US NIST Initiates AI Safety Consortium to Promote Trustworthy AI Development

The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the Department of Commerce, has taken a significant stride towards fostering a safe and trustworthy environment for Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the inception of the Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium (“Consortium”). The Consortium’s formation was announced in a notice published on November 2, 2023, by NIST, marking a collaborative effort to set up a new measurement science for identifying scalable and proven techniques and metrics. These metrics are aimed at advancing the development and responsible utilization of AI, especially concerning advanced AI systems like the most capable foundation models.

Consortium Objective and Collaboration

The core objective of the Consortium is to navigate the extensive risks posed by AI technologies and to shield the public while encouraging innovative AI technological advancements. NIST seeks to leverage the broader community’s interests and capabilities, aiming at identifying proven, scalable, and interoperable measurements and methodologies for the responsible use and development of trustworthy AI.

Engagement in collaborative Research and Development (R&D), shared projects, and the evaluation of test systems and prototypes are among the key activities outlined for the Consortium. The collective effort is in response to the Executive Order titled “The Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” dated October 30, 2023, which underlined a broad set of priorities relevant to AI safety and trust.

Call for Participation and Cooperation

To achieve these objectives, NIST has opened the doors for interested organizations to share their technical expertise, products, data, and/or models through the AI Risk Management Framework (AI RMF). The invitation for letters of interest is part of NIST’s initiative to collaborate with non-profit organizations, universities, government agencies, and technology companies. The collaborative activities within the Consortium are expected to commence no earlier than December 4, 2023, once a sufficient number of completed and signed letters of interest are received. Participation is open to all organizations that can contribute to the Consortium’s activities, with selected participants required to enter into a Consortium Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST.

Addressing AI Safety Challenges

The establishment of the Consortium is viewed as a positive step towards catching up with other developed nations in setting up regulations governing AI development, particularly in the realms of user and citizen privacy, security, and unintended consequences. The move reflects a milestone under President Joe Biden’s administration towards adopting specific policies to manage AI in the United States.

The Consortium will be instrumental in developing new guidelines, tools, methods, and best practices to facilitate the evolution of industry standards for developing or deploying AI in a safe, secure, and trustworthy manner. It is poised to play a critical role at a pivotal time, not only for AI technologists but for society, in ensuring that AI aligns with societal norms and values while promoting innovation.

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Binance CEO Clarifies Details on CommEx Integration

Key Takeaways

* CZ, Binance’s CEO, provides clarifications on Binance’s association with CommEX.

* Cryptocurrency transfers between the platforms are in progress.

* Binance’s broader compliance strategy leads to its Russian operations’ sale to CommEX.

CZ’s Clarifications on Binance and CommEx Association

In a recent tweet, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance, provided insights into the nature of the relationship between Binance and CommEX. He highlighted several key points:

Cryptocurrency transfers are underway between Binance and CommEX as users shift platforms. Older transactions were noted during the testing phase of the integrations.

Some ex-Binance CIS team members may have already joined CommEX, and others might follow. CZ regards this as a positive move.

CommEx’s design, APIs, and other interfaces align closely with Binance’s, a request made by Binance to ensure a seamless user transition.

CommEX will not cater to users from the US or the EU due to IP and KYC restrictions, a condition Binance stipulated.

Refuting speculations, CZ stated he does not hold an Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) position in CommEX nor owns any shares. The deal excludes any buyback options.

Binance’s Decision Amid Regulatory Challenges

Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has announced the sale of its entire Russia-based operations to CommEX. This significant strategic decision aligns with Binance’s emphasis on compliance and regulatory adherence across the numerous countries it operates within.

While Russia is ramping up regulations on crypto exchanges, Binance has also been under U.S. scrutiny for potential sanctions violations concerning Russia. On May 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated an inquiry into Binance, focusing on potential U.S. sanctions violations. This move was not isolated, with previous probes in 2021 and early 2022.

Earlier, in April 25, 2023, Binance discreetly lifted certain restrictions on Russian users that were initially imposed in March 2022, following EU’s sanctions on Russia. By April 2023, changes were made to allow deposits in Russian rubles and other currencies.

The EU’s extension of its sanctions impacted Russian users’ access to EU-registered crypto services. This shift led platforms like LocalBitcoins, Crypto.com, and Blockchain.com to cut ties with Russian clients.

