New Zealand’s Financial Authority Blacklists Three Local Crypto Platforms

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand has added three new crypto-related websites to its list of online scams, an announcement by the FMA reveals Thursday, Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, the FMA listed three companies — Crypto Gain, Russ Horn, and Zend Trade — on its “scam” list, where citizens are warned about the potential risk of dealing with certain websites.

In regards to Crypto Gain, the FMA states that the company is posing as a New Zealand company with the same name without permission to do so, noting:

“The website www.cryptogainlimited.com is not associated with, nor a representative of, the New Zealand registered company Cryptogain Limited.”

Crypto Gain Limited (not to be confused with the other Crypto Gain — a desktop app to track one’s crypto assets) claims on its website that it has a certificate of incorporation granted by local authorities in August 2017. According to the website, the company provides consulting services for those who are new to crypto trading.

Earlier in October, the FMA had blacklisted several other crypto-related companies. Fix Club Limited, a crypto trading platform, was mentioned because of false claims that it belonged to the New Zealand regulated crypto area. Bitcoin Revolution Trading was listed for reportedly claiming that country’s current or former prime ministers and Treasury officials were investing in Bitcoin (BTC).

As Cointelegraph previously wrote, rumors spread on social media in late 2017 that former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key held $300 mln in BTC from his initial investment of $1,000. However, Key denied all the allegations, revealing that the initial piece was posted by a fake website pretending to be the New Zealand Herald — the largest newspaper in country.

New Zealand’s police have also warned citizens about crypto-related online scams in September, shortly after an investor lost $320,000 NZD ($213,000 USD) to crypto fraudsters. “Members of the public should seek advice before making any online investments they are unsure of,” the police sergeant said at the time.



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Two Brazilian Banks Reopen Accounts of Local Crypto Exchange to Avoid Fines

Two major Brazilian banks have reopened the banking accounts of one of the local crypto exchanges experiencing banking issues recently, local crypto outlet Portal do Bitcoin reports Wednesday, Oct. 31.

The preliminary decision to reopen accounts in major banks Banco do Brasil and Santander Brasil for local crypto exchange Bitcoin Max was granted by the Federal District Court. The  judge ruled that the mentioned banks failed to notify the exchange of account closure, which was treated as “abusive conduct” violating consumer protection rules. The court then ordered to unlock the accounts within five days.

In case of non-compliance with the injunction, Santander Brasil would have to pay up to 5,000 Brazilian reals (about $1,300), and Banco do Brasil — up to 20,000 Brazilian reals (about $5,400). Leonardo Ranna, a lawyer for the crypto exchange, told local media that the accounts of Bitcoin Max and its partners were subsequently quickly reopened.

However, Portal do Bitcoin stresses that the legal battle is not over as the Federal District Court’s decision is only seen as a “preliminary” kind of injunction. Moreover, Banco do Brasil has also blocked the additional 120,000 Brazilian reals ($32,400) of Bitcoin Max’s funds. The court ordered to return them in 24 hours, according to the report.

As Cointelegraph reported in September,  Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), started inspecting six major national banks, including Banco do Brasil and Santander Brasil, for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space. The watchdog tried to reveal whether Brazilian banks deliberately closed the accounts of local crypto exchanges following several complaints.

A month later, in October, CADE sent a questionnaire to ten Brazilian crypto exchanges whose banks accounts have previously been closed, with deadline to respond set for mid-October. The companies were requested to explain how their business functioned in Brazil and clarify if they were unable to open a bank account, or if the account was closed by some financial institution.



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Japanese Financial Watchdog Grants Self-Regulatory Status to Local Crypto Exchanges

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has given the local crypto industry self-regulatory status, certifying the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) to oversee the space, Cointelegraph Japan reports Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The FSA expects the self-regulatory body to set rules to protect customers’ assets, elaborate on anti-money-laundering (AML) policy, and give working guidelines to crypto exchanges.

An unnamed FSA official cited by Reuters thinks that experts from JVCEA could cope better with regulations than a government body, noting that “it’s a very fast moving industry. It’s better for experts to make rules in a timely manner than bureaucrats do.”

The self-regulation becomes effective immediately, starting Oct. 24, with the core rules and guidelines already published on the JVCEA’s website. The watchdog has 15 employees so far, but it plans to increase staff up to 20 people by November, according to Cointelegraph Japan.

