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Category: Regulation

Kraken Ruling Was A Warning Shot For Non-Compliance

Kraken, one of the largest American cryptocurrency exchanges, will pay a $1.25 million fine to settle the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charges for violating the Commodity Exchange Act.

The post Kraken Ruling Was A Warning Shot For Non-Compliance appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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People Expected a Big SEC Enforcement Action This Week. What Happened?

Stephen Palley, partner at Anderson Kill, discusses a few hot-button crypto regulatory issues like lending products, whether DeFi protocols fall under the SEC’s purview, and more. Show highlights: why Stephen[…]

The post People Expected a Big SEC Enforcement Action This Week. What Happened? appeared first on Unchained Podcast.

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Nexo Eyes SEC Broker Dealer License While U.S. Competitors Face Regulatory Pressure

There’s truly never a dull moment in DeFi. Reports have emerged this week that interest-yielding platform Nexo is pursuing an acquisition of an SEC licensed broker dealer with the intent to offer a “modified version” of the company’s products. How this would impact their current offering is unclear. The move comes at a time of seemingly increased rocky roads for DeFi platforms. Interest-Generating Products & Disruptive DeFi Along with the company’s pursuit of a licensed broker dealer, Nexo is also in talks with nationally chartered banks. The platform is reportedly interested in finding a chartered bank partner that will sell Nexo products, likely with the intent to have better buy-in with U.S. regulators. Additionally, reports state that the platform is looking at applying for an exemption to offer securities to non-accredited investors. Nexo is a London-based platform, which may play out to be a substantial advantage versus competitors that are stateside. In recent weeks, U.S. state regulators have started to focus on DeFi platforms that are U.S.-based, namely Celsius and BlockFi. Regulators in a handful of states in the U.S. have begun issuing cease and desist demands for both firms. Meanwhile, major U.S.-based exchange Coinbase has been in a back-and-forth with SEC with regards to the exchange’s potential interest-yielding product, Coinbase Lend. Coinbase seems to have now placed an indefinite hold on a timetable for Lend, should the product even come to life at all. Nexo is likely taking a close eye to see how these situations play out in the coming months, so they can position themselves accordingly when stateside regulators start eyeing non-U.S. based interest yielding firms that are operating in the states. Native platform tokens, like $NEXO, have stayed away from U.S. integration as regulatory decisions still leave outcomes in question. | Source: NEXO-USD on TradingView.com Related Reading | Bears Lose Hold On Market As Bitcoin Breaks $44,000, Crypto Market Tops Up $200 Billion The Road Less Traveled During the midst of the DeFi madness with regulators, Nexo has still been building on it’s capabilities and offerings. In an email this week, the firm announced the addition of top-ups, withdrawals, and borrowing and earning with DOGE. At the beginning of September, the platform crossed 2M users. And last month, the platform introduced free and instant transfers from one Nexo wallet to another, as well as unlimited free internal withdrawals. Nonetheless, Nexo co-founder Antoni Trenchev has said that overseas exchanges will have to “cross the same bridge” that Celsius and BlockFi are currently having to cross, in due time. “We haven’t quite decided on the particular variations of the exemptions and exactly how we’re going to structure this,” added Trenchev. Will Nexo have the advantage of seeing how things play out for U.S. based firms, or will overseas platforms be subject to increased scrutiny? Consumers are left waiting for the snail-paced regulatory movement to determine how things play out. Related Reading | Did The SEC’s Gary Gensler Threaten Crypto And DeFi In The WaPo Interview? Featured image from Nexo.io, Charts from TradingView.com
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After SEC Pressure, Coinbase Decides To Drop Interest Product

