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Former UK finance minister joins Coinbase crypto exchange as an advisor

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A former British finance minister on Wednesday joined cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase as a global advisor, beefing up the company’s regulatory bargaining power at a time when it faces severe scrutiny stateside.

Coinbase announced that George Osborne, who served as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer from 2010 to 2016, will join the company on its global advisory council.

He’ll join the likes of Mark Esper, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) on the council, which is in place to “advise Coinbase on our global strategy as we grow our reach around the world.”

Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s chief policy officer, said the company was “pleased to have George join our council at an exciting time for us in the U.K. and globally.”

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“George brings with him a wealth of experience in business, journalism and government. We look forward to relying on his insights and experiences as we grow Coinbase around the world,” Shirzard added.

Osborne will serve in an advisory capacity at Coinbase, helping connect the company with politicians and regulators to help further the cause of forming crypto-friendly regulations.

While chancellor of the exchequer, Osborne launched a slew of austerity policies aimed at reducing the budget deficit, including freezing child benefits, reducing housing benefits, and implementing a two-year pay freeze for public sector workers. He also tried to stimulate business activity by cutting corporation tax.

Osborne was temporarily editor-in-chief at London’s Evening Standard newspaper after completing his tenure as Britain’s finance minister. He is currently a partner at Robey Warshaw LLP, a boutique investment bank.

“There’s a huge amount of exciting innovation in finance right now,” Osborne said. “Blockchains are transforming financial markets and online transactions.”

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“Coinbase is at the frontier of these developments. I look forward to working with the team there as they build a new future in financial services,” Osborne continued.

Osborne’s ties with Coinbase aren’t new
Suggestions of a growing relationship between Osborne and Coinbase first emerged last year, when Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong spoke onstage in a fireside moderated by Osborne at a fintech event in London.

Osborne subsequently spoke with Coinbase’s chief financial officer, Alesia Haas, at a fireside chat in the Belvedere Hotel during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It comes as Coinbase has made something of a land grab across Europe, expanding in multiple countries over the last few months with new licenses in place. The company was granted a virtual asset service provider license in France last month, paving the way for expansion of its services there. It has also recently secured licenses in Spain, Singapore, and Bermuda.

Coinbase is currently facing a harsh regulatory crackdown in the U.S. where the Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the company of violating securities laws. Coinbase denies the allegations.

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Last year, Coinbase chief Armstrong appeared on stage with Osborne at the Innovate Finance Global Summit conference in London. At the event, Armstrong said he was open to investing more abroad, including relocating from the U.S. to the U.K. or elsewhere if the regulatory pressure on crypto companies continues.

“I think if a number of years go by where we don’t see regulatory clarity around us … we may have to consider investing more elsewhere in the world. Anything including, you know, relocating,” Armstrong told Osborne.

He told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal at the time that Coinbase was “looking at other markets” as it considers its position from a regulatory standpoint.

Armstrong did later clarify in an interview with CNBC’s Dan Murphy that Coinbase had no formal plans to relocate from its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. “Coinbase is not going to relocate overseas,” Armstrong said. “We’re always going to have a U.S. presence … But the U.S. is a little bit behind right now.”

The post Former UK finance minister joins Coinbase crypto exchange as an advisor appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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PayPal receives New York crypto trust charter

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The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted PayPal Digital a limited purpose trust charter, a designation typically held by digital asset custodians and some stablecoin issuers.

Last August, PayPal launched its PYUSD stablecoin, marking the first stablecoin from a BigTech company. Paxos Trust Company, which also holds an NYDFS limited trust charter, currently issues the PYUSD stablecoin. Paxos has been PayPal’s partner for its cryptocurrency services since inception. Consequently, the new trust charter may signal PayPal’s intention to take over the custody of its clients’ crypto-assets and potentially move the issuance of PYUSD in-house.

Despite reaching out to PayPal for clarification on the purpose of the trust charter, no response was received before publication.

The PYUSD stablecoin is still in its early stages, with its recent integration for cross-border payments via PayPal’s Xoom app. The stablecoin’s market capitalization has grown to nearly $400 million, up from $190 million in early April. Notably, wallets associated with the issuer Paxos hold over $125 million, possibly on behalf of PayPal. The top five wallets constitute 71% of the stablecoin balance, with 17 wallets holding $1 million or more, accounting for 97% of the total holdings.

