Crypto Payments Firm Halts Operations Citing Singapore’s New Regulatory Regime – CoinDesk

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Cryptocurrency payments provider Coinpip has shut down, but possibly only temporarily.

The Singapore-based firm announced on its website that it has “suspended operations” while it looks at becoming licensed by the country’s financial regulators after new rules were brought in earlier this year.

“We will focus on reviewing license requirements under the Singapore Payment Services Act,” Coinpip said. Transactions made prior to Feb. 11 would be completed, the firm added.

The move brought so-called Digital Payment Token (DPT) services under the Payment Services Act 2019 under current anti-money laundering and counterterrorist-financing rules.

That means crypto firms in the jurisdiction are required to first register and then apply for a license to operate.

Coinpip began as a bitcoin (BTC) merchant services provider and later expanded into payroll transfers and remittances. It joined ‘Batch 11‘ of 500 Startups’ accelerator program in California back in 2014 and was selected by a government agency to represent Singapore an event in the U.S. the next year.

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#CoinDesk: The Dangerous Truth About India’s Cryptocurrency Verdict – CoinDesk

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Tanvi Ratna is the founder and CEO of Policy 4.0 and works actively with policymakers in India on blockchain initiatives. She was formerly blockchain lead at EY India and a fellow on cryptocurrency regulation at the New America Foundation.

Industry watchers cheered on March 6 when the Supreme Court of India struck down the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on financial institutions providing banking services to cryptocurrency businesses. However, the decision is not final, and embedded in the text of the judgment are multiple red flags.

In addition, a draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies, released on Feb. 28, 2019, could still move through Parliament. As analyzed by me previously, taken together, the partial court victory and the possibility of legislation moving forward mean that crypto’s legal status in India remains vulnerable.

The fine print

A review of the 180-page judgment reveals the premises of the verdict are not in alignment with what the industry has assumed. 

In essence, the entire verdict hinges on the violation of one of the fundamental rights of the Indian constitution – Article 19 (1) (g), which guarantees the freedom to practice any profession. The Supreme Court concluded the RBI’s measure violated Article 19 (1) (g) for virtual currency exchanges, and that the prohibition measure was not proportional to the threat. The verdict also concluded the central bank had not substantiated the threat with empirical data or credibly examined alternative measures. 

However, one of the reasons the Supreme Court supported the industry was because there was “no law banning virtual currencies yet,” which implies the verdict would not stand once there is such a law. 

The court also referred to cryptocurrencies as a “by-product” of blockchain technology and said the government could separate the two. This refrain of segregating blockchain and crypto has been the premise behind most federal policy to date. 

In a detailed post-verdict analysis, I go over specific excerpts of the judgment, examine other red flags and discuss immediate possible reactions to the verdict.

The industry has won a hard-fought battle, and we can expect to not see a similar reactive prohibition again. However, the clock is ticking on the response of the legislative branch, which could move soon to enact legislation. The central bank, however, can only move a successful appeal if it amasses credible evidence of a monetary risk from cryptocurrencies.

Positive signals

Outside the realm of financial regulators and legislators there have been many government voices speaking up for a more progressive approach to blockchain in India. 

The federal ministry for IT recently released a Draft National Strategy for Blockchain. This report looked at more advanced applications of blockchain, for example around data monetization, and pushed for building a global developer hub of blockchain talent in India. This report was surprisingly critical of policy actions, stating publicly that “awareness of blockchain within government is very poor” and that “lack of regulatory clarity” is the No. 1 obstacle to investment in the sector. 

Many state-level governments, especially those with a strong IT sector and startup footprints, have been actively trying to build blockchain ecosystems. The state of Karnataka, which is home to India’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, Bangalore, and whose government I had assisted in 2018, was actively looking to build pilots. It even conducted one of India’s largest blockchain hackathons with challenges built from within government departments with a plan to move promising ideas into execution. All activity froze in the aftermath of the RBI’s circular, and the state reached out to the federal government. 

Over the last two years, I have also worked with other leading states, all of which are in dialogue with the federal government for regulation to boost growth in blockchain. 

The state of Telangana, home to Hyderabad, has designated an entire area as its “blockchain district,” with infrastructure geared for blockchain startups. Another state, Tamil Nadu, has announced an ambitious blockchain backbone on e-governance, which could be one of the largest projects in the world, covering 10 million citizens. All these states are engaged in dialogue on regulation with the federal government through internal channels. 

In conclusion, clouds still linger over the future of crypto in the aftermath of the Supreme Court verdict. However, true to the size and democratic structure of India, a complex push and pull is underway between different levels of policymakers in the country, with opinions on both sides of the fence. 

