its platform.

The co-founder of Digitfinex, Kiana Shek, stated: ”I simply don’t believe in Tether,” adding: that she had been “looking for ways to get rid of USDT” for months.

Digifinex will first launch TUSD pairings for BTC, ETH, and USDT, with the number of pairings expected to grow as USDT is phased out across the platform.

Do you think that more exchanges will seek to phase out USDT pairings in favor of alternative stablecoins? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Google Security Expert Warns Against Bitcoin Bragging Online

Google Security Expert Warns Against Bitcoin Bragging Online

Mark Risher, Google’s director of product management, Google Identity, account security, and spam & abuse, recently urged cryptocurrency investors not to brag about their virtual currency holdings online.

Also Read: Netherlands’ Largest Bank ING Group Fined $900M for Money Laundering

Google Security Expert Cautions Traders Against Boasting Online

Google Security Expert Warns Against Bitcoin Bragging OnlineIn a recent interview with CNBC, Google security lead, Mark Risher, cautioned crypto traders against boasting of their cryptocurrency portfolio on the internet.

Mr. Risher warned that gloating of one’s virtual riches risks attracting malicious actors such as cyber attackers, citing an uptick in attacks targeting the owners of cryptocurrency wallets. Mr. Risher asserted that many of said attacks can be traced back to a post made by the victim on a public message board – attracting the attention of scammers.

“It could just be a case of mistaken identity or guilt by association. They could be using someone who seems to be low value to pivot toward somebody considered a higher value target, like somebody political in nature. Or maybe they saw that you were discussing Bitcoin on a public message board,” he said.

Increasing Sophistication of Online Scammers

Google Security Expert Warns Against Bitcoin Bragging OnlineMr. Risher also warned that social media has increased the sophistication with which many attackers target their victims through allowing scammers to conduct detailed research into the individuals that they target. “You might think of this generic ‘Dear Sir or Madam, I am contacting you to ask you for a favor,’ but the truth is many of these attackers have done some serious research on their victims,” Mr. Risher said.

Earlier this year, it was reported that cryptocurrency Youtubers were increasingly becoming targeted by malicious actors. Peter Saddington, the host of the Youtube channel ‘Decentralized TV’, recounted being hacked in late 2017, stating: “You have to be very careful about that stuff as a Youtuber. In my early days of Youtube, I used to show my trades. I learned that was not a good idea.”

Mr. Saddington asserts that many Youtubers have “learn[t] the hard way,” stating “We no longer have a bank that we can whine to and say, ‘bank, my mohackney was stolen, give it back to me.’ No. We’re not in that economy anymore. If you lost your Bitcoin that is 100 percent your fault.”

What is your response to Mr. Risher’s recommendations? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI Ban

Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI Ban

A growing number of crypto exchanges in India have announced the return of fiat deposit and withdrawal support despite the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. Several other exchanges in the country also allow their users to use Indian rupees to buy and cash out cryptocurrencies through their exchange-escrow peer-to-peer (P2P) services.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Exchanges Say INR Support Is Back

Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI BanSince the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) went into effect in July, crypto exchanges in the country have been deprived of banking services. Many of them subsequently shut down their INR support, disallowing users to make deposits and withdrawals in Indian rupees. The Supreme Court of India is scheduled to hear petitions against the ban next week.

However, recently at least three crypto exchanges in the country have announced the return of INR deposit and withdrawal support despite the RBI ban.

On Wednesday, September 12, crypto exchange Koinex announced that it has brought back INR deposits and withdrawals through its P2P system, stating:

We are happy to announce the revival of INR in the crypto universe through a new peer-to-peer deposit and withdrawal mechanism for INR transactions…Just like the old times, users will be able to deposit and withdraw funds directly from their INR wallets.

Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI BanAnother crypto exchange, Coindelta, announced on August 31 that it had resumed INR support. “We have resumed back the INR deposits and withdrawals on Coindelta. Not only this, your old favourite INR markets are back where you can trade with your INR,” the exchange wrote.

In addition, news.Bitcoin.com recently reported on another exchange, Giottus, offering a creative way of allowing users to deposit and withdraw Indian rupees using its P2P platform.

Other Exchanges With Similar Services

The three aforementioned exchanges are utilizing their exchange-escrowed P2P services to facilitate deposits and withdrawals in Indian rupees. Each has its own set of rules including the number of coins supported, the deposit and withdrawal process, and the time it takes to withdraw INR using their systems.

