Remember Paragon? ‘Revolutionizing Cannabis With Blockchain’ Token Down 96%

Paragon, the outfit which raised over $70 million in an ICO to build a “social network of cannabis startups,” has lost 96 percent of its market cap. Doing Nothing With Blockchain Perhaps the latest example of the “irrational exuberance” of the 2017 ICO rush, Paragon (PRG) , which had the backing of US rapper The Game and an infamous video to match, currently has a token market cap of just $2.7 million. The project was

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Abu Dhabi Regulator Calls for International Cryptocurrency Regulation Effort

A senior finance official has said Abu Dhabi would like to see comprehensive international regulation of the cryptocurrency arena.

The head of the financial regulator of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi wants “proper” international regulation of cryptocurrency, local news outlet The National reports Wednesday, September 19.

Speaking during an interview at this week’s Fintech Abu Dhabi event, Richard Teng, head of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), claimed that loss and theft of cryptocurrency negatively impacts its image as an asset.

“This space needs to be properly regulated, otherwise there is the risk of financial crime,” he said, noting:

“Every time a coin gets stolen or lost, it affects the confidence in this asset class.”

The comments mark the latest in a series of official opinions on cryptocurrencies to have emerged from the UAE in recent weeks.

As Cointelegraph reported, this month should see formal regulations emerge at a nationwide level in the UAE regarding both fintech and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

This week, a Dubai police chief went on record to say digital currency would “soon replace” traditional cash, while other senior law enforcement officials called for the central bank to issue a national cryptocurrency.

ADGM, meanwhile, has long engaged with the crypto market, publishing guidelines last year, with Teng noting the organization had since shared its expertise with a number of international governments. Teng added:

“We are confident that our comprehensive regime — which we have shared with global regulators […] can address these risks and bring greater confidence into this asset class.”

Recipients included the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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Tezos Foundation Announces Launch of Its Long-Awaited Mainnet

The Tezos Foundation is preparing to launch its mainnet on Monday, September 17.

The Swiss-based cryptocurrency project the Tezos Foundation has announced that its mainnet will be launched on Monday, according to a September 14 tweet.

On Monday, the beta period of the network will officially be over, as the protocol will become a full mainnet. Tezos introduced its beta network in June, calling the move an “inflection point” for the project. From that point on, users could begin validating blocks or “baking” after the first seven cycles.

In order to build a network and issue a new type of cryptocurrency, Tezos launched an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in July 2017, in which it raised around 66,000 Bitcoins (BTC) and 361,000 Ethereums (ETH), worth about $232 million at that time. Tezos, however, called the funds “a non-refundable donation” and not a “speculative investment,” adding that the token might not be issued at all.

Following the ICO, a dispute arose between Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, the co-founders of the project who own Tezos’ intellectual property rights, and Johann Gevers, who controlled the raised funds. This led to an indefinite delay of the platform launch and a series of lawsuits against the company.

Since the ICO’s completion, Tezos has also been the subject of criticism and multiple lawsuits concerning compliance with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. The lawsuits claimed that Tezos tokens should be considered securities under U.S. law, meaning they would need to be registered with the SEC in order to be legally sold to investors.

In June, the foundation announced the implementation of Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering (KYS/AML) checks for contributors, specifically for those looking to participate in ICOs. The move was met with a negative reaction from the community.

At press time, Tezos (XTZ) is trading around $1.54, up over 15 percent on the day, while its market capitalization is about $933 million.

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Final Draft of ICO Legislation Could Signify Next Step for Philippines Fintech Sector

The Philippine government is about to reveal industry-defining regulation for cryptocurrency

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is due to unveil the hotly anticipated draft regulation for cryptocurrencies in the next few days, if the information provided by The Manilla Times is correct. If the regulation reflects the previous enthusiastic efforts to implement cryptocurrency in the Philippines, it stands to play a seminal role in defining the country’s status as a major player in the fintech sector. The SEC chairman, Ephyro Luis Amatong, has previously emphasised the need to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges as traditional trading platforms.

The draft comes in the wake of several Philippine lawmakers calling for the creation of a properly structured and above-board regulatory environment for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) as the country opens up to the new technology. In spite of several successful DApps being developed in the country and the start of a promising upward trend for the Filipino fintech industry, officials are aware of the need to create a competent legislative framework to both protect their citizens from scams and for the sector to develop profitably.

