Nebraska Approves Bill Allowing Banks Offer Crypto Services

The Nebraska state legislature has approved a bill that would allow banks in the state to offer cryptocurrency services to customers.

Nebraska’s Crypto Banking Charter Bill

Nebraska state senators have voted for the bill that would allow banks to register as cryptocurrency depositories and offer crypto trading services to customers.

The bill passed with near-unanimous approval as 39 lawmakers voted to advance the bill to enrollment and initial review, with only one in disagreement.

Senator Mike Flood first introduced the bill in January, intending to adopt the Nebraska Financial Innovation Act to create digital asset depository institutions while providing for charter, operation, supervision, and regulation of such institutions.

According to Senator Flood, Nebraska had an opportunity to become an early adopter of cryptocurrencies which could help it benefit from finance and technology jobs.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only for my district but the state of Nebraska,” he said.

Flood had introduced the bill alongside another also focused on crypto banking. The second, Legislative Bill 648, contains the “Transactions in Digital Assets Act,” which proposes a set of rules for Nebraska banks looking to hold cryptocurrencies or offer custodial services. However, this bill is yet to be adopted.

Nebraska Follows Wyoming’s Footsteps

This move by Nebraska follows similar legislation enacted by the state of Wyoming, thereby making it the second state in the US to set up a formal charter for crypto-powered banks.

Wyoming started its crypto-friendly constitutions when it passed its Digital Asset Law on February 26, 2019, and put into effect on July 1, 2019.

Wyoming went on to approve Kraken as its first crypto bank in September 2020. Kraken was granted the first special-purpose depository institution (SPDI) charter in Wyoming after the banking board approved the application.

After Kraken, another SPDI charter was approved for Avanti by the Wyoming State Banking Board, making it the second chartered bank in the state in 2020.

Nebraska is not the only state that has followed Wyoming’s lead.

Some months back, Texas had attempted to follow in Wyoming’s footsteps after Representative Tan Parker introduced the Texas UCC amendment bill, which aims to recognize virtual currencies under commercial law. This bill was supposed to help define crypto regulation clarity in the state but it did not pass due to lingering challenges.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

First Bitcoin Fund in the Middle East Approved for Listing on Nasdaq Dubai

First Bitcoin Fund in the Middle East Approved for Listing on Nasdaq Dubai

3iQ, a Canadian digital asset management firm, has received regulatory clearance for the listing of the Bitcoin Fund, QBTCu.TO, on Nasdaq Dubai. This makes it the first indexed crypto-based fund in the Middle East. Last year, it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“The idea is bitcoin trades 24 hours a day … so our interest is to bring a regulated product to the Dubai market in their time hours,” said Frederick Pye, chairman, and CEO of 3iQ.

According to Pye, the Bitcoin Fund has roughly $1.5 billion in assets under management, and they will likely double this next year.

Dubai-based Dalma Capital, an alternative investment firm, was 3iQ’s syndicate manager for the fund’s Middle East expansion.

According to Zachary Cefaratti, CEO of Dalma, institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, have expressed interest in the listing.

“There’s just been a lot of grassroots demand for it.”

Cefaratti further noted that there is also a “huge shift and a huge change” in the traditional world where previously regional banks would close the accounts of their clients who invested in Bitcoin.

The shares of the fund are expected to start trading on Nasdaq Dubai in the second quarter.

“We believe that this is the opportune moment to expand this unique investment opportunity into the Middle East region,” said Pye.

But Dubai is just the beginning as 3iQ is also in talks with the US, Sweden, Taiwan, and Singapore to launch the products into these markets as well.

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Author: AnTy

It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators

It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators

One of the products is from Purpose Investments, which launched the world’s first Bitcoin ETF that has amassed 18,500 BTC in just two months, and another is from Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.

While Bitcoin exchange-traded funds have been the talk of the town, Ethereum is not far behind as Canada approves two Ether ETFs in one day.

Canadian securities regulators have cleared asset manager Purpose Investments to launch the first direct Ether ETF in the world.

The Purpose ETF is designed to provide investors exposure to the second-largest cryptocurrency by investing directly in physically settled Ether (ETH) tokens.

“While Bitcoin tends to get a lot of attention as it was the first major cryptocurrency, what Ether and the Ethereum ecosystem represent is one of the most exciting new technology visions today in society.”

