Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings

Nigerians are trading close to $4 million worth of bitcoin a week on 13 local exchanges, despite multiple warnings by authorities against investing in cryptocurrencies. Experts have called on the government to rethink its position and adopt smart regulations, “allowing innovation to move forward”. Regulators need to understand how it works before applying bans, analysts say.

Also read: Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Warnings Have No Effect on Nigerians

Regulators and legislators in Nigeria have taken a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies. The latest manifestation of their attitude came in the form of an investigation into bitcoin trading ordered by the Senate. There have been multiple warnings from other institutions, as well. Last year the Central Bank of Nigeria stated that “virtual currencies” were not legal tender and told banks their dealings with cryptos were at their own risk. The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation has warned Nigerians that they cannot rely on consumer protection when trading cryptocurrencies.

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite WarningsHowever, all those warnings have not changed hearts and minds, as the latest trading data shows. The value of bitcoin has decreased since last year, but interest in the most popular cryptocurrency is yet to wane in Nigeria, Leadership reports. Nigerians have continued to invest, trading weekly up to N1.389 billion worth of bitcoin (>$3.8 million) in February after an average of N1.299 billion (<$3.6 million) recorded at the end of December.

Up to 13 cryptocurrency exchanges are currently operating in Nigeria. Trading on local platforms scored a weekly record high of almost 1.95 Nigerian Naira worth of bitcoin in mid-December, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The amount is equal to $5.4 million USD under current exchange rates.

Innovation First, Then Regulation

Nigerians are investing in other cryptocurrencies, as well, and the total has reached $4.7 million weekly, according to Emeka Okoye, software developer and chief architect at Cymantiks Nigeria. He urged government institutions to rethink their approach to regulation. The expert said criticism would only fuel further speculation and encourage the use of cryptos by criminals. Okoye advised Nigerian regulators to adopt “smart regulation”, rather than outright ban:

It is an attitude of allowing innovation to move forward and let regulation follow. It is about the consumers and not about the players.

If authorities ban cryptocurrencies, they would be outlawing a tech tool, the analyst explained. Then “outlaws will use these tools, and you have no control – people will have to live with the consequences” Okoye warned. He also said that regulators need to understand the situation properly before applying any bans.

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings“Do they understand how it works? I can build a crypto exchange that is not domiciled in Nigeria and they cannot regulate it. I also have a foreign card and they cannot control what I do with it?” the expert pointed out.

Emeka Okoye thinks that cryptocurrency will not entirely replace fiat money but will complement it by providing for easier and more convenient transfers of wealth. In his opinion, the current trend of speculation, which is driving the value of cryptocurrency, is a distraction from its real value.

Do you think Nigerian authorities will listen to experts and change their policy towards bitcoin and the crypto sector in general? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations Tighten

As cryptocurrency regulations start to pile up in India, a new trend is emerging for Indians to acquire cryptocurrencies from abroad, such as from relatives or friends with overseas accounts.

Also read: Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

Increased Regulations

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenThe Indian government has recently intensified its efforts to strengthen the country’s regulations on cryptocurrencies, promising that a regulatory framework for them will be announced soon. Earlier this month, the Indian tax authority issued notices to 100,000 crypto traders asking them to pay taxes.

The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC), an industry group whose members include 7 cryptocurrency exchanges, is considering several initiatives, such as creating a database of crypto users and transactions, to comply with the government’s mandates. The Times of India elaborated:

With Indian exchanges like Unocoin, Zebpay, Coinsecure, keen on increasing regulation and scrutiny into transactions, bitcoin aficionados say buying from US exchanges is a more popular alternative for purchases.

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenAs regulations tighten in India, bitcoin “enthusiasts are now tapping into their own NRI [non-resident Indian] network of friends and family members,” the news outlet added.

