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From Washington to Moscow, cryptocurrencies have entered the agenda of those who share a vocation to rule and regulate. Following the congressional summer vacation, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will enable the Treasury to investigate crypto transactions, while a Congressman plans to introduce three drafts supporting the crypto industry. Also in The Daily on Sunday, UK lawmakers push for fintech rules, Russian bankers admit strong demand for crypto services, and the Financial Action Task Force is preparing to present global crypto standards in October.
Congressman to Propose Three Bills Supporting the Crypto Sector
The past two weeks saw a flurry of crypto-related activity in the corridors of power in Washington. A Republican member of the House of Representatives announced his intent to introduce three bills designed to support the crypto industry and the development of distributed ledger technologies in the United States. Congressman Tom Emmer (MN), currently co-chairing the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, says the US should create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and growth. Quoted in a press release published on his page, he stated:
Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.
Emmer plans to propose a “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology” backing the industry and its development in the US, a “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act” affirming that entities which never take control of consumer funds, such as miners and multisig providers, don’t need to register as money transmitters, and a “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act” restricting fines against individuals attempting to report these assets until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides guidance on the matter.
Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers has urged the IRS to clarify the rules that apply to the taxation of crypto incomes and profits. In an open letter released this past Wednesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means called upon the Service to stop expanding its authority until an official notice to US taxpayers is issued, pointing out that the current regulations, published four years ago, are unclear and outdated. And last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at enabling the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) to investigate cryptocurrency transactions. The agency which operates under the Treasury Department is charged with combating money laundering and illicit financial activities.
British MPs Push for Comprehensive Cryptofinance Rules
US congressmen are not the only lawmakers worried about the lack of clear regulations in the crypto space. Their colleagues in the United Kingdom recently published a report calling for creating a proper business environment for the fintech sector. They recommend that the country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) be granted authority to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs). The authors of the document, members of the Treasury Committee, expressed their opinion that the introduction of a comprehensive regulatory framework would lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market in the UK, allowing it to progress to “a more mature business model” and sustainable growth.
Major Russian Banks Admit High Demand for Cryptocurrencies
Leading Russian banks and institutions have expressed readiness to work with digital assets during a round table devoted to the future of financial markets and crypto regulations in the country, local media reported. The meeting which took place in the capital gathered representatives from major players in the financial industry including Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, Moscow Exchange, Addcapital, Althaus Group, Group IB, and the National Settlement Depository. During a closed session, the bankers discussed cryptocurrency regulations adopted in Luxembourg, Singapore and Japan, RBC reported, quoting a source familiar with the conversation. The Russian financiers revealed they were encountering high demand for cryptocurrencies but noted their inability to offer related services due to the lack of legal regulation in the field.
Three bills were introduced and voted on first reading in the lower house of Russia’s parliament this spring. Their final adoption was delayed, with lawmakers struggling to synchronize the legal texts and produce a unified legislation. A revamped draft law “On digital financial assets” will be presented for public discussions in October. It’s been reported that the updated bill does not mention the term ‘cryptocurrency’. Meanwhile, an association of leading Russian enterprises proposed an alternative bill which grants digital currencies special status. And according to some reports, the banking industry intends to make its own proposals. Russian officials have indicated they are also awaiting for the new global standards for cryptocurrencies from the Financial Action Task Force before taking the final decision.
FATF to Present AML Crypto Standards in October
FATF, The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (AML), has announced it’s now closer to establishing an international set of rules applicable to cryptocurrencies. Its president, Marshall Billingslea, said recently he expects that the FATF will agree a series of standards that will close the anti-money laundering gaps during its plenary meeting in October, the Financial Times reported. The task force advanced towards reaching a global consensus after a request from the G20 members. Next month the body is expected to discuss which of its existing standards needs to be updated to address digital assets. The methodology used to assess their implementation by different countries will also be revised.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
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We all use money on a daily basis, but do you really understand how it works? This article is a little bit different from the usual, as I will propose alternative ways of valuing money and looking at the economy as a whole. If you’ve been following my latest writings, you’ll understand my views on
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CNBC Futures Now trader Jim Iurio has predicted that bitcoin will trade above $6,800 based on market analysis that holds $6,000 as its critical support level. Speaking on the show alongside Anthony Grisanti, Iurio stated that market tacticals hold the key to accurately predicting the movement of bitcoin on any meaningful level. He made the
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Close to being yet another annoyingly false media piece on how ‘hard’ it is to live on cryptocurrency, the Netflix of China, Iqiyi, followed a woman attempting just that for 21 days. Bitcoiners have been doing so for years through various service providers, exchanges, and, yes, even peer-to-peer, yet the clearly untrue ‘hard’ narrative is often repeated. Thankfully, the new Chinese documentary Bitcoin Girl is somewhat different; instead of focusing upon tech hurdles exclusively, it also highlights how bitcoin lives on during a severe Communist Party crackdown.
