Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Smaller South Korean exchanges could be forced to close if the government pushes ahead with plans to impose tighter banking guidelines. Per media outlet Wikileaks Korea, Seoul will likely move ahead with plans to formalize real-name banking protocols – a system that already exists in non-compulsory guideline form but has already been adopted by the country’s four biggest cryptocurrency exchanges. The media outlet claims that many smaller exchanges will simply be unable to cope with the stringent terms banks would likely impose on them. The new law will likely be rubberstamped in May.
- A New York federal judge ordered the consolidation of the four cases against cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin Tether (USDT), reports Law360. These cases have overlapping claims that the companies manipulated the Bitcoin markets, resulting in a multi-billion dollar loss for investors.
- Gemini Europe, an affiliate of Gemini Trust Company, announced the appointment of Blair Halliday as Chief Compliance Officer and Money Laundering Reporting Officer. Halliday will oversee the strategic direction of Gemini’s compliance program in the U.K. and Europe, and he will be responsible for managing day-to-day regulatory relationships and requirements, as well as for ensuring Gemini’s commitment to adhering to all relevant regulatory guidelines, the press release states.
- The Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), the Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, announced a strategic partnership with CV VC and its subsidiary CV Labs, to launch Crypto Valley – what it calls the world’s largest ecosystem for cryptographic, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The press release says that the ‘DMCC Crypto Valley’ will offer a variety of services including incubation for early-stage start-ups, blockchain and entrepreneurship training, and more.
- Bitcoin IRA, a digital asset individual retirement account (IRA) technology platform, has exceeded USD 400 million in cryptocurrency transactions after launching their 24/7 self-trading crypto IRA platform a year ago, the announcement says.
- TradeStation Securities, an online broker-dealer and futures commission merchant, now offers its futures clients the ability to trade options on Bitcoin futures contracts from CME Group, while the clients can also trade Bakkt Bitcoin futures options on the Intercontinental Exchange, says the press release. It adds that TradeStation clients can now trade options on Bitcoin futures through TradeStation’s FuturesPlus platform.
- In Russia, the Duma’s Security Commission Chairman Anatoly Vyborny has warned that terrorists in the CIS region and beyond are using cryptocurrencies to finance their operations. In an interview with Sputnik Tajikistan, Vyborny stated that a lack of regulations in much of the region was allowing terrorists to run crypto operations unimpeded, while many groups were also making stock market and business investment deals.
- American multinational information technology giant IBM has been awarded a patent for a type of “self-aware token” that records its own transaction data by the U.S. Patent Office earlier this month. The patent describes a ledger-based payments system that makes tracking transactions made by using cryptocurrency easier for users, businesses and governments to track and trace transactions.
- Over 700 Chinese blockchain companies were launched in January this year, reports Japan’s Coin Post. The media outlet has compiled its report using Longhash data, and says that a whopping 79,551 blockchain companies have been registered in China to date, although only an estimated 26,086 companies are currently active.
- Japan’s biggest newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun (run by media giant Nikkei) will team up with the country’s top crypto regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to co-host a blockchain conference in March. Media outlet Crypto Watch reports that the head of the FSA is slated to talk at the event, as is the nation’s finance minister Taro Aso.
- The Syscoin blockchain has introduced a new interoperability feature called Syscoin Bridge, which enables ERC-20 tokens to cross to Syscoin blockchains. The emailed announcement says that in doing this, they can benefit from Syscoin’s “high transaction throughput, low fees, and near-instant secure transactions,” while retaining Ethereum’s smart contract functionality and overall supply across both chains.
Crypto tax news
- Cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network has struck a deal with crypto tax analysis provider ZenLedger, per a press release shared with Business Insider and others. The companies say that their partnership will allow Celsius Network customers to use ZenLedger tax calculation tools ahead of the upcoming 2020 tax season – with tax authorities expected to step up the pressure on both companies and individuals to make above-board crypto declarations.
- The Blockchain Association – a group comprising some of North America’s biggest crypto and blockchain technology-related companies – says it has launched a Market Integrity Working Group that will “support the development of public policy.” The association has appointed Breanne Madigan, the head of Global Institutional Markets at Ripple as its co-chair, along with Coinbase regulatory executive Rachel Nelson. The group will be tasked with “ensuring the transparency and fairness of cryptocurrency markets.”
- Singapore is introducing new payments legislation called the Payment Services Act, coming into force Tuesday, which offers global cryptocurrency firms a chance to expand their business in the country by applying for operating licenses for the first time, reports Bloomberg.
- Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco, has bought USD 5 million in the blockchain-based oil trading company Vakt, while the company’s trading subsidiary Aramco Trading will also use the Vakt platform. Per the press release, the investment will be used for further development of the platform and expansion into new markets – particularly into Asia, says Vakt.
- British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered invested in Contour, a blockchain-based open industry platform. According to the company, Contour will initially focus on digitally creating, exchanging, approving and issuing Letters of Credit (LCs). Contour will look at further expanding its ecosystem to include more banks, technology providers and other established trade finance networks, while Standard Chartered will be injecting its smart guarantee capabilities, which will enable the digitization of the bank guarantees process from initiation to claim handling.