Italy Bans Microsoft-Backed AI Chatbot

Italy’s decision to ban the Microsoft-backed AI chatbot, ChatGPT, has caused controversy within the tech industry and the country. The Italian deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, criticized the ban as excessive and potentially damaging to national business and innovation.

The ban followed concerns raised by Italy’s national data agency about possible privacy violations and failure to verify the age of users. On Friday, March 31, OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy, making it the first Western country to take measures against the AI chatbot.

Salvini expressed his thoughts on the ban through a post on Instagram, stating that he found the decision of the Privacy Watchdog that forced #ChatGPT to prevent access from Italy disproportionate. He also argued that dozens of services based on artificial intelligence are currently in operation, and therefore, common sense needs to be exercised, as privacy issues concern practically all online services.

Furthermore, Ron Moscona, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney and an expert in technology and data privacy, said the ban by the Italian regulators was surprising, as it is unusual to completely ban a service due to a data breach incident.

OpenAI has stated that it adheres to privacy regulations in Europe and is willing to cooperate with Italy’s privacy regulatory body. The company takes measures to minimize personal data when training its AI systems, including ChatGPT, as its goal is for the AI to acquire knowledge about the world, not to obtain information about specific individuals.

While the ban could harm national business and innovation, Salvini hopes that a rapid solution will be found, and ChatGPT’s access to Italy will be restored. “Every technological revolution brings great changes, risks, and opportunities. It is right to control and regulate through international cooperation between regulators and legislators, but it cannot be blocked,” he said.

The AI chatbot is also under scrutiny in other regions worldwide. The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy (CAIDP) lodged a complaint against ChatGPT on March 31, intending to prevent the deployment of potent AI systems to the general public. The CAIDP characterized the chatbot as a “biased” and “deceptive” platform that jeopardizes public safety and confidentiality.

In conclusion, the ban on ChatGPT in Italy has created significant controversy within the country and the tech industry. While concerns about privacy and age verification have been raised, the ban has also been criticized as excessive and potentially harmful to national business and innovation. OpenAI has stated that it adheres to privacy regulations in Europe and is willing to cooperate with Italy’s privacy regulatory body. The debate over the regulation of AI chatbots continues worldwide, with concerns about public safety and confidentiality at the forefront.


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Italy will tax cryptocurrency earnings 26%

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Profits from trading cryptocurrencies that are more than 2,000 euros ($2,062) will be subject to the capital gains tax at a rate of 26%. According to material related to the budget that was made public on December 1, Italy intends to increase the regulatory burden placed on digital currencies in the year 2023 by broadening the scope of its tax laws to include the trade of cryptocurrencies. According to Bloomberg, the country proposes to include in its budget for 2023 provisions to charge a tax of 26% on earnings gained from trading cryptocurrencies that are more than 2,000 euros ($2,062).

Due to the fact that digital currencies have traditionally been regarded as “foreign money,” they have traditionally been subject to lower tax rates.

Taxpayers will be given the option to report the value of their digital asset holdings as of January 1 and pay a tax rate of 14% if the measure that is now being considered is passed and signed into law.

It is hoped that this would encourage Italians to include a declaration of their digital assets on their income tax filings.

According to the statistics provided by Tripe A, 2.3% of the population of Italy is comprised of crypto asset owners, which is equivalent to around 1.3 million individuals.

It would seem that Italy is taking Portugal’s lead in this matter.

In October, Portugal, which was once renowned as a cryptocurrency tax haven, made a proposal to impose a tax of 28% on capital gains derived from cryptocurrencies that had been held for less than a year.

The Portuguese government addressed the issue of the taxation of cryptocurrencies in its state budget for the fiscal year 2023. This issue had previously been ignored by tax authorities due to the fact that digital assets were not recognized as legitimate forms of payment.

In order to address issues relating to the taxation and categorization of cryptocurrencies, Portugal plans to develop a tax structure that is both “wide and appropriate” in scope.

The activity of mining cryptocurrencies and trading them are both included in the scope of the proposed tax law, in addition to capital profits.


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Crypto Exchange Coinify Gets Regulatory Approval to Operate in Italy

Denmark-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinify has announced that it has received regulatory approval to operate in Italy.

Coinify said its registration application was approved by the Italian Financial Supervisory Authority (OAM) on August 12.

Crypto trading and payment services are now available to Italian users and institutional investors under the supervision of the financial regulator, the company said in a statement.

The online platform has provided virtual currency trading services in over 180 countries.

In February, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) issued a new decree requiring cryptocurrency and digital wallet service providers operating or intending to operate in Italy to register with the financial regulator Organic Intermediaries (OAM)- a special part of the registration.

The exchange follows in the footsteps of other crypto companies that are expanding their operations and registering with the Italian financial regulator OAM.

