NCFAs innovation and funding ecosystem

Category Archives: Legal Issues and Regulation

IMF Seminar (On-demand): Digital Money Revolution

IMF Annual Meetings (2021 Washington DC)| Oct 18, 2021

IMF Seminar Digital Money Revolution - IMF Seminar (On-demand):  Digital Money Revolution

Overview of IMF Seminar 'Digital Money Revolution'

Digital finance innovations—central bank digital currencies, private eMoney, stable coins, or cryptoassets—may bring changes in the way we lead our lives. This seminar reviews the implications of this transformation for the international monetary system.

See:  The Impact of Fintech on Central Bank Governance

Moderator: 

  • Martin Wolf is chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, London.

Speakers:

  • Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Benoît Cœuré was appointed Head of the BIS Innovation Hub in 2020.
  • Eswar Prasad is the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy and Professor of Economics at Cornell University.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - IMF Seminar (On-demand):  Digital Money Revolution The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Canadian securities regulators seek comment on climate-related disclosure requirements

CSA | Release | Oct 18, 2021

climage change disclosures - Canadian securities regulators seek comment on climate-related disclosure requirementsCalgary and Toronto – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today published for comment proposed climate-related disclosure requirements. The proposed requirements address the need for more consistent and comparable information to help inform investment decisions. They also demonstrate the CSA’s commitment in favour of the growing international movement toward mandatory climate-related disclosure standards.

The requirements contemplate disclosure largely consistent with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. They will improve the comparability of the information issuers disclose and help investors make more informed investment decisions by enhancing climate-related disclosure. The requirements are also intended to address costs associated with reporting across multiple disclosure frameworks, improve access to global markets and facilitate an equal playing field for issuers.

See:  The evolution of ESG: Corporate sustainability leaders in the financial services sector are taking on new responsibilities

“We recognize some issuers already share certain climate-related information,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Our proposed requirements will bring those disclosures into a harmonized framework benefitting investors and issuers alike and aligning Canadian capital markets with the global movement towards consistent and comparable standards.”

The proposed requirements contemplate disclosure by issuers related to the four core elements of the TCFD recommendations:

  • Governance – an issuer’s board’s oversight of and management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.
  • Strategy – the short-, medium- and long-term climate-related risks and opportunities the issuer has identified and the impact on its business, strategy and financial planning, where such information is material. As a modification from the TCFD recommendations, the proposed disclosure would not include the requirement to disclose “scenario analysis”, which is an issuer’s description of the resilience of its strategy within different climate-related scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario.
  • Risk management – how an issuer identifies, assesses and manages climate-related risks and how these processes are integrated into its overall risk management.
  • Metrics and targets – the metrics and targets used by an issuer to assess and manage climate-related risks and opportunities where the information is material.

See:  Regulators target “greenwashed” products susceptible to marketing hype

Issuers would be required to disclose their Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the related risks, or their reasons for not doing so. The CSA is also consulting on an alternative approach that would require issuers to disclose Scope 1 GHG emissions. Under this alternative, disclosure of Scope 2 and Scope 3 GHG emissions would not be mandatory.

“With global momentum building on sustainability-related disclosures in both the public and private sectors, these proposals reflect our vision and expectations for reporting issuers as we move towards a global baseline for such disclosures,” said Morisset.

The disclosure requirements would be phased in, as outlined in the notice, to give companies sufficient time to plan for implementation.

The proposed disclosure requirements draw on extensive engagement with stakeholders, follow environmental and climate-related reporting guidance issued by the CSA in 2010 and build on CSA Staff Notice 51-358 Reporting of Climate Change-related Risks published in August 2019.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Canadian securities regulators seek comment on climate-related disclosure requirements The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Foreign property tax implications associated with owning cryptocurrencies

Financial Post | Jamie Golombek | Oct 14, 2021

Crypto taxes - Foreign property tax implications associated with owning cryptocurrenciesWhere, exactly, is your cryptocurrency located? It's complicated

If you hold foreign property whose total cost exceeds $100,000 at any point in a tax year, you’re required to file Form T1135. The form covers the obvious things, such as your Swiss bank account or Cayman offshore investment portfolio, but it’s also required for foreign stocks, such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. or Google owner Alphabet Inc., that are held in a Canadian, non-registered brokerage account.

The penalty for filing late is $25 per day to a maximum of $2,500, plus arrears interest. There have been at least 20 reported cases in which taxpayers have been assessed a late-filing penalty since the 1998 introduction of Form T1135.

Is cryptocurrency considered foreign property?

