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Chair of EU Parliament’s Committee on Budgets Calls for Crypto Ban Amid Banking Turmoil

Chair of EU Parliament’s Committee on Budgets Calls for Crypto Ban Amid Banking TurmoilA European lawmaker has urged authorities to impose a ban on cryptocurrencies citing the current crisis in the banking sector as a reason. Johan Van Overtveldt, former finance minister of Belgium, believes these assets bring no economic or social value. Belgium’s Ex-Finance Minister Suggests Ban on Decentralized Digital Currencies Member of the European Parliament, Johan […]

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Janet Yellen Says ‘Critical’ to Establish Strong Crypto Regulation — ‘We Haven’t Suggested Outright Banning’

Janet Yellen Says ‘Critical’ to Establish Strong Crypto Regulation — ‘We Haven’t Suggested Outright Banning’U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says “it is critical to put in place a strong regulatory framework” for crypto on the sidelines of the G20 meeting for finance ministers and central bank governors. “We haven’t suggested outright banning of crypto activities,” Yellen added. Janet Yellen on ‘Strong’ Crypto Regulation U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen talked […]

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Hong Kong’s crypto ambition gets subtle nod from Beijing: Report

While China has cracked down on cryptocurrencies in the mainland, it’s apparently taking a softer approach to Hong Kong’s crypto hub aspirations.

Hong Kong’s ambition of becoming a cryptocurrency hub is reportedly seeing subtle support from the Chinese government, in what could be seen as a contrast to the mainland’s hard-line anti-crypto stance. 

In October last year, the government of Hong Kong floated the idea of introducing its own bill to regulate crypto and allow retail investors to “directly invest into virtual assets” that could possibly be in contrast to China’s widespread crypto ban.

According to people familiar with the matter, Beijing officials have not been brazenly opposed to the idea. According to a Feb. 20 Bloomberg report, it is understood that representatives from the China Liaison Office have been frequenting Hong Kong crypto gatherings seeking to understand what’s going on.

So far, their encounters with Beijing officials on the matter have been friendly, according to those familiar, which is being perceived by local crypto business operators that Beijing — albeit very subtly — may be open to using Hong Kong as a testbed for crypto.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, allowing it to have its own laws and governance. The former British colony was transferred back to China in 1997 following a guarantee from Beijing there would be no Chinese interference with the region’s economic and political systems for 50 years, known as the “one country, two systems” principle.

National People’s Congress member and digital asset lawyer Nick Chan was quoted as saying that as long as there are no violations of “the bottom line, to not threaten financial stability in China,” then the city is free to undertake its own pursuits.

Related: Crypto’s next bull run will come from the East: Gemini co-founder

On Feb. 20, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission outlined a new crypto license regime that proposed that all centralized exchanges that operate in the region must be licensed with the regulator.

It also proposed allowing retail traders access to licensed cryptocurrency trading platforms, saying public feedback highlighted that denying access to crypto markets may push Hong Kongers to trade on unregulated overseas platforms.

The new regulatory push has spurred many crypto businesses to seek expansion into the city. Most recently the exchange Huobi Global said it would seek a local license and plans to open a new Hong Kong-only exchange with a focus on institutional and high-net-worth individuals.

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Indian Finance Minister: Crypto Ban, Regulation Effective Only With Significant International Collaboration

Indian Finance Minister: Crypto Ban, Regulation Effective Only With Significant International CollaborationIndia’s finance minister has informed parliament that the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), wants cryptocurrencies to be prohibited. However, she noted that “any legislation for regulation or for banning can be effective only after significant international collaboration.” Indian Finance Minister on Crypto Ban and Regulation Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman answered some […]

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

China Backed Publication: Terra LUNA Crash Vindicates Country’s Ban on Crypto-Related Activities

China Backed Publication: Terra LUNA Crash Vindicates Country’s Ban on Crypto-Related ActivitiesAn op-ed article published in the state-backed Chinese publication Economic Daily, has suggested that the recent crash of the Terra blockchain’s LUNA and the de-pegging of the UST stablecoin vindicate the Asian country’s decision to ban crypto-related activities. In the article, the author names the interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the […]

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Nigeria upgrades CBDC as crypto restrictions cripple fintech industry

Nigeria’s central bank has upgraded its eNaira to steer the country away from crypto even after a UN report stated that restrictions on digital currencies are stifling the nation's fintech sector.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is moving ahead with plans to upgrade the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) to be used on a wider range of goods and services. It is also maintaining harsh crypto restrictions that cripple the country's fintech sector.