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#CoinDesk: Ukraine Won’t Regulate Crypto Mining, Government Ministry Says – CoinDesk

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has indicated it won’t be creating regulations for the crypto mining sector.

In a document published on Friday, the government branch responsible for the digitization of Ukraine’s economy listed the main principles of the country’s approach to the crypto assets.

The main goals for the government in the field should be “formation and implementation of state policy in the field of digitization, digital economy, digital innovation, e-governance and e-democracy, development of information society; assuring the development of virtual assets, blockchain and tokenization, artificial intelligence,” the document reads.

Most notably, the ministry said it has no plans to bring in rules to regulate crypto mining as that industry is already self-governed by blockchain consensus rules.

“We remain loyal to mining activities that form part of open decentralized networks. Mining does not require regulatory activity from governmental oversight bodies or other third-party regulations, this activity is regulated by the protocol itself and network members,” the manifesto states.

The ministry will also “contribute to the development and market introduction” of distributed ledgers, support “any innovation using these digital technologies, even if they are partially unregulated and/or not defined by national law” and create regulatory sandboxes for the blockchain industry.

The government will further seek to adopt the world’s best practices when it comes to taxing crypto-related income, cryptocurrency-related income. A draft bill on taxation was submitted to the country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in November.

And, the manifesto goes on, Ukraine aims to facilitate the interaction between the traditional finance and crypto markets and prevent misconduct by both service providers and law enforcement agencies.

With pressure from external agencies, however, the head of the Ministry of Finance, Oksana Makarova, said late in January that the nation’s financial watchdog intends to track crypto transactions exceeding $1,200. The move was to align Ukraine’s anti-money laundering practices with the latest Financial Action Task Force recommendations around cryptocurrency transactions, Makarova said.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Switzerland Softens Tone on Libra After Ex-President Says Project ‘Failed’ – CoinDesk

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The Swiss government has attempted to strike a more conciliatory tone on the Facebook-led Libra project, weeks after the country’s now-departed president called the project a failure.

A government memo, seen by Bloomberg, emphasizes that the country’s regulators have not ruled out the possibility that Libra could one day receive their approval. Swiss officials will continue to monitor the project, the note reads, paying special attention to “the form which Libra may take in the future.”

Published Jan. 15, the memo suggests the Swiss government wants to soften its stance on Libra, showing that it recognizes the value of an international payments solution. “Switzerland is generally open to projects that reduce the cost of cross-border payment transactions and seek to promote financial inclusion,” the government said.

The news comes weeks after Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer, who at the time was also the country’s president, surprised industry observers with a blunt statement to Swiss broadcaster SRF on Dec. 27, saying regulators would not approve Libra anytime soon.

Maurer stated Libra will not work in its current form because the central banks have not “accepted” the basket of currencies that will back the stablecoin. “The project, in this form, has thus failed,” he said.

Switzerland had initially welcomed the project after the Libra Association said it would establish its headquarters in the country’s banking capital of Geneva. As Bloomberg reported at the time, the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance welcomed the move, describing it as “positive sign that Switzerland can play a role in an ambitious international project.”

The volte-face may, in part, have been a response to international pressure, as regulatory attitudes towards Libra hardened in the months after it was revealed.

U.S. politicians expressed concerns in the summer that Libra would challenge the U.S. dollar’s supremacy and harm users with untried and untested technology. And, in September, France’s finance minister said Libra would fundamentally challenge countries’ monetary sovereignty and that development should not be authorized in the European Union.

The Libra Association said in September that it planned to apply for a license as a payments system the country. In response, FINMA said the project would likely face strict banking rules on top of tough anti-money laundering controls. Its CEO later clarified that it although Swiss law was non-negotiable, it was not “here to make such projects impossible” and would approach the task of regulating Libra with an “open mind.”

Although Libra had previously committed to a firm June 2020 launch date, Bertrand Perez, managing director of the Libra Association, also said in September that it could be pushed back by one or two quarters to ensure regulators are “fully comfortable with our solutions.”

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#AltCoinDaily: My CONSERVATIVE 1 Year Bitcoin Price Prediction Donald Trump Tweet

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My CONSERVATIVE 1 Year Bitcoin Price Prediction Donald Trump Tweet

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Bitcoin Has Just Been Thrust On The World Stage. Thank You Donald Trump.

“WRONG!”

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I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.
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Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Bitcoin as a Store of Value

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.

LiveBitcoin stock to flow model
https://digitalik.net/btc/

Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Exchange May Join Facebook’s Libra Project
https://www.coindesk.com/winklevoss-twins-gemini-exchange-may-join-facebooks-libra-project

GEMINI AND LIBRA ASTROLOGY
https://www.astrology-zodiac-signs.com/compatibility/gemini-libra/

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