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Bitcoin Regulation

Telegram ICO Breaks Records 850 Million: Takes Steps to Welcome U.S. Investors

On February 13th, 2018, the creators of popular encrypted messaging app Telegram filed a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Under SEC exemption Rule 506(c), they reported raising $850 million from 81 investors for “the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger.”

Purchase Agreements for Cryptocurrency filed under the 506(c) exemption, limits US investment to only “accredited investors.” An accredited investor is a subset of investors who must have a net worth of more than $1 million or an annual income of $200,000 per year. Filing with the SEC signals that the creators of Telegram, Pavel and Nikolai Durov, are prepared for US citizens to legally invest in the TON initial coin offering (ICO).

Due to the popularity of the encrypted messaging app Telegram amongst the cryptocurrency community TON’s ICO is one of the most anticipated coin offerings ever. As we previously reported, the ICO is expected to make history raising a record $2 billion from investors around the globe.

In December of 2017, rumors of Telegram’s ICO started to circulate throughout the internet even resulting in a leaked copy of TON’s whitepaper. Due to Telegram’s tremendous popularity within the cryptocurrency community, It quickly became the most anticipated ICO to date. As we previously reported, the ICO is expected to make history raising a record $2 billion from investors around the globe.

TON’s Product Roadmap

  • Q1 2018 — secure ID launch
  • Q2 2018 — MVP of test of network of TON
  • Q3 2018 — testing and security audit for TON
  • Q4 2018 — stable version of TON deployed
  • Q4 2018 — Telegram wallet launched
  • Q1 2019 — TON-based economy goes live inside Telegram
  • Q2 2019 — TON services, storage and proxy launched

The company intends to rename TON to ON by 2021, citing Telegram will step away from the project and the network will be managed by its foundation.

In the whitepaper the company wrote:

“Telegram will serve as a launch pad for TON, ensuring its technological superiority and widespread adoption on the initial stages, but the future of TON is in the hands of the global open-source community,”

Some of the identities of the initial 81 investors have started to leak out via a Russian news outlet Vedomosti. They include a Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, QIWI (a Russian payment service provider) CEO Sergei Solonin, and Wimm-Bill-Dann (a Russian dairy product company) co-founder David Yakobashvili.

Vedomosti reported that Abramovich may have invested as much as $300 million into the project. Solonin reportedly invested $17 million and Yakobashvili reportedly invested $10 million.

As always we here at Cryptobase will keep you up to date as this story unfolds.


SEC May Put A Stop To Binance’s Plans To Acquire Voyager

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an objection to Binance.US’s plans to acquire Voyager Digital, a publicly traded cryptocurrency brokerage. The SEC has raised concerns about the potential impact on investors, stating that the acquisition could result in “a concentration of voting power” in the hands of Binance.US and its parent company, Binance.

The SEC’s objection comes as a surprise to many in the crypto industry, as Binance has been a major player in the space for years and is known for its strict compliance with regulations. However, the acquisition of Voyager Digital, which is a publicly traded company, has raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the potential for insider trading.

The SEC’s objection has sparked a heated debate among industry experts and investors, with some arguing that the acquisition would be a positive development for the crypto market and others expressing concerns about the potential impact on investors.

On one hand, some argue that the acquisition would give Binance.US more access to mainstream investors and help to increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Binance has a strong reputation in the industry and is known for its commitment to compliance, which could help to increase confidence in the market.

On the other hand, others are concerned that the acquisition could lead to a concentration of power in the hands of a single company, which could negatively impact competition and potentially harm investors. There are also concerns about the potential for insider trading and conflicts of interest, as Binance would be acquiring a publicly traded company.

It’s worth noting that the SEC’s objection is not a final decision on the acquisition, and Binance.US and Voyager Digital have the opportunity to respond and present their case. However, the fact that the SEC has raised concerns about the acquisition is a significant development that could have significant implications for the future of the crypto market.