In stark contrast to the majority of other central banks worldwide, the Philippines central bank — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) — has been extremely proactive in ushering in both the implementation and regulation of cryptocurrencies. The central bank has developed a partnership with the SEC in order to establish “cooperative oversight.” SEC Chairman Amatong explains their cooperation:

“We already discussed the matter with the BSP, since the BSP is also interested and we are also interested […] The discussion […] [involves] joint cooperative oversight over [cryptocurrency exchanges] engaged in trading.”

Back in 2016, the BSP deputy director Melchor Plabasan made clear his positive outlook on the potential of cryptocurrencies in a televised interview, stating that:

“If you want something that is fast, near real-time and convenient, then there’s the benefit of using virtual currencies like Bitcoin.”

Final draft builds on months-long efforts to create effective legislation

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, this upcoming draft is the just the latest installment of the SEC’s attempt to regulate the cryptocurrency sector.

In November 2017, the SEC announced that it would move to legalize digital currencies by classifying them as securities, using the example of new regulation in the United States, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The SEC chairman and then-commissioner Emilio Aquino shed light on the developments in a news conference:

The direction is for us to consider this so-called virtual currencies offerings as possible securities, in which case we will apply the Securities Regulation Code. The heightened frenzy and increasing popularity surrounding Initial Coin Offerings has pushed authorities to lay down new rules to protect consumers.”

In August 2018, the SEC released their draft rules for public feedback. According to the official statement released by the local SEC, any company registered in the Philippines seeking to run an ICO must submit an initial request to the commision, establishing whether their token qualifies as a security. Companies must submit their assessment requests no less than 90 days before they plan to launch their sale period. The SEC will then review the request within 20 days and provide its findings in a written report.

The report also said that if ICOs were only to be distributed among 20 people or less, then registration with the SEC may not be compulsory.

The proposed legislative framework seeks to set out clear rules to avoid the creation of fraudulent ICO projects. The SEC has been proposing to regulate crypto assets since late 2017. In April, the Philippines also floated the notion of defining cloud mining contracts as securities, given that the investors of the data centers operate the process via “investment contracts.”

The SEC specified that they invited banks and investment houses, along with the investing public, to submit feedback on the proposed rules and set a deadline of Aug. 31.

Crime and punishment: The government cracks down on scams

Like most countries in which cryptocurrency is a burgeoning platform, the Philippines has been victim to a number of scams, as naive investors seek quick returns on offers that are too good to be true while regulators scramble to keep up.

In May, an email circulated using the name of President Rodrigo Duterte, along with high-profile members of the Senate, encouraging them to part with their hard-earned pesos in order to invest in cryptocurrency, with the promise of high returns.

The presidential spokesman for the Philippines was forced to step in and make a statement denouncing the email scam after President Duterte’s brother’s name was used in conjunction with the scandal.

In his official statement, Roque said:

“For your information, now that the President’s brother [is being dragged into that cryptocurrency scam], the President has asked me at least three times to announce and inform the public not to entertain any person peddling their alleged influence with the President, including his relatives.”

In another scandal, the Philippine’s SEC issued a warning to investors about Onecash Trading, another digital currency provider promising attractive returns of over 200 percent to investors in only eight weeks:

“Facebook Account Onecash Trading is inviting the public to sign up to their website through a sponsored link and deposit an amount of P1,000 [$20] as an enrollment fee. Upon activation thereof, a member may opt to become a Trader with a promise receiving 25 percent return of investment every Thursday for eight consecutive weeks without doing anything, or to be a Builder wherein a member shall be receiving P 50.00 [$1] per direct and indirect invites, up to the 10th level.”

The SEC stated that all investment schemes that make use of either fiat money or cryptocurrencies are deemed securities and are subsequently required to comply with existing regulations in the Philippines. The statement also came with a warning: Those who fall foul of the law could end up serving 21 years in prison as well as paying up to $100,000 in fines.

Cryptocurrencies are a relatively recent phenomenon for most countries. Their sudden skyrocketing into the very center of both public consciousness and the world of finance has often caught governments and issuers by surprise. As a result of this, governments are often on the back foot when it comes to legislation, leaving the door wide open for scammers. An example of this is the January hack of Coincheck in Japan, which led to the theft of $532 million worth of NEM. Anger at the hack was compounded by the fact that Coincheck was not registered with Japan’s Financial Services Agency and was therefore not subject to the same level of scrutiny as other exchanges in the country. The exchange froze all transactions and issued an apology. The Coincheck security compromise is indicative of wider issues in the crypto world, with over $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen worldwide in 2017 alone. However, investors and regulators alike are learning from their mistakes. With the Philippine government taking steps to crack down on cyber crime, the wild west environment that has allowed startups and scammers to flourish in equal measure is soon to draw to a close.

