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Regulation

SEC Charges Floyd Mayweather And DJ Khaled For Illegaly Promoting ICOs

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One of the most viral stories in the crypto news section of our site this week is the latest decision by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to charge the famous boxer Floyd Mayweather and the popular hip-hop artist and producer DJ Khaled for promoting initial coin offerings (ICOs) in an illegal way.

Both of the celebrities had been amongst the most prolific ICO promoters, pumping various crypto tokens on social media and sometimes even failing to disclose that the posts were paid for advertisements.

On top of this, both Mayweather and DJ Khaled agreed to pay disgorgement, penalties and interest to the SEC, even though neither formally admitted or denied the findings. They also agreed to refrain from promoting securities for three years (Mayweather) and two years (DJ Khaled) accordingly.

Accordinf to the Enforcement Division Co-Director, Steven Peikin:

“Investors should be skeptical of investment advice posted to social media platforms, and should not make decisions based on celebrity endorsements. Social media influencers are often paid promoters, not investment professionals, and the securities they’re touting, regardless of whether they are issued using traditional certificates or on the blockchain, could be frauds.”

Aside from this, both of the popular celebrities have been named in a lawsuit over their involvement in promoting the Centra Tech ICO, which was ruled as illegal by a judge and whose founders the SEC charged with fraud.

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Regulation

Central Bank Of Laos Warns Against Using Cryptocurrency

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The Central Bank of Laos is in today's altcoin news for warning the public against the use, purchase and sale of digital currencies, as reports from the local news outlet Vientiane Times show on May 21. Also known as The Bank of the Lao PDR, the Central Bank of Laos issued a warning to the financial market participants against the public - going directly to confront the cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. Previously, the bank banned financial institutions from conducting operations with cryptocurrencies and making investments in such assets.
"The Central Bank of Laos and its Transaction System Management Department recently issued the warning after learning that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin have been advertised for use on social media despite the fact that the central bank has banned the use of these currencies."
Meanwhile, the latest cryptocurrency news also show the public which seems concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a crypto transaction. This fact worries because of the increased risk of digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the money laundering practices. However, a source familiar with the matter recently spoke and told Vientiane Times that authorities don't have a relevant security system that will protect cryptocurrency holders. Even though countries such as Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to different degrees, officials around the globe still express their skepticism towards crypto and hardliners call for outright bans on the use of digital assets. In the US, the situation is not similar to the Central Bank of Laos as the legal status of crypto varies from state to state. The best cryptocurrency news sites recently reported that the California Congressman Brad Sherman called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. He also claimed that cryptocurrency presents a threat to the power of the US dollar and affects world economic developments. In April this year, we also reported a situation similar to the Bank of Laos in India - where the government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could reportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs then stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to 'defraud gullible investors.'  
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Regulation

IRS Crypto Tax Guidance Is Coming Soon: Official News

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The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is in the latest cryptocurrency news for a new document which shows that it is working on its first tax guidance for cryptocurrency since 2014. The IRS crypto tax guidance came from an agency's commissioner who told a lawmaker about the news on Monday. In a reply to Representative Tom Emmer's request for further guidance on reporting cryptocurrencies, the IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig outlined a plan for an in-depth IRS crypto tax guidance which will come in the near future.
“I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance,” Rettig wrote in a statement which went viral in the altcoin news.
According to his statement, the organization is working on the concept of IRS crypto tax guidance for “acceptable methods for calculating cost basis, acceptable methods of cost basis assignment, and the tax treatment of forks” according to the letter. The guidance and other issues will be published "soon" as Rettig wrote - a statement which was shared on many best cryptocurrency news sites.
“I am glad to hear of the IRS’ plans to issue guidance on this important issue,” the Representative Emmer said in a statement after receiving Rettig’s reply on the IRS crypto tax guidance plans. “Taxpayers deserve clarity on several basic questions regarding federal taxation of these emerging exchanges of value. I look forward to seeing their forthcoming proposal, and working together to serve the American taxpayers.”
His original request and letter-written statement, however, called for the IRS to “issue more robust guidance clarifying taxpayers’ obligations when using virtual currencies” with a deadline of May 15, 2019. He also emphasised that the IRS crypto tax guidance needs to see virtual currency and "treat it as property so that existing tax principles are applied to it just like they are applicable to property transactions." He accented digital currencies as a medium of exchange and a subject to which investments increase and "continue to develop." In the end, Rep. Emmer said that he hopes the information is helpful, inviting the readers to contact him if they have any additional questions or requests.
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Regulation

