US Representative Soto: Most Cryptos Need CFTC’s Light Touch, Not SEC Oversight

U.S. congressman Darren Soto has argued that applying federal securities laws to cryptocurrencies can hurt the market.

United States congressman Darren Soto has said that most cryptocurrencies should not be regulated under the country’s securities regulator. Soto made his comments in an interview with financial news channel Cheddar on Jan. 10.

According to Soto, crypto should be overseen by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — rather than classed as securities under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s charge.

Soto, a Democrat, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 9th District of Florida, and spearheaded a bipartisan effort together with congressman Ted Budd this winter to promote a robust and crypto-friendly regulatory environment in the country.

Advocating for the need to establish agencies’ jurisdiction with more clarity and to create fine-grained classifications for cryptocurrencies, the congressman argued that applying federal securities laws “can be very intense and hurt the market unless it is truly a security.”

He then outlined:

“We’ll be saving the SEC for true securities, knowing predominantly that these are commodities and currency transactions. The [CFTC and FTC] are agencies with a lighter touch and we have grown consensus among the industry that they’d be appropriate for the majority of these types of cryptocurrency transactions and the nature of these assets.”

Soto made his case against heavy-handed regulation with the view to maintain the United States’ global competitiveness —  acknowledging the proactive efforts to foster the crypto industry in countries such as Malta and Barbados. Soto remarked:

“We have sometimes taken for granted that the U.S. dollar is the foundation of the world economy, and how that creates stability and advantage […] As cryptocurrency becomes more utilized, that advantage could go away… [we] need to make sure we are aggressive and a fertile place for cryptocurrency transactions and for technology companies to be here.”

Since the U.S. does not currently have any singular regulatory body that oversees crypto regulation, regulators have long debated whether it is more accurate to align virtual currencies with commodities or securities.

The CFTC has determined some major cryptocurrencies to be commodities — most notably, Bitcoin (BTC).

Meanwhile, several prominent U.S. regulators have contended that most tokens sold via initial coin offerings (ICO) are to be deemed securities, bringing them under the purview of the SEC’s jurisdiction. According to the 70 year old Howey Test, a security involves the investment of money in a common enterprise, in which the investor expects profits primarily from others’ efforts.

The Internal Revenue Service has for its part advised that for federal tax purposes, it has decided to treat cryptocurrencies as property.

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US Representative Soto: Most Cryptos Need CFTC’s Light Touch, Not SEC Oversight

U.S. congressman Darren Soto has argued that applying federal securities laws to cryptocurrencies can hurt the market.

United States congressman Darren Soto has said that most cryptocurrencies should not be regulated under the country’s securities regulator. Soto made his comments in an interview with financial news channel Cheddar on Jan. 10.

According to Soto, crypto should be overseen by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — rather than classed as securities under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s charge.

Soto, a Democrat, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 9th District of Florida, and spearheaded a bipartisan effort together with congressman Ted Budd this winter to promote a robust and crypto-friendly regulatory environment in the country.

Advocating for the need to establish agencies’ jurisdiction with more clarity and to create fine-grained classifications for cryptocurrencies, the congressman argued that applying federal securities laws “can be very intense and hurt the market unless it is truly a security.”

He then outlined:

“We’ll be saving the SEC for true securities, knowing predominantly that these are commodities and currency transactions. The [CFTC and FTC] are agencies with a lighter touch and we have grown consensus among the industry that they’d be appropriate for the majority of these types of cryptocurrency transactions and the nature of these assets.”

Soto made his case against heavy-handed regulation with the view to maintain the United States’ global competitiveness —  acknowledging the proactive efforts to foster the crypto industry in countries such as Malta and Barbados. Soto remarked:

“We have sometimes taken for granted that the U.S. dollar is the foundation of the world economy, and how that creates stability and advantage […] As cryptocurrency becomes more utilized, that advantage could go away… [we] need to make sure we are aggressive and a fertile place for cryptocurrency transactions and for technology companies to be here.”

Since the U.S. does not currently have any singular regulatory body that oversees crypto regulation, regulators have long debated whether it is more accurate to align virtual currencies with commodities or securities.

