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French Authorities Will Approve Crypto Regulations For ICOs & Exchanges

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France seems to be one of the most progressive countries with its plans of introducing cryptocurrency regulations to police several aspects of the industry. The latest cryptocurrency news show that the French authorities have urged the European Union (EU) to establish region-wide standards for virtual currency governance.

With the EU preparing to make significant progress in this regard, it appears that the country is deciding to take its own first steps on the matter. Meanwhile, the financial regulatory authorities in France say that they will continue to watch the controversial Facebook Libra cryptocurrency project.

As Reuters reports, the French authorities are apparently ready to unveil a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. These regulations will apparently cover initial coin offerings (ICOs), exchange platforms, wallet providers as well as custodians and virtual investment fund managers. The initiative has been reported by many best cryptocurrency news sites.

Meanwhile, France has always been keen on taxing tech companies and as such, the new regulatory paradigm will also impose tax lows. All in all, the framework which is set to go live appears to provide robust governance for the tax, legal as well as regulatory provisions – all of which are necessary for the effective policing of the country’s crypto industry.

When it comes to ICOs, the French authorities are apparently in talks with some companies looking to launch their projects in the country. The altcoin news show that ICOs have come under increasing scrutiny across many jurisdictions with concerns mainly revolving around the sale of unlicensed securities. Therefore, ICO fundraising has also suffered a major decline since the highs seen in 2017 and 2018.

All of these regulations also put a pin in reports of a potential cryptocurrency ban in France. As several major stakeholders in the government and within the regulatory bodies called for a crypto prohibition, the country is not sure in which direction it will move in the near future. The main concerns, as the coming altcoin news show, are seen over tax evasion, money laundering and the other usual anti-crypto soundbites.

Aside from the countries of Japan and South Korea, a lot of large economies have yet to put forth concrete governing structures for crypto commerce in their respective countries.

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Regulation

Germany Increases Costs For (Some) Crypto Firms By $250k

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Germany, a country known for its leading economy in Europe has recently updated its cryptocurrency laws and made it illegal for new firms to launch crypto trading, custody services and issuance of tokens. From January 1, Germany increases the costs for some crypto firms and the German Banking Act stated that crypto assets now qualify as financial instruments.In that manner, crypto exchanges and custodians now require a license from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). However, the cryptocurrency news reports did not note that if a company is founded in Germany after January 1, it is now illegal for them to issue tokens or offer custody/trading services.
"They have to now set up a new legal entity since January 1 has passed," explains Philipp Sandner, who is a professor at the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center. "But this new legal entity would be illegal for custody, trading and issuing."
The new laws show that Germany increases costs and that all companies founded after January 1 will need a BaFin license to offer these services. Meanwhile, the companies founded before January 1, 2020 will benefit from 'grandfathering' until November 2020.The cost of acquiring a BaFin license could be prohibitive for new startups, both Sandner and one lawyer explained.
"For companies (be it startups or larger companies such as banks), the license induces costs of approx. USD 250,000," they say. "Not every startup will be able to bear these costs. The small startups might be driven out of the market; the larger ones and the incumbents will probably apply for the license."
As Germany increases costs for crypto firms, many wonder why is this the case. The truth is, the government is sought to introduce a law which might end up driving startups "out of the market" as experts noted.Both experts noted that the government had the opposite intention in mind and wants to encourage mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, rather than leaving these sectors open for unregulated firms. However, the costs at this point are big for many crypto firms which is why the crypto climate in Germany is not that good.Meanwhile, the latest Bitcoin price news show that the cryptocurrency has fallen by 6% due to the situation in China.
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SEC Went Head To Head With Telegram, Reviewing TON Again

