UNIFY Financial Credit Union and Five Star Bank Allows Customers to Now Buy, Sell, and Hold Bitcoin

UNIFY Financial Credit Union and Five Star Bank Allows Customers to Now Buy, Sell, and Hold Bitcoin

Five Star Bank and UNIFY Financial Credit Union will be the first banks to offer their customers the ability to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin, said Digital banking company Q2 Holdings.

This has been made possible by Q2’s partnership with institutional bitcoin broker NYDIG. The partnership was first announced in June to meet the demands of the bank’s account holders.

At the time, NYDIG also partnered with digital banking services firm NCR to make crypto purchases available to 650 banks.

Q2, a Texas fintech firm that has 18.3 million users, provides online banking software to more than 450 small and medium-sized banks and credit unions, including Scotiabank, Mercantile Bank, and Texas Security Bank.

Finally, this partnership has come to fruition as the everyday customers of these two banks will be able to trade and hold Bitcoin alongside their existing accounts without needing to use the cryptocurrency exchanges.

The New York-based Five Star Bank has about 50 branches, and California-headquartered UNIFY has 50 branches worldwide with more than $3 billion in assets.

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Author: AnTy

FATF to Publish Detailed Crypto Guidelines Late Next Week

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will be publishing its revised guidance for cryptocurrency firms very soon, said President Marcus Pleyer.

The outcomes of the October plenary meeting of the FATF were released this week, in which the agency shared that it has finalized its guidance and plans to publish the updated version on October 28.

“This guidance that we finalized for a risk-based approach to virtual assets and investments will be published next week,” Pleyer told reporters during a press conference following the agency’s latest meeting.

Back in March, the global anti-money laundering (AML) watchdog issued draft guidance (VASPs) at a plenary meeting. However, the final revised guidance was delayed as the regulatory agency attempted to cover the areas like decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As such, the revised guidance will now include the definition of VASP in DeFi as well. Also, FATF will share its take on NFTs this time.

While the standards related to virtual assets or VASPs aren’t amended, the guidance will provide “more detailed information on how countries and the private sector can implement the FATF standards.”

Additionally, the guidance will provide further clarification on the definition of VASPs and how the standards will apply to stablecoins, Player said. He further shared FATF’s expectation that countries will implement standards for the “Travel Rule” for crypto transactions “as soon as possible.”

Under the travel rule, VASPs are required to collect and transmit information on those involved in a transaction.

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Author: AnTy

BIS Consults on Proposal to Apply the Same Principles as Financial Market to “Systemically Important” Stablecoins

BIS Consults on the Proposal to Apply the Same Principles as Financial Market to “Systemically Important” Stablecoins

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the IOSCO group of securities regulators published proposals on Wednesday on how the current rules for clearinghouses and payments services should also be applied to “systemically important” stablecoins.

These proposals are currently put out for public consultation before they can be finalized early next year.

With nearly a $70 billion market cap, USDT is currently leading the stablecoin market with its share at 57.2%, followed by the rapidly growing USDC, which accounts for 25.4% of market share with its market cap at $32.8 billion.

According to the report, regulators don’t intend to create additional standards for stablecoin instead build on the principles developed for critical financial market infrastructure in 2012.

As per the rules, a stablecoin operator must set up a legal entity. These rules will also need to be followed by countries that allow stablecoins to operate.

The principles further include clear disclosure of management structure and arrangements with affiliates.

The author of the report said stablecoins should have “little or no credit or liquidity risk.” He further advised the stablecoin regulatory framework to consider whether the holder is making a legal claim against the issuer or underlying asset.

“This report marks significant progress in understanding the implications of stablecoin arrangements for the financial system and providing clear and practical guidance on the standards they need to meet to maintain its integrity.”

Ashley Alder International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Chair

Discussed on the proposed framework will last for eight weeks.

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Author: AnTy

Fidelity Urges the SEC to Approve A Bitcoin ETF As Another BTC Futures ETF Filed

Fidelity argues firms have to “fulfill financial backer need for direct openness to Bitcoin,” highlighting the need for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF as the Bitcoin market has “developed and can uphold” the laws.

Fidelity Investments has urged the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in a private meeting, reported Bloomberg.

Tom Jessop, the president of Fidelity Digital Assets (FDA) along with other executives, met with SEC officials over a video call on Sept. 8, according to a recent filing.

Laying down the reasons why the regulator should approve the proposed products, the executives pointed to increased investor appetite for crypto assets, the growth of Bitcoin holders, the existence of similar funds in other countries, and the regulator being slow to embrace, according to a presentation from the meeting.

