Weekly update: Important developments in cryptocurrency space Nov 23, 2019

It seems that as soon as China said it was going to issue a digital yuan, countries woke up and realized that cryptocurrency needs to be taken more seriously. The next six months are going to see a flurry of activity in the blockchain and crypto spaces and this past week has continued to help refine the overall forward progress the industry is making. Things are going to only get better from here.

The U.K. has determined that digital assets are real, not just a figment of someone’s imagination. A panel headed by Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos, asserts that crypto assets are property that is tradable and protected under British law. This should help the country develop even further guidance and policies relating to digital currencies going forward.

After Canadian regulators stepped in to prevent the Einstein exchange from suddenly disappearing with users’ funds, they found out that they were already too late. If the country had hoped to avoid another scandal like the one surrounding the QuadrigaCX exchange, it missed its chance because, according to the British Columbia Securities Commission, the exchange has no money. Regulators have discovered that the exchange’s accounts only hold about $33,808, while more than $12 million has gone missing.

While many countries are starting to come around and accept the fact, like it or not, that digital currency is here to stay and is the future of money, some are still trying to fight the change. This is the case in South Africa, where FirstRand Bank announced that it will sever ties to all businesses involved in the crypto industry. It asserts that the move is necessary because the country hasn’t developed the proper framework to govern the space.

BitMEX recently released the emails addresses of thousands upon thousands of its users, a catastrophe that will most likely cost the company in a big way. However, it isn’t the only one to suffer a major security flaw this month. GateHub has acknowledged that 1.4 million crypto wallet passwords are now in the wild after a breach of its services. Passwords, email addresses, mnemonic phrases and more were all compromised.

Anyone who still thinks that governments don’t have the authority to intervene with their crypto dealings is sadly mistaken. Just like with any currency, governments want to know what’s happening with users’ digital assets and a New York judge just told the U.S. government that it has the authority to get involved in a case between BTC scammer Jon Barry Thompson and the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission.

Ripple may be behind several international initiatives to make cross-border payment transactions simpler, but it appears its XRP currency has become a favorite with fraudsters and scammers. Analytics firm Elliptic determined that $400 million in illicit XRP transactions have taken place over the past year or so. They mostly center on “thefts to scams and the sale of stolen credit cards.”

The Ukraine government is legitimizing crypto. It has a draft bill being sent around legislative offices that would place a 5% tax on crypto and other forms of digital assets, all of which would be considered property. This is similar to the view of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and, as pointed out above, the U.K..

U.S. lawmakers want Facebook’s Libra to be considered a security. If this were to happen, the quasi-stablecoin would be susceptible to much greater scrutiny. The Managed Stablecoins are Securities Act of 2019 would put Libra under the control of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which isn’t exactly a fan of digital currency.

Crypto asset prices took a huge tumble as the week started to draw to a close and all fingers are pointing at the Binance exchange. It has said that it wants to get back into the market in China, news that was not received warmly by Chinese regulators. A report surfaced that the exchange had set up shop in Shanghai, leading law enforcement officials and regulators to pounce on the company and shut down the office. This, according to some, scared off investors and caused prices to drop. However, Binance is asserting that it never had an office in Shanghai.

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