Som Seif Founder, and CEO of Purpose Investments

On February 18th, the company launched the world’s first Bitcoin ETF, which currently manages nearly 18,500 BTC, with assets under management (AUM) reaching CAD 1.43 billion ($1.14 billion). BTC -1.26% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 60,885.86
-$767.16-1.26%
Volume 65.98 b Change -$767.16 Open $60,885.86 Circulating 18.69 m Market Cap 1.14 t
11 h It’s Time for Ethereum: Two Ether ETF Approved by Canadian Securities Regulators 1 d Miami-Dade County Task Force Is Looking at Ways for Residence to Pay Taxes Using Crypto 1 d UK Hedge Fund Brevan Howard Plans to Invest 1.6% of $5.6B Capital in Cryptocurrencies

“Ether is the cryptocurrency we believe has the most potential for the future and is where our expertise really lies. Building this ETF is not only a natural extension to the Purpose Investments digital asset lineup, but a natural fit for us at Ether Capital working alongside Purpose.”

Brian Mosoff Ether Capital CEO

Purpose will act as the manager of the ETF while Gemini is the sub-custodian and CIBC Mellon Global Securities Services Company acting as fund administrator.

The second Ether ETF approved is CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF by CI Global Asset Management and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.

With a management fee of 0.40%, the ETF will also invest directly into Ether and is expected to start trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) on April 20, 2021, subject to TSX approval.

They also launched a CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF last month with the lowest management fee.

CI GAM is the manager of the Ether ETF, and Galaxy Digital Asset Management serves as the sub-advisor.

“The CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF gives investors a simplified path to benefit from the explosion of decentralized applications being built on Ethereum.”

Steve Kurz Partner and Head of Asset Management at Galaxy Digital

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Author: AnTy

Second Bitcoin ETF Goes Live in Canada as US Firms Await SEC Approval

Canada has approved an exchange-traded fund from Evolve Funds Global Group Inc. The country is blazing the trail, while American firms hope 2021 finally becomes the year of the Bitcoin ETFs.

Canada’s crypto space continues to grow significantly as the country marks yet another milestone in adoption.

This week, Evolve Funds Global Group Inc., a financial services firm in the county, secured approval for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF)

Evolve Joins the ETF Club

Official documents have shown that the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Canada’s financial regulator, has approved Evolve’s launch of its ETFs, providing additional exposure to investors looking to get into the crypto market.

A receipt published yesterday also showed that the company had partnered with Cidel Trust Company, a subsidiary of Cidel Bank Canada, to provide custody, while the Gemini Foundation will be a sub-custodian.

Evolve only filed the prospectus for its ETF earlier this month. Per the filing, the ETF will have two ticker symbols – EBIT for Canadian-denominated units, and EBIT.U for American-denominated units. Both variants will provide exposure to daily price movements of Bitcoin in the respective country’s fiat currency.

The fund will track price data using the Bitcoin Reference Rate from CF Benchmark, which aggregates data from several BTC/USD markets into a single-day benchmark index.

The fund’s prospectus explained that it hopes to provide holders to price movement while reducing tracking error by using specific creation and redemption processes.

To achieve this goal, the fund will invest in long-term BTC holdings purchases through several platforms – including Gemini NuSTAR LLC. Evolve has also gotten conditional approval to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

The fund is available in all of Canada’s provinces and three territories.

Evolve’s fund is only the second ETF to be approved by the OSC this month. Last week, the agency greenlit the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, an investment vehicle from Toronto-based investment firm Purpose Investments. The fund will offer units denominated in USD and CAD, with a 0.75 percent management fee. Like the Evolve fund, it also plans to list units on the TSX.

“The ETF will be the first in the world to invest directly in physically settled Bitcoin, not derivatives, allowing investors easy and efficient access to the emerging asset class of cryptocurrency,” Purpose Investments said in its announcement.

Uncle Sam Lags Behind

Over in the United States, there is some hope that the new administration – and, by extension, new head at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – will be more welcoming of a Bitcoin ETF.

This year, crypto investment firm Bitwise Asset Management filed for an ETF with the SEC, hoping to make it through for the third time. New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a crypto-focused investment fund, has also made a similar application, with investment banking giant Morgan Stanley acting as an authorized participant.

While several ETF applications have come and gone, none has passed through the SEC’s iron barrier. However, with the new administration showing a propensity towards progressive crypto policies, the anticipation of approval is high.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Argentina Passes the ‘Solidarity’ Law to Confiscate Wealth

Argentina has approved the wealth tax that will impose a tariff on people with large fortunes in an attempt to boost its revenue. The third-largest economy in Latin America struggling with high inflation and an increase in poverty is heading into its third year of recession.

The “Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation” Bill was already passed by the lower house and late on Friday, Senators also gave its nod with 42 votes in favor and 26 against.

“This law will allow Argentina to move forward because the situation is really serious,” the Committee on Budget and Finance president Carlos Caserio said. “The emergency declaration is the way to get out of this problem quickly.”

It involves a one-time tax of at least 2% on individuals with assets of more than 200 million pesos ($2.45 million), through which the government aims to collect about $3.7 billion.