L R Dinesh is a bitcoiner who buys expensive items using bitcoin on overseas online sites. He told the publication, “For the online tech community, there are some who receive bitcoins as payment for gadget and video game reviews. But for regular purchases, one has to get a relative or friend with an overseas account to send over bitcoins.”

Better Privacy

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenDana L Coe, the CEO of bitcoin hardware wallet Bitlox, believes that one of the main attractions of bitcoin is privacy, the news outlet conveyed.

He explained, “If you are purchasing a particular medicine and someone collects the data and sells it to a pharmaceutical company — these companies can use sets of such demographic information to increase prices.” Furthermore, he noted, “Differential pricing, blanket invasion of privacy cannot happen if one uses anonymous and private payments,” adding:

People would want to shield their payments from the government, corporates or even their own families. With big data and consumer tracking websites, the need for privacy is heightened.

Better Security

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenThe advanced security on purchases made with bitcoin is another major incentive for Indians, the publication added. “The requirement of Aadhaar is a dampener,” Dinesh asserted, referring to the 12-digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. “The community of techies, bloggers and geeks are quite antipathic to the continuous stem of leaks and insecurities reported with Aadhaar,” he emphasized, noting that “To try and unite bitcoins with compliance is going to keep real bitcoin miners away from Indian exchanges.”

Damodharan Sampathkumar of Renovite Technologies was quoted:

In India, RBI has mandated two-factor authentication for all online transactions. But outside of India, only single-factor authentication is required. So when it comes to using one’s credit or debit card to buy products on overseas sites one also runs the risk of compromising sensitive financial data and hacks. So using bitcoins would add one layer of security.

What do you think of Indians buying bitcoin overseas? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bitcoin Divorce Presents New Challenge for Rabbinical Court in Israel

Bitcoin Divorce Presents New Challenge for Rabbinical Court in Israel

While some state authorities and financial regulators might deride bitcoin, more people are using the cryptocurrency in their everyday lives. This has recently become evident by divorce cases around the globe involving bitcoin, with the latest example coming from Israel.

Also Read: Half of Large British Businesses Hold Stockpiles of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin Wedding

Bitcoin Divorce Presents New Challenge for Rabbinical Court in Israel
Jewish groom signing a ketubah at his wedding

A rabbinical court in Israel is now facing a bitcoin-related quandary for what appears to be the first time ever. The religious tribunal is asked to rule on the cryptocurrency in a matter of a specific divorce.

An Israeli couple, identified as a top female banker and a male executive at an investment firm, both in their early thirties, just got married three months ago. In the Jewish wedding ceremony the groom has to commit to pay the bride some compensation in case of a divorce. It is recommended that people will write a symbolic sum that they can afford, because if it comes to that they will be obliged to pay it in parallel with any alimony decided on by the civil divorce courts. However, in this case they decided on 30 bitcoin, worth about 2 million shekels at the time.

The woman testified that despite some guests doubting the gesture, “we thought it was neat and cool… in the old days they talked about fifty camels and a dozen silver coins, and today we talk about bitcoin.”

Bitcoin Divorce

Bitcoin Divorce Presents New Challenge for Rabbinical Court in IsraelThis week the wife turned to the rabbinical court asking for her divorce compensation in the form of 2 million shekels. The husband agreed to pay as he is obliged, but only according to the exchange rate at the time of the divorce (much closer to one million shekels) than at the time of the wedding.

The woman claims that the man initially wanted to show off by writing down 2 million shekels but she convinced him to write 30 bitcoin instead, as the figure appears less off-putting. She said: “My husband is an investments man and I am a banker, and we had an understanding between us that bitcoin is a legitimate currency. If he would have not specifically mentioned the sum of two million shekels I would not have asked for its value at the wedding day.” Now its up to the rabbinical court to decide how to resolve the issue.

This Israeli divorce is only one of numerous such cases around the world right now. Just one British law firm professes to be handling three such cases at present, with the largest involving a tug-of-war over crypto valued at $840,000.