The CFTC has determined some major cryptocurrencies to be commodities — most notably, Bitcoin (BTC).

Meanwhile, several prominent U.S. regulators have contended that most tokens sold via initial coin offerings (ICO) are to be deemed securities, bringing them under the purview of the SEC’s jurisdiction. According to the 70 year old Howey Test, a security involves the investment of money in a common enterprise, in which the investor expects profits primarily from others’ efforts.

The Internal Revenue Service has for its part advised that for federal tax purposes, it has decided to treat cryptocurrencies as property.

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Here’s Why 51% Attacks Don’t Affect Price

51% attacks

51% attacks are catastrophic in the cryptocurrency world–or are they? 51% attacks may be a little bit scary but here’s why they don’t affect price. The Ethereum Classic 51% Attack Ethereum Classic, one of the most popular altcoins by market cap, just succumbed to a 51% attack. A situation in which one mining entity gained control of over half the network’s hash rate caused double spending of thousands of ETC on several exchanges including Bitrue,

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Almost 5 New Cryptocurrency ATMs Installed Worldwide Each Day, Data Shows

The number of crypto ATMs installed worldwide has surged past the 4,000 mark, despite persistently bearish market action.

The number of crypto automated teller machines (ATMs) installed worldwide has surged past the 4,000 mark, data from industry statistics aggregator Coin ATM Radar indicates on Jan. 10.

The current rate of growth is 4.9 new ATMs installed each day, according to Coin ATM Radar’s gauge scale — tipping into the highest speed class, despite persistently bearish market action.

Crypto ATM installation speed. Source: coinatmradar.com

Out of a total of 4167 crypto ATMs worldwide, 71.8 percent are located in North America — 56 percent in the United States and 15 percent in Canada — 23 percent are in Europe, and 2.6 percent in Asia. 1.3 and 1.1 percent are in Oceania and South America respectively, and just 0.2 percent are located in Africa.

Within Asia, Hong Kong has the lion’s share of ATMs — accounting for 0.8 percent of machines worldwide — while in Europe it is Austria (6.4 percent), closely followed by the United Kingdom (4.8 percent).

According to the data, installations in the United States rose from 1,216 on Jan. 1, 2018 to 2,475 as of today — 1,259 new ATMs in just over a year. California has the highest number of any state — with a total of 473 machines — followed by Illinois with 250.

While the vast majority of the 4167 crypto ATMs worldwide support Bitcoin (BTC) — 99.9 percent, or 4,162 — 64.6 percent support one or more altcoins.

These break down to 59.5 percent support for Litecoin (LTC), 49.3 percent support for Ethereum (ETH) and 33.9 percent support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Dash (DASH) is supported by 17.9 percent of ATMs, while Monero (XMR), Dogecoin (DOGE) and ZCash (ZEC) are each supported by 3 percent or less.

Conspicuously absent from Coin ATM Radar’s global statistics is India. As reported last November, the developers of the country’s first Bitcoin “ATM” were arrested in the city of Bangalore under criminal charges due to its “ATM” label, as the machine was not strictly an ATM but a device that aimed to allow crypto users to circumvent banking channels.

The arrests came after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s spring 2018 prohibition on banks’ dealings with crypto-related firms.

Earlier this month, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Lamassu has relocated to Switzerland, due to regulatory difficulties in other countries. Lamassu revealed its applications to open an account were rejected by 15 banks because it produces terminals for Bitcoin, even though the company does not partake in trading or storing cryptocurrencies.

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China Introduces New Anti-Anonymity Regulations for Blockchain-Related Companies

China has introduced new guidelines seeking to eliminate anonymity in blockchain networks.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has introduced new regulations for blockchain firms that are operating in the country. The announcement was published on the regulator’s website on Thursday, Jan. 10.

According to the CAC, the guidelines, which will come into force on Feb. 15, were developed to contribute to the healthy development of the industry.