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in the crypto news today for going ahead and filing a brief for the ongoing court hearing which is taking place between Telegram (one of the widely used encrypted messenger services) and the Commission itself. Basically, SEC went head to head with Telegram and issued a brief which was authored on behalf of the CDC by Lilya Tessler, a partner, as well as the New York head of Sidley Austin LLP.Another brief which was filed by the Blockchain Association on January 21 appears to be in clear support of Telegram. This brief opposes the SEC's move to block Telegram from delivering its native crypto tokens, known as Grams, to early investors who were participating in the ICO.The central argument that SEC went with shows that the independent body sees the purchase agreements offered by Telegram which were designed to fully comply with the SEC's existing securities rules.As part of the filing, the arguments as to how the US District Court for Southern New York should view the digital assets. Currently, there is no clarity in regard to the following subjects:
  • Whether or not an investment contract is being offered in a securities transaction
  • Whether an investment contract is a commodity which can be sold in a traditional commercial transaction
As the SEC went forward with the Telegram case, they have been attempting to define the term "securities" just like many other bodies. Gregory Klumo who is the founder and CEO of the euro-backed stablecoin Stasis, was in the Bitcoin and altcoin news recently, referring to this subject in detail:
“If a developer team retains certain assets and sells it to investors, it falls into the definition of security. I think that the U.S. legislation must be shaped to take into regard emerging technologies and new business models that hadn’t been present not only in the days of SEC creation but also during the judicial battles on security definitions.”
The crypto industry has been witnessing an enormous amount of interest around stablecoins, a digital offering which presents users with all of the various advantages of cryptocurrencies all while having their values pegged to a stable fiat asset such as the US dollar, the Euro and others.
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Hawaii State Senate Authorizes Banks To Offer Crypto Custody

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The Hawaii State Senate is in the latest cryptocurrencies news now for passing the first reading of a bill that authorizes banks to hold digital assets in their custody. This bill was introduced on January 17 and was designed five state senators, including the Republican member of the Senate, Kurt Fevella. The bill passed the first reading on January 21 and was then referred to the committees of the Judiciary and Commerce, as well as Consumer Protection and Health on January 23.Basically, the bill specifies the set of provisions which a bank must adhere to and provide custodial services for digital assets. As you may not know, the custodial services cover “the safekeeping and management of customer currency and digital assets through the exercise of fiduciary and trust powers under this section as a custodian and includes fund administration and the execution of customer instructions.”Now, in order from a bank from Hawaii to qualify as a crypto custodian, it must adhere to certain standards in regards to accounting and internal controls. It also needs to maintain IT best practices and comply with the federal Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.Aside from opening up bank regulations to include cryptocurrencies, this proposed law would also classify cryptocurrencies under the Uniform Commercial Code - which is a set of federal laws in the US that wants to provide uniformity in legislation surrounding sales and commercial transactions in the country.The bill also specifies the manner of perfecting a security interest in digital assets. It discusses various methods such as smart contracts and multi-signature arrangements. The proposed legislation also authorizes the courts to hear claims which are related to digital assets.Previously in our altcoin news section, we reported about Hawaii imposing strict requirements on firms dealing with cryptocurrency. This caused the Coinbase exchange to cease its operations in the state almost three years ago.If passed in law, the latest bill by the Hawaii State Senate would not only give clarity to classification of cryptocurrencies - it will also bring them in line with several other states and set out a framework by which any compliant bank can act as a crypto custodian.
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CEO Of Telegram Thinks Apple’s iCloud Is Now “A Surveillance Tool”

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The major tech company Apple has been under a lot of scrutiny over the past few months. While some people are bashing the company because of its new smartphone models (which do not show much of a difference compared to the last ones), others think that its apps are hiding a lot of things. One of them is Pavel Durov, the CEO of Telegram who thinks that Apple's iCloud feature is "now officially a surveillance tool."Citing a report from Reuters on January 21, Durov claimed that apps like WhatsApp relying on iCloud to store messages are "part of the problem." He delivered his speech in a post on his official Telegram channel in which he said:
“iCloud is now officially a surveillance tool. Apps that are relying on it to store your private messages (such as WhatsApp) are part of the problem.”
Durov's post refers to a report which claims that Apple dropped its long-running plans to allow iPhone users to encrypt backups of their devices in the iCloud. As Reuters also reported, the tech giant has given up its end-to-end encryption plans following the FBI's report on it in which they said that such a feature would harm investigators.The report is viral in the crypto news now and cites even six anonymous sources, noting that Apple had to drop its plans two years ago but the issue has not been reported previously. Even though Apple shifted its focus to protecting some of the "most sensitive user information" such as saved passwords, backed-up texts from apps like WhatsApp or iMessage remain available to many employees and authorities in the tech firm, Reuters wrote.All of this comes after the US President, Donald Trump, bashed Apple in a tweet in which he argued that the company “refuses to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements."https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1217228960964038658?s=20The CEO of Telegram Durov wants all of this to be understood by the public. As we already saw, the company wants to position itself as a global fighter for privacy and directly oppose tech giants such as Facebook and Google. Durov's claims reinforce the company's focus on ensuring "real privacy."Launched in 2013, Telegram is a cloud-based messaging app which strives to provide secure encryption and protect more users from third parties like marketers, advertisers and officials.
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