Spain Seeks Public Comments on Potential Cryptocurrency Regulations

Cryptocurrency regulations across different countries continue to be a hot topic, and Spain is the latest to join in. The nation’s watchdog has asked industry participants, investors, and consumers for their opinion, and they have until April 16th to respond.

Spain’s Regulator Looks for Crypto Legislation

According to a report from La Informacion, The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Spain’s watchdog overseeing the securities markets, has initiated the first steps of nationwide crypto regulations.

The process has started by sending emails to representatives of the cryptocurrency industry, investors, and customers. They have less than two weeks to prepare statements with their comments on the proposals and send them back to the agency.

The coverage outlined that the potential regulations could affect almost all areas of the cryptocurrency industry. However, the legislation could exempt some professional activities, assets that are exclusively used as means of payment, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Interestingly, the US also hinted at new rules regarding NFTs recently, but they seemed significantly more strict. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may implement taxes on NFT purchases made with profits of digital assets, as CryptoPotatoreported recently.

Apart from the aforementioned potential regulations on crypto assets, Spain has also explored developing a central bank digital currency. The country’s central bank said in late 2020 that releasing a CBDC is among the priorities in the next three years.

Regulations in Other Countries

The exponential growth of the entire crypto space in the past year or so has caught the attention of global regulators. Consequently, numerous countries have started looking into inserting legislative frameworks.

Spain’s northern neighbor, France, called for a new and robust approach towards crypto regulations in February this year. The chairman of the nation’s financial regulatory body (AMF) believes that the current legal structures are insufficient when it comes down to new asset classes such as digital currencies.

Continuing north on the map and Britain’s Finance Minister, John Glen, urged the country to firstly focus on regulating stablecoins rather than the entire market, while the FCA has repeatedly issued warnings.

In some countries, such as South Korea, the implemented regulations have caused troubles for some of the firms operating within their borders. The East Asian nation introduced new AML legislation last month, and several cryptocurrency exchanges announced closing doors for their respective South Korean branches in response.

Is Regulation the Silver Bullet for Financial Malpractice? / What is Financial Regulation and Does it Matter to DeFi?

The text below is an advertorial article that was not written by Cryptonews.com journalists.

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In traditional finance, financial regulation is intended to provide protection, safety and stability for institutions and consumers alike. Organisations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK are tasked with policing the conduct of banks, asset managers and other financial organizations to ensure that strict rules are followed and punishments applied when those rules are broken.

DeFi and cryptocurrency more widely has fallen outside the remit of regulation since Bitcoin was first launched in 2009. For more than a decade digital asset holders and service providers have largely been able to go about their business unfettered by the same rules and regulations that fall on the shoulders of JP Morgan Chase, for example; not least because the rules that are set for traditional financial institutions are extremely difficult to apply to digital assets.

Regulation across TradFi, CeFi and DeFi

As anyone who has ever applied for a credit card, bank loan or mortgage will know, the long-arm of financial regulation places a significant emphasis on data collection and suitability assessment. This requires collecting and storing vaults of customer information, running complex individual credit risk checks and ensuring detailed custody, anti-money laundering and transaction regulations are followed – and while this is achievable for JP Morgan, it is less so for many cryptocurrency organizations.

In the world of CeFi, or centralized finance, we are seeing moves in this direction, with Coinbase – one of the largest CeFi exchanges – in regular discussions with the SEC as it seeks to list on the US stock market. However, in the world of DeFi, regulation is anathema to much of what the ecosystem stands for. Built largely on a decentralized, permissionless system of autonomous smart contracts, many protocols do not have the central management required to carry out regulation. Moreover, many DeFi applications don’t ask users for their information (or “KYC”), which is a key attraction for many DeFi users.

Regulation and the regulated

Governments and public-sector bodies often cite seven specific areas as being major goals of financial regulation: investor protection, consumer protection, financial stability, market efficiency, competition, the prevention of financial crime, and fairness. For end users, investor and consumer protection are the most important and refer to the way in which financial organizations should market investment products and communicate with their customers. Rules in these areas generally call for transparency (especially around potential risks of products and investments) and clear, open communication with customers.

This is, few would dispute, a highly laudable facet of regulation that should protect vulnerable customers. In practice, however, it frequently doesn’t. Aside from the sort of systemic failings the world witnessed in 2008/09, leading to USD 321 billion in fines dished out to major banks such as Barclays for LIBOR rigging, regulation often fails to keep out bad actors. In the UK, the “mini-bond” space has been a hotbed for fraud, with more than 11,000 people losing GBP 236 million in 2019 to a company claiming to offer property-backed savings accounts. These savers – largely inexperienced older people – suffered heavy losses and the scandal led to a widespread overhaul of a space with hundreds of similar cases.

