USDC Expands to New Blockchains, NFT Sales Continue, FATF Releases Crypto Standards Review, US and Global Crypto Enforcement Actions Continue | Baker

USDC Expands to 10 New Blockchains, Crypto Payment Initiatives Launched

Through Jordan R. Goldsmith

The Center Consortium recently announced that USDC, a 1: 1 backed US dollar stablecoin, will soon be added to 10 more blockchain networks. In related news, Circle, “the principal operator” of USDC, announced that it would go public through a business combination with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. According to a press release, the transaction values ​​Circle at $ 4.5 billion.

As part of a recent deal between a corporate payments company and digital asset management firm NYDIG, 650 U.S. banks, including major community banks and credit unions, will soon be able to offer bitcoin purchases at around 24 million customers. Rather than undertaking regulatory requirements related to the custody of cryptocurrencies, financial institutions choosing to make the bitcoin service available will rely on NYDIG’s custody services. Separately, the world’s largest interprofessional brokerage firm recently announced its intention to launch a cryptocurrency trading platform with two major US financial services firms in the second half of the year, with the aim of making crypto trading -currency similar to traditional financial asset trading.

According to a recent press release, an international hotel chain has become the first international hotel group to accept cryptocurrencies. The growth in cryptocurrency payments was recently noted by a major U.S. credit card company, which said its customers spent over $ 1 billion using its cryptocurrency-linked cards in the first half of the year. 2021.

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NFT sales continue in sports and art markets

Through Keith R. Murphy

The non-fungible token (NFT) market hit new highs in the second quarter of 2021, driving cumulative sales of $ 2.5 billion compared to sales of $ 13.7 million in the same period it a year ago, according to a report this week. Although the numbers vary depending on the types of NFT transactions included, the transactions included are “on-chain” transactions, with sports and collectible NFTs being the most popular among buyers.

Major League Baseball (MLB) recently closed its first NFT auction, which featured an excerpt from Lou Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man” speech, according to recent reports. MLB reportedly intends to auction off an NFT that also includes a physical 2020 Los Angeles Dodger World Series ring and the ability to pitch the first pitch in a Dodgers home game in a package.

A major art auction house recently held several NFT-related auctions, including an NFT of a work celebrating rap artist Jay-Z’s debut album. A report discussing the sale notes that the NFT includes smart contract provisions imposing royalties on secondary sales. Another auction of the house would combine the sale of an actual painting by Pablo Picasso, as well as an NFT of the painting created with a special scanner that can be used to confirm the authenticity of the painting. A third recent auction by the house involved an NFT of the source code for the World Wide Web creation by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The NFT reportedly sold to an anonymous buyer for $ 5.4 million.

According to a recent report, the digital artist known as Beeple helped launch a platform that will sell moments in sports, politics, fashion and art as NFTs, including NFT with tangible assets and opportunities, such as meetings with athletes. Separately, actor Anthony Hopkins is expected to sell his most recent film on an NFT marketplace for films, according to a report released this week, and the associated NFTs will include extras depending on the token purchased. And a popular social media forum has reportedly jumped on the NFT bandwagon by creating NFTs that take the form of cartoon avatars based on the company logo.

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FATF publishes review of crypto standards amid regulatory news in US and UK

Through Robert A. Musiala Jr.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently released a report that provides the FATF’s findings from its second 12-month review of the FATF Standards on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). The report states that “many jurisdictions and the VASP industry have continued to make progress in implementing the revised FATF standards on virtual assets and VASPs, but implementation is still far from sufficient.” The report notes that “[t]Lack of regulation or lack of enforcement of regulations in jurisdictions allows for adjudicative arbitration and increase in ML / FT [money laundering and terrorism financing] risks. ”Among other things, the 46-page report includes findings related to the implementation of the travel rule, trends in the use of virtual assets for ML / FT purposes, and market metrics for peer-to-peer virtual assets. The report notes the following five areas in which the FATF intends to update the FATF standards on virtual assets and VASPs: (1) definitions of virtual assets and VASPs , (2) peer-to-peer transactions and non-hosted wallets, (3) so-called stablecoins, (4) licensing and registration of VASPs, and (5) placing implementation of the travel rule.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently announced the addition of its first-ever Chief Digital Currency Advisor, a role focused on the prevention and mitigation of illicit financial practices and exploitation involving cryptocurrencies. In a related development, according to reports, a team of engineers from five of America’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians recently demonstrated version 1.0 of a technology platform intended to ensure travel rule compliance. by the VASPs. Separately, another recent report noted that in the UK, where new regulations require cryptocurrency companies to register with the Financial Conduct Authority, only six companies have registered while 64 have withdrawn. request.

In the news of tax regulations, last month, the United States Internal Revenue Service issued a memorandum regarding like-for-like exchanges of certain cryptocurrencies completed before January 1, 2018. According to the memorandum, ” If completed before January 1, 2018, an exchange of (i) Bitcoin for Ether, (ii) Bitcoin for Litecoin, or (iii) Ether for Litecoin is not considered to be an exchange of the same nature under § 1031 of the Code. .

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Major Cryptocurrency Exchange Under Global Watch, Announcing Compliance Efforts

Through Kayley B. Sullivan

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, has recently come under increased scrutiny from several global regulators. Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a recent notice posted on its website, filed a criminal complaint against the company for operating an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange after Binance did not respond to the letter. agency warning of April 2021. The Financial Services Agency of Japan also sent a warning to Binance last week, accusing the company of offering crypto services in the country without registration.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority said in a recent statement that Binance Markets Limited “is not authorized to undertake regulatory activity in the UK.” Additionally, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, in a recent press release, noted that it “wishes[ed] to inform the public ”that Binance is not registered, licensed or otherwise licensed to operate from or within the Cayman Islands and that the Authority is currently investigating whether companies may come under its regulatory oversight. Likewise, the Polish Financial Supervisory Authority (PFSA) recently issued a warning to consumers stating that the company is “neither regulated nor supervised” by the PFSA.

Amid the crackdown, Binance suspended euro deposits through the Single Payments Area in Europe, according to recent reports. Binance recently announced that it has hired a new Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Administrative Officer.

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DOJ targets unlicensed crypto ESMs, global enforcement action continues

Through Joanna F. Wasick

A New Orleans resident was recently indicted by the Justice Department for illegally operating an unlicensed money transfer business. According to court documents, the defendant owned and operated Nervous Light Capital LLC, through which it sold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Likewise, last week a Texas resident pleaded guilty to running a business that converted US dollars into cryptocurrency (mostly bitcoin) for a fee without registering to engage in a business of. money transmission. Both individuals face up to five years in federal prison.

Last week, detectives from London’s Metropolitan Economic Crime Command reportedly seized a cryptocurrency worth £ 114million – the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK. The detectives were investigating money laundering offenses. A recent article in Korea’s time reports that South Korean officials, while investigating a suspicion of crypto fraud and money laundering, discovered $ 1.48 billion worth of illegal cryptocurrency transactions abroad. According to the report, 33 people have been indicted by central Seoul Customs for violating the country’s ban on cryptocurrency trading abroad.

Earlier this week, Israel’s National Counterterrorism Office issued a seizure order against 84 cryptocurrency addresses allegedly Hamas-controlled or otherwise associated with Hamas-led donation campaigns, reported earlier this week. . These addresses have collectively received over $ 7.7 million in cryptocurrency, in a wide range of denominations, including tron, dogecoin, tether, bitcoin, and ether. The move comes after a substantial increase in donations to Hamas in May, when fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces escalated.

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