“Bitcoin prospects-based items are not a vital interval venture before a Bitcoin ETP,” Fidelity said. “Firms ought to have the option to fulfill financial backer need for direct openness to Bitcoin” through ETFs enrolled under those 1930s laws, “on the grounds that the Bitcoin market has developed and can uphold them.”

In March, Fidelity filed the application for its Bitcoin ETF called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust.

According to Rebecca Sin, ETF Analyst at Bloomberg, the listing of crypto ETFs in the US “could boost ETF revenue to 20 billion over the next five years.”

As we have reported, several firms have filed their applications for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF. In fact, the first such application was filed by Winklevoss twins eight years back, but not a single one has been approved yet.

“A progressively wide scope of financial backers looking for admittance to Bitcoin has highlighted the market need for a more differentiated arrangement of items offering openness to advanced resources for match interest,” Fidelity representative Nicole Abbott told Bloomberg.

However, recently, SEC Chair Gary Gensler did signal his openness to a futures-backed Bitcoin ETF as it offers increased investor protection.

Since Gensler’s comments, several firms have also filed for a Bitcoin Futures ETF, and the industry experts expect one to get approved by the end of this year.

On Tuesday, ETF Series Solution also filed for a Bitcoin futures ETF with Bitwise Index Services.

The Bitwise Bitcoin Strategy ETF was filed under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and seeks to invest in bitcoin futures and other financial products, including “Canadian-listed funds that provide exposure to bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

South Africa’s Financial Regulator Issues A Warning Against “Unauthorised Entity” Binance

South Africa’s Financial Regulator Issues A Warning Against “Unauthorised Entity” Binance

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa warned the public against the Binance Group on Friday.

In the press release, the regulator issued a warning where it asked the public to be cautious and vigilant when dealing with the company as it is “not authorized” to give any financial services, advice, or business in accordance with FAIS Act in South Africa.

Additionally, the agency said that crypto-related investments are currently not regulated by the FSCA or any other body in South Africa. So, if anything goes wrong, the public will have no recourse against anyone, it added.

The Seychelles-based international company has been communicating with the people of South Africa through a telegram group, said the regulator.

For the past few months, Binance has been getting an onslaught of regulatory scrutiny, and as a result, the exchange has started working with the regulators and introduced KYC and AML measures to comply with the rules.

On Thursday, Singapore central bank also put it on the investor alert list and said Binance could be in breach of local laws and should stop providing payment services to its residents. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement,

“MAS has reviewed Binance.com’s operations and is of the view that Binance, the operator of Binance.com, may be in breach of the Payment Services Act3”

“Binance is required to cease providing payment services … to Singapore residents and cease soliciting such business from Singapore residents.”

Binance’s Singapore entity has submitted a license application to the central bank, and currently, it is exempted from holding a license to operate as a digital payment token service provider.

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Author: AnTy

House Democrat Urges to Amend the “Problematic Broker Definition” in the Infrastructure Bill

River Financial CEO urges the US not to threaten the well-being of 46 million Americans owning Bitcoin by passing the bill. Amidst this, CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz clarified that Ether is a “non-security commodity” that comes under the purview of CFTC.

After the original bipartisan infrastructure bill with unamended crypto tax provision with its overreaching definition of ‘broker’ passed, it has now reached the House for clearance.

In response, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) came in support of crypto as she urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi to amend crypto reporting language.

“Wow. Here is the fourth House Democrat saying that the crypto tax reporting provision in the infrastructure bill must be amended,” noted Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center.

In her letter, Eshoo expressed her concern regarding the tax reporting requirement for crypto brokers by expanding the definition of “broker” to include not just those who regularly facilitate the transfer of digital assets on behalf of another person but also entities like miners, validators, and developers.

“In the decentralized system of cryptocurrencies, these individuals and entities do not know who the buyers and sellers are and would be unable to comply with the broker requirements,” she wrote last week while noting that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also supported the amendment.

As we reported last week, the reports came that the Treasury Department is also coming in support of the crypto community and is looking to clear up the concerns regarding the new crypto tax reporting requirement.

The guidance from the Treasury, which can be expected to be made public as early as this week, will focus on whether the activities of related entities qualify as brokers under the tax code and will provide clarity on how they would apply the definition of a broker to them.

The Senate couldn’t include the amendment due to “procedural concerns rather than substantive ones,” she said, adding: while she shares the goal of underlying provision to address tax evasion in the crypto market, it should be done without stifling innovation in a nascent industry.

“When the House takes up the Senate bill, I encourage you to amend the problematic broker definition in Section 80603 of the legislation.”