“We must find points of connection between those who have the most to contribute and those who are in need,” said ruling party Senator Anabel Fernandez Sagasti on Twitter.

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“When QE is no more sufficient, seize it directly from the people. All in the name of Covid,” wrote one Bitcoiner on Twitter.

The proceeds from the tax will be used for medical supplies (20%), SMEs (20%), “social developments” (15%), student scholarships (20%), and natural gas development programs (25%).

“Bitcoin is the only exit door from this nonsense,” added the crypto enthusiast.

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Author: AnTy

Netherlands Central Bank (DNB) Approves First Crypto Exchange Under New AMLD5 Regulations

The AMLD5 regulations approved by the EU are considered to be quite strict, which cast many doubts over the future of digital asset firms operating in the region. However, Nederlandsche Bank NV (DNB), the Netherlands’ central bank, has approved AMDAX BV as the first digital asset firm to operate under its jurisdiction.

The authorities’ approval is a first of its kind since the latest AMLD5 regulations came into force. Many existing crypto firms had to either close their operations or move their business outside of the Netherlands. Deribit, a popular derivative exchange, was among those who had to shut down its operations because of the newly enforced laws.

As per an official briefing dated October 7, AMDAX BV, an Amsterdam-based crypto service provider, would now offer its services to the Dutch residents. The company in its official statement said,

“AMDAX B.V. has been registered by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) as the first provider of crypto services in the Netherlands. This enables AMDAX to process crypto transactions and store cryptocurrencies.”

Ever since the enforcement of newly updated anti-money laundering rules called 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, or AMLD5, companies must register with the regulatory body. Only after their approval, they can offer their services to the customers. The registration for support started in January 2020, and AMDAX B.V has become the first firm to get the regulatory nod.

AMDAX B.V to Cater to the Needs of Retail and Institutional Investors

AMDAX B.V would be catering to the needs of both retail and institutional investors. The digital asset firm started working towards AMLD5 compliance back in May. Valentino Cremona, AMDAX BV co-founder, commented on their regulatory approval and said,

“The market needs clear legal frameworks, such as the set of requirements of DNB. This registration shows investors that crypto is a mature asset class, not for criminals, but smart investors.”

“All crypto companies need to get this registration. Without it, they cannot operate in the Netherlands. The other Dutch crypto companies have up to November 21st to receive registration.”

The approval of DNB for AMDAX BV shows that digital asset firms can still get the regulatory nod despite the stricter regulations.

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Author: Hank Klinger

US Congress Adds Two Blockchain Proposals to the Consumer Protection Safety Act

The U.S House of Representatives has approved two blockchain-affiliated Acts through its Committee on Energy and Commerce; this marks the furthest a blockchain bill has come in the 116th Congress. The two Acts which will now be debated on the House as part of the larger Consumer Technology Act include the Blockchain Innovation Act and a section of the Digital Taxonomy Act.

Blockchain joins the list of emerging tech that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Commerce (DoC) will be tasked with consumer threat identification if the bill goes through. Rep Darren Soto (D-Fla) who is one of the bill’s sponsors noted that blockchain tech is excellent and could go a long way with the right regulatory support,

“I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

As it stands, the unregulated nature of blockchain has provided adequate grounds for scammers to engage in fraudulent activity and get away with the same in a blink. This was one of the issues cited by the bill’s sponsors and, in particular Congressman Jerry McEnery (D-CA); he highlighted that the incorporation of parts of the Digital Taxonomy Act would play a major role in protecting consumers from the scammers.

Better Late than Never!

Although a little late to the party, the U.S is gradually catching up with pioneers like Japan which enacted regulatory frameworks for the blockchain and crypto industry as early as April 2017. Politicians in the country have also started to accept donations in Bitcoin; Rep Soto, who sponsored this bill told the Chamber PAC that his campaign would be accepting BTC donations. The Democrat Congressman is not the only one that has gone this road; former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and MN-06 Rep Tom Emmer are the other candidates that have since accepted Bitcoin.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Switzerland Passes Blockchain Legislation Unanimously; Will Take Effect Early 2021

  • Switzerland has finally approved legislation for blockchain and digital assets, making it one of the major financial hubs to have a formal regulatory reference point for the upcoming crypto market.
  • The country’s parliamentarians voted unanimously for the ‘Blockchain Act’ that had been passed earlier in summer.

According to a report by the international unit of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SWI, this legislation on DLT’s and blockchain is likely to come into effect at the beginning of 2021. The milestone will open up doors for Swiss crypto-savvy investors to participate in the latest tech, including decentralized finance (DeFi); companies will also be able to tokenize shares within the law amongst other assets.

