Weekly update: Important developments in cryptocurrency space

Weekly update: Important developments in cryptocurrency space Nov 09, 2019

From egregious and amateurish errors to global regulatory changes, the Bitcoin ecosystem has seen a lot of activity this week. Looking back over the first week of November, it’s apparent that there is still a lot of work to be done if cryptocurrency is going to see the level of support it deserves. Not until entities in the space start to take their responsibilities seriously will this support be received.

The BitMEX exchange started the week completely on the wrong foot after it reportedly released 22,000 user email addresses into the wild. Somehow, a “computer glitch” caused the email addresses to be copied onto an outgoing email and the exchange, already dealing with a considerable amount of controversy, is going to end up paying the price for its amateurish and irresponsible lack of data protection.

BTC is not money, at least not in the legal sense. This is according to UK tax regulators, who clarified this week that certain tokens, like BTC, are commodities. Other tokens that are viewed as security or utility offerings, and on which Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has yet to provide guidance, do not fall under this definition.

Ripple and its XRP digital currency are seeing their legal problems drag on for yet another year. A new lawsuit has surfaced from investors who argue that the company had no right to try to dismiss a case regarding whether or not it had broken securities laws. Ripple had tried to assert that the statute of limitations on suing based on the securities law precedent had expired, but investors now retaliate, arguing that the ongoing sale of XRP constitutes a valid basis for the lawsuit to continue.

Facebook is under renewed pressure for its Libra stablecoin, this time out of Australia. Regulators in the country recently met with representatives from the Libra Association to try to understand the project better, only to walk away with more questions than answers. Facebook now has to try once again to show the country’s financial leaders how Libra isn’t a risk to all regulated entities in the country.

Accusations of North Korea facilitating illicit activity through the crypto market to counter sanctions continued this week after a report surfaced that it laundered funds through a blockchain company in Hong Kong. Marine China, a shipping and logistics firm, is allegedly nothing more than a front established by the country to help convert stolen currency to legitimate funds.

The in-fighting at the highest level of Bitmain continues. Jihan Wu is trying to push out co-founder Micree Zhan, but Zhan isn’t taking the action lying down. He said that he is going to fight the move and, as the company’s legal counsel, most likely knows enough about Chinese law to make his case stick. Perhaps Wu will, finally, be the one given walking papers.

Finland is about to see more crypto activity, thanks to the approval of licenses for five companies. They were given the go-ahead as Finnish regulators crack down on money laundering activity through crypto, allowing the country’s Bitcoin ecosystem to become a little more solid.

Square is going to start charging a flat fee for crypto transactions. The fee used to be integrated into the spread at the time of the transaction, but the new model will be more “transparent,” according to the company. The news comes as Square announced that it had earned $1.27 billion in revenue in the third quarter of the year.

Russian criminals who think their crypto assets are out of reach of the government are going to learn how wrong they are. Russia is reportedly working on a new law that permits the government to seize crypto assets tied to criminal investigations, with the law expected to become effective at the beginning of 2021. Given that it has already been shown how easy it is to track crypto transactions, the criminals won’t be able to hide.

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