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Hong Kong begins discussions to introduce stablecoin regulatory framework

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Hong Kong begins discussions to introduce stablecoin regulatory framework

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority shared a list of eight questions to seek policy-related recommendations citing five possible regulatory outcomes — no action, opt-in regime, risk-based regime, catch-all regime and blanket ban.

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Hong Kong begins discussions to introduce stablecoin regulatory framework

Hong Kong’s central banking institution, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), released a questionnaire to gauge public opinion on regulations for crypto-assets and stablecoins. The state-backed regulator intends to establish a regulatory framework by 2023-24.

HKMA’s “Discussion Paper on Crypto-assets and Stablecoins” highlights the explosive growth of the stablecoin market in terms of market capitalization since 2020 and the concurrent regulatory recommendations put forth by international regulators including the United States’ Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS).

Market Capitalization of Crypto-assets. Source: HKMA

According to the HKMA, the current size and trading activity of crypto-assets may not pose an immediate threat to the stability of the global financial system from a systemic point of view. However, the discussion paper warned:

“The growing exposure of institutional investors to such assets as an alternative to or to complement traditional asset classes for trading, lending and borrowing […] indicate growing interconnectedness with the mainstream financial system.”

Market Capitalization of Major Stablecoins. Source: HKMA.

Based on the above figure, HKMA’s paper shows that the global market capitalization stood at about $150 billion in December 2021, “representing about 5% of the overall crypto-asset market.” The regulator has also shared a list of eight questions to seek policy-related recommendations citing five possible regulatory outcomes — no action, opt-in regime, risk-based regime, catch-all regime and blanket ban:

Possible policy options for regulating crypto-assets. Source: HKMA.

HKMA expects stakeholders to submit their responses by 31st March 2022, and aims “to introduce the new regime no later than 2023/24.”

Major jurisdictions’ regulatory stance towards stablecoins. Source: HKMA.

On an end note, the regulator stated that payment-related stablecoins have a higher potential for being incorporated into the mainstream financial system or even day-to-day commercial and economic activities. 

As a result, the HKMA considers expanding the scope of the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance (PSSVFO), a law that determines the legality of financial products. 

Related: Hong Kong real estate giant leads $90M raise for crypto bank Sygnum

Complementing the local government’s pro-crypto intentions, one of Hong Kong’s largest property developers Sun Hung Kai invested $90 million in Sygnum, a Swiss bank dedicated to digital asset holding.

As Cointelegraph reported, the Series B funding round brings Sygnum’s post-money valuation to $800 million, marking a tenfold surge in consolidated revenues from 2021.

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Singapore crypto ATMs shut down after central bank crackdown

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Singapore crypto ATMs shut down after central bank crackdown

The move is part of a broader effort by the Singaporean watchdog to regulate advertising cryptocurrency to the public.

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Singapore crypto ATMs shut down after central bank crackdown

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has reportedly decided to shut down cryptocurrency automatic teller machines in the city-state.

According to Bloomberg, to comply with new regulations issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank, cryptocurrency ATM operators in the country were forced to shut down their operations on Tuesday.

The new clampdown on cryptocurrency ATMs sparked several reactions from the city’s cryptocurrency operators, with Daenerys & Co saying it was “surprised” and canceling its ATM service on Tuesday evening. Its main competitor, Deodi, switched off its ATM network and sent staff to remove its crypto ATMs.

The move is part of a broader effort by the Singaporean watchdog to regulate advertising cryptocurrency to the public. On Monday, the central bank released new guidance that bans crypto firms from advertising their services in public places, websites and social networks.

Singapore’s souring on crypto, however, is more of a surprise. Coincub, a fintech startup based in the city-state, named Singapore the most crypto-friendly country in the world in December, owing to the city’s “good legislative environment” and “high rate of cryptocurrency adoption.” However, the legislative climate in the city-state appears to be cloudier right now.

Related: UK advertiser ASA continues crypto ad banning spree

Cointelegraph reached out to the MAS for more information but did not receive a response as of publishing time. This article will be updated if new details emerge.

The clampdown in Singapore came soon after similar advertising limitations were enacted in Spain and the United Kingdom. On Monday, the Spanish government required crypto businesses to submit ad campaigns for regulatory approval 10 days in advance, while the U.K. launched a review of cryptocurrency advertising norms, vowing to crack down on products with deceptive claims.

