The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), the regulatory watchdog in Belgium, has recently updated its crypto-website blacklist. And hence by adding a few websites to the already existing list, total number of identified crypto scam websites are now within the region of 120 sites.
FSMA’s recent action suggested that it seems as if they want to keep the list up-to-date all the time because they have previously updated the list of crypto scams back in December 2018. Through the update, FSMA was able to add a few new crypto trading platforms that could be closely linked to fraudulent activities.
As a matter of credibility, FSMA explained that several consumers were complaining after they have invested in virtual currencies or in these trading platforms they have listed. Moreover, some of the customers said that some of these sites were conducting fraudulent activities in Belgium.
The list is not exhaustive as it does not include all the illegal companies operating in the country. Instead, it provides a catalogue of some of the most popular sites that are involved in illegal activities and that work so as to steal users investors funds in an easy way.
These sites were not just blacklisted blindly rather the sites were listed based on the information the agency gathered which were provided by the users of the said sites. reported
FPS claimed in their site that “the absence of [a] warning about a company” after checking does not necessarily mean that the crypto project has a “valid license,” and that it may require further consideration.”
The site says that companies will sometimes change their names in order to avoid appearing on lists of fraudulent or scammy projects.
The FPS claims that Belgum investors lost over $2.5 million in cryptocurrency scams just in 2017, the year in which Bitcoin (BTC) reached its all-time high in the market.
Following this, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launches new guidelines for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to abide by in other to understand whether they are launching securities or not. The main intention is to improve compliance in the crypto market and protect investors.
According to a news outlet, “yesterday, the European Union launched the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) in Brussels, Belgium. The new blockchain alliance’s charter was signed by more than 100 members including global tech giant IBM, Accenture and Deutsche Telekom, as well as blockchain-related firms such as Ripple, Iota and ConsenSys.”
Outlaw Cryptocurrencies, It Whittles Down Our Powers, US Congressman Proposes
Ben Sherman a member of the United Congress yesterday sought to propose a bill to totally outlaw cryptocurrencies citing sanctions evasion as his top of several reasons.
In a session on Congress, the Congressman from California, a Democrat member seeks to propose a bill and asked for support from his colleagues in the house stating
Today in Congress Rep. Sherman called for a bill to ban all cryptocurrencies.
This is why Coin Center is needed in DC now more than ever. pic.twitter.com/jgikm7z8bI
— Coin Center (@coincenter) May 9, 2019
I look for colleagues to join with me in introducing a bill to outlaw cryptocurrency purchases by Americans, so that we nip this in the bud, in part because an awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have on Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.
Already being shredded across social media by the vast community of crypto enthusiasts, with evidence flying around on how the US Congressman has a credit card processing company as his largest campaign donor that has been indicted and fined millions of dollars for facilitating illegal gambling, hence his open stance on the matter. Ben Sherman’s grounds for proposing such anti-crypto law is not totally out of place especially when the premise of international sanctions is the crux of the matter.
.@BradSherman was so concerned about $crypto users using #cryptocurrency for deceptive and illegal financial activity, yet his top campaign donation came from a company that had to forfeit $13.3 million to the US Government for facilitating illegal gambling. pic.twitter.com/mLn0WHU6jR
— The Crypto Dog📈 (@TheCryptoDog) July 18, 2018
It’s important to note how swift the Donald Trump-led administration of the United States moved so fast to ban Venezuela’s Petro. The national cryptocurrency pushed forth by Maduro and known to be backed by oil, 1 Petro price equals 1 barrel of crude outlawing it and forbidding any US citizen or its allies from buying or transacting in it. This was created by the failed Socialist government of Venezuela to evade crippling sanctions and in a bid to redeem itself for its nations worthless currency already stampeded by hyper galloping inflation.
Iran also has been rumored to be working on plans of launching its national digital currency solely for the aim to bypass the biting sanctions the United States placed for pursuing its nuclear power ambition tagging it a rogue and terrorist regime led by the Ayatollah of the 1973 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.
Will this ever become a reality where an international power like the United States comes fully to ban Cryptocurrencies putting the likes of Coinbase, Kraken, the Gemini Exchange which are all US-based entities clearly doing well in the industry, out of business? Let’s see!
Finland’s Financial Regulators Assume Supervisory Role Over Crypto Exchanges
Reports reaching us suggests that Finland’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) is making plans to assume the supervisory role as an authority in registration for the crypto industry participants. This is due to commence this week. The update came on April 27 as a press release by FIN-FSA.
On may 1, Finland’s Act on Virtual Currency Service Provider will come into effect and with this, the supervisory body has made it clear that in line with statutory laws, all crypto exchanges. custodian crypto wallet providers and cryptocurrency issuers operating in the country are required to register with the body.
In a related post, FIN-FSA points out that the Finnish legislation was prepared on the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering AML directive from the European Union
which came into full operation in 2018 establishing a revised legal framework for the watchdog to put cryptocurrency under active regulation and check the increasing rate of money laundering and terrorism financing.
According to the FIN-FSA, registration of exchanges will be needed to ensure compliance with multiple rules, rules that concerning the storage and protection of clients funds, segregation of service provider and client assets, rules associated with the marketing of services and heeding ANL/CFT laws.
