Uniform global curbs on cryptocurrency trading may be hard: BOJ official

UNTV News   •   January 26, 2018   •   3291

FILE PHOTO: Photo illustration of Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange website taken September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

TOKYO (Reuters) – Policymakers around the world may debate ways to deal with the volatility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but imposing global, across-the-board regulations on their trading won’t be easy, a senior Bank of Japan official said on Thursday.

South Korea and China have tightened regulations but Japan wants to ensure any rules that it adopts won’t hinder innovation, said Hiromi Yamaoka, head of the Japanese central bank’s division on payment and settlement systems.

“There’s undoubtedly growing interest among global policymakers on how to deal with cryptocurrencies,” Yamaoka, whose division also oversees cryptocurrencies, told Reuters.

“Japan’s approach would be to think about how to curb excesses without discouraging innovation,” he said.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP soared more than 1,700 percent last year to a record high as investors snapped up the virtual currency on expectations of further steep gains.

Alarmed by the global boom, national authorities across the globe, particularly in Asia, have attempted to put the brakes on trading of cryptocurrencies. Fears of a wider clampdown pushed bitcoin down nearly 20 percent last week.

Yamaoka said while there were some “speculative moves” in the cryptocurrency market, it was hard to say whether bitcoin was experiencing a bubble because cryptocurrencies have no underlying assets to measure their real value.

It will also be hard to define which cryptocurrency needs to be regulated and for countries to agree on a uniform set of rules, given it isn’t easy to come up with common regulations even for traditional banking services, he said.

“It’s uncertain whether global cooperation would mean global regulation…It may mean sharing a common view on the risks involved in cryptocurrency trading and seeking to send out a common message,” he said. “Global harmonization may not necessarily mean global regulation.”

NO MAJOR PROBLEMS SO FAR
France has urged for debate on bitcoin at a meeting of G20 major economies in Argentina in March. Germany has also said any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies must be on a global scale.

Yamaoka said while cryptocurrency prices have been volatile, they have yet to disrupt Japan’s banking system as cryptocurrencies are hardly used for payments and settlements.

As long as they are not used much for payments and settlements, they won’t affect monetary policy much, he said.

But policymakers need to check how much exposure banks have, how much funds are investing in them globally, and how much leverage investors are taking, Yamaoka added.

“So far, I don’t think there are any big problems. But we need to look carefully,” he said.

“If the exposures turn out to be huge, we may need to follow up and work to maintain financial stability together with the Financial Services Agency.”

Japan’s global share of the bitcoin market jumped after a clampdown last year by Beijing. The government in April granted cryptocurrencies legal status as a means of settlement and recognized several digital currency exchanges.

Additional reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

DOF warns public vs bogus cryptocurrency platform

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has warned the public against an article alleging that the Philippines is creating a platform for its citizens to invest in cryptocurrency.

In a statement, the DOF said the article claiming that the government has created a platform called “Bitcoin Lifestyle” is fake news.

“There is no such effort by the government,” Finance assistant secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II said.

“We categorically deny that there is such a move, and warn the public against potentially harmful financial transactions with those behind the article,” he added.

The DOF said the fake news article also stated that President Duterte is “urging all citizens of the Philippines to learn about the platform to get involved.

The article also claimed that the “tax revenues will be huge and will benefit all citizens” and “will go to the financing of Philippines’ retirement and to counteract the crisis of learning support services.”

“This is false. We urge the public to exercise caution in their investments, and to keep their expectations of returns realistic,” Lambino said.

The Finance official also urged the public to report similarly suspicious investment schemes to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with telephone number 8818-5704.

“We warn unscrupulous individuals and groups attempting to lure the public into unauthorized and deceptive investment schemes that the government is monitoring the public space for such schemes, and will take appropriate legal and regulatory action,” he added.

EXCLUSIVE: G20 financial heads to urge crypto-asset monitoring to safeguard financial stability

UNTV News   •   March 15, 2018

Cryptocurrencies are seen on a website that tracks the value of initial coin offerings (ICO) in this illustration photo taken September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders will call on international standard-setting bodies on March 20 for stronger monitoring of crypto-assets and to assess the need for a multilateral response as such assets could at some point threaten financial stability.

The call appears in a draft communique prepared for the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 biggest economies in Buenos Aires on March 19-20, seen by Reuters.

The financial leaders will say the technological innovation behind crypto-currencies has the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.

“Crypto currencies, however, raise issues with respect to consumer and investor protection, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing. At some point they could have financial stability implications,” the draft communique adds.

“We agree that international standard setting bodies strengthen their monitoring of crypto-assets and their risks… and assess whether multilateral responses may be needed.”

Regulators globally have raised the alarm over cryptocurrencies, saying they may aid money laundering and terrorist financing, hurt consumers and undermine trust in the global financial system.

Japan was the first country to adopt a national system to oversee cryptocurrency trading. It carried out checks on several exchanges this year after the theft of $530 million from one exchange, Coincheck Inc, in January.

France and Germany have said they will make joint proposals to regulate the bitcoin cryptocurrency market.

The head of the European Union’s watchdog said a short-term strategy could be to focus on applying anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules, warning consumers of the risk of trading in cryptocurrencies and preventing banks from holding them.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that many online trading platforms for cryptocurrencies should be registered with the regulator and subject to additional rules, in a further sign regulators are cracking down on the digital currency sector.

In a statement, the SEC said these “potentially unlawful” platforms may be giving investors an unearned sense of safety by labeling themselves as “exchanges.” The regulator said these platforms need to register with the SEC as a regulated national securities exchange or as an alternate trading system, or ATS.

Virtual currencies have existed for years but speculation in them has recently ballooned – along with scams promising investors returns of over 1,000 percent in weeks.

In a time of volatile markets, hackers are also active in the sector.

Bitcoin, the best known virtual currency, lost over half its value earlier this year after surging more than 1,300 percent last year.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Singapore explores rules to protect investors in cryptocurrencies

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2018

Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s central bank is assessing whether additional regulations are required to protect investors in cryptocurrencies, an official said in a speech released on Thursday.

The city-state – which is aiming to be a hub for financial technology and so-called initial coin offerings in Asia – does not regulate virtual currencies and last year called for the public to exercise“extreme caution” over investment in cryptocurrencies.

Its central bank does regulate activities involving virtual currencies if they pose specific risks. For example, it imposes anti-money laundering requirements on intermediaries providing virtual currency services.

“We are assessing if additional regulations are required for investor protection,” Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director (Financial Supervision), Monetary Authority of Singapore said.

Other countries such as South Korea, where trading in cryptocurrencies is more popular, are looking at ways to regulate that activity.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie; Editing by Kim Coghill

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