So far, several major exchanges have registered with OAM, including BitGo, Binance, Coinbase in the US, in Singapore, and Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp.

Italy has also taken a more welcoming approach to crypto companies as the crypto industry emerges from its recent slump.

In 2021, American cryptocurrency trading platform Voyager Digital announced the acquisition of Coinify on August 2.

Yet, Voyager Digital suspended withdrawals on its platform on July 4 due to the market downturn. The company said at the time that the move would give it time to explore possible options to deal with the difficulties posed by the current bear market.

Soon after, the struggling company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to preserve its assets and maximize customer value.

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Crypto Exchange Blockchain.Com Joins Exchanges in Italy, a global cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the UK, said on Thursday it had registered as a virtual asset service provider in Italy.

The move made the London-based full-stack crypto services platform one of the latest crypto firms to have received such a registration.

The latest approval enables its legal entity to operate in Italy issued by the Italian financial authority Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM). said the registration it obtained would make it accountable and minimize the prospects for money laundering.

In a statement, the firm said it can now offer its crypto and digital wallet services to Italian users and institutional investors under the financial watchdog.

“This registration strengthens our position to offer services across Europe,” said.

Why Crypto Firms Are Currently Seeking Regulatory Approval in Italy is one of the digital asset providers expected to register afresh with the Organismo degli Agenti e dei Mediatori (OAM), which regulates the cryptocurrency industry in Italy.

In February, Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) published a new decree that requires cryptocurrency and digital wallet service providers who operate or intend to operate in the Italian territory to enrol in a special section of the register held by the financial regulator Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM).

So far, several major exchanges, including BitGo, Binance, U.S-based Coinbase, Singapore-based, and Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp, among others, have already secured registration with the OAM.

Once the time limits set out in the new requirements have expired, only firms entered in the register will be allowed to offer such services in Italy. To be registered, cryptocurrency providers are expected to have their registered office and operational headquarters in Italy.

The announcement by OAM is part of efforts by global regulators to bring a regulatory framework to the crypto sector, which is subject to patchy rules. Financial stability threats, consumer protection, and illicit use of cryptocurrencies are issues on the agenda.

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Bitstamp Gets Regulatory Approval to Operate in Italy

Bitstamp, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Luxembourg, announced Monday that it has received regulatory approval to operate its business in Italy.

Bitstamp CEO JB Graftieaux confirmed the development: “This registration in Italy is part of our global plans to offer services across Europe and around the world,” the executive further added: “Italy is among the most important markets in Europe, and we are thrilled to provide its citizens with a safe and secure way to trade cryptocurrencies.”

Bitsamp said its registration application was approved by Italy’s financial regulator Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) on July 22.

The agency requires a license. Consequently, crypto firms in the jurisdiction must get a license to offer trading, custody, and other services.

The regulator recently implemented a new requirement that mandated all firms offering crypto trading, custody or other services to meet the set criteria.

Founded in 2011, Bitstamp, registered in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, is one of the oldest crypto companies in Europe.

In May, Graftieaux, Bistamp’s former Chief Compliance Officer and Europe CEO was appointed as the company’s global CEO.

The exchange has followed in the footsteps of other crypto firms that are expanding their operations and registering with the Italian financial regulator Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM).

On 28th May, Binance received regulatory approval through registration as a crypto service provider with the OAM, as required by Italian newly updated regulations on crypto assets.

On 18 July, Coinbase won approval from Italian regulators to continue serving residents in Italy. Coinbase stated that it had met requirements from the OAM, which oversees financial and brokerage firms in Italy and implements anti-money laundering controls.

A day later, won regulatory approval from the Italian agency, allowing the exchange to distribute its products and services to users in the country.

With the crypto sector starting to break-free from the recent plunge, Italy is also taking a more welcoming approach towards crypto companies.

Italy is working actively to embrace the crypto industry and its development. Early this month, Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development announced plans to offer up to $46 million in subsidies for developing projects across blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, beginning mid-to-late September.

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BitGo Receives Regulatory Approval from Italy

More digital assets custody providers have won approval from the Italian financial regulator, the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM), to serve customers in Italy.  BitGo is another one.

According to documents from the Italian regulator, as seen on Tuesday, July 19, BitGo has been registered as a cryptocurrency service provider by the regulator, therefore cleared to offer digital wallet services to Italian customers in compliance with Italian laws.

As per the documents, the company’s German branch, BitGo Deutschland GmbH, was registered to provide crypto products in Italy on July 15.

This means that BitGo has met requirements from the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM), which oversees the activities of financial and brokerage firms in Italy and implements anti-money laundering controls.

BitGo is also licensed to offer services in South Dakota, New York, Switzerland, and Germany. The company disclosed that its applications to serve in a couple of other jurisdictions are still pending.

