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South African Regulator Gets Tough in Sweeping Policy Proposal

The South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has unveiled a draft cryptocurrency regulation policy framework. This proposal aims to bring all crypto trading and investment activities in the country under its close supervision. Under the policy revealed to the public on Nov 20, all crypto exchanges must receive FSCA authorisation to act as financial … Continued

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The South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has unveiled a draft cryptocurrency regulation policy framework. This proposal aims to bring all crypto trading and investment activities in the country under its close supervision. Under the policy revealed to the public on Nov 20, all crypto exchanges must receive FSCA authorisation to act as financial services providers.

The proposal uses South Africa’s Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act 2002 for its basis. The new policy classifies crypto assets as financial products. This classification brings all crypto investment, trading and advisory services under the FCA’s regulatory jurisdiction. The move is a departure from the country’s erstwhile soft touch regulatory approach to crypto.

New South African Regulations Explained

Under the new rules, South Africa’s previously unregulated crypto economy is now expressly classified as part of the financial services sector. All providers must demonstrate the same fiduciary capacity as traditional financial institutions.

While bringing crypto trading and investment under the FSCA, the new regulations do not mean that cryptocurrency is recognised as money in South Africa. According to the FSCA’s supporting statement in the policy proposal, the regulations aim to stem the tide of cryptocurrency scams which have swept through the country over the past three years.

In fact, the FSCA’s director of investigations and enforcement Brandon Topham was quoted in Business Insider saying that in his opinion crypto is “highly suspect and nobody should be invested in anything form of cryptocurrency or any of the products that go with it”.

An excerpt from the document reads:

The Declaration in no way legitimises or gives credence to crypto assets, but is merely attempting to regulate intermediaries that are selling and advising customers to invest in crypto assets. It is envisaged that this will either result in customers making more informed decisions when purchasing crypto assets or potentially in a decline in intermediaries attempting to advise on and/or sell crypto assets. It will also reduce instances of fraudulent activity where players purport to be selling investments in crypto assets but are in reality absconding with customer
funds.

Implications Of New Regulations

The new regulations will mandate all exchange platforms, advisors and brokers involved in the crypto space to certify themselves under the FSCA’s standards. They will have to prove that they have the relevant qualifications, capacity, experience and knowledge, as well as pass a personal character evaluation.

Crypto trading and investment activities will also require a financial services provider license. Failure to obtain this license could lead to jail time. Brokers and other intermediaries offering crypto investment are required to justify any decision to recommend a crypto investment to their clients.

Explaining this decision, the statement reads in part:

[This] will result in improved disclosures to customers that more effectively highlight the high risks involved in investing in crypto assets and should also ensure that a more robust advice process is adopted (including proper risk assessments) when intermediaries decide to advise customers to purchase crypto asset.

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David is a journalist, writer and broadcaster whose work has appeared on CNN, The Africa Report, The New Yorker Magazine and The Washington Post. His work as a satirist on ‘The Other News,’ Nigeria’s answer to The Daily Show has featured in the New Yorker Magazine and in the Netflix documentary ‘Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy.’ In 2018, he was nominated by the US State Department for the 2019 Edward Murrow program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). He tweets at @DavidHundeyin

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/south-africa-financial-regulator-goes-tough-on-crypto-in-sweeping-policy-proposal/

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Coinbase Faciliated MicroStrategy’s $425M Bitcoin Purchase Without Moving The Market

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The leading US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase assisted in MicroStrategy’s massive purchase of $425 million worth of BTC. The platform pledged to help other large firms diversify their portfolios with bitcoin in the future as well.

Coinbase Involved In MicroStrategy’s BTC Purchase

The NASDAQ-listed business intelligence firm made the news on two occasions earlier this year as it announced the total purchase of 38,250 bitcoins. At the time, this sizeable amount equaled about $425 million.

However, the entity that helped broker the deal remained unknown until today. The San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase announced that it was “selected as the primary execution partner for MicroStrategy’s $425 million purchase of Bitcoin.”

The community speculated on how such a considerable amount didn’t move the markets as the price of BTC remained relatively still back then. Coinbase explained that this was the company’s intention in the first place:

“Using our advanced execution capabilities, leading crypto prime brokerage platform, and OTC desk, we were able to buy a significant amount of bitcoin on behalf of MicroStrategy and did so without moving the market.”

Furthermore, the exchange noted that its system takes a single large order and breaks it into many small pieces that are executed across multiple trading venues. This type of smart order routing reduces the trade’s impact on the market and assists in disguising the overall trade size.

This also helped MicroStrategy to get a better price for its BTC purchase as Coinbase’s trading team “achieved an average execution price that was less than the price at which the buying started.” The post highlighted that this strategy ultimately saved 1% (or about $4.25 million) for the NASDAQ-listed company.

More Large Companies To Come?

MicroStrategy’s purchase kicked off a wave of large companies and prominent individual investors who expressed willingness to get in bitcoin as well.

Jack Dorsey’s Square followed with a $50 million BTC allocation. More recently, the Wall Street giant Guggenheim Partners filed a document with the SEC to purchase about $500 million worth of bitcoin for one of its funds.

