Acochain.com – The legislative body of the Swiss government, the Federal Assembly, has approved a motion to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing legislation for cryptocurrency regulation. Coitelegraph auf Deutsch reported on the development on March 20.
The motion introduced by Liberal assemblyman Giovanni Merlini intends to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing provisions on procedural instruments of judicial and administrative authorities, so that they can also be applied to cryptocurrencies. The Council approved the motion introduced with 99 to 83 votes in favor and 10 abstensions.
The move aims to close perceived gaps in protecting cryptocurrency users from illicit activities like extortion and money laundering. The legislation is set to determine how to stifle cryptocurrency-associated risks, as well as whether entities operating crypto trading platforms should be equated with financial intermediaries, and thus be subject to financial market supervision.
Following the approval, Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer reportedly stated that the proposed developments exceeded the scope of the planned regulation.
Last December, Maurer indicated that instead of a specific blockchain or cryptocurrency legal framework, Switzerland should tweak existing laws to allow for the new technology and its financial application.
Earlier in March, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), a Swiss-based international banking authority, warned that the robust growth of the crypto industry could potentially “raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks.” The BCBS also argued that crypto assets are “unsafe to rely on” as a medium of exchange or store of value — two of the main functions of money — implying that “cryptocurrency” is a misnomer. (cointelegraph)
Coincheck Launches OTC Crypto Trading for Institutions
Acochain.com – Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has launched an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency trading service aimed at institutional clients, the firm said Monday.
While the service seem primarily to serve bitcoin trades, Coincheck said it will consider trades in other cryptocurrencies.
Coincheck said its OTC trading desk will allow customers to buy and sell a minimum of 50 bitcoins ($205,423 at press time) “quickly” at one go and at “attractive prices.” The service is available on weekdays between 10 a.m. (13 UTC) and 3 p.m. (18 UTC) Japan time.
In an OTC trading service, two parties trade directly with each other, unlike on an exchange where orders are matched between buyers and sellers.
Coincheck suffered a $530 million hack in January 2018, losing around 500 million NEM tokens from its digital wallets. The exchange was then acquired by Japanese online brokerage Monex Group for $33.5 million in April last year.
The cyber-attack also forced Coincheck to suspend its services for some months. By November, however, it had reinstated services for all listed cryptos on its platform.
Coincheck has since received a regulatory license in Japan and is now a registered entity with the Kanto Financial Bureau under the country’s Payment Service Act. It’s previously said it plans to resume other features, including leveraged transactions, Japanese yen depositing through convenience stores and a scheme that lets users pay utility bills with crypto.
A number of exchanges have recently moved to launch OTC trading services. Last week, the U.S. affiliate of the Huobi Global launched an institutional group for OTC cryptocurrency trading. While earlier this year, Bithumb Global and Bittrex also launched similar services. (coindesk)
Crypto Exchange Bittrex International to Host Its First Public ‘Initial Exchange Offering’
Acochain.com – Crypto exchange Bittrex is hosting its first token sale — dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) — on Bittrex International, its Malta-based digital asset trading platform. The news was announced in an official press release published on March 11.
Bittrex International, which operates within an EU and Maltese crypto regulatory framework, will officially start the IEO on Friday, March 15, the press release announces. Bittrex users will be able to use Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase “XRD” tokens, developed by international gaming data blockchain project Raid.
According to the press release, Raid is a project that rewards gamers for sharing data,as part of a tokenized ecosystem that aims to enhance marketing and business growth and foster other improvements for gaming companies.
Bittrex CEO and co-founder Bill Shihara has said that IEOs on the platform will allow international token investors to back new blockchain projects “with the peace of mind that comes from Bittrex International regulated in Malta.”
Bittrex has outlined the details of the IEO, which will end when a hard cap of 17 billion XRD (~$6 million) is reached.
Bittrex is currently within the top 50 largest crypto exchanges globally by adjusted daily trade volume, seeing about $73 million in trades on the day to press time.
Bittrex International’s foray into token sales follows major crypto exchange Binance’s token sale platform Launchpad, which recently hosted the high-profile — and extremely swift — token sale for the Tron-based BitTorrent token (BTT) this January. The BTT sale netted $7.1 million dollars with the sale of 50 billion tokens within 15-18 minutes. (cointelegraph)
Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase
Acochain.com – Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.
Sofi, which is headquartered in San Francisco, will reportedly launch its crypto services by the second quarter of 2019. Sofi CEO Anthony Noto — who was formerly Twitter’s chief operating officer and also a managing director at Goldman Sachs — told CNBC:
“Our target audience wants to see what the price of cryptocurrency is, and to buy it. They have a desire to do that and in many cases they already are.”
Buying, selling and price monitoring of cryptocurrencies is to be launched under the aegis of SoFi Invest — a new investment product that went live earlier this month. While not disclosing which cryptocurrencies are to be listed, Noto proposed that the notorious volatility of the digital assets and protracted crypto winter may in fact be considered an advantage by some. It’s a “two-sided coin,” he reportedly suggested, noting “some people may see it as an opportunity.”
In addition to crypto services, SoFi — which launched with an initial focus on student-loan financing back in 2011 — is reportedly also introducing an Annual Percentage Yield account for user deposits. It has also reportedly filed for two exchange-traded-funds, a credit card, and an initial public offering (IPO) in the longer term.
As reported yesterday, Coinbase’s professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro, has just launched support for trading Ripple’s XRP token, with trading pairs against the U.S. dollar, the euro, and Bitcoin (BTC).
This January, Robinhood — a popular stock trading app that ventured into crypto trading in February 2018 — sealed a BitLicense to operate in New York state from local regulators. (Cointelegraph)
Sony and Fujitsu Develop Blockchain Platform to Fight Fake Educational Qualifications
Acochain.com – Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony and IT equipment services firm Fujitsu have created an encrypted database for educational proficiency documents, The Asahi Shimbun reports on Feb. 26.
The database, which reportedly employs blockchain technology, is used to prevent forgeries of language proficiency documents, which some foreigners purportedly use to receive resident status to study in Japan.
Foreigners must submit a Japanese language proficiency certificate to the Immigration Bureau in order to receive resident status to study in Japan. Said certificates can be issued by Japanese educational institutions abroad. Japanese language schools within the country will submit the certificates on behalf of institutions overseas.
Illegal copies of the language certificates have reportedly been found in several different countries. The Asahi Shimbun states that students without proper language qualifications can face difficulties in their daily lives in Japan.
The two firms created the platform by combining Fujitsu’s online learning system with a blockchain developed by Sony subsidiary Sony Global Education Inc. In using the platform, Japanese language schools can compare certificates with data registered on the blockchain in order to verify that the documents are authentic.
Sony and Fujitsu will purportedly test the platform in March, before deploying for real-world use in April. The trial will take place at at Human Academy Co., which runs Japanese language schools in the cities of Osaka, Saga and Tokyo.
Other universities and institutions of learning around the world have been employing blockchain technology to fight fake diplomas. Last week, the Maltese government announced that all educational certifications in the country, including those from state, private and parochial schools, will be stored on a blockchain.
In January, Cointelegraph reported that the University of Bahrain will issue diplomas on a blockchain. The university employs the Blockcerts open standard in a partnership with Learning Machine, a startup that offers a blockchain-based system to issue and verify official records. (Cointelegraph)