The CBN Branch Controller Bariboloka Koyor spoke at a campaign aiming to “sensitize” businesses to the eNaira at a market in the country's most populous city of Lagos on May 9 according to a report from Vanguard. Koyor stated:

“Starting from next week, there is going to be an upgrade on the eNaira speed wallet app that will allow you to do transactions such as paying for DSTV or electric bills or even paying for flight tickets.”

Koyor said the upgrade was launched to make onboarding easier, touting its wallet that had no charges and was faster than internet banking. He added that in the future, the eNaira will be the only way to receive financial assistance from the government, stressing the advantages of early adoption.

“This is a project that the CBN has rolled out to reach every Nigerian in terms of financial inclusion and in terms of efficiency, reliability, and safety of banking transactions so that we can do banking transactions very easily and safely and the people in Nigeria can enjoy the benefit of the eNaira.”

The value of the naira has fallen by over 209% in the past six years which has pushed Nigerians to adopt crypto in droves. An April report from the KuCoin crypto exchange highlighted that around 33.4 million Nigerians owned or traded cryptocurrencies in the last six months.

Restrictions on crypto trading in the country tightened after the launch of the eNaira in October 2021. The CBN banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges in February of the same year but real enforcement happened in November 2021 when the CBN ordered the accounts of two crypto traders to be frozen.

This crackdown led to commercial banks in the country tracking their customer's accounts looking for signs of cryptocurrency trading which could cause accounts for fintech businesses to be flagged.

The restrictions on trading were cause for concern in an April report jointly published by the Secretary Generals of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN).

Related: The Central African Republic reportedly passes a bill to regulate crypto use

The report focused on the urbanization of Africa and said young Africans working in the tech sector “creating apps or trading digital currencies” were at risk from arbitrary government policies. It singled out Nigeria as an example, stating:

“The restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions…in Nigeria have crippled foreign direct investment in the fintech industry and negatively impacted millions of young Nigerians who earn a living from the sector. Many have found a way, however, to lawfully bypass these restrictions and continue business, effectively denying Nigeria the taxes and transaction fees that would otherwise come into the system”

There are no signs of CBDC adoption slowing down, recent research found 80% of central banks were considering a CBDC. On May 10, Tanzanian officials said that their CBDC plans are accelerating.

The Bank of Tanzania Governor Florens Luoga said in a Bloomberg interview that the country sent officials to countries with CBDC experience, including Nigeria, to learn from them directly citing concerns of “cryptocurrency speculators”.

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Argentina’s central bank steps in to block new crypto offerings from banks

Only four days have passed since two of Argentina’s biggest banks opened up to crypto trading but now the central bank has stepped in to block the offerings.

The central bank of Argentina (BCRA) has put the kibosh on financial institutions offering crypto trading only days after two of the country's largest banks signaled they were opening up to digital assets.

On May 5 the BCRA said the move was to mitigate the risks crypto poses to users and “to the financial system as a whole” citing crypto’s high volatility, use in money laundering and absence of regulatory safeguards.

The news came hot on the heels of an announcement on Monday from two of the countries largest banks, Banco Galicia and Brubank, that they would allow their customers to purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC) and Ripple (XRP).

The decision to open crypto trading was decided by a poll conducted by Banco Galicia where 60% of respondents said they wanted easier access to digital currencies.

The central bank has long taken a dim view of crypto, issuing an alert to the public in May last year on the risks, warning once again of concerns around volatility and money laundering despite the bank saying there were not yet signs of “significant levels of acceptance and use.”

According to figures from data analysis form Statista, 21% of respondents in Argentina had owned or used crypto in 2021 marking the sixth-highest rate of adoption in the world and the highest rate in the Americas.

Argentina’s inflation rose another 6.7% in March — the highest rate in 20 years — to hit 55.1% year-over-year according to INDEC, the countries' statistics agency. Some Argentinians have turned to crypto in an attempt to hedge spiking inflation. In April one rural town began the process of mining cryptocurrency to fight inflation.