To ensure a smooth transition, Binance and CommEX devised a systematic migration process for users and assets, assuring Binance’s existing Russian users of the security of their assets. The transition is expected to span a year, with some new registrations being redirected to CommEX.

While financial details remain undisclosed, Binance confirmed there would be no continued revenue from the sale and marked a complete exit from the Russian market.

Binance, though departing from Russia, remains bullish about the Web3 sector’s global potential and plans to focus on the 100+ other countries in its operation portfolio.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.

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Taiwan’s Major Crypto Exchanges Form Association to Align with Upcoming Regulations

Key Takeaways

  1. Taiwan’s leading crypto exchanges form an industry association ahead of new regulations.
  2. The association aims to facilitate dialogue with regulators and integrate the crypto industry.
  3. Nine exchanges are currently part of the preparatory group for the association.

As Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) prepares to unveil its “Guiding Principles for the Management of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)” in September, the country’s major crypto exchanges have taken proactive steps. They have formed a preparatory group, known as the Taiwan VASP Association Preparatory Committee, in early September. The initiative is expected to become legally effective in October, following the government’s release of its crypto framework.

Unified Industry Efforts

The preparatory group consists of nine crypto exchanges, including the first three founders: MaiCoin Group, BitoGroup, and Ace Exchange. Other members are BitstreetX, Hoya Bit, Bitgin, Rybit, Xrex, and Shangbito. “The association is a family and a beacon. It guides us in the direction, collects information, sets standards, builds consensus, speaks on our behalf, and leads us to further progress,” said Wang Chenhuan, President of Ace Exchange.

Regulatory Alignment

The association aims to align with the upcoming regulations by the FSC. “We have a responsibility to lead industry partners in perfecting infrastructure and regulations,” said Zheng Guangtai, Founder and CEO of BitoGroup. He added that BitoGroup has accumulated rich experience in areas like cybersecurity, internal control, anti-money laundering, and counter-terrorism financing over the past decade.

Broadening the Ecosystem

The association is not limited to exchanges and aims to include other key players like traditional banks, fintech firms, accountants, and insurance companies. “The most important work at this stage is to play the role of internal communication. Only through unity and cooperation can we build a robust industry chain,” said Xiao Huizong, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Xrex.

Transparency and Future Plans

The preparatory group holds weekly meetings every Tuesday afternoon, and the minutes are publicly available on GitBook to ensure transparency. They plan to submit their application to the Ministry of the Interior by mid-October, aiming for the formal establishment of the Taiwan VASP Association by the end of the year.

Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Always consult with a professional before making any financial decisions. This material is the exclusive property of Blockchain.News. Unauthorized use, duplication, or distribution without express permission is prohibited. Proper credit and direction to the original content are required for any permitted use.


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US House Committees To Hold Joint Hearings On Digital Asset Regulations

The US House Financial Services and Agriculture Committees, along with the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee, and the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee will hold joint hearings in May to establish regulatory clarity for the digital asset ecosystem. Representative Patrick McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, has announced that the hearings aim to establish a bill providing regulatory clarity to the crypto sector, which adds to the work on a bipartisan bill led by crypto-friendly Senator Cynthia Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The move was revealed in a joint announcement on April 27 from McHenry and Representative Glenn Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee; Representative French Hill, chairman of the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee; and Dusty Johnson, chairman of the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee. The joint statement reads: “Our Committees are embarking on an unprecedented joint effort to pass and sign into law clear rules of the road for the digital asset ecosystem. We must strike the appropriate balance to protect consumers without stifling responsible innovation.”

McHenry spoke as part of a panel alongside crypto-friendly Senator Cynthia Lummis during the Consensus 2023 event on April 28, adding more context to the upcoming hearings. “We’re going to hold joint hearings when we return in May. This is going to be the first time we have had a holistic view for a House committee hearing around the regulation, our market structure around digital assets, and a holistic view of it.”

He also stressed that the hearings aim to establish a bill providing regulatory clarity to the crypto sector, which adds to the work on a bipartisan bill led by Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, also known as the Lummis-Gillibrand bill, was initially introduced in the US Senate in June 2022, and addresses Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction, stablecoin regulation and crypto taxation, among other issues.

