- The South Korean National Assembly unanimously passed new crypto legislation to regulate the growing blockchain industry.
- At a congressional meeting, four witnesses testified about the “nightmare” that is crypto taxes in the US.
- A couple of Chinese nationals were busted assisting North Korea in a $100 million crypto laundering scheme.
- India’s top court reversed a 2018 cryptocurrency ban.
As most countries struggle to determine legal guidelines under which digital currency should operate, South Korea has gone ahead and passed new cryptocurrency legislation during a special session of the South Korean National Assembly. The amendment to the country’s financial services laws, which provides a legal and regulatory framework for tokens and exchanges, was approved in a unanimous vote.
Under this new legislation, South Korea’s financial regulators will oversee the nation’s burgeoning crypto industry. Having regulations in place will also help South Korea protect crypto traders from dangers like money laundering.
Today’s vote in the legislature just a few years later is a relatively quick turnaround for regulators, and shows the increasing acceptance of blockchain and, more specifically, cryptocurrencies in the context of financial services both locally and across the world. One of the country’s largest technology companies, Kakao, has continued to invest in blockchain initiatives, and the local ecosystem remains relatively robust in innovation in the sector.
The passage of the cryptocurrency legislation is a victory for the Korean startup ecosystem, but other major questions remain about the sector.
It’s that time of year again — a time when everyone gathers up receipts, W-2s, and a year’s worth of scattered paperwork ahead of the April 15 tax deadline. Tax season is stressful for many, but for cryptocurrency traders, it can be “the worst nightmare.”
That quote comes from Protocol Labs General Council member Marvin Ammori, who attended a congressional meeting called “Building Blocks of Change: The Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Small Businesses” on March 4. Also present at the gathering were three other witnesses, who testified in front of a panel of government officials on the United States’ “complicated” blockchain taxes.
Although Ammori said blockchain is ready for mass adoption, he stated the need for a few technical changes, including enhanced user interfacing.
Moving on to the legal scene, Ammori mentioned tax difficulties with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. “The tax treatment is very complicated,” Ammori pointed out.
Using an example, Ammori said:
“If you wanted to spend Bitcoin on a coffee this morning, you’d have to keep track of what you paid for the Bitcoin and how much it was worth the moment you spent it, and pay the capital gain or loss on every single transaction.”
The United States Justice Department has charged a pair of Chinese nationals with laundering more than $100 million in cryptocurrency on behalf of North Korea. According to the indictment, the two arrested allegedly laundered cryptocurrency stolen by hackers from 2017 to 2019. This isn’t the first time North Korean hackers have been implicated in crypto crimes; US Attorney Timothy Shea called the actions “a grave threat to the security and integrity of the global financial system.”
The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyber attacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, a confidential United Nations report said last year.
The U.N. experts said North Korea’s attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges allowed it “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”
In a victory for crypto enthusiasts, India’s top court struck down the country’s cryptocurrency ban after a two-year legal fight. The ruling came down on March 4 and overturned a 2018 decision by the Reserve Bank of India.
The original proponents of the country’s crypto ban likened digital currency to “Ponzi schemes.” Indian banks were forced to cut all ties with companies dealing in virtual currency, which effectively crippled the industry in India.
Several exchanges challenged the ban in court, represented by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. The court ultimately agreed, ruling that there had been no visible damage to banks regulated by the RBI and a complete ban on cryptocurrency trading was not “proportionate.”
That’s the roundup for March 7, 2020. Check in next week for the latest news of cryptocurrency innovation and regulation around the world!
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