The JVCEA was established in April 2018, consisting of the 16 companies that had registered as cryptocurrency exchanges. The group’s formation came after the January hack of more than $534 million of NEM from Japan-based crypto exchange Coincheck.

The JVCEA describes its duties as inspecting the security of crypto exchanges in the country, as well other specific tasks like assessing tokens issued in Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

After the August hack of Japanese crypto exchange Zaif, which lost 6.7 billion yen ($59.7 million) worth of crypto assets belonging to both the company and its customers, the JVCEA announced stricter regulations for “hot wallets.” The organization also planned to establish a limit on the amount of digital currencies that could be managed online by any exchange.



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IBM, Azeri Central Bank Cooperate on Blockchain Development, Local Media Report

IBM and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) will reportedly collaborate on implementing blockchain technology in the country’s economy, Central Asian-focused Trend News Agency reports October 9.

Trend News Agency is an established news service provider spanning the Caucasus, Caspian region and Central Asia, with dedicated news platforms in Azerbaijani, Russian, Turkish and Persian, alongside an English-language platform

The agency states that the director of the Information Technology Department at the CBA, Farid Osmanov, revealed news of the five-year program for the digital transformation of the economy at the Azerbaijan-Germany Business Forum on Energy and ICT in Baku earlier today.

Osmanov reportedly said the central bank will be cooperating with IBM specifically on blockchain, adding that the transformation program would be “fairly large,” and fork in two directions:

“The first direction corresponds to plans for digital transformation. This initiative will be implemented within a five-year plan, which aims to meet the requirements and needs of the country’s economy and banking sector.”

The second direction for the partnership is the development of a digital identification system, Trend News Agency reports. Osmanov reportedly said the initiative involved the cooperation of “around” 10 commercial banks and 15 government agencies.

IBM has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment as of press time, and Trend notes that the “story is still developing.”

IBM has previously cooperated on an institutional blockchain development initiative of a similar large scale. This July, the tech giant signed a five-year AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security and automation across federal departments, including defense and home affairs.



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Man Gets 3.5 Years in Jail for Stealing Train Power to Mine Bitcoin, Local Media

A man in China has been been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin (BTC) mining operations, local media outlet The Paper reports October 8.

According to court documents released today, the sentencing was served September 13 at the Datong Railway Transport Court in China’s northern Shanxi province. In addition to jail time, the individual, a local named Xu Xinghua, has reportedly been fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,500).

Xinghua is said to have stolen electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway back in November and December 2017 to power his 50 Bitcoin miners and three electric fans around the clock. The document states that five of the mining machines were damaged during this period.

As of April 2018, Xinghua is said to have successfully mined 3.2 Bitcoin, earning 120,000 yuan (about $17,400) and running up an electricity bill of 104,000 yuan ($15,000).

In addition to imprisonment and a fine, the court has ordered Xinghua to cover the cost of the electricity charges and has confiscated his mining equipment, The Paper reports.

Charges of a similar nature are not unprecedented in China. In June, a man in China’s Anhui province was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations. The suspect was said to have stolen 150 megawatt (MW) of power to fuel two hundred computers that he used to mine both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) – running a bill of over 6000 yuan ($930) daily.

With the country established as a crypto mining superpower due to its abundance of cheap energy and hardware, reports surfaced at the start of this year that Chinese authorities were poised to attempt to quash the industry.

A leaked memo from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to a top-level government internet finance regulator reportedly stated that Bitcoin miners should make an “orderly exit” from the country due to them sapping “huge amounts of resources and stok[ing] speculation of virtual currencies.”

The regulator is said to have subsequently ordered local authorities to wield all available means in their arsenal – including “measures linked to electricity price, land use, tax, and environmental protection” – to pressure miners to cease their operations.



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Ether Price Analysis: Higher Lows Could Yield Retest of Local High

After two back-to-back weeks of record-setting volume, ether finds itself situated below historic resistance and currently unable to reach its downtrend line:

Figure 1: ETH-USD, Weekly Candles, Downtrend and Record-Setting Volume

For months, ether has been unable to break its downward trend. And now, after having an enormous amount of buying step in, the market finds itself consolidating sideways while it decides what to do next. Given the high amount of buying pressure that temporarily stopped the price drop, it is likely that a temporary bottom is in for ETH-USD. If we look on the daily candles, we can see just how high the daily trading volume has been for the last three weeks:

fig2Figure 2: ETH-USD, Daily Candles, Daily Trading Volume

Looking even closer at a lower timeframe, we can see that the current consolidation is taking the form of a potential reaccumulation over the last few weeks:

fig3Figure 3: ETH-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Potential Reaccumulation TR

After finding its local bottom around the $170s, we can see the volume has begun to consolidate in a big way over the last few weeks. To complement the consolidated volume, we can see a very well-defined supply-and-demand channel (outlined in gray). As the volume has begun to consolidate, the price has consolidated in an upward fashion, where the lows are getting higher and higher as selling pressure weakens and supply becomes more scarce.

