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Regulation in the weekly review – Many storm clouds and a ray of hope

In the past week, a lot has happened around the globe in terms of regulation. In the series “Regulation in the Week in Review” we look back at the end of the week and summarise what was said, thought or decided, when, where and by whom.

Norway: Bitcoin loophole loses lawsuit against Nordea Bank

The Norwegian Exchange Bitmynt AS has lost the lawsuit against the Swedish major bank Nordea. The founder of Bitmynt, Sturle Sunde, had sued the bank because it had closed the Bitcoin loophole. The lawsuit has now been dismissed by the Oslo court. The reasoning said that the risk of money laundering and the financing of criminal activities through Bitcoin loophole trading would be increased. Therefore, Nordea Bank is entitled to close the account.

South Korea: New chief regulator sees positive side to crypto currencies
Yoon Suk-Heun, the new governor of the South Korean Financial Supervisory Authority (FSS), said in his first press conference that he sees “some positive aspects” in crypto currencies. He also said that the FSS will work with other regulators on crypto-regulatory “problems”. Better regulation of crypto currencies would make the financial system more secure and thus more accessible to crypto-related products.

Azerbaijan: Tax ministry wants to tax crypto currencies
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes wants to tax crypto-fiat transactions in the future. This was announced by the responsible minister Nijat Imanov during the second Finance and Investment Forum (FIF 2018) in Baku. Imanov said the tax would be formalised as a profit tax for legal entities and income tax for individuals. The market for crypto currencies in Azerbaijan grew significantly between May and December 2017.

Europe: Crypto Exchanges call for regulation of the news spy

Some European crypto exchanges have called for sensible regulation of the crypto market in order to be able to act more sustainably. These include the British Exchange eToro and the Austrian crypto exchange BitPanda. Both would be concerned that both the inadequate and excessive anti-money laundering and/or know-your-customer (KYC) regulation would not allow them to know where they stand as the news spy companies. EU regulators, including the European Central Bank, support an international effort to standardise the rules.

Ukraine: Securities regulators view crypto currencies as financial instruments
The Ukrainian National Securities and Exchange Commission (SSMCS) is considering the classification of crypto currencies as financial instruments. The head of the Commission, Timur Khromaev, announced this in a Facebook post following the annual conference of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on crypto currencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The SSMCS Commissioner underlined the need for the legal recognition of crypto currencies and the adjustment of the position of financial supervisors.

Belarus: Central Bank wants to link ICO investment to conditions
The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) is considering strict requirements for investments in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Qualified investors must meet two out of four criteria. In addition to minimum amounts for annual income (USD 20,000) or accumulated capital (USD 50,000), qualified investors must also have special training or work experience in the relevant area. A similar regulatory framework will also apply to crypto exchanges.