These new blockchain-oriented laws for Swiss crypto companies define several events and the probable course to follow, should such situations arise. Given the new dynamics underpinning crypto ecosystems, some underlying laws on bankruptcy and security trading have been amended to accommodate the digital assets.

The legislation goes to the extent of providing clarity on trading security tokens as well as due diligence procedures by service providers. The clarifying is an effort to curb money laundering and terror financing activities that appear to be thriving in crypto networks. Speaking to Decrypt, Urs Bolt, a leading Swiss FinTech influencer, noted that the new laws would be a big boost for the country’s burgeoning crypto space. He commented,

“Overall, it will create one of the most favorable regulatory environments in the world. It will allow the financial center to lead in the digital asset space and hopefully attract new business into CryptoValley.”

Interestingly, this latest legal advancement comes just after Switzerland’s Canton of Zug decided to accept tax payments in crypto. The town, which has earned a nickname ‘Crypto Valley’ due to the high blockchain and crypto activity, said that residents can now pay their taxes in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) via QR codes; the initiative will roll out in Q1, 2021.

It is quite noteworthy that Switzerland joins its neighbors Malta and Liechtenstein, which had already enacted comprehensive legislation for blockchain-related tech. However, the country’s position on a CBDC remains unclear despite global hype and China’s debut of its digital yuan.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Iranian Govt Approves Industrial Crypto Mining by Power Plants in the Country

The government of Iran has approved a decision that would allow industrial-scale powerplants in the country to operate bitcoin miners in their plant, given they don’t use subsidized fuel. The announcement was made on July 27th in the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a local publication.

Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, Deputy Managing Director of Iran’s Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Management Company, Tavanir. Mashhadi commented on the government’s decision to approve crypto mining, that now they are focusing on making sure that these industrial-scale businesses do not exploit the subsidized electricity meant for farmers and underprivileged. He said:

“Now we’re in a situation where the supply of electricity is of great importance to the public. We will not allow anyone to misuse tariffs provided for the agricultural and industrial sectors to produce Bitcoin while it’s worth more than $9,000.”

The Iranian government had approved crypto mining back in July 2019 and issued 1,000 operating licenses. Since then, fourteen recipients of the permit have requested 300 MW electricity energy, which is equal to the consumption of three provinces in the country.

Now that the government has also approved mining for power plants, it would be imperative to ensure a balance between the amount of energy being consumed for mining and the standard requirements of the public.

The tariffs offered by the Iranian government on electricity for mining cryptocurrency depend on several factors, like the cost of oil, the abundance of energy, and many more similar elements.

Iran Turns to Crypto Amid Troubled Times

Iran has been facing a mounting financial crisis, which has been only aggravated by several trade sanctions imposed by the US. The value of the national fiat has also fallen significantly since 2011, which has forced the government to look for an alternative.

Given Iran offers one of the cheapest electricity, bitcoin and crypto mining always seemed a profitable industry that can be nurtured. The government’s recent decision to allow power plants to operate bitcoin miners appears to be a step in the right direction.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Mastercard Approves Wirex to Directly Issue Crypto Payment Cards To Its Customers

  • One of the world’s major payments processors, Mastercard, has announced it has approved Wirex to become its maiden crypto firm to provide payment cards to its clients directly.
  • In efforts to expand its crypto program, Mastercard is now encouraging the crypto companies to apply to become its partners.

On Monday, July 20, Mastercard announced that it was seeking to make it easy for crypto card issuers to become its partners through the firm’s Accelerate program. Now, it will take just a few weeks before applicants can be approved as partners, the firm stated.

The Accelerate programs offer partners the requisite support for their market entry, continued development as well as international expansion. The approved partners will be helped to integrate into Mastercard’s technology easily and will be allowed to benefit from the firm’s market research and cybersecurity expertise.

Although the firm is focusing on making it easier for partners to access the Accelerate program, firms wishing to be onboarded must adhere to the company’s “core principles.”

The core principles comprise of ensuring the security and privacy of the users, adherence to the requisite laws and regulations like AML rules as well as coming up with a level playing field for all the stakeholders involved like merchants, financial institutions as well as mobile network operators.

The company’s head of digital assets and blockchain, Raj Dhamodharan, explained that the crypto market is fast maturing and the firm wants to be part of this journey. He said:

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy.”

Wirex cardholders will have a chance to instantly convert their crypto assets into different fiat currencies that can be used at a point of sale which accepts Mastercard.

Pavel Matveev, Wirex CEO, praised the partnership, saying that it shows that cryptocurrency is slowly gaining recognition and acceptance by several global bodies as well as regulators. He added that the partnership would allow the firm to reach all corners of the world as Mastercard is a global institution.

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Author: Joseph Kibe