The document describes the firms that are subject to regulations as websites or mobile apps that provide information and technical support to the public using blockchain technologies. As soon as the regulations come into power, they will be obliged to register their names, domains and server addresses at the CAC within 20 days.

The guidelines require blockchain startups to allow authorities access to stored data, and to introduce registry procedures that would require ID card or mobile numbers from its users. Moreover, they will be obliged to oversee content and censor information that is prohibited under current Chinese law.

If a firm fails to comply with the regulations, it might face fines from 20,000 to 30,000 yuans ($2,900 and $4,400, respectively). In case of serial offences, the company might face a criminal investigation.

China first released draft guidelines in October for blockchain companies, which also contained recommendations that sought to eliminate anonymity in blockchain.

At the time, Asian newspaper The South China Morning Post wrote about an anonymous open letter that alleged sexual harassment at a top Chinese university that was published on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain in April. The media outlet believes the publication of the letter could be a motivation behind the new regulations.

China is currently mainly piloting blockchain legislation in three regions — Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. According to a December report by local finance publication Securities Daily, there are 11 blockchain-related policy projects concentrated in these areas.

In the meantime, the country has upheld a de facto ban on domestic crypto trading since 2017, which was completed in February 2018 when the government added international crypto exchanges and initial coin offering (ICO) websites to its Great Firewall. The decision was approved by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, and regulators.

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Crypto Exchange Seed CX Launches On-Chain Wallet Solution for Institutional Investors

Crypto exchange Seed CX, a Chicago-based platform targeting institutional clients, has launched a new digital asset wallet solution with on-chain settlement.

Crypto exchange Seed CX — a Chicago-based licensed platform targeting institutional clients — has launched a digital asset wallet solution with on-chain settlement, according to a press release published Jan. 10.  

Seed CX has reportedly developed the new wallet solution together with its settlement subsidiary, Zero Hash — a crypto and fiat currency custodian providing on-chain settlement services. Zero Hash reportedly has FinCEN’s regulatory approval to operate as a money transmitter across 25 American states, and is also under review for a prospective BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

As the press release outlines, Seed CX platform users will each be assigned a unique, segregated wallet, which the company argues is more secure than existing multi-user, omnibus wallet solutions offered by other exchanges. Seed CX makes the case that dispersing digital asset holdings across multiple unique wallets helps to mitigate the risk of threat actors accessing pooled assets via a single vector of attack.

To provide a higher level of anonymity for its on-chain solution, Zero Hash will also reportedly generate new wallet addresses for each user each time transfers between wallets occur, making the movements associated with a single wallet less conspicuous to other market participants.

Other operational safeguards will reportedly include restricting access for withdrawal of assets to the user or an authorized delegate signer, whitelisted address functionality to determine pre-approved destination wallets and mult-signature security.

The press release levels criticisms at the inadequate security protocols it considers to be rife among exchanges, as well as at the limited visibility investors are given with off-chain wallet solutions.

As previously reported, 31 crypto exchanges have been hacked over the last eight years, with an estimated $1.3 billion stolen.

As Cointelegraph reported in September, Seed CX is backed by Boston-based alternative investment firm Bain Capital Ventures, which led a $15 million funding round for the exchange. The platform is licensed to offer both spot market and U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)-regulated derivatives, the latter for which it reportedly plans to offer a separate market in the future.

With Seed CX targeting institutional clients with its new solution, the market for retail-focused wallets has seen several recent developments. South Korean electronics giant Samsung filed for a crypto wallet-related trademark in the United Kingdom in December, while stalwart hardware wallet firm Ledger launched a Bluetooth-based wallet earlier this month.

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Venezuelan WTO Request Accuses US of ‘Discriminatory Measures’ Against Petro Coin

Venezuela has requested consultations with the U.S. government in connection with “discriminatory” sanctions against its national digital currency.

Venezuela has taken issue with United States sanctions, including those levied against transactions in the country’s national digital currency, the Petro (PTR), according to a World Trade Organization (WTO) consultation request, published Jan. 8.

The request, dubbed “United States — Measures relating to trade in goods and services,” was originally filed on Dec. 28. In the document, the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requests consultations with the U.S. government regarding “certain measures imposed by the United States in relation to trade in goods and services.”