Best practice should span all sectors

Despite its failings, however, regulation is important: many schemes such as the UK’s Financial Compensation Scheme (a fund paid for by banks that will reimburse savers in the event a regulated institution collapses) provide genuine protection for consumers, as do imperatives for clear, transparent disclosure about products and services and treating customers fairly. Most importantly, however, the onorousnes of regulation can also help to keep out some of the worst actors who may not have the conviction or capacity to comply with regulation.

As such, YIELD App seeks to emulate the key tenets of prudential regulation across its entire platform and customer service proposition. We provide clear and consistent public information including a product disclosure statement that details our structure, practices and principles and clearly states the risks associated with digital assets. On our site we also host a comprehensive set of FAQ’s along with a 24-hour customer helpdesk to ensure we can answer any customer queries quickly and accurately. YIELD App also seeks to mirror important system-level financial regulation, including well capitalized treasuries and the prevention of financial crime through level 1 KYC. We have also partnered with Merkle Sciences for chain analysis to ensure we comply with the FATF red flag rules and to adhere to our internal KYC/AML policies.

While DeFi is operating independently today, as one of the fastest growing areas in cryptocurrency DeFi is likely to fall under the scrutiny of regulators in the future: indeed, ita seems impossible that a market of 40 Billion USD that is expanding by the multi-millions every day would not. Therefore, it is essential that any organization truly serious about its long-term future as a DeFi service provider operates under the best practices already established in traditional finance. As highlighted above, regulation itself is no guarantee: it is only as strong as those that implement and comply with it, and you don’t have to be regulated to do so.

Coinbase Reports Record-Breaking Q1 With $1.8 Billion in Revenue Ahead of IPO

A week prior to its direct listing on NASDAQ, Coinbase has posted preliminary Q1 data indicating a massive increase in its userbase and revenue. The trading volume has increased by nearly 300%, the revenue is about $1.8 billion, and more than 11% of all crypto assets are stored on the platform.

Coinbase’s Record-Breaking Q1

The largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange published its Q1 results yesterday, showing a substantial growth in every area compared to previous quarters.

Starting with the monthly transacting users (MTUs) – the increase is roughly 117% since the last three months of 2020. At the time, the number of the company’s user base was about 2.8 million, and it has expanded to 6.1 million in Q1 2021.

Naturally, this has also impacted the revenue, which has reached $1.8 billion. For comparison, this means a near 10x surge from the Q1 last year when it was around $190 million.

According to the preliminary estimations for this year’s first quarter, the net profit should be between $730 million and $800 million.

The company attributed a large part of its quarterly increase to the ongoing bull cycle in the cryptocurrency market. As bitcoin and numerous altcoins have exploded multi-fold in value since October 2020, it has garnered the attention of retail investors.

11.3% of Crypto Assets Held on Coinbase

Perhaps what’s even more notable for the entire cryptocurrency industry is the billions of dollars worth of digital assets held on the exchange. The report highlighted that as of March 31st, there were $223 billion stored on Coinbase.

With the entire market capitalization worth just shy of $2 billion at the time, this means that 11.3% of all cryptocurrency assets had a home on the US-based trading venue.

The firm’s estimations showed that roughly half – $122 billion – were “assets on the platform from institutions.” Coinbase is among the most preferred venues for accredited and institutional investors to receive exposure to bitcoin and other crypto assets. Consequently, the company projects a significant advancement on that front by the end of the year.

“We expect meaningful growth in 2021 driven by transaction and custody revenue given the increased institutional interest in the crypto asset class.” – reads the statement.

Coinbase’s record-breaking quarterly results come just a week before the company concludes its direct listing. As CryptoPotatoreported before, the giant exchange plans to go public on NASDAQ on April 14th.

Raze Network Announces Partnership with UNION

Today, we are excited to let you know Raze Network partners with UNION, a technology platform that combines bundled protection and a liquid secondary market with a multi-token model.

Under the UNION system, DeFi participants are able to manage their multi-layer risks across smart contracts and protocols in one scalable system. UNION also aims to decrease the entry barriers for retail users and lays the foundation for institutional investors.

Privacy and protection, while often used together as a term, require the cooperation of different players to address the nuanced layers. For us, there are just too many synergies between UNION and Raze Network to pass up this chance to team up. UNION is known for its full-stack DeFi protection, open access for all, and creating peace of mind for DeFi users, all of which coincide with what we believe.