Alex Leishman, CEO, and co-founder of Bitcoin financial institution River Financial also released a PR expressing his disappointment in the Senate passing the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that could do serious harm to the cryptocurrency industry.

“With around 46 million Americans owning Bitcoin, the Senate has threatened not only the well-being of the citizens it purports to represent, but America’s best chance at technological leadership in the new millennium.”

As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow, having surpassed $2 trillion in total market cap once again, everyone wants a piece of it. Recently, SEC Chair Gary Gensler also asked for greater authority and resources to regulate the industry.

Amidst this, recently, CFTC Commissioner cleared up that Ethereum falls under his jurisdiction and is not a security.

This clarification came when attorney Jeremy Hogan questioned the ambiguity of the SEC’s stance on Ethereum as a security during the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) v. Ripple Labs court case. Hogan said that Gensler had previously said that US securities laws are clear, but there seems to be cloudiness around Ether’s status.

There is currently a futures contract on Ether, and therefore, it is only “under the CFTC’s purview, which makes ETH a non-security commodity,” said CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz, noting both the SEC and his agency share responsibility for the regulation of futures contracts on securities.

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Author: AnTy

German Bank to Issue Blockchain Listed Shares, Financial Regulator Approves the Securities Prospectus

German Bank to Issue Blockchain Listed Shares, Financial Regulator Approves the Securities Prospectus

German-based WEG Bank AG announced on Tuesday that it had a breakthrough in equity tokenization. And with this, it has become the first company to put all of its shares on the blockchain, as per the company’s announcement.

“We have been looking forward to the publication of this company news for a long time,” said Matthias von Hauff, CEO of TEN31 Bank, the fintech division of WEG Bank AG.

BaFin, the country’s financial regulator, has also approved the bank’s related securities prospectus for public fundraising. Matthias von Hauff said,

“With the approval of the prospectus, BaFin acted and made a decision in a forward-looking manner. We followed the appeal that banks must become more innovative and wrote a piece of German financial history with our prospectus.”

Soon, private investors will be able to buy shares in the bank, which is expected to issue 2,830,000 new shares starting October. The bank will be releasing further details on the shares offering shortly.

Through “Blockchain Listed Shares,” or BLS for short, the bank aims to provide the necessary transparency and evidence of ownership of the company’s shares which will also protect them from manipulation or data loss.

The bank will also make secondary trading possible, opening up the possibility for any company to trade its shares on a crypto exchange. “This form of financing helps enormously, especially for medium-sized companies, as stocks could suddenly be made available worldwide,” said Matthias von Hauff.

Meanwhile, recently, leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance discontinued its derivatives and futures products offerings in Germany and other regions of Europe.

Amidst this, on August 2nd, the law came into effect in the country that allows certain institutional funds to invest up to 20%, billions of dollars, in crypto assets for the first time.

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Author: AnTy

Wells Fargo Is Offering Crypto Exposure to its High-Net-Worth Clients

Wells Fargo has also joined in on crypto-mania. The financial services giant has started offering cryptocurrency exposure to its high-net-worth clients (HNWI), reported Insider, saying a company spokesperson has confirmed this.

In 2021, banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, asset managers, and financial institutions, everyone from the traditional market has started warming up to cryptocurrencies.

In May, when it first became public, the investment-research division of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management, Wells Fargo Investment Institute, was planning to evaluate and onboard an actively managed crypto strategy on its platform for its qualified investors.

This search for “a professionally managed solution” has been going on for months, said the research unit’s president Darrell Cronk at the time adding, the strategy was likely to be ready in June.

Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management arm oversee about $2 trillion in assets.

Competitors JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have also started offering their wealthy clients exposure to cryptocurrency recently.

“We think the cryptocurrency space has just kind of hit an evolution and maturation of its development that allows it now to be a viable investable asset,” Cronk told Insider in May but added that instead of a “strategic allocation,” he sees it as an “alternative investment.”

The financial institution also understands the importance of having a limited supply, with Bitcoin only going to have 21 million in supply ever, as Cronk noted that anytime supply is reduced, even if an asset’s demand holds constant, “it should increase the price.” Cronk said of cryptocurrencies,

“Over time, as people become more familiar with these and as they become more mainstream, I think it will naturally go up.”

“We’ve seen that happen quite consistently over the last decade, but we’ve seen it accelerate during the pandemic because there’s been more digitalization of platforms.”

With risks still present there, the bank will also focus on consumer protections and regulations. “So we’re not without risk, it’s just that we think there can be a viable investable option for those clients who show an interest,” Cronk said.

Wells Fargo has seen “quite a bit of interest” from clients.