Those questions were discussed in a recent article by William Musani and Ashvin Singh of Felesky Flynn LLP, a boutique tax law firm with offices in Alberta and Saskatchewan. They analyzed whether cryptocurrency falls under the technical definition of “specified foreign property” in the Income Tax Act, which includes “intangible property situated, deposited, or held outside Canada that is not used or held exclusively in the course of carrying on an active business of the taxpayer.”

Back in 2015, the CRA stated that “digital currency would be funds or intangible property and would be specified foreign property of a person or partnership to the extent that it is situated, deposited or held outside of Canada.”

See:  Proposed Amendments to the GST/HST Treatment of Cryptocurrencies

But where, exactly, is your cryptocurrency located?

In practice, an entitlement to your cryptocurrency exists in the form of a digital ledger on the related blockchain. But because it’s stored on a blockchain, it can simultaneously exist in several geographic locations.

These digital ledgers are considered both “distributed” and “decentralized” databases. The database that records the entitlements of a cryptocurrency holder is stored and updated in many locations at once — that is, distributed — which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to manipulate its records. The ledgers are also decentralized, since no single distributed database is the sole source of the true ownership of the particular cryptocurrency.

The article’s authors argue that in relation to the location of your cryptocurrency holdings:

The geographic location of your private key is “arguably the most relevant factor in determining where such cryptocurrency is situated, deposited, or held for the purposes of the act.”

See:  Miami mayor says the city is moving toward paying public employees in bitcoin

But the answer to this may depend on whether you are using a “hot” or “cold” digital wallet. Hot wallets are digital wallets connected to the internet, which is how nearly all cryptocurrency exchanges or online providers store your cryptocurrency.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Foreign property tax implications associated with owning cryptocurrencies The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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CFTC fines Tether US$41M for misleading claims about currency backing

Bloomberg | Jesse Westbrook | Oct 15, 2021

Tether fined 41M - CFTC fines Tether US$41M for misleading claims about currency backingTether will pay US$41 million to settle allegations it lied in claiming its digital tokens were fully backed by fiat currencies, putting a major compliance headache behind the world’s biggest issuer of stablecoins even as regulatory scrutiny intensifies.

For years, Tether told customers and the broader cryptocurrency market that it had US$1 in reserve to back every token, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a Friday statement. That claim was wildly misleading, according to the agency. For instance, from June to September 2017, there was never more than US$61.5 million backing Tether, even as more 442 million coins were circulating at one point.

Read:  Tether banned on Canada’s first 2 licensed digital currency exchanges

“This case highlights the expectation of honesty and transparency in the rapidly growing and developing digital assets marketplace,” said acting CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam.

Tether is widely used to trade Bitcoin and other tokens, making it pivotal to the crypto market. That’s because the coin allows quick transactions and because it’s designed to be largely immune to volatile price swings -- a function of its one-to-one peg to fiat currencies.

But many traders have long been skeptical that Tether genuinely had the money backing the coins that it claimed. More recently, the Treasury Department and other federal agencies have been alarmed by the stablecoin’s dramatic growth. There are now Tethers worth about US$69 billion in circulation, prompting concerns among that crypto-market disruptions could trigger chaotic investor fire sales that threaten the financial system.

In its enforcement action, the CFTC said Tether failed to disclose that it held unsecured receivables and non-fiat assets as part of its reserves, and falsely told investors it would undergo routine, professional audits to demonstrate that it maintained “100 per cent reserves at all times.”

See:  Is Tether a Black Swan?

In fact, Tether reserves weren’t audited, the agency said. Until at least 2018, Tether manually kept tabs on its reserve levels, a process that wasn’t updated in real time, the CFTC said. Tether didn’t admit or deny the CFTC’s allegations.

“Tether agreed to resolve this matter in order to move forward and focus on the future,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - CFTC fines Tether US$41M for misleading claims about currency backing The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Bitcoin’s mystery man turns up in the law courts

The Law Society Gazette | | Michael Cross | Oct 14, 2021

Bitcoins mystery man - Bitcoin’s mystery man turns up in the law courts

Source: iStock

As far as his acolytes are concerned, the ministry on earth of Satoshi Nakamoto lasted just over two years.

During that time, from the end of 2008, ‘he’ - Satoshi is a male given name - published a brilliantly written white paper setting out the principles of a currency that could operate without a central authority. He also released the computer code to turn Bitcoin in to practice (written in the programming language C++) and engaged in web conversations about its debugging and development. The last public comment appeared in December 2010. Email exchanges with developers continued for a few months, but then Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared without trace. 'I’ve moved on to other things,' he wrote in April 2011.