The wide-sweeping bill has faced delays, likely due to its complexity for non-crypto-versed Senators. Lummis and Gillibrand have since revised the bill and are expected to release the next draft soon. Commenting on the revised bill, Lummis suggested that this iteration will likely have an additional focus on “national security interests” such as cyber security. “Some of the people that I speak to that remain very skeptical about digital assets are concerned that cybercrime is not adequately addressed in our bill. So I think you’ll see a stronger cybercrime aspect to our bill. I think you’ll see some provisions that require certain registration […] so that companies are properly regulated and vetted.”

The joint hearings in May will aim to provide regulatory clarity on the digital asset ecosystem and strike the appropriate balance to protect consumers without stifling responsible innovation. The hearings will focus on addressing the market structure around digital assets in the United States, which includes capital raising and transitioning products from a securities regime to a commodities regime.

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Bitget Registers as a Service Provider in Lithuania

The digital currency trading platform Bitget has made public the news that it has been officially registered as a service provider in Lithuania. Because the company in Seychelles has satisfied the compliance criteria set out by the local rules and regulations, it is now authorized to do business in the European nation. The digital asset market in Lithuania is only beginning to develop, and the country has quickly become a refuge for blockchain and cryptocurrency enterprises.

In late 2021, as part of Estonia’s ongoing effort to clamp down on cryptocurrency businesses inside the nation, the authorities cancelled hundreds of operational licenses. As a direct consequence of this, Lithuania has seen a boom in the registration of cryptocurrency companies, with a recent article from Bloomberg stating that this number is expected to climb by a factor of five until the year 2022. As a result, Lithuania’s status as an attractive location for businesses providing services related to cryptocurrencies has been strengthened.

The decision made by Bitget to register as a service provider in Lithuania enables the platform to meet the rising demand for services linked to cryptocurrencies in that nation. The marketplace allows users to engage in a variety of trade activities using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Bitget is able to extend its operations into the European market and deliver its services to a larger client base as a result of the company’s registration in Lithuania.

The Republic of Lithuania’s Central Bank issued rules for cryptocurrency market participants in 2018, demonstrating the country’s proactive approach to the development of its digital asset market. The rules provide light on the legal position of cryptocurrencies and lay out the responsibilities of market participants in a clear and concise manner. This has contributed to the creation of a regulatory framework that is advantageous for cryptocurrency firms who are interested in operating inside the nation.

The registration of Bitget in Lithuania is a good development for the cryptocurrency sector since it reflects the rising interest and demand for digital assets in the European market. This is why the registration of Bitget in Lithuania is considered to be a positive development. It is possible that other cryptocurrency firms will follow Bitget’s example and register as service providers in Lithuania as a result of the favorable legal environment and expanding digital asset industry in the nation of Lithuania.

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Chinese Banks Embrace Crypto in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s ambitious goal to become a leading crypto hub has opened an opportunity for many state-affiliated banks in China. The Chinese banks, despite a blanket ban on crypto-related activities in mainland China, are showing interest in building partnerships and onboarding regulated crypto companies in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong arm of the major Chinese state-owned Bank of Communications is collaborating with several cryptocurrency businesses registered in the city. The bank is in talks to open accounts for regulated companies, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal. This is a significant development in the world of crypto, where banks are traditionally hesitant to partner with companies in this industry.

In addition to the Bank of Communications, ZA Bank – Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank controlled by Chinese internet insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance – will also act as the settlement bank for the crypto companies. These banks will together facilitate the depositing and withdrawal of fiat currencies, providing a vital service to crypto companies looking to operate in Hong Kong.

These banks’ involvement in the crypto industry is an excellent sign for Hong Kong, which has been trying to establish itself as a leading crypto hub for some time. At the start of the year, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, clarified that the city is pushing to collaborate with more crypto firms in 2023. The government’s progressive crypto approach has attracted nearly 80 cryptocurrency firms interested in opening or expanding their business in the city.

The Chinese banks’ involvement in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a surprise to many in the crypto ecosystem, considering China’s multiple crackdowns on crypto-related activities in mainland China. However, the Chinese banks’ move towards crypto in Hong Kong signals a new direction for the country’s approach to crypto.

As settlement banks, these Chinese banks will enable token deposits at authorized exchanges to be withdrawn in Hong Kong dollars, Chinese yuan, and U.S. dollars. This development will further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a leading crypto hub, attracting more companies and investors interested in crypto.