Growing Number of Indian Crypto Exchanges Say Fiat Support Is Back Despite RBI BanThere are several other exchanges with similar P2P services that allow users to both purchase cryptocurrencies and cash out in Indian rupees.

Crypto exchange Wazirx, for example, recently celebrated its six-month anniversary of launching its P2P service. The exchange claims “We’re seeing our trading volumes increasing every day.” Vouching for the popularity of P2P trading, CEO Nischal Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com “We see more than 1 match per minute on our P2P.”

Another exchange, Instashift, has been offering P2P trading of over 80 coins. “Since the last set of RBI related developments in the past couple of months, we have continued to see strong 20-25% growth in trading volumes month on month over the last 2 quarters of our operation,” CEO Rahul Chitale shared with news.Bitcoin.com.

Coindcx also offers P2P trading on its Dcxinsta platform. “We guarantee any 50+ cryptocurrencies purchase directly with INR in less than 60 seconds,” CEO Sumit Gupta claims.

Other fiat-enabling systems outside of the P2P services are also being used in India such as the Dabba trading system which uses the Telegram messaging app to facilitate the trades.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by any parties in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. Bitcoin.com is not 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.

What do you think of the way Indian crypto exchanges offer fiat support despite the RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Exchanges Round-Up: Aus Regulators Doubt Coinjar Volume, Paysend Partners With Bitstamp

Exchanges Round-Up: Aus Regulators Doubt Coinjar Volume, Paysend Partners With Bitstamp

In recent news pertaining to cryptocurrency exchanges, Australia’s financial regulators have expressed skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported trade volume, Paysend has partnered with Bitstamp to facilitate cryptocurrency purchases through its Global Account, and Seed Cx has announced a $15 million USD Series B funding round.

Also Read: A Decade After Lehman Brothers Died: Mises, Satoshi, Bitcoin, and Wall Street Worship 

Australian Regulators Skeptical of Purported Coinjar Volume

Exchanges Round-Up: Aus Regulators Doubt Coinjar Volume, Paysend Partners With BitstampIn a recent interview with Business Insider, Jordan Michaelides, Coinjar’s head of institutional investment, expressed his frustrations with the slow pace at which he perceives Australia’s regulatory institutions to be reacting to innovation within the crypto sector – claiming that the exchange facilitated $1.4 billion AUD (approximately 1.07 billion USD) in trade volume during the first half of 2018.

In response, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) expressed skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported volume, with a spokesperson stating: “Tracking the actual industry is even newer than the sector itself, […] aspects of the volume of transactions can be quite opaque, and you could imagine some of the claims by participants might warrant a certain skepticism.”

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) appears to share ASIC’s skepticism, with a spokesperson stating: “AUSTRAC does not monitor or collect information that allows us to quantify total transaction volumes by a reporting entity or industry.”

Seed Cx Announces $15 million Series B Funding Round

Exchanges Round-Up: Aus Regulators Doubt Coinjar Volume, Paysend Partners With BitstampChicago-based Seed Cx has announced a $15 million USD Series B funding round. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and brings the company’s total funding to $25 million.

Edward Woodford, Seed CX’s co-founder and CEO, stated: “As a licensed exchange for both spot and derivatives trading, we deliver the operational risk safeguards, strong institutional technology, operational support, and regulatory compliance that institutions demand. What is particularly exciting is that our unique offering brings large institutional traders, who have so far sat on the sidelines, into the crypto space for the first time.”

Salil Deshpande, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures, stated: “Institutions are seeking regulated, secure, and reliable crypto venues with diverse products that allow them to earn strong returns. Today, trading venues are retail focused, limited to spot trading, often unregulated, and in foreign jurisdictions. The lack of institutional exchanges is the single largest barrier to crypto asset class growth. Seed Cx is serving this unmet need of institutions and has assembled an outstanding team of executives to support this vision.”

Paysend Partners With Bitstamp to Compete With Revolut

Exchanges Round-Up: Aus Regulators Doubt Coinjar Volume, Paysend Partners With BitstampPaysend has launched it’s “Global Account” – a product designed to compete with Revolut. The app will allow users to spend and transfer money via mobile app and debit card. The app supports EUR, GBP, USD, RUB, and KZT, and provides access to the cryptocurrency markets on Bitstamp – owing to a partnership between the two companies.

