Sweden Officially Backs a Cryptocurrency, Establishing It As Their Official Coin

It’s finally happened: a major government has just bestowed a huge vote of confidence and legitimacy onto the world of cryptocurrencies. Sweden, in an unprecedented move, just announced that they are officially adopting a certain cryptocurrency as Sweden’s official coin!

The Swedish government just informed us that they have chosen a preferred firm for the purchase and marketing of their new coin – Kryptonex Research Group. The sales of Sweden’s coin officially started on Saturday, May 19th and currently these coins can be bought only from Kryptonex Research Group.

Industry experts weren’t surprised when Kryptonex was chosen by Sweden as their preferred firm for the release of their official coin. They had all seen for their own eyes the cutting edge insight that Kryptonex had brought to the cryptocurrency markets for their clients.

For CryptoCoinHubs, , Kryptonex Research Group is not an unknown company as we’ve received dozens of e-mails from our readers

This is a firm that is widely known as the best in the industry for getting the information that is only available to a select few that lead them to be able to give their clients calls such as the 1734% rise in VEN, or the 540% rise in ETH, or the crazy 3204% increase in EMC2, and the list goes on and on.

The most astonishing part of this news may just be that a Kryptonex representative also informed us that the starting price for the official coin will be only €0.30 CENTS! That’s right, their coin is incredibly inexpensive in comparison to most other coins out there. Bitcoin for example trades at €9,000 at the time of this writing, and Ethereum, trades at around €700.

In fact we were able to get the famed billionaire investor Michael Soros’s thoughts on Sweden’s new coin and this is what he had to say:

Michael Soros states: “Anytime a major corporation announces even a small partnership with an individual cryptocurrency that coin’s value skyrockets. I can’t wait to see what happens when a government officially adopts a crypto. When the name of Sweden’s coin is released many people will become millionaires practically overnight.”

A few of us at CryptoCoinHubs were curious enough to buy a couple coins just to see how everything looks and what the trading fees are like.

It was fairly easy to get the coins, but I will show you the whole process below for those that are interested.

First step was to fill out all the details. As you can see, nothing complicated so far.

Second step, I was taken to a deposit page to fill out my details.

For €250, I received 757 coins at 0.33 cents each. You can see current value of my coins on the same page.

The whole process was simple and I even received a phone call from one of Kryptonex Research Group’s friendly agents, but I didn’t really need any help as the whole process was easy enough.

To my shock literally after about 4 hours of finishing this article I checked my wallet again to see this:

In only 4 hours, the price increased from €0.33 to €0.68. At this point, I was positively surprised. I may either hold onto the coins or flip them for another coin that the people at Kryptonex told me about which they predict will also increase in price by 4 times in less than 48 hours. Their track record speaks for itself, no wonder Sweden chose them.

Kryptonex Research Group was kind enough to give us a 100% accurate coin movement price counter, so everyone can see the increase directly on this page.

OFFICIAL PRICE CURRENTLY
1 COIN = €0.66 CENTS
(Note – price is being updated every 30 minutes)

With a story of this nature news seems to be breaking every so often, we’ll be sure to update the story as needed.

You can find their promo video as well as direct coin sales by clicking on the picture below.

Chinese Crypto Giant Huobi Launches Billion-Dollar Blockchain Fund

Huobi Labs, a blockchain incubator that is part of the Huobi exchange, has signed an agreement with Tianya Community to build a “Global Cultural and Creative Blockchain Lab” in Hainan Province, China, alongside the launch of a billion-dollar industry fund that aims to back the blockchain industry globally.

Under the background of the “new era of Chinese socialism characteristics,” the government has given Hainan Special Economic Zone a new mission of economic reformation. President Xi Jiping, personally planned, deployed and promoted the national strategy.

Huobi To Support National Strategy

Huobi China will support the national-level strategy and will use its technology, resources, talents and capital in the global blockchain industry to contribute to Hainan Special Economic Zone development and explore the construction of an international free trade port, the company announced on its website.

This year, the Huobi Group will:

1. Move Huobi China headquarters (Not Huobi Global, Nor Huobi Pro) to Hainan in the Hainan Ecological Software Park.
2. Build 10 global blockchain labs in collaboration with top global industry companies.
3. Build a global blockchain research institute with the world’s top universities.
4. Build a 40,000-square-meter blockchain incubator.
5. Create a billion-dollar global blockchain industry fund.

Huobi Seeks Government Partnership

Huobi was among China’s biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms prior to crippling domestic regulations that effectively curtailed the industry. After closing its Chinese trading platform in October, Huobi founder Leon Li summed up China’s curtain call as a “watershed moment” for the industry before launching Huobi Pro, its international trading platform headquartered in Singapore.

Huobi’s recent announcement to offer its own token, dubbed “Huobi Token” (HT), is another step in the former Chinese exchange giant’s diversification strategy, which includes an expansion into major cryptocurrency markets in South Korea and Japan.

The utility token is based on the Ethereum blockchain’s ERC-20 standard and will be capped at 500 million tokens. ‘Huobi Token, short for “HT”, is a token system based on Blockchain launching and management,’ the firm explained in a post on its website.

