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Ukraine National Bank Blames Over-Regulation for Stifled Crypto Growth

Ukraine National Bank Says Over-Regulation Preventing Crypto Growth

A National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) official has called for a hands-off approach to cryptocurrency regulation in the Central European nation, claiming that over-regulation is stunting industry growth.

Mikhail Vidyaking, the head of Strategies and Reforms Department at NBU has charged that laws need to be sensibly implemented with an aim to promote the growth of the cryptocurrency industry. Clear definition, according to him, is another problem, with numerous regulators overseeing the industry without any real guidelines.

Vidyaking feels that Ukraine’s banks will be far more likely to come on board with cryptocurrency services with clear guidance and less regulation coming from Kiev. These views follow the central government’s announcement that Ukraine will fully legitimize cryptocurrencies in two stages within the next three years with full regulation for providers and custodial platforms by 2021.

It appears that the government in Kiev is beginning to heed the calls from the industry, including such bodies as the National Cybersecurity Coordination in Kiev, where concerns for the future of Ukraine’s crypto industry have been aired.

The main regulatory body in Ukraine is the FSC who is responsible for assessing and minimizing risk in the country’s national financial sector. The council comprises of the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, the Minister of Finance, heads of the National Securities and Stock Market Commission and the National Commission for State Regulation of Financial Services Markets and Managing Director of the Deposit Guarantee Fund.

Ukraine’s current crypto trade stands at USD 775 million a year; any review of legislation in favor of cryptocurrency users is certain to give the industry its long-awaited stability.

 

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Bitcoin is ‘Back in the USSR’

Russia’s launch of its first crypto investment bank is the hot news from Eastern Europe’s sleeping bear, but how is the old USSR and the rest of the eastern bloc holding up in the charge to regulate the nascent industry in the region?

In the Ukraine capital, Kiev, plans are underway to site a statue of the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, in the same location where a statue of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin, used to stand. This appears to augur well for the bitcoin community… or does it?

Things are changing since ex-President Victor Yanukovich created his own cryptocurrency oligarchy; the pro- Russian leader is now exiled in Russia and wanted in his home county for high treason. Today, according to businessman Michael Chobanian, who opened the first Ukraine exchange offering national currency hryvnia for Bitcoin: “Ukraine is a haven for cryptocurrency – no one can or will stop you.”

His comments don’t exactly ring true in light of recent swoops by state security forces on Kvazar semiconductor plant in Kiev, where a large mining operation was located. This, a month after armed men from Ukraine’s Security Service broke into the Odessa offices of ForkLog, a major Russian-language crypto news site, and seized its computers and hard drives.

In an attempt to start a dialogue on cryptocurrency, Alexei Mushak, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, has sought to urge the people to comment on Bitcoin, taking to Facebook to do so recently, stating:

“We go to the home stretch to create conditions for digital tokens and cryptocurrency in Ukraine. This is the outcome of many meetings and work of many people. There are many more nuances left to figure out…”

Cryptocurrency regulation in Ukraine remains a work in progress, despite the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) stating that it was “considering” introducing a digital version of the hryvnia earlier this year.

Ukraine’s northern neighbor Belarus has taken what appears to be a sensible approach to a difficult problem in some of the old USSR states. Both blockchain and cryptocurrency related business activities are legislated under the law in Belarus. Mining and exchanges are not regarded as business activities and consequently are not subject to taxation. In fact, the great news for crypto investors is they are not required to declare crypto income until 2023.

Traveling through the old USSR even further north, Estonia even toyed briefly with launching its own cryptocurrency, the Estcoin, through the country’s e-residency program, but later shelved the idea.

The e-residency program, introduced in 2014, allows non-Estonians access to national services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. The program also allows anyone in the world to apply for a digital ID card and gain access to Estonian e-services when planning to start a company in the country.

Many crypto companies are now doing business in Estonia and the Baltic region is becoming a “Northern crypto-paradise” along with Lithuania and Latvia, both also experiencing an economic boom recently. Estonia’s widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and fintech has, therefore, become a breeding ground for new startups.

Latvia has the crypto bug, but not necessarily the support it would want from its government, with the Latvian central bank maintaining a keep away stance as its advice to customers.

Latvia currently levies a 20% capital gains tax, and applying it to cryptocurrency would reportedly require a change in the country’s tax laws. Currently, cryptocurrencies are not recognized under existing legislation. However, its exponential growth in the Baltic country has generated an increased interest from the government as a potential tax revenue.

Lithuania has recently become a growing center for ICOs and crypto projects. Latest figures show that Lithuania is now attracting an impressive 10% of all global ICO investments, with cryptocurrency bringing in half a billion euros from such activities.

 

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Kiev Wants His Statue, the CIA Is Tight-Lipped. So Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?

In Ukraine’s Capital, Kiev plans are underway to install a statue of the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto in the same location where a statue of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin, used to stand, writes CNN.

Father of the Russian nation, Lenin, had stood on the spot until it was torn down by Ukrainians during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity when the government of the day was overturned.

The idea of the erection of a statue to honor Bitcoin’s reputed founder was down to a group known dramatically as the Satoshi Nakamoto Republic. The initial idea is to have a virtual monument on the site which can be viewed using tech such as smartphones and tablets, with an app developed by Raccoon World.

The hope is that an actual statue might one day follow, to be located on Lenin’s empty plinth. The same group is raising a petition to present to Kiev municipal authorities, the Kyiv City State Administration, in the hope a real statue can be mounted at the site.

Satoshi Nakamoto Republic, Andriy Moroz, co-founder of the group, suggested that Satoshi Nakamoto symbolizes the future:

“The monument to Lenin was a symbol of last centuries that had already passed, leaving conflicting feelings in the hearts of people. Satoshi and the decentralization of society are a new era and new opportunities,” Moroz, who also serves as the First Ambassador of the Republic, told Radio Free Europe.

The group’s plans don’t end there, with the announcement that they are looking to establish Satoshi Nakamoto City, which will be located on an island, once a suitable location has been found. Once established they plan to start a blockchain “republic” of their own.

It’s been reported that the Nakamoto statue concept is open for all comers, including at present Beijing, Dubai, New York, and Tokyo.

Only Satoshi Nakamoto can reveal his true identity, or so say Ethereum News, or perhaps the CIA may be helpful. This was certainly the view of Daniel Oberhouse, a Motherboard writer, who actually went to those lengths by asking both the FBI and the CIA if they could shed any light on the enigmatic Bitcoin creators whereabouts.

Rebuffed by the FBI, he did, however, have more success -at least receiving a response- with the US’ own enigma, The Central Intelligence Agency. Unfortunately, the agency was less than helpful:

“The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.”

Apparently such a statement, according to an ex CIA operative, actually has a name and is a procedure used when the agency has no desire to look into a query due to security issues. A rejection of a request on security grounds implicitly suggests that the documents the requester are seeking indeed exist, but to confirm their existence would mandate their disclosure.

It’s called the “Glomar Response.” And for now, the search continues.

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