What are some of the new rules and regulations being approved or considered for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies? Here is a roundup of recent developments:
New SEC framework helps determine when tokens are securities
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a new framework to help decide whether a digital asset being offered for sale is an investment contract – in other words, a security. “The framework is not intended to be an exhaustive overview of the law, but rather, an analytical tool to help market participants assess whether the federal securities laws apply to the offer, sale or resale of a particular digital asset,” the SEC’s Bill Hinman and Valerie Szczepanik said in a joint statement. They added that the framework is also not legal advice and “does not modify or replace any existing applicable laws, regulations or rules”. CoinDesk reported that Jake Chervinsky, a lawyer with Kobre Kim, said the framework “effectively replaces the DAO Report as the SEC’s go-to explanation for whether and when digital assets qualify as regulated securities, and by including a list of crypto-specific characteristics relevant to the Howey analysis, the Framework is many times more helpful than the DAO Report ever was”.
Regulate cryptocurrencies, not blockchain, says Austrian minister
Speaking at the ANON Blockchain Summit in Vienna in early April, Austria’s Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs said blockchain regulation needs a much lighter touch than laws for cryptocurrencies. “Europe has a strong tendency to overregulate,” said Margarete Schramböck, according to a report in Trending Topics Austria. While cryptocurrencies need regulation to protect consumers, she added: “We do not need regulation for blockchain.” Prior to her federal appointment, Schramböck was CEO of A1 Telekom Austria. Trending Topics noted that she plans to increasingly employ blockchain technology in the federal government’s administration.
German ministry issues report on crypto-token regulation
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance recently published a paper that looks at electronic securities and the regulation of public offerings for “certain crypto-tokens”. Issued in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the publication is aimed at strengthening Germany’s position as “one of the leading digitisation and fintech locations”, the ministry said. Written comments on the paper can be submitted until 12 April, and officials plan to use the paper as a guide to develop draft legislation to be introduced later, according to a ministry announcement in March.
Swiss official: Blockchain firms need quick, clear regulation
Clear, quick regulation is needed for blockchain companies, Ueli Maurer, president of the Swiss Confederation and Switzerland’s Minister of Finance, said at the CV Crypto Valley Summit in Zug, according to finews.ch. Noting that Switzerland has a good position in blockchain, Maurer added it is “constantly looking for ways to stay two steps ahead” and invited industry leaders to approach the government with their ideas. Earlier in March, Cointelegraph reported, Swiss legislators agreed to request that the Federal Council adapt existing laws to apply to cryptocurrencies.
China publishes first list of approved blockchain service providers
Following China’s implementation of new regulations for blockchain information services in February, the nation’s Cyber Space Management Bureau has released its first list of approved blockchain information service providers. The list of 197 service provider names includes Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, among many other Chinese companies. Invest in Blockchain noted that two virtual currency projects – VeChain and ParcelX – were also included on the list, adding, “it appears that Chinese regulators are legitimising the cryptocurrency industry in China, as they have actually approved two cryptocurrency projects and are actively seeking others to apply for regulation”.