Romania Is on the Way to Blockchain and Crypto Regulation

Romania had set up its first Bitcoin ATM in 2014, and yet it has been years since the Blockchain and the Cryptocurrency market have been brought under a legal framework. Even though it looked like that the country had shown an early interest in cryptocurrencies, the lack of regulatory framework even after so many years proved otherwise. But, it is expected to change soon as Romania now has a blockchain and crypto regulation framework in place. 

Cryptocurrencies are highly encrypted and allow people to transact with anonymity. It has led to the crypto sector to become a breeding ground for criminals. Many of them have continuously been using the platform for tax evasion, money laundering, and other illegal activities. To prevent the use of cryptocurrencies for cyber crimes or money laundering, the Romanian Government has carried out an Emergency Ordinance. According to the new rule, all crypto exchange service providers and digital wallet providers will be required to register themselves and seek prior approval from the Government to be able to continue offering their services. 

There is no uniform regulation for Blockchain and crypto currently in the European Union, and all its members are free to set up their own framework. There is a Fifth Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Directive, in short, 5AMLD, that applies to entire Europe, but Romania would want to take it a step further. The 5AMLD was created to help bring transparency in crypto transactions to combat the misuse of cryptocurrency. In addition to the current 5AMLD regulation, the Emergency Ordinance introduced by the Romanian Government is set to progress the already set 5AMLD agenda. 

The Emergency Ordinance will need all of the crypto exchange providers that handle purchases and selling of different digital currency to have the authorization to be able to function in Romania. Even the providers currently operating in the European Economic Area will not be allowed to operate in Romania till they get a proper registration process as decided in the new directive.

The service provider will need to apply to the authority and verify that they are complying with all the policies in the country where they are based out of. Besides, it also needs a permanent agent to be present in Romania that can get in contracts with foreign companies and are also able to represent them in the court of law. Anyone who does not follow the given guidelines will not have radio, TV, and internet access in Romania. 

Even though 5AMLD and GEO were introduced to combat its use for any illegal activities, the new framework might also work as a hindrance for many start-ups to continue their operations. They feel that the new system will make it difficult for them to operate in the country as they are unable to meet all the requirements that are set up by the new rule. Thus, there is a need to look at the rules again and ensure that they do not become a hindrance to the growth of crypto firms and instead help the crypt industry to grow and flourish in the country. 


Trump’s Former Sanctions Chief Joins Major Crypto Firm Chainalysis

A former key executive at the United States Department of Treasury, Sigal Mandelker has joined Chainalysis. She will be working as an advisor in the firm. Chainalysis is a major cryptocurrency investigation firm.

The official announcement was made on July 7. Mandelker has joined the board of advisors in Chainalysis. This participation has also increased the Series B funding round of the firm to $49 million.

Mandelker’s Blockchain Experience

Mandelker left Trump’s White House in October 2019. Chainalysis will be her first public sector work since she has left her position as a treasury executive in the States. She will meet Chainalysis team to give insights on crypto crimes and its investigation.

Chainalysis works on cryptoanalysis and provides transaction data to major federal agencies like FBI and Internal Revenue Service. According to Mandelker, law enforcement will play a crucial role in the future of the industry.

Mandelker’s Achievements

She has been a part of some major investigations in the United States including three hacker groups of North Korea. These groups were involved to rob billions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Mandelker was also a part of the investigation on an illicit digital currency platform “E-Gold” in 2008.

The CEO and co-founder of Chainalysis, Michael Gronagar said that Mandelker’s contribution to the cryptocurrency sector will help it evolve further. Sigal has a wealth of knowledge and it will be leveraged by the firm.

Chainalysis Is Expanding To $49 Million After Raising $36 Million In The Beginning

After joining hands with Mandelker, Chainalysis has entered into the Series B of $49 million after hitting the first investment of $36 million in February 2019. Major capital giants including Accel have invested in the startup.

Chainalysis also raised $13 million from a venture capital firm Ribbit Capital. This venture capital has also invested in major crypto startups including Robinhood, Coinbase and more.

According to a report, Sigal also joined Ribbit Capital in early 2020 as a general partner. Apart from the other fundraising, Chainalysis is also able to raise an additional fund from Sound Ventures.