Philippines Legalizes Cryptocurrency in Economic Zone of CEZA

The Philippine government is welcoming nearly a dozen cryptocurrency companies to operate in a special tax-friendly economic zone situated in close proximity to a number of neighboring countries.

According to a Reuters report, the Philippines will legalize the entry of  top 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-controlled economic zone that is within an hour’s flight away from the likes of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

The government aims to woo cryptocurrency companies to operate out of the economic zone with tax benefits to help generate employment opportunities locally, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority chief Raul Lambino told Reuters.

Notably, the official confirmed that the government will also license – in effect legalize – the cryptocurrency firms in the special zone.

The companies will also be allowed to operate exchanges, offer initial coin offerings (ICOs) and engage in cryptocurrency mining within the zone, he added, stating:

We are about to license 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans…They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.

There is a caveat, however. Any exchange of fiat money into cryptocurrencies or vice-versa should be conducted beyond Philippines’ borders to avoid infringing the country’s laws.

To aid in bringing jobs to those companies, the economic zone’s regulator is also considering establishing a new financial technology university in the economic zone with a specific focus on blockchain technology, Lambino added.

The embracive stance follows newly introduced rules by the CEZA in February which allowed cryptocurrency companies to legally establish offices and facilities in the special zone. To gain a license, companies must invest at least $ 1 million in the zone over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licensing fees.

Meanwhile, in the mainland, the Philippines’ central bank was previously known to be reviewing the applications of a dozen operators vying to register and launch cryptocurrency exchanges in the country as recently as December. It remains to be seen if these operators have since switched tact to register in the economic zone instead.

The Philippines became one of the earliest nations in the world to publish regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges in early 2017. The deputy director of the central bank, appearing in a televised interview in October 2017, lauded the ‘pioneering regulation’ and said bitcoin, as a monetary instrument, is “fast, near real-time and convenient”.

Bitcoin 7% Increase as Cryptocurrency Market Rebounds From Yesterday’s Losses

After dipping below $6,500, the price of bitcoin has increased 7 percent to $7,100, as the rest of the cryptocurrency market recovered over the past 24 hours.

Since March 30, the valuation of the cryptocurrency market rose from $250 billion to $268 billion, by around 8 percent.

Correlated Movements

On March 29, Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer stated that a mature market should have assets that are performing independently from each other.

“Indeed, a mature market should be decentralized, with independent coin prices decoupled from each other, each moving in concert with the future prospects of the specific coin,” said Sirer.

For many weeks throughout February and March, the entire cryptocurrency market has demonstrated correlated movements, as the vast majority of both major and minor cryptocurrencies recorded similar gain and loss patterns with extreme volatility.

Today for instance, as the bitcoin price increased by 6 percent, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin all increased by the same 6 percent. With the exception of a handful of cryptocurrencies, which have been likely affected by pump and dumps, most of the cryptocurrencies in the global market have all moved in a similar pattern since the major correction occurred in February.

As such, given the extreme volatility in the market and its correlated price movements, it is evident that the market has not stabilized from its recent correction, and thus may need more time to recover from its losses.

The market demonstrated a necessary rebound from the $250 billion mark, and major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been able to sustain their resistance levels, even though volumes still remain relatively low across all cryptocurrency exchanges.

History

Bitcoin’s latest correction has been brutal, and it led to millions of dollars in losses for many individuals and institutional investors holding the cryptocurrency on behalf of organizations. But, it is important to acknowledge that identical patterns have occurred in the past, throughout 2013 to 2018.

2018’s bitcoin correction is the third worst correction the cryptocurrency has ever experienced, after two 80 percent corrections it suffered in 2013 and 2014. Both corrections took nearly 12 months for bitcoin to recover from.

The market moves up and down, and volatility is stronger in markets like the cryptocurrency market that have lower liquidity and volume than other regulated markets. The cryptocurrency market was not largely affected by the prohibition of cryptocurrency ads or other news relating to regulation, contrary to the narrative the media has tried to portray. Rather, it was the market simply acknowledging that the price of most cryptocurrencies have increased to a point in which they were difficult to justify based on tangibles and sustainable models.

 

Tron for example, was worth $16 billion, and neared the valuation of SpaceX. While it is entirely possible for Tron to achieve that market cap again in the future, Tron has only released its testnet this week.

 

The valuation of most cryptocurrencies were not proportional to the impact they had on the respective industries they were targeting, and the cryptocurrency market experienced a correction because investors could no longer support the prices of them.

Israel: Steps Toward Cryptocurrency Support

In terms of technological innovation, Israel has been labeled by some as “The Startup Nation”with Israeli ventures raising over $5 billion in capital in 2017. This is almost 10% of China’s yearly fundraising total. While there’s a number of popular applications, platforms, and products including USB flash drives, the Waze navigation app, SodaStream carbonation machines, the country has set its foot in the crypto industry as well.

Back in 2017, Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, partnered with Microsoft to create a Blockchain-powered platform to “make the process of signing up guarantors simple and quicker.” And in February 2018, the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) stated that cryptocurrencies will be taxed by the capital gains as properties.

On February 26, 2018, the country took it even further, when the Israeli Supreme Court handed down a decision that would temporarily block Leumi Bank, limiting a local broker, Bits of Gold, from facilitating the sale of cryptocurrency.