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Author: AnTy

Shift in Momentum: Binance Yields to Regulatory Pressure, the Definition of HQ Changing for CZ Too

Binance aims to move from its start-up origins to become a financial institution, but CZ isn’t leaving, rather is putting “commitment to compliance” as their top priority. The exchange has also launched the Tax Reporting Tool to help its users fulfill their tax reporting requirements.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance now wants to set up regional headquarters and be recognized by local regulators, said chief executive officer, Changpeng Zhao.

“We want to be licensed everywhere,” Changpeng Zhao told journalists, saying he wanted to “work with regulators everywhere.”

“From now on, we’re going to be a financial institution,” he said, adding that this would be breaking from its earlier decentralized model and maturing from its start-up origins.

As a first step towards getting a regulated move, Binance is becoming KYC (know your customer) compliant in order to “support” the security of its users, it said.

The exchange announced a reduction in its daily withdrawal limit to 0.06 BTC for those who are not completely verified but only have Basic Account Verification. This adjustment will be effective in phases starting from August 4 and will be completed by August 23.

The same restriction applies to new account registrations but is effective immediately.

“We continually review our policies to ensure that we surpass industry standards. This adjustment better accounts for current BTC prices. You can increase your withdrawal limit by completing identity verification.”

The same day, Binance launched the Tax Reporting Tool to help its users keep track of their crypto activities so that they are fulfilling the reporting requirements laid out by their regulatory bodies.

‘What if the less reg friendly things move to BSC/ some other chain. I’m thinking things like derivatives and lending markets. Binance has been writing a shit ton of checks in that space,” noted market maker IamNomad in response to Binance’s latest move.

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is actually seeing a renewed interest lately, with the daily transactions on the blockchain hitting a new peak above 11.9 million on July 27 after bottoming around 3.14 million earlier this month, as per BSC Scan.

Unlike the last peak, this time, DEX PancakeSwap is not behind this success but CryptoBlades, a play-to-earn NFT game. This makes sense, given that Axie Infinity has been leading the market during the downturn of the last three months.

Amidst all this came reports of CZ looking to hire his replacement as the next CEO.

During a conversation with Mukaya Panich, CIO at Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank’s venture arm SCB 10X, CZ said he is looking for a senior person with strong compliance and regulatory background.

“I don’t think I’m the best person to lead that effort. I think having somebody with a very strong regulatory background is actually better.”

CZ, however, took to Twitter to explain that “there are no immediate plans to replace me as CEO,” though he would like to hire someone with a special regulatory background to show their “commitment to compliance,” which he said is their top priority.

“I feel CEOs should not stay for more than 10 years, ideally around 5 years… We are always hiring for CEOs. I don’t need to be CEO, and I am not leaving.”

Much like in 2018, Binance became the leader in the crypto space; market participants believe the momentum is shifting yet again, with FTX coming on fast behind Binance to take up the first spot.

While Coinbase already had its initial public offering to mark Bitcoin top so far this year and Kraken is also planning sometime next year with FTX considering but not really needing it, CZ is now mulling a future IPO in the US but said the plan “is not 100% fixed yet.” Such plans would require Binance to have a legal entity and headquarters.

“We are setting up those structures.”

“Once those structures are in place, you may make it easier for an IPO to happen. So that’s not out of the question. But right now, we are still in the early stages.”

Binance has been facing a lot of regulatory scrutiny from all over the world especially due to not having an HQ, something regulators aren’t comfortable with, especially UK watchdog FCA which called the lack of a headquarters a “huge issue.”

Up until now, CZ has maintained that his definition of a headquarters is different from others, which is finally changing as the exchange faces the pressure of regulators and, given the latest changes made by the exchange, is also caving to them.

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Author: AnTy

Rothschild Investment Increases its GBTC Holdings by 268% and ETHE by 5.2%

Financial services company Rothschild Investment has yet again increased its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) holdings.

In Q1 2021, Rothschild increased its GBTC exposure by 26% and in Q2, the multinational investment bank further raised it by 268.76% as it reported owning 141,405 shares of GBTC as of June 30, according to the filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Rothschild also increased its ETHE exposure which it first bought in Q1 of 2021.

The latest filing reported 279,119 shares of ETHE owned by the company, up from 265,302 shares in March, representing an increase of a mere 5.2%.

GBTC is currently heavily discounted trading at a negative premium of 13.44% while ETHE is trading at a 10.7% discount, as per Bybt.

Rothschild’s clients include wealthy families, high-net-worth individuals, local entrepreneurs, family holding companies, foundations/endowments, retirement accounts, and multi-generational trust accounts.

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Author: AnTy