This venture capital firm is founded by actor Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher. Sound Ventures has also invested in a Bitcoin rewards company called Lolli in May 2020.

This is not the first time when a regulator has joined a private cryptocurrency firm. Along with Mandelker, there are some examples of this trend. For example, Juan Zarate joined Coinbase as an advisory board member, Ben Lawsky joined Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC, and Chris Giancarlo joined Ripple.


Displacing the US dollar: The Greenback Still Rules as Digital Currencies Pose Challenge

Since the end of WorldWar II, the global financial system has been revolving around the US dollar. The Bretton Woods Agreement, signed in 1944, standardized the US dollar to unchallenged hegemony. Today, several economic experts believe that the greenback’s domination is on its decline.

America’s decrease in share in the global trade, China monetary expansion with full might, centralized and decentralized cryptocurrencies, and the expected digitization of currencies are factors threatening the dominance of the greenback.   

The US government has been exploiting its position of being able to mint the globally-centered currency for a long time. It gives the US a huge advantage over other world economies.  The US pays for imports with its domestic currency and has no balance of payments problems. It faces no hassles to finance its deficit account.

The country has been able to overspend for decades now because of the dollar’s strength. As the demand for dollar liquidity in the global banking system is endless, the US gets access to cheap credits. Other than benefiting itself, the US can also leverage the greenback’s dominance to deny rebel nations’ access to the financial order.

The Trump administration has moved against adversary countries like China and Iran by ramping up financial sanctions against them. However, many experts believe that exploiting the dollar’s position to inflict economic damage to adversary countries can have serious economic repercussions. Dissatisfied nations like Russia and China are in the pursuit of the de-dollarization of their economies.

It’s also true that no nation will opt for an alternative medium of exchange if it can’t match the efficiency gains of the old system. The imminent rise of CBDCs could threaten the dollar’s hegemony as they could provide a more convenient system. Market observers believe that China can be a potential threat to the greenback’s power if they can leverage the utility of its digital currency framework and its extensive economic influence.

Many financial pundits also are considering a situatn where a common global cryptocurrency gets developed. Decentralized currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum can also be accepted by economies as foreign reserves in the future.

The problem with the dominance of any country’s currency in the financial market is that the nation in control can always leverage its position. The only way to disarm a country from weaponizing its position in the financial system is to switch to a politically unprejudiced currency. Many believe that the US-China political standoff can lead to the development of a neutral solution.

Bitcoin’s algorithmically limited supply and its concentration among a few quadrillionaires are some of the hurdles that Bitcoin faces in its getting accepted as the reserve currency. It may also be possible that the development of multiple greenback substitutes leads to an agreement where no single currency holds the hegemonic position.

An opinion resonating with most financial experts is that Bitcoin has the best shot at ousting the US dollar from its dominance status. USD is still the ruler of the world’s financial order, and only time will tell if digital currencies can displace it from its hegemony.


Ebang to Establish Crypto Exchange and Mining Farms After Going Public

Hangzhou-based crypto mining company Ebang International Holdings Inc. is all set to launch its crypto exchange platform. The mining giant has decided to expand its business into the digital asset exchange because of the consistent loss in their business.

A regular drop in the bitcoin prices becomes a headache for crypto mining companies like Ebang. According to the resources, the China-based mining company generated a revenue of $109 million. That was a clear loss for the company.

Reports even mentioned that it has been the least number of sales since the year 2018. The sales kept decreasing after the year 2018. Ebang has provided data of its net losses during the year 2018-2019.

Ebang is about to increase its revenue up to 40% in the year 2020 with a cryptocurrency exchange that works overseas. Ebang is a china-based company where cryptocurrency trading is outlawed. The company is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

China-based mining expert has seen a constant growth in the cryptocurrency exchanges. The CFO of the company, Chen Lei admitted the revenue can be increased to $200 million in the present year.

This new launch of the crypto exchange has doubled up the revenue remark of Ebang in just a few months after the launch. According to the CFO, it would have been impossible to achieve the target until 2022 without the newly launched crypto exchange.

The company was able to expand its business because of the IPO raise of $100 million. However, the goal of the China-based crypto mining firm was to raise $125 million. If it happens the market value of the firm will become $800

It gave new hope to the crypto giant to take the business to new heights. Ebang is also willing to expand its exchange platform overseas and also investing in new machines and technologies.

