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Wyoming Introduces a Bill Aiming to Define Virtual Currencies as Money

A bill meant to clarify the classification of digital assets has been introduced in Wyoming.

A bill meant to clarify the classification of cryptocurrencies has been introduced in the U.S. state of Wyoming Jan. 18, according to the official state legislature website.

The bill places crypto assets into three categories: digital consumer assets, digital securities and virtual currencies. The bill defines assets falling in any of those three categories as intangible personal property and grants virtual currencies the same treatment as fiat money.

The proposed bill also authorizes banks to “provide custodial services for digital assets consistent with this section upon providing sixty (60) days written notice to the commissioner.”

The drafted legislation also lets banks serve as qualified custodians in accordance with regulations put in place by the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

Wyoming has recently seen a surge in blockchain- and crypto-related legislation entering its legal system. As Cointelegraph recently reported, a bill allowing corporations to issue blockchain-based tokens that represent stocks was introduced in Wyoming on Jan. 16.

Also, news recently broke that Wyoming has passed two new house bills that aim to foster a regulatory environment conducive to cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation.

On a more local level, the state has also shown interest in implementing blockchain technology for government administration. In December, the Wyoming county of Teton announced a new partnership with online retailer Overstock that targets land records.

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Thailand’s Stock Exchange Plans to Set up a Licensed Digital Asset Exchange: Report

Thailand’s Stock Exchange exec reveals plans to set up a licensed digital asset exchange in the country.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is planning to set up a regulated digital asset exchange, local news agency The Bangkok Post reported on Jan. 17.

Citing the vice chair of SET’s board of governors, Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, — аlso chair of the Association of Securities Companies — the report revealed that the national stock exchange plans to apply for a digital asset operating licence from the country’s Ministry of Finance within the year.

According to the plan, SET’s member securities firms will be able to apply to become brokers and dealers for trading on the new digital asset exchange.

As a representative of the securities industry, Dilokrungthirapop stressed that there are a number of securities firms that are interested in broker and dealer activity with digital assets as a class, but are not necessarily looking to enter cryptocurrency markets.

Dilokrungthirapop further stated:

“Securities firms are currently waiting for the SET to apply for a licence. For us, digital assets are expected to grow in the future as investors gain more understanding of this asset class.”

Jirayut Srupsrisopa, chief executive of Thai crypto exchange Bitkub, noted that a digital asset exchange from SET would have the advantage of leveraging the stock exchange’s already existing trust and capital. The exchange also expressed interest in partnering with SET for its digital asset venture.

Recently, the much-anticipated digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets in futures commision merchant Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG).

Earlier in January, Estonia-based DX Exchange launched its digital trading platform offering tokenized traditional stocks on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

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Huobi Resumes Trading in Japan as FSA-Licensed Exchange

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, currently the world’s 7th largest by daily traded volume, has relaunched as a fully licensed platform in Japan.

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi — currently the world’s 7th largest by daily traded volume — has relaunched as a fully licensed platform in Japan after merging with BitTrade. The news was announced in a press release published Jan. 17.

As reported, Huobi Global’s wholly owned subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd, acquired a majority stake in BitTrade last September. At the time, BitTrade was one of only 16 crypto exchanges in the country to have secured a license from national financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Leon Li, Huobi Group Founder and CEO, has said that securing the license represents a significant milestone for Huobi, given the importance of the Japanese market.

Huobi’s press release takes pains to emphasize security provisions, outlining that Huobi Japan “features specialized distributed architecture, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack countermeasures system, and A+ ranked SSL certification (the highest available).”

According to the press release, Huobi Japan supports trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Monacoin (MONA).

While a license has been mandatory for all crypto exchanges operating within Japan since the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act back in April 2017, the FSA has continued to ratchet up requirements for applicants throughout 2018, in the wake of last January’s industry-record-breaking $532 million theft of NEM tokens from Coincheck.

Ahead of Huobi’s majority stake deal — BitTrade became Japan’s first FSA-licensed platform to be fully acquired by an international investor, the Singaporean multi-millionaire and entrepreneur Eric Cheng. The investor also acquired BitTrade’s affiliate company, FX Trade Financial Co., Ltd — one of Japan’s leading forex trading platforms. Following the Huobi deal, FX Trade Financial retained 25 percent of the BitTrade’s shares.

Founded in China in 2013, Huobi Group has been headquartered in Singapore since Beijing’s crackdown on domestic crypto-fiat exchanges in September 2017. As part of its ongoing overseas expansion efforts, the platform has recently rebranded its United States-based strategic partner trading platform HBUS to the better known Huobi name.