The current legislation put in place by the Philippine government to deter cyber criminals has been deemed too tepid for some. Opposition politician Senator Leila de Lima is pushing a bill through the senate that seeks to impose drastically stricter punishments for crimes relating to cryptocurrencies.

In her authority as a former justice secretary, de Lima used the April 4 arrest of two individuals for an alleged P900 million ($17.2 million) Bitcoin scam to emphasize the need for Senate Bill No. 1694 to be passed:

“I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon. Knowing that virtual currency resembles money, and that the possibilities in using it are endless, higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.”

De Lima provided a list of illicit activities that could use cryptocurrencies:

“Where unscrupulous individuals entice unsuspecting people to purchase fake Bitcoins, sending a virtual currency as payment for child pornography or a public officer agreeing to perform an act in consideration of payment in Bitcoins [direct bribery].”

De Lima’s bill would determine the severity of the criminal activity by the equivalent value of the funds raised through illegal activity. Depending on the amount illicitly raised and the circumstances in which the funds were raised, individuals could face lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain could help unite the Philippines fragmented payments sector

In a bid to keep the country at the forefront of the ever-expanding crypto frontier, the Philippine government has created the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). With countries like Malta and Switzerland already ahead of the curve in welcoming both blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the CEZA is the country’s response to the ‘Crypto Valley’ of Switzerland’s Zug canton. The Philippine government permitted 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the zone, with the aim of promoting economic growth and generating jobs for its citizens. In spite of appearances, the zone isn’t just a tax haven free-for-all. Companies are required to contribute no less than $1 million over a two-year period, which, in turn, is topped up by up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

CEZA deputy administrator for planning and business development Raymundo T. Roquero explained what businesses must do to be able to operate in the zone:

“When they apply, they will pay an application fee of $100,000 (P5.35 million) [and a] license fee of $100,000. Then you go into probity checks, then application programming integration (API), which costs an additional $100,000.”

In a ceremony granting licenses to operate in the zone in April, Roquero commented on some of the applications that had been successful:

“These are offshore companies, and they have committed investments of $1 million (P534.6 million) each. GMQ intends to build [its] infrastructure in Sta. Ana, Cagayan […] and will have an incubation period of two years, so they are already allowed to operate here in Manila.”

Crypto activity in the Philippines, however, is not confined to the CEZA alone. The U.S.-based company ConsenSys has launched Project i2i — short for “island-to-island,” a payment network built on Ethereum that aims to connect the 400 rural community banks across the Philippines. Although there are evidently banks to serve the country’s many rural communities, they are neither connected to any wider electronic networks nor international money transfer systems, meaning that thousands of people are without a means of making quick and reliable payments.

Pic

Pic2The project uses a web API in order to allow banks to connect to a blockchain backend. This allows users to both carry out transactions and to make use of smart contracts on permissioned blockchain via ConsenSys’ Kaleido platform.

Transactions signed through this system will allow for the pledging of digital tokens corresponding to an amount of Philippine pesos in an off-chain account, as well as redeeming and transferring tokens among other platform users.

Success stories help the government to keep an open mind about cryptocurrencies

In spite of a stumbling start to the outright acceptance of cryptocurrencies, the Philippine government is clearly waking up to the many advantages that the technology can bring. This change has not gone unnoticed by some of the industry players.

In an interview with Nikkei, FintechAlliance chairman Lito Villanueva said:

“With these startups come huge investments in their portfolio. Surely, each country would want to take a piece of the action. Taking blockchain and fintech players in with enabling regulations and potential investment incentives would surely make the game more exciting.”

Some of the nation’s startups have already brought in considerable investment. Perhaps the Philippines’ most well-known fintech startup success story, Coins.ph, raised $5 million in a Series A funding round, securing investment from Naspers and Quona Capital. Other Philippine crypto pioneers include Bloom Solutions and Satoshi Citadel Industries.

Aiai Garcia, global business development lead for Consensys in Asia-Pacific commented on how the Philippines central bank’s openness toward cryptocurrencies had benefited the industry within the country:

“Today, the Philippines has one of the most advanced blockchain payments apps in the world [Coins.ph], which provides 1.5 million Filipinos alternative access to their finances and other value-added services. [Philippine] regulators were also among the first to announce the regulation of Bitcoin as security.”

