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.
Effects of EU regulation on the market: During the Easter winter break, the EU mostly remained silent on new cryptocurrency regulation. However, the aftershocks of the recent Brussels announcement in EU securities watchdog European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and its new set of rules designed to stop leverage limits for cryptocurrencies were evident as Bitcoin price stumbled to a several-month low of around USD 6,500. It is feared that the leverage limit for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is there to stay and will be adopted by other countries and financial unions as well.
Friendly regulation: Lichtenstein’s government has announced that it is going to be taking a “light-handed approach” towards cryptocurrency regulation in a bid to attract more blockchain businesses in the small European nation. Lichtenstein’s stance on cryptocurrencies is directly in line with its recent low-taxation policy to attract businesses from around the world. Elaborating on the loose regulations, it won’t be necessary to open a bank account to start a blockchain business and the entire process can be handled in either Bitcoin or Ethereum as the central bank of Liechtenstein has started accepting cryptocurrencies directly. In the words of blockchain entrepreneur Yanislav Malahov: “They’re making it really easy to incorporate a cryptocurrency business.”.
Lichtenstein aims to become a global hub in blockchain-related businesses and increase Europe’s appeal around the world as the centre of excellence in blockchain.
Vague cryptocurrency policy: French minister for finance and economics Bruno Le Maire briefed the French news website Numerama regarding the future cryptocurrency policy of the European nation aimed at inviting blockchain businesses from around the world.
The op-ed is a message to the French people that blockchain technology is the future and an agent of change in the world, both disruptive and beneficial. According to him, “[cryptocurrency and blockchain] could upset daily practices in the banking and insurance sectors, financial markets, but also patents and certified acts… Let’s not be mere spectators: become actors in this revolution.”.
All in all, the future policy of France would be “benevolent, yet cautious” thus offering little concrete meaning for blockchain businesses who might be inclined to invest in France. There is a need for further clarification from the French ministry regarding the vague contents of this op-ed by Le Marie.
Deliberating on future of crypto regulation: Germany and France’s tussle on regional influence and dominance may take its toll on cryptocurrencies as well since both offered differing opinions at the recent G20 meeting. While France is sending out mixed signals with lenient ICO rules, Germany is focused on making a unified European Union stance on cryptocurrencies and wants France to come onboard. It is expected that regulatory conventions in both of these countries will directly affect the concerted effort by the EU to arrive at a unified cryptocurrency and blockchain policy.
Deutsche Bank calling for crackdown on cryptocurrencies: In the absence of a robust policy towards cryptocurrencies, Phillippe Vollot, the global head of Deutsche Bank, was of the opinion that cryptocurrencies are not subject to regulation and controls by the German government and it is, therefore, the duty of the government to crackdown on illegal unregulated crypto trade. He is advocating strict control using modern technologies including bots to help control suspicious transactions.
German national tourist board now accepting payment in cryptocurrencies: German National Tourist Board based in Frankfurt has now started accepting payment in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for its services.
Cryptocurrency cyber criminals arrested: A notorious cyber criminal gang involved in heists of over USD 1.2 billion worth of funds was arrested in Alicante, Spain. The gang comprised of Ukrainians and Russians who robbed over 100 financial institutions around the world and covered their tracks by converting the stolen wealth to cryptocurrency.
According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo: “The alleged mastermind is a 34-year-old Ukrainian man whom officials identified as “Denis K,” who wanted to create a money-laundering cryptocurrency for the Russian mafia.”
Spain’s rise in cryptocurrency circles gone under the radar? Spain is at the forefront of cryptocurrency innovation and global shift towards cryptocurrencies. The Spanish government has set up two major industrial blockchain consortiums that are aimed at making Spain the frontrunner in the new technology. It is also planning to use blockchain in an attempt to counter money laundering.
Putin promises obligatory cryptocurrency regulations: The Russian government is working on a new cryptocurrency regulation called Digital Assets Regulation Bill which has been in deliberation since last year. Newly re-elected president Vladimir Putin has signalled that cryptocurrency regulation in the country should become a law as early as 1 July of this year, putting pressure on regulators to come up with a workable plan.
GazpromBank to test cryptocurrency service: Russia’s Gazprom Bank will test cryptocurrency-based payments according to deputy chairman Alexander Sobol. There are no details whether Gazprombank will itself invest in cryptocurrencies or not.
“Wild East of cryptocurrencies”: While Ukraine’s tech scene is improving and has a lot of potential, it is being brought harm because of raids of crypto-operations and unclear status of cryptocurrencies. The Kiev-based government is being labelled “paranoid” for not controlling cryptocurrency and constantly blames it for allowing illegal armed groups to function. But, the country is also at the forefront of cryptocurrency revolution with hundreds of legitimate startups that are suffering from overbearing government oversight.