His, or their, identity remains a mystery.

See:  Privacy laws might prove to be a blessing in disguise for crypto

At least that is the widely accepted version of history among the mixture of geniuses, visionaries, hard-headed entrepreneurs, gullible punters and outright rogues who make up the global Bitcoin community. However a series of actions in the English courts could rewrite the authorised version. They are being brought by Dr Craig Wright, an Australian academic and Bitcoin entrepreneur resident in England, who says that the identity of Satoshi is no mystery, because it is he. Wright has registered the US copyright of Bitcoin's founding white paper and the original computer code. In June this year the High Court granted default judgment against the bitcoin.org website for infringement of his rights.

Wright is also taking vigorous action for defamation against those who dispute his claim. Judgment in a pre-trial review of one such action, against posts by a podcaster named Peter McCormack, resulted in a 256-paragraph ruling in the Queen's Bench Division earlier this month. Legal action is understood to be under way against another blogger.

Why, you may ask, does this matter? Surely Dr Wright has every right to defend his reputation, which has been subject to unquestionably vicious attacks. To quote Mr Justice Julian Knowles, Wright 'avers by way of innuendo the said words meant and were understood to mean that the claimant had fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto'. Not that there appears to be much innuendo in complained-of phrases such as: 'Craig Wright is a fucking liar, and he's a fraud; and he's a moron'. (McCormack admits publication.)

See:  Bitcoin is an Unstoppable Force

The immediate answer is that anyone claiming, or admitting, to being Satoshi Nakamoto must accept responsibilities along with the kudos. A widely believed reason for 'Satoshi's' disappearance was the growing concern by law enforcement agencies in the use of Bitcoin to finance criminal and terrorist activity. These concerns have not gone away. The financial services authorities may also be interested: Satoshi's Bitcoin holding is in theory worth some $60bn. And HMRC is unlikely to ignore the sudden appearance of a multi-multi-billionaire apparently within its jurisdiction.

Wright is already contesting a lawsuit in the US over the ownership of a very large sum in Bitcoin; a trial opens in Miami next month.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Bitcoin’s mystery man turns up in the law courts The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Speech by Jon Cunliffe: ‘Is crypto a financial stability risk’?

Bank of England | Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor, Financial Stability | Oct 13, 2021

Sir Jon Cunliffe - Speech by Jon Cunliffe: ‘Is crypto a financial stability risk'?

Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor, Financial Stability, BoE

Jon Cunliffe's Speech Overview delivered at Sibos:  Jon Cunliffe looks at the impact of ‘crypto’ on the stability of the UK’s financial system.  He says unbacked crypto-assets (eg Bitcoin) and backed crypto-assets for payments (stablecoins) have begun to connect to the financial system. And he talks about how regulators are responding to their rapid growth.

I want to talk today about whether the world of ‘crypto finance’ poses risks to financial stability.

Cryptoassets have grown by roughly 200% in 2021, from just under $800 billion to $2.3 trillion today. They have grown from just $16 billion 5 years ago. $2.3 trillion of course needs to be seen in the context of the $250 trillion global financial system. But as the financial crisis showed us, you don’t have to account for a large proportion of the financial sector to trigger financial stability problems – sub-prime was valued at around $1.2 trillion in 2008.

See: 

When something in the financial system is growing very fast, and growing in largely unregulated space, financial stability authorities have to sit up and take notice. They have to think very carefully about what could happen and whether they, or other regulatory authorities, need to act.

At the same time, they need to be careful not to over-react – particularly when faced with the unfamiliar. We should not classify new approaches as ‘dangerous’ simply because they are different. Innovation, technology and new players can tackle longstanding frictions and inefficiencies and reduce barriers to entry. Throughout history, they have been key to driving improvement and to increasing resilience in financial services.

I will give you my conclusions at the outset. Crypto technologies offer a prospect of radical improvements in financial services. However, while the financial stability risks are still limited, their current applications are now a financial stability concern for a number of reasons.

Cryptoassets are growing fast and there is rapid development of new applications for the technology. The bulk of these assets have no intrinsic value and are vulnerable to major price corrections. The crypto world is beginning to connect to the traditional financial system and we are seeing the emergence of leveraged players. And, crucially, this is happening in largely unregulated space.

Unbacked cryptoassets

Unbacked cryptoassets make up nearly 95% of the $2.3 trillion.