Though many were quick to laud the temporary ruling as ‘precedent-setting,’ it still leaves ample room for further developments. The judge ruling the case, Anat Baron, said that her decision was “not intended to harm the bank’s rights to analyze with specificity every transaction that takes place with the bank account or to take any actions that are related to minimizing risks.” This likely means cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges putting transparency first will be regarded as lawful—for now

Founder and CEO of Bits of Gold Yuval Roash sees this decision as justified, saying,

“Regulation is one of the things that has been important to us since the beginning. From the very beginning, we saw the problem with Bitcoin in terms of its anonymous characteristics, and we wanted to receive a currency service certificate—and we received it in August 2013.”

This is significant progress from December of last year, when a Tel Aviv district court ruled in favor of Leumi Bank, who had refused service to Bits of Gold because of Bitcoin’s inability to meet anti-money laundering standards. Bank Leumi had also been piggybacking on the Bank of Israel’s June labeling of exchanges as “websites that facilitate gambling transactions”, which is a sore spot for Israel especially. The country proved to be careful about upsetting the balance within its borders, and even blocked popular ride-sharing application Uber from an Israeli debut.

After examining the last five years of Bits of Golds’ operations, Judge Baron determined Leumi’s previous assumption that violations of the law would occur if Bitcoin were left unchecked were false.

In relation to the ruling, Yair Geva, head of the Hi-Tech Department of Israeli law firm Herzog, Fox & Ne’eman, remarked:

“It should be emphasized that the Court did not rule on the fundamental question—which has not yet been decided—whether Bank Leumi is entitled to refuse banking services for cryptocurrency trading. Although the final decision is still pending, it seems that this recent verdict of the Supreme Court will continue to give tailwinds to the tremendous growth of the crypto industry in Israel particularly, and to hi-tech as well as the financial industry in general. One of the reasons for this is that the Supreme Court clarified that Bits of Gold operated transparently and did not violate any statutory provision. In other words, the Supreme Court determined that currently there is no direct legal prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in Israel. It remains to be seen how regulators in Israel will respond to this landmark decision.”

Regardless of how regulators will respond, it’s already clear that progress on Israeli blockchain innovations hasn’t slowed.

“As with any new and promising technology, jurisdictions that instate well-balanced policies to promote innovation and adoption, will find themselves attracting talent and business to their ecosystems on grand scales. The best frameworks will be the ones that take a learning approach, allowing entrepreneurs and institutions to deeply understand how these technologies affect all stakeholders and develop the policies which are beneficial to most while educating the public on tradeoffs and accountability. Israel has always seen the advancement of technology as a strength and opportunity, and is well positioned to lead in Blockchain development and applications,” said Galia Benartzi, Co-founder of Bancor.

Itay Nagler, Israeli citizen and CEO of blockchain-driven travel startup Cool Cousin, says that Israelis, as a default, undercut the perception that things can’t or shouldn’t change.

“We are almost raised to believe that there is always a better, more efficient way to do things. That is one of the main reasons such a small country is home to many great innovative companies and individuals. This is also an explanation to why Israelis were among the firsts to adopt blockchain technology and crypto. A lot of us see it as a wonderful solution to many problems and our mentality of “no fear” to change, and relatively easy access to quality human resources and funding allows us to act on it. This, I believe, helped us during the past decades to position ourselves as pioneers and experts in many industries.”

Even though there were no concrete regulations of the industry before, it didn’t stop entrepreneurs from launching blockchain projects of their own. Bancor was one of the first major ICOs, raising over $150 million in mere minutes, and has its origins in Israel. IOTA , an IoT-focused Blockchain solution, recently opened an office in Tel Aviv, noting that the city is “a well-established tech hub, always ranking in the top 10 of start-up reports.”

These positive changes, however, go contrary to the recent decision by the Israeli regulators of not including companies involved in the crypto industry in the TASE, Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices, due to its ‘trading volatility.’

Israel appears to be setting itself in the Blockchain ecosystem, along with the rest of the world, but tries first guarantee that the market’s grey areas be limited while its most useful attributes allowed to flourish

Bittrex Will Remove 82 Tokens Due to Lack of Liquidity in Small Cryptocurrencies

Bittrex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges which also powers UpBit, South Korea’s second biggest exchange operated by Kakao subsidiary Dunamoo, has stated that it will remove 82 tokens from its trading platform.

Token Removal

“Occasionally, there are circumstances that lead Bittrex to remove a coin’s wallet or market from the Bittrex Exchange,” said the Bittrex team. “We will be removing the wallets included in the list below on March 30, 2018. Once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins. Users must withdrawal their coins before March 30, 2018, in order to keep them.”

The Bittrex team also stated that several cryptocurrencies have broken blockchains that have disabled users from withdrawing their balances.

“The coins marked with an asterisk (*) have broken blockchains or wallets that will not allow withdrawals,” said Bittrex, referring to cryptocurrencies like CRYPT.

On leading trading platforms, it is difficult for exchanges to sustain a stable order book if a cryptocurrencies does not have enough liquidity and demand from users of the platform. Lack of liquidity leads to price manipulation, which can be initiated with funds as little as $50,000, as shown in the recent study done by cryptocurrency trader Sylvain Ribes.

