Nearly 15 Governments to Cooperate in Creating a Worldwide Crypto Monitoring System To Fight Money Laundering

Governments of about 15 countries seek to establish a new system of cooperation that would enable them to collect and share with each other personal information on people who transact in cryptocurrencies, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Among the countries that will develop the new system include the Group of 7 (G7) members, Australia and Singapore. The system is to be designed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that consists of 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations.

According to the report, the plan is for the detailed measures to be drawn up by 2020, and a few years later, the system should be in operation, which would then be managed by the private sector.

The goal of this effort is to prevent the laundering of money, which is then used for a host of illegal purposes, including funding terrorist organizations.

Given that many countries do not have a regulatory framework for crypto, and that a number of them are working on establishing clear rules for cryptocurrencies, it is generally very difficult to establish a global set of rules or a system by which most, if not all, countries will be guided, but this effort might bring all of them closer and faster to their legal goals.

In June, the FATF agreed to implement their previous recommendations that would force governments to tighten oversight of the crypto business.

In other related news, just recently the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, issued the Final Guidance on crypto assets, while the G7 attendees at a summit of ministers and central bankers expressed concern about Facebook’s Libra and crypto-related matters and promised action.

The crypto industry has witnessed numerous regulatory announcements in the recent past, especially after the announcement of Facebook’s Libra project and the crypto enthusiasts can expect a lot more to come.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Czech Republic To Enforce Crypto Regulations Deemed Harsher Than The Ones Issued by the EU

Czech-Republic-To-Enforce-Crypto-Regulations-Deemed-Harsher-Than-The-Ones-Required-by-the-EU

While some countries are friendly to Bitcoin, others seem to hate it. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is far from one of the friendliest countries with crypto. According to recent reports, the country is about to enforce regulations on the crypto industry which are deemed to be even harsher than the ones required by the European Union.

A local media outlet has recently affirmed that, in order to comply with the European Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws, the Czech Republic is set to take extreme measures.

For instance, the country will fine in around $20,000 USD for any illegal crypto company, as well as to enforce the regulations from the EU’s Fifth AML Directive. According to this new directive, the countries of the union would need to have a close oversight on wallets and exchanges and ask them to provide more transparency.

The media outlet that reported on this story, Hospodářské Noviny, affirmed that the measure was a bit harsh and that it could get in the way of the competitiveness of the sector, despite the fact that only exchanges who are not regulated will be fined. All exchanges within the boundaries of the law will not need to worry.

The Czech Republic is one among many examples of countries that decided to upgrade the European requirements and to look more closely at crypto companies. Cyprus, for instance, also decided to enforce several obligations which are not stated by international law.

These cases might be happening because the local governments believe that, if they need to make obligatory changes in regulation, they might as well just make them specific to their countries.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

Bitcoin Traders in Japan to See More Government Interference For $93 Million in Undisclosed Revenue

Japanese-Crypto-Traders-to-See-More-Government-Interference-For-93-Million-Undisclosed-Revenue

There are more than a few countries in the world where cryptocurrency is largely frowned at. China, for example, isn’t the most receptive to crypto as the government not only openly condemns it but also tries to pass laws that ensure that the growth of the cryptocurrency sector is as stifled as possible. Even though there is no legislation against crypto in the United States, the country’s SEC is also a bit on the fence about the sector.

Japan, however, is one of the most liberal countries with regards to crypto. In April 2017, the country officially recognized Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general as legal, to be governed under the Payment Services Act. In December of the same year, the National Tax Agency (NTA) also formally classified profits made from crypto as “miscellaneous income” and ruled that such income be taxed between 15%-55%. This is probably the reason Japanese traders have decided to hide their cryptocurrency gains.

Japanese Traders Don’t Report Crypto Profits

According to some reports, at least 30 different cryptocurrency businesses and about 50 persons have either underreported their proceeds or have not been reporting them at all, for a few years now. Japanese law clearly states that all individuals and businesses who earn above 200,000 yen – $1850 – annually are expected to report such earnings. However, more than a few people have not been reporting this, supposedly due to the 55% tax attached. According to authorities, the undisclosed funds add up to about 10 billion yen ($93 million).

