• US Treasury Announces Sanctions Targeting North Korean Cyber Attack Groups

    On Friday, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced new sanctions against three North Korean cyber groups believed to be responsible for cyber-attacks on financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, and other critical infrastructure. In a press release announcing the news, Treasury identified the three state-sponsored hacking groups as Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, and Andariel, and named them as “agencies, instrumentalities, or controlled entities of the Government of North Korea.” The U.S. claims that all three are controlled by North Korea’s main intelligence agency, The Reconnaissance General Bureau, or RGB. Lazarus Group is the most well-known North Korean cyber group, and has been implicated in attacks on government, military, manufacturing, shipping, media, and other critical targets around the world. The group has reportedly used tactics ranging from cyber espionage and data theft to ransomware and other monetary heists. Lazarus was credited with the 2017 WannaCry 2.0 ransomware attacks that impacted more than 150 nations around the world. According to Treasury, the Bluenoroff group is a subgroup of Lazarus specifically created by the North Korean government to…

    Sep 16, 2019
  • Central Banks to Meet With Libra Founders in Switzerland on Monday

    Officials from the European Central Bank (ECB) and 25 global central banks will meet with Libra to assess the financial stability risks of the project.

    Sep 15, 2019
  • Treasury Official: Libra Must Comply with US AML/CTF Regulations

    If Facebook’s Libra project expects to operate within the United States, it will need to do in full compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing regulations, according to U.S. Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker. Mandelker emphasized the need for compliance while speaking with reporters in Bern, Switzerland on Tuesday, Reuters reports. She suggested that the cryptocurrency industry hasn’t done enough to ensure that their networks and products cannot be used to facilitate crime or terrorism: “Whether it’s bitcoin, Ethereum, Libra, our message is the same to all of these companies: anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism has to be built into your design from the get-go.” Mandelker was scheduled to meet with Swiss financial market regulators today to discuss issues like AML safeguards and enforcement actions. She noted that Switzerland has worked to position itself as a welcoming hub for innovations like fintech and said that countries that promote themselves as innovation hubs need to ensure that concerns about regulatory compliance are taken seriously. She also suggested that Swiss officials share her belief…

    Sep 11, 2019
  • Be open when developing cryptocurrency regulations in Europe, says IMF Chairperson Christine Lagarde

    Developing cryptocurrency regulations in Europe necessitates receptiveness and open-mindedness, says the presidential nominee for European Central Bank (ECB) and the current chairperson of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde.  Lagarde has been appointed to take over from the existing ECB President, Mario Draghi, from Nov 1 onwards. This will necessitate her eight-year-old tenure as IMF’s chairperson to end on Sep 12. During her recent opening statement to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Lagarde recommended the lawmakers and financial regulators to be fair and tolerant to the opportunities offered by cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology and take a methodical approach whenever considering their implementation. She further asserts that central banks need to carefully weigh all the pros and cons of disruptive technology before taking a stance. Start with weighing up pros and cons, argues IMF head Lagarde was quick to point out the fact that although cryptocurrencies contribute to growth in criminal activities and financial instability, unknowingly and sometimes knowingly, the long-term benefits offered by this visionary innovation are too substantial to let go. And…

    Sep 11, 2019
  • Crypto Banking Regulation Around the World, First Signs of Growth

    Banking is often seen as the antithesis of Bitcoin (BTC), the very industry the nascent protocol looks to defuse and disrupt. Ironically, many banks are desperately in need of the attributes and facilities afforded by cryptocurrencies — specifically blockchain, their underlying technology. Perhaps then, it’s not too surprising that more and more cryptocurrency banks are springing up, offering an alternative to tired legacy systems and allowing room for an emerging asset class. However, some significant hurdles remain for these emerging institutions. Regulatory uncertainties are rife within the world of cryptocurrency banking. Ill-equipped regulatory bodies often attempt to pen in budding crypto firms to a system in which the regulation doesn’t adequately fit. Yet, there are some regulatory authorities whose forward-thinking and desire to innovate is wholly evident, with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) being one such institution. Related: What Are Crypto Banks and How Do They Work? FINMA recently allocated banking licenses to two cryptocurrency banks. This precedent allowed the newly sanctioned institutions to circumnavigate the necessity to find a willing traditional banking participant. The two banks in…

    Sep 5, 2019
  • Crypto Firms Serving Netherlands Must Register With Dutch Central Bank

    The Dutch Central Bank is taking a tougher stance on the cryptocurrency industry, citing new European Union anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Beginning Jan. 10, 2020, companies or persons involved in the conversion of crypto to fiat currencies or offering crypto deposit services will be required to self-register with the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the DNB announced Tuesday. The order includes firms based outside the Netherlands that are serving Dutch nationals, even via the internet. “It is irrelevant whether they are established in the Netherlands,” a DNB representative said in a Q&A, adding: “Also providers that offer such services from another EU member state … for example via a website, must register, regardless of whether the provider is already registered in that member state.” DNB says the oversight is to meant to comply with the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5), which will also go into effect on Jan. 10, 2020. The initial registration period will last six months after the January date. Companies that fail to submit registration beforehand could be forced to shut down once the rules go live, the DNB…

    Sep 4, 2019
  • A Friendly Blockchain Hub, but Is Government Policy Lacking?

