Značka: regulation

IMF urges El Salvador to remove Bitcoin's status as legal tender

Members of the executive board at the International Monetary Fund are urging lawmakers in El Salvador to no longer recognize Bitcoin as legal tender.The IMF reported on Tuesday that though digital payments had the potential to increase financial inclusion in the Central American nation, the use of Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender carried “large risks” related to financial stability, financial integrity and consumer protection. The executive board directors urged El Salvador authorities to “narrow the scope of the Bitcoin law by removing Bitcoin’s legal tender status,” also expressing concern about the potential risks of issuing Bitcoin-backed bonds.The officials’ recommendation came following the conclusion of an Article IV consultation in El Salvador. According to the IMF, during such a consultation, a team of economists visits a country “to assess economic and financial developments and discuss the country’s economic and financial policies with government and central bank officials.” Prior to the implementation of El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law in September 201, IMF officials warned that some of the consequences of a country adopting BTC as a national currency “could be dire,” including the risk of having domestic prices becoming highly unstable, and assets being used contrary to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism measures. The IMF has previously issued statements to small nations considering adopting crypto, claiming that to do so would “raise risks to macroeconomic and financial stability as well as financial integrity.”Since the Bitcoin Law went into effect in September, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has used his Twitter account to announce several BTC buys totaling 1,801 BTC — worth roughly $67 million at the time of publication. The latest purchase of 410 BTC came as the price of the crypto asset dropped below $37,000 for the first time since July 2021. Nope, I was wrong, didn’t miss it.El Salvador just bought 410 #bitcoin for only 15 million dollars Some guys are selling really cheap ‍♂️ https://t.co/vEUEzp5UdU— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) January 21, 2022Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 14 that El Salvador’s recognition of BTC as legal tender may be impacting the country’s sovereign credit outlook, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Analyst Jaime Reusche reportedly said that Bitcoin “certainly adds to the risk portfolio” of a country that has struggled with liquidity issues. According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, the price of Bitcoin is $36,550 at the time of publication, having fallen more than 12% in the last seven days. The crypto asset briefly dipped to the $33,000s on Jan. 24 before returning to the $36,000s.

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House members call for an end to lawmakers trading stocks — is crypto next?

Congresspeople currently HODLing or actively trading in crypto may have to stop doing so while in office if recent pushes to ban lawmakers from investing in stocks gain enough support.In a Monday letter addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, 27 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called for action “to prohibit members of Congress from owning or trading stocks.” Among the bipartisan group of lawmakers who signed onto the letter was Illinois congressperson Bill Foster, who is also a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. In addition, the letter seems to have support from politicians diametrically opposed on major issues like Progressive Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Republican Matt Gaetz, who is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly violating sex trafficking laws and obstruction of justice.Members of Congress are currently allowed to buy, sell and trade stocks and other investments while in office, but are also bound to disclose such moves by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, passed in 2012. This piece of legislation requires lawmakers to report any purchase, sale or exchange over $1,000 within 30 to 45 days but provides minimal financial and legal consequences for not filing in time. The Monday letter noted that the STOCK Act “had been violated hundreds of times just since 2020.” “It’s clear the current rules are not working,” said the letter to Pelosi and McCarthy. “Congress should close these loopholes by simply banning members from owning or trading individual stocks while in office. In addition to ensuring that members’ access to information doesn’t advantage them over the public when trading stocks, as the STOCK Act sought, this would end the potential corruption of lawmakers pursuing policy outcomes that benefit their portfolios.”The House members added:“There is no reason that members of Congress need to be allowed to trade stocks when we should be focused on doing our jobs and serving our constituents. Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities. We don’t care. We came to Congress to serve our country, not turn a quick buck.”Senators Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly proposed a similar piece of legislation for the U.S. Senate on Jan. 12. Ossoff referenced a survey from the advocacy group Convention of States Action, which found that roughly 76% of voters said that lawmakers and their spouses had an “unfair advantage and should not be allowed to trade stocks while serving in Congress.”Speaker Pelosi does not seem to have responded to the letter from House members. However, when questioned about a possible ban on lawmakers being allowed to trade stocks in December, she said “we’re a free-market economy — they should be able to participate in that.”Democratic lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — whose name did not appear on the letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — said in December she believed members should neither hold nor trade individual stocks, hinting that to do so would allow them to “remain impartial about policy making.” She added that she extended this belief to holding digital assets and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). Related: House memo details Congress’ priorities ahead of crypto CEO hearingCointelegraph reported last Tuesday that seven members of Congress from both the Senate and House had declared investments in crypto during their time in office. Among lawmakers with the highest reported exposure were New Jersey Representative Jefferson Van Drew and Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, who disclosed a 2020 investment of $250,000 in a trust operated by Grayscale, and a 2021 BTC purchase of up to $100,000, respectively.Cointelegraph reached out to Representative Bill Foster for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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Bulgaria's finance minister says country is exploring crypto payment options: report