Paysend’s head of product, Alex Murashko, stated: “We are quite different from both a technical infrastructure and consumer offering viewpoint. We own and control our own processing and this gives tremendous ability and flexibility to deliver a wide variety of services whilst controlling the entire consumer journey.”

Mr. Murashko continued: “[…] We believe in simplifying the consumer experience so that instead of feeling like they are bombarded with a long list of features they have available a focused group of benefits.”

What is your response to ASIC and AUSTRAC’s skepticism regarding Coinjar’s purported trade volume? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche Bank

$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche Bank

U.S. law enforcement agencies have started their money laundering investigations of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank have been implicated. Danske Bank is also currently under investigation by Denmark and Estonia and its CEO reportedly ignored warnings of suspicious transactions.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

$150 Billion Money Laundering Case

$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche BankThe Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, September 14, that “The [U.S.] Justice Department, Treasury Department, and Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] are each examining Danske Bank after a confidential whistleblower complaint was filed to the SEC more than two years ago,” citing a person familiar with the matter. According to the person and the documents the news outlet has reviewed:

U.S. law enforcement agencies are probing Denmark’s largest bank over allegations of massive money laundering flows from Russia and former Soviet states…U.S. involvement in the case greatly raises the stakes for Danske Bank.

$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche BankAn estimated $150 billion are suspected to have flowed through non-Estonian customer accounts held at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch from 2007 to 2015 – from countries such as Russia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. The publication added that the bank’s investigators have not revealed if the entire amount should be viewed as suspicious. The bank has been conducting an internal investigation and will release the results on September 19, a notice on its website states.

Danish and Estonian authorities have been investigating the bank and have shared information with their U.S. counterparts, several European officials familiar with the matter told the news outlet.

Why Is the US Interested?

The U.S. has yet to officially confirmed that it is investigating Danske Bank. Two weeks ago, Marshall Billingslea, U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, told Danish daily Berlingske “We are following this case very closely.” Reuters elaborated:

While the bank does not have a banking license in the United States, it has a bond program in dollars and its Estonian branch saw U.S. dollar customer flows, which could heighten interest among U.S. regulators.

The Wall Street Journal explained that the U.S. Treasury can restrict the supply of U.S. dollars to foreign banks and the Treasury and Justice Department can fine banks.

Adam Barrass, an analyst at Berenberg, noted back in July that the key risk to Danske Bank was “the potential U.S. fine because [of] Danske’s use of dollar funding and transactions,” the Financial Times reported.

CEO Ignores Money Laundering Signs

According to the Financial Times, Danske Bank’s CEO, Thomas Borgen, ignored calls to scale back business at the Estonian branch when warned of money laundering activities. The minutes seen by the news outlet reveals that the CEO was informed at a meeting in October 2013 that:

The level of activity in its [Danske Bank’s] Estonian branch from outside the country — mostly from ex-Soviet states and Russia — was higher than that of rivals and ‘needed to be reviewed and potentially reduced’.

$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche Bank
Danske Bank’s CEO, Thomas Borgen.

Instead, Borgen responded by emphasizing “the need for a middle ground, and wanted to discuss this further outside of this forum,” the publication noted.

The Wall Street Journal additionally detailed, “Estonian officials are investigating 26 former Danske employees, from low-level staff to the former branch CEO. They are accused of helping to launder $230 million in money from an alleged fraud committed in Russia.”

Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Implicated

Citing the person familiar with the probes, the Wall Street Journal also reported:

The whistleblower complaint identified Deutsche Bank AG and Citigroup Inc., both overseen by U.S. regulators, as involved with transactions into and out of Danske Bank’s Estonian branch.

Deutsche Bank acted as a correspondent bank for Danske, handling dollar wire transfers while Citigroup’s Moscow office was involved in some of the transfers through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, the person told the publication.

With the ongoing probes, the bank’s share price has been on a sharp decline this year.

$150B Money Laundering Probe of Danske Bank Implicates Citigroup and Deutsche Bank

Why are regulators going after crypto with so much money laundering going on in the banking system? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and Russia

Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and Russia

Draft laws employing alternative approaches to regulating digital currencies have been introduced in Ukraine and Russia. In Kiev, a bill that classifies cryptocurrency as an asset, unit of exchange and store of value has been filed in the Rada and it’s supported by both deputies and representatives of the industry. In Moscow, the managers of leading Russian enterprises have prepared their own version of the law on digital financial assets which contains the legal term “cryptocurrency” and differentiates it from tokens.

