Digital Currency and Blockchain Weekly Round-Up – January 17th, 2020

United Nations warns people from attending North Korean Crypto Conference

The United Nations has warned the people to stay away from the upcoming North Korean Crypto Conference in February, Reuters reported. In a report published last year, the UN said that North Korea stole $2 billion from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges via cyberattacks to fund its weapons of mass destruction. An excerpt from the upcoming annual report warns attendees that the conference “has included explicit discussions of cryptocurrency for sanctions evasion and money laundering.”

U.S. SEC issues first warning against initial exchange offerings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a statement warning investors against initial exchange offerings (IEOs). It said that IEOs can be “used improperly to entice investors with the false promise of high returns in a new investment space. As described, IEOs may be conducted in violation of the federal securities laws and lack many of the investor protections of registered and exempt securities offerings.”

FCA to supervise AML/CTF compliance of UK cryptoasset businesses

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has become the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) supervisor for businesses conducting certain cryptoasset activities. The FCA has taken over this new role under the amended Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 (MLRs).

PBoC completes joint testing of its planned CBDC

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has announced that it has completed the top-layer design and joint testing of its planned central bank digital currency (CBDC), Cointelegraph reported referring to a local news outlet Sina. As per the details revealed by the central bank in its report, “Inventory of Central Bank 2019|Fintech,” the PBoC has completed the top-layer design of its CBDC (dubbed Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP)), developed standards, and conducted research and development and joint debugging testing of the digital currency.

Indian Supreme Court delays crypto banking ban hearing

The Indian Supreme Court has decided to push back the hearing against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the crypto banking ban it imposed in 2018, Cointelegraph reported. According to Kashif Raza, co-founder of the Indian crypto regulatory news portal Crypto Kanoon, the court’s move to delay the hearing was the result of the various petitions it received.

Uzbekistan to launch national mining pool and licensed cryptocurrency exchange

Uzbekistan is planning to launch a national mining pool and a licensed cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin.com reported citing a report from local news outlet Spot. During a conference on Monday, the National Agency for Project Management (NAPM) shared its crypto trading and blockchain plans for 2020. The agency shared that miners who join the mining pool will benefit from lower electricity rates.

Texas regulators add cryptocurrencies to list of top threats for investors

Texas regulators warned investors of cryptocurrencies as they added this emerging new asset class to the list of top threats. The Texas State Securities Board has released its “Texas Investor Guide: Strategies for Investing Wisely and Avoiding Financial Fraud”. In the latest edition, they added cryptocurrency as among the investments that investors should think twice about.

U.S. lawmakers seek tax exemption for crypto transactions under $200

U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a bill to create a tax exemption for low-value cryptocurrency transactions, CoinDesk reported. “The Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020” was introduced on Thursday by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). It seeks to amend the IRS tax code to exempt realized gains less than $200.

Insights

Company News

  • Blockchain startup SIMBA Chain raises $1.5M in seed financing
  • Crypto exchange Gemini launches own insurance company “Nakamoto”
  • Anchorage launches new crypto brokerage service “Anchorage Trading”; acquires Merkle Data
  • Kraken acquires Australia’s longest-running cryptocurrency exchange Bit Trade
  • Smartphone retailer acquires stake in U.S.-based Monsoon Blockchain
  • Crypto exchange Liquid cancels gram token sale, returns funds to investors
  • Bithumb files complaint with Tax Tribunal against NTS’ $69M tax bill
  • Coinbase offers $1 million settlement in Cryptsy class action lawsuit
  • Bitwise withdraws bitcoin ETF proposal, plans to refile at appropriate time
  • Telegram to produce bank records in ongoing Gram ICO case with SEC

Partnerships/Consortiums

Digital Currency Initiatives

  • Former CFTC Chair launches Digital Dollar Project in partnership with Accenture
  • ETF challenger WisdomTree plans to launch regulated stablecoin
  • CME Group launches options on bitcoin futures
  • Crypto dealer SFOX announces new service for investors and wealth managers
  • Huobi and fäm Properties to offer crypto payment methods to real estate investors
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro orders PDVSA to accept petros for fuel payment
  • CipherTrace announces new initiative to train students to investigate crypto scams and thefts

Blockchain Initiatives

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