UNION’s approach is a natural fit for protecting value locked in Raze vaults and sent in payment channels. Beyond protection, we will explore extending our Secret DeFi Bridge to support their collateral optimization protection (C-OP) and lending platform (ULend) so DeFi participants can optimize their capital in a private fashion.

With UNION, we can help each other explore different ways of offering protection to users, be it in trading or via information and data exchange.

Raze Network, as a privacy protocol aiming to protect the user identity and confidentiality for the entire DeFi stack of the Polkadot ecosystem, can work to help UNION and UNION users acting as second-layer protection.

Additionally, with the Efficient Σ-Bullets algorithm, a self-developed algorithm based on the Σ-Bullets encryption proof mechanism of the open-source project Zether, we can help UNION encrypt user account balances and transactions, and eventually propel us toward finance sovereignty.

“We’re excited to bring our work at the UNION Protocol Foundation to the Raze Network. Privacy preservation is a necessary tool for ensuring self-sovereign data rights and maintaining transaction confidentiality in a complicated, composable DeFi environment. Privacy rights and data control architectures have had a foundational role in my own interests in distributed ledger technology; Raze has developed a leading-edge approach that is set for success. We’re looking forward to working with the Raze team and engaging their input as we address privacy considerations in our own work, going forward,”

said Michael Beck, UNION’s Project Lead.

About UNION

UNION is a technology platform that combines bundled protection and a liquid secondary market with a multi-token model. DeFi participants manage their multi-layer risks across smart contracts and protocols in one scalable system. UNION decreases the entry barriers for retail users and lays the foundation for institutional investors. UNION’s full-stack DeFi protection is inclusive, composable, and brings battle-tested capital and pricing models from TradFi to the DeFi ecosystem.

About Raze Network

Raze Network is a Substrate-based cross-chain privacy protocol for the Polkadot ecosystem. It is built as a native privacy layer that can provide end-to-end anonymity for the entire DeFi stack. The Raze Network applies zkSNARKs to the Zether framework to build a second-layer decentralized anonymous module. It will then be imported as a substrate-based smart contract. The objective of Raze Network is to enable cross-chain privacy-preserving payment and trading systems while protecting the transparency of your assets and behaviors from surveillance.

Ron Paul Warns of Government Crackdown on Bitcoin — ‘The Government Is the Threat’ – Regulation Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

Beyond operating the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance spans an entire ecosystem. Their vision is to increase the freedom of money globally. They believe that by spreading this freedom, they can significantly improve lives around the world

Share tips of the week

Three to buy

Kingfisher

(Mail on Sunday) B&Q and Screwfix-owner Kingfisher had an “extraordinary” 2020. The DIY group has benefited from “our desire to make the same four walls look nicer”. But the firm owes its success to more than the lockdown boom: CEO Thierry Garnier’s five-year plan has focused on improving performance in France, a key market, cutting some costs and investing in its digital presence. Turnover for the year to 31 January 2021 was up by 7.2% to £12.3bn and pre-tax profits grew from £103m in 2019 to £756m in 2020. The firm’s cash pile is “reassuring on the dividend front”, and its long- term strategy “seems to be paying off”. 325p

Ford

(Shares) Ford’s investments in electric and autonomous vehicles are yielding positive results. As activity recovers after the pandemic the car maker “should see increased sales for its cars and pickup trucks”. The group is suffering from the impact of the global semiconductor shortage, which could see earnings drop by $1bn to $2.5bn. But with a “clearer electric-vehicle strategy” the firm looks well prepared for the future. $12.85

Kenmare

(Investors’ Chronicle) Mozambique-based miner Kenmare Resources had a difficult year, but the firm has nonetheless managed to maintain its dividend. Production for the year was down by 15%, but higher ilmenite (a mineral-rich sand) prices “helped the bottom line”. Debt has risen sharply but the firm’s relocation of its WCP B plant was also the final step in a “multi-year growth programme” that should yield positive results. 407p

Three to sell

Genel Energy

(Investors’ Chronicle) Kurdistan-based oil company Genel Energy saw its sales more than halve in 2020. Cashflow slumped to $4m from $99m in 2019. Production is set to stay flat at around 32,000 barrels of oil per day. The firm has previously struggled to get paid by the Kurdistan Regional Government and is still owed around $159m of oil sales, “equal to its entire 2020 revenue”. Profits were further harmed by a $320m impairment. All this adds up to a sell. 187p

