Kazakhstan Blocks Coinbase, Citing Digital Asset Law

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Information has clarified its decision to block the global cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, within the nation’s borders. The ministry asserts that the trading of cryptocurrencies on Coinbase is in direct violation of the Kazakhstani law on Digital Assets. This clarification was provided in response to an inquiry from “Kursiv,” following a request from the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations, and Aerospace Industry. The request was made to block access to Coinbase, which contravened section 5 of Article 11 of the country’s Digital Assets Law.

This particular section of the law prohibits the issuance and trading of unsecured digital assets, as well as the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges dealing with such assets, outside of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). Only a select group of cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance and Bybit among others, are licensed to operate in Kazakhstan, with the AIFC’s Committee for Regulation of Financial Services being the authorizing body.

The move to block Coinbase was in accordance with the nation’s communication laws that oblige providers to limit access to websites containing prohibited content. This has raised questions about the regulatory environment for digital assets within Kazakhstan and the implications for global cryptocurrency operations.

The Ministry also addressed the earlier blocks imposed on the websites of Interactive Brokers and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both of which were subsequently lifted. The restoration of access to these sites occurred after significant feedback from the financial community and a request from the Financial Monitoring Agency to resume access to www.interactivebrokers.com.

The AIFC offers a unique regulatory sandbox environment, allowing both local and international companies to apply for operation within the center with minimal initial resources. These companies can offer FinTech and RegTech services, with the opportunity to develop regulatory requirements in collaboration with the AFSA. The reinstatement of access to Interactive Brokers and NYMEX, despite their previous infractions, signifies the delicate balance Kazakhstan seeks to maintain between stringent financial regulations and the fostering of an innovative financial technology ecosystem.

In an unrelated but simultaneous report, the FINANCE.kz telegram channel first highlighted the widespread blocking of foreign brokers and cryptocurrency exchanges in Kazakhstan on September 14. This has been a topic of heated discussion among financial analysts, with some, like Rasul Rysmambetov, calling it an “absolute mistake” attributable to potential technical errors.

Interactive Brokers, a major U.S. brokerage firm, and NYMEX, a primary American futures exchange, both now have restored access in Kazakhstan. Interactive Brokers is known for its extensive electronic trading platform in the U.S., while NYMEX holds a prominent position in crude oil futures trading.

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Interactive Brokers Taps OSL To Offer Digital Assets Services in Hong Kong

Interactive Brokers (Nasdaq: IBKR), an automated global electronic broker, announced on Thursday that it formed a collaboration with OSL Digital Securities to enable it to offer virtual asset dealing services in Hong Kong.

Once launched, Interactive Brokers will offer digital asset services directly to its professional investor trading clients in Hong Kong, powered by OSL- the world’s first Type 1 and 7 Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)-licensed digital asset brokerage and trading platform for professional investors.

David Friedland, Head of APAC at Interactive Brokers, talked about the development and said: “Investors worldwide are rallying to digital asset markets, and the collaboration with OSL comes at a key moment in the development of the regulated digital asset ecosystem in Hong Kong. As investors seek reliable counterparties with which to transact, we are excited to work with a company like OSL, that has the industry expertise to help us meet the growing needs of our client base in this region.”

Wayne Trench, OSL CEO, also commented: “OSL is a global leader in regulatory compliant digital asset trading and custody and we’re thrilled to work with Interactive Brokers. Hong Kong has one of the world’s highest concentrations of institutional and professional investors, as well as a clear regulatory regime around digital assets, making it the ideal location for this landmark arrangement as digital assets continue to be integrated into the global financial services ecosystem.”

Interest in Digital Assets Rising Fast

Tokens, cryptocurrencies, and digital assets have captured rising attention in Hong Kong. For instance, in December last year, PwC Hong Kong, an insurance giant, partnered with the Animoca Brands subsidiary in purchasing a virtual land in the Sandbox metaverse

Besides that, NFTs have significantly dominated discussions in the Hong Kong blockchain ecosystem – a bridge connecting blockchain startups and major financial institutions in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, there is a massive development in the Hong Kong regulatory landscape. In January, The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a joint circular, which for the first time allowed registered firms and licensed companies to offer digital asset investment services by partnering only with SFC-licensed virtual asset trading platforms.

The agreement between Interactive Brokers and OSL is the first collaboration between one of the largest SFC-regulated online brokers serving professional investors in Hong Kong and an SFC-licensed institutional digital asset brokerage and exchange.

The partnership proves that the joint HKMA-SFC circular is a crucial tool that is building a more competitive and robust digital asset market in Hong Kong. The circular is also likely to accelerate the development and acceptance of regulated digital assets in Asia and worldwide.

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Interactive Brokers Launches Cryptocurrency Trading Service for US Financial Advisors

Global brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Group has announced the launch of its cryptocurrency trading service for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in the U.S.

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The new service enables registered financial advisers in the U.S. to trade and custody Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash via Paxos Trust company on behalf of clients.

Registered financial advisers who rely on Interactive Brokers’ new platform can expect a nominal commission fee between 0.12% – 0.18%, depending on monthly volume, with a minimum charge per order of $1.75. The same trade done through other crypto exchanges and brokers usually cost as much as 2.00% of transactions.

The new platform Paxos built for Interactive Brokers provides US-based registered financial advisers with a straightforward interface to manage clients’ positions, with customizable reports and real-time data tracking crypto-related stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, futures, options from all over the world.

While the new cryptocurrency service is currently available to RIAs in the U.S., Interactive Brokers plans to expand the service to reach other financial advisers across other parts of the world in the future.

Investing in Crypto

In June, Interactive Brokers announced its intent to begin trading cryptocurrencies on its platform towards the end of the year. The firm made such a move after its customers were asking for cryptocurrency trading.

While rival brokers such as Charles Schwab and Fidelity currently do not provide direct cryptocurrency trading on their platforms. However, Robinhood stock trading app does provide crypto trades.

Interactive Brokers providing crypto trading will further lower the barriers to entry for individual investors to access digital assets.

According to its first quarter of this year, Interactive Brokers had $330.6 billion in customers equity and 1.33 million customers accounts.

The low-cost broker is one of the largest online brokerage companies with millions of customers. The firm has joined a rising list of major brokers such as Robinhood and TradeStation, making crypto assets accessible to many investors.

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Interactive Brokers launches crypto trading in US for four tokens

Brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Group is allowing investment advisers registered with the company to trade four cryptocurrencies.

In a Monday announcement, Interactive Brokers said its Registered Investment Advisers would be able to trade and custody Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) for clients using Paxos Trust Company. The firm reported this service was currently available only for its advisers in the United States but it plans to launch crypto trading for global clients in the future.

“Allocating a small percentage of assets to cryptocurrency as part of a well-diversified portfolio has steadily become more commonplace, and advisors may wish to recommend cryptocurrency to their clients,” said Interactive Brokers executive vice president of marketing and product development Steve Sanders.

Related: Powers On… Broker disintermediation and unregulated crypto exchanges cause major concerns

With headquarters in the United States, Interactive Brokers falls under the purview of regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. As of Oct. 1, the firm reported 1.54 million client accounts with $353.8 billion in equity.