By using a method called slippage–a process of selling $50,000 worth of a particular cryptocurrency on a trading platform to measure its impact on the price–, Ribes evaluated the liquidity of digital assets on major exchanges like OKEx and GDAX. While GDAX had a slippage of less than 1 percent, on OKEx and other cryptocurrency-only exchanges with low market cap or volume cryptocurrencies, each sale of $50,000 led to a 2 to 10 percent drop in the market value of cryptocurrencies.

“A bit of wash trading and artificial volume inflation is to be expected in a thoroughly unregulated market. What I did not expect was the magnitude of the fraud,” said Ribes. “Many pairs, albeit boasting up to $5 million volumes, would cost you more than 10% in slippage, should you want to liquidate a mere $50k in assets,” he added.

Wash trading and price manipulation is common on major trading platforms with small cryptocurrencies or low-volume cryptocurrency pairs. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently warned investors against pump and dump schemes that are often seen in the cryptocurrency market.

“Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams. These frauds include ‘pump-and-dump’ and market manipulation schemes involving publicly traded companies that claim to provide exposure to these new technologies,” SEC’s statement read.

SEC’s Involvement

Earlier this month, the SEC requested cryptocurrency exchanges to either de-list ICO tokens or register with the agency in order to continue providing support for tokens. For US-based cryptocurrency exchanges like Bittrex, it is mandatory to register with the SEC before processing trades involving tokens.

Throughout next few months, many major exchanges will likely de-list or remove small cryptocurrencies that are prone to pump and dump schemes, and market manipulation.

Vladivostok as Russia’s New ”Crypto Hub”

Bankers and government officials have discussed the possible creation of a crypto valley on Russia’s Pacific coast. Representatives of the Central Bank and the executive power in Moscow have taken part in the consultations initiated by the Fund for Development of the Far East. The city of Vladivostok, where local authorities want to allow cryptocurrency trade, may become a crypto hub.  

Test Site for Crypto Regulations

The Fund for Development of the Far East has proposed the creation of a crypto valley, centered on the Russian city of Vladivostok, its general director Alexei Chekunov told RNS. The FDFE, along with the digital platform “Voshod” [sunrise], are currently discussing the idea with representatives of the Central Bank of Russia and government officials. The necessary regulatory framework and the risks associated with the project are under examination, as well.

“From around $2 billion dollars raised though crypto assets offerings, Russian projects account for about 5%, or approximately $100 million. It is obvious that the potential of our country in this new and perspective field has not been fully realized”, Chekunov said. He noted that the FDFE had been tasked by President Putin to explore the possibility of setting up a financial center in Vladivostok. “We have proposed to combine these two initiatives”, he added.

Chekunov called the experiment a “Russian Crypto Valley” and described it as a “test site for technical and regulatory approaches”. This week a local representative of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain told lawmakers in the Duma that Crimea’s jurisdiction can also be used to test the crypto “phenomenon”. A couple of days ago the head of the Russian republic of Udmurtia urged deputies to quickly adopt regulations and offered its territory for pilot projects. Other regions want to set up large mining facilities.

FDFE has also announced intentions to turn Vladivostok into Russia’s first crypto hub, taking advantage of the special economic ecosphere in its Free Port. The Deputy Finance Minister of Russia recently said that authorities in the administrative center of Primorsky Krai were interested in hosting cryptocurrency trade. The nearby Russky Island has been mentioned as a zone of free crypto interactions.

“At the moment we are focused on finalizing the regulatory rules and analyzing the possible risks. The Voshod platform is ready to start operations with crypto assets. We are working with all interested parties to begin trading after the adoption of the legal framework in mid-2018”, FDFE director Alexei Chekunov said. The Fund for Development of the Far East was created by Vnesheconombank, the government owned Russian development bank.

Do you think Moscow authorities will create a crypto valley in the Far East to experiment with crypto technologies and regulations? Tell us in the comments section below.

Belarus Wants to Run a Global Crypto Hub

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who’s labored for years under the title of Europe’s last dictator, is making a bid for a shiny new image as the continent’s freewheeling cryptocurrency king.

 Lukashenko, who’s ruled the former communist republic that’s wedged between Poland and Russia since 1994, signed a decree on Friday offering tax breaks and legal incentives for dealing in digital currencies in an effort to turn Belarus into an international tech haven.
 “Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology,” Lukashenko said in a statement in his website. “We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.”
 The decree legalizes business based on blockchain — the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — and all digital “tokens,” as Belarus seeks to become a global crypto coin hub for raising funds via so-called initial coin offerings, or ICOs. Revenue and profit from all operations using digital tokens will be exempt from taxes until 2023, while there’ll be measures to simplify the flow of venture capital between Belarus and other countries, according to a summary of the decree published by Viktor Prokopenya, one of the businessmen lobbying for the legislation

Belarus is seeking to capitalize on a thriving tech industry that’s grown up there in recent years as young programmers have created products that appeal far beyond the borders of the former Soviet republic. The phone messaging application Viber was developed in Belarus as were the NYSE-listed offshore programming company EPAM Systems Inc. and the popular online gaming service World of Tanks, which made founder Victor Kislyi the country’s first billionaire.

Sandbox Haven

Even as Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, and Facebook Inc. snapped up Belarus-made startups, the country’s restrictive business environment made it all but impossible for venture capital to flow freely into promising ideas. Lukashenko’s new law may change that.