Crypto Will Face More Scrutiny

The tax evasion discovery didn’t just start and since last year, the Japanese government has been creating a new system that will allow the NTA to officially collect information from the country’s crypto exchanges on suspected evaders. The information will include their names, addresses, individual identification numbers and some other personal information.

At the moment, all intermediaries that the NTA requires information from are not exactly mandated to do so compulsorily. If an exchange feels they have enough reason to refuse to share the information, they have a right to do so. To ensure that privacy is upheld even when the new law is finally implemented, these exchanges will still be allowed to challenge a request made by the NTA through a proper appeal. The NTA will also only ask for data for suspected tax evaders who have earned at least 10 million yen – ($88,700).

The NTA declared as the conclusion from a survey that more than 300 persons disclosed they made about a 100 million yen from various cryptocurrency businesses and deals IN 2017. This was probably a direct effect of the 2017 surge when Bitcoin hit its all-time high of almost $20,000.

Furthermore, the government is also looking to pay more attention to Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). The country’s financial authority, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), is looking to create and enforce new and sterner regulations governing these ICOs to protect investors and stakeholders from fraud. When this is properly implemented, all institutions that wish to have an ICO will be mandated to first register with the FSA. This decision was made because of a few widely known duplicitous ICOs in other parts of the world that have defrauded innocent investors.

Crypto Taxes Should Probably Be Reduced

A few months ago, the FSA was asked by the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) to cut down the existing tax percentage for crypto businesses. JANE asked that tax on crypto be reduced to 20%, which is the official rate for stocks. In addition to this, the agency was also asked to completely leave crypto-to-crypto transactions untaxed.

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Author: Tolu

A List of the States in the USA with the Highest Number of Bitcoin ATMs

A List of the States in the USA with the Highest Number of Bitcoin ATMs

The rate at which Bitcoin ATMs are popping up everywhere in the US and many other countries leaves no doubt about bitcoin’s growing adoption and usage across the globe.

Currently, there are in excess of 4,700 units located all over the world. Of course, the bulk of them are here in the States, concentrated in a few states.

This article is meant to shine a light on the states with the highest number of bitcoin ATMs. Please note that this information is accurate as of the time this article was published.

Illinois Leads the Charge with 360 Cryptocurrency ATMs

The state of Illinois leads the pack with 360 Bitcoin ATMs. 237 of these machines are located in the Greater Chicago area alone.

The rest are spread across the state in counties and cities like Springfield, Naperville, Evanston and Peoria. Illinois is a total hotbed for bitcoin ATMs, as it the policies there are friendly to crypto and bitcoin companies.

Boardwalk’s New Jersey

Located to the south of New York and home to Atlantic City, New Jersey comes second with 177 bitcoin ATMs. These machines make it possible to exchange cash for bitcoin and vice versa.

Of course, this implies that there’s a huge market for this in the state. One of the reasons these ATMs have flourished in the state is the favorable business climate backed by crypto-friendly policies.

It appears that the bulk of bitcoin ATMs are concentrated in Newark. One would think you’d find them in Atlantic City though. But, the city has just one bitcoin ATM.

This means that the famed Atlantic City has less machines than smaller and less popular places like Freehold and Deptford Township. Of course, this means that more machines can be set up in places without one if the companies are willing to do so.

Big Apple’s New York City

Surprisingly number 3 on the list, New York’s most populous city trails behind NJ with 125 machines. This means that NJ has 55 more bitcoin ATMs than NYC. You’d think the city, because of its popularity and thriving tech scene, would lead the pack. But that’s not the case.

Anyway, all 125 bitcoin ATMs are located in only NYC. There’s just two more in the surrounding towns and cities within the state –more specifically one each in Sunnyside and Rosedale.

