Law

UNCTAD takes aim at crypto in developing world in a series of critical policy briefs

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a policy brief Wednesday on cryptocurrency. It is the third brief in a row the agency has dedicated to crypto, and together they represent a detailed assessment of the risks crypto presents for developing economies and options for resolving those risks. UNCTAD Policy Brief No. 102, dated July but newly released, argues that although cryptocurrency can facilitate remittances and encourage financial inclusion, it can also undermine domestic resource mobilization in developing economies by enabling tax evasion by hiding the ownership of financial flows and directing them out of the country. The authors of the brief state, “Cryptocurrencies share all the characteristics of traditional tax havens – the pseudonymity of acco...

New York AG calls for whistleblowers ‘deceived or affected’ by the crypto market crash

New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened the doors for investors who may have witnessed misconduct at a crypto firm amid the extreme market volatility to file a complaint as a whistleblower. In a Monday notice, James called on New York-based crypto users who have been locked out of accounts at exchanges or lending platforms, unable to access funds, or “deceived about their cryptocurrency investments” to contact the Office of the Attorney General. As a whistleblower, an individual filing a complaint with authorities could be kept anonymous — the New York Attorney General’s website already includes the option to submit relevant documents and information through a Tor Browser. “Investors were promised large returns on cryptocurrencies, but instead lost their hard-earned money,” said...

Bill addressing stablecoins risks in US likely delayed until September: Report

Lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives have reportedly pushed back the timeline for considering a bill addressing the potential risks of stablecoins. According to a Monday report from the Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the matter said House members will likely delay voting on a stablecoin bill until September after being unable to complete a draft in time for a Wednesday committee meeting. The unresolved issues in the bill reportedly included provisions on custodial wallets from the Treasury Department and concerns from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reportedly wanted to coordinate with the Biden administration for her response to the bill. Neither has publicly weighed in on the proposed legislation, but Yellen previously...

Demand for widely used euro stablecoin is huge, says DeFi expert

The market capitalization of Tether (USDT), a United States dollar-pegged stablecoin, is currently over $65 billion. USD Coin (USDC), another stablecoin backed by the U.S. dollar, clocks in near $55 billion. Some reports estimate that the total market cap of dollar-backed stablecoins is over $160 billion. Despite this success of dollar-based stablecoins, there has not been a euro stablecoin that is even remotely comparable in size. By the end of June, the U.S.-based company Circle announced that it will launch its own euro stablecoin, Euro Coin (EUROC), on the Ethereum blockchain. With a euro-based stablecoin, uncomplicated euro transfers will be possible worldwide in the future, as is currently the case with the U.S. dollar. Instead of the eurozone-based business, Circle has opted to issu...

The regulatory implications of India’s crypto transactions tax

The Indian crypto landscape lost some momentum this year as the government introduced two laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions. India’s first crypto law, which requires its citizens to pay a 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains, came into effect on April 1. A commotion among the Indian crypto community followed as investors and entrepreneurs tried to decipher the impact of the vague announcement with little or no success. Knowing that India’s second crypto law — a 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) on every transaction — would translate into an even greater impact on trading activities, numerous crypto entrepreneurs from India considered moving bases to friendlier jurisdictions. Following the imposition of additional taxes, Indian crypto exchanges ...

Andorra green lights Bitcoin and Blockchain with Digital Assets Act

A small light of progress shines from Andorra, a tiny European country nestled between France and Spain. The country’s government, the General Council of Andorra, recently approved the Digital Assets Act, a regulatory framework for digital currencies and blockchain technology.  The act is split into two parts. The first regards the creation of digital money, or “programmable digital sovereign money,” which can be exchanged in a closed system. In effect, this would allow the Andorran state to create its own token. The second half of the act refers to digital assets as financial instruments and intends to create an environment in which blockchain and distributed ledger technologies can be regulated. For Paul (who withheld his surname), CEO of local Bitcoin business 21Million, the new la...