Assen Vassilev, Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds and Minister of Finance, said the EU member nation is exploring options for rolling out a crypto payment mechanism.According to a Friday Bloomberg report, Vassilev said the government was in discussion with the Bulgarian National Bank as well as industry players to explore crypto payments “in the short to medium term.” However, he added that Bulgaria was unlikely to become a major hub for crypto miners — many are reportedly considering leaving Kazakhstan amid political turmoil and disruptions to the Internet. The Bulgarian government may still be one of the biggest HODLers in the world following the seizure of 213,519 Bitcoin (BTC) from an underground crime network before the 2017 bull run — valued at roughly $3.5 billion at the time, but more than $8.2 billion at the time of publication. It’s unclear if officials sold or auctioned the crypto at the time or continues to hold the digital assets.As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria is one of only eight countries that hasn’t adopted the euro and wouldn’t necessarily benefit from the rollout of a digital euro among participating central banks. In June 2021, the government and Bulgarian National Bank officials said they intended to adopt the euro starting in 2024. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said in March that the digital currency might not be introduced until 2025, if not later.Related: Google Pay hires PayPal exec to head up crypto payments pushIn 2021, a federal jury in the United States found the owner of Bulgaria-based crypto exchange RG Coins, Rossen Iossifov, guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering. The Bulgarian national collaborated with others in a scheme that defrauded roughly 900 Americans of more than $7 million. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.

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Fed issues discussion paper on benefits and risks of a digital dollar

The U.S. Federal Reserve is opening comments to the public after releasing a discussion paper on the pros and cons of a potential central bank digital currency.In a publication released Thursday titled “​​Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation”, the Fed said it would likely not be authorized to issue digital wallets or accounts capable of holding a U.S. central bank digital currency, or CBDC, but rather leave such matters to the private sector. In addition, the government body said it would be considering privacy concerns, whether a CBDC could be “readily transferable between customers of different intermediaries,” and identity verification to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.The paper added that the U.S. rolling out a CBDC could mitigate the risks of “proliferation of private digital money” while still encouraging innovation in the private sector, leveling the playing field between large and small firms for whom some of the costs of issuing their own digital currency may be prohibitive. Cross border payments, the speed and efficiency of digital payments, and additional financial inclusion are all among the potential benefits of a digital dollar. “A CBDC could fundamentally change the structure of the U.S. financial system, altering the roles and responsibilities of the private sector and the central bank,” said the Fed paper. “Some have suggested that, if these new CBDCs were more attractive than existing forms of the U.S. dollar, global use of the dollar could decrease — and a U.S. CBDC might help preserve the international role of the dollar.”Regarding the risks in introducing a digital dollar to the U.S. and world economies, the Fed said that a CBDC could effectively replace commercial bank money, raising prices for retail customers and driving interest away from investments in “mutual funds, Treasury bills, and other short-term instruments.” The paper also repeated some of the concerns previously raised by officials on the stability of the current financial system, such as how the Fed might need to increase its reserves based on demand for a digital currency, and striking t balance between user privacy and transparency needed to prevent fraud.To that end, the Fed is opening up comments to the public for 120 days — until May 20 — asking concerned citizens to address 22 questions related to the possible rollout of a digital dollar’s benefits, risks, design and policy considerations: “The Federal Reserve will only take further steps toward developing a CBDC if research points to benefits for households, businesses, and the economy overall that exceed the downside risks, and indicates that CBDC is superior to alternative methods. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve would only pursue a CBDC in the context of broad public and cross-governmental support.”First announced by Fed chair Jerome Powell in May 2021 to be released last summer, the publication of the CBDC discussion paper has been delayed several times. On Jan. 11 during his testimony to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Powell said that the paper would be coming in a matter of weeks following delays due to “changes in monetary policy.”Related: Digital dollar needs broad consensus among authorities, says US Treasury SecretaryThough a notice from the Fed stated the discussion paper “does not favor any policy outcome,” Powell has previously suggested there was no rush in the U.S. releasing a digital dollar despite other countries, including China, moving ahead with trials in different cities. Athletes are expected to travel to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics in a few weeks when competitors and visitors will have the opportunity to use the country’s digital yuan.