Also read: Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports Say

New Crypto Bill Filed in the Ukrainian Rada

Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and RussiaA bill that leaves crypto-to-crypto trade outside of the scope of government regulation has been filed in the Ukrainian parliament. The draft has been signed by 23 members of the Verkhovna Rada and is prepared in cooperation with representatives of the industry. News about the filling was announced during a crypto conference in Kiev by Ukrainian Member of Parliament Alexei Mushak.

The legal document defines the term “virtual assets” and differentiates between cryptocurrencies and tokens, Forklog reported. Cryptocurrency is described as a virtual asset that can function as a means of exchange and can store value. Tokenized assets, on the other hand, certify property or other rights of their holders that correspond to the obligations of an issuer.

The sponsors want to introduce a preferential tax regime in the space, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. According to their proposal, crypto incomes and profits of both private individuals and corporate entities will be subject to only 5% tax until 2024. Earlier this month, the country’s deputy-finance minister advised Ukrainians to pay 19.5% income tax on their crypto revenues.

Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and Russia

Three drafts have been introduced in the Rada since last October, including one amending the country’s tax code to incorporate crypto taxation. However, no significant progress towards their adoption has been reported so far, despite their passing through several relevant parliamentary committees.

An important aspect of the new law is the intention to relieve the state from any responsibilities related to the oversight of crypto-to-crypto trading. The authors of the bill believe the government should be responsible only for regulating those transactions that involve the exchange of cryptocurrency to fiat money.

Alternative Law on Digital Assets Proposed in Russia

A new draft law on digital financial assets, alternative to the one already developed by authorities, has been proposed by an organization that unites some of the leading enterprises in Russia. The bill authored by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) grants cryptocurrencies a “special status”, the head of the interdepartmental group assessing cryptocurrencies, Elina Sidorenko, told Forklog.

Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and Russia

The document divides digital assets into three groups: digital tokens, security tokens and cryptocurrencies. According to Sidorenko, cryptocurrencies will be regulated by the new law and the rules adopted by the Central Bank of Russia, which will also issue licenses to providers of exchange services.

The issuers of tokens – companies attracting capital through initial coin offerings (ICOs) – will not be required to apply for licenses from Centrobank. The tokens will serve as evidence of a civil law contract concluded between the ICO projects and the investors. The issuers of security tokens will have to abide by the rules applicable to traditional securities.

Alternative Crypto Bills Presented in Ukraine and Russia

The draft is still under consideration and will be discussed with the regulatory agencies in October. Some of Russia’s top managers, including the president of the mining and metallurgical company Nornickel, Vladimir Potanin, the head of Rostelecom, Mikhail Oseevsky, and the president of the Skolkovo Fund, Viktor Vekselberg, are participating in the working group developing the bill.

Three bills designed to regulate the crypto space were filed in the Duma in May. Their texts have been synchronized by deputies in the lower house of the Russian parliament and the revamped legislation will be presented for public discussions next month.

Do you think the alternative proposals will be taken into account by authorities in Kiev and Moscow? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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RBI Ban Hearing Delayed – Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This Week

RBI Ban Hearing Delayed - Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This Week

All petitions against the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are supposed to have been heard by the country’s supreme court on September 11. However, the court has been busy every day this week and has postponed the RBI ban hearing.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

RBI Ban Hearing Postponed

RBI Ban Hearing Delayed - Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This WeekThe Supreme Court of India was supposed to hear all petitions regarding the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank on Tuesday, September 11. The RBI issued a circular banning all regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses on April 6.

As all eyes in the Indian crypto community were on the court to see if the RBI ban will be stayed, the supreme court adjourned on Tuesday without hearing the crypto case due to other cases running over time. The case was again postponed for the same reason on Wednesday and Thursday.

Furthermore, Nischal Shetty, the CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, told news.Bitcoin.com that “It wasn’t scheduled for today [Friday] after yesterday’s delay.” Crypto Kanoon, a news and analysis platform, tweeted on Thursday:

As the arguments will continue for long in another matter, the court has adjourned all other matters including crypto matter. Matter is now likely to be listed on Tuesday [September 18].

