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Regulation

Crypto Laws In Europe Are About To Tighten Up This Year

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Crypto Laws

The latest cryptocurrency news show that the crypto laws in Europe are about to tighten up. We can see that the European Union is ready to gradually tighten up the guidelines in the crypto space – in a time when Bitcoin and many altcoins are volatile and susceptible to any changes in terms of regulation.

All of this will make cryptocurrency users likely to feel the difference in the coming months. These measures stem from obligation of user reports to transpose EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) into the national laws by January. If this happens, we could expect a very changing landscape regarding cryptocurrency regulation.

Speaking of, the crypto laws in Europe could start from Germany. As the flagship of EU, this country is just one of the first to really make the modifications. As seen on many best cryptocurrency news sites, brand new anti money laundering (AML) laws entering into force next year will oblige digital asset exchanges including providers of crypto payment and custodian services that will apply for permits from Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin). The regulation should wrap up by the end of 2019 in Germany, so that it is becoming implemented starting from January 2020.

Starting next year, the German economic authorities will lead the new crypto laws in Europe and start thinking about electronic coins as an economic instrument. Even though some welcome the regulatory quality regarding the status of cryptocurrencies, others believe that a lot more aspects need clarification.

In the altcoin news, we can see that Germany is one of the countries that is truly hurting the crypto businesses – especially within the country – but overseas, too. Aside from this country, the Czech Republic has also been focusing on a unique group of rules and pertaining to the initiative of changed crypto laws in Europe. Failure to register utilizing the nationwide Trade Licensing Office, therefore, could lead to massive fines for service providers in the space.

Estonia is yet another EU member that has been tuning its crypto laws recently. This small Baltic nation was one of the main in the continent that produced favorable circumstances for businesses dealing with digital assets, attracting many of them to its jurisdiction.

AMLD5 went into power on July 9, 2018 as part of the new crypto laws in Europe with a main goal of expanding the scope of anti-money laundering regulations to pay for crypto trade platforms as well as wallet providers.

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Blockchain News

The German Government Establishes A Sound Blockchain Strategy

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The latest cryptocurrency news let us focus on blockchain's adoption in Europe. As we can see, the German government has officially set a roadmap of priorities for the technology, announcing it at a recent event. On September 18, the Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Germany published a paper named "Blockchain Strategie" (meaning blockchain strategy) which outlines how Germany as a leading economy in Europe and most influential state - will embrace and work within the blockchain ecosystem led by Angela Merkel's administration. The German government and ministries said that they would strive to make the country a hub for blockchain development activities. They said:
“The young and innovative blockchain ecosystem in Germany should be preserved and continue to grow. Germany should be an attractive location for the development of blockchain applications and investments in their scaling. At the same time, large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and startups, as well as the public sector, countries, civil society organizations, and citizens should be enabled to make informed decisions about the use of technology.”
In order to achieve its newly outlined blockchain goals, the German government said that one effort that it wants to undertake is devising an “investment and growth-oriented regulatory framework” geared to the domestic crypto economy. This way, the markets could “work without state intervention and the principle of sustainability is guaranteed.” Furthermore, the ministries noted that they were going to take a multi-pronged approach towards becoming a blockchain hub. As many best cryptocurrency news sites noted, Germany is looking to promote entrepreneurs, encourage investments, guarantee stability, enable fair competition, support stakeholders and foster international cooperation in the attempt to bring blockchain to the masses. All of these goals were created through consultations with officials of the German government - and more than 150 crypto economy stakeholders over the past few months. The task at hand is now putting everything into action.
“At the European and international level, the Federal Government will work to ensure that stablecoins do not become an alternative to state currencies,” the strategy document read.
The grand question for now is whether other smaller European countries will follow Germany's (and France's) lead in taking a strict stance towards blockchain innovation.
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Altcoin News