Should bitcoin investors just start demanding prenuptial agreements before getting married? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

The government of Malta has come up with an idea that businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies may find interesting. A new policy document seeks to set up a special agency which will “certify” blockchain platforms and “verify” crypto transactions. It is supposed to “bring peace of mind” to companies using these technologies to cut out central authorities and banks. Valletta also proposes legislation that will define the roles of intermediaries and regulate initial coin offerings.

Also read: Gibraltar Launches Regulation to Protect Cryptocurrency Value and Reputation

Government Will Provide “Legal Certainty and Trust”

The new Malta Digital Innovation Authority will certify blockchain platforms used by companies in the country. It will also be responsible for “verifying” cryptocurrency transactions by checking if the logged information is genuine. The government hopes to bring some peace of mind to businesses using distributed ledgers for cross-border payments.

Authorities in Valletta are recognizing that companies utilize blockchains to cut out central authorities. However, they acknowledge that the technology allows for cheaper and more efficient money transfers. Worried that those platforms are not currently certified in any way, the government has decided to provide some “legal certainty and trust”. Officials believe companies will benefit from the work of the new authority, while also cutting out intermediaries such as banks.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy Silvio Schembri presented the new policy document at a press conference with various stakeholders, the Maltese Independent reported. He called the event a “historic moment” and provided further details on how authorities plan to implement regulations concerning the cryptocurrency sector in successive stages.

The first step will be to set up the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. A bill will set out the regime for the registration of service providers and the certification of technology arrangements, Schembri explained. On stage 2, another draft will formalize the framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A third law will impose regulation on services directly related to cryptocurrencies. Intermediaries like brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset managers, and investment advisors will be subjected to its provisions.

Malta Strives to Be a Hub of Innovation

Silvio Schembri stressed that promoting policies which favor the development of Malta as a hub for new technologies, including in the public sector, will be among the main goals. The aim is to foster innovation by creating a successful ecosystem, he added. That will be achieved through the “utilization of cutting edge technology in useful business cases and the adherence to best practices”. The lawmaker also noted that the Digital Innovation Authority would protect Malta’s reputation taking into account its international commitments under anti-money laundering directives.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto CompaniesDuring the press conference, officials mentioned several applications of distributed ledger technology. In larger companies, internal DTL platforms can be used to maintain payroll systems and record movement of goods and invoices. Businesses can also take advantage of public platforms that share consensus mechanisms such as bitcoin and ethereum. Regulated financial institutions can utilize DTLs to offer services to their clients.

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy said the government would consult with all stakeholders before finalizing its policies, including relevant authorities like the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and the police. Local and international representatives of the industry will also be involved in the process. Silvio Schembri added that the public is free to provide feedback in the next three weeks. After that, the bills will be introduced in the Parliament of Malta.

Do you think policies outlined by Maltese authorities will attract more crypto businesses to the island nation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear Cryptocurrency

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear Cryptocurrency

Polish financial authorities have spent taxpayers’ money on a smear campaign on Youtube and Facebook against investing in cryptocurrencies. While issuing warnings or trying to educate the public against what regulators fear are risky investments are not uncommon around the world, in this case they tried to sway public opinion against crypto assets by paying social media influencers to attack them.

Also Read: Half of Large British Businesses Hold Stockpiles of Cryptocurrency

Youtube Propaganda

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear CryptocurrencyThe Central Bank of Poland (Narodowy Bank Polski or NBP), in cooperation with the country’s Financial Supervision Authority (Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego or KNF), have paid over 90,000 PLN (Polish złoty) for an online smear campaign against cryptocurrency investments. The money went, among others, to a Polish Youtube content network which represents many popular young local content creators.

A rather silly video with the title “I LOST ALL MONEY?!” depicting investments in cryptocurrencies in a negative light appeared on December 8 on the Marcin Dubiel’s channel, a Polish youtube prankster who has over 900,000 subscribers. The film, which already has over half a million views, is marked with the hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty, which is associated with a website set by NBP and the KNF to say that “Virtual currency is not money” and similar warnings.