It was just a couple weeks ago that Coinbase posted a blog post, paired with a hefty Twitter thread from CEO Brian Armstrong highlighting recent challenges with the SEC. Armstrong described the agency’s behavior as “sketchy” after the SEC seemingly threatened the exchange that a lawsuit would be impending should Coinbase launch their expected interest-yielding product, Lend. If Armstrong’s tweet thread didn’t give it away, the company’s blog post, spearheaded by Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, was undoubtedly lined with some of the firm’s frustrations. Now, less than a month later, reports have emerged that Coinbase has elected to halt it’s plans to launch Coinbase Lend. A Threat To DeFi? The news comes less than a week after SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told CNBC that his commission is under-staffed. Gensler echoed those sentiments in a Senate testimony last week, stating that the SEC “needs a lot more people.” He added in the testimony that he believed previous judiciary decisions established that many cryptocurrency tokens “do come under the securities law.” Gensler took the role with the SEC earlier this year, and came in with high expectations from retail investors. Elsewhere in the market, some state regulators seem to be working to try to fill the SEC’s role with interest-yielding products already on the market. A handful of state regulators in recent months started legal action against BlockFi for it’s lending products. In the past week, some state regulators have shifted focus to pursue action against Celsius as well. New Jersey, Texas and Alabama are three states that are pursuing both BlockFi and Celsius with claims that the firms are offering residents unregistered securities. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the growing popularity of yield-generating tokens and stablecoins are becoming of increased importance to regulators, and are likely bound to be responsible for federal oversight at a higher level than currently seen. The timetable and degree of oversight remains to be seen. Coinbase is the first crypto exchange to be publicly traded on a major U.S. stock exchange, but has posted modest results in it’s short time on the market. | Source: COIN – NASDAQ on TradingView.com Related Reading | Mid-Cap Altcoins Hold Onto Highs Better Than Bitcoin And Ethereum Elsewhere In The Coinbase Rumblings The powerhouse exchange continues to build on their flagship products to deliver business growth. Last week, the exchange issued a high-demand junk bond with orders amounting to $7B. In recent months, the company announced it’s intent to launch a “crypto app store” and added payment support for Apple Pay. Safe to say it’s been a busy quarter for the bustling exchange. However, it remains to be seen what the end result is for competitors like BlockFi and Celsius. In the meantime, it seems that Coinbase may be working to try to propose regulatory framework that can help the SEC and other regulatory figures embrace the market without overstepping boundaries for crypto consumers. Related Reading | Despite Dips, Bitcoin Exchange Reserves Reach Lowest Values Since 2018 Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
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See What SEC Chair Gary Gensler Compared Stablecoins With

Gary Gensler, the Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has compared stablecoins to the Wild West noting the digital currencies are acting like Poker Chips at the Casino. Speaking in an interview with the Washington Post, Gensler highlighted the impact of digital currencies in pushing new frontiers for the ongoing financial

The post See What SEC Chair Gary Gensler Compared Stablecoins With appeared first on Coingape.

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After Targeting BlockFi, State Regulators Now Set Their Eyes On Celsius

Earlier this year, crypto lending platform BlockFi started facing the heat from state regulators in New Jersey, Texas, and Alabama. Other states have joined the fold since then, as well. Celsius this week is now facing similar cease and desist demands from all three of the same states that BlockFi first faced. Let’s take a look at what we know thus far, and what it could potentially mean for DeFi moving forward. Regulators Reach: What Celsius Is Facing It’s becoming quickly apparent that Celsius is joining the fight in facing regulators in the same vein that BlockFi has. On Friday, Texas officials filed a cease and desist order against Celsius. The filing will require Celsius to show the state why it shouldn’t be ordered to stop offering it’s products to state residents. Celsius, like BlockFi, faces accusations that it is offering residents unregistered securities. The Texas hearing is scheduled for February 24. Both Alabama and New Jersey seemingly issued similar actions on the same day. New Jersey ordered the platform to stop offering select products by November 1. In a similar action, Alabama demanded that the platform show why it shouldn’t be halted from offering products within 28 days. A Celsius representative told Bloomberg that the firm is “disappointed these actions have been filed and wholeheartedly disagree with the allegations being made that Celsius has not complied with the law,” adding that the platform would not be making any immediate changes in services for clients. Celsius’ native platform token, CEL, offers more aggressive yield rates – but is not currently offered in the U.S. | Source: CEL-USD on TradingView.com Related Reading | Analyst Puts New Bitcoin ATH For October As Stablecoins Start Pumping Into BTC DeFi’s Uphill Battle The news comes just a couple short weeks after Coinbase released a blog post regarding an impending lawsuit from the SEC, assuming that Coinbase moved forward with it’s anticipated Lend product. Coinbase has since applied for a National Futures Association license. It remains to be seen what happens with the Lend product and SEC. Meanwhile, Celsius has quietly become a behemoth in DeFi. The platform reportedly holds over $24B in “community assets,” making it one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – crypto lender and interest-account provider. What it means for Celsius customers in the respective states taking action remains to be seen, and BlockFi could end up being a case study moving forward. However, what we’ve seen from BlockFi and regulators thus far hasn’t been much to establish a precedent. Thus far, throughout a handful of states, only new account registration has been restricted. Customers on BlockFi prior to the regulatory action have had no impact. To date, consumers have largely been left in the dark on what sort of impacts could be seen here moving forward. The optimist in this situation might say that these actions could lead to regulation that establishes good practices and frameworks for crypto lending platforms. However, the pessimistic perspective would be led to believe that more states could join the ranks and that DeFi could face increased pressure from regulators given the impact on traditional banking institutions. Either way, it seems hard to suggest that through these individual state regulators have consumer protection at the forefront. Where it leads from here remains to be seen. Related Reading | While Broader Crypto Market Holds Its Collective Breath, Whales Are Loading Up On Bitcoin Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
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Solana’s Outage Lasted 17 Hours. What Does This Mean for Decentralization?

