November 24, 2017
By Samuel Haig - November 25, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)
South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service has stated that it won’t regulate the digital token markets due to cryptocurrencies not comprising a legally recognized financial instrument. In central bank news, Zimbabwe’s central bank has stated that bitcoin is not legal, and Singapore’s central bank has launched the second public consultation for its newly proposed payments legislation. Here’s a regulator round-up.
The Governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Mr. Choe Hueng-sik, has indicated that the FSS does not consider bitcoin and other digital tokens to comprise legitimate currency, and as such, will not regulate the cryptocurrency markets.
The governor likened the FSS’s stance to its regulatory position regarding casinos, stating “It is the same with the fact that we don’t regulate or supervise casinos. Though there could be concerns on excessive gambling, that does not provide grounds for the FSS to control casino practices.”
The governor indicated that the FSS’s position would change only if cryptocurrencies were to become a legitimately recognized currency, stating “Though we are monitoring the practice of cryptocurrency trading, we don’t have plans right now to directly supervise exchanges. Supervision will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as a legitimate currency.”
Norman Mataruka, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) director and registrar of banking institutions, has told reporters that bitcoin is not legal. Mr. Mataruka stated:
“In terms of the bitcoin, as far as we are concerned, it is not actually legal. In Southern Africa, what we have done as regulators, we have said that we will not allow this in our markets… Research is currently being undertaken to ascertain the challenges and risks associated with these particular products and until we have actually established and come up with a legal and regulatory framework for them, it will not be allowed.”
The announcement comes shortly after the resignation of Robert Mugabe, following a coup that ousted Zimbabwe’s former leader of 37 years. In recent months, increasing coverage has been given to the inflated price of bitcoin in the African nation, with high demand for the cryptocurrency being driven by Zimbabwe’s prevailing currency crisis.
Although Mr. Mataruka failed to clarify if he meant that the possession and use of bitcoin was illegal, or simply that bitcoin does not comprise a legally recognized currency in the state of Zimbabwe, it is unlikely that the RBZ can spare the resources required to attempt to uphold prohibitive cryptocurrency regulations given Zimbabwe’s current political turmoil.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has launched its second public consultation regarding a newly proposed regulatory framework, the “Payment Services Bill”. The bill seeks to “streamline the regulation of payment services under a single legislation,” and “expand the scope of regulated payment activities to include virtual currency services and other innovations, and calibrate regulation according to the risks posed by these activities.” The MAS stated:
“When the new Bill is enacted, payment firms will only need to hold one license under a single regulatory framework to conduct any or all of the specified payment activities. Only payment activities that face customers or merchants, process funds or acquire transactions, and pose relevant regulatory concerns will need to be licensed. The new framework will expand the scope of regulation to include domestic money transfers… merchant acquisition… and the purchase and sale of virtual currencies… To help ensure that the expanded scope of regulation is not onerous, the Bill will differentiate regulatory requirements according to the risks that specific payment activities pose rather than apply a uniform set of regulations on all payment service providers… The Bill will empower MAS to regulate payment services for money-laundering and terrorism financing risks.”
Mr. Ravi Menon, the managing director of the MAS, stated: “We want to put in place a forward-looking regulatory regime to encourage wider adoption of secure e-payment solutions.” The public consultation will run from 21 November 2017 to 8 January 2018.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia
Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.
November 18, 2017
More than twenty banks are expected to join a DLT-based trade network being built jointly by partners Singapore and Hong Kong.
By News Desk - November 18, 2017 (cryptovest.com)
Top Central Bankers from Singapore and Hong Kong have confirmed that more than 20 global banks will be joining their partnership to build a blockchain-based trade network.
The development was announced at the Singapore Fintech Festival this Thursday. The project is called the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform (HKTFP), and is the result of a collaboration between the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The HKTFP – a pilot which has been described as a global trade connectivity network (GTCN) which will digitize trade finance – is among the first of its kind and is an initiative which is expected to serve as a global model for the industry.
The partnership between competitors Singapore and Hong Kong is geared toward the advancement and promotion of fintech and blockchain, and the HKTFP is a major part of the collaboration. The platform is designed to ensure the smooth transfer of digital data, to facilitate global trade that passes through Singapore and Hong Kong – both major trade hubs.
The launch date for the HKTFP is early 2019, as was announced by the MAS earlier this week; Singapore is likely to target the Asean region with the project, while Hong Kong will be focusing on China.
Currently, however, the DLT pilot is still under development. Numerous aspects are being ironed out, and Li Shu-Pui, executive director HKMA, revealed that banks involved in the project have raised multiple concerns, among them worries about data and transaction privacy. He added that it was imperative for regulators worldwide to start laying down rules for the oversight of blockchain tech, so it could fully play its part in the rapidly advancing trade finance sector.
Both HKMA and MAS also aim to expand the scope of the HKTFP, and expect European banks to get involved as the project develops and progresses.
November 13, 2017
The second edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival began on Monday, a week-long event comprising of over 25,000 participants from over 100 countries.
Lasting a week, this year’s Singapore FinTech festival is organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank and financial regulator, in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), an organization that represents the retail and investment banking community of Singapore. Last year’s inaugural event saw over 13,000 participants from 60 countries.
For Singapore, a country synonymous with being ahead of the curve in adopting technologies, the event is noteworthy for being organized by the country’s central bank, an institution that has led the effort to establish Singapore as a global FinTech hub.
The global blockchain community will, in particular, be paying keen attention to the MAS’ technical report of Phase 2 of Project Ubin, the central bank’s initiative to develop and deploy a digital Singaporean dollar. Earlier this year, Phase 1 has already seen the central bank “place a tokenized form of the Singapore dollar (SGD)” on a private Ethereum blockchain.
The event’s highlight will feature a three-day FinTech conference, starting Tuesday, featuring over 160 leaders from central banks, regulatory agencies, financial institutions and FinTech companies. The conference will also feature a talk by Netherlands’ Queen Maxima who, in her capacity as UN Secretary-General’s special advocate for inclusive finance, will speak about using technology toward a financially inclusive future. The second day of the FinTech conference will feature an opening address from Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister.
On Thursday, the event will showcase 20 market-ready FinTech solutions shortlisted from nearly 600 global submissions as a part of its Global FinTech Hackcelerator program. The ready-to-deploy solutions will focus on select key areas, namely customer-facing solutions, regulatory technology and financial inclusion.
Featured image from Shutterstock.