The latest regulatory changes, updates, and decisions impacting the alternative investment sector.
In an announcement today the Securities and Exchange Commission deferred its decision on the application by the Cboe BZX Exchange on March 1, 2021, to list shares of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust through a proposed rule change.
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The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday set forth new rules and actions for governing AI with the twin objectives of guaranteeing the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses while strengthening AI uptake, investment, and innovation across the EU.
A draft set of proposals obtained by Bloomberg shows that the EU could fine AI and tech companies as much as 4% of global revenue if they fall foul of the EU’s new norms for the use of AI. Further, these proposals include a ban on AI-powered mass surveillance or systems that rank social behavior.
A Reuters report today, which quoted a senior Indian government official, said India plans to outlaw cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, making anyone trading or holding them punishable with fines.
Ripple claims XRP is a virtual currency, not a security, and the SEC has no authority to regulate it as one. Ripple Labs on Thursday filed its answer to the complaint by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that ripples distributions of XRP constituted investment contracts and were subject to registration under the Securities Act…
The pressure is now building upon the SEC for approving a bitcoin ETF. Shortly after the Canadian regulators approved two bitcoin ETFs, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has notified the US SEC of its intention to list the BTC ETF from investment management firm VanEck and its Bitcoin Trust.
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol, when speaking at a parliamentary session on Wednesday, said crypto-assets such as bitcoin had no intrinsic value and were victim to highly volatile price swings.
Valkyrie Digital Assets LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Valkyrie Investments Inc., has thrown its hat in the ring to obtain SEC approval for the launch of a bitcoin ETF. On Friday, Valkyrie submitted its application to the regulator for the “Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund,” to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The People’s Bank of China published a draft set of rules on Wednesday for anti-trust regulation of the non-bank payment providers in the fintech sector. The draft is in the public opinion domain until February 19.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced Thursday an investigation into Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) allegedly monopolistic practice of barring its merchants from selling on competing e-commerce platforms. Merchants must agree to sell their products only on the behemoth’s online shopping platform.
The SEC on Tuesday charged Ripple and two executives for raising over $1.38 billion via an unregistered securities offering.
The SEC filed the complaint in the federal district court in Manhattan alleging that the defendants violated the registration provisions of the Securities Act. It prayed for injunctive relief, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The two executives named in the complaint are Christian Larsen, Ripple’s co-founder, executive chairman of its board, and former CEO; and Bradley Garlinghouse, the company’s current CEO.
On Friday, the Jack Ma-controlled Ant Group’s Alipay platform, which offers an impressive array of financial products to its customers, removed online deposits that it was accepting on behalf of several banks. The reason – regulatory restrictions.
The SEC will likely sue Ripple, CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Chris Larsen, according to Fortune. The SEC will charge the defendants for selling XRP tokens, which it alleges are unlicensed securities. XRP ranks third in the pecking order of cryptocurrencies with a market cap of $23 billion. The SEC would make the case that XRP is a security and it needed to be registered as an investment contract prior to its sale.
In an article titled “Fintech Risk in 2021,” Halverson warns of heightened fintech risk in 2020 following free central bank “helicopter” money, overenthusiastic private equity and venture capital firms, and exuberant stock markets. In particular, he points to fintechs offering buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products that have captured consumers’ fancy and encouraged them to increase their indebtedness.
The barrage of regulatory voices against the “fintech-that-shall-not-be-named” continues. In the latest call to hobble giant fintechs such as the Ant Group, former finance minister Lou Jiwei said regulators should restrict the number of banks that they can partner with.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) licensed OSL Digital Securities to operate a regulated brokerage and automated trading service for digital assets. OSL is now the world’s first SFC-licensed, listed, digital asset wallet-insured, Big-4 audited digital asset trading platform for institutions and professional investors, it said in an announcement.
In an article in a newly released book from the central government explaining the country’s economic priorities and development plan for 2035, Guo warned of a disturbance in global financial markets if the United States stepped up its strategic containment and rivalry with China. Given this circumstance, China is taking steps to address financial vulnerabilities that could stem from fintech giants such as the Ant Group.
Gazprombank (Switzerland), the wholly-owned Swiss arm of Russia’s Gazprombank (JSC), announced October 29 that it had received regulatory clearance from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to offer crypto custody and trading services to its institutional and corporate clients.
After an 18-month study of the cryptoassets market, followed by a consultation, the U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority banned the sale of crypto-derivatives to retail customers on grounds they were “ill-suited for retail consumers due to the harm they pose.”
Nationwide payments firms now have to undergo a single comprehensive exam to effectively satisfy all states’ regulatory compliance requirements. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced Tuesday its “MSB Networked Supervision” initiative in this regard, effective 2021.
Alternative Investments: SEC Revamps Definition of “Accredited Investor” For Private Capital Markets
The SEC on Wednesday amended its definition of “accredited investor,” a term that drew a line between high-earning, deep-pocketed investors and retail investors for access to often lucrative opportunities in the private capital markets. Also known as “alternative investments,” these markets include, for example, venture capital, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate.
In a ruling Wednesday, the SEC gave the New York Stock Exchange the green light to let companies raise capital through a “Primary Direct Floor Listing” process. Before this decision, private companies could use the direct method to list their shares on the stock exchange but did not themselves receive any of the proceeds from the IPO. That’s because this route allowed existing investors in those companies to sell their shares on the market (“Selling Shareholder Direct Floor Listing”), with no new capital being raised by the company itself.
Founded in 2019, Arrano Capital is the blockchain arm of Venture Smart Asia Limited. On April 20, Venture Smart Asia got the approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to launch the territory’s first regulated virtual-assets fund. The approval let Arrano Capital set up its bitcoin tracking fund, one that could invest 100% in virtual assets.
The SEC’s proposed regulations have triggered widespread opposition, particularly those relating to leveraged (geared) ETFs.
The public has until March 24, 2020, to submit its comments on the proposals.
Regulatory progress may lay the base for a revival of blockchain-based securities such as tokens and ICOs. According to Aaron Kaplan, the SEC’s strategy to crack down on digital assets and apply the rigor of traditional securities’ regulation to blockchain securities is a welcome move.
He likened it to the days of old when the criminal excesses of “bucket shops” yielded to regulation through securities law.