Belarus plans to cloak its repressive reputation with a “sandbox” — the creation of a legal tech enclave where companies working with digital currencies will pay no taxes and rely on some elements of English law in commercial matters, a radical innovation for a country whose security service is still called the KGB.

The sandbox would be set up within the so-called Hi-Tech Park, which the authorities opened in 2005 near the capital, Minsk, to try to spur innovation. Today, most of the park’s  residents are offshore software companies taking advantage of cheap and skilled local programmers as well as reduced taxes to serve foreign clients.

’Tech Nation’

Lukashenko said this month that his goal in signing the decree is to make Belarus a “tech nation.” The country’s major technology companies lobbied for the legal changes, which also gained support among government officials and in the central bank.

The novelty of the proposed law is that Belarus would provide legal clarity for dealing in digital currencies which is yet unseen in other countries, said Denis Aleinikov, whose law firm Aleinikov and Partners helped to draft the decree. It also establishes a direct legal link between issuers of tokens and their obligations toward the holders.

To protect against fraudsters, the regulation would set capital requirements for operators of cryptocurrency exchanges. It would also introduce “smart contracts” in Belarus — self-executable computer-coded applications that serve as an alternative to traditional paper agreements.

“The decree has been written exactly the way our tech community wanted it,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky, head of Hi-Tech Park, said in an interview in Minsk. “Belarus will be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for cryptocurrencies and blockchain.”

Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018

If 2017 was the year of the ICO, it seems as if 2018 is destined to become the year of regulatory reckoning. Things have already begun to heat up as countries around the world grapple with cryptocurrencies and try to determine how they are going to treat them. Some are welcoming, others are cautious. And some countries are downright antagonistic. Here is a brief overview of how 15 countries/unions from various regions are treating cryptocurrency regulations.

United States

The United States, at the time of this writing, has no coherent direction on its cryptocurrency regulation other than that there will be some soon. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned investors of cryptocurrency investing risks, halted several ICOs and hintedat the need for greater cryptocurrency regulation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) became the first U.S. regulator to allowfor cryptocurrency derivatives to trade publicly, then organized meetings to talk about possibly changing the rules for cryptocurrency derivatives clearing (one of the meetings was postponed due to the federal government shutdown).

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has indicated a preference for minted fiat currency over cryptocurrency. Speaking on January 12, 2018, at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., Secretary Mnuchin warned those in attendance that he and other regulators were looking into the possibility that cryptocurrency could be used in money-laundering activities. The secretary then announced to the group that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) had formed a working group to explore the cryptocurrency marketplace and that he hoped to work with the G20 to prevent bitcoin from becoming a digital equivalent of a “Swiss bank account.”

Defending his stance to World Economic Forum attendees on January 25, 2018, Mnuchin explained that his number one focus on cryptocurrency was “to make sure that they’re not used for illicit activities.”

On January 26, 2018, U.S. Treasury Deputy Director Sigal Mandelker echoed the secretary’s sentiments after a visit to China, South Korea and Japan. At a press conference in Tokyo, she applauded the three Asian countries for keeping tabs on cryptocurrency trading, stating, “We feel very strongly that we need to have this kind of regulation all over the world.”

It should be noted that non-U.S. investors may have concerns over clearing licensing hurdles put up individually by the states. If the U.S. treats cryptocurrencies as currency, it seems more likely that the actions by the federal government and federal regulatory agencies would preempt states’ licensing. However, if treated as “securities” (the SEC has not completely cleared the issue up), cryptocurrencies, especially ICOs, would have to clear “blue sky laws” on a state-by-state basis.

Canada

The Financial Consumer Agency in Canada does not consider cryptocurrencies to be “legal tender,” excluding all but Canadian bank notes and coins from that definition. The True North, however, is not all harsh on its cryptocurrency regulatory stances. In fact, it appears to be the most transparent country in this list when it comes to understanding laws surrounding the digital currency industry (aside from Switzerland, which wants to be “THE crypto-nation”).

After weeks of hearings, which included testimony from experts like Andreas Antonopoulos, the Canadian Parliament approved Bill C-31 on June 19, 2014, the world’s first national law on digital currencies. The Canadian government has been communicative in its regulatory stances on cryptocurrency ever since: the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) sent out a regulatory notice on August 24, 2017, confirming “the potential applicability of Canadian securities laws to cryptocurrencies and related trading and marketplace operations and to provide market participants with guidance on analyzing these requirements.” If you want a clear and concise interpretation of this notice, check out this article.

More recently, the head of the Central Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, was quoted as saying on January 25, 2018, that  “I object to the term cryptocurrencies because they are crypto but they aren’t currencies … they aren’t assets for the most part … I suppose they are securities technically … There is no intrinsic value for something like bitcoin so it’s not really an asset one can analyze. It’s just essentially speculative or gambling.” It should be noted that as part of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), Canada joined an association-wide “cautionary directive” on the risks of cryptocurrencies, with all representatives from every province in the country believing there is a “high risk of fraud.”

Venezuela

Venezuela is not a major world economy or a large portion of the cryptocurrency investing community. The country’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies, however,  is noteworthy because the government, under the restrictive regime of Nicolás Maduro, is seeking to skirt economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela by announcing its own oil-backed “petro” cryptocurrency.