Product Placement

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear CryptocurrencyAs the local reports pointed out, the video was not marked on Youtube as “including paid promotion”, and there is also no mention in its description that it is part of the campaign for which the NBP paid. The material paid for by NBP was also published on the Polish Planeta Faktów channel on Youtube. Furthermore, judging by the quality of the content, its distribution channels and its creators, the smear campaign appears to target young kids.

After one individual sent a question to the NBP about campaigns financed by the central bank, the NBP replied in a letter dated 9 February and admitted that it “carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media.” As mentioned above, the campaign cost 91,200 PLN worth about $27,000 in taxpayers’ money. In addition to Google Ireland (which owns Youtube) and Facebook Ireland, its beneficiaries were Gamellon, a Polish Youtube partner network focused on gaming channels.

Can you trust Youtubers and other influencers to voluntary disclose that they are being paid to promote or criticize things? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Communities in two countries, which share a border, history and perspectives, have expressed similar views about the future of the cryptocurrency sector. A new association in Croatia hopes to lay the foundations of self-regulation in the industry. In neighboring Slovenia, entrepreneurs and government officials have promised to work together to “educate the public” on the benefits of the blockchain technology.

Also read: Crypto Exchanges Launch P2P Platforms from Latvia and Bulgaria

Croatian Crypto Companies to Advise Regulators

Businesses and enthusiasts in Croatia have united their efforts to help authorities take informed decisions about the cryptocurrency sector. A new umbrella organization will be bringing suggestions and important matters to the attention of policy makers in Zagreb, Bitfalls reported this week. The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association will be advising regulators on anything from buying and selling cryptocurrencies, to crypto payments and salary payouts in bitcoin.

UBIK [“Udruga za Blockchain i Kriptovalute”] intends to create “a focused and strong community of people involved with the blockchain technology and the domain of cryptocurrency in Croatia”, but also in the region. Providing relevant information, education and knowledge about the crypto economy is among its priorities. The Croatian crypto association plans to help authorities and its members with legal, financial, and technological support in the development of the regulatory framework and realizing strategic blockchain projects.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Interest in bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology has grown significantly in Croatia in the past year that saw skyrocketing prices on crypto markets. The local community has expanded with new companies working with blockchain technologies and more businesses accepting crypto payments.

A comprehensive regulatory policy is yet to be adopted by Croatian authorities. During a discussion on digital currencies back in 2013 the Croatian National Bank reportedly stated that bitcoin was not illegal in the country. More recently, in 2017, HNB noted that cryptos were neither legal means of payment, nor electronic money under current law in Croatia. The country has appealed for common EU decisions in regards to cryptocurrencies.

Government and Businesses to Educate Slovenians about Blockchain

More positive signals came this month from Croatia’s neighbor Slovenia, another former Yugoslav republic and current member of the EU. Government officials and blockchain companies promised to work together to “educate the public on the benefits and the opportunities that the innovative technology brings”. They met to set up an open dialogue between authorities and entrepreneurs, necessary to clarify and address the challenges. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar also took part in the meeting hosted by Viberate, a startup developing a decentralized live music marketplace.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia“We have called for regulation that would assist blockchain projects with existing financial limitations and allow us easier recruitment processes. The government has agreed that it will provide us with more favorable conditions in due time”, Insurepal, one of the participating companies, said in a blog post. It expressed hope that similar public discussions will help Slovenia become one of the most advanced countries in the field of blockchain.

The companies, which took part in the meeting, also announced the establishment of the Blockchain Alliance CEE. It will focus their efforts on improving visibility and raising the reputation of the sector through unified communication.