    It has been almost a decade since Dan Senor and Saul Singer penned “Start-Up Nation,” their ode to the Israeli tech sector. The book, which chronicles much of Israel’s success as a small but potent innovation force that spans countless industries, highlights the immense technological knowhow and seemingly fearless energy that supports the country’s thriving startup culture. Nearly a decade later, Israel has not missed a beat in terms of capitalizing on the biggest trends in technology. From cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and machine learning, Israel’s legion of innovators is tackling problematic areas felt in numerous sectors with its own brand of expertise, helping this geographical blip build a global footprint. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) perfectly align with these ambitions, helping Israel emerge as one of the leading launchpads for the industry. While Bitcoin’s (BTC) price has risen and fallen over the years, one constant has been the upward growth trajectory of worldwide as well as Israeli blockchain initiatives. Leveraging blockchain’s beneficial attributes While the 2018 rout in crypto prices and the crumbling initial coin offering, or ICO, market certainly affected the momentum of blockchain…

    Sep 2, 2019
  • Argentina Imposes Capital Controls; Strong Case For Bitcoin Adoption

    The government of Argentina has imposed capital controls on its citizens in a response to growing financial issues for the country. The South American country has limited dollar purchases to only $10k per month after $3 billion was drained out of their foreign currency reserves on Thursday and Friday alone. Is it time to switch to Bitcoin? Argentina On Brink of Default Argentina’s national currency, the peso, has been in free fall the past few weeks as the government attempts to pay off their short term debts. The peso is down over 25% in the last month alone. Interest rates spiked heavily as the Argentinian central bank tried to control their debt, making the decision Wednesday to delay payments on the $7 billion of debt this year. The decision comes from President Mauricio, who ran on the promise to get rid of state intervention in the economy. He is now doubling back on his ideals by imposing currency controls. The current political landscape in Argentina is suggesting Mauricio and his party will lose power in the upcoming October election. This…

    Sep 2, 2019
  • Why are Crypto Lobbyists Worried about How Regulators are Treating Libra?

    Libra, the controversial cryptocurrency to be launched by Facebook worries lawmakers. Crypto pioneers believe that the increased regulatory scrutiny on Libra could dent Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Although Facebook is yet to launch its cryptocurrency Libra, global lawmakers including the US and other countries have already begun scrutinizing Facebook’s plans and proposed policies around the cryptocurrency. Crypto Lobbyists Fear the Possible Effects of Libra As lawmakers are renewing their efforts to “define and rein in Libra” , others in the field are worried about lawmakers’ activities stunting the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Kristin Smith, who is the director of the Blockchain Association said; “What we don’t want to happen is members of Congress for the first time come in and author legislation that aims to go after Facebook and inadvertently takes out the other part of the industry,” So far Facebook’s announcement of Libra has experienced an ever-growing mountain of regulatory challenges. US President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have already expressed their skepticism about Libra among others. Besides regulators, reports…

    Aug 29, 2019
  • Switzerland Approves Crypto Banks

    The Swiss banking regulator granted banking licenses to two cryptocurrency-focused banks – the alpine nation’s first.

    Aug 27, 2019
  • Rwanda’s Central Bank Is Researching a Possible Digital Currency Launch

    Rwanda’s central bank is studying the development and issuance of its own digital currency.

    Aug 23, 2019
  • SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize to Record Stock Transfers

    Securitize, a provider of technology for issuing blockchain tokens, has registered as a transfer agent with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Administration (SEC), a move it says will boost adoption.

    Aug 22, 2019
  • Bank of America Files Patent for Multi-Tiered Digital Currency Wallet

    United States-based investment banking company Bank of America (BofA) has filed a patent for a digital currency wallet with multiple layers of asset access.

    Aug 20, 2019
  • Report: Israeli Bitcoiners Petition Banks to Disclose Crypto Policies

    The petition purportedly seeks to require local banks to disclose their policies on money originating from digital currencies.

    Aug 20, 2019
  • US Lawmakers to Visit Switzerland to Discuss Crypto, Facebook’s Libra

    A delegation of the United States House of Representatives will visit Switzerland on cryptocurrency concerns, with Facebook’s not-yet-released stablecoin Libra being in the focus.

    Aug 19, 2019
  • Australian Tax Office: All-Crypto Retirement Accounts Will Be Fined

    The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has sent out warning letters to investors who have placed the majority of their retirement savings in cryptocurrencies.

    Aug 19, 2019

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