UK Treasury Committee opens inquiry into crypto industry

The Treasury Committee of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons has called on the public to submit evidence related to the role of crypto’s risks and opportunities. In a Tuesday notice, the committee said it had opened an inquiry allowing people to write in about the role of crypto assets in the United Kingdom. The Treasury Committee said it would be exploring how the U.K. government, the Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, and the Bank of England could balance regulation “to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses without stifling innovation” as well how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology could impact individuals, businesses and financial institutions. The British public has until Sept. 12 to submit evidence, which the committee may use in its report to P...

Singapore’s financial watchdog considers further restrictions on crypto

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS, has been “carefully considering” adding restrictions that could affect how retail investors handle crypto, according to one of the government’s senior ministers. According to parliamentary records published on Monday, Singapore senior minister and MAS chair Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the financial watchdog may consider “placing limits on retail participation” for crypto investors as well as introducing rules on the use of leverage for crypto transactions. Shanmugaratnam also called for regulatory clarity among financial regulators around the world, “given the borderless nature of cryptocurrency markets.” In January, the MAS barred crypto service providers from advertising or marketing in public spaces, and was behind regulations to shut down cr...

ECB officials prepare for ‘harmonization’ of crypto regulations: Report

The European Central Bank, or ECB, will reportedly be preparing to implement a new law by warning European Union member states about the necessity of harmonizing regulations for crypto. According to a Sunday report from the Financial Times, the ECB was concerned about possible regulatory overlap between respective central banks in the EU and crypto companies as officials prepare to implement the Markets in Crypto-Assets, or MiCA, framework. The European Parliament, European Commission, and European Council reached an agreement on June 30 to bring crypto issuers and service providers within their jurisdictional control under a single regulatory framework. Regulators from 19 EU member states will reportedly attend a supervisory board meeting in July to discuss MiCA and its possible implement...

Former Monero maintainer Riccardo ‘Fluffypony’ Spagni to surrender for South Africa extradition

Riccardo Spagni, the former maintainer of the privacy coin Monero also known as Fluffypony, faces extradition to South Africa months after his arrest by U.S. authorities. In a Thursday court filing for the Middle District of Tennessee, Magistrate Judge Alistair Newbern ordered Spagni to surrender to U.S. Marshals on July 5 for extradition to South Africa. He will reportedly face 378 charges related to allegations of fraud and forgery between 2009 and 2011 at a company called Cape Cookies. U.S. authorities arrested Spagni in Nashville in July 2021 at the request of the South African government, holding him in custody until September. The court filings hint at allowing Spagni to be in the United States for the Independence Day holiday weekend before being taken to Africa early on Tuesday. No...

Colombia’s new president seems to be a fan of Bitcoin

Gustavo Petro, who recently won the 2022 Colombian presidential election, has previously made statements in favor of cryptocurrencies. Petro will replace Iván Duque Márquez as the president of Colombia on August 7 for four years after winning the second round of a run-off election on Sunday. The president-elect took to social media in December 2017 shortly after a major bull run to speak on the “strength” of Bitcoin (BTC). Petro hinted at the time that cryptocurrencies like BTC could remove power from government and traditional banks and give it back to the people. El bitcoin quita poder de emision a los estados y el señoreaje de la moneda a los bancos. Es una moneda comunitaria que se basa en la confianza de quienes realizan transacciones con ella, al tener como base el blockchain, la con...

Chinese court invalidates 2019 car sale made using now worthless crypto token

Last week, a WeChat post published by the Shanghai Fengxian Court began circulating in crypto circles with regards to its recent ruling on a car sale in May 2019 made using digital currency. At the time, the buyer, identified only as Mr. Huang, signed a sales contract to purchase a 2019 Audi AL6 for CNY 409,800 ($59.477) in exchange for the consideration of 1,281 Unihash (UNIH) tokens with an undisclosed car dealership in Shanghai. Per the original contract, the seller was to deliver the car to Huang within three months’ time. According to the Shanghai Fengxian Court, Mr. Huang paid 1,281 UNIH on the date of the contract signing but did not receive the car within the specified duration nor afterwards. As a result, Mr. Huang took the seller to court, demanding the delivery of the vehi...