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Germany: Court Holds That Bitcoin Trading Does Not Require a Banking License

(Oct. 19, 2018) On September 29, 2018, the Higher Regional Court of Berlin (Kammergericht Berlin, KG Berlin) held that trading in Bitcoin does not require a banking license because Bitcoin is not a financial instrument, in particular, not a unit of account, within the meaning of the German Banking Act. The defendant was therefore not […]

Liechtenstein: Government Adopts Consultation Report on Draft Blockchain Act

(Sept. 20, 2018) On August 28, 2018, the government of Liechtenstein adopted a consultation report on a proposed Blockchain Act. The goal of the Blockchain Act is to take advantage of the potential of blockchain technology, create legal certainty for market participants, protect users of blockchain technology from potential abuse, and reduce potential reputation risks […]

Malta: Government Passes Three Laws to Encourage Blockchain Technology

(Aug. 31, 2018) On July 4, 2018, the Maltese government enacted three laws whose goal is to make Malta a haven for projects that rely on blockchain and other distributed ledger technology (DLT). The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act), Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS Act), and Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA […]

European Union: New Rules for Money Market Funds

(Aug. 31, 2018) On July 21, 2018, new rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient against financial market difficulties, reduce the risk of runs, and limit cross-border contagion began applying to newly issued MMFs in the European Union (EU). Existing MMFs must show compliance by January 21, 2019. MMFs are mutual funds that […]

China: Central Bank Warns Businesses Not to Refuse Cash

(July 26, 2018) On July 13, 2018, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a circular stating that businesses and individuals must not refuse or discriminate against cash payments. (Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang Gonggao [2018] Di 10 Hao [PBOC Circular [2018] No. 10] (July 13, 2018), PBOC website; Amanda Lee, As China Goes […]

European Union: 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive Enters into Force

(July 16, 2018) On July 9, 2018, the amendment of the European Union (EU) Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5th AMLD) entered into force. The AMLD obligates certain entities to fulfill customer due diligence requirements when they conduct business transactions and have in place policies and procedures to detect, prevent, and report money laundering and terrorist financing. […]

China: Government Indicates All Virtual Currency Platforms Have Withdrawn from Market

(July 12, 2018) On July 6, 2018, the People’s Bank of China indicated that the platforms trading virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, and dealing with initial coin offerings (ICOs) in China have “basically all safely withdrawn from the market.” Chinese authorities had identified 88 virtual currency trading platforms and 85 ICO platforms since September 2017 […]

China: Shanghai Financial Court to Be Established

(May 14, 2018) On April 27, 2018, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed a decision to establish a specialized financial court in Shanghai called the Shanghai Financial Court. The decision took effect on April 28, 2018. (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui Changwuweiyuanhui Guanyu Sheli Shanghai Jinrong Fayuan de Jueding [NPCSC Decision on Establishing the […]

Iran: IMF Evaluates Iran’s Legislative and Institutional Efforts to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

(Apr. 13, 2018) In its March 2018 report assessing the economic situation in Iran, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that Iran had made progress in reforming its policies on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and was taking steps to improve the country’s connections to the international banking and trade system. (IMF, […]

Israel: Supreme Court Grants Temporary Injunction Ordering Israeli Bank to Provide Banking Services to Bitcoin-Related Account

(Mar. 16, 2018) On February 25, 2018, Israel’s Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting a bank from blocking activities in an account, held by a company trading in bitcoin, until an appeal over the district court ruling recognizing the legitimacy of a permanent authorization for such blockage has been decided. (CA 6389/17 Bits of […]