Furthermore, the Supervisory watchdog announced a meetup for all Stakeholders in the blockchain industry scheduled for May 15 at Bank of Finland Helsinki. This briefing will make bare FIN-FSA’s registration timeline and what registration would entail and how to go about it. Also, issues around guidelines that apply to Industry participants and formal regulations will be attended to.
In as much as the new regulatory framework would go along way to restoring client security to some extent, it is however not a penultimate solution:
“The risks related to virtual currency investments remain unchanged. The risks include sudden major fluctuations in value, data security threats pertaining to exchange services and custodian wallet providers, and the nature of several virtual currencies as speculative investments not involving any inherent source of return.”
Earlier this March, LocalBitcoins a crypto peer-to-peer exchange based in Helsinki announced that it is now under supervision by FIN-FSA in compliance with Finland’s new legislation.
Similar findings suggest that France has asked other EU member states to follow suit in initiating regulations for the fast-growing technology and its digital assets.
Elsewhere In Europe, Belgium Updates 120 crypto scam websites in FSMA’s Blacklist.
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South Korea Is Set to Review its Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Regulations
At the Deconomy conference which was held in Seoul between April 4 and April 5, 2019, a resolution was made by a government representative which would enable the government of South Korea to review its digital currency regulations with a view to making them more favorable for the development of digital currency in the country.[tps_footer][/tps_footer]
The 4th Industry Forum was formed by the Koran government to look into innovative technologies like machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and Blockchain.
As known, South Korea is one of the countries that has accepted digital currency and all that it entails. As a positive landmark then, the country’s regulators introduced firm cryptocurrency regulations in order to protect residents from certain risks which are said to be associated with cryptocurrency, the country’s regulators introduced firm cryptocurrency regulations. One of such firm regulations which indeed hindered the development of digital currency in the country is the requirement of digital currency exchanges to partner with local banks which would open corresponding fiat-based bank accounts for its cryptocurrency customers.
Song Hee-Kyong, the co-president of the 4th Industry Forum of the National Assembly, at the Deconomy conference, pointed at softer regulations for the cryptocurrency hinting that the government “misunderstood” digital currency at the time the laws were made. He made it clear when he said that:
“The government has misunderstood the virtual currency and tried to meet the real currency standards, so there are various problems. The industry does not stand still while waiting for the regulatory sandbox authorization, so it is just like keeping it in the box.”
In addition to what Song Hee-Kyong, the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, , Min Byung-doo,said that the initial regulations were forced by the risks linked with digital currency as at the time it was still new. In accordance with what he said, “the idea was to protect the economy of the nation by ‘vaccinating’ it against the first major run-up of cryptocurrencies.” Hence in defense to the need for re-evaluation of South Korea’s stringent cryptocurrency regulations, he explains that the crypto market has grown and does not need the kind of regulations it was forced to in its infancy. He also admonished against limiting Blockchain and cryptocurrency when other emerging technologies were enjoying policies that created a regulatory sandbox to ensure their growth.
In reaction to the words of Song Hee-Kyong, the chairman of the Special Committee on the 4th Industrial Revolution of the National Assembly, Choung Byoung-gug, assured the people that some changes would be made to the current regulations very soon. He noted, however, that the government is hesitant to make wholesale change as so as not to negatively impact the cryptocurrency market.
New Digital currency Regulations To Be Introduced in Pakistan
Last year, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan on its grey list and introduced a special 27-point action plan for Islamabad to be implemented by September 2019. Pakistan claimed it had been taking all the necessary actions prescribed by the watchdog and met all requirements. However, in February the FATF assessed its progress as limited and urged the country’s government to speed up its work, especially regarding the actions with timelines of May 2019.
“Given the limited progress on action plan items […] the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019,” Reuters quoted a statement as saying.
It can be said that the latest move of Pakistan government can be considered as rational attempt aimed at pleasing the international watchdog (FATF).
Similarly, the country’s regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), “announced last week that it had initiated legal proceedings against nine companies involved in illegal operations with cryptocurrencies which were offering guaranteed returns on the form of Ponzi schemes.”
As reported by local media outlet, The Express Tribune, on April 1st, 2019, Pakistan government has introduced new digital currency regulations. Pertinently, the country implemented the rules as a part of the attempt to fight back against financial crimes subsequent to the recommendations made by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international money-laundering watchdog. FATF as a global monitoring body had timelessly complained about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorism financing and money laundering. It also stressed that Pakistani anti-money laundering (AML) laws were insufficient to combat such crimes. And because of this, Pakistan had to bring cryptocurrencies under certain regulatory procedures.
The local news outlet noted that “In order to introduce regulations, a ceremony will be held at the Islamabad office of the State Bank of Pakistan today which the Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar will attend as the chief guest while SBP governor Tariq Bajwa, finance secretary Yonus Dhaga and other officials will also be present.”
“These regulations will help combating money laundering and terrorism financing while it will also help regulation of digital currency throughout the country,” said sources adding the FATF had warned of use of digital currency by terror organisations. The regulations have been prepared in light of the recommendations in FATF’s action plan.
It is expected that all EMIs will have to comply with a set of standard rules to obtain and maintain a license from the Pakistani government. Therefore, “companies will have to meet capital requirements, protect users’ funds, and store their personal data. The government will also have powers to suspend or cancel licenses in case of violations to these rules.”
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