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Uzbekistan Bans Crypto Purchases

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Uzbekistan Bans Crypto Purchases

In a surprising turn of events, government officials from Uzbekistan made the decision to ban the purchase of digital currencies. This unexpected decision comes on the heels of numerous pro-crypto legislation. Now, Uzbekistani crypto investors are left in a quandary.

Numerous local news outlets took to the air to announce the abrupt decision by lawmakers. The new legislation bars all citizens from buying digital currencies, even from licensed exchanges. Uzbekistan famously led the way in crypto adoption after legalizing exchanges last year. Unfortunately, it appears that the pro-crypto tide has changed amongst lawmakers from this central Asian country.

 

Seller Stipulations – Uzbekistan

The new legislation allows anyone holding any digital currency to sell their holdings. However, it does place a number of new stipulations on the sellers. For example, traders now have to prove that they gained their crypto through legal means. This stipulation places a heavy burden on traders that have been in operation for years. They will now need to reproduce records of their purchases and trades from potentially a decade ago.

Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan

 

Importantly, the new law states that any asset whose source cannot be proved is now considered illegal. In this way, Uzbekistani traders find themselves in a sticky situation. For one, they will now have to find and prove their crypto origins which for many investors, could prove to be nearly impossible.

 

Even more frustrating is the fact that investors can only sell their holding to foreign nationals. Since purchasing crypto is now illegal in the country, crypto bag holders will have to continue to HODL their coins, or they will need to seek out foreigners to buy their tokens. Unfortunately, this task will not be an easy one as the country only has two main exchange platforms authorized to conduct these transactions.

 

Enforcement Concerns – Uzbekistan

As soon as the new legislation came to light, a number of questions arose regarding the ability to enforce such a wide-sweeping law. Analysts pointed out just how hard it would be to stop citizens from purchasing cryptocurrencies. Today, these coins are easily bought and sold anywhere using virtual private networks (VPNs). The decentralized design of these tokens can make it a very daunting task to try and track down who owns what tokens.

 

Crypto-Friendly

Sadly, Uzbekistan had a great reputation as a crypto-friendly country. The country was a pioneer in the space as one of the first places to institute exchange licenses and crypto trading. On top of these benefits, the country also provided tax benefits to crypto holders. The country didn’t tax any revenue made from cryptos. At the time it appeared as if Uzbekistan was to become a crypto hub in central Asia.

 

Uzbekistan Turns its Back on the Crypto Community

It now appears that Uzbekistani officials have no desire to share in the benefits of blockchain technology. The country’s latest decision showcases a mixture of fear, greed, and negligence towards this innovative financial sector. There is no doubt that this legislation will end up costing the country billions in potential blockchain revenue. Hopefully, lawmakers regain some sense and rescind the new overreaching regulations before the damage is done.

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David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including Bitcoinlightning.com

Regulation

After Months of Silence by ICOBox, the SEC Seeks ‘Default Judgement’ and ‘Permanent Enjoinment’

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After Months of Silence by ICOBox, the SEC Seeks 'Default Judgement' and 'Permanent Enjoinment'

No Response

Beginning roughly 4 months ago, the SEC set their sights on ICOBox, and actions taken by the company and its founder throughout 2017.  The SEC states,

“ICOBox, an incubator for digital asset startups, was founded in mid-2017 by Evdokimov, its CEO and “vision director”.  To raise funds, defendants sold approximately $14.6 million worth of securities in the form of digital assets called “ICOS” tokens.  Between August 9, 2017 and September 15, 2017, defendants sold ICOS tokens to over 2,000 investors, in the United States and globally…By not registering the offering with the SEC, defendants violated the securities laws’ registration requirements”

Unfortunately, despite being made aware of the various charges laid against them, the SEC and Courts have been met with nothing but silence.

Default Judgement

The aforementioned lack of response has led to the recent developments, to be discussed here today.  By failing to respond to the SEC’s filing, in September of 2019, ICOBox and its Founder, Nikolay Evdokimov, have essentially forced their hand.

