Lithuania changing its crypto regulations for ICOs again!

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Lithuania yet again plans to update regulations for ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), virtual currency exchanges and depository wallet operators. Also, they plan to introduce requirements for them to ensure effective prevention of money-laundering and terrorism funding.

Transparent legal environment

Sigitas Mitkus, director of the Finance Ministry’s financial market policy department commented on the issue. “We want to create a transparent legal environment for virtual currency exchanges, depository wallet operators and ICO initiators. We also want to contribute to ensuring better consumer protection,” he said in an interview.

Under these amendments, only legal entities and their branches registered with the Center of Registers will be able to act as operators. They will also have to execute the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. Also, they will have to check the clients’ identity and inform the Financial Crime Investigation Service about large financial transactions, he said.

It will be a requirement for companies to identify their clients and check their identity before providing services. However, this applies only if the operation value exceeds 1,000 euros. Also, they need to provide information to the FCIS, if the operation value is now less than 15,000 euros.

Going even further than EU directive

“By introducing limits for financial operations, we are going further beyond the EU directive. We will probably become the first in the world to implement the FATF (The Financial Action Task Force) recommendations and apply the requirements not only to the conversion of virtual currency to traditional ones and vice versa, but also when converting one virtual currency into another,” Mitkus said.

The amendments are aimed at transferring the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) and the FATF recommendations, adopted in October, into Lithuanian law.

Lithuania is very actively trying to find a proper regulation for crypto!

At the beginning of this year, the Bank of Lithuania issued an updated document on its official position on cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Arguing that financial market participants are still allowed to receive payments only in the traditional fiat currency and it is forbidden to receive payments in the cryptographic currency.

At the beginning of March, the Financial Transactions Working Group issued preliminary guidance on cryptographic currency. Urging states to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Also, to provide licensing in the crypto sector and adapt the “Know Your Customer” principle.


Coinbase assets to be used in various gift cards

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Yesterday the leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced a new option within their platform. Now Coinbase users will be able to withdraw their crypto-funds to various gift cards. At the moment this option is available only for Australian and European Union Coinbase users. 

The new service allows users to spend their Coinbase funds on e-gift cards like Uber, Tesco, Google Play, Nike, Ticketmaster and many more. They have partnered with WeGift and

“Customers purchasing an e-gift card will enjoy zero Coinbase withdrawal fees and bonuses on select e-gifts. From converting bitcoin into Uber credits or either into a Nike shopping spree, customers will have greater flexibility and control over how they use their crypto”, says in their blog post. “With the launch of e-gift cards, customers now have the option to spend their crypto balances, realising its value to buy tangible things or experiences.”

Well this is another step towards mass crypto adoption, its nice to see that with this service you wouldn’t have to withdraw anything to fiat money at all and that means, that physical money is slowly fading away.


Wikipedia gets shut down in almost all of Europe

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A day before the EP (European Parliament) vote on copyright directives, Wikimedia, a large non-profit movement, came out with an opposition and shut down wikipedia in almost all of Europe. 

“Our efforts in this public policy realm are all the more important in an era of increasing restrictions on free speech and free access to knowledge across the globe, which directly threaten the mission and vision of Wikimedia and its projects, such as Wikipedia” said the general counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation Eileen B. Hershenov continuing that “Next week, we expect the European Parliament to vote in plenary on whether to proceed with the version adopted by the Committee. If the Members of the European Parliament reject it, there will be another opportunity to fix much of the current proposal’s broken requirements. Now may be the last opportunity to improve the directive.”

A strong statement from Wikimedia Foundation leads to a united society. Much like the crypto-community. Blockchain and everything related with the technology, highlights the necessity of internet freedom, as most of the recent blockchain projects are focusing on getting rid of the middle man in every service. Some even refer to it as “Giving the power back to the people”, and then a rhetorical question arises – Whether protecting the rights of freedom for a single person could possibly encourage the limitations of another? Where do we draw the line?


Blockchain University

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In Oxford University, a team of professors want to establish the worlds first blockchain university. 

They are already discussing the regulations with EU (European Union) of them becoming an accredited educational institution. Joshua Broggi, who is the founder of Woolf Development said that blockchain university “will be like Uber for Students and Airbnb for Academics.” Woolf is the company behind this blockchain-powered idea and they are willing to make its own native token. 

The university will run on smart contracts aimed for transparency, and DLT(distributed ledger technology) which will be used to ensure data governance. Plus the blockchain will be used to replicate standard university practices. 

“Blockchain’s immutability will also provide a platform for outside sources to check whether or not an individual has been granted a degree from the university. This could prevent individuals from falsely claiming that they received a degree from an institution; this could also protect individuals whose universities may have shut down”, says Finance Magnates.

The only thing which is not clear is why would they need a separate Wolf token for this. The students will need to buy the tokens in order to get in to the university? Or they will get payed through tokens for studying? Woolf says that by using the Wolf token “students can study with lower tuition, and academics can secure their salaries.

Anyway – token or not, its great to see how far the blockchain idea can be taken.


Photo by Public Domain Pictures

Germany doesn’t see cryptocurrency as a threat to financial stability

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Today on June 12th, the German Federal Government stated that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to the financial stability, says Cointelegraph auf Deutsch. However, the government feel the need for a regulation to control cryptocurrencies. Crypto asset transactions are too low compared to the global financial system to create a serious threat for stability. 

Lately we see a lot of posts about the position of a specific country towards cryptocurrencies. All this is the outcome of the G-20 summit, which occurred in March. In conclusion, the members of the summit agreed on a strict July deadline, when all the countries should present their recommendations to regulations of cryptocurrencies. 

Germany has already implanted a few regulations regards cryptocurrencies. For example, German-based crypto-traders must follow the same anti-money laundering regulations as other financial service providers. And when it comes to commercial trade of cryptocurrency – a permission from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority is needed.

“Rather, there is a need for coordinated action at European and international level. The Federal Government is, therefore, pressing for a harmonized handling of crypto-tokens at this both levels”, accentuated the government.

According to the government, this evaluation of cryptocurrencies is shared within the G-20 countries. 

Source:– Cointelegraph about Germany– Cointelegraph about G-20

Photo by Wikimedia Commons