They are essentially non-replicable strings of computer code that can be owned and transferred without intermediaries. Bitcoin, of course, is the most prominent example, but there are now nearly eight thousand unbacked cryptoassets in existence. These have no intrinsic value – that is to say there are no assets or commodities behind them: the value of the cryptoasset is determined solely by the price a buyer is prepared to pay at any given moment.  As a result, their value is highly volatile.

See:  World Economic Forum (WEF) Warns of Cyberattack that will Collapse Existing Financial System

And while retail investment predominates in this market, there are signs of growing institutional investor interest, with these investors now thinking about whether to have crypto in their portfolio. More complex investment strategies are beginning to emerge, including crypto futures and other derivatives.

At the same time, core wholesale finance and financial market infrastructure firms are putting their toes in the water. Several global banks are offering, or are planning to offer, digital asset custody services. Some international banks have started to, or are looking at, trading cryptoasset futures and non-deliverable forwards; and offering wealth management clients cryptoasset investments, following client demand. Others have developed exchange platforms facilitating matched trades, or offer customers access to other crypto exchanges through their apps. Leading payment firms are also exploring ways of allowing people and businesses to use certain stablecoins for payments and for the settlement of transactions within their networks.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Speech by Jon Cunliffe: ‘Is crypto a financial stability risk'? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Solution to Consumer-Centric Payments Innovation in America

Morning Consult | Nick Catino , Jonah Crane & Daniel Gorfine | Oct 13, 2021

Regulating payment remitters in the US - Solution to Consumer-Centric Payments Innovation in AmericaIn recent years, there have been several debates over how best to regulate and facilitate financial technology innovation in the United States. These debates frequently pit federal regulations against state-based regulation, and banks against nonbanks, in unfortunate zero-sum contests, resulting in legal challenges and increasingly tense congressional hearings that risk losing the forest for the trees in terms of what’s best for the country. At the same time, the Federal Reserve is considering whether certain kinds of banks — but only banks — can directly access federal payment systems. 

When it comes to consumer-centric payments innovation, there is a way to preserve state-based regulation of payments companies and allow them to participate directly in our national payments systems, without requiring that they have full banking powers. 

Our idea for a hybrid federal/state payments oversight model is rooted in the “unbundling” of financial services brought about by financial technology companies competing in discrete markets. These entities do not resemble the full-service, brick-and-mortar banks of decades past. Some payments innovators, for example, are focused on using modern technology to provide faster, lower-cost, transparent and more convenient payments for their customers — not on taking deposits or making loans.  

Read:  2021 McKinsey Global Payments Report

In recognition of this changing industry landscape, many other high-income countries have recently implemented modern regulatory frameworks that account for the new business models. Companies focused narrowly on payments can access critical payments infrastructure and are subject to tailored regulation focused on their unique risks. 

That hasn’t happened in the United States, where licensing regimes are decades — and, in some cases, centuries — old, and largely limit access to payment rails to “banks” as traditionally understood. Bank regulation, however, is designed for banks that collect deposits and lend them out — not for payments companies. Payment providers are regulated by each of the 50 states under money transmission frameworks and cannot directly access payment systems. 

As a result, some companies have increasingly sought out regulatory regimes that would enable them to operate nationwide and to access central bank services. These applications prompted the Federal Reserve Board to propose guidelines for deciding which banks can obtain Federal Reserve accounts and thereby access Federal Reserve payments systems. 

These applications will likely increase in the months and years ahead. Why? There’s still a cohort of payments companies that are not able to compete on a level playing field, because they must use banks as middlemen to access critical financial infrastructure such as Federal Reserve payments systems. Unlike in many other countries, only banks — as traditionally defined — can originate and settle payments directly on behalf of their customers.  

It is important to ensure that companies permitted to directly access critical payment systems are well-regulated, but it makes little sense to require a payments company to become a full-service bank, or to be regulated like one. They have entirely different business models and present different risks. Traditional banks raise deposits and lend them out, engaging in maturity transformation and taking on interest rate and credit risk, as well as operational and liquidity risk. Payments companies, on the other hand, move money between end users and pose principally liquidity and operational risk. 

See:  Fintech regulation: how to achieve a level playing field

There’s a gaping square peg/round hole problem. 

They have entirely different business models and present different risks.

A solution may be found in a hybrid of the U.S. state-based regulatory regime for “money transmitters” and the regulatory frameworks implemented or in the works in the United Kingdom, Canada, European Union, and Singapore. Congress could create a national “payments passport” by allowing money transmitters with at least 40 state licenses to obtain limited access to the payments system, provided they are subject to Federal Reserve regulatory standards and supervision tailored to payments services. 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Solution to Consumer-Centric Payments Innovation in America The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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