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2015全球十大比特币监管政策大盘点

2015年,电子货币监管领域每个月都有一些新进展。下面,我将以倒叙的顺序依次为您梳理一些我认为最有影响力的监管政策。

10.美国新泽西州:《电子货币创业法案》

六月份,新泽西州立法机构开始审议《美国新泽西州电子货币创业法案》。虽然有几个州在2015年也提出了新倡议,但是这个法案仍然是第一个对电子货币公司软硬兼施的法案。硬性措施还算适中,比如电子货币公司不用申请执照、只需在所在州进行注册。而嘉奖办法却十分优厚,包括大幅度减免税收、快速形成运营奖励措施。

目前,该法案仍然处于立法审议阶段。

9.香港:没有必要设立比特币监管规则

今年三月,香港政府官方声明明确比特币“不会对金融体系造成很大的威胁”,希望借此缓解人们对于监管政策打压电子货币发展的担忧。

香港财经事务及库务局局长表示,“没有必要通过引入立法来禁止虚拟商品交易,或者禁止人们参与此类活动”。

香港是当地电子货币活动的中心,而这种来自官方的肯定无疑将为香港的电子货币从业者吃了一颗“定心丸”。

8. 美国商品期货交易委员会:比特币和大宗商品

2013年起,为了更好地进行洗钱犯罪监管,美国联邦政府将比特币认定为一种货币。但是今年九月份,美国商品期货交易委员会却又对比特币期权交易平台Coinflip提起了诉讼。

美国商品期货交易委员会的这种做法其实就是将比特币认定为一种商品主体。因此,Coinflip要对其作为掉期交易平台没有注册比特币期权交易中心的行为负责。

我们预计美国商品期货交易委员会未来也会对比特币衍生物以及衍生物市场的不正当操作实行监管。

7.美国银行保密法案审计:金融犯罪执行网络严厉打击反洗钱违规操作

2015年的一系列行动足以证明美国联邦政府监管电子货币的信心。就在今年五月,金融犯罪执法网络(FinCEN)宣布将对那些提供电子货币传输业务的注册公司实行首轮银行保密法案审计。