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Bulls aim to turn the tide in Friday’s $580M options expiry after BTC tops $43K

Bitcoin (BTC) investors seem uncomfortable with adding positions after the most recent 40% correction from the $69,000 all-time high made on Nov. 10. In addition to the prolonged downtrend, remarks from the United States Federal Reserve on Dec. 15 about rising interest rates are also weighing on risk-on assets.The Fed signaled that it could raise its benchmark rate three times this year and there are plans to increase the pace of its asset purchasing taper. Consequently, traders are worried that these plans will negatively impact traditional and crypto markets because liquidity will no longer be “easily” available.Bitcoin price at Coinbase, USD (right) vs. China stock market MSCI index (left)Cryptoasset regulation in the U.S. has been in the spotlight and recently a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee called for the agency to open public comments regarding digital asset regulation. On Jan. 18, associate law professor J.W. Verret addressed the petition to SEC Secretary Vanessa Countryman and according to Verret, the current path the SEC is taking seems not to recognize that digital assets do not fit within the regulatory framework designed for equity investments. The professor also questioned the requirements the SEC would consider in approving a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund.$590 million in options expire on Jan. 21Even though Bitcoin is said to be correlated to traditional markets, BTC derivatives traders were not expecting sub-$44,000 prices, according to the Jan. 21 options expiry. Friday’s $590 million open interest will allow bears to score up to $82 million if BTC trades below $41,000 during the expiry.Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Jan. 21. Source: Coinglass.comAt first sight, the $380 million call (buy) options vastly surpass the $210 million put (sell) instruments, but the 1.81 call-to-put ratio is deceptive because the recent price drop will likely wipe out most of the bullish bets.There is no value in the right to buy Bitcoin at $44,000 if it is trading below that price. Therefore, if Bitcoin remains below $44,000 at 8:00 am UTC on Jan. 21, only $64 million of those call (buy) options will be available at the expiry. Bears are comfortable with Bitcoin price below $42,000Here are the four most likely scenarios for Jan. 21’s $590 million options expiry. The imbalance favoring each side represents the theoretical profit. In other words, depending on the expiry price, the active quantity of call (buy) and put (sell) contracts varies:Between $40,000 and $41,000: 30 calls vs. 3,320 puts. The net result is $132 million favoring the put (bear) options.Between $41,000 and $42,000: 170 calls vs. 2,180 puts. The net result is $82 million favoring the put (bear) instruments.Between $42,000 and $44,000: 1,480 calls vs. 1,130 puts. The net result is balanced between call and put options.Between $44,000 and $45,000: 2,980 calls vs. 630 puts. The net result favors call (bull) instruments by $103 million.This crude estimate considers put options being used in bearish bets and call options exclusively in neutral-to-bullish trades. However, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.Bulls need $44,000 to bag a $103 million profitRegulatory uncertainty and Federal Reserve monetary policies might be reasons for the recent market weakness, but a mere 5% price pump from the current $42,000 level is enough for Bitcoin bulls to profit $103 million on Jan. 21’s expiry.However, if the current short-term negative sentiment prevails, bears could easily pressure the price below $41,000 and pocket $132 million gains.Currently, options markets data slightly favor the put (sell) options, but the outcome is yet to be seen.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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SEC rejects Skybridge's application for spot Bitcoin ETF