Upbit Exchange Delists Privacy Coins Including Monero, Dash and Others

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The major exchange from South Korea is in the latest Bitcoin and altcoin news for becoming the latest one to delist privacy oriented coins. The Upbit exchange decided to follow the moves of Coinbase this month and delisted a slew of privacy coins based on the recent regulatory requirements from the international body - the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As the notice from the South Korea exchange officially showed, the transaction support for Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Haven (XHV), Bittube (TUBE) and PIVX (PIVX) will be put to an end on Monday, September 30. Upbit exchange announced its investigation of the six coins earlier this month. It seems that the exchange was determining if the privacy coins met the requirements listed by the FATF guidance issued last June. The latest cryptocurrency news also show that privacy coins conduct transactions on public ledgers without exposing the address or identity of an individual. Aside from Upbit exchange, there were other exchanges which also started delisting the coins as well. Examples include Coinbase and Zcash from this summer in the UK - and the Korean exchange OKEX which dropped five privacy coins earlier this month. Upbit wrote on its company blog and said that money laundering and the possibility of inflows of privacy coins were the leading reasons for delisting.
“There are also crypto-assets that can selectively utilize anonymity features among projects that are subject to end of transaction support. For these crypto-asset, Upbit has only supported transparent withdrawal/deposit support. Nevertheless, the decision to end trading support for the crypto-asset was also made to block the possibility of money laundering and inflow from external networks. Upbit will continue to consider crypto-asset that represent anonymity functions as candidates for designation of investment warning crypto-asset.”
Now that Upbit exchange decided to delist the privacy coins, the coming altcoin news show that coin prices are starting to drop. According to Messari analytics, the Zcash price dropped over 50% since July 1 joined by Monero, which has been down near 20% over the same period. Still, the exchange delistings and price drops have not necessarily slowed privacy coin tech development. Over the past month, the Electric Coin Company by Zcash released Halo which is the long-awaited zk-SNARK which can verify a single blockchain in one proof.
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Bitcoin News

CME Group Will Launch Bitcoin Options Early In 2020

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The latest cryptocurrency news show that the major derivatives marketplace CME Group recently announced that it will offer options on its Bitcoin futures contracts starting the first quarter of next year. Now that CME Group will launch a Bitcoin options market, we can definitely put it in comparison to its Windy City rival - the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The Chicago-based company initially launched its futures product back in December 2017, which was the same time when CBOE launched its futures, too. An announcement on Friday showed that CME Group will launch the options trading - as a way to provide clients with “additional tools for precision hedging and trading.” The launch is currently pending regulatory review. Tim McCourt who is the global head of equity index and alternative investment products at CME Group, was featured on many best cryptocurrency news sites for stating:
“Based on increasing client demand and robust growth in our Bitcoin futures markets, we believe the launch of options will provide our clients with additional flexibility to trade and hedge their bitcoin price risk. These new products are designed to help institutions and professional traders to manage spot market bitcoin exposure, as well as hedge Bitcoin futures positions in a regulated exchange environment.”
CME Group also detailed that since their 2017 launch, there have been more than 20 "successful" futures expiration settlements and more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the contracts. Close to 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts are traded on average each day, the company stated. Meanwhile, the coming altcoin news in March this year showed that CBOE abruptly changed the tack and halted its futures product. Now that CME Group will launch Bitcoin options and CME won't (for now), this gives a massive advantage to CME as the sole provider of Bitcoin futures in the US. However, it seems like CME will have a new rival from Monday. The rival is the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is subsidiary Bakkt - both of which are preparing to offer a new BTC futures product. Unlike CME and its cash contracts, ICE will be offering a physically settled product which means that its customers will receive actual Bitcoin (BTC) instead of the cash equivalent.
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Libra coin news

Chinese Crypto Czar: Facebook’s Libra ‘Might Be Unstoppable’

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The new director of China's Research Institute on Digital Currency, Changchun Mu, believes that even though the world powers do not welcome Facebook's Libra coin, the stablecoin and its advance is now unstoppable. The Chinese crypto czar officially assumed his role at the Institute on September 6 this year, leading the online education platform. There have been six lecture issued by the crypto chief - shared on many best cryptocurrency news sites and local media outlets. In the series, Mu answered a range of crypto questions - ranging from Libra and its technical features - to the potential integration with the international currency system. The Chinese crypto czar also touted the advantages of China's own digital currency and how it compared to Libra. “No countries welcome Libra, but it might be unstoppable anyways,” Mu said in the third lecture of the series. “It is very unlikely that one can totally stop people from buying Libra despite rigorous regulations.” The Chinese crypto czar also explained that the most a central bank could do to prevent Libra from entering a country would be to ask all of their payment institutions and commercial banks not to process any transactions which are related to Libra. Still, there are a few back channels through which users could circumvent the ban to purchase Libra, as he noted. The czar also cited underground Bitcin trading in China as an example of how it could work. Even though exchanges in China have blocked Bitcoin transactions and payment institutions (and commercial banks are also prohibited from processing BTC transactions) there are still some agencies which use virtual private networks (VPNs) to buy Bitcoin from foreign exchanges, as Mu noted. The Chinese crypto czar said that the situation applies to Libra, too. “Even if Facebook is blocked in China, people will use indirect ways to purchase it from abroad once Libra comes out,” Mu said. As he also said in the latest cryptocurrency news, there was only one possibility to stop Libra. “If the U.S. bans Libra legally, then Libra will certainly be stopped.” There are a few extreme cases where a country fully embraces Libra, the Chinese crypto czar said. He noted that Zimbabwe (a country with rampant inflation) last year announced that it welcomes any alternative currencies. As such, Zimbabwe is a clear example of such country.
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