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Malta: Government Passes Three Laws to Encourage Blockchain Technology

(Aug. 31, 2018) On July 4, 2018, the Maltese government enacted three laws whose goal is to make Malta a haven for projects that rely on blockchain and other distributed ledger technology (DLT). The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act), Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS Act), and Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA […]

China: Central Bank Warns Businesses Not to Refuse Cash

(July 26, 2018) On July 13, 2018, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a circular stating that businesses and individuals must not refuse or discriminate against cash payments. (Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang Gonggao [2018] Di 10 Hao [PBOC Circular [2018] No. 10] (July 13, 2018), PBOC website; Amanda Lee, As China Goes […]

China: Government Indicates All Virtual Currency Platforms Have Withdrawn from Market

(July 12, 2018) On July 6, 2018, the People’s Bank of China indicated that the platforms trading virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, and dealing with initial coin offerings (ICOs) in China have “basically all safely withdrawn from the market.” Chinese authorities had identified 88 virtual currency trading platforms and 85 ICO platforms since September 2017 […]

Switzerland: Swiss Voters Reject Popular Initiative on Sovereign Money

(June 12, 2018) On June 10, 2018, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 75.7% to 24.3% the “Sovereign Money Initiative.” Voter turnout was 33.8%. (Vorlage Nr. 618. Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse. Volksinitiative vom 01.12.2015 “Für krisensicheres Geld: Geldschöpfung allein durch die Nationalbank! (Vollgeld-Initiative)” [Proposal No. 618, Preliminary Official Results: Popular Initiative of Dec. 1, 2015 “For Crisis-Proof Money: […]

European Union: Provisional Agreement to Control Illicit Cash Flows in and out of the EU

(June 8, 2018) On May 23, 2018, the Council of the European Union (Council) and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on measures to control illicit cash flows in and out of the European Union (EU), in particular a revision of the Cash Controls Regulation (CRC). (European Commission Press Release IP/18/3867, Security Union: Commission […]

Mexico: Amendment to Anti-Money Laundering Law Pertaining to Cryptocurrencies

(May 22, 2018) Mexico’s Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Transactions with Resources of Illicit Origin (commonly referred to as the Anti-Money Laundering Law) was amended in March 2018 in order to regulate transactions with “virtual assets”—that is, cryptocurrencies. (Ley Federal para la Prevención e Identificación de Operaciones con Recursos de Procedencia Ilícita [Federal […]

Spain: Drug Trafficking Ring Using Cryptocurrency to Launder Money Arrested

(May 1, 2018) On April 9, 2018, the Guardia Civil (Spanish Police), in an operation called “Tulipán Blanca” (White Tulip), arrested eleven members of a drug trafficking ring that was laundering money using bitcoins. The police operation was coordinated with Europol, Finnish law enforcement authorities, and the US Department of Homeland Security. (Detenido un Tarraconense […]

Mexico: Financial Technology Law Enacted

(Mar. 28, 2018) Mexico’s Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies, enacted in March 2018, includes a chapter on operations with “virtual assets,” commonly known as cryptocurrencies. (Ley para Regular las Instituciones de Tecnología Financiera [Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies] arts. 30–34, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACIÓN [D.O.F], Mar. 9, 2018, Mexican House of Representatives website.) […]

Israel: New Law Restricts Use of Cash

(Mar. 27, 2018) On March 12, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) gave final approval for the Minimizing Use of Cash Bill, 5778-2018. The bill provides a monetary ceiling above which dealing in Israeli legal tender or in foreign currency in cash is prohibited. The restrictions will generally enter into effect on January 1, 2019. (Minimizing […]

Germany: Federal Ministry of Finance Publishes Guidance on VAT Treatment of Virtual Currencies

(Mar. 13, 2018) On February 27, 2018, the German Federal Ministry of Finance published guidance on value-added-tax (VAT) treatment of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. It determined that transactions to exchange a traditional currency for bitcoin or other virtual currencies and vice versa constitute the taxable supply of other services for consideration, but fall under […]