Coinbase asserted that more firms will look to BTC to hedge or diversify their excess cash. Consequently, the large US exchange will “look forward to helping more corporate companies and institutions looking to diversify their capital allocation strategies with crypto.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/coinbase-faciliated-microstrategys-425m-bitcoin-purchase-without-moving-the-market/

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U.S. DoJ Extradites Key Member of Crypto Ponzi Scheme From Panama

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has extradited a principal member of a fraudulent cryptocurrency mining and trading platform from Panama to the United States.

AirBit Club Co-founder to Face Criminal Charges in the U.S.

According to an announcement by the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, U.S. authorities were able to extradite Gutemberg Dos Santos, co-founder of crypto Ponzi scheme AirBit Club.

Dos Santos, who holds dual citizenship from Brazil and the United States, was extradited to the U.S. from Panama on Nov. 23, 2020. According to Strauss, Dos Santos’ repatriation was possible with the help of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

As reported by CryptoPotato back in August, the U.S. authorities arrested five individuals who were involved in the AirBit Club scheme that fleeced unsuspecting victims of $20 million. Operators of the crypto Ponzi scheme ran false advertisements that promised users hyperbolic rewards from Bitcoin trading and mining.

However, the DoJ at the time alleged that the group only sought to live flamboyant lifestyles of victims’ funds. While spending money on luxury homes and cars, they reportedly made more moves to recruit more victims across the U.S and different other countries.

A statement from the DoJ document reads:

“The extradition of Dos Santos reflects the determination of agents from HSI New York’s El Dorado Financial Crimes Task Force to dismantle global criminal organizations, wherever the investigation takes us. Utilizing our broad authorities and network of law enforcement partners, HSI will continue to hunt those who allegedly prey upon innocent citizens for financial gain.”

Also, if Dos Santos is found guilty of the charges levied against him, the AirtBit Club co-founder could face between 20-30 years in prison.

Law Enforcement Fighting Crypto Crimes

Regulatory authorities globally continue to warn investors about fake crypto-related schemes that promise high returns. According to a recent report by CryptoPotato, Chinese authorities confiscated $4 billion worth of crypto tokens from PlusToken scammers.

PlusToken, which is one of the biggest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes, promised users high returns, similar to other crypto fraudulent projects. The Chinese law enforcement began investigating the project after it shut down in 2019. In July, the police arrested 27 key members of the scam project, along with 82 other members.

Another major fraudulent crypto scheme, OneCoin, reportedly stole $4 billion from investors with its founder Ruja Ignatova also known as “Crypto Queen,” still at large. Meanwhile, Ruja’s brother Konstantin Ignatov has been arrested by the U.S. authorities since 2019 and could face a 90-year prison sentence.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/u-s-doj-extradites-key-member-of-crypto-ponzi-scheme-from-panama/

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PlusToken Crypto Scammers Slammed With 11-Year Jail Sentence

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Principal actors in the PlusToken Ponzi scheme have bagged 11-year prison sentences in China. The scheme managed to defraud investors of billions of dollars in various cryptocurrencies.

End of the Road for PlusToken Scammers

According to the South China Morning Post on Dec. 1, principal members of the PlusToken scam project were sentenced to 11 years imprisonment by a Chinese court. The suspects were found guilty of duping investors of $2.25 billion worth of crypto tokens.

As previously reported by CryptoPotato, authorities arrested 27 key members of the crypto Ponzi scheme in July, in addition to apprehending 82 other individuals linked to PlusToken.

Later in November, Chinese law enforcement seized $4 billion worth of crypto from operators of the fraudulent project. According to court documents, the confiscated cryptocurrency tokens included 94, 775 BTC, 79,581 BCH, 833,083 ETH, 74,167 DASH, 1.4 million LTC, 6 billion Doge, 27.6 million EOS, and 213,724 USDT.

The clampdown of the PlusToken scam project is in line with China’s agenda to rid the country of fraudulent schemes. Also, the latest development signals a win for authorities as the PlusToken platform was one of the largest Ponzi schemes in China.

What Happened?

PlusToken, founded by Chen Bo back in 2018, had all the hallmarks of a classic Ponzi scheme, with funds generated from later investors used to benefit early investors. Chen and other operators employed social media and offline activities to get members, who in turn paid for membership fees up to $500 worth of bitcoin and other crypto tokens.

Between 2018-2019, the platform had over 2.5 million members, with rewards based on the number of new recruits that others brought on board. Meanwhile, the total number of funds generated from members was reportedly over $2.2 billion worth of crypto.

Also, court documents alleged that Chen Bo spent some of the funds on extravagant lifestyles, buying expensive cars and properties for himself and his relatives.

In addition to the PlusToken founder and other key members spending time behind bars, the ringleaders were slammed with fines. The PlusToken scammers were fined between 120,00 yuan ($18K) and 6 million yuan ($912,922),

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/plustoken-crypto-scammers-slammed-with-11-year-jail-sentence/

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