NYDFS Introduces Stricter Crypto Listing and Delisting Rules

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has revised its guidelines on the listing and delisting of cryptocurrencies. This move aims to bolster investor protection and ensure that virtual currency businesses adhere to heightened regulatory standards.

Since 2015, the NYDFS has been a pivotal regulator in the virtual currency sphere, introducing specific regulations like BitLicenses and trust company charters. The department’s initial guidance on the adoption or listing of virtual currencies was released in 2020.

Replacing its 2020 guidance, the NYDFS’s new directive, effective immediately, introduces more stringent requirements after considering inputs from various stakeholders. The guidelines emphasize heightened consumer protection measures and clearer risk assessment procedures to reduce ambiguities in regulatory processes. Also included are exceptions for advance notifications in specific scenarios of coin delistings and updated definitions for clarity.

Entities involved in virtual currency activities are now required to obtain DFS approval for their coin-listing policies, maintain detailed records, and communicate with DFS regarding self-certified coins. Furthermore, a crucial aspect of the new regulations is the development of a comprehensive coin-delisting policy. Entities must formulate these policies and submit them for review, complying with the revised guidelines by January 31, 2024, while presenting their draft policies by December 8, 2023.

These guidelines are set to influence a range of licensed digital currency businesses in New York. The NYDFS aims to maintain its leadership in regulating the evolving virtual currency market.

The NYDFS’s initiative is part of its broader efforts to protect investors in the cryptocurrency market. Entities like Circle, Gemini, Fidelity, Robinhood, and PayPal must comply with these new regulations, reflecting New York’s commitment to monitoring the cryptocurrency industry closely.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / / /

FinCEN Issues Alert to Counter Financing to Hamas and its Terrorist Activities

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an alert on October 20, 2023, aimed at assisting financial institutions in identifying funding streams that support the terrorist organization Hamas. This move comes after a devastating attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, orchestrated by Hamas, which resulted in significant casualties, including U.S. citizens.

Hamas employs a multifaceted approach to raise funds for its operations. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the organization receives support from Iran, estimated at times to be as high as $300 million per year. Additionally, Hamas utilizes private donations, a global portfolio of investments, and diverts aid from legitimate charities. They also control border crossings and avenues of commerce, engage in racketeering, and run extortionary practices around local populations. Notably, Hamas has been involved in fundraising campaigns that use both fiat and virtual currencies.

FinCEN has outlined specific red flag indicators to help financial institutions detect, prevent, and report potential suspicious activity related to Hamas’s terrorist financing. These indicators include transactions with OFAC-designated entities, transactions indicating support for terrorist campaigns, and transactions involving high-risk jurisdictions tied to Hamas activity. Financial institutions are urged to include the key term “FIN-2023-TFHAMAS” in Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) to indicate a connection with the alert.

As part of a whole-of-government response, the Treasury is engaging with foreign counterparts to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds worldwide. Numerous Hamas members and financial facilitators have been designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in various countries, including Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar.

FinCEN has also expressed concerns over the use of virtual currencies and online platforms in financing terrorist activities. The alert specifically mentions that Hamas has been involved in fundraising campaigns involving virtual currency and fictitious charities. Financial institutions are advised to be vigilant in monitoring transactions that involve virtual currencies, especially those that originate from or are directed to high-risk jurisdictions.

Given the evolving nature of terrorist financing methods, FinCEN is continuously updating its guidelines and working closely with international partners to curb the flow of funds to terrorist organizations. Financial institutions are advised to stay updated on FinCEN’s alerts and guidelines to ensure compliance and contribute to national security efforts.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / / /

US Treasury Targets Hamas Financial Networks Post-Israel Attack

In a decisive response to the recent terrorist attack on Israel, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated ten individuals and entities linked to the Hamas terrorist organization. This action, aimed at crippling the financial structures supporting Hamas, encompasses individuals and operations not only in the Gaza Strip but extends to Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar.

Sanctions Detail

The sanctions zero in on various facets of Hamas’s financial network. Among those designated are individuals managing a clandestine Hamas investment portfolio, a Qatar-based facilitator with close Iranian affiliations, a senior Hamas commander, and a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange along with its operator. These sanctions build on previous actions dating back to May 2022, targeting officials and companies entangled in Hamas’s concealed global investment portfolio. The current designations are emblematic of a broader US strategy to dismantle the revenue streams fueling Hamas’s activities in the West Bank, Gaza, and beyond, closely coordinated with regional allies.

Hamas’s global financial operations, veiled as legitimate businesses, have purportedly amassed revenue in hundreds of millions, with investments spanning several countries including Sudan, Algeria, Türkiye, and the United Arab Emirates. The United States seeks to expose and freeze these assets to curtail Hamas’s ability to finance its operations.