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has officially disapproved the application for First Trust SkyBridge’s spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund after several deferments.In a Thursday filing, the SEC rejected a proposed rule change from the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, Arca to list and trade shares of the First Trust SkyBridge Bitcoin ETF Trust. The SEC said any rule change in favor of approving the ETF would not be “‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices” nor “protect investors and the public interest.”The decision follows SkyBridge first applying to list a Bitcoin ETF on the NYSE in March 2021. The SEC twice designated a longer period to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change for the ETF in July and November before reaching its decision on Thursday.In its rejection, the SEC said that the NYSE had not met the requirements of listing a financial product under its rules of practice as well as those of the Exchange Act. Under these restrictions, exchanges seeking to list a BTC ETF need to have “a comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market of significant size related to the underlying or reference Bitcoin assets.” The NYSE Arca used a $10 million market order example to claim that buying and selling large amounts of Bitcoin (BTC) would have an “insignificant market impact.” The exchange also hinted at Tesla’s $1.5 billion BTC purchase in February as an example of gaining exposure to crypto through the company’s shares, arguing for the need for a different investment vehicle with exposure to BTC as opposed to “imperfect Bitcoin proxies,” which provide only “partial Bitcoin exposure paired with additional risks.”The commission rejected these claims, citing similar reasons for disapproving Bitcoin spot ETFs from asset manager VanEck in November and WisdomTree in December. To date, the SEC has not approved any ETF with direct exposure to crypto but has given the greenlight to offerings linked to BTC futures, including ones from ProShares and Valkyrie. Related: ETFs listed — What’s next for Bitcoin?A separate decision for a Bitcoin ETF application from the New York Digital Investment Group, or NYDIG, is expected by March 16. The application is still under review after being delayed on Saturday.

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Witnesses address energy impacts of crypto mining during House hearing

Five industry experts appearing before the United States House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee had different views on how lawmakers should address the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies.In written testimony released before a Thursday hearing on “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains,” former Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks argued that the energy consumption of Bitcoin (BTC) mining was “economically productive,” given other assets including gold required roughly the same amount of energy for mining, with the “a host of other environmental concerns.” In addition, Brooks said that the traditional global banking system consumed roughly 2.5 times the amount of power to produce the same amount of value BTC does at its current market capitalization.John Belizaire, the founder and CEO of Soluna Computing and another witness appearing at the hearing, said that from an energy perspective, the miners and computers needed to power crypto are “not a waste” and could encourage the development of renewable energy sources. The CEO said that, unlike other banking systems, Bitcoin mining included the option of turning the systems off when necessary, giving miners the ability to absorb excess energy from an area’s electrical grid rather than straining it.Cornell Tech professor Ari Juels, who has often been a critic of crypto mining as it currently stands, was supportive of the crypto space as a whole but argued in favor of “energy-efficient alternatives” rather than the proof-of-work (PoW) common for mining. He added that the Ethereum blockchain’s transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) would likely consume “far less electricity” and have features including smart contracts and nonfungible tokens — unlike Bitcoin.“Bitcoin does not equal blockchain,” said Juels. “The tremendous promise of blockchain technology does not require Bitcoin or its energy-intensive component called proof-of-work.”Steve Wright, a recently retired former general manager of the Chelan County in Washington, similarly hinted that mining firms should consider “mechanisms to assure cryptocurrency production is encouraged toward efficient outcomes as early as possible.” Wright noted that the high value of clean energy costs in the area seems to be pushing many crypto miners towards carbon-emitting, fossil-fired sources of power for “at least the near term.”Related: Bitcoin mining becomes more sustainable: Mining Council’s Q4 surveyU.S. lawmakers seem to be giving crypto and blockchain a great deal of attention as the space grows. In December, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on stablecoins and how the U.S. might participate in the race to adopt digital currencies. Brooks also testified at a House committee hearing that same month on digital assets’ role in the future of finance.“Although digital tokens are a highly speculative and volatile asset class, they also represent the promise of a more open, more widely shared internet,” said Gregory Zerzan, a shareholder at business law firm Jordan Ramis. “If policymakers take a cautious approach and foster a pro-innovation environment, the rewards for consumers, investors and all Americans are likely to be great.”

