Crypto Regulations: What’s Happening Now?

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Another week of excitement (and volatility!) in the crypto market just came to an end. There were numerous large-scale announcements at Consensus Week 2019 in New York, as well as the emergence of Andrew Yang, a presidential candidate from the United States Democratic Party. We also have crypto regulation news from the Bahamas, Poloniex, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev!

Andrew Yang calls for clear crypto regulation

A United States presidential aspirant from the Democratic Party, Andrew Yang, stated that the cryptocurrency community needs clear regulation guidelines from the government. He made this statement while talking at Consensus Week 2019.

Yang has been a supporter of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and he pitched himself to the cryptocurrency space as someone who would make regulating the sector a priority if he is elected to office. According to Mr. Yang, clear regulation is needed to allow businesses to thrive and for individuals to invest in the market without the fear of regulatory changes that can unexpectedly affect business.

Yang is a big believer in the potential of blockchain as he considers it to be one of the key technologies that would change the global landscape. He repeatedly stated that blockchain needs to be a big part of our future. He also stated that there needs to be clear guidelines on token and commodity classifications.

There has long been confusion regarding the exact legal classification and status of tokens, with some calling them securities, others calling them commodities and so on. Regardless of whether or not Mr. Yang has a good chance of winning the presidency, a push for clearer crypto regulation at such a high national level is an important development for the space.

Bahamas securities regulator proposes token sales regulations

The securities regulator in the Bahamas has proposed regulations that would guide token sale events in the country with the aim of encouraging cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to carry out their businesses from the island.

Last week, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas filed a draft bill which seeks to provide rules guiding the sale of tokens that are not regarded as securities. The law lists the procedures that crypto entities need to follow to register token sales while also informing authorities and investors about their project and the details.

According to the regulator, this latest development comes after the island started to generate interest as an independent jurisdiction for token sales. The bill was submitted for public consultation on March 27, and the regulator is gathering comments for policy guidance until next month.

Christina Rolle, executive director of the commission, stated that regulators are still working on a draft to separate securities from utility tokens and the draft is expected to be ready by the end of the month. She added that tokens representing equity shares could be exempted from securities laws, but rules on how to make that happen are still under development.

US Congressman to reintroduce tax bill focused on crypto hard forks

Tom Emmer, a US congressman, revealed that he is planning on reintroducing a tax bill focused on cryptocurrency hard forks. He stated that the bill would benefit taxpayers who ‘hodl’ digital currencies resulting from blockchain network splits.

The bill, called the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets,” was first introduced last year. Emmer, while speaking at Consensus 2019 on the relationship between government and technology, stated that he is planning to reintroduce the bill. He told the cryptocurrency community that he is committed to ensuring that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies get the support needed to help foster their development. He lamented the unclear regulatory turf that cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the US have to navigate just to carry out their daily activities.

He also told the public that the job of Congress is to put the government on a path such that the cryptocurrency sector can thrive and create new opportunities and innovation. The Safe Harbor bill seeks to prevent the IRS from punishing unreported crypto assets acquired via cryptocurrency hardforks. The revised bill would also cover airdrops, which were not included in the original version.

Poloniex halts the sale of 9 crypto tokens to US traders due to regulatory concerns

Cryptocurrency exchange, Poloniex has revealed that it will no longer sell nine specific cryptocurrency tokens to investors and traders in the US due to regulatory concerns. According to the trading platform, ARDR, BCN, DCR, GAME, GAS, LSK, NXT, OMNI, and REP would not be sold to US citizens as they are dangerously close to being classified as securities under the country’s regulations.

US customers’ hodling the listed cryptocurrencies have been requested to wrap up their open trades and close all positions before May 29. Once the assets are delisted, users would be able to withdraw them from their wallets if the tokens are still supported globally (all of them still are, for the most part).

Crypto regulation is not a priority: Russian Prime Minister

Russia does not seem to be getting any closer to cryptocurrency regulation, and after the comments made by the country’s Prime Minister, it seems that regulating digital currencies is a long way from happening. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev revealed that the government is currently not thinking about regulating digital currency markets.

Mr. Medvedev pointed out that there is a lack of interest in the crypto sector in the country, most likely due to the drop in prices over the past year and a half. While speaking at a legal conference in St Petersburg, Mr. Medvedev noted that the popularity of cryptocurrencies has decreased, so regulating the sector is not a priority of the Russian government at the moment.

This statement by the Prime Minister contradicts what he said last year when he urged the leading nations of the world to introduce basic laws to govern crypto markets. While saying that regulating crypto is not a priority at the moment, Mr. Medvedev noted that authorities are still very much interested in the developments happening within the sector. The Prime Minister added that trading in cryptocurrencies could increase again, and if that happens, regulators would be alerted to the importance of quickly coming up with relevant regulations for the market.

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