Following Coincheck’s very recent acquisition of an FSA license, the total number of regulator-approved exchanges in Japan stands at 17.

Last fall, an executive from leading U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase made positive remarks about Japan’s crypto regulatory climate, saying that the FSA’s intense focus on security is “good for us.” Coinbase has had plans to secure a license to operate within the country in the works since June 2018.

Huobi has seen $299.6 million in trades over the 24 hours to press time, according to CoinMarketCap data.

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Russia: Cryptoruble Coming ‘Within 2-3 Years,’ Gov’t Official Says

Russia could introduce the Blockchain-based alternative to its fiat currency, the ‘Cryptoruble’, within “two to three years,” a senior politician has said.


Aksakov: Cryptoruble ‘Will Not Differ’ From Fiat Ruble

Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the financial markets committee at Russia’s state parliament the Duma, made the forecast speaking to local news outlet RIA Novosti.

Long under discussion, Russia wants to leverage the benefits of blockchain to provide a digital version of the ruble, Aksakov confirming its characteristics would “not differ” in practice from the fiat ruble.

“The opinion is that this ruble will not differ in any way from the fiat ruble, except that it will exist on the Blockchain,” he told the publication.

As Bitcoinist reported, Aksakov planned to act on legally defining cryptocurrencies when he took over as committee chair in 2017. Lawmakers have also attempted to address legal aspects of token phenomena such as ICOs.

For the state to interact with a Blockchain token officially, however, multiple use cases should be available, he said, which in turn will dictate when a token such as the Cryptoruble could surface on the market.

“The more widely Blockchain is used in our financial operations – and not just financial but economic ones as well – the more likely it is the Cryptoruble will appear,” he added.

Regulation Or ‘Putin Pump’?

Russia continues to find itself in limbo regarding cryptocurrency regulation. A package of laws which the Duma initially accepted last year has since met with skepticism from the country’s central bank, which has apparently delayed its full implementation.

More recently, rumors have begun appearing that despite the unofficial status of tokens such as Bitcoin, Russia plans to actively invest in the market as a method to skirt US sanctions.

A corresponding surge in the quantity of Bitcoin purchased by Russian citizens has also become apparent, one source claimed this week.

Some Russian figures had previously mentioned the idea of using Bitcoin for such political purposes.

What do you think about the Cryptoruble? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Banks in India: Don’t Touch Bitcoin Or Your Accounts Will Be Closed

Reports on social media indicate that banks in India are threatening customers that deal in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with the closure of their accounts. This move is the latest salvo from the banking industry in a country where cryptos seem all but banned.


Upping the Ante

On Friday (Jan. 11, 2019), Morgan Creek founder and partner, Anthony Pompliano published a tweet culled from sources in India about the latest move by banks in India to prevent Bitcoin trading. According to the tweet, banks sent out warnings telling their customers not to deal in cryptos or risk the closure of their account.

The notice even declared that banks need not send any further correspondence before closing customer accounts. Pomp’s tweet came directly from another Twitter user; Indian CryptoGirl, who commented on the situation saying:

Indian Banks now forcefully taking permission from us to ‘reserve right to close our account without further intimation’ if we deal in #cryptocurrency transactions Ability to decide what to do with our own money is the very reason we need to invest, #BUIDL, & believe in #bitcoin.

There are also reports of similar messages on ATM screens belonging to Kotak Mahindra Bank. According to Indian CryptoGirl, the bank has even made good on its threat. In an update of the situation posted on Saturday (Jan. 12, 2019), the bank issued a notice of account closure for doing transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin all but Banned

Unsurprisingly, the reaction on social media has been one of outrage with many saying Bitcoin is all but banned in India. In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); the country’s apex bank, prohibited banks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions.

India's Supreme Court to Issue Final Ruling on RBI Cryptocurrency Ban in September

A coalition of stakeholders challenged the decision, and the matter remains unresolved. The government failed to respond to a Supreme Court deadline back in October 2018. Reports are indicating a plan to establish regulatory clarity for the market.

However, before such regulations emerge, the legacy banking system in India continues to stifle avenues for cryptocurrency trading. With the government failing to provide a definite stance on cryptos, the RBI ban remains the de facto regulation in the country.

What do you think about this latest move by Indian banks; legitimate concerns or fear of being usurped by decentralized currency systems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@APompliano and @DesiCryptoHodlr), Shutterstock