The Chinese banks’ interest in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a positive development, demonstrating the potential for regulatory clarity in the region. Additionally, this move could encourage other banks in the region to follow suit, strengthening Hong Kong’s position as a leading financial hub in Asia.

In conclusion, the involvement of Chinese banks in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a significant development, demonstrating the potential for collaboration between traditional financial institutions and the crypto industry. This move could help build greater confidence in the crypto industry and attract more companies and investors to Hong Kong. As the city continues to embrace crypto, we can expect to see more developments in this exciting and rapidly evolving industry.

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US SEC Hiring Attorneys for Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit

Regulators in the United States have been ramping up their efforts to regulate the crypto space, and the latest move from the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is no exception. The SEC has announced that it is seeking to hire general attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement. This unit is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations governing the use of crypto assets and cyber issues.

The job posting, which is available on the official government website, states that the successful candidates will be responsible for conducting “complex, fast-moving investigations” involving crypto asset securities and cyber issues. They will also be required to draft subpoenas or document requests, question witnesses through interviews, evaluate evidence and more.

This announcement comes shortly after the SEC’s chairman, Gary Gensler, asked for nearly $2.4 billion in funding to help the agency chase down crypto “misconduct” on March 29. This move highlights the regulatory pressure that the crypto community has been facing in the United States over the last year.

The crackdown on the crypto industry by US regulators has been ongoing, with local regulators planning to introduce new taxes directed towards the industry. Some industry insiders are concerned that these and other regulations could “choke” the industry and prevent much-needed innovation.

The Beaxy cryptocurrency exchange recently shut down after the SEC filed multiple charges against the company’s founder. Japan-based decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Sushi is also facing a subpoena from the SEC. These actions demonstrate the SEC’s commitment to enforcing regulations governing the use of crypto assets.

However, not everyone in positions of regulatory authority is on board with the SEC’s approach. Congressman Tom Emmer has called Gensler a “bad faith regulator” and questioned his methods of industry oversight. Emmer’s comments highlight the ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation for the crypto industry.

In conclusion, the SEC’s move to hire general attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement is a clear sign that the agency is taking the regulation of the crypto industry seriously. This move follows a string of regulatory actions against crypto companies, and the ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation is likely to continue. The future of the crypto industry in the United States remains uncertain, but it is clear that regulators are not backing down from their efforts to enforce the law.

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Japan’s Web3 Project Team Releases White Paper to Boost Crypto Industry

The Web3 project team of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has released a white paper containing suggestions for expanding the country’s cryptocurrency industry. The white paper has been incorporated into the national strategy by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.

The Web3 project team aims to bypass the usual bureaucratic processes to formulate regulatory proposals for everything from nonfungible tokens to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). In contrast to other governments seeking to implement consumer protection regulations, Japan is striving to establish a more welcoming atmosphere for cryptocurrency, as many companies have relocated to other countries due to high tax obligations.

The white paper recommends that Japan exhibit leadership during this year’s G7 summit, which will address cryptocurrency issues. The document recommends that the nation focus on the potential benefits of Web3 and establish a prominent stance on technology-agnostic and ethical innovation.

The white paper also recommends additional modifications to tax regulations, acknowledging that a notable exception for token issuers has already been granted. These include tax exemptions for companies that possess tokens issued by other firms that are not meant to be traded in the short term. It suggests enabling self-assessments and allowing investors to carry forward their losses for up to three years and proposes that cryptocurrency should only be taxed when it is converted into fiat currency.

Furthermore, the white paper identifies a pressing concern regarding the absence of accounting standards, which has made it challenging for Web3 enterprises to locate auditors. The document recommends that ministries and agencies assist the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants in creating guidelines. Additionally, it suggests that a DAO law be established, modeled after Japan’s godo kaisha, which is comparable to a limited liability company. It also suggests modifications to the Companies Act and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

The white paper highlights that while the screening process for tokens already in circulation is becoming shorter, the assessment of new tokens issued by foreign entities is still sluggish. It suggests that procedures should be made more transparent, enabling issuers to provide essential information for evaluation.

In 2022, Japan adopted a framework for regulating stablecoins. The new white paper emphasizes the significance of preparing the environment for stablecoin registration and creating a self-regulatory organization. It also suggests developing proposals for yen-backed stablecoins.