Overall, the SEC’s objection to Binance.US’s plans to acquire Voyager Digital has sparked a lively debate among industry experts and investors. While some see the acquisition as a positive development that could increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies, others are concerned about the potential impact on competition and investors. The final outcome of the acquisition is still unclear, but it’s certain that it will be closely watched by those in the crypto industry

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U.S. Takes Crypto Crime Seriously with Anti-Money Laundering Reforms

The United States passed into law its Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which takes effect on January 1, 2021. This brings digital currency exchange companies and other digital-asset-related businesses under the scope of regulations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which requires financial institutions “to actively detect, monitor and report potential money laundering activity.”

“I’m pleased that our anti-money laundering legislation was included as a part of this year’s [National Defense Authorization Act]. This bipartisan legislation protects Americans by depriving criminals and terrorists of the tools they use to finance illicit activity. It is the first serious overhaul of our anti-money laundering system in decades, and it makes sense to include it in the biggest, most important national defense legislation Congress passes each year,” South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said in a press release

The massive anti-money laundering reforms are targeting businesses dealing with digital currencies and assets by clearly specifying the definition of a “financial institution” to “‘a business engaged in the exchange of currency, funds, or value that substitutes for currency or funds” and “a licensed sender of money or any other person who engages as a business in the transmission of funds or value that substitutes for currency.” 

The reforms further define a “money transmitting business” to include those who deal with “currency, funds, or value that substitutes for currency.” Now, there are no longer loopholes that digital asset companies can use when dealing with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the agency that enforces the BSA.

Stricter Penalties Enforced

Aside from updating definitions to ensure that digital currency exchange firms and others dealing in digital assets are clearly within the scope of the AML Act of 2020 and the BSA, stricter penalties are now being enforced for crypto criminals

Now, those who have been found guilty of violating the AML Act of 2020 and/or BSA are faced with fines amounting to profits earned while committing the violation and possible jail time. Those guilty of an “egregious” breach are also going to be banned from taking a board member position of any financial institution in the country for 10 years. Furthermore, employees of financial institutions who commit these crimes will be obligated to return to their employer all bonuses received during the time the act was committed. 

FinCEN is being given additional resources, like increasing its manpower, to ensure the enforcement of these reforms. This will further safeguard investors against crypto crimes and nail down digital currency exchange firms and other digital-asset-related businesses that do not comply with BSA regulations.

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Bitcoin Regulation

IRS Coming For Your Crypto, Specific Crypto Question Added To 2019 Tax Forms

The IRS wants to know whether you traded cryptocurrency in 2019, a question it had never overtly asked taxpayers in the past.

In a new report on Monday covering fiscal 2019, the agency listed cryptocurrency and the gig economy as two key “emerging compliance areas that require attention” by the IRS. For crypto, that attention is taking the form of a new question on the 2019 Form 1040 (for additional income).

The question is at the very top of the form, and reads: “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?”

The IRS already had official guidance on cryptocurrency, first posted back in 2014: the agency classifies cryptocurrency as property, rather than as currency, and thus taxpayers would treat crypto selling as capital gains (or losses) and disclose it on Form 8949—if you choose.

In the past, the common attitude in crypto land toward disclosing crypto gains on your taxes was that there was little to gain from doing so—you’d risk an audit if you did, and would likely fly under the radar if you didn’t.

Now the IRS is getting more serious.

The phrasing of the question is also creating some confusion, since it mentions not just selling and receiving crypto, but also sending or exchanging it. That prompted some crypto folks on Twitter to wonder whether simply sending bitcoin from one digital wallet to another requires disclosure on your taxes. That answer is no. In an extensive FAQ about virtual currency transactions on its website, the IRS specifies, “If you transfer virtual currency from a wallet, address, or account belonging to you, to another wallet, address, or account that also belongs to you, then the transfer is a non-taxable event.”

The IRS, in its report this week, also disclosed that in 2019 it sent “educational letters” to more than 10,000 taxpayers “who may have failed to properly report virtual currency transactions.” And the IRS cautions: “Virtual currency, also called crypto currency, will remain an important focal point for the IRS in 2020.”

This article originally featured in Yahoo Finance.


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