If the market manages to break the bottom of the demand line, we can expect the next test to arrive at the $200 level. The $200 level is the horizontal support outlined above by the trading range. From there, we will have to reassess the market and take into account the volume and the strength of the move.

However, if we manage to hold support we can expect to, at minimum, see a trip to the middle of the supply-and-demand channel and possibly see a test of the previous high in the $250s. The test of the $250s is a logical spot to test because it coincides with the daily 50 EMA and has provided solid resistance for months:

fig4Figure 4: ETH-USD, Daily Candles, 50 EMA

Summary:

  1. Ether saw back-to-back weeks of record-setting trading volume.
  2. Currently, the market is moving sideways. However, it’s doing so while making higher lows in the form of a potential reaccumulation trading range.
  3. Current low-end projections, if it breaks out of its ascending channel trend, would have ether testing the $200 area.
  4. If the current channel provides support, we can expect to see ether testing the previous high in the $250 range. This test would also coincide with a test of the daily 50 EMA — a notoriously strong resistance trend.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

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Colombian Draft Bill on Crypto Called ‘Inconsistent,’ Criticized by Local Industry

A draft bill on crypto regulation presented to Colombia’s Congress has been heavily criticized by the local tech sector, Colombian financial journal Dinero reports Tuesday, September 24.

The draft was introduced in late July by senator Carlos Abraham Jimenez from Cambio Radical, the second largest party in the lower house of Colombia’s Congress.

The bill, called “On cryptocurrencies, or digital currencies,” gave definitions for various crypto-related terms and suggested the issuance of licenses for trading coins. The bill also proposed a five percent tax on all crypto transactions, both internal and international, of which 1 percent should be sent to an organization protecting crypto users from fraudulent activity.

Congress has since opened debate on the bill, while the experts gave first comments. According to professional lawyers cited by local legal outlet Ambito Juridico, the draft lacked an assessment and understanding of crypto processes. For instance, the experts took issue with the fact that the bill placed coins under the Ministry of IT and Communications jurisdiction, whereas in other countries monitoring is conducted by financial institutions.

Colombian Software Federation (Fedesoft) and local Fintech Association and Blockchain Foundation Colombia have released their own critique, noting that the bill has “inconsistencies and weaknesses” and adding:

“Some proposals that are included in the draft go against the very use of cryptocurrencies, with taxes on transactions, and limitation of actors that can participate in crypto trading, among others.”

The experts also paid attention to the non-existent currency Trickle mentioned in a bill, which seems to be a project of Fenix ​​Premium — a Colombian platform suspended earlier by Colombian financial watchdog. Moreover, they urged that the proposed regulatory approach could provoke different illicit activities.

Cointelegraph has previously reported on a legal battle for Buda.com, a South American crypto exchange whose accounts were closed without explanation by all Colombian banks in June 2018. Buda later asked new Colombian president Ivan Duque for help, signing a petition on behalf of all its users.

Duque, who took office August 2018, is quite enthusiastic on crypto-related technologies. When he first touched on the theme, he promised to cut taxes for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, confessing that he was “obsessed” with the technology.



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Italy to Enter European Blockchain Partnership, Local MP Confirms

Italy is about to enter the European Blockchain Partnership, according to the country’s Member of Parliament (MP) Mirella Liuzzi, as cited by Cointelegraph Italy Thursday, September 27.

According to Liuzzi, the partnership — a collaboration of 26 EU countries — will be signed by the Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies Luigi Di Maio on September 28 in Brussels. In an interview with Key4biz, Liuzzi added:

“Joining the partnership will allow Italy […] to define its own line in the development of [blockchain] technology — a practice which the previous government had never implemented”.