It appears that the government is aware that the opportunities for fintech companies can bring benefits for itself. Department of Finance spokesperson Paola Alvarez said:

‘’Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez is really pushing for the application of financial technology. He wants to harness fintech to improve business, for example, payment of taxes online.”

As both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology gain footing across the globe, the potential benefits for the underdeveloped Philippine fintech industry are hard to deny. The disparate and fragmented nature of the island’s financial system could be revolutionized thanks to initiatives such as i2i, along with the nation’s many payment apps that have sprung up in recent years. With eager anticipation from high-profile government figures, the ICO regulations seem set to take the next step in defining the role of cryptocurrency in the nation’s future.

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Platform Allows Content Creators to Sell Footage to News Media Via Blockchain Auction

Users can upload their photos and videos to the platform and get the “best deal” from the media with a new auction system. All the rewards are made in tokens.

The media sharing and advertising platform Snapparazzi has announced a release of its minimum viable product (MVP) of a blockchain-based platform. The app aims to allow everyone with a smartphone “to become a reporter” or a content creator. The user takes footage or a photo of newsworthy events with their smartphone and shares it using the platform. The interested buyers — TV, newspapers, radio, etc. — pay for the content in fiat currency. The user will in turn be paid in SnapCoin, the platform’s token for their contribution. The platform also targets content creators and says they can get paid substantially more with Snapparazzi compared to YouTube for creating or watching content.

How the application works

According to the company, the platform is dedicated to solving the problem that conventional media is facing — incomplete media coverage: Many media companies don’t have enough journalists to send to the scene, and it is also expensive. Snapparazzi say they are ready to bridge the gap by encouraging users to capture the footage of an interesting social, political or entertainment event and get paid for sharing it. That means that every person with a smartphone can be a “unique and unrivaled source” for the exclusive content. Moreover, the number of those potential sources increases every year. According to the Statista analytics, there will be more than five billion mobile phone users in the world by 2019.  

Snapparazzi promises an innovative auction system that allows users to sell their breaking news footage by using blockchain technology and guarantees a fair return of 80 percent of the sale price, ensuring they will get a good deal. It allows them to choose the best price and sell their content to the top bidder. The company says another way to share the advertising revenue and for users to earn the SnapCoin is by being rewarded for watching targeted advertisements. These are optional for viewing, so users decide whenever they want these ads to be included with their video. For those who wish to be a more advanced user within Snapparazzi, there is the opportunity of becoming a moderator. This job requires ensuring that the other users view the most relevant content. The moderators efficacy and performance is judged by the other members before they are rewarded accordingly with SnapCoin.

Snapparazzi assures that everybody who uses the platform will be able to earn. According to the company’s revenue sharing model, 60 percent of the ad revenue will belong to the content creator, 80 percent of the amount paid by the buyer will go to the reporter, 2 percent of the revenue will be received by the moderator and 20 percent of ad revenue will be the viewer’s share.

The integration of the blockchain

SnapCoin, which is used for payments on Snapparazzi, is an Ethereum-based token. The Smart Contract saves all bids on the blockchain. The buyer and the seller use this Smart Contract once they agree on the price of the content. It allows the payment for the content to be transferred instantly and automatically and will protect the copyright for those choosing to keep it, Snapparazzi says. All transactions that occur on the platform are stored as an immutable ledger, which makes them tamper-proof and protects against cybersecurity threats thanks to the blockchain.

Plans for the future

The company is launching a pre-ICO on Sept. 14th, together with the release of the MVP. A private sale has helped Snapparazzi raise $5 million. The company believes that their strong community within social networks has had an impact on the success of the initial sales — with 85K followers of Snapparazzi on Telegram, 23K on Twitter, 16K on Instagram, 2260 ‘Karma Points’ on Reddit, etc.

The Snapparazzi team says that there are a few big steps planned for November 2018. There will be the start of the beta testing for the app and the release of SnapCoin on exchanges. At the end of the year, in December, the Snapparazzi app will be released on the App Store and Google Play. Next year, the company hopes to open offices in three continents, including North America, Asia and Europe, and will present the beta version of a live broadcast feature.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Wall Street’s EF Hutton Wants to Raise $60 Mln Issuing Crypto ‘Instruments, Coins, Tokens’

Stock brokerage EF Hutton continues its cryptocurrency foray by pledging to issue its own products to attract investment.

