Bill to Curb Iranian National Crypto Filed in US Congress


Draft legislation designed to hamper Iran’s efforts to create a sovereign cryptocurrency has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. The Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act bans U.S. citizens and companies from all transactions and dealings in Iranian digital currency. The bill also introduces sanctions against foreign nationals and organizations that support the development of the crypto.  

Also read: Russian Developers to Help Iran Build Its Crypto-Economy

US to Ban Transactions With Iranian Digital Coins

The draft law, filed in the House of Representatives this week, is sponsored by a group of members led by Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher. The main focus of the act is to strengthen existing U.S. sanctions regarding a number of activities and impose new restrictions with respect to Iranian financial institutions and organizations providing services to Iranian banks. The authors of the bill have also proposed measures designed to prevent Iran from issuing its own digital coin to circumvent economic sanctions imposed by Washington.

Bill to Curb Iranian National Crypto Filed in US CongressThe draft law bans transactions and other dealings in any digital token or coin that can be identified as “Iranian digital currency.” It introduces penalties against U.S. citizens and corporate entities as well as foreign nationals and companies providing financial, material or technological support for the development of the Iranian crypto. Individuals and companies that conduct or facilitate transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian digital currency or any derivative will also be sanctioned. The same applies if they maintain significant amounts of such coins.

The legal document details that “All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in Iranian digital currency by a United States person or within the United States are prohibited.” The bill describes the sanctions President Trump may impose on violators that are based abroad. The measures include prohibiting the opening of a bank account and blocking any property transactions in the United States. Foreigners may also be denied visa or other entry document for the U.S.

Assessing Iran’s Progress Towards Sovereign Crypto

The Republican representatives have also tasked the Secretary of the Treasury with producing a report on the progress made by the government of the Islamic Republic in creating a sovereign cryptocurrency. The document should be submitted to Congress within four months after the enactment of the new law. It is expected to contain a description of the technical details of the cryptocurrency that’s being developed by Tehran and provide a list of the involved organizations. The lawmakers also want an assessment of the state and non-state actors that are assisting the Iranians, including the governments of China, Russia, Venezuela, and Turkey.

Bill to Curb Iranian National Crypto Filed in US Congress

The introduction of the Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act comes after mounting reports that the country is advancing in its plans to issue a national cryptocurrency backed by its fiat, the rial. In November, local media announced that the organizations working on the project have already finalized the development of the coin and are only waiting for approval from the Central Bank of Iran.

Tehran stepped up its plan for a sovereign crypto after the Trump administration decided to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal and reintroduced U.S. sanctions earlier this year. They were followed by a move to isolate Iran from the international banking network Swift and other measures that restricted its access to U.S. currency. Last month, trying to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions, a number of leading cryptocurrency exchanges stopped offering services to Iranian residents.

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The Daily: Belgium Blacklists More Crypto Platforms, UAE Prepares ICO Regulations


In this edition of The Daily, Belgium’s financial regulator has expanded its list of fraudulent platforms offering cryptocurrency investments, while UAE has announced it’s working on new ICO regulations. We also look at the plans for a common digital currency in the Eurasian Economic Union and Abkhazia’s intentions to regulate its growing crypto mining industry.

Also read: Bitcoin Posts Record Volume, Ledger Plans Major Update

Belgian Financial Watchdog Issues New Scam Warning

The Daily: Belgium Blacklists More Crypto Platforms, UAE Prepares ICO RegulationsBelgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its list of companies suspected of operating fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes. The regulator has recently added 14 new websites offering crypto asset trading and other services, bringing the total of reported online scams to 113.

In a new message to investors, the financial watchdog noted that despite its earlier warnings, it continues to receive new complaints from consumers who have invested in digital assets through the blacklisted businesses. “Hence, the FSMA repeats its warning against the fraudsters behind those platforms who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers,” the agency said.

The regulator emphasized that most of these platforms are based on the same principles. They usually claim to offer secure, easy and lucrative investment opportunities and expertise in the management of these investments. Clients are often told their funds are guaranteed and can be withdrawn at any time. In reality, however, they inevitably find themselves unable to recover the money.

UAE to Register and License Crypto Companies

The United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is gearing up to introduce regulations for initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the first half of 2019. The decision to establish a dedicated regulatory framework for digital token sales is aimed at providing startups in UAE with the option to raise capital through crowdfunding, local news outlet The National reported.

According to the publication, the SCA has already recognized tokens issued in coin offerings as securities and will work with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market to develop trading platforms for ICOs next year. The watchdog’s chief executive, Obaid Al Zaabi, detailed:

We have signed agreements with law firms to come up with a sandbox and rule books for ICOs. The legal requirements will be completed by the end of the first half of 2019.

Al Zaabi added that after the introduction of the new regulations, UAE authorities will work with local exchanges on the implementation of relevant technologies and the development of the necessary infrastructure. He also stressed that the country will remain open to foreign investments in the industry, providing registration and licensing to crypto companies from around the world.

EAEU Plans to Issue Digital Coin by 2021

The Daily: Belgium Blacklists More Crypto Platforms, UAE Prepares ICO RegulationsThe Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is likely to introduce a common digital currency within the next two or three years, according to comments made by Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev. The coin will be similar to the European Currency Unit (ECU), which was used in the European Economic Community and later in the European Union between 1979 and 1998.

Moiseev added that not only EAEU members – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia – but also the union’s partners have shown interest in adopting a common digital currency in their trade and economic relations. He also said that a group of experts is already working to develop the idea.

“Inevitably, we have to move in that direction because of the mounting difficulties with accounting. The number of organizations placed under sanctions is also growing. We must respond by creating reliable international payment systems that are not tied to the U.S. dollar,” the Russian official stated, as quoted by Tass.

Abkhazia Mulls Mining Regulations

The Daily: Belgium Blacklists More Crypto Platforms, UAE Prepares ICO RegulationsThe Republic of Abkhazia, a partially recognized entity in northwestern Georgia, is planning to adopt regulations for its growing cryptocurrency mining industry. Its president Raul Khajimba recently scheduled a meeting with members of the territory’s government to discuss the drafting of a law dedicated to placing the mining sector under supervision.

The announcement comes after the head of the state-run energy company Chernomorenergo, Aslan Basaria, complained that mining farms set up in abandoned Soviet factories put additional stress on the country’s electrical grid which is already loaded to full capacity. “If temperatures fall, there is a risk that electricity will not reach regular customers,” Basaria warned, quoted by regional media.

According to Eurasianet, Abkhazia is emerging as a crypto mining destination much like neighboring Georgia, the country it broke away from in the early 1990s. Both share a large hydropower complex located on the de facto border, which satisfies most of Abkhazia’s electricity needs. In recent years, Georgia has become a regional leader in crypto mining as it offers miners some of the lowest operating costs in the world.

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