Under Maduro, the country has been divided for years by protests and clashes between opposition parties and the government. Venezuela started off 2017 seemingly seeking to crack down on cryptocurrencies as the Venezuelan Bolivar remained relatively unusable. And even as recently as December 13, 2017, the Maduro government sought to regulate cryptocurrency mining as the newly minted superintendent of cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, announced the compilation of a detailed registry of cryptocurrency miners in the country.

In a country where the fiat currency is worth little and sanctions from the U.S. continue to mount, a state-sanctioned cryptocurrency may cause Venezuela — a typically restrictive regime — to become one of the most progressive countries on cryptocurrency regulations (even if only to further sales of petro).

Japan

Japan isn’t particularly liberal toward digital currency regulation; it’s merely winning the race to attract the best from Asia’s cryptocurrency industry, as China and South Korea have been creating hostile/uncertain environments. Whether or not Japan will allow for a cryptocurrency-themed J-pop band, the Japanese government has certainly been more welcoming of cryptocurrencies than its Asian neighbors.

Recent events may have tempered Japanese enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies, however. The hack of a Japanese exchange on January 26, 2018, resulting in the loss of $530 million worth of NEM coins, has prompted backlash from the community and closer oversight from the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

China

China has been taking ever-increasing actions to clamp down on all things cryptocurrency. Starting off by banning ICOs, China ordered a bank account freeze associated with exchanges, kicked out bitcoin miners, and instituted a nationwide ban on internet and mobile access to all things related to cryptocurrency trading. The People’s Republic of China appears to be the most stringent cryptocurrency regulator of the major economies regarding cryptocurrencies. This is an odd about-face given that, in 2017, Chinese bitcoin miners made up over 50 percent of the worldwide mining population and that cryptocurrency adoption in China increased at a rate higher than any other country.

Though strict, the regulatory actions of the People’s Republic of China, under the stewardship of Xi Jinping, makes contextual sense as the country has recently been focused on stemming capital outflows and stomping out corruption.

South Korea

Where to begin with South Korean regulation? The country boasted a significant cryptocurrency presence in the past and was initially thought of as the country of refuge from the crackdowns occurring in China late last year. However, discord surfaced in January 2018 amongst top Korean officials on future regulatory actions for the digital currency industry, with declarations, clarifications, misinformation and ultimately some limited implementation. The uncertainty and potential negative regulatory impacts have now been cited as the cause for marketwide sell-offs on Red Tuesday as well as on January 30, 2018, when Korean officials began enforcing a January 23, 2018, rule disallowing anonymous accounts from trading cryptocurrencies.

To add external regulatory drama to the political dissonance demonstrated by a government less than a year out from ousting their former president, regulatory prospects for South Koreans have also been hindered by New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), as they reportedly requested customer information on accounts associated with cryptocurrency trading among six commercial Korean banks with branches in New York on January 26, 2018.

Singapore

Until recently, the finance and banking center of Asia has been relatively lax compared to many of its Asian counterparts on cryptocurrency regulation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), like many financial regulators, warned of risks of speculating in the cryptocurrency markets during the December 2017 peak in bitcoin prices. And Singapore’s International Commercial Court heard a trial that same month over a bitcoin trading dispute, seeming to legitimize the economic stakes in dispute.

On January 9, 2018, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that “the country’s laws do not make any distinction between transactions conducted using fiat currency, cryptocurrency or other novel ways of transmitting value.”

MAS fintech chief Sopnendu Mohanty on January 24, 2018 did state that he does not foresee a Lehman Brothers-like financial meltdown with Bitcoin at this point in time, adding that there is “a great indication that regulators are getting serious about this whole cryptocurrency market.”

Mohanty also stated regulators would need to apply consumer protections for digital currencies like bitcoin for it to continue to grow. While there has been no statement yet from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the $530 million hack that attacked Japanese exchange Coincheck on January 26, 2018, targeted Singaporean-based NEM coins.

India

India, once viewed as a burgeoning, friendly environment for cryptocurrencies, has been clamping down on cryptocurrencies in 2018. India’s tough stance stems from similar concerns that other, more stringent regulatory regimes have cited: money laundering, illegal activity proliferation, sponsorship of terrorism, tax evasion, etc. While the cash-reliant country is facing stern regulations, participants of the local cryptocurrency industry do not believe India can “ban” cryptocurrencies through regulations in the same way China has.

Australia

In the wake of the August 2017 financial scandal surrounding the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Australian government sought to follow in Japan’s footsteps by strengthening its anti-money laundering laws and regulating digital currencies. This differed slightly from the view in 2015 that the Aussie government would seek a “hands-off” approach to cryptocurrencies. Still, the lack of more concise regulation has purportedly had a negative impact on the country as the end of 2017 saw Australian cryptocurrency brokers halt Australian dollar deposits. December 2017 also saw an issuance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which hinted at the way potential future regulation could go. The ATO guidance stated:

Transacting with bitcoin is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. Our view is that bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes. Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.

Australia, however, has supporters of digital currencies in government, as August 2017 sawsenators from both major parties (Labor and Coalition) stepping forward to call on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to accept cryptocurrencies as an official form of currency. Therefore, the future of further cryptocurrency regulation remains uncertain but potentially industry-friendly in the land down under.