U.S. stock brokerage firm EF Hutton plans to issue $60 million in various cryptocurrency instruments from January 2019, Bloomberg reported September 13.

The latest in a series of crypto-related announcements this month, the company’s parent organization HUTN said it would begin offering “multiple instruments, coins and tokens” which would “generate proceeds of at least $60 million.”

The move comes the same week as EF Hutton confirmed it was the major sponsor of a new U.S. cryptocurrency exchange known as ACEx, which also plans to start operating next January along with issuing its own token.

“Proceeds will be used to fund marketing, technology and to redeem debt and for general corporate expenses,” the release explains about the asset issuance plans.

“We know ICOs succeed when they present powerful use cases that improve their holders utility with the peer-to-peer functionality of blockchain’s technology,” HUTN CEO Christopher Daniels commented on the most recent announcements:

“Consequently, we are confident that ICO buyers will eagerly seek to hold the coins and tokens we are issuing.”

Whitepapers for the forthcoming tokens are promised this autumn, promising a “use case” for each instrument on offer. As yet, no specific information is available about the offering.

HUTN has already hired an advisor with a history of helping companies engage in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to the tune of $290 million, it continues, adding it now “has special insight and experience in the cryptocurrency market.”

The company has already attempted to back those claims, Cointelegraph reported September 7, as in embarked on a cryptocurrency research project to assist investors “confused” about the industry.

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TrustNodes: ICOs Sold 160,000 Ethereum Over the Past 10 Days

A TrustNodes study says that ICO projects sold 160,000 ETH in the past 10 days – three times the amount sold by ICOs in the month of August.

In the past 10 days, Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects have sold three times more Ethereum (ETH) than they did in August, according to research by TrustNodes published September 13.

The 160,000 Ethereum tokens sold over the past few days amount to $33 million, according to the price index at press time. Per TrustNodes, ICO projects sold 82,000 ETH on September 4, which was followed by a sharp decline in crypto markets.

Average daily ETH sales from ICOs varied from 1,000 to 5,000 coins in August, with occasional sales around 10,000 ETH. In contrast, the same amount of 10,000 ETH became a far more common daily sales volume in September.

According to TrustNodes, the total amount of Ethereum sold by ICOs over the past 30 days now amounts to 283,000 ETH, which is almost $60 million at press time.

Citing crypto data provider Santiment, TrustNodes states that the highest share of ETH sales from ICOs is attributable to the Digix ICO project. Digix’s paper value Ethereum holdings amounted to $150,000 million, which is significantly higher than the current total market capitalization of DigixDAO coin, which is $69 million at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that funding for ICOs have seen its hardest decline in 16 months. In August, ICO startups raised $326 million, the smallest amount since May 2017.

Ethereum-based ICOs have been outlined as the main factor for the recent ETH price decline, as some projects withdraw their funds in order to cover costs amid concerns over a bearish market. Today, Ethereum skyrocketed almost 20 percent with an intraday high of $214.18, after plunging below $170 earlier this week, its lowest point in 2018.

Also today, Sonny Singh, the CCO of global crypto payment processor Bitpay, argued that altcoins “will never come back” to their previous levels. Singh said that institutions adding financial products like crypto ETFs will be the main drivers of a bullish trend in the market and they are “not going to launch altcoin products, they’re going to launch Bitcoin products.”

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Unconfirmed: UAE Preparing to Adopt Formal ICO, Fintech Regulations, Local Media Report

The United Arab Emirates’ fintech and ICO regulation agreed upon in July will shortly become law, local media report.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has approved a draft of regulations governing Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), local media outlet WAM reported Sunday, September 9 citing government sources.

The reported move comes in addition to lawmakers in the country adopting plans for a regulatory sandbox aimed at attracting greater fintech activity.

“The sandbox will act as an environment that attracts innovators to test innovative products, services, solutions and business models in a controlled space,” a report from the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) published September 4 reads, adding:

“This can be achieved by adopting an approach of relaxing and / or waving regulatory requirements for participants in the sandbox, while at the same time, ensuring that appropriate consumer protection safeguards are in place.”

The regulatory proposals regarding ICOs gained approval from the SCA in July, while WAM now reports the agreement will enter into law upon its imminent publication in the UAE’s Official Gazette, an official periodical containing all the country’s legislation.