Backed into a corner by the silence demonstrated by ICOBox, the SEC has filed for a ‘default judgment’ on their accusations of alleged securities violations.  Simply put, a ‘default judgement’ refers to a ruling put forth by a Judge, when presented with a case where the defendants remain absent from the proceedings without valid reasoning.

While there existed the possibility of defending their actions, should a default judgement be awarded, ICOBox essentially forfeits this right.

Permanent Enjoinment

While a default judgement is being sought, the SEC has not stopped there.  In their recent filing to the courts, the SEC attempts to build a case, which demonstrates the intimate nature between ICOBox and its founder, Nikolay Evdokimov.

The SEC hopes to show that Evdokimov was, not only the face of the company both internally and externally, but that he had a direct hand in the actions undertaken by ICOBox.

In doing so, the SEC hopes for the court to award a ‘permanent enjoinment’ of, both, the company and its founder.  A ‘permanent enjoinment’ refers to a court enforced prohibition of certain activities imposed upon specific entities – in this case, ICOBox and Evdokimov.

Past Actions

When this saga first began, in September of 2019, we reported on the initial steps taken by the SEC.  The allegations raised by the regulatory body, at that time, are only now coming to an end, as they look to close out the case and move on.

SEC Zeroes in on ICOBox Activity, Filing Multiple Charges

Requests of the Court

In their filing, the SEC elaborates on the various infractions committed by the company and its founder.  They proceed to list various suggested/requested actions to be taken by the court against the defendants.  The following are a few examples of their requests.

  1. ICOBox and Evdokimov should be permanently enjoined
  2. The Court should order joint and several disgorgement with prejudgment interest
  3. The Court should order second tier penalties against Evdokimov
  4. Default Judgement Should be Entered Without Delay

ICOBox

Launched in 2017, ICOBox was a service provider for companies looking to host token based capital generation events, such as ICOs and STOs.  Since their inception, ICOBox has helped its clients raise over $650M, in addition to raising over $14M in funds through their very own ICO.

Company operations were overseen by Founder, and CEO, Nikolay Evdokimov.

In Other News

While every case surrounding illegal activity brought forth by the SEC is an important one, there are two, in particular, that have found themselves creating headlines in recent months.  These would be the situations developing around, both, Ripple and Telegram.  Each of these companies have been accused of actions violating existing securities laws.  On various occasions we have covered these events as they develop.  To learn more about these on-going cases, make sure to peruse the following articles.

Ripple XRP Under Increased Scrutiny as a Security

Telegram Wins Court Battle but Abandons ‘TON’ Blockchain

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Qatar Bans All Cryptocurrency in QFC

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Qatar Bans Crypto in QFC

In a surprising turn of events, The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) announced that it would ban all cryptocurrency-related activities within the sector. The news comes as a shock as Qatar has was seen as a leader in terms of blockchain adoption in the region. Now, government officials are voicing concerns over money laundering and terrorist financing as a means to stifle local crypto activities.

News of the crypto ban came via a report by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA). In the now-infamous report, the QFCRA stated that all services involving cryptocurrencies are now illegal within the exclusive economic zone. Specifically listed in the report are critical components to the market. These components include crypto to crypto trades and crypto to fiat exchanges. Also, the report directly lists virtual asset services including those that facilitate the trading, custody, and issuance of virtual assets in any form or manner.

Security Tokens Safe

Interestingly, the report doesn’t ban security tokens. In fact, these unique financial instruments remain unaffected by the new legislation. The report states that financial instruments regulated by the QFCRA, the Qatar Central Bank, or the Qatar Financial Markets Authority are exempt from the ban. This makes sense from Qatar’s standpoint because these tokens undergo full AML and KYC verification.

Discussing the decision, Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al-Thani, the governor of Qatar’s Central Bank pointed to a few key points as to why the regulations make sense. He stated that a correlated effort needed to be put forth to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. He believes that only a stricter and effective regulatory and legislative framework can accomplish this task.

Qatar Central Bank

Qatar Central Bank

It appears as if this latest maneuver is actually just a part of Qatar’s overall new approach towards combating money laundering. Recently, the country instituted wide-sweeping AML legislation. All of these laws seek to curb those attempting to hide money from the government.