Related: Colombia clamps down on crypto tax evasion as adoption thrives

The change in emphasis from last May could be relate to a $44 billion extended debt plan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a clause of which was for Argentina to “discourage the use of cryptocurrencies”.

The announcement from the central bank is at odds with plans from the Mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. In late April Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta announced plans to digitize the city with intentions to allow the option for citizens to pay their taxes in cryptocurrencies amongst other blockchain plans.

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Ireland bans political crypto donations on foreign interference fears

A raft of new political and electoral integrity laws proposed in Ireland will see the banning of donations made in crypto to political parties in the country.

Donations made to political parties using cryptocurrencies will be banned in Ireland under new political integrity laws drafted due to concerns around foreign interference in politics.

Amendments proposed by Minister Darragh O’Brien also cover rules around foreign donations, misinformation, and other transparency requirements for political parties, citing fears of Russian interference in Ireland’s elections.

Speaking with the Independent on April 18th, O’Brien said that the laws will further protect Ireland’s democratic system “given the escalating threat of cyber warfare targeting free countries,” and a newly established Electoral Commission will oversee compliance with the laws.

It is unclear what percentage or monetary amount of political donations are currently paid to political parties or individuals using a cryptocurrency. Cointelegraph contacted Minister O’Brien and the Standards In Public Office Commission for comment but did not immediately hear back.

O’Brien started his campaign to reform the laws in January 2022, establishing a task force of political scientists and legal experts to investigate new election laws due to concerns about the escalating Russia-Ukraine war.

The task force advised on a series of measures that would build a “legal and digital bulwark” against election interference in the country, including parties providing streamlined accountancy reporting and declarations on adherence to the new political funding laws.

The banning of crypto political donations isn’t unheard of, the state of California banned the practice in 2018 citing issues of transparency and that cryptocurrencies are “hard to track”. Three other U.S. states, Oregon, Michigan, and North Carolina, also have laws against using cryptocurrencies in campaign financing according to data from Multistate.

Related: Crypto-focused PAC has used $9M to support Democratic candidates since January

The Irish central bank has taken an unfriendly approach to crypto in the past, as recently as February the bank stated it was unlikely to approve investment funds with exposure to crypto for retail investors as they lack a “high degree of expertise”.

The Central Bank of Ireland also issued a warning to consumers the following month on crypto assets, advising them to be mindful of “the risks of misleading advertisements, particularly on social media, where influencers are being paid to advertise crypto assets.”

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed

Ukraine finds unlikely ally in efforts to bar Russian access to crypto: the Central Bank of Russia

It appears both countries want crypto to be banned in Russia following the nation's recent war efforts.

Recently, Ukraine has called for "sabotage" of everyday Russians' crypto assets due to an ongoing war between the two countries. Among many, its European allies have also voiced mounting concerns that Russia may use crypto to bypass Western sanctions.

But ironically, it appears that one of the greatest proponents of barring everyday Russians and financial institutions from accessing cryptocurrencies is actually the Central Bank of Russia, or CBR, itself. As reported by local news outlet tass.ru on Thursday, the CBR continues to adhere to its position of proposing to ban the issuance, mining, and circulation of cryptocurrencies in the Russian Federation. A CBR official stated: 

"The Central Bank currently supports the position that was previously announced and published on the official website. Therefore, there is nothing to add today."

During times of war, nations typically need to dramatically increase their spending, such as via the printing of new money, to finance their military efforts. However, this leads to rampant inflation, thereby enticing individuals to exchange their local currencies for foreign currencies (including now, crypto) to protect their savings.

But this, in turn, would create heavy selling pressure on the local currency, driving up exchange rates and hamper war financing efforts. As a result, countries typically introduce strict foreign exchange controls during wartimes, as Russia and Ukraine have already done. Thus, the drawbacks of crypto destabilizing the Ruble and, by proxy, crippling Russia's war efforts, could potentially outweigh the benefits of using crypto to evade sanctions. 

According to a report published by Arcane Research this week, daily Tether (USDT) to Ruble trading volume on Binance reached an all-time high of $35 million. Russian social media members appear to be deeply concerned about the falling value of the Ruble and how cryptocurrencies can help them protect their savings. User Roman Buchyn wrote: 

"You need to buy something [cryptocurrencies]; the Ruble will soon be cheaper than toilet paper."

7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed