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Regulation

It’s Official: 14 Crypto Assets Agents Approved By Malta Financial Services Authority

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The Financial Services Authority of Malta (MFSA) officially approved the first 14 crypto assets agents. All of the agents sought for a license before, according to an official statement that reached our alt coin news today.

According to the statement, the approval was granted five months after the Virtual Financial Act came into force in Malta. The VFA act is now in force, adopted by the Maltese government, since 2018. The Times of Malta writes that more than 250 applications were filed. Most of the applications came from auditors, lawyers, and accounts. However, most of them failed to pass the assessment.

28 passed the assessment stage but only 14 got their approval with minor issues that need fixing. The watchdog says that its representatives will help the applicants under the new VFA.

According to the MFSA, the agents have to evaluate the business plans of their customers. They should also ensure they are ready before submitting the application to the MFSA. The agents also have to check whether the applications are in compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering guidelines.

The regulator believes that this decision is an ‘’important milestone in the MFSA effort at becoming a regulator of excellence.’’ Many officials also believe that this will promote the integrity of the market. The expected result is for the interest in crypto to rise.

However, the banks in Malta are still being extremely cautious. Many of them are not willing to open bank accounts to crypto companies. The legal companies of the island confirm that banks continually decline the applications. Financial companies also state that banks refuse to open accounts for crypto companies. The bank claim that opening an account for a crypto business is beyond their ‘’risk appetite.’’

Silvio Schembri, the secretary for Financial Services says that banks are waiting for approval by the Financial Services Authority of Malta. He stated that the banks will eventually join in but only after getting approval by the MFSA.

Maltese officials aim to create the best ‘’blockchain island’’ after many blockchain businesses moved there. The crypto jurisdiction seems to be well for companies especially since companies like Binance and OKEx have their offices on the island.

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Altcoin News

German Regulator Ordered KaratGold Coin Creator To Stop Operations

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The German regulator- the financial supervisory authority along with the South African regulators took actions over sales of a purportedly gold-backed cryptocurrency as we are reading further in the latest cryptocurrency news today.The German regulator disclosed back on Monday that it had issued a cease-and-desist order against Karatbit Foundation for issuing the KaratGold coin without necessary licensing in the country. The South Africa Financial Sector Conduct Authority warned the consumers to avoid the investments that were offered by Karatbars International GmbH which is a German company that promotes the reportedly gold-backed KaratGold.With the BaFin order, the foundation has to ‘wind up its electronic money business’ in Germany as per the regulator. BaFin didn’t quite respond to requests for comment by press time. Running on the Ethereum blockchain, the KaratGold Coin is officially listed on about 25 exchanges. The Belize-based Karatbit Foundation is the issuer of the coin and the manager of the entire ecosystem according to the KaratBank coin white paper which is why the entity is considered unregulated.Karatbars International has denied all of the accusations that were leveled in the German business publication Handelsblatt according to the company posts and a story that was published on Wednesday by TheGuardian. The media outlet reported that the Karatbit Foundation is under orders to return the investors’ funds that reached up to $100 million which is equivalent to the amount that was raised in 2018.Harald Seiz who is the CEO of Karatbars stated that the German regulator is mistaken the order against the firm basing the actions on a scam website that is not associated with the company. He claimed:
 “We are completely transparent, we have nothing to hide, if there are unanswered questions, we will clarify them, of course, we fully cooperate with the relevant authorities and are very anxious to clear up any misunderstandings as fast as possible interested.’’
The FSCA explained that Karatbar International solicited multiple South African investors via WhatsApp to purchase unspecified investments without holding the authority to operate in the country and the warnings from South Africa and Germany came later after it was reported that the Florida Office of Financial Regulation stated that Karatbars is not licensed as a bank.
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Bitcoin News