Others Expanding into Italian Market

BitGo’s entrance into the European nation follows a trend of other global cryptocurrency firms gaining approvals to operate in Italy.

On Tuesday, gained regulatory approval in Italy as part of its efforts to continue its expansion to new regions. The approval allowed the firm to provide a suite of products and services to Italian clients, open offices, and expand its national team.

Likewise, Coinbase was granted approval by the Italian regulator to operate as a crypto assets service provider in the country on Monday. The regulatory approval enabled Coinbase to continue providing crypto services in Italy and to bring new products to the market.

Also, the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori registered crypto exchanges such as Binance, Kraken, Bitpanda, and brokerage Trade Republic to operate in the country.

In light of the market’s rapid growth, the financial regulator recently introduced new requirements that mandate all crypto firms to meet the criteria before continuing to offer services in Italy.

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Coinbase to Expand European Operations by Acquiring Italian License

Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc has announced it has tapped a new license from the Italian market regulator, the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM).


The exchange noted that the license will further complement its expansion efforts in Europe which it revealed recently that it wants to dive aggressively into recently. The OAM recently mandated that all companies offering crypto trading, custody, or other services meet set criteria, and Coinbase exchange said it is one of the first outfits to meet the established criteria.

“Building a constructive relationship with regulators in every jurisdiction in which we operate is incredibly important as we march toward our mission of increasing economic freedom in every corner of the world,” said Nana Murugesan, Vice President, International and Business Development. 

The crypto exchange said, “gaining this regulatory approval is a testament to our close collaboration and positive working relationship with the Italian financial regulators.”

The license receipt from the OAM comes off as another targeted attempt by trading platforms to get their books right, especially with European regulators. Coinbase confirmed that the exchange has submitted applications to be licensed and regulated in a more targeted jurisdiction as it looks to focus on establishing its presence as a leader within the region.

Meanwhile, Binance exchange, arguably Coinbase’s most dominant rival, is also expanding its reach in the EU. Earlier this month, the former trading platform tapped the license to operate in Spain through its subsidiary, Moon Tech, and it has previously secured approval from French market regulators.

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Italian Government to Provide €45m in Grants for Blockchain Industry

Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development is planning to provide up to $46 million in subsidies for developing projects across artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things technologies, starting in mid-to-late September.

The new policy is expected to strengthen research and innovation capabilities for industries. Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti said “the challenge of competitiveness requires constant innovation.”

The current initial budget is 45 million euros ($46 million). Italian government said that both companies and public or private research centers can jointly apply for relevant subsidies as long as relevant conditions are met.

According to the decree, companies involved in industry and manufacturing, education, agriculture, health, environment and infrastructure, cultural tourism, logistics, information security, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or blockchain in aerospace are eligible to apply for the subsidy.

They will receive relevant grants of not less than 500,000 euros and not more than 2 million euros.

The European Central Bank issued a warning to national authorities in the euro area about individuals dealing with the crypto ecosystem. A trilogy of European Commission, Parliament, and Council has agreed on a comprehensive cryptocurrency framework, the Market for Crypto Assets (MiCA),

Italy, as a member of the EU, will also establish a unified EU-wide regime for crypto-asset issuers and service providers, providing investors with security and support sustainability, reducing fragmentation and Increasing legal transparency.

Britain’s apex bank, the Bank of England, through the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), is looking to raise as much as 321 million pounds ($419 million) from the commercial institutions it is regulating as it is planning to shore up its regulatory efforts in the digital currency ecosystem.

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New Alfa Romeo SUV uses NFT and blockchain to track car records

Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo has unveiled its latest vehicle, the Tonale SUV. The firm claims that it is the first in the industry to connect each vehicle to its own blockchain-based token, which can keep track of the car’s whole life cycle.

One of the most distinctive features of this SUV is that each car is linked to an accompanying NFT. The Tonale NFT, according to Alfa Romeo, certifies a car upon purchase and then simply records and keeps data during the vehicle’s lifespan. Francesco Calcara, Alfa’s head of global marketing and communication, said:

“Upon customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used as a guarantee of the car’s overall status, with a positive impact on its residual value.”

Automobile companies are increasingly investing in the NFT market, which is forecasted to reach $240 billion by the end of the decade — minting unique collectible digital tokens that are sometimes included with vehicle purchases.

Related: Automakers are minting NFTs, but is there a strong use case?

Blockchain is now being linked to everything from real estate deals to sports fan engagement tokens. Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) have recently generated headlines as businesses race to get on board with this new technology.

Other luxury car makers such as Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz have experimented with NFTs. Lamborghini, for example, launched its first NFT project, “Space-Time Memory,” a set of five pictures showing a Lamborghini Ultimae going into space.

Mercedes recently teamed up with Art2People to develop a limited-edition Mercedes-Benz NFT collection inspired by its G-Class vehicle lineup.