United Kingdom/European Union

While Brexit is scheduled to force the U.K. and the European Union to part ways in March 2019, the United Kingdom and the EU remain united in their plans to regulate cryptocurrencies. On December 4, 2017, The Guardian and The Telegraph reported that the U.K. Treasury and the EU both had made plans aimed at ending anonymity for cryptocurrency traders, citing anti-money laundering and tax evasion crackdowns.

The European Union plan would require cryptocurrency platforms to conduct proper due diligence on customers and report any suspicious transactions. Likewise, the Treasury of the United Kingdom stated that they are “working to address concerns about the use of cryptocurrencies by negotiating to bring virtual currency exchange platforms and some wallet providers within anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation.” The Treasury did, however, add that “there is little current evidence of [cryptocurrencies] being used to launder money, though this risk is expected to grow.”

While one European Union commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, stated in an interview with Bloomberg on December 18, 2017, that the EU was not looking to regulate bitcoin, the commissioner’s statements seemed out of sync with prior and consequential messaging. Two days later, Moscovici’s message was seemingly countermanded by Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission (the Executive for the European Union), when he toldreporters in Brussels that:

There are clear risks for investors and consumers associated to price volatility, including the risk of complete loss of investment, operational and security failures, market manipulation and liability gaps.

Calls for greater cryptocurrency regulations echoed across Europe in January 2018. On January 15, 2018, French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire announced the creation of a working group with the purpose of regulating cryptocurrencies. Similarly, Joachim Wuermeling, a board member of the German Bundesbank, called for effective regulation of virtual currencies on a global scale.

On January 22, 2018, Dombrovskis furthered his regulatory agenda for cryptocurrencies by writing three of the EU’s watch dogs warning them of a bubble in bitcoin. On January 25, 2018, embattled U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May joined the fray, echoing the sentiments of International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and U.S. President Donald Trump. When speaking to Bloomberg during the World Economic Forum at Davos, the prime minister stated, “We should be looking at these very seriously — precisely because of the way they can be used, particularly by criminals.”

While the U.K. and EU have not announced finalized regulations of cryptocurrencies, an expected announcement is likely due in the spring.

Switzerland

Switzerland, known for its progressive attitudes toward individual rights in banking, has kept a similar attitude toward cryptocurrency regulation. The Western European country is conspicuously absent from the European Union and appears to have an open attitude toward the cryptocurrency industry.

Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, told reporters on January 18, 2018, that he wants Switzerland to be “the crypto-nation.” According to an article by the Financial Times, Jörg Gasser, state secretary at the Swiss finance ministry, stated, “We want it [the ICO market] to prosper but without compromising standards or the integrity of our financial markets.”

To that end, on January 18, 2018, the Swiss set up an ICO working group with an aim to “increase legal certainty, maintain the integrity of the financial center and ensure technology-neutral regulation.” The working group will report to the Swiss Federal Council by the end of 2018.

Russia

Russia, like South Korea, can’t seem to decide how it wants to handle cryptocurrency regulations. In September 2017, Russian Federation Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina saidthe central bank was against regulating cryptocurrencies as currency (as a payment for goods and services) and against equating them with a foreign currency. This statement seemed toindicate a progressive hands-off approach was in store for the cryptocurrency industry in Russia.

However, on September 8, 2017, the deputy finance minister for the Russian Federation, Alexei Moiseev, told reporters at a Moscow financial forum that settlements of payments in cryptocurrencies “are not legal now.” The deputy minister continued, stating, “Obviously, now there is a legal vacuum, and accordingly it’s hard for me to say if these actions are legal or not.”

Until these statements, the position proposed by the Russian federation was to allow only “qualified investors” to deal with cryptocurrencies. Russian President Vladimir Putin sided with the position of the Finance Ministry on October 11, 2017, when the president said that the use of cryptocurrencies carries serious risks, being an opportunity for laundering criminal capitals, evading taxes, financing terrorism and spreading fraudulent schemes that would victimize Russian citizens.

The Finance Ministry continued its strict regulatory posturing by suggesting a taxation on cryptocurrency mining ventures on December 28, 2017. The new year began with even more hints at a Russian crackdown on cryptocurrencies, as Putin again sided with the Ministry of Finance on January 11, 2018, when he remarked that legislative regulation of the cryptocurrency market may be needed in the future.

President Putin stated, “This is the prerogative of the Central Bank at present and the Central Bank has sufficient authority so far. However, in broad terms, legislative regulation will be definitely required in the future.” (translation by TASS)

Two weeks later, on January 25, 2018, the Finance Ministry published a draft law “On Digital Financial Assets.” The law, if finalized, would define tokens, establish ICO procedures and determine the legal regime for cryptocurrencies and mining.

Presidential candidate Boris Titov decried the proposed legislation on January 26, 2018, stating that the draft law was excessively strict. According to Titov’s press service, “The Finance Ministry’s proposals present a much tougher regulation than in Japan, Switzerland, Belarus [and] Armenia; that is, in all countries that have adopted some form of legislation. It would be better not to adopt anything than to adopt such legislation.”

Further muddying the waters was a concession by Deputy Minister Moiseev that the December 2017 Belarusian adoption of the “Digital Economy Development Ordinance” could cause capital outflows from Russia to neighboring Belarus if heavy crypto-regulation occurred in the Russian Federation.