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Ad restrictions won’t impact crypto demand, Binance CEO says

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as “CZ,” claimed that the growing restrictions on crypto advertisement won’t impact the demand.During his interview with CNBC, CZ stressed that physical crypto advertisements and crypto ads, in general, have not had much impact on user growth, and it has only become common over the past few years. He said that the majority of crypto adoption comes from “word of mouth” marketing. Clampdown on crypto advertising is unlikely to have much of an effect on demand, says @binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pic.twitter.com/K5EtuWyxGz— CNBC International (@CNBCi) January 20, 2022He also added that primary advertising services such as Google and Facebook had not allowed crypto ads for the longest time. Thus, it’s clear advertisement doesn’t play a significant role in crypto adoption or demand. He went on to add that the series of regulatory clampdowns on crypto ads only shows the growing demand. CZ said:“Clampdown on crypto advertising is unlikely to have much of an effect on demand, as most of the crypto users come from word-of-mouth promotions anyway.”The CEO’s comments come amid the growing restrictions and slew of actions taken by various countries over the past few weeks. Singapore recently issued new guidelines for crypto companies, prohibiting crypto advertising in public spaces. The Monetary Authority of Singapore also barred crypto service providers from opening crypto ATMs. Following this ruling, several crypto ATMs in the country have shut down.United Kingdom advertisement watchdog Advertising Standards Authority also continued its crackdown on misleading crypto advertisements as it banned two ads from popular crypto trading platform Crypto.com. The Spanish government, on the other hand, is also looking to bring new regulations for crypto advertisements.Related: UK advertiser ASA continues crypto ad banning spreeRegulators have shared their concern over the misleading content of crypto advertisements, where most crypto firms are accused of highlighting big returns while downplaying the risks associated with crypto investments. Another major obstacle is the lack of clarity over the crypto regulations in the majority of the countries, which makes crypto advertisements an even bigger headache for regulators.

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El Salvador explores low-interest loans backed by Bitcoin

It’s full steam ahead for El Salvador’s Bitcoinization. The next point on the orange agenda is in providing low-interest loans backed by Bitcoin (BTC) to small and micro-businesses.While the details of the BTC loans are currently not disclosed, Mónica Taher, an advisor for the government of El Salvador, was straight-talking in a Facebook Live Audio held yesterday. The discussion was called “Bitcoin loans with lower interest rates.” Paul Steiner the President of CONAMYPE (the national institute for small and micro-businesses) shared that the implementation of loans would work with the government-created El Chivo wallet.El Salvador’s business landscape is dominated by small and micro-businesses and Bitcoin-backed loans are an opportunity to remediate the situation. Steiner illustrated: El Salvador has roughly 1.2 million businesses in the country. Roughly 66% are micro-businesses or “subsistence” businesses. Over 90% of micro-businesses are self-funded via informal loans or loan sharks.He cites the example that a $100 loan taken out by a micro-business will typically come with terms of full repayment in 20 days while the interest rate could be up to $15 a day. In some cases, the annual interest rate for such loans “exceeds 10,000%.” Ultimately, the interest rate provided by BTC-backed loans would be lower than that of informal lenders, loan sharks, and banks. Andrea Martia Gomez, a project manager for Acumen, a DeFi lending protocol shared that “some crypto enthusiasts in El Salvador are already using crypto solutions such as Defi as they offer an ease of use and a higher interest rate than banks.”Related: El Salvador’s Bitcoin wallet onboards 4M users with Netki partnershipAlessandro Cecere, Community Manager for Ledn, a Canadian Bitcoin company also participated in the discussion. Ledn recently launched BTC-backed mortgages. He asked if El Salvador might copy their example and if Bitcoin might be considered as collateral for mortgages in the future. Steiner was open to the discussion and optimistic about the future of Bitcoin. However, his priority is to improve the business environment for SMEs. When prompted in the chatbox about loans for other avenues or housing, Mónica Taher reiterated that the loan product would only be available to small and micro businesses for the moment, “we will discuss mortgages later.”Steiner summed up the vision when referring to the challenges that micro-businesses face in El Salvador:Businesses need an entry point for financing: Bitcoin is that opportunity.

