Coinbase Legal Chief Urges Swift US Crypto Legislation Amid Israel-Hamas Tensions

Paul Grewal, the Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, voiced a strong stance against funding malicious entities through cryptocurrencies in a series of tweets on October 11, 2023. His tweets come amidst escalating geopolitical tensions involving Israel and the terrorist organization, Hamas. Grewal labelled the situation as “evil,” emphasizing that no funds should be directed towards supporting Hamas or similar organizations, irrespective of the form of assets—be it fiat currency, gold, or cryptocurrency.

Grewal underscored Coinbase’s rigorous efforts to mitigate the misuse of cryptocurrencies on its platform. The measures include Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, sanctions screening, Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) reporting, and fostering strong partnerships with law enforcement agencies. He elucidated that these steps are integral to ensuring that cryptocurrencies are not leveraged for illicit purposes on Coinbase’s platform.

Further, Grewal advocated for the swift enactment of sensible cryptocurrency legislation within the United States. He opined that fostering the cryptocurrency industry in nations adhering to the rule of law is crucial. This, according to Grewal, would prevent the industry from veering into regions where human rights and public safety are not prioritized.

The discourse triggered a ripple of responses from the crypto community, including remarks from Mike Alfred, who pointed out Binance’s late response to similar issues, and Sam Morrow, who expressed gratitude for Binance’s current involvement. Others questioned the implications of asset seizures on Coinbase, hinting at potential infringements on individual rights.

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Australia Surpasses Asia in Crypto ATM Installations

Australia has become a leading country in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, with a growing number of businesses and individuals recognizing the benefits of using digital assets for daily transactions. According to Coin ATM Radar, Australia has surpassed Asia in the total number of crypto ATMs installed, with 364 machines as of January 2023. This represents a significant increase since the beginning of the year, with the country climbing from fifth to third place in January alone.

Over the last eight months, Australia has consistently added Bitcoin ATMs, unlike leading European nations and the United States, which reported a reduction in ATM installations during the same period. This suggests that Australia is on a crypto ATM installation spree, reflecting the growing demand for fiat-to-crypto conversions in the country.

In contrast, Asia, which includes major economies such as China, Japan, Singapore, and India, hosts only 355 crypto machines, representing only 1% of the total crypto ATMs installed worldwide. Despite the vast population and economic power of these countries, Australia has managed to outpace them in the installation of crypto ATMs.

The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Australia is not limited to the installation of crypto ATMs. Leaked internal documents from Australia’s Department of the Treasury reveal that the country is also considering the introduction of crypto legislation. This would provide a regulatory framework for the crypto industry, helping to legitimize and foster its growth.

Although the final submissions to the cabinet will reportedly come later in the year, it is clear that crypto legislation is on the horizon in Australia. This would bring the country in line with other leading crypto-friendly nations, such as Switzerland and Malta, which have established themselves as global hubs for crypto innovation and adoption.

In conclusion, Australia’s growing number of crypto ATM installations and its consideration of crypto legislation demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering the growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies. As the crypto industry continues to evolve and gain mainstream acceptance, Australia’s proactive approach positions it as a leader in the global crypto landscape.


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Russia to Recognize Crypto Assets as Currencies: Report

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According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Russian authorities are drafting comprehensive legislation on the circulation of digital currencies. The Russian government will recognize cryptocurrencies as analogous to traditional currencies and not as digital financial assets. 

Russia to Rule on Crypto Assets

Russia’s stance on crypto assets is developing quickly. 

Kommersant, one of Russia’s biggest business newspapers, reported Wednesday that Russian authorities are preparing to draft a law on the circulation of digital currencies in the Russian Federation. 

In the new legislation, crypto assets will be recognized as currencies instead of digital financial assets. By regulating cryptocurrencies in the same way as other forms of currency, the Russian government will be able to provide clear regulations for businesses and individuals involved in cryptocurrency-related activities. 

Once the new law comes into effect, circulation of crypto assets will be possible only with full identification and through the Russian banking system or licensed intermediaries. Additionally, transactions equivalent to more than 600,000 rubles ($8,030) must be declared, with undeclared transactions for more than this amount becoming a criminal offense. 

Previously, the Bank of Russia had been skeptical about introducing cryptocurrencies into the Russian economy, calling for an outright ban on the asset class just three weeks prior. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly stated that Russia had “certain competitive advantages” for cryptocurrency mining, indicating that the he favored developing the crypto industry in the country rather than banning it. 

Furthermore, at the start of February, Russia’s Ministry of Finance also proposed new regulations to legalize cryptocurrencies. The ministry suggested that banks could be authorized to provide cryptocurrency exchange services to businesses and individuals. 

With today’s report, it appears that Putin and the pro-crypto factions of the Russian government have won out, making a fully-fledged regulatory framework likely in the coming weeks. According to Kommersant, the new legislation recognizing crypto assets as currencies should come into effect in the second half of 2022 or from 2023.

Disclosure: At the time of writing this feature, the author owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Pennsylvania legislature mulls crypto task force bill

A bill to establish a crypto task force in Pennsylvania has been introduced in the state’s General Assembly.

According to the details of HB1724 published by LegiScan, the proposed crypto task force will be mandated to examine the potential impact of widespread crypto and digital currency adoption in the state.

A moderately partisan bill introduced by eight Democratic and two Republican members of the General Assembly, the proposed legislation, if passed will be known as the “Digital Currency Task Force Act.” Introduced back on July 19, the bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce.

Outlining the duties of the proposed task force, the bill stated the agency would determine the number of cryptocurrencies being traded in the state and the exchange platforms operating in Pennsylvania.

The task force will also look into investment entities seeking large-scale exposure to crypto and digital currencies and the potential tax implications of cryptocurrencies on State and local taxes.

Pennsylvania’s crypto task force bill also seeks to evaluate the transparency of the crypto marketplace, especially in price manipulation and other illegal activities. The task force will study crypto regulations from various national and international regulatory agencies.

Back in January 2019, Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking and Securities ruled that crypto exchanges did not fall under money transmission laws.

Related: Texas house passes crypto-friendly bill, now goes to senate

According to the details of the proposed bill, the task force would comprise 13 members who will serve without any compensation. The task force will also hold public hearings as part of its crypto market review process. The task force will also prepare and submit its findings to the Governor as well as the General Assembly.

Legislative action to create crypto-related task forces is common in the United States. In September 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill establishing a task force mandated to combat the use of cryptocurrencies for financing terrorist activities.

At the start of the year, another bill was introduced to the House, seeking to create a task force with a similar mandate in the wake of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.