North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 6th to 13th April 2018

North America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Unites States

JPMorgan accused of charging crypto-buying customers exorbitantly: Investors have accused commercial bank JPMorgan Chase and Co of charging high fees while purchasing cryptocurrencies through credit cards. The bank in January prohibited the buying of cryptocurrencies through its accounts and treated the purchases as cash advances instead.

The suit was filed by Idaho resident Brady Tucker who claims he was overcharged on two payments of USD 143 and USD 20.61 for cryptocurrency transactions. He is also claiming that the bank may have charged hundreds of thousands of other customers. He raised the issue with the bank’s customer service but the bank has so far refused to move the charges back.

Mary Jane Rodgers, a spokesperson for the bank, declined to comment on the lawsuit. JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon has previously called cryptocurrency a “fraud” and has said that he “would fire an employee stupid enough to trade in them”.

US cryptocurrency holders could owe USD 25 billion in taxes: JPMorgan’s chief equity strategist Tom Lee has recently claimed that cryptocurrency holders could owe the US Tax Office more than USD 25 billion in unpaid capital gain taxes. Lee also claimed that the cryptocurrency sell-off happened as the tax day deadline of 17 April approached, though Bitcoin rebounded 15% on 12 April. Historical estimates are each $1 of USD outflow is $20-$25 impact on crypto market value,” said Lee.

SEC declares not all ICOs are scams: The Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Jay Clayton said in a speech at the Princeton University said that ICOs may not be all scams and should be classified and regulated accordingly. The event was full of fascinating insights into the evolving views on how to approach the different facets of the decentralized economy and its possible regulation.

Previously, Clayton had said in a Senate hearing that he was “unhappy” with how ICOs were executed back in February.

Massachusetts suspends 5 ICOs: Massachusetts state securities division suspended five initial coin offerings because they were operating as unregistered securities. The state law requires these ICOs to be registered. Francis Galvin, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, was cited as the one responsible for shutting down ICOs in the state. The ICOs also received rescission letters to be sent to the investors and were asked to complete refunds within 45 days of the announcement.

Canada

Canada continues to scrutinize exchanges: Canada’s Ontario region is again in the news with the country’s “crypto-friendly” exchanges now subject to Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) laws because of increase in digital currencies in the market.

The number of exchanges in the country rose due to increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies but regulatory bodies have stepped up, asking them to register under the commission. OSC commissioner Kristen Rose said, “if an exchange is doing business in a jurisdiction in Canada, it must apply to that jurisdiction’s securities regulatory authority for recognition or an exemption of recognition”.

Currently, the trading in cryptocurrency was subject to same laws as commodities but that is set to change with this new development.

ATB Financial to service blockchain and crypto startups: Canada’s ATB Financial has established an office of innovation in Alberta to assist startups primarily in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Mike Brown, innovation director at ATB, was of the opinion that blockchain and decentralization could be used in diverse fields.

“ATB has built a proof-of-concept blockchain to streamline oil and gas royalty payments. We have validated the model with the industry and have recently engaged two large industry players in designing the next round of solution development and pilot testing”, he said.

 

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