However, upon closer inspection, one can see why NYC doesn’t have as many Bitcoin ATMs. The city has passed some unfriendly polices and guidelines that do not favor crypto and bitcoin related activities.

As a result, bitcoin ATM companies have to jump through so many hoops just to stay afloat and survive in the city.

Lone Star Texas

This state with abundant sunshine trails NYC and is on the list of cities with the most bitcoin ATMs. The economy and business climate there is very crypto friendly. This is why we’re seeing a growing number of bitcoin ATMs, particularly in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

There are about 24 each in those three cities. And San Antonio has about 12 bitcoin ATMs, while other cities like Rockwall, Fort Worth, Amarillo and Corpus Christi have at least one each.

What this means is that the big cities serve as the major bitcoin ATM hubs, while the smaller ones get a few machines each. Because of the state’s favorable policies, we’re likely to see considerable growth in the number of bitcoin ATMs in the years to come.

Sunny Florida

Home to the popular cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida has become a hotbed for bitcoin ATMs and crypto related activities as a whole.

There are hundreds of these machines all over Florida, with the bulk found in Miami. Popular cities such as Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville have tens of these machines installed across the multiple cities.

Smaller places like West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and Fort Myers have about 5 of these machines each.

The Golden State of California

In California, the main places you’ll find bitcoin ATMs are Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and of course, San Francisco. These are the main hubs for all blockchain, crypto and bitcoin-related activities in the state. The good news is, even though all these major cities have many of these machines, the other 36 cities have a minimum of one each. Considering California’s size, this is a huge feat for these bitcoin ATM companies.

Georgia

The hub of bitcoin ATMs in the state in Atlanta. The city has the bulk of the machines. Other smaller cities, suburbs and smaller areas like Savannah, Trenton, Augusta, Athens and Columbus has 1 or more of these machines available.

While this looks promising particularly for the economy down south, the truth is only time will tell if the innovative technology will thrive and grow to its fullest potential here.

Automaker’s Michigan

The bulk of Michigan’s 127 bitcoin ATMs are concentrated in Detroit. The city alone is home to 120 of these machines, while the other 7 machines are Lincoln Park, Lake Orion and Grand Rapids.

With Detroit currently coming out of bankruptcy and the economy struggling to find its feet, it might be a while before we see bitcoin ATMs be in full use. That said, we can only keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, if you live in Detroit, Michigan and need to exchange bitcoin for cash and vice versa, there are a ton of bitcoin ATMs that you can use.

Pennsylvania

This state is home to almost 130 bitcoin ATMs, with the bulk of them concentrated on its biggest city, Philadelphia.

“Philly” is currently home to 96 of these machines. Other cities such as Pittsburgh has 11, Harrisburg has 7 and Allentown has just 5. The remaining 10 machines are distributed among 10 other cities in the state.

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Author: Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team

A Preview of Countries’ Crypto Regulatory Outlook Heading into the G20 Summit and What’s Next

A-Preview-of-Countries-Crypto-Regulatory-Outlook-Heading-into-the-G20-Summit-and-Whats-Next

The G-20 countries are gearing up for the upcoming G-20 summit, and the main aim of the upcoming event will be largely focused towards implementing unified crypto regulations set by intergovernmental organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force. The European central bank has confirmed that despite the challenges posed by crypto assets to the euro area’s financial stability, it is still manageable.

The G-20 nations have reaffirmed their support for the FATF recommended policies in areas such as anti-money laundering as well as crypto assets. The FATF recently conducted their annual Private Sector Consultative Forum in Austria which saw participation from over 300 representatives from the private sector.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) comprises of 36 countries and two international organizations including the European Commission. During the recent forum, FATF said,

“The discussions focused on the mapping of virtual asset services and business models … and on the implementation of specific FATF recommendations.”

