20/03/2018: Biggest Stories in the Cryptosphere

1. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange Is Looking Into Blockchain

Back in December, we reported on the Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX)use of blockchain to clear and settle trades, following two years of testing. It was the first major exchange to do so. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), the 6th largest in the world, is now collaborating with ASX to learn from its experience, and to adopt the same strategy in its business. The technology would be adopted for stock borrowing and lending, as well as over-the-counter trades. The Australian exchange was helped by Digital Asset Holdings, an American company in which is an investor and equity holder. The initiative would allow the exchange to cut costs and increase its competitiveness.

2. G20 Considers Crypto An Asset Rather Than a Currency

Bitcoin has frequently been discussed publicly by finance ministers attending the G20. The latest update is that G20 members considering crypto an asset rather than a currency, which means that holders could be required to pay capital gains tax. Behind the decision, there is the belief that a cryptocurrency does not possess the characteristics expected from a national currency. Furthermore, the creation of a possible international regulatory framework is also being discussed. The aim is to avoid a repetition of the taxation issues had with tech companies such as Alphabet Inc (which includes Google).

3. Canadian VersaBank Signs First Two Prospects For Its Virtual Vault

We previously reported that Canadian VersaBank is creating a virtual safety deposit box for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. Now the bank has released a statement to announce it has signed its first two prospects. According to the document, two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have been signed with a crypto exchange and a crypto-based fund. President and CEO David Taylor said that considering that exchanges and funds are major holders of cryptocurrency, this represents an important achievement for VersaVault, the subsidiary in charge of this product. The feedback which will be obtained through these collaborations will help improve a service which can meet the needs of this type of client.

4. Russia’s Government Moves Forward With Drafting Crypto Regulation

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev stated that a juridical disagreement between the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Russia over the drafting of crypto regulation has led to delays. However, the government is now moving forward with drafting the regulatory framework, aimed at ICOs and crypto trading. ICOs issued in Russian territory might be required to meet a specific threshold. The disagreement happened when discussing crypto trading, both with Russian rubles and other assets. However, the central bank will now have the last word. Tokens-to-fiat currency trades could be allowed, but the same cannot be said of token-to-token, which may be banned to prevent dubious anonymous transactions.

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