Nigeria

Last year saw Africa’s largest economy struggle through a recession that caused a “crunch” to its fiat currency. Bitcoin trading boomed as Nigerians used cryptocurrencies to end-run currency controls restricting access to the dollar put in place to curtail the recession. January 2017 started off with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) seeming to ban cryptocurrencies, only to have CBN Deputy Director Musa Itopa Jimoh walk back the position by stating, the “Central bank cannot control or regulate bitcoin. [the] Central bank cannot control or regulate blockchain. Just the same way no one is going to control or regulate the internet. We don’t own it.” Bitcoin trading boomed by 1500 percent during 2017.

Though the IMF report from December 2017 said the country has exited its recession, tepid GDP growth forecasts and reliance on crude oil exports make calls on January 25, 2018, from CBN Governor Edwin Emefiele to regulate cryptocurrencies seem tenuous. The CBN governor stated, “Cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like a gamble … We cannot, as a central bank, give support to situations where people risk their savings to ‘gamble.’”

Ghana

The governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, stated on January 22, 2018, that “Bitcoin is not yet legal tender” at a media briefing. While there is a bill before Ghanaian parliament which will allow for the use of cryptocurrencies (seemingly with companies registered as “Electronic Money Issuers” by the government), the current stance of bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) is, according to Graphic Online, one of “six countries that have outlawed [bitcoin].” Addison’s statements come weeks after a recommendation from the Ghanaian investment bank, Group Ndoum, suggested that the Bank of Ghana invest 1 percent of its reserves in bitcoin.

South Africa

South Africa is relatively progressive on the subject of cryptocurrencies compared to others on the list. While the 2014 position paper on virtual currencies issued by the South African Reserve Bank seemed promising for the industry, the South African government began in July of 2017 to work with Bankymoon, a blockchain-based solutions provider, on creating a “balanced” approach to bitcoin regulation.

The country has had valuation issues with its fiat currency, the South African Rand, being devalued several times over the past decade. The 2015 devaluation saw the rand drop 26 percent in response to the Chinese yuan devaluing by a mere 2 percent. Most recently, the country faced devaluation prospects again in March of 2017 as the president fired South Africa’s finance minister. The country has remained relatively mum on cryptocurrency regulation in January 2018, but it will be interesting to see if the reliance South Africa’s fiat currency has on China translates at all to its regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies.

South Korea says no plans to ban cryptocurrency exchanges

South Korea’s finance minister said the government has no plans to shut down cryptocurrency trading, welcome news for investors worried that authorities might go as far as China’s tough action in blocking virtual coin platforms.

The comment by Kim Dong-yeon on Wednesday comes as traders at home and around the world have been spooked by conflicting comments from government officials in South Korea, a major hub for cryptocurrency trade, that Seoul was planning to ban local digital coin exchanges.

“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market),” Kim said, adding the government’s immediate task is to regulate exchanges.

Reinforcing Seoul’s intent to tighten the screws on a market widely seen as opaque and risky by global policymakers, the country’s customs earlier on Wednesday announced it had uncovered illegal cryptocurrency foreign exchange trading worth nearly $600 million.

“Customs service has been closely looking at illegal foreign exchange trading using cryptocurrency as part of the government’s task force,” it said.

South Korea has been at the forefront of pushing for broad regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency trading as many locals, including students and housewives, jumped into a frenzied market despite warnings from policy makers around the world of a bubble.

Seoul previously said that it is considering shutting down local cryptocurrency exchanges, which threw the market into turmoil and hammered bitcoin prices. Officials later clarified that an outright ban is only one of the steps being considered, and a final decision was yet to be made.

CRYPTO CRIMES

Customs said about 637.5 billion won ($596.02 million) worth of foreign exchange crimes were detected.

Illegal foreign currency trading of 472.3 billion formed the bulk of the cryptocurrency crimes, it said in a statement, but gave no details on what action authorities were taking against the rule breaches.

In one case, an illegal FX agency collected a total of 1.7 billion won ($1.59 million) from local residents in a form of “electric wallet” coins to transfer it to a partner agent abroad. The partner agent then cashed them out and distributed the settlement to clients based in that country, according to the statement.

In South Korea, only licensed banks and brokers can offer foreign exchange services. Local companies and residents who move more than $3,000 out of the country at a time must submit documents to tax authorities explaining reasons for the transfers. Annual overseas transfers of more than $50,000 must also be reported with similar documents.

Effective from Jan. 30, authorities imposed rules which allow only real-name bank accounts to be used for cryptocurrency trading designed to stop virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other crimes.

Among other breaches, Customs said there were also cases where investors in Japan sent their yen worth 53.7 billion won to their partners in South Korea for illegal currency trade.

It said authorities will continue to monitor for any violations of foreign exchange rules or of money laundering activities.

Bitcoin stood at $10,123.13 as of 0842 GMT on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. The heightened regulatory scrutiny around the world, however, has seen bitcoin dive about 27.1 percent so far this month, on track for its biggest monthly decline since January 2015.

Cryptocurrencies got another jolt last week after Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck said hackers stole over $500 million in one of the world’s biggest cyber heists.