In particular, the document describes five key areas through which the U.S. purportedly introduced “coercive trade-restrictive measures […] on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” One of the fives areas describes “[d]iscriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures with respect to transactions in Venezuelan digital currency.”

In this section, the Venezuelan government alleges that the U.S. government subjects Venezuelan financial services and financial service suppliers to the above measures, “under which suppliers receive treatment less favourable than that accorded to like services and service suppliers of WTO Member States not subject to the measures.”

The document also alleges that:

“[…]inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favourable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”

Venezuela thus requests consultations with the government of the U.S. and modification, replacement and amendment of the measures identified in the compliant.

In February 2018, the Venezuelan government launched the pre-sale of its national oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro (PTR). The country reportedly introduced the currency in an attempt to attract foreign investors and skirt U.S. and EU sanctions, as well as overcome catastrophic hyperinflation in the country.

Later in August, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that the Petro will be used as a unit of account within the country, creating two official currencies. In December, the country took one more step towards mass adoption of the Petro by reportedly automatically converting pensioners’ most recent monthly bonus into the cryptocurrency.

Today, Jan. 10, Cointelegraph reported that the Venezuelan government has published a new decree that introduces taxation for operations with cryptocurrency and foreign fiat currencies. The decree states that all citizens who deal with cryptocurrencies or foreign fiat currencies are now obliged to report their income and pay taxes in the same currency they have operated in, and not in the sovereign bolivar.

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Nick Szabo: Central Banks Might Switch From ‘Physically Vulnerable’ Gold to Bitcoin

Nick Szabo

Central Banks might resort to cryptocurrency reserves as means of supplementing national gold reserves according to veteran cryptographer Nick Szabo. He also holds that the use of digital currencies will rise in countries with distraught economies.  Cryptocurrency Over Gold Speaking at the Israel Bitcoin Summit at Tel Aviv University on January 8th, legendary cryptographer, Nick Szabo, said that national central banks might resort to cryptocurrency reserves as means of supplementing existing national gold reserves. “Bitcoin

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Russian Parliament to Focus on Digital Economy Bills in Next Session, Says Chairman

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, has prioritized digital economy bills, including a draft bill on crypto.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, has said that bills on the digital economy will be a priority during the upcoming session. The parliament’s official website revealed this in a press release published Wednesday, Jan. 9.

Speaking at the opening of the parliament’s spring session, Volodin mentioned the digital economy bills that are currently being considered, including the ones on digital financial assets, digital rights and crowdfunding. According to the chairman, the members of the parliament will focus on these bills during the upcoming session.

Volodin also urged lawmakers to create a favorable legal environment for the development of the digital economy in Russia.

The chairman further recommended the creation of working groups of experts, entrepreneurs and researchers in order to speed up the development of new digital economy-related laws. Volodin added that the MPs are set to present more than 20 new draft bills related to the digital economy in the near future.

The Russian government has been struggling to finalize its bill on digital assets throughout last year, with the final version receiving heavy criticism from members of the industry. The draft bill for crypto legislation — which lacked definitions for core crypto concepts, such as mining and cryptocurrencies themselves — has been ultimately sent back to the first reading stage.

In September, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) — the members of which include mineral mining and smelting billionaire Vladimir Potanin and the head of the Russian innovation fund Skolkovo, Viktor Vekselberg — proposed an alternative to the state draft bill on crypto. In November, the group sent its proposals to the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev.

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DARB Finance: An Integrated Trading Solution With a Special Christmas Offer

DARB Finance is a fully-fledged integrated trading platform. It’s user-friendly, secure, and it also makes trading particularly convenient. Going beyond what ordinary exchanges provide, DARB offers an entire ecosystem for trading, managing, learning, and taking the best care of your portfolio. Cryptocurrency Trading Made Easier Before everything else, DARB Finance is a very easy-to-use, secure, and comprehensive trading platform. Its most integral qualities include lightning fast speed, convenience, and security. Using a matching engine capable

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