Author: Andrew Nelson

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

On February 20, 2018, investors saw signs of yet another directional shift in South Korea’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, Choe Heung-sik, the governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters, “The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.” The head of the FSS has wrestled with cryptocurrency regulation and the lack of legislation on the industry for some time. He stated in November 2017 that “supervision [of cryptocurrency exchanges] will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens...

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SegWit is Coming to Coinbase and Bitfinex’s Bitcoin Exchanges

Today, two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency investment platforms, Coinbase and Bitfinex, both announced that they were adopting support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) protocols for bitcoin (BTC) traded on their exchanges. In its announcement, Bitfinex stated, “The SegWit implementation means Bitfinex users can benefit from lower BTC withdrawal fees (approximately 15 percent) and improved processing times on transactions across the Bitcoin network.” The exchange did make clear that the support for bitcoin deposits and withdrawals using pay-to-script-hash (P2SH) SegWit addresses were the only ones thus far slated for bitcoin and not applicable to bitcoin cash (BCH). Coinbase, on the...

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Swiss Regulator Gives Clear Guidelines for Launching ICOs

On February 16, 2018, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA put the world on notice by being the first major economy to set out clear guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICOs). In an announcement, the Swiss regulator addressed plans to apply financial market legislation to different tokens as well as lay out how ICO organizers can get proper input from FINMA when planning or launching their initial coin offerings. The guidelines, offered as a downloadable PDF, show market participants what information is needed to help the Swiss regulator adequately address all issues presented in inquiries to the regulator,...

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SEC Suspends Trading of 3 Penny Stocks With Tenuous Ties to Cryptocurrency, Blockchain

Today, February 16, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a press release announcing trading suspension of three companies that acquired AAA-rated assets from “a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things.” The three companies in question, PDX Partners, Inc., Victura Construction Group, and Cherubim Interests, Inc., had trading of their stocks suspended for 10 days by the SEC under the auspices of public interest and investor protection. Neither the SEC suspension orders, nor any of the announcements by the companies surrounding the acquisitions, however, seem to actually focus on blockchain...

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SEC Suspends Trading of 3 Penny Stocks With Tenuous Ties to Cryptocurrency, Blockchain

Today, February 16, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a press release announcing trading suspension of three companies that acquired AAA-rated assets from “a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things.” The three companies in question, PDX Partners, Inc., Victura Construction Group, and Cherubim Interests, Inc., had trading of their stocks suspended for 10 days by the SEC under the auspices of public interest and investor protection. Neither the SEC suspension orders, nor any of the announcements by the companies surrounding the acquisitions, however, seem to actually focus on blockchain...

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Cryptocurrency Exchange’s $170 Million Nano Coin Loss Sparks Outrage

On Friday, February 9, 2018, Italian cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail announced that “internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano [XRB] shortfall, an amount forming part of the wallet managed by BitGrail.” The shortfall when reported was allegedly worth $170 million and has presumably rendered BitGrail insolvent, despite the fact that the other wallets and currencies that the exchange has were purportedly untouched. The 9:30 p.m. UTC announcement by the Florence-based exchange gives some cause for circumspection. The founder of the exchange, Francesco “The Bomber” Firano, fired off salvos on Twitter in defense of the loss....

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SEC and CFTC Give Testimonies at Senate Hearing on Virtual Currencies

Today, February 6, 2018, the prospects for coherent U.S. regulation on cryptocurrencies became a little more clear, as were the impasses that were frustrating progress on the issue. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs (the “Committee”) heard joint testimony from the heads of both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). While both the SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo provided written testimonies on February 5, 2018, the statements from the chairmen as well as the answers later garnered from Senate questioning gave some clarity as...

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SEC Chair’s Written Testimony Hints at Moderation for Cryptocurrencies, but ICOs Be Warned

The written testimony from Jay Clayton, chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was released on February 5, 2018. It comes ahead of the chairman’s oral testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on February 6, 2018, on the matter of “Virtual Currencies: The Oversight Role of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.” Usually the written testimony closely mirrors the language we can expect in the oral testimony today. Going through the written testimony, there are several key takeaways to note. (If the opinions...

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Indian Government Turns Fiat Currency War on to Cryptocurrencies

The cryptocurrency marketplace in India is facing a siege from multiple parts of the government as several incidents amount to a buildup of the Narendra Modi–led government’s actions on regulating cryptocurrencies. If the reports out of India are true, the IMF’s “fastest growing country among emerging economies” may have to meet its 7.4 percent GDP growth target in 2018 without the boost that the digital currency industry has provided in the past. The Prequel: PM Modi Demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Notes in 2016 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in late 2016 a “demonetization policy” in which the...

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