Key Individuals and Entities

Highlighted among those sanctioned are Musa Muhammad Salim Dudin, a West Bank-based Hamas official, and Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair, a Sudan-based financier who managed several companies within Hamas’s investment portfolio. In Türkiye and Algeria, Amer Kamal Sharif Alshawa, Ahmed Sadu Jahleb, Aiman Ahmad Al-Duwaik, and Walid Mohammed Mustafa Jadallah were identified as part of Hamas’s investment network, with various roles in supporting the terrorist organization’s financial infrastructure.

Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah and Ayman Nofal, based in Qatar and Gaza respectively, were also designated for their significant roles within Hamas. The actions further extended to Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company, a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange, and its owner Ahmed M. M. Alaqad, for their material support to Hamas.

Virtual Currency Concerns

OFAC’s action underscores the evolving challenge posed by virtual currencies in financing terrorism. The seizure of virtual currency wallets linked to Hamas in 2021 by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terrorist Financing serves as a precursor to the concerns echoed in these sanctions. The designation of Buy Cash, involved in virtual currency transactions including Bitcoin, highlights a nuanced dimension of terror financing that demands international attention and action.

Sanctions Implications

The ramifications of these sanctions are extensive. They mandate the freezing of all property and interests in the US or under US persons’ control belonging to the designated individuals and entities. Additionally, they underscore the risks financial institutions and other entities might face if found engaging in transactions with the designated persons, thereby reinforcing the robustness and the dynamic enforcement landscape of the US sanctions regime.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / /

Virtual money is regulated in Alaska

shutterstock_2050982576 (1) (2).jpg

In accordance with Alaska’s legislation governing the transfer of money, the phrase “virtual currency” will be implemented on January 1, 2023.

Companies that deal in virtual currencies will be required to get a money transmission license in the state if this bill is passed.

To be able to do business in the state involving cryptocurrency, the enterprises will need to get a new kind of license.

As stated in a report published on December 19 by the legal firm Cooley, the state of Alaska recently modified its legislation governing the transfer of money to include a description of virtual currency.

A person who engages in money transmission activities involving virtual currency will be required to submit an application for a license, as stipulated by an amendment to the local Administrative Code that was adopted by the Division of Banking and Securities (DBS). This change will become effective on January 1, 2018. The most obvious impact of this change is that it will require a person to submit an application for a license.

The concept of monetary value and the types of investments that are allowed under the amendment will be expanded to include virtual currency, in accordance with other provisions of the amendment.

However, based on the findings of the Cooley investigation, loyalty and rewards programs, in addition to the digital tokens used in online gaming, continue to be excluded from the category of virtual money.

Even before the amendment was passed, platforms dealing with cryptocurrencies were required to get a money transmission license in the state of Alaska.

However, a prior version of their Limited Licensing Agreement (LLA) with DBS expressly did not include the concept of virtual money.

As a result, these LLAs will no longer be valid as of January 1st.

Alaska is one of just nine jurisdictions that continue to provide investors with the option of paying no tax on capital gains.

The remaining states are Wyoming, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. Washington, Wyoming, and South Dakota are also included.

However, the most recent analysis carried out by Invezz places it just 36th out of the 50 states in terms of the acceptance of cryptocurrencies.


Tagged : / / /

Jamaica to Launch Central Bank Digital Currency in 2022

Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke has announced that the country intends to launch its central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2022.

During the National Budget Debate address, Clarke revealed that the Central Bank’s digital currency will be tested in December, ahead of its launch.

The government of Jamaica disclosed that in light of Covid-19, a swift transition to a digital society will be crucial for the economy to recover. Enter central bank digital currencies.

Clarke added that a CBDC will greatly improve financial inclusion and provide financial services to the nation’s unbanked population. He specified that although a virtual currency backed by the central bank of Jamaica (BoJ) will be released, it will differ from cryptocurrencies and the CBDC should not be considered as one. Clarke said:

“It is not to be confused with cryptocurrency, which is privately issued and not backed by a regulatory authority.” 

The CBDC issued by the central bank of Jamaica will be made interchangeable with the Jamaican dollar on a one-to-one basis, therefore adopting more stablecoin-like characteristics than crypto.

Since the beginning of 2020, Jamaica has been working on developing its own central bank digital currency. In June 2020, BoJ tested and developed potential CBDC solutions in its sandbox.

CBDC issuance by different countries

Currently, the first country to have officially rolled out a functional central bank digital currency is the Bahamas.  The Central Bank of the Bahamas announced the world’s first state-backed virtual currency, dubbed the Sand Dollar, in October 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated the timeline for CBDC issuance by central banks. Many countries have announced have been experimenting and working on developing their own digital currency.

China’s digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) is being piloted in major cities across the country. It aims to expand its growth as an economic powerhouse by piloting the CBDC at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / /
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 43,850.75 0.62%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,359.09 0.20%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 77.80 2.96%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 254.95 2.40%