One of the parts of the plan is to set up a crypto exchange outside of the country, Chen said. Whenever the new exchange tends to work without a flaw, it will help to combat the volatility in the market. World’s largest cryptocurrency is being traded in the range between $5000 and $10,000.

Once a new platform will be available to the traders, it will be easier for them to trade at other amounts as well. This new regulatory-compliant crypto exchange will be available to everyone. The company has also decided to imply a transaction fee to earn its income from the platform.

Its rivals, on the other hand, are constantly involved in creating coins for the digital currency irrespective of the fluctuating prices of Bitcoin. Ebang is also setting out to branch its services in the advisory section. The share price of the company has also increased up to 4%.

Despite being the first mining company to go public in the USA, Canaan’s market price of a share is $2. Ebang, on the other hand, has been able to put itself at a better place with per share trade at $4.

Ebang is also willing to explore the blockchain services in other sectors such as healthcare, education, and financial services. In short, the goal of the company is to become a complete blockchain solution provider.

The company has also made it to the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker EBON. Ebang will be the second crypto mining company to launch its crypto exchange in the United States. The first mining company called Canaan is also based in China.

It has become one of the crucial steps to help reach Ebang to its financial goal. The Nasdaq listing will not only increase its profits but also give the brand recognition in the field. It has also increased the share price of the company.

Nasdaq also offers regulatory compliance to companies that are listed under it. This credit will take Ebang a long way to operate as a cryptocurrency trading platform. Every transaction will be secure and compliant to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


Crypto Valley Association to Publish its Trusted Key Ceremony Guidelines

The world’s leading ecosystem for blockchain technology and global cryptocurrency, the Crypto Valley Association, has announced in a press release that it would be publishing what it refers to as the Trusted Key Ceremony Guidelines. The Cybersecurity Working Group, a wing of CVA, has taken the initiative to launch the guidelines to improve and spread the awareness among the masses about the significance and ways of protecting digital assets, securely and safely.

The guidelines were showcased and demonstrated during a free online event on 7th July 2020. The event was named ‘Demystifying Key Ceremonies’ and was hosted by the Cybersecurity Working Group. Some of the leading contributors in the event included Taurus Group and Ledger Vault, who are the leaders in offering digital asset custody software and technology. Auditing and financial powerhouses like PwC and SEBA Bank also took part in the event as a contributor. The event was aimed at exploring ways to define the best practices to safeguard digital assets. The event also paved the way for the Crypto Valley Association to consolidate its position in the cryptocurrency world as a leading global hub for blockchain technology.

The guidelines are designed by the experts at the Cybersecurity Working Group. They have extensive experience in designing, reviewing, and operating the key ceremonies for firms that are active in the blockchain ecosystem. Markus Perdrizat, Chairman of CWG and also heading the Blockchain Risk Assurance at PwC, Switzerland, said that a considerable portion of the financial assets is being tied to cryptocurrencies these days.

It has raised the need to define best practices and standards pertaining to key ceremonies for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The key ceremony marks the beginning of the security of any financial assets or when the creation of cryptographic secrets takes place. Mark reiterated that once the cryptographic codes are created, it is essential to uphold the best security standards from then on. It is, for this reason, the new set of guidelines that were needed and unveiled.

The primary responsibility of the Cybersecurity Working Group is to not only define the best practices and security guidelines for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology but also to ensure its adoption in the market. The Cybersecurity Working Group also acts as a forum for discussion and ideation for blockchain-based companies and products in the Swiss market while promoting the adoption of the same in the global marketplace.

Emi Lorincz, Crypto Valley Association’s board member, also mentioned about the key role played by CVA’s Cybersecurity Working Group towards setting best practices and security standards with respect to key management, product development, security audits, and other key aspects of the blockchain ecosystem. The publication of guidelines by CVA reflects upon the efforts of the organization and its commitment to strengthening the security levels in the cryptocurrency space.

The unreferenced approach by practitioners to date exposed many vulnerabilities in the blockchain ecosystem that needed to be addressed. It was also needed because of no set security standards or guidelines for best practices. By defining the set standards to be followed by experienced practitioners as well as new entrants to create secure and safe key ceremonies, not only the security levels be enhanced, it would improve the existing processes in place as well.