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Phillippines Senator Cries: There Should Be Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes

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With the recent rise in money laundering and cryptocurrency theft and the efforts of government bodies and financial institutions to clamp down on such activities. It’s coming as no surprise that opposition senator Leila M.de lima is asking her fellow bureaucrats to support her campaign in the push for the passage of a cryptocurrency bill she helped frame.

This development is coming at a time where there has been a lot of activities surrounding cryptocurrencies and the authorities and lawmakers are not at rest until they are able to develop some sort of regulation that protects the rights of its citizens. This was as a result of the growing fraudulent activities as a couple was arrested in connection with a Ponzi scheme that had its participants paying in bitcoin and promised its investors 30% return on their investment.

Arnel and Leonady Ordonio accumulated 1 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.9Mn USD) worth of bitcoins from investors. Some investors paid as high as $50,000. The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission expects to enforce the law on cloud mining which is considered just recently that mining contracts should be viewed as securities.

Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. The recent Ordonio Ponzi scheme has compelled her to call upon her colleagues.

“I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon,” the senator explains.

Knowing that virtual currency resembles money and that the possibilities of using it are endless, a higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.

Some Senators Believe Cryptocurrency Should Carry Stiffer Penalties

“No matter how small or big a group, a punishment must be given. It should never be easy to escape after stealing the hard earned money of other people,” These are the words of the leading senator on the opposition party.

She has also warned all Philippine nationals to be wary of shady investments and report any deal or transaction that might seem questionable. Although an irony, It’s also worth noting that senator Leila M. de Lima is a controversial figure, and is currently facing trial for profiting from the illegal narcotics trade.

With time, rules and regulations would be passed and investors would have something to rejoice about.

What’s your opinion about Leila M. de Lima advocating for stiffer laws and also cut in the web of illegal cryptocurrency activities? Let us get your opinion by leaving a comment.

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South Korea Is Set to Review its Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Regulations

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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.

 

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Belgium Updates120 Crypto Scam Websites in FSMA’s Blacklist

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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

The FPS, that is, the financial authority of the country, released a website last year in which they raise awareness of the risks associated with cryptocurrency investment.

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.”

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New Digital currency Regulations To Be Introduced in Pakistan

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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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Ghana’s SEC Cogitates over Regulation of Cryptocurrency Frame Work

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering licensing cryptocurrency in Ghana to enable all forms of crypto to be considered as a legal tender –that is to say, legit money for use within the nation’s borders. This has always been the aim of cryptocurrency everywhere in the world, digital assets like bitcoin were invented to give people direct access and control over their finances.

According to News Ghana, Ghana may sooner or later receive a regulatory framework as touching cryptocurrency that would enable bitcoin startups and exchanges operate legally without the threat of a potential regulatory stern.

The Regulation and State Of Cryptocurrency in Ghana

2019 is turning out to be a year of crackdown for the SEC. Since late 2018, the organization has been stern on crypto companies that refuse to appropriately register their operations.

Just like many central banks in Africa, the central bank of Ghana has warned citizen against transacting in crypto due to the risk of being scammed involved. The Secretary to the Bank of Ghana – Frances Van-Hein Sackey in response to the GCCH scam, said: “Anyone who does business with these entities does so at his or her own risk and the Bank of Ghana will not be liable for the refund of any deposit lost by a depositor.”

The recent state of cryptocurrency in Ghana, however, could change if the SEC regulates the sector, according to a report by GhanaWeb. SEC ‘Ababio in a statement said that Ghana’s Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) is probing three cryptocurrency companies whose operators are currently missing in action.

What Does This Step By SEC Mean For Ghana?

According to Richard Gardner – CEO of Modulus, the step taken by Ghana’s SEC is meritorious since regulation of the cryptocurrency will provide standard rules for exchanges to operate by. In his opinion, this will make the industry viable while also protecting the people from exchanges that engage in, abusive trading, market manipulation, and money laundering.

Gardner further stated that the public and private sectors should combine forces towards creating these regulations.

The best way to regulate an industry, especially one which is so technical, is to bring together those involved in the private sector, along with those from the public policy side. Together, we can usually find a way to encourage industry growth while protecting consumers,” – says Richard Gardner.

Cryptocurrency Adoption in Africa

Fascinatingly, there has been a lot of progress occurring in the Africa crypto space. There are reports that South Africa’s central bank is actively studying cryptocurrency and may institute guidelines to foster innovation. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency are also embraced in Eastern Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Western state of Nigeria.

 

 Picture Credit: Coinjournal

 

Disclaimer:
The Information provided on the website is designed to provide helpful information regarding cryptocurrency subjects. The content is not meant to be used, nor should it be used as a basis, foundational knowledge or prerequisite for decision making regards trading. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. We are not liable for any outcome based on any content found on the site.

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