Manchester & London

(The Daily Telegraph) The Telegraph tipped Manchester & London in 2017 when it switched from “largely British shares to a growth-focused fund” containing big tech stocks such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet. It has performed strongly over the last three years. But now a “basket of stocks” that should have returned 32% over 2020 only yielded an 8.4% gain. This is because the trust sold call options on the shares it holds, limiting overall returns. This approach has complicated “what should be a straightforward investment rationale”. The argument for the trust “no longer holds”. 586p

In The Style

(The Sunday Times) Online fashion retailer In The Style listed on Aim this month. It made a £2m profit on sales of £35.4m in the nine months to January 2021. FounderAdam Frisby ascribes last year’s growth to the firm’s “switch from selling dresses to lockdown-friendly jogging bottoms”. But it remains to be seen whether recent growth will “outlive the pandemic… Investors should wait for evidence [that it] isn’t just a passing fad.” Avoid. 235p

…and the rest

Investors’ Chronicle

“Pent up demand” by homeowners spending their savings on improvements helped offset the lockdown-induced downturn at LED-lighting manufacturer Luceco. It looks “well positioned” for the recovery. Buy (266p). Speciality chemicals and personal care business Elementis “posted a predictably downbeat set of results after a pandemic-ravaged year”. Sales in its core divisions, personal care and coatings, fell by 9% and 7% respectively. The group also needs to reduce debt. “We remain cautious for now.” Sell (121p).

Shares

Data services group Relx has seen its shares fall behind “since the market shifted its focus to cheap value stocks”. But the share-price weakness represents an opportunity. Relx’s focus on organic growth, coupled with an “excellent track record”, make it a good investment for the long term. Buy (1,757p).

The Daily Telegraph

Record-low interest rates hit banks even before the virus. Lockdowns threatening customers’ solvency “make matters worse”. Sell Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo(€2.30).

The Motley Fool

Hydrogen fuel cells “are increasingly being made obsolete by lithium-ion batteries”, which doesn’t bode well for green-energy hydrogen companies such as Plug Power. The company has also said it will have to restate accounts for previous years. Avoid ($35). Revenue at Nokia declined by 6% last year and is set to fall again this year. Consumers are ditching Nokia’s traditional 4G network for 5G, “to which the company has yet to fully upgrade”. Avoid (€3.50).

Three stocks to buy to forge a path to our green future

The world is undergoing rapid change amid the degradation of the natural environment and the looming breakdown of the global climate system. There is therefore a worldwide pan-industrial effort to use resources with much greater efficiency. To exploit this secular theme, we identify companies that either deliver or benefit from the efficient use of resources. We have strict criteria covering both quality and value.

We like to own firms with enduring assets that generate predictable long-term cash flows. They must benefit from high barriers to entry (so it is difficult for potential rivals to gain a foothold in the market) and trade at a reasonable valuation. This approach has served us well: the Menhaden investment trust’s net asset value (NAV) has risen by an annual 11% in the past five years.

Helping technology go green

Google’s parent company Alphabet, (Nasdaq: GOOGL) is helping the entire technology industry transition to a more sustainable footing. The company is one of the largest corporate buyers of renewable-power worldwide and aims to run only on carbon-free energy by 2030. The firm occupies a dominant position in search engines and has the ability to monetise an unparalleled level of user interaction, which should underpin revenue growth for many years. Furthermore, there should be significant potential to expand margins as YouTube, Cloud and other business lines mature and investments in start-ups mature.

Sophisticated internet infrastructure

Telecoms and media group Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), a key broadband provider to over 20 million households, is set to play an important role in enabling significant improvements in resource and energy-efficiency with the development of the internet of things (IoT). Its hybrid fibre-coax network (comprising a mix of fibre-optic cables and coaxial cables, the type used to deliver cable television), is critical for infrastructure. Traditional telecom providers still partly rely on copper telephone wires, while high upfront costs serve to limit fibre build-outs by incumbents and new entrants.

Charter offers a superior bundled connectivity product (including mobile) at a lower price than competitors. We believe it can continue to deliver robust growth in free cash flow per share based upon a combination of revenue growth, falling capital intensity, share buybacks and lower customer turnover.

On track for industry-leading profits

Canadian Pacific Railway (Toronto: CP) owns infrastructure that can’t be replicated. Prohibitive start-up costs and building regulations ensure that no one is building railways today. Economies of scale mean that transporting freight by rail is up to four times more fuel-efficient than by road, which helps provide rail operators with a significant cost advantage over their main competitor, trucks, on longer-haul routes.

We believe these scale benefits will persist even as we shift to electric and autonomous vehicles because rail should be able to harness the same technologies. The proposed merger with Kansas City Southern will create a unique footprint linking Canada, the US and Mexico. The ensuing opportunities should help the company deliver industry-leading earnings growth in the years ahead.