The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK financial regulator, confirmed to the Financial Times on 30 December 2018 that it was investigating 18 businesses involved in the sale of cryptocurrencies. The regulator has also issued alerts and warnings about dozens of companies suspected of cryptocurrency investment fraud. Currently, the transfer, purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies are not regulated in the UK. However, companies that sell regulated investments with an underlying cryptocurrency element may need FCA authorisation to do so depending on their activities.Read More
In recent months, there has been a noticeable shift by token issuers away from initial coin offerings (ICOs) towards security token offerings (STOs) largely driven in part to a recent bottoming out of the retail market (including Bitcoin and Ethereum) and softening demand from retail investors for ICOs.
This trend appears to have resulted from retail investors having come to realize the inherent limitations that ICOs possess, namely the fact that tokens issued in connection with an ICO generally only have “utility” and not much inherent value. Additionally, we are now also starting to see more interest from sophisticated and/or accredited investors and funds, who also tend to prefer “security” tokens instead of “utility tokens” when looking to make an investment, due to the inherent value that the former possess.
By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan
In the old days the bank robbers would rob the local town and ride off into the sunset. The new version is a little less easy to see. Coinrail, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, has announced that it was hacked on 10 June. That’s a polite phrase for “our customers lost a lot of coins”.
The cyberattack resulted in more than $40 million USD worth of altcoins (coins that aren’t bitcoin or Ethereum) being stolen. This represented around 30% of coins traded on the exchange. Quite a substantial amount, considering Coinrail is a smaller cryptocurrency exchange!
The Australian Federal Police are investigating two members of the Bureau of Meteorology’s IT team for allegedly running an operation in which they made use of the Bureau’s powerful computers to “mine” cryptocurrencies.
It was revealed late last week that the AFP raided the Bureau’s Melbourne CBD offices on February 28, and questioned the two employees. No charges have been laid, or arrests made. Read More
By Jim Bulling and Edwin Tan
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has recently provided several comments in relation to entities that are listed or looking to list on the ASX that are involved in cryptocurrency-related businesses, such as developing cryptocurrency tokens, conducting Initial Coin Offerings and operating cryptocurrency exchanges.
By Rizwan Qayyum
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) have issued formal warnings to seven cryptocurrency exchanges and seven issuers of initial coin offerings. This follows their initial statement on ICOs released on 5 September 2017, and represents their first regulatory action.
The SFC has sent letters to seven cryptocurrency exchanges “in Hong Kong or with connections to Hong Kong”, which provides a warning that they should not be trading cryptocurrencies which are “securities” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance (“SFO”) without a licence. The exchanges responded immediately, either by confirming that they do not provide trading services for such currencies or took rectification measures, including removing relevant cryptocurrencies from their platforms.
Coincheck – one of Japan’s largest digital currency exchanges – says it will repay hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of virtual money, after hackers broke into its network, stealing a reporting 58 billion yen (AUD660 million) worth of NEM (a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin).
Hackers broke into the Coincheck network early Friday morning, but it wasn’t discovered until nearly eight and a half hours later. Read More
The raising of funds for cryptocurrency projects (also called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs) gain more and more market interest. Although there is no specific and coordinated regulatory framework applicable to ICOs, it is not something happening in a completely unregulated area.
As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum become more prevalent in investment circles and acceptable for commercial transactions, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has said little other than to label “virtual currencies” as property and state that transactions involving virtual currencies may be subject to taxation under generally applicable law. However, on September 7, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus introduced the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act which would exempt certain cryptocurrency transactions and create a cryptocurrency-specific information reporting requirement.
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