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Regulation

Malta’s Financial Services Authority Is In A ‘Consultation Exercise’ With Stakeholders

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The Financial Services Authority of Malta is right now involved in consultations with many stakeholders, all in order to ensure that they are well informed on the subject of cryptocurrency and blockchain bills as well as the new crypto laws that the country made official recently.

According to some local reports, this is a great move by the MFSA – while analysts said that it is still a normal procedure. One of these analysts is Joseph F. Borg. In an interview with CCN, he explained that this is the usual manner in which the financial services sector is enacted, noting:

“Although the laws where published last week, they are expected to come into force in October of this year. This will give time for industry players to adjust accordingly to benefit from the transitory provisions as well as well as the authorities to cater the large amount of applications that will be submitted in the first few months”.

The Malta Financial Services Authority recently told the blockchain sector to wait – even though the laws have been passed. The MFSA is confident that the laws are not yet in force and said that the framework for these laws is still in a creation phase (despite the fact that they were passed into law on Friday, 20th of July).

However, the MFSA announced that the laws will become effective on October 1st, until when the operators should wait for a public announcement before the MFSA starts sending requests for approvals and authorizations.

Meanwhile, Malta is the first country in the world to develop a regulatory system which is custom for blockchain-based businesses.

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Blockchain News

UK Research Shows That Private Blockchains And New EU Privacy Rules Might Go Well Together

According to a study conducted by the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge in the UK, private blockchains have a great chance in being compatible with the new EU privacy policies, so it’s no wonder that this information is in the latest blockchain news today. The General Data Protection Regulation act that regulates how personal data is stored for people within the European Union is now in effect since May this year. According to the GDPR act, data controllers are obliged to respect all citizens’ rights in terms of keeping their private information. If a certain controller doesn’t obey the law, the fines vary from 20 million Euros or 4% of global revenues. According to the study, all crypto-related technologies could go under the rules contained in the GDPR since they publicly store private information about the citizens who live in the European Union thus:
 “There is a risk that this legal uncertainty will have a chilling effect on innovation, at least in the EU and potentially more broadly. For example, if all nodes and miners of a platform were to be deemed joint controllers, they would have joint and several liability, with potential penalties under the GDPR.”
However, blockchain operators could be treated like processors the same way the companies behind cloud technologies control the users’ data. Blockchain networks could store personal data externally to meet the rules of the privacy laws or allow nodes to delete the private key that has encrypted information. GDPR rules are really hard to comply with especially for crypto mining businesses which are why the researches urge the European Data Protection Board to create a guide of the protection law that will be clearer.
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Regulation

Thailand’s Deputy PM Calls For Enhancement Of Cryptocurrency Regulations

The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand named Wissanu Krea-ngam is in the latest cryptocurrency news, this time for calling for the enhancement of cryptocurrency regulations in the country. As he spoke during the fourth regional Counter-Terrism Financing Summit which took place in Bangkok, there is a need for a more domestic and international legal measures to be put in place and prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies. The summit was hosted by Thailand's Anti-Money Laundering Office in partnership with other regional bodies. According to reports by Bangkok Post, Wissanu urged terrorism and anti-money laundering experts not to be complacent. The Thai English publication, instead reported that they should 'update their knowledge so they will not lag behind criminals’. As Wisanu states, the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin makes it difficult for authorities to identify the bad actors. However, Thailand has so far made several moves aimed at regulating the market as well as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In March 2018, the country's cabinet approved two royal decrees centered around capital gains taxes on crypto investments and crypto transactions. One month later, the country's Ministry of Finance unveiled the proposed tax rates with capital gains tax being put at 15% and a value-added tax (VAT) of 7% slapped on cryptocurrency trades.
“The Revenue Department will waive value-added tax for people trading in cryptocurrencies on exchange markets approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” stated an excerpt of a report at the time.
With this, the tax proposals of Thailand's Ministry of Finance also generated controversy over the fact that firms raising funds via ICOs would also be required to pay income tax on those funds.
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Blockchain News

$68 Million Worth Of Illegal ICOs Brought Down By The SEC Last Year

Today on our DC Forecasts crypto news site we tackle the shutting down of a dozen successful but illegal actions related to token sales by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission just as the fiscal year ended on September 30. Nearly half of these sales managed to raise more than $68 combined from investors right before getting shut down. However, this is just a small portion of the actual $3.9 billion collected by the SEC for different penalties during fiscal 2018. According to the SEC report:
"Given the explosion of ICOs over the last year, we have tried to pursue cases that deliver broad messages and have the market impact beyond their own four corners.’’
In the report also, the Division of Enforcement as a part of the SEC formed a new Cyber Unit that helped this agency focus on cyber-related misconduct. For this reason, the Commission managed to bring down more than 20 cases including those involving ICOs and the Division opened more than 200 cyber-related investigations some of which are still ongoing. Further, in the SEC report, we can read that:
"While many of these cases have involved allegations of fraud, the Division also has pursued enforcement actions to ensure compliance with the registration requirements of the federal securities laws. In the past year, the Division has opened dozens of investigations involving ICOs and digital assets, many of which were ongoing at the close of FY 2018."
The Securities and Exchange Commission is now going after other crypto-related entities and startups that are unregistered or show up as unregistered brokers that facilitate token sales.
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Regulation

Full Scale Adoption: Ukraine Plans To Move Forward With Crypto Legalization

A new official statement is in the daily cryptocurrency news after the topic of regulation spiraled by the Ukrainian government. The government plans to establish regulatory frameworks in order to legalize crypto in the region. The announcement is also part of an initiative to consider and acknowledge cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as emerging technologies, released by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry in Ukraine within a new state policy in order to oversee various cryptocurrency-related sectors - put in full effect by the end of 2021. The plan is to integrate the regulatory frameworks to strictly govern the local cryptocurrency exchange market, and the crypto trading platforms will be required to implement the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems in order to help local authorities monitor the market. The plans are to delve into the cryptocurrency mining industry as well as smart contract protocols and taxation, all parts of the regulation in the initiative to recognize cryptocurrencies as an asset class and an established industry. According to one researcher named Denis Zarytsky:
“They aim to determine guidelines for token classification. Additionally, they will be touching upon issues that relate to smart contracts and cryptocurrency mining. Therefore, this work will be ongoing. There will be two separate stages to the implementation of this new state policy. The hope is to have this policy in full effect by 2021. In addition to the new state policy, the government notably has brought in a new taxation bill. This outlines a new 5% tax that is payable by entities and individuals with cryptocurrency holdings.”
Currently, both the opposing and the ruling party of Ukraine are positive on the long-term growth of the cryptocurrency sector and the blockchain technology.
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