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SEC Advisory Committee member calls agency to open for public comment on crypto regulation

Associate law professor and member of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee J.W. Verret is calling for the government agency to open for public comment in regards to digital asset regulation.In a petition addressed to SEC Secretary Vanessa Countryman, Verret said opening the floor to comments on digital assets could function as a Genesis Block for the SEC to reform its regulations on digital assets. Verret said he was a holder of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and “a number of layer 1 and layer 2 tokens readily available on top tier exchanges,” and was concerned how the SEC could potentially crack down on tokens it currently does not consider securities.“Under the SEC’s ‘strategically ambiguous’ interpretation of the Howey test regarding classification of investment contracts, I cannot be certain that the SEC will not in the future target one of my token holdings, under the guise of the Commission’s investor protection mission, in a manner that would ultimately cause me significant losses as a property owner,” said Verret. “This open call for comment is the only way to appropriately crowd source this issue and appropriately develop a digital asset regulation Genesis Block.”I filed a reg petition with the SEC to open a call for public comment re: digital asset regulation. There are nuances that SEC ignores in their speeches and “Howey” threats. Let’s crowd source this and start a genesis block for 21st century reg. https://t.co/lZQXPeqq93— Prof. J.W. Verret, JD, CPA/CFF, CVA, CFE (@JWVerret) January 18, 2022Since the 1940s, the SEC has used the Howey Test to determine whether certain assets qualify as “investment contracts” and are considered securities. Many experts consider the SEC’s 2017 DAO Report, in which it said that digital assets could indeed qualify, as one of the most significant regulatory moments for cryptocurrencies in the United States.Citing his experience as a law professor, Verret implied that the SEC’s application of the Howey Test on digital assets was inconsistent from the language used in the Supreme Court decision, potentially leading to cases that could result in the highest court overturning the 1946 case: “The SEC’s present course appears to be one designed to strategically bring cases using the Howey test as a weapon against tokens (and token trading services and technologies) which cannot reasonably be registered as securities (or securities exchanges) under the regulations promulgated pursuant to the ‘33 and ‘34 Acts, even if they wanted to and were required to do so (despite neither necessarily being true). I believe this is ultimately a losing strategy for the SEC as an institution.”According to Verret, the current regulatory path the SEC is taking seems not to recognize that “digital assets, by their very design, do not fit within the classic framework of regulations designed for equity investments in firms led by boards of directors.” The law professor also criticized SEC chair Gary Gensler’s approach of asking crypto projects to “come in and talk to us,” saying many could be concerned that “engaging with the SEC may make their project the next enforcement target of the SEC.”In his call for the SEC to open for public comment “to establish a core Digital Asset Regulation Genesis Block,” Verret suggested having the agency address investor protections around crypto, where blockchain-based tokens in decentralized projects could fall within current securities regulations, how federal securities laws might take into account “unique aspects of token offerings,” and Commissioner Hester Peirce’s proposal for a three-year safe harbor for certain crypto projects. In addition, he called for a question on what requirements the SEC will consider in approving a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund. Related: US lawmaker proposes safe harbor for digital tokens in new billWhile the agency has given the green light to BTC futures-linked ETFs, it has repeatedly rejected applications from companies seeking ETFs with direct exposure to crypto. ProShares launched the first BTC futures-linked ETF in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange in October, with a similar crypto investment product from Valkyrie later launching on the Nasdaq.“All five SEC Commissioners have a unique opportunity to stake this development with their own priorities via the design of the call for comment,” said Verret. “This Digital Asset Reg Genesis Block can commence an interactive process that can make securities regulation more flexible, more robust, and ultimately better protect investors.”