Japan’s Web3 project team’s white paper aims to address the challenges faced by the country’s cryptocurrency industry. While Japan has been comparatively more welcoming to cryptocurrencies than other countries, it still faces issues such as high tax obligations and the absence of accounting standards. The white paper recommends several modifications to tax regulations to ease the burden on companies, including tax exemptions for non-traded tokens and carrying forward losses.

The paper also suggests establishing guidelines for accounting standards and creating a DAO law modeled after Japan’s godo kaisha. Furthermore, it highlights the need for more transparent procedures for assessing new tokens issued by foreign entities.

The white paper also emphasizes the significance of preparing the environment for stablecoin registration and developing proposals for yen-backed stablecoins.

Japan’s cryptocurrency industry has the potential to grow further, and the Web3 project team’s white paper is a step towards achieving that goal. The government’s efforts to establish a welcoming atmosphere for cryptocurrencies could encourage more companies to operate in Japan, boosting the country’s economy in the long run.

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Sango Coin Listing Delayed in Central African Republic

The Sango Project, the organization behind the launch of the Central African Republic’s Sango Coin, has announced a delay in its listing due to legal and regulatory obstacles. The project stated in a message on its Telegram channel on March 31 that the delay will only be for a few weeks before the legal frameworks are finalized.

The government of the Central African Republic has made significant progress in establishing laws and regulations that will allow Sango Coin to be listed on crypto exchanges. However, the Sango Project has decided to postpone the listing to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations and to launch the product in the most secure and responsible manner possible.

The Sango Coin listing was one of the objectives of Project Sango, a crypto hub proposed in the Central African Republic in May 2022. The government of the Central African Republic had passed legislation allowing citizens to use Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender alongside the CFA franc, leading to the proposal of the crypto hub.

Since its launch in July 2022, the Sango Project has marketed Sango Coin to interested parties by offering pathways to Central African Republic citizenship through investments. However, this strategy was reportedly declared unconstitutional by the country’s court system in August 2022. Despite this setback, the Sango Project announced in December that it plans to list the tokens at a price of $0.45.

The delay in listing Sango Coin is a setback for the Sango Project, but the organization remains optimistic about the future. The project stated that the delay is necessary to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations, and it hinted that there are new surprises to come along with these laws.

The Central African Republic’s move to embrace cryptocurrencies is an interesting development in the global financial landscape. While some countries have been cautious about embracing cryptocurrencies, others have seen them as an opportunity to modernize their financial systems and attract investment. It remains to be seen whether the Central African Republic will be successful in its efforts to establish itself as a hub for cryptocurrency in Africa, but the launch of Sango Coin is a step in the right direction.

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OKX to Halt Services in Canada Due to New Regulations

OKX is a cryptocurrency exchange that was launched in China in 2017 and facilitates trading in a number of different digital assets. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are some of the cryptocurrencies that are included in this category. As a result of the fact that its daily trading volume is more than $2 billion, it is regarded as being one of the most significant cryptocurrency exchanges in the whole world.

On February 22, 2023, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a notice requiring all cryptocurrency exchanges to make new legally enforceable undertakings while they wait to be registered with the regulatory body. The notification was published online. Due to the publication of this notification, the cryptocurrency exchanges have made the decision to put an end to their business activities in Canada. The new initiative makes it illegal to “purchase or deposit Value Referenced Crypto Assets (often referred to as stablecoins) via crypto contracts without the prior written authorization of the CSA.” This action is described as “purchasing or depositing Value Referenced Crypto Assets” in the original sentence.

The decision made by the CSA is a part of a bigger crackdown on trading cryptocurrencies in Canada, which is being carried out by authorities in an attempt to bring the sector under greater control. The authorities’ motivation for carrying out this crackdown is stated in the following sentence: At the present, cryptocurrency exchanges are obliged to first register with the regulating authorities of Canada in order to be able to accept new clients from inside the country’s borders. On June 22, 2022, after an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission found that both ByBit and KuCoin were operating “non-compliant platforms” in the country, the commission fined both companies millions of dollars because they were “non-compliant platforms.” The investigation was conducted by the Ontario Securities Commission.

OKEx has said that it would only be temporarily withdrawing its services from the Canadian market and that it is now working with the relevant authorities in Canada to find a solution to the issue. The exchange has not issued any indication as to when it believes it will resume operations in Canada, and it has not specified a specific date either.

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