Luizzi, the MP from the governing Five Star Movement, also mentioned that the government will soon hire experts in blockchain to develop a national strategy for the crypto-related sector.

The European Blockchain Partnership was created back in April 2018 to serve as vehicle of cooperation amongst EU member states. First joined by 22 countries, the organization then extended to include 26 as Greece, Romania, Denmark and Cyprus joined the group.

As Cointelegraph reported in June, the Southern city of Naples had launched a focus group supported by the local mayor to promote blockchain and and a possible municipal Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Later, the Southern region, continuously attempting to expand its autonomy, announced that it was willing to launch its own cryptocurrency.

Italy is reportedly trying to apply crypto-related technologies on a broader scale. For instance, Juventus – one of the most famous soccer clubs in the country — is planning to launch its own “fan token” in partnership with blockchain-based fan engagement platform Socios.com.



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Ukrainian National Bank Considering Launching State Digital Currency Tied to Local Fiat

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is considering launching a state-owned digital currency based on blockchain, local news outlet Vesti Ukraine reported Tuesday, September 25.

NBU says that the blockchain-based hryvnia, or e-hryvnia, has to be centralized and remain under government control, Vesti Ukraine writes. The state-backed coin is expected to increase the rate of non-cash payments, along with reducing their cost.

Ukraine has brought up the “digital coin” idea several times already within the framework of project called the “Cashless Economy”. For instance, NBU had revealed plans in January to launch an e-hryvnia that would not be based on blockchain technology.

According to bank officials, this version of a Ukrainian state-backed coin would have to be tied to the national fiat currency at a rate of 1:1. According to the NBU, this would prevent the growth of the inflation rate. However, issuing an e-hryvnia based on blockchain still remains in the planning stages, with the bank noting:

“The decision on the appropriateness of the introduction of electronic hryvnia in full will be taken only after a detailed analysis.”

According to Vesti Ukraine, advisor to the head of Ukrainian Bank Association Alexey Kustch thinks that digital currency like e-hryvnia cannot be compared to cryptocurrencies, since crypto is anonymous and decentralized by definition, unlike a state-backed coin.

Kutsch also noted that a state-backed digital currency based on blockchain is “quite a promising direction,” adding:

“On the one hand, it will protect human rights in terms of property, and on the other —  significantly reduce the costs and time of transactions, as well as accelerate the turnover of money in the country.”

Russia has also discussed the possibility of of launching state-owned cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble, in January of this year.

Recently, Ukraine’s parliament had proposed a tax bill for crypto assets, suggesting a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with crypto, and an 18 percent tax for crypto-related profits.

And in July, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers on the Financial Stability Board held a meeting to determine the legal status of cryptocurrencies, supporting the concept of crypto regulation.



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Major Russian Banks Highly Interested in ‘Working With Crypto,’ Local Sources Say

Several large Russian banks have expressed their strong interest in working with the industry of cryptocurrency and blockchain during a closed-door meeting held at the Moscow Exchange, sources told Russian news site RBC September 19.

As an unnamed source familiar with the matter told RBC, the demand for cryptocurrencies in Russia is very high, but the banks are not able to meet it due to the lack of clearly defined regulations.

Because of that, the representatives of the Russian banks present at the meeting have talked to regulators from Japan, Luxembourg and Singapore to adapt their experience to local realities. Moreover, a lobby group has been formed with the goal of approaching the Russian government with suggestions on how to regulate crypto in the country.

As an RBC correspondent has learned, an executive from an unnamed “large” Russian bank hsa proposed to create an alternative bill on digital assets which will be “drastically different” from the current one proposed by government.

According to RBC’s report, the private round table has been organised by a lobby group which includes Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, VTB, and others.

The lobby group has also discussed regulatory issues with global experts, such as officials from a Japanese crypto exchange Bitflyer, Singapore-based blockchain platform NEM, and cryptocurrency Litecoin. Ex-Minister of Finance of Luxembourg Luc Frieden also took part in the meeting, explaining how his country had managed to build a legal framework for cryptocurrencies and become one of the leading financial hubs.

This was not the first meeting of a crypto lobby group held at the Moscow Exchange. The first one, also dedicated to Russia’s digital assets regulations, took place in June.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, a draft law “On Digital Financial Assets,” proposed by the Russian Ministry of Finance, has passed the first of a total of three readings in the State Duma back in May. However, a group of high-ranking Russian managers considered it “unfinished and fragmented.”



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