Hawaii has long been a thorn in the side of crypto companies. That thorn has finally been removed: on 25 January 2024, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a press release summarizing its findings on the proper regulatory framework for cryptocurrency—its conclusion is that it will not apply the state’s money transmitter law to cryptocurrency activities. Hawaii initially worked with cryptocurrency companies to create an alternative licensing framework, but was ultimately unable to conceive of an adequate digital asset license.Read More
Last week the Federal Reserve Board (the “Fed”) issued a discussion paper entitled “Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation” (the “Paper”). The Paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of the Fed issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC or digital dollar); key design considerations of such a currency; and seeks feedback from the public on 22 specific questions directed at those topics. Comments are due by May 20, 2022. Given that Congress has indicated its interest in the Paper, digital asset and financial services industry participants should use this opportunity to have their voices heard by the Fed and members of Congress.Read More
Late last month, several of the world’s largest banks invested $50 million in a digital cash settlement project with the aim of developing a more efficient clearing and settlement system. The new technology, referred to as the ‘utility settlement coin’ (USC), has been a work in progress since 2015, after Swiss bank UBS Group and London-based technology startup Clearmatics announced to the market that they had commenced working on the project.Read More
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is encouraging FinTech businesses to make contact about Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime (AML/CTF regime) and how it may affect their business. A dedicated online contact form has been established which allows enquiries to be made directly to the Policy and Guidance team.
Businesses which provide a ‘designated service’ are reporting entities which have obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. There are a number of designated services that a FinTech business may provide including making loans, issuing a stored value card, giving effect to remittance arrangements, issuing interests in a managed investment scheme and (in the capacity of an Australian financial services licensee) arranging for a person to receive a designated service.
Currently activities relating to digital currencies such as BitCoin are not designated services. However, in October 2016 the Attorney General’s Department released its draft project plan for the implementation of the recommendations from the statutory review of the AML/CTF regime. Under the project plan, legislative proposals to regulate digital currencies under the AML/CTF regime will be developed by the first half of 2017.