IRS Investigators Are Looking Into Bitcoin ATMs And Kiosks

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The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort recently announced the plans of the regulator to look into potential tax issues caused by the Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs and kiosks. As the reports show, IRS investigators are now collaborating with law enforcement to investigate illicit uses of new technologies like cryptocurrencies.
“We’re looking at those, and the ones that may or may not be connected to bank accounts [...] In other words, if you can walk in, put cash in and get bitcoin out, obviously we’re interested potentially in the person using the kiosk and what the source of the funds is, but also in the operators of the kiosks," the IRS investigators noted.
Data from Coin ATM Radar in the latest crypto news shows that there are 4,129 Bitcoin ATMs and tellers in the United States reserved for letting users buy and/or sell cryptocurrencies in exchange for fees. Bloomberg claims that there is one such machine in every major city within the US. As a leader of the IRS investigators, Fort explained that such services are required in order to conform with the Know Your Customer rules and regulations:
“They’re required to abide by the same know-your-customer, anti-money laundering regulations, and we believe some have varying levels of adherence to those regulations.”
As we reported a month ago, the Bitcoin ATM company Bitstop installed one of the machines at the Miami International Airport, suggesting that Bitcoin is useful for moving money when traveling.In the other Bitcoin news, we can see that the tax status remains murky for this sector. Fort explained that crypto taxation issues are an emerging threat. He added that the space has an inherent lack of transparency and visibility, increasing the potential for non-compliance. Still, the head of the IRS investigators unit noted that no cases have been filed so far, stating “We haven’t had any public cases filed, but we do have open cases in inventory.”ATMs and kiosks aside, we can see that Bitcoin is taking a beating again. The cryptocurrency went below the $8,600 price target just as the market lost another couple of billion this Saturday. 
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Regulation

FinCEN Director: Anti-Money Laundering Laws To Be Enforced In Crypto

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The United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has recently stepped up to the topic of crypto and is in the latest cryptocurrencies news. According to the FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco, the anti-money laundering (AML) laws will be strictly enforced in the world of cryptocurrencies.Reuters came with reports about this on November 15, noting that Blanco made it crystal clear that cryptocurrency companies engaged in money service businesses need to comply with the AML laws as well as share information about their customers.The FinCEN director spoke at a conference hosted by Chainalysis, a New York-based blockchain analysis company. While speaking about the AML laws, he said that the so-called travel rule also applies to digital currencies and that the government expects cryptocurrency firms to comply.
“It [travel rule] applies to CVCs [convertible virtual currencies] and we expect that you will comply, period. [...] That’s what our expectation is. You will comply. I don’t know what the shock is. This is nothing new,” the FinCEN director noted.
In what has become known as the travel rule, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines require regulators and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to collect as well as share personal data of transactions. This recommendation imposes the same standards in the crypto industry as the ones normally shared by the banking industry.The FinCEN director was also in the news on crypto regulation for pointing out that FinCEN has been conducting various investigations which include compliance with the travel rule since 2014, also adding that this is the most commonly cited violation among money service businesses which are engaged in digital currencies.Before this, the FinCEN director Blanco was a guest at the University of Georgetown where he said that AML laws apply to everyone:
"There is a reason you want to know ... the person on the other side of that transaction — they might be dealing in some kind of illicit activity. Whether it’s opioids ... or human smuggling on the other side ... you want to know who that person is.”
At the event, Blanco told the audience that it is not that hard to obtain this information. All we’re asking for is name, address, account number, transaction, recipient, and amount,” he concluded.
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Regulation

IRS Starts Refunding Taxes To Crypto Users

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IRS starts refunding the taxes to crypto users as a part of the new idea to work without any crypto regulations as we are reading further in the latest cryptocurrency news today.The revenue service of the United States the IRS starts and already has refunded crypto users who had correctly reported their taxes with proof of trades and transactions. The object of taxation related to cryptocurrency has been and is an important question in the United States for some years now. Whilst the US continually works without any crypto regulations, or an indication that regulations would be created in the near time, those that have the will to cooperate with the IRS could see some significant benefits in the form of tax reductions, or even refunds.IRS already provided tax refunds to crypto users that complied with letters sent by the Internal Revenue Service. The letters of the Internal Revenue Service requested, for giving refunds, proof of trades and transactions that would support the users' tax reports, and providing them resulted in refunding from IRS.This is proof that the Internal Revenue Service does not intend to be punitive according to the co-founder of CoinTracker, Chandan Lodha. An investor had received a full refund after the IRS notified him that he owed $3.900 in taxes which he immediately paid.There was already cooperation between hundreds of crypto owners and CoinTracker, providing the help they needed to respond to the letters the agency sent them.  Chandan Lodha did not share the number of the refund the agency has sent. It is known only that the agency sent around 10,000 letters, demanding that cryptocurrency users fulfill their crypto-related tax obligations.Helping the cryptocurrency users comprehend any errors they have made while reporting taxes was the initial plan that the IRS had.  The agency had also informed the cryptocurrency users that they are aware of their additional cryptocurrency accounts, that the users may not have taken into account while reporting their trades and transactions.The information of the Internal Revenue Service is obviously not always accurate regarding the cryptocurrency users’ transactions. Though the user could make no profit at all in the process of trading one crypto for another, the IRS could only have the information about the transaction, knowing nothing that actually happened. Nonetheless, the ones that complied with the IRS request to clarify the situation received a refund in cases where the IRS made a mistake.
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