The current government in Ljubljana has a positive attitude towards the crypto industry. Speaking at the Digital Slovenia 2020 conference last year Prime Minister Cerar acknowledged the progress made by local businesses and said his country could become a leader in blockchain-development in the European Union. Slovenia is also among countries that do not tax individuals on capital gains from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Do you think positive developments in Southeast Europe in regards to crypto regulation will influence decisions in the EU? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading in the stocks of three companies with ties to cryptocurrency. One of the three is also planning an initial coin offering. The SEC says it is concerned about the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Stocks

The SEC has “suspended trading in three companies amid questions surrounding similar statements they made about the acquisition of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related assets,” the agency announced on Thursday. They are Cherubim Interests, PDX Partners, and Victura Construction Group. The three stocks are traded over-the-counter, with a market capitalization of less than $5 million each, according to Factset. The suspension is temporary, beginning on February 16 and ending on March 2.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyThe agency stated that the three companies issued press releases claiming that they have “acquired AAA-rated assets from a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things.” However, the SEC says there are questions regarding the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

In addition, Cherubim Interests also announced that it will launch an initial coin offering (ICO). The trading suspension of this company’s shares is also due to its delinquency in filing annual and quarterly reports with the Commission.

Acquisitions and ICO

The three companies’ press releases list the same chief executive officer, Patrick J. Johnson, “who played for the Oregon Ducks and the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL,” wrote the Oregonian.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyJohnson told the publication that PDX Partners makes iPhone apps, adding that last month the company “acquired $350 million in assets belonging to a private equity firm called NVC Fund Holding Trust, whose portfolio includes ‘cryptocurrency and business financial services’.”

Cherubim Interests and Victura Construction Group have also made similar acquisitions. Furthermore, the former announced on January 3 that it has “executed a financing commitment of $100,000,000 to launch [an] initial coin offering for The Self Sustaining Intentional Communities Coin (Symbol SJT),” adding that “The sale of the coins will generate the capital to create self-sustaining intentional communities across the US and across 57 nations.”

Regulators’ Warnings

In August of last year, the SEC issued an Investor Alert about public companies making ICO-related claims. “The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is warning investors about potential scams involving stock of companies claiming to be related to, or asserting they are engaging in, Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs),” the agency wrote, adding that “Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams.”

The SEC’s action against the three companies come at the same time another US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), issued a warning about dump-and-pump schemes involving “thinly traded or new ‘alternative’ virtual currencies, digital coins or tokens.”

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


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Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

U.S. states with positive attitudes have advanced towards bitcoin legalization – a process that a growing number of elected officials consider inevitable, if not desirable. Numerous crypto-friendly bills have been introduced, and some of them have received approval in committees and houses of state legislatures. One wouldn’t necessarily think of states like Arizona, Tennessee, and Wyoming as the backbone of a great nation’s economy. How about… pioneers of its future development?

Also read: US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto

Bitcoin Doesn’t Stink – Arizona Will Take It

For some time now legislators in the Grand Canyon State have been thinking how to facilitate residents receiving incomes and profits in cryptocurrency. If bitcoin is good for ordinary citizens and businesses, it should be good enough for the state coffers, local lawmakers have decided. Last week Arizona got closer to accepting cryptos as legal tender for taxation purposes.

Several bills recognizing coins as currencies have been making their way in the State Legislature, as news.bitcoin.com reported. Two of them, SB1091 and SB1145, were aimed at regulating tax payments with digital currency. The SB1091 draft, sponsored by four Republican lawmakers, was endorsed by the Senate on February 8, with a 16 – 13 vote, after passing the Finance Committee in January. If the bill is adopted by the House, Arizona will become the first U.S. state to accept taxes in cryptocurrency in just a couple of years. The new law states:

A taxpayer may pay their income tax liability using a payment gateway, such as bitcoin, litecoin or any other recognized cryptocurrency, using electronic peer-to-peer systems.