Indian Association Tries to Get Attention of the Court

RBI Ban Hearing Delayed - Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This WeekAmong the petitions against the RBI ban was one submitted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The non-profit organization filed its petition in May, which was heard on July 3 and July 20, before it was postponed to September 11.

At both hearings, the court did not grant a stay on the central bank’s ban. The association also tried to educate the RBI by filing a representation explaining how blockchain and cryptocurrency work. However, their effort did not sway the central bank.

RBI Ban Hearing Delayed - Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This WeekOn September 12, Crypto Kanoon tweeted, “As per our internal sources, IAMAI is going to mention the crypto matter at 10:30 before Court No. 9 for seeking adjournment for the purpose of filing rejoinder to the counter affidavit recently filed by one of the respondents.” The platform soon tweeted further, “The court has declined to entertain the mentioning done by IAMAI for adjournment.”

Confusion Over the RBI Affidavit

On Tuesday, September 11, CNN News18 reported that the central bank had filed an affidavit with the supreme court. The news outlet wrote:

RBI files affidavit in top court against cryptocurrency and says that it can’t recognize bitcoins under the current legal regime as virtual currencies are neither money nor currency, can’t even be considered as a valid payment system.

RBI Ban Hearing Delayed - Indian Supreme Court Too Busy for Crypto This WeekCiting this report, Indiabits, which represents a community of blockchain enthusiasts, tweeted, “supreme court to hear affidavit filed by RBI on the matter on September 17th.” It also pointed out that, based on publicly available information on the supreme court website, RBI filed a counter affidavit on September 8, with a “computer generated date” for the hearing listed as September 17.

However, disputing the above information, Crypto Kanoon claims that this RBI affidavit was the same one filed in May, which they reported on at the time, adding that the “supreme court nvr [never] posted crypto matter on 17th Sep.”

Nonetheless, the crypto community will be watching the supreme court next week to see if the crypto case will eventually be heard. Shetty shared with news.Bitcoin.com:

The case has been postponed to monday…So let’s see what happens Monday.

What do you think of the supreme court repeatedly delaying the crypto case hearing? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, IAMAI, and the RBI.


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Bitgo Attains Regulatory Approval in United States

Bitgo Attains Regulatory Approval in United States

Bitgo, a cryptocurrency security and custody company, has been granted regulatory approval to provide its storage services to the United States. Specifically, Bitgo will target U.S.-based institutional investors with its “Bitgo Trust Company.”

Also Read: Corporate Creditors Can Now File Claims for Mt Gox Restitution

Bitgo Approved by South Dakota Regulators

Bitgo Attains Regulatory Approval in United StatesThe South Dakota Division of Banking has approved Bitgo Trust Company as a public South Dakota Trust Company – allowing the company to offer its cryptocurrency custody services to institutional investors in the United States.

Mike Belshe, the chief executive officer of Bitgo, stated: “Custody has been the missing piece of cryptocurrency market infrastructure and this gap has kept institutional investors out of the market. Traditional custodians don’t have experience handling cryptocurrency. Exchanges that double as custodians present a conflict of interest and raise regulatory concerns. Bitgo Trust Company is a qualified custodian, and therefore the only custody offering that delivers the highest levels of both security and regulatory compliance.”

Shahla Ali, Bitgo’s chief compliance and legal officer, told media: ”Currently […] we offer an online hot wallet solution, which is available to anyone to download our software and store their coins. We also offer a custodial solution which is a combination of hot and cold wallet […] that offering, though secure, is not regulated like the Trust.”

Bitgo Trust Company to Target Institutional Investors

Bitgo Attains Regulatory Approval in United StatesMrs. Ali continued: “The Trust company will enable us to offer a qualified custodial offering that is regulated, that has the money laundering and know your customer requirements.” Mrs. Ali added that Bitgo’s “custodian offering already has money laundering and KYC requirements,” however, and emphasized that the Trust is suited “for institutional clients […] especially for those who are registered advisers and broker-dealers.”

Whilst the Bitgo Trust Company has been specifically approved by South Dakota’s regulators, Mrs. Ali stated that “generally other states will give you reciprocity in the sense that other states have money transmission laws and they’ll exempt you from money transmission requirements.”

Bitgo’s website states that its custody services offer “100% cold storage technology in bank-grade Class III vaults,” “Support for 75+ coins and tokens,” and “Multi-user accounts.”

Do you think that more company’s will seek approval in South Dakota to offer crypto custody services to U.S. investors? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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