SEC Postpones VanEck ETF Application Verdict – Again

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in the latest cryptocurrency news for delaying the decision on the VanEck Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal. The fact that SEC postpones VanEck and its application again has raised many eyebrows in the industry - especially after it was officially published in a filing on May 20. In addition to this, the SEC has added a 35 day period to gather more information and opinions on this proposal which was first filed by the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The news that SEC postpones VanEck has been picked up by many best cryptocurrency news sites. As a reminder, in January CBOE withdrew its request to change the rules when the US government shutdown decreased the operational abilities of SEC - but then reapplied on January 31 after the government shutdown was resolved. Today's filing shows that SEC postpones VanEck and lists 14 questions open to the public about the proposal - with a main intent of using the answers and arguments that were provided to help them reach a verdict. These questions specifically pertained to protecting investors and public interest from fraud and several similar exploitations. The report showing how SEC postpones VanEck noted:
“The Commission is instituting proceedings to allow for additional analysis of the proposed rule change’s consistency with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade,’ and ‘to protect investors and the public interest.’”
Previously, he VanEck application was delayed by the SEC, preventing Bitcoin ETFs to be traded on CBOE. The exchange initially filed for the proposed SEC rule change on February 15 with a 45 day period that was assigned for approval or disapproval. Since the first filing and this news that SEC postpones VanEck's application again, the decision has been postponed twice. For those of you unfamiliar with ETF, exchange-traded funds are securities that are valued as a percentage of the associated asset which makes them very similar to traditional stocks. As such, they are the topic of many Bitcoin and altcoin news sites and are seen as a step towards mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and a sign for crypto maturation.
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Regulation

Crypto Regulators To Add New Strict Rules For Crypto Exchanges

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Crypto regulators are eyeing to adopt tougher rules for crypto exchanges regarding the sharing and storing of information about where and to whom users are sending money. In our altcoin news today we are about to find out more. The new rules will go beyond the ‘’know-your-customer’’ rules. The exchanges will need to verify and keep records on the users’ identities and will also have to pass information to other exchanges when transferring funds. Many in the blockchain industry agree that though this is a practice similar to the one banks use, it is not the worst one for crypto. Representatives from the industry urged the Financial Action Task Force to reconsider the delay of the proposed policy. However, crypto regulators especially those who have the FATF’s rotating one-year presidency, were not really into adopting the new set of rules according to some of the attendees at the Vienna meeting. The U.S Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker pointed out:
 “During its presidency of the FATF, the United States has worked with other countries to clarify how all countries should regulate and supervise activities and providers in the digital currency space. We anticipate that in June the FATF will adopt a final version of its Interpretative Note, along with updated guidance to further assist countries and industry with their obligations.”
Even if the FATF accepts the proposed policies, they will not be enforced overnight. The member countries first have to pass the legislation or recommend making changes to the guidelines. The Assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara Julia Morse pointed out:
 “The FATF recommendations are not legally-binding international law; however, because the FATF’s members – 36 economies and two regional bodies – include the largest and most important financial systems in the world, its rules have teeth.’’
As mentioned in the latest cryptocurrency news, industry members are waiting to see the final guidance and hope that the governments will provide enough time for a solution on sharing information among other crypto exchanges.  The industry leaders should also be ‘’recommending an extended adoption timeframe to ensure proper implementation and coordination across the industry.’’
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