UK Seeks to Recognize Bitcoin and Crypto as Regulated Financial Instruments

The United Kingdom has drawn a step closer to becoming one of the most recognized crypto hubs in the world as the House of Commons, the Parliament, passed the amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Bill which seeks to regulate Bitcoin (BTC) and the cryptocurrency industry.


The Bill was initially proposed when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it seeks to regulate stablecoins. During the Parliamentary meeting, Andrew Griffith, Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs made a proposal to expand the scope of the Bill by including other crypto assets in the scope of regulated financial services in the UK.


“The substance here is to treat them crypto like other forms of financial assets and not to prefer them, but also to bring them within the scope of regulation for the first time,” Griffith said, adding that the new clause 14 in the bill, “clarifies that crypto assets could be brought within the scope of the existing provisions” of the Financial Services Act 2000.


The MPs voted in favor of the amendments and it is now set to be presented at the House of Lords. Should the bill pass there, it will then be required to be signed by King Charles III so as to enshrine it into law.


The excitement that the UK is on track to regulate Bitcoin as a financial instrument has sent shivers down the digital currency ecosystem as evident in the price of some of the biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is up 5.97% at the time of writing to $20,561.77 per data from CoinMarketCap, while Ethereum is changing hands at $20,561.77, up 11.21%.

Many market observers are already seeing signs that the Rishi Sunak government will be bullish on crypto, riding on his positive stance on the industry while serving in Boris Johnson’s government. The timeline, however, is what remains unknown.

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Gibraltar Introduces New Legislation to Combat Insider Trading and Market Manipulation

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has updated its regulatory guidelines for the digital currency ecosystem to include a 10th clause that addresses insider trading and market manipulation amongst crypto virtual asset service providers operating in the country.


Despite the requirements to adhere to the provisions of the 10th clause to help shore up the market integrity in Gibraltar, concerned startups will also be obligated to comply strictly with the requirements of the other nine regulatory guidelines first floated in 2018. The GFSC said that the introduction of the 10th regulatory clause is representative of all the stakeholders in the space, cutting across government representatives to crypto industry leaders.

“Since the introduction of the DLT regulatory framework in 2018, we have worked with government, specialist advisors, and industry to refine our guidance and ensure it is suited to this rapidly developing sector, providing both regulatory certainty to DLT Providers and robust protection to their growing consumer base,” said Kerry Blight, CEO of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

“The Market Integrity Principle and Guidance Note further strengthen the framework. They introduce a number of key responsibilities, designed to enable firms to root out insider trading and other forms of market abuse, improve standards around disclosure and transparency, and ultimately safeguard the rights and interests of consumers.”

As the country figured out its regulatory approach to the highly despised industry earl, Gibraltar’s doors are always wide open to cryptocurrency startups. While it first introduced its crypto regulations in 2018, the GFSC made a number of comprehensive updates to the guidelines back in September 2020, as reported by Blockchain.News at the time.

The forward approach of Gibraltar towards digital currencies has moved a number of companies including Huobi Global exchange to change its operating headquarters from Seychelles to the country back in November last year.

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SEC to Give “Careful Consideration” to Concern about Spot BTC ETFs: Gensler

In a letter sent to members of Congress, Gary Gensler, Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), promised to give “careful consideration” about spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Products (ETPs). 


Recalled that two Congressmen, Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Darren Soto (FL-09), sent a letter to Gensler back in November last year requesting to know the reason for the commission’s caution towards a spot BTC ETF product when indeed, it has approved a related product based on the futures price of the premier cryptocurrency. 

“We question why, if you are comfortable allowing trading in an ETF based on derivatives contracts, you are not equally or more comfortable allowing trading to commence in ETFs based on spot Bitcoin,” the letter read at the time following the approval of ProShares futures-based Bitcoin ETF product. “Bitcoin spot ETFs are based directly on the asset, which inherently provides more protection for investors.”

In response to the inquisition, Gensler said the proposals for both a futures-based and a spot ETF are considered separately based on the provisions of the Exchange Act. While Gensler said, the commission would continue to probe whether the proposals for a spot Bitcoin ETF product are capable of preventing fraud and manipulative practices.

The fears of the SEC are compartmentalised mainly to the U.S., and other countries, including Canada, Brazil, and Germany, have fully functional spot Bitcoin ETF products trading on their public bourses. In a bid to prevent the United States from lagging behind in emerging financial innovations, Rep Emmer tweeted saying;

“This issue remains a priority for us and we will continue to oversee the SEC in its mission to maintain fair and orderly markets and facilitate capital formation.”

While the SEC Chairman reassured that the commission would continue to consider new proposals to list a spot BTC ETF, the ecosystem is hardly optimistic about the chances of anyone emerging soon.

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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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Why did WazirX token WRX jump 30% after India announced its big crypto tax?

WazirX exchange’s native token WRX benefited the most from India’s latest u-turn on crypto this week.

WRX price jumps on India tax news

WRX price surged nearly 30% to over $1, hitting a three-week high after the Indian government announced a new tax regime for the regional crypto sector, reversing entirely from its earlier strict stance that even contemplated an outright ban on the emerging industry.

In her budget speech on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that they plan to tax the income from trading cryptocurrencies at 30%, which while among the highest rates in the world, also means that digital assets are officially recognized in India.

WRX price jumped after Sitharaman’s speech, probably due to its association with an India-based crypto exchange, WazirX. The WRX token serves as a utility token on the platform, benefitting users with trading fee discounts and access to new token airdrops. 

Another 250% rally ahead?

Utility tokens typically derive their value from speculations that their adoption would grow in tandem with the growth of their platform, one that is no longer in regulatory limbo. 

Javon Marks, an independent market analyst, predicted further price booms in the WRX market, noting that the WazirX token could climb toward $3.80 from its current $1-levels. At the core of his bullish analogy was a technical setup, as shown in the attached chart.

WRX/USD three-day price chart. Source: Javon Marks, TradingView

In detail, WRX’s ongoing price boom had its price break above a multi-month downward sloping resistance trendline. Marks noted that the breakout “technically” positions the WazirX token to rise by another 252% in the coming sessions to its April 2021 resistance targets.

“As long as WazirX holds this break, this target will remain pushable,” the analyst tweeted Wednesday.

The statement also surfaced as the crypto market, on the whole, remained in a state of turmoil after a depressive January performance. WRX itself dropped more than 30% into the month, mirroring similar moves across the top-ranking crypto-assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), which tanked nearly 18% in the same period.

The interim pullback scenario

WazirX’s day-to-day correlation with broader crypto market trends, however, puts WRX at risk of bearish continuation. It is primarily because the catalysts that played a key role in pushing the digital assets lower in January 2022 — the Federal Reserve’s hawkish turn — remain intact.

Related: Bitcoin ‘gives back gains’ after Fed comments ‘add downside risks’ to crypto markets

Additionally, the WRX price faces a technical resistance confluence that may limit its recovery bias in the sessions ahead. Specifically, a combination of price ceilings, including a descending triangle’s upper trendline, have already been capping the WazirX token’s upside attempts.

WRX/USD daily price chart featuring descending triangle setup. Source: TradingView

Other resistance levels include a 50-day exponential moving average (50-day EMA; the red wave) and a 200-day EMA (the blue wave). A pullback upon testing them risks dropping the WRX price to the descending triangle’s lower trendline near $0.75.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.