“The SCA Board of Directors has approved the SCA plan to regulate the ICOs and recognise them as securities,” WAM stated, noting:

“The Board of Directors, having reviewed a study on the best international practices in this regard, has issued a directive that the procedures for trading digital token are to be regulated. The plan developed by the SCA includes a set of mechanisms as part of an integrated project to regulate digital securities and commodities.”

The UAE has pursued an in-depth policy of fintech integration in recent years, with a particular emphasis on blockchain at both municipal and state level.

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Russian Central Bank Reportedly Conducted ‘Successful’ ICO Trial

A Russian Central Bank representative during a forum has announced that the bank has “successfully” conducted an experimental ICO.

An official from Russia’s central bank has revealed that the bank has recently conducted a “successful” experimental Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as cited by local news agency TASS Tuesday, September 11.

Ivan Semagin, deputy director of the Financial Market Development Department for the Bank of Russia, told TASS:

“Within a framework of the central bank’s sandbox, we conducted an experimental ICO on the basis of our existing infrastructure. Technically it was a success, but we still have a lot of legal issues”.

TASS writes that Sberbank and the National Settlement Depository were set to test an experimental ICO, issued by the Moscow-based commercial hall firm LevelOne, at the end of the summer.

Semagin made the announcement of the “successful” trial during in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), an annual event dedicated to the interaction and partnership between the Russian Far East and the Asia-Pacific Region, participating in “The Far East as a Financial and Offshore Centre” discussion.

Both Russian and Chinese officials and journalists attended the forum. During a discussion centered around crypto and ICOs, Alexey Chekunkov, CEO of the Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, also noted that an ICO is a “useful technology” that might bring a good deal of money to the state.

He used Singapore and the U.S. as examples of a reasonable approach to crypto regulation, also adding that he remained quite sceptical about Bitcoin (BTC), calling it a “harmful pyramid scheme that wastes a lot of electricity in vain.”

The largest Russian bank, Sberbank, was reportedly the first in the country to test crypto-related technologies earlier this year. As Cointelegraph reported this January, Sberbank announced that it was opening a crypto exchange option for institutional investors via its Swiss branch.

According to TASS, Russia then officially launched a regulatory platform for new digital financial services and technologies that require changes in regulation in April. The Bank of Russia, along with state bodies and other institutions, then evaluates the pilot services and technologies participating in the platform.

However, some top Russian officials remain sceptical about cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and blockchain.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier in September, the president’s special representative on digital and technological development, Dmitry Peskov, said that the country is not yet ready for the circulation and issuance of cryptocurrencies. As well, President Vladimir Putin himself has said that Russia cannot have its own cryptocurrency, as cryptocurrency “by definition” cannot be controlled by a centralized entity.

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Crypto ‘Here to Stay’ but Needs Classification, Says European Commission Vice President

The E.U. will focus on crypto classification and “regulatory mapping,” since crypto is “here to stay,” according to the European Commission’s Vice President.

The European Union (E.U.) will focus on the development of crypto asset classification and regulatory mapping, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis claimed at a recent meeting of Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) in Vienna.

According to Dombrovskis, crypto assets are “here to stay,” and the crypto market still “continues to grow” despite “recent turbulence.”

The Commissioner claimed that, in order to address major issues around cryptocurrencies, the E.U. will focus on the main challenge that is how to “categorize and classify” crypto assets this year. He also stated that the organization will consider whether existing E.U. financial regulation can be applied, or if there is rather a need to develop new rules.

As Dombrovskis stressed, the Commission has already teamed up with European Supervisory Authorities in order to develop a so-called “regulatory mapping” of crypto assets to provide a “solid ground” to establish the status of cryptocurrencies, as well as to set up “further steps in this area.”

In his speech Dombrovskis paid special attention to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), characterizing them as a “viable form of alternative financing,” and pointing out that ICOs generated $6 billion last year. Dombrovskis further emphasized that “this figure will be substantially bigger” in 2018.

Concerning other problems in the field, Dombrovskis mentioned the major risks of crypto, including “lack of transparency,” protecting investors, market integrity, as well as money laundering, fraud, and hacking.

In this regard, the Latvian politician suggested the need to keep monitoring the dynamics of the industry, stressing the importance of cooperation with global partners at the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and G20.

This summer, the FSB claimed that crypto assets do not pose any material risk to global financial stability, while the sphere still needs in-depth monitoring due to rapid market development.

On September 5, Cointelegraph reported that Belgian think tank Bruegel released a report calling for E.U.-level unified legislation on cryptocurrencies, and more regulation for ICOs.

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