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#IntlRoundup: India Receives Regulation Deadline; London Stock Exchange Invests in Crypto Bond

#IntlRoundup: Indian Government Receives Regulation Deadline

As part of our regular weekly roundup, Coinsquare News covered the week’s significant international cryptocurrency and blockchain headlines. In this edition, we look at the Supreme Court of India ruling that the country must establish its crypto policy, the London Stock Exchange investing in a company behind a crypto bond, and more.  

India receives a deadline to clarify its crypto stance

This week, news broke that the Supreme Court of India wants the country’s government to better establish its policy towards digital assets.

As Quartz reported, it was decided in a hearing on February 26 that the government has around four weeks to finalize its digital assets policy.

This decision arrived as the result of an ongoing case between cryptocurrency exchanges in India and the country’s government. The Supreme Court ruled that the government must present its stance on cryptocurrencies in the next hearing, which will take place sometime between the end of March and the first week of April.

Zooming out, these recent developments are part of the harsh stance towards cryptocurrencies that authorities in India cemented last year. The country’s central bank continues to receive backlash both from investors and critics of the new policy.

London Stock Exchange invests in a startup that created a crypto bond

Yesterday, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) announced an investment into a company that facilities the issuance of debt using blockchain technology.

As Reuters reported, this took the form of the LSEG leading a $20 million USD (over $26.3 million CAD as of press time) investment round in Nivaura, a company which is also based in London.

The outlet reported that Nivaura is notable for operating the first automated bond issuance denominated by digital assets, which took place in late 2017.

The U.S. government retrieves, and returns, stolen crypto

In another story this week from Reuters, news broke this week that the U.S. government returned previously-stolen Bitcoin (BTC) to a cryptocurrency exchange.

Reportedly, the U.S. government managed to retrieve and return around $110,000 USD (around $145,000 CAD) worth of BTC to Bitfinex. For context, the exchange announced it fell victim to a breach back in 2016.

This is far from the total amount of digital assets stolen from the exchange. Previous reports indicated that as much as $72 million USD ($95~ million CAD) worth of Bitcoin was stolen at the time.

As a result of the successful recovery of some portion of the stolen assets, Bitfinex will reportedly convert the returned currency and distribute it to around 5,000 affected customers.

Japan’s National Police Agency reports a 10x increase in crypto money laundering

The Japan Times is the country’s oldest and largest English-language daily newspaper. This week, it reported that cases of money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies in Japan increased ten times in 2018.

Reportedly, the country’s National Police Agency said that there were over 7,000 instances of money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies in 2018. This is an increase from the 669 cases reported in 2017.

The 2017 figure, however, only considered instances between April and December, whereas the 2018 figure considers the year in its entirety. Still, on the surface, this does seem to indicate an increase in cases of money laundering involving the use of digital assets.

In general, the report found that money laundering as a whole increased in Japan between 2017 and 2018, even in instances where cryptocurrencies were not involved. While there were 400,043 instances of suspected money laundering referred to police in Japan in 2017, this number increased to 417,465 in 2018.

Bahrain’s central bank issues new regulation

The Persian Gulf island country of Bahrain is in the news for two crypto-related reasons this week.

First, the nation’s central bank issued new regulation regarding cryptocurrencies. This was reported by the Bahrain-based online business news portal, Trade Arabia, on Monday.

Reportedly, this new regulation covers a range of crypto-related activities including licensing, governance, and risk management.

For exchanges licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) as crypto-asset exchanges, the regulatory framework contains new guidelines. These rules pertain to order management, trade transparency, and measures designed to mitigate market abuse, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation.

Speaking of CBB-licensed exchanges, this week a cryptocurrency exchange called Rain became the first to complete the CBB Regulatory Sandbox. This was reported by the Saudi Gazette on Tuesday, which said that the exchange passed certification that established it as as being Shariah-compliant.

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