Netflix of China Airs 21 Day Bitcoin Challenge
Rifle through Youtube, and it’s easy to find a zillion vignettes and documentaries about using bitcoin, cryptocurrencies in general, as either part of a lifestyle or as a principal medium of exchange. The mainstream conception is always about hurdles and difficulties, and they usually devolve into dark web ghettos or tales of criminal gangs nefariously employing the tech.
And so it’s somewhat refreshing to learn a documentary series running in China on its version of Netflix, Bitcoin Girl 21 Days Digital Survival Challenge, offers a glimpse behind the wall, as it were, of the Communist state and how crypto enthusiasts are attempting to cope.
An introduction blurb to the series, translated by google, reads, “There is such a girl, she is a blockchain believer. She said she wanted to rush into a city alone one day and be an experiment that only survived by bitcoin. Challenge rules: 1. With 0.21 bitcoins, one person lives in Beijing for 21 days. 2, only payable in bitcoin, can not accept any charity.”
For those lost in translation, the series (now up to 17 episodes as of this writing) is based upon He Youbing, an aka for a young-ish woman setting out to survive on about $1,300, give or take, on bitcoin without help or assistance – just peer-to-peer transactions, phone to phone.
Alone with Nothing but Bitcoin
Ms. Youbing was unable to take anything with her. No basic necessities are allowed. She must make do with what she has in China’s most populous cities, beginning in Beijing. Presumably, the show gave her the aka, which means having something of an obsession – in this case cryptocurrency.
The documentary’s main difference is its setting. And though it for sure could be viewed as propaganda to make crypto seem futile to the average person, it’s also a strange admittance. China, of course, has become notorious for its cryptocurrency bans. Recently, it has gotten so bad even events related to crypto are banned. Just prior to venues being formally prohibited, the government stepped up censorship campaigns against popular smartphone applications such as Wechat. Over 100 foreign crypto exchange websites were also banned. The Chinese government even put pressure on Alipay to stop all OTC crypto trading on their platform.
And all of these no doubt contribute to the first episode’s showing her desperate and frustrated. Most of her day is spent trying to inform vendors just what bitcoin is, much less getting them to accept it. From fun parks to restaurants, she was unsuccessful the entire day and evening. Though she manages to find an unlocked public bike, helping to make her case to more potential businesses and ordinary people, she finishes her night exhausted and defeated, sleeping at a McDonald’s.
Sustenance came wherever she could find it, as the already slight woman dined on free condiment packets while eating leftover burgers yet to be thrown away, and even literally low hanging fruit. It was actually two days of this, and by the second she was vomiting, sick from the experience. The manufactured drama helped the local media bring attention to her case. Well-wishers brought her food, exchanged for bitcoin, while she was checked at a nearby hospital. An art gallery volunteered to put her up for the third night.
No Publicity is Bad Publicity
Strange and wonderful happens next. Chinese city dwellers find her on Wechat as a result of media coverage, and begin to exchange services and goods for bitcoin with her. In fact, a great many seemed to have no problem trading fiat, causing the show’s producers to adjust the rules to include no online transactions – real people, real life only.
The publicity compounded, and reports detailed how many Wechat groups were following her, filled to capacity. The upward limit is 500 people per group. Something like six such groups popped up, and from every sector of Chinese society.
Clearly, cryptocurrency fever remains behind the great Red wall. If the documentary does anything positive, it shows the power of crypto and social media. Even through massive crackdowns, smartphone and related tech brought fellow Chinese to her once word got out. Soon, outside of Beijing, she finds a restaurant to accept bitcoin. She is able to negotiate crypto for clothes, and even had a hotel booked for her.
The rest of the series appears to be much in this fashion, and for some reason the government has not censored it, yet. In fact, Ms. Youbing only seems to be gaining traction. The documentary’s makers do film how a significant portion of those familiar with bitcoin (BTC) are still stinging from giant transaction fees and slow confirmation times that characterized the final leg of its bull run in late 2017.
Their distrust of BTC is also heightened by crypto’s association with scams, and Ms. Youbing spends her time trying to convince potential trade counterparts she is legit. Without trying, Bitcoin Girl stumbles into the medium of exchange versus store of value debate. If 17 episodes are any guide, the Chinese clearly are ready for something closer to bitcoin cash (BCH) and its qualities over a seemingly tainted BTC.