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Turkish ruling party holds meeting in metaverse, talks crypto regulation

Ak Party, Turkey’s governing party, held its first metaverse meeting on Monday wherein it discussed upcoming crypto regulation. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) hosted its first meeting in the metaverse, Cointelegraph Turkey reported. Attending the virtual meeting were TBMM group deputy chairmen Mahir Ünal and Mustafa Elitaş along with Ömer İleri, the vice president of Ak Party responsible for information and communication technologies.Physically, Elitaş attended the meeting from the parliament building while Ünal and İleri were at the Ak Party (AKP) headquarters. Crypto regulation was the highlight of the meeting, Ünal told state-run news agency AA, adding that crypto assets require both financial and legal regulations.Mustafa Elitaş, who recently hosted a meeting with representatives from the Turkish crypto ecosystem at TBMM, stressed that it’s impossible to stay out of the virtual world. “I believe that metaverse-based meetings would be improved expeditiously and become an essential part of our lives,” he added.Elitaş is also expected to meet with Binance Turkey on Thursday. As reported before, Binance Turkey was fined 8 million Turkish lira (about $600,000) after failing an audit for monitoring Anti-Money Laundering compliance.As blockchain technology made digital ownership possible, Turkey has sped up its metaverse efforts, Ömer İleri said. Seeing the metaverse as a nascent yet quickly developing field, he predicted that it could impact many industries in the future. Ak Parti olarak #Metaverse üzerinden ilk toplantımızı gerçekleştirdik. pic.twitter.com/19Xfd6sIWR— AK Parti Bilgi İletişim Teknolojileri (@AKbilgitek) January 17, 2022The metaverse is open for development in virtual reality, product management and innovative business models, İleri noted, adding that AKP wants to pave the way for a metaverse ecosystem.Related: Turkey’s crypto law is ready for parliament, President Erdoğan confirms İleri argued that digital and technological advancements have legal, economic and social aspects. The AKP is striving to develop policies regarding crypto assets and social media to protect the citizens while empowering Turkey’s innovation capabilities, he concluded.While the Turkish government is keen on blockchain technology and a central bank digital currency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known for his stern stance against cryptocurrencies. Last year in a public Q&A session, he “declared war” on crypto, saying that “We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies.”

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Pakistan's president calls for more training in blockchain technology

Arif Alvi, currently serving as the president of Pakistan, called for additional training in emerging technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity while meeting with a delegation of blockchain technology experts.In a Monday announcement, Alvi said Pakistan’s talent pool should be ready to meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which included utilizing blockchain technology in the public and private sectors. According to the Pakistan president, the technology could be used as a government tool to track transactions, reduce corruption, and increase transparency. Among the panel of experts was Bitcoin SV advocate Jimmy Nguyen, founding president of the Bitcoin Association.President Dr. Arif Alvi had a meeting with an international delegation of blockchain experts, led by the Founding President of BSV Blockchain Association, Mr. James Nguyen, that called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr. pic.twitter.com/G4m4fRpJJy— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) January 17, 2022The meeting came shortly before the Pakistan president announced he would be appointing Noor Muhammad Dummar as the senior minister of finance for the country’s Balochistan province. Pakistan’s federal ministries of finance and law have not legislated on a potential blanket ban of cryptocurrencies in the country, but the State Bank of Pakistan has reportedly argued cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) are illegal and cannot be used for trading.A report released by crypto analytics firm Chainalysis in October 2021 showed that Pakistan had the third highest rate of crypto adoption behind Vietnam and India, with transfers of more than $10 million in the country representing 28% of transactions. The country’s central bank also said in 2021 it was studying the possible rollout of a Pakistan central bank digital currency. Related: Pakistanis have $20B in crypto assets, says head of local associationHowever, some officials within Pakistan seem to continue to associate digital assets with fraud following a multi-million dollar crypto scam in which investors were misled into sending funds from Binance wallets to unknown third-party wallets — some reports suggest investors lost as much as $100 million. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has also reportedly blocked websites dealing in cryptocurrencies in an effort to prevent fraud and money laundering.

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