It then clarifies that the Department of Revenue “shall convert cryptocurrency payments to United States Dollars at the prevailing rate after receipt and shall credit the taxpayer’s account with the converted dollar amount actually received, less any fees or costs incurred for conversion”. A similar bill was voted down in New Hampshire two years ago with concerns that the state would have to bear responsibility for converting the cryptos on volatile markets. Its sponsor, NH State Representative Eric Schleien (R), explained that there would be no cost and no risk to the state, as conversion would be automatic.

Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

Another draft law, HB2601, is expected to regulate crowdfunding through initial coin offerings in Arizona. Its first reading in the House of Representatives is scheduled for June 2, 2018, and the second reading should take place on July 2. It is sponsored by Representative Jeff Weninger (R) who is also among the authors of the tax amendments. Recently, he told Fox that state legislators want to “send a signal to everyone in the United States that Arizona is going to be the place to be for digital currency technology”.

Others Have Taken the Same Road

Tennessee is another state that may soon legalize cryptocurrencies and crypto payments. A proposal to do that has come with a bill that would officially recognize cryptocurrency financial transactions and smart contracts in the state. It would also protect ownership rights of information secured on blockchain networks.

We are not just competing with other states in this space, we are competing with the whole world.

That’s what Tennessee House Representative Jason Powell (D) said after a presentation on blockchain technology last month. The Nashville lawmaker also called for adopting a “meaningful legislation” in the Volunteer State, as reported by The Tennessean. “It is really important to say that Tennessee is supportive of this technology and we want to be a leader in this innovation”, Powell added. Local authorities have already indicated that money transmitter licenses will not be required to trade cryptocurrencies in the state.

Wyoming may also become a crypto-friendly jurisdiction and is already taking steps to Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.improve its attractiveness for startups from the sector. Several drafts have been introduced in the state legislature. Respective committees have passed two of them and they are now ready for the House of Representatives.

According to bill 0070, “a person who develops, sells or facilitates the exchange of an open blockchain token is not subject to specified securities laws”, if the token can be exchanged for goods and services. The legislation exempts exchanges from regulations applicable to brokers and dealers. Exemptions for cryptocurrency traders and transactions are also included in a draft to amend the Money Transmitter Act (0019).

Kansas and New Hampshire are two other states that have passed legislation with crypto-related exempts in their money transmitter regulations. In Texas companies are not licensed when offering custodial exchange services to in-state customers, and Montana has no applicable money transmission laws. Authorities in Nevada have promised to create favorable conditions for startups working with blockchain technologies. Most other states have yet to adopt their regulatory frameworks.

Do you think that positive moves towards legalization in individual states will speed up adoption of cryptocurrencies on federal level in the U.S.? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

On Thursday, Nikkei reported:

Two cryptocurrency industry groups in Japan [JBA and JCBA] have agreed to merge in an effort to accelerate the establishment of voluntary regulations and regain public trust in the aftermath of a massive virtual currency heist.

Set to launch on April 1, “The new organization’s chairman will likely be JCBA Chairman Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners Group,” the news outlet detailed, adding that Kano is “expected to become the self-regulatory body’s vice chairman.”

Commenting on the news of its merger with the JBA, the JCBA issued a statement on Thursday, stating that no details have been decided at this time.

Accelerating Self-Regulations

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe new entity will need the approval of the FSA. Under Japan’s revised payment services law which went into effect in April of last year, cryptocurrency operators are allowed to form a self-regulatory organization. They can “set industry rules, conduct investigations on members, and impose punishment,” the Japan Times elaborated.

However, the FSA previously “refused to allow two self-regulatory bodies, urging the industry to create a unified organization by merging the JBA and the JCBA,” Nikkei explained on Thursday, adding that:

Once the new body is approved by the agency, it will gain the power to set penalties for breaches of its self-imposed rules. This should also help address calls by banks and other businesses in the conventional financial industry for virtual currency businesses to establish a robust self-regulatory regime.

Do you think the merger will help the crypto industry gain more of the public’s trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


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