Do you think crypto will continue to grow in China despite all the bans? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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BitPesa, a digital treasury management solution that leverages blockchain settlement to lower the cost and improve the speed of payments to and from frontier markets, has teamed with SBI Remit, Japan’s largest remittance service provider, to make it easier for Africans to buy Japanese products. The two firms are leveraging blockchain technology to reduce
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The French office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has started accepting donations in 9 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC). The announcement comes after earlier this year the UN agency launched several other crypto-related initiatives.
UNICEF Accepts Crypto Donations in France
UNICEF France has announced it’s now accepting donations in 9 cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published by French media. The local office of the organization collects contributions in some of the most widely known digital coins, including bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), eos (EOS), monero (XMR), dash (DASH), and stellar (XLM).
Donations in all supported cryptos are currently accepted directly through the website of the French branch, the Cryptonaute outlet reported. Commenting on the announcement, the director of UNICEF France, Sébastien Lyon stated:
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.
The UNICEF official pointed out that cryptocurrencies and crypto technologies represent an innovation in fundraising for solidarity but are still employed by few organizations in the field. At the same time, he noted the positive trend in regards to the spread of cryptocurrency donations.
Announcement Follows Two Successful Crypto Campaigns
This isn’t the first crypto-related initiative of the United Nations Children’s Fund. In February, UNICEF launched a fundraising program to collect funds needed for the protection of the children suffering from the civil war in Syria.
The campaign called “Game Chaingers” was targeting computer gamers. Participants had to download and install a special mining software application from the organization’s website. Their PCs were then used to mine ethereum for the program.
Later, in May UNICEF Australia started a similar campaign through a dedicated website called “The Hopepage”. Visitors are asked to share some of their computing power to mine and donate cryptocurrency by simply opening the page and consenting to their devices being used to process crypto transactions while surfing the internet.
As of the time of writing, more than 22,000 people are currently mining and donating cryptocurrency via the platform set up by the Australian office of the UN agency.
Do you agree that cryptocurrency provides a great alternative for charities and humanitarian organizations to collect funds? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, UNICEF France, Smartmockups.
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Chechnya will create a Eurasian crypto mining pool, the press secretary of the head of the Chechen Republic has reportedly confirmed. The project aims to combine the resources of crypto miners from the Eurasian Economic Union countries.
Chechen Mining Pool
Alvi Karimov, the press secretary for the head of Chechnya, confirmed to RBC news outlet on Sept. 21 that a Eurasian crypto mining pool will be established in the Chechen Republic.
“The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and Yuri Pripachkin agreed to establish a Eurasian mining pool in Chechnya,” a representative of the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (Racib) told the publication. Pripachkin is the president of Racib.
Noting that “The project should unite the resources of the miners from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU): Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan,” the publication detailed:
The pool will be the first step in the implementation of the ‘Crypto Chechnya’ program, which is aimed at developing the region’s economy with the use of blockchain technologies.
Dmitry Marinichev, Russia’s Internet Ombudsman appointed by President Vladimir Putin in 2014, believes that “mining pools in Russia have great potential due to the cold climate in many regions and inexpensive electricity,” the publication conveyed.
RBC reported that Racib and the Chechen Republic will submit an application to the Bank of Russia in the next few days to operate the mining pool within the framework of the country’s regulatory sandbox.
Pripachkin explained that the mining pool can only be launched “after the adoption of the laws regulating the operation of cryptocurrency in the territory of Russia,” adding that “It is assumed that the relevant bill will be considered by the State Duma in the autumn session,” the publication noted.
According to the association’s estimates:
The potential effect of launching a site in Chechnya with the appropriate authority may increase the tax revenues of the republic by more than 10% per year.
Racib also believes that the mining pool and other development in the sector “will help Russia significantly increase the share of world production of cryptocurrency,” the news outlet described. The association added that “Today in Russia, there are more than 350,000 private miners and up to several thousand mining farms,” RBC conveyed. In August, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Pripachkin saying that, in the first half of this year, “the number of mining enterprises in Russia has increased by 15% to 75,000,” noting that “Russia accounts for about 6% of the world’s mining market.”
Russia is currently developing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency. Three bills were submitted to the State Duma in May. However, after the first reading in the spring, the regulators postponed the second reading and the final voting to the fall session, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
What do you think of Chechnya creating a mining pool? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Racib.
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