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The largest holders include Paxos, Crypto.com, Curve (DeFi), Defiance Capital, and Frax (DeFi). Among these, Crypto.com holds a balance of $103 million and Bullish holds $23 million.

Additionally, in November, the SEC’s enforcement division issued a subpoena requesting documents related to the issuance of the PYUSD stablecoin.

Source: ledgerinsights.com

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Hong Kong SFC to conduct compliance checks on crypto firms

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The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has announced that it will conduct on-site compliance checks on local virtual asset trading platforms (VATPs) that are still completing their regulatory applications following the June 1 licensing deadline.

In a notice issued on May 28, the SFC emphasized that all local crypto trading platforms must be either licensed or “deemed-to-be-licensed” by the regulatory body before the June 1 deadline. Operating an unlicensed VATP in Hong Kong after this date will be considered a criminal offense, and the SFC will actively pursue non-compliant companies.

In the coming months, the SFC will perform on-site inspections of deemed-to-be-licensed VATP applicants to evaluate their compliance with regulatory requirements. These inspections will focus on how firms safeguard client assets and implement Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.

The SFC urged investors to trade cryptocurrencies only on SFC-licensed platforms to ensure their protection. It also cautioned companies seeking licenses against actively marketing their services or onboarding new retail clients until they are formally licensed. Additionally, firms must prevent mainland Chinese residents from accessing their services, adhering to China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading.

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Earlier this month, it was reported that the number of crypto exchanges seeking operational licenses in Hong Kong had been decreasing. Eleven crypto companies and exchanges, including well-known platforms like OKX and Huobi’s local arm, withdrew their applications ahead of the deadline. Currently, only 18 applications remain pending approval.

In response to the upcoming licensing requirements, some crypto firms have proactively taken steps to ensure compliance. For example, Gate.HK, a crypto exchange, halted all activities related to acquiring new users and marketing, prevented existing users from making deposits, and began delisting tokens on May 23. The exchange plans to relaunch its services after restructuring its platform to comply with Hong Kong’s regulatory requirements.

According to the SFC, only two companies, OSL Digital Securities Limited and Hash Blockchain Limited, have been granted licenses to operate in Hong Kong so far.

Source: tradingview.com

The post Hong Kong SFC to conduct compliance checks on crypto firms appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Argentina crypto group plans to set up a blockchain valley in Buenos Aires

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The crypto community in Argentina is planning to establish a “blockchain valley” in Buenos Aires as part of the Crecimiento movement, which has a following of 500 individuals.

This group includes prominent figures in the country’s crypto ecosystem, such as Diego Guitérrez, co-founder of Bitcoin Layer 2 Rootstock; Marcelo Cavazzoli, CEO and co-founder of Lemon Cash, a leading crypto purchasing app in Latin America; and Elian Alvarez, a general partner at Ripio Ventures.

Significantly, Crecimiento’s core team has the support of advisors to Argentina’s new libertarian president, Javier Milei.

Crecimiento aims to create a hub for crypto and technology-oriented business founders in the capital, offering a comprehensive three-dimensional plan. This includes bringing 5 to 10 million people on-chain by offering exclusive items, boosting the number of tech-related startups, and providing necessary support.

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The group’s mission is to work with Argentina’s newly crypto-friendly government to bolster the cryptocurrency sector through initiatives like tax rebates, industry investment, and simplified regulations.

During his campaign, President Milei highlighted the benefits of Bitcoin, associating it with a sense of freedom, though no formal statements have been made on the subject. Nonetheless, the group has been actively collaborating with officials to establish their crypto center in Buenos Aires.

Maria Milagros Santamaria, a Web3 lawyer, noted that regulators are showing a high level of positivity toward their proposals and are requesting specific plans regarding the crypto sector to move forward. She mentioned that there are only a few individuals opposed to the initiative, and fortunately, their numbers are minimal.

Source: cryptonewsz.com

The post Argentina crypto group plans to set up a blockchain valley in Buenos Aires appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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