The FATF in its April Report also put out a guideline for the member G20 countries for regulating and standardizing crypto assets. The Financial Action Task Force further promised

“to continue assisting jurisdictions and the private sector, in implementing a risk-based approach to regulating virtual asset service providers, including their supervision and monitoring,”

While providing a standard guideline to help the G20 nations in formalizing their crypto regulations, the FATF also emphasized on various risks that come along with the standardization of digital assets such as money laundering. The report states,

“Technological innovations, including those underlying virtual assets … may deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy.”

Russia Needs To Get Their Regulatory Framework Finalized

Russia, one of the G20 nations has been facing constant delays in finalizing the crypto regulations. Now they have come out to announce that they would be following the standards set by FATF to help them create a standard framework for the use of digital assets in the country.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the concerned authorities to finalize the regulatory framework in July last year, but there was no progress made on the order. Putin again ordered the authorities to complete the framework by July this year. Looking at the progress made on the recent order, the finalization of the framework might get delayed again.

Anatoly Aksakov, the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Market has recently said that they are facing issues due to the requirements set by the FATF. The chairman said that the guidelines set by the FATF either need to be implemented into the law on digital assets or a separate bill need to be passed. He explained,

“The law on digital financial assets has been suspended … There were FATF decisions that require us to resolve issues related to bitcoins and so on.”

Another report in the local media houses suggests that the laws on regulating crypto and digital asset may come in force in the Spring season. The reports were based on the deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova’s recent comments. The report quoted her saying,

“The law on digital financial assets, on crowdfunding, etc., all these bills are in a fairly high degree of readiness. Colleagues from the State Duma committees are very helpful, we expect that these laws can be passed during the Spring session.” She further stressed that these laws “are extremely important for the country and will provide an opportunity to implement new projects.”

Japan is Helping Other G20 Nations While South Korea Emphasises on Regulatory Consistency

The upcoming G20 summit will be hosted by Japan, which also happens to be one of the most crypto compliant nations with the consumer-friendly regulatory framework put in place. The country has also shown its interest in helping other nations with their regulatory dilemma by working on implementing global standards on crypto assets.

The House of Representatives recently passed a crypto bill with several resolutions. One of the media publications reported,

“We have fully grasped the regulatory trends of G20 countries and cooperated with each country to achieve international harmony.”

The Financial Services Agency (FSA), Japan’s top financial regulatory released a report last December which states,

“To manage and mitigate the risks emerging from virtual assets, countries should ensure that virtual asset service providers are regulated for AML/CFT purposes.”

South Korea, another G20 nation has often echoed for the regulatory consistency and have announced several times that they would be complying with the unified crypto regulatory standards. Choi Jong-Ku, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission said that

“Transnational cooperation is necessary to regulate virtual currencies,”

The FSC chairman also emphasized on the importance of G20 nations adhering to the international standards prepared by the FATF

“to minimize regulatory inconsistencies.”

The Possible Challenges in Creating a Standard Regulatory Guideline

Chainalysis, one of the prominent blockchain and the crypto analytic firm gave feedback on the guidelines set by the FATF. The firm said that the Guidelines set by FATF would have profound implications for the cryptocurrency industry. The Chainalysis feedback report explained,

“There are clear technical obstacles that prevent cryptocurrency businesses from being able to comply with these standards. Cryptocurrencies were originally designed as a peer-to-peer financial system that has no central authority and no intermediaries.”

The analytics firm went on to note that in order to adhere to the FATF guidelines, crypto exchanges can use the transparency from the shared ledger to form an effective Risk-based approach. The firm went on to suggest that exchanges should take up the responsibility to conduct KYC and store the data safely. Crypto exchanges should start linking users KYC information with their transactions as it is not available on the public ledger.

The feedback report explained further,

“Forcing onerous investment and friction onto regulated businesses, who are critical allies to law enforcement, could reduce their prevalence, drive activity to decentralized and peer-to-peer exchanges, and lead to de-risking by financial institutions.”

Chainalysis noted that these measures would decrease the transparency which is currently available to the law enforcement agencies.

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Author: Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team