Archive: February 2019

1
Senate Committee publishes report and recommendations on regulation of Australian buy now pay later industry
2
Surge In Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacking Activity
3
California Regulator Seeking Comments on “Agent of the Payee” Exemption to Money Transmission Law
4
Crypto founder’s death elevates taking a secret to the grave to the next level
5
Massachusetts State Senators Seek to Enact Biometric Data Protection Law
6
Global Financial Innovation Network Launch
7
The Global Financial Innovation Network invites Fintech start-ups to test their products and services across borders
8
UK FCA New Guidance on Cryptoassets
9
Islamic-compliant Cryptocurrency Exchange Certified

Senate Committee publishes report and recommendations on regulation of Australian buy now pay later industry

Jim Bulling and Felix Charlesworth

Following on from the Senate Hearings in January 2019, the Economic References Committee (Committee) published its Report on credit and financial services targeted at Australians at risk of financial hardship.

In addressing the current regulation of the buy now pay later (BNPL) industry, the Committee raised its concerns about the ease of accessibility of BNPL services to consumers experiencing financial hardship. Despite BNPL businesses, such as AfterPay and Zip.co stating that they already had algorithms in place to detect whether it was appropriate to provide services to an individual, the Committee stated that “clearly more needs to be done to ensure consumers are protected, and company algorithms alone are not sufficient.”

Read More

Surge In Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacking Activity

By Jim Bulling and Edwin Tan

Cryptocurrency exchanges have always been a prime target for hacking activity due to the vast amounts of cryptocurrency and money held within each exchange.  Finding and exploiting weaknesses in exchanges can be very profitable for hackers, and such hacking activity has grown exponentially year on year.

In late December 2018, Coindesk published an article revealing that the amount of cryptocurrency stolen from exchanges increased 13 times in 2018 compared to 2017.  Analytics firm Chainalysis reported that approximately $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from digital currency exchanges in 2018.

Read More

California Regulator Seeking Comments on “Agent of the Payee” Exemption to Money Transmission Law

By Jeremy M McLaughlin

Several states exempt from their money transmission law, either through statute or regulatory guidance, an “agent of the payee.”  California is one such state.  In general, the exemption applies to a party that a payee has appointed as its agent for purposes of receiving payment from a payor.  The Department of Business Oversight (“DBO”), the agency that enforces California’s money transmitter law, has invited comments on a proposed rule making regarding the scope of the exemption.  Comments are due by April 9, 2019.

Read More

Crypto founder’s death elevates taking a secret to the grave to the next level

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

In an age where cyber security breaches are a near daily occurrence, and where we’re frequently reminded to keep our passwords secret and safe, the story that’s emerged regarding the fate of over AU$190 million of crypto-currency following the death of Gerald Cotten, the founder of Quadriga CX, is a little ironic to say the least.

The untimely death of the 30-year-old in December brought with it an unexpected sober reality – Mr Cotten was the only person with access to Quadriga’s coin reserve. No really … the ONLY person… you can see where this is going can’t you?

Read More

Massachusetts State Senators Seek to Enact Biometric Data Protection Law

By Andrew C. GlassGregory N. Blase and Daniel S. Cohen

The rise of Big Data and the development of tools to interpret massive data sets to better understand consumer behavior have led to booming demand for consumers’ personal information.  Technological advances have also made biometric data, such as fingerprints and facial features, useful security tools for electronic devices. The growing use of Big Data and biometric data has caused some concern among consumers and policymakers.  In response, several state legislatures have taken steps to regulate companies’ ability to acquire personal and biometric data.

Read More

Global Financial Innovation Network Launch

By Jonathan Lawrence

The Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) has been formally launched by an international group of financial regulators and related organisations. The GFIN is a network of 29 organisations of which 17 are currently offering cross-border trials for firms wishing to test FinTech products, services or business models across more than one jurisdiction. Those offering trials include the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Dubai Financial Services Authority. GFIN members that are not participating in the initial trial scheme include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Israel Securities Authority and the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

Read More

The Global Financial Innovation Network invites Fintech start-ups to test their products and services across borders

By Jim Bulling and Luke Camilleri

On 1 February 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced its participation in the recently created Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The GFIN is comprised of 29 regulatory bodies from jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The GFIN was established to:

  • act as a network of regulators to collaborate and share experiences of innovation in respective markets, including emerging technologies and business models, and to provide accessible regulatory contact information for firms;
  • provide a forum for joint regtech work and collaborative knowledge sharing; and
  • provide firms with an environment in which to trial cross-border solutions.
Read More

UK FCA New Guidance on Cryptoassets

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued its consultation paper, Guidance on Cryptoassets. It focuses on where cryptoassets interact with the FCA’s regulatory “perimeter” (the perimeter).  The guidance looks at where cryptoassets would be considered ‘Specified Investments’ under the Regulated Activities Order (RAO), ‘Financial Instruments’ such as ‘Transferable Securities’ under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II), or captured under the Payment Services Regulations (PSRs), or the E-Money Regulations (EMRs). It also covers where cryptoassets would not be considered ‘Specified Investments’ under the RAO. Comments on the consultation paper are requested by 5 April 2019.

Read More

Islamic-compliant Cryptocurrency Exchange Certified

By Jonathan Lawrence

Rain, a cryptocurrency exchange in Bahrain has received a Shari’a compliance certification from Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB).  SRB is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain as a Shari’a advisory firm authorised to issue Shari’a compliance certifications.  SRB reviewed Rain’s brokerage service and determined that the sale, purchase and custodian activities of Rain are in compliance with Shari’a principles.  The Shari’a certification covers three cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin). Rain aims to enable family offices, investors and Islamic institutional investors to buy, sell and store cryptocurrency in an Islamic-compliant way.

Rain was co-founded in 2017 by blockchain professionals from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Silicon Valley.  In September of that year, Rain was invited to join the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox.  It was the first digital currency exchange to be admitted to the sandbox – but since then four more have joined including UAE’s BitOasis.  However, many governments in the Middle East (including those of Saudi, Egypt and Morocco) have officially banned cryptocurrencies, urging residents not to invest in them.

Copyright © 2019, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.