Regulations Roundup: Chinese Mining Farms Undergo Tax Inspection, Michigan Bans Campaign Donations in Cryptocurrency
In recent regulatory news, we report on an authorized mining company in China that has had its operations temporarily halted for tax inspection and implementation of real-name registration processes. We also look at the Michigan Secretary of State’s ban on crypto-based political donations, as well as the recent certification of X8’s stablecoin for Shariah compliance. In addition, we focus on the operator of a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme who has been punished for misappropriating $601,000 in BTC and LTC from his employer.
Chinese Mining Farms Suspended
According to a statement published by an unidentified cryptocurrency mining company, Chinese state agencies have ordered the suspension of its mining farms in southwestern Guizhou Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for tax inspections and to implement real-name registration processes.
“According to the needs of the public security department’s network information security work, in the future, our company will implement higher standards for the company’s business real-name system according to the work needs of the public security department,” the anonymous company said. “For customers with the latest standard real-name systems, the data center will have to suspend reloading, restarting, moving in and out, etc.”
Michigan Secretary of State Says ‘No’ to Crypto
In a letter addressed to William Baker, a recent candidate for the Michigan state legislature, the office of the Michigan Secretary of State has formally barred cryptocurrency donations to political campaigns.
Baker, who lost his bid in the state’s Nov. 6 election, had previously sought clarification on how the value of donations in the form of cryptocurrencies should be recorded. He also asked whether virtual currency exchanges would qualify as valid secondary depositories for the storage of crypto assets.
Baker asserted that “it is self-evident that digital currency is a valid way to receive political contributions.” However, the state secretary’s office responded by stating that “the law does not authorize such a vehicle, and the department has never determined that digital currencies are a valid way to receive political contributions.”
The letter also highlighted concerns pertaining to the price volatility of cryptocurrencies. “As with stocks and commodities, bitcoin’s worth fluctuates daily,” the office said. “There is no way to ascertain the precise monetary value of one bitcoin on any particular day.”
The Michigan Secretary of State raised additional objections to the use of cryptocurrencies as donations. In the letter, the office added that state legislation also “requires that committees deposit funds in an account in a financial institution, which is not an option for cryptocurrency.”
X8 Stablecoin Certified as Shariah Compliant
X8C, the stablecoin issued by Swiss fintech company X8 AG, has obtained a certificate showing that its stablecoin is compliant with Shariah law. It received the certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau, an Islamic advisory firm licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain.
Francesca Greco, director and co-founder of X8, announced that the company will soon establish a regional office in the Middle East. Greco also indicated that X8 plans to launch a Shariah-compliant virtual currency exchange, adding that the company has already met with representatives of exchanges based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Bahrain.
“The Gulf region is a really good place for financial technology companies, because they all want to become hubs for fintech,” Greco said.
CFTC Fines Crypto Scheme Operator Over $1.14M
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has ordered Joseph Kim, a resident of Phoenix, to pay more than $1.14 million for operating a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. Kim was also sentenced to 15 months in prison on “related criminal charges” filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the court order, Kim pleaded guilty to “orchestrating a fraudulent Bitcoin and Litecoin scheme that led to more than $1 million in losses.”
Kim was found to have misappropriated $601,000 worth of BTC and LTC from his employer — described as “a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm” — before attempting to fabricate security-related issues to obfuscate the misappropriation of funds. Despite this, the company fired Kim in November 2017 after the theft of the cryptocurrency was discovered.
Between December 2017 and March 2018, Kim then sought to repay his former employer through profits that he had generated through the operation of a cryptocurrency trading scheme. According to the CFTC, he “falsely told customers that he would invest their funds in a low-risk virtual currency arbitrage strategy, when, in fact, Kim made high-risk, directional bets on the movement of virtual currencies that resulted in Kim losing all $545,000 of his customers’ funds.”