Aidan Mott, research analyst at Messari, discusses Solana’s network restart that resulted in the blockchain going dark for 17 hours earlier this week. Show highlights: when Solana validators noticed something[…]

The post Solana’s Outage Lasted 17 Hours. What Does This Mean for Decentralization? appeared first on Unchained Podcast.

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Was Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Entitled to a Meeting With the SEC?

Ephrat Livni, a DealBook business and policy reporter at the New York Times, discusses Coinbase’s fight with the SEC over its Lend product and El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as[…]

The post Was Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Entitled to a Meeting With the SEC? appeared first on Unchained Podcast.

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As SEC Lawsuit Looms, Coinbase CEO Describes The Agency’s Behavior As “Sketchy”

The regulatory battle with DeFi is heating up. The SEC now seemingly has it’s eyes set on arguably the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. The news comes after five U.S. states sent individual notices to DeFi platform BlockFi in recent weeks. This week, reports have surfaced that Coinbase is facing regulatory scrutiny over it’s upcoming, yield-generating Coinbase Lend product. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong had quite a bit to say about it, describing the SEC behavior as “sketchy”. Coinbase Expresses Frustration Coinbase issued a strongly-worded blog post that broke the word over the agency’s threats, titled “The SEC has told us it wants to sue us over Lend. We have no idea why.” Posted by Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, the post explains that the government agency issued a Wells notice last week regarding the company’s upcoming Lend product – despite what Coinbase describes as “months of effort by Coinbase to engage productively.” A Wells notice is a regulatory letter that notifies preparation of enforcement action. The Coinbase Lend product intends to allow consumers to earn 4% APY on stablecoin USDC as a starting point for select interest-earning assets. The blog states that rather than preemptively launching the platform, the company took a proactive approach in advising the SEC regarding it’s intent first. The blog post continues on to state that despite these efforts, along with compliance with reasonable SEC requests, the agency intends to sue should Coinbase launch the Lend platform. The post closes stating that for the time being, the Lend platform will not launch until at least October, reiterating that “dialogue is at the heart of good regulation.” Unfortunately, it seems to be a one-way conversation thus far. The SEC is seemingly incentivizing an “ask for forgiveness, rather than permission” policy. As crypto’s total market cap continues to grow, regulatory question marks becoming increasingly apparent. | Source: CRYPTOCAP – TOTAL on TradingView.com Related Reading | New To Bitcoin? Learn To Trade Crypto With The NewsBTC Trading Course It Doesn’t Stop There Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took to Twitter to express some frustration as well. In a tweet thread spanning over twenty tweets long, Armstrong leads off with “some really sketchy behavior coming out of the SEC recently…” Armstrong goes on to recap the blog post in brief, with the sticking point seeming to be that the SEC is describing the lending feature as a security, without providing any sort of elaboration or specification as to how or why that would be the case. These circumstances could set a very interesting precedent moving forward on the leeway the SEC is given on how, what, and why the SEC determines what is and isn’t a security. To date, Coinbase’s efforts to be transparent and communicative with the agency don’t seem to be reaping rewards. We’ll see if that continues to be the case. As Armstrong aptly states to close out his tweet thread, “hopefully the SEC steps up to create the clarity this industry deserves, without harming consumers and companies in the process.” Related Reading | Panama To Recognize Bitcoin As Payment Alternative, Issues New Regulations Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
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Why the FTX.US/LedgerX Deal Indicates Crypto M&A Might Start Booming

Steven Ehrlich, director of research for digital assets at Forbes, discusses the FTX.US-LedgerX merger, what to expect from FTX going forward, DeFi regulation, and more. Show highlights: why the FTX.US[…]

The post Why the FTX.US/LedgerX Deal Indicates Crypto M&A Might Start Booming appeared first on Unchained Podcast.

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