The Qatar Financial Centre – QFC

The QFC is a special jurisdiction within the country designed to spur economic growth. Companies that call the QFC home get access to a host of exclusive benefits. These benefits include reduced legal, business, tax, and regulatory infrastructure. In this way, Qatar seeks to attract businesses and facilitate economic development moving forward.

Tighter Regulations Globally

Qatar’s decision to add more regulations to the crypto sector mirrors that of numerous other countries. Just recently, US lawmakers proposed new legislation to bring much of the crypto market under the jurisdiction of regulators. If the new bills receive approval, there would be wide-sweeping implications for the industry.

Additionally, EU Lawmakers have come up with new legislation as well. On January 10th, 2020, the European Union (EU) will initiate the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD). This new law requires that all digital asset platforms and even wallet providers verify and record customer identities.

Qatar Steps Backwards

As Qatar attempts to gain more control over the use and trading of digital assets within its border, it may find that these new regulations have an adverse effect. Cryptocurrencies, many of which are designed to function anonymously, are not so easily regulated and monitored. For now, Qatar will see exactly what it takes to police the digital realm as they start the enforcement of their new crypto legislation.

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Ripple XRP Under Increased Scrutiny as a Security

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Ripple XRP Under Increased Scrutiny as a Security

Troubles for the Popular cryptocurrency XRP and its foundation Ripple continue to mount up. Recently, new evidence emerged which could place the group under increased scrutiny. A document, now making it’s away around the internet appears to show that Ripple, the company behind XRP, used the token to increase its wealth. Now, regulators want to take another look at the XRP project to determine if it is in fact, a security.

On Aug. 5, 2019, a group of investors filed a complaint against Ripple with the SEC. The report claims to provide concise evidence that Ripple used the XRP token to garnish huge profits. The report claims that the company currently is engaged in selling these tokens in excess of the need for profit.

Ripple XRP Securities?

If these allegations are found to be true, Ripple could see prosecution. Officials may want to prosecute under the sales of unregistered securities via the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s laws. Specifically, the report claims that Ripple violated numerous securities laws in the state of California. The data put forth in the suit suggests that the company utilized the XRP brand to enrich themselves significantly.

The lawsuit points to a blurring of the lines between Ripple’s enterprise solutions and XRP. Notably, the report revealed that the firm holds the majority of the total supply of XRP. The company utilized its stake as a form of profit generation in a couple of key ways. For one, Ripple actively limited the supply of XRP to increase demand. Additionally, Ripple paid exchanges to list XRP with the intent of increasing its value

Ripple Holds the Majority of XRP

To grasp just how this strategy unfolded, you need to understand that Ripple is the largest holder of XRP. Notably, the firm will be for the foreseeable future. Consequently, just a one-cent increase in the price of XRP equals around $600 million in profit gained for the company.

Discussing these concerns, William Hinman, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC made his case for the labeling of XRP as a security. He explained that whenever you have a third party that drives the expectation of a return, you are usually dealing with a security. These firms use the token to increase the value of the enterprise.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghaus

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghaus

Hinman stated that the firm raised funds “in excess of what may be needed to establish a functional network.” For its part, Ripple stated that these funds went towards enhancing the functionality of the token’s ecosystem.

XRP Sales

To put those gains into perspective, you don’t need to look any further than Co-founder Jed McCaleb. While McCaleb is no longer with the firm, he sells half a million XRP on a daily basis according to Bloomberg. Notably, other company officials engaged in this type of activity as well. However, in a recent interview, Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, adamantly denied that Ripple has any control over the price of XRP. He pointed to the losses incurred over 2019 as proof. Last year, Ripple slumped nearly 60 -percent from $0.51 to around $0.20.

XRP – What Tomorrow Holds

As one of the most popular platforms in the crypto space, XRP continues to see growing adoption. If the SEC were to label XRP a security it could have serious ramifications for those involved in the project. For now, investors continue to wait and see how the SEC’s strategy plays out.

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