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Turkish ruling party holds meeting in metaverse, talks crypto regulation

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Turkish ruling party holds meeting in metaverse, talks crypto regulation

Turkey’s governing political party has discussed the upcoming crypto regulation in its first metaverse meeting.

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Turkish ruling party holds meeting in metaverse, talks crypto regulation

Ak Party, Turkey’s governing party, held its first metaverse meeting on Monday wherein it discussed upcoming crypto regulation. 

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) hosted its first meeting in the metaverse, Cointelegraph Turkey reported. Attending the virtual meeting were TBMM group deputy chairmen Mahir Ünal and Mustafa Elitaş along with Ömer İleri, the vice president of Ak Party responsible for information and communication technologies.

Physically, Elitaş attended the meeting from the parliament building, while Ünal and İleri were at the Ak Party (AKP) headquarters. Crypto regulation was the highlight of the meeting, Ünal told state-run news agency AA, adding that crypto assets require both financial and legal regulations.

Elitaş, who recently hosted a meeting with representatives from the Turkish crypto ecosystem at TBMM, stressed that it’s impossible to stay out of the virtual world. “I believe that metaverse-based meetings would be improved expeditiously and become an essential part of our lives,” he added.

Elitaş is also expected to meet with Binance Turkey on Thursday. As reported before, Binance Turkey was fined 8 million Turkish lira (about $600,000) after failing an audit for monitoring Anti-Money Laundering compliance.

As blockchain technology made digital ownership possible, Turkey has sped up its metaverse efforts, Öİleri said. Seeing the metaverse as a nascent yet quickly developing field, he predicted that it could impact many industries in the future.

Ak Parti olarak #Metaverse üzerinden ilk toplantımızı gerçekleştirdik. pic.twitter.com/19Xfd6sIWR

— AK Parti Bilgi İletişim Teknolojileri (@AKbilgitek) January 17, 2022

The metaverse is open for development in virtual reality, product management and innovative business models, İleri noted, adding that AKP wants to pave the way for a metaverse ecosystem.

Related: Turkey’s crypto law is ready for parliament, President Erdoğan confirms

İleri argued that digital and technological advancements have legal, economic and social aspects. The AKP is striving to develop policies regarding crypto assets and social media to protect the citizens while empowering Turkey’s innovation capabilities, he concluded.

While the Turkish government is keen on blockchain technology and a central bank digital currency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known for his stern stance against cryptocurrencies. Last year in a public Q&A session, he “declared war” on crypto, saying, “We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies.”

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Russian Orthodox Patriarch is not a Bitcoiner, church clarifies

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Russian Orthodox Patriarch is not a Bitcoiner, church clarifies

A video emerged claiming that the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church was blessing financial investments.

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Russian Orthodox Patriarch is not a Bitcoiner, church clarifies

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Rus’, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, has not urged his flock to invest in Bitcoin, despite videos claiming otherwise. 

A clip recently emerged claiming that Kirill had urged the faithful to invest in cryptocurrencies. While the video does include genuine comments from the patriarch regarding the benefits of robotics for the economy, and a mention of Bitcoin (BTC), the comments were heavily edited, with the narrator further claiming that the leader would bless those who wish to invest in crypto in a special service at a Moscow church.

The church’s top media representative, Vakhtang Kipshidze, told local publication Daily Storm:

“This is an absolute deception, misleading those people who might think that the patriarch allegedly encourages someone to participate in financial fraud and speculation.”

Kipshidze said that he considered the fraudulent nature of the video to be apparent, stating, “It would never occur to any sane person that the patriarch would call for investing in some kind of fly-by-night scheme, the fraudulent nature of which, in my opinion, is quite obvious.”

Religious communities around the world have had varying opinions about cryptocurrencies, ranging from cautious approval to outright condemnation. 

Related: Indonesia’s national Islamic council reportedly declares Bitcoin haram

In the Islamic world, which has its own set of guidelines and laws pertaining to finance — and now digital assets — the acceptance of cryptocurrency is far from uniform

Malaysia’s shariah advisory council, for example, has declared that trading digital assets was permissible, while late last year, religious authorities in Indonesia have found it “haram,” or forbidden, namely due to its speculative nature and purported propensity for fraud. 

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