金融犯罪执法网络将所有与反洗钱违规操作的调查活动都委派给了美国国税局,而目前美国国税局已经开始对电子货币公司进行常规审计。

6.美国加州:电子货币公司需许可证

加利福尼亚无疑是美国钱款转移和相关技术的重要司法管辖区之一。

不过,目前加州已经拒绝为比特币公司颁发许可证,拒绝依据现有注册法律监管加州现有比特币公司,拒绝解释如何依据现有法律监管比特币行业。

最终,加州在三月份引进了AB 1326法案,明确了比特币公司所需经历的注册程序。

这项法案已经通过了加州众议会的审批,并且预计在2016年提交加州参议院讨论。

5.美国证监会:比特币开采合同属于证券

就在这个月,美国证券交易委员会表示“比特币开采合同应该算作证券业务”。

美国证监会认定,Josh Homero Garza及其比特币开采公司GAW Miners参与了庞氏骗局,将称为Hashlets的合同卖给大众。

该机构明确表示,Hashlets是《证券法案》监管下的证券,因此美国证交会对这起欺骗有司法管辖权。

美国证监会还特别指出,并不是所有的比特币开采合同都属于证券,并且描述了Hashlets越界的特殊性质。

4.纽约:比特币牌照BitLicense

谈到比特币相关立法建设,比特币牌照BitLicense应该算是今年的一份重磅新闻了。

BitLicense是媒体对纽约金钱服务法律修正案的友好称呼,这一修正案旨在为在本州经营的比特币和其他虚拟货币公司创立一项全新的注册技术。

2013年,纽约州金融服务部门隆重接待了比特币产业的上层人士,让他们就新的建议提出建议。最终许可于今年八月开始生效。

这个项目应该算是比特币相关立法的一个里程碑式的事件。然而语焉不详的注册流程描述却让人们慢慢对这个牌照失去了兴趣。

3.ItBit:BitLicense的替代选择

除了推出BitLicense之外,纽约州还推出了一个合法经营的替代选择。2015年,纽约金融服务部门将首个信托许可颁发给了一家名叫ItBit操作的比特币交易所。

信托结构将itBit放在了一个不同于BitLicense的位置。

比如,BitLicense持有者只能对客户的比特币进行监管,而itBit必须充当其客户的受托人,将客户的利益置于自己的利益至上。

2.欧洲法院买卖比特币无需支付增值税

十月份,欧洲法院明确规定买卖比特币无需支付增值税。这个问题最初源于比特币社区的一个成员同瑞典税务局之间的争议,欧洲法院在去年六月首次参与解决了这一事件。

瑞典一家法院认定此举违反了税务规定,并且认为比特币交易应该免交增值税。此后这一案件才被提交欧洲法院。

如果欧洲法院的最终决定恰好与此相反,那么欧洲的比特币零售活动恐怕就要自此销声匿迹了。

1.英国财政部:针对移动钱包的反洗钱规则和针对交易所的审慎监管

2015年最重要的监管进展应该来自英国。

英国财政部三月份宣布,计划要求英国各大电子货币交易所与其他金融中介机构一样接受反洗钱规定监管。

这项试用于部分金融服务公司的审慎要求仅适用于托管业务,而且属于非强制要求。

这项措施无疑将让相关英国企业处于一种更加合理的监管环境之中,而大西洋彼岸的美国就完全不同了。

2016:有什么值得期待?

目前来看,我认为2016年比特币行业将至少在这两方面取得突破:

首先,首份联邦级别的虚拟货币交易报告即将面世。之所以说是报告而不是预测,是因为金融犯罪执法网络已经提出了很多非正式意见。

目前,比特币交易中心和监管钱包必须在所谓的货币交易报告中上报任何超过1万美元的现金或者硬币(纸币或者金属币)交易。但是几乎没有电子货币公司有实体店,所以这个领域整体而言提交的货币交易报告比较少。

这也表明了金融犯罪执法网络在执行金融监管时的一个盲点,金融犯罪执法网络已经摒弃了将货币交易报告扩展至比特币领域的想法。或许这一状况会在今年有所改观。

其次,各州政府制定的监管规定将不仅限于电子货币业务。随着越来越多的资金流入区块链相关产业,区块链技术或许也将成为新的监管重点

Not a single month passed in 2015 without some groundbreaking new development in the world of digital currency regulation.

I’ll count down some of the ones that have been most influential on my own practice.

10. New Jersey: The Digital Currency Jobs Creation Act

In June, the New Jersey Digital Currency Jobs Creation Act was introduced into the New Jersey Legislature. 2015 brought us the beginnings of several new state initiatives, but this bill is the first to offer both carrots and sticks to digital currency businesses.

The sticks are modest: Instead of applying for a license, a digital currency business need only register with the state. The carrots are significant: significant tax breaks and fast-tracked operational incentives. (In full disclosure, I was honored to be chosen to draft the text of the act).

As of this writing, the legislation is still being considered in the state.

9. Hong Kong: No Need for Bitcoin Regulation

In March, the Hong Kong government laid to rest some concerns that the jurisdiction would crack down on digital currencies, when it released official guidance stating that bitcoins "do not pose a significant threat to the financial system".

Thus, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury concluded "there is no need to introduce legislation to regulate virtual commodities trading or to prohibit people from participating in such activities".

Hong Kong is a local hub of digital currency activity, and this affirmative statement provides much-needed certainty to the businesses operating there.

8. CFTC: Bitcoins are Commodities

Since 2013, we’ve known that, for the purposes of anti-money laundering regulation, the federal government considers bitcoin to be a currency. But, in September, the Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) announced its first civil enforcement action against a bitcoin options trading platform, Coinflip.

In doing so, CFTC confirmed what many within the community had long believed: CFTC considers bitcoin to be a commodity subject to its supervision. As a result, Coinflip was liable for failing to register its bitcoin options exchange as a swap facility.

We can now expect CFTC to exercise oversight over bitcoin derivatives as well as mischief in their markets.

7. BSA Audits: FinCEN is Serious about AML Enforcement

If there were any doubt that the US federal government is serious about enforcing its digital currency regulations, 2015 put those doubts to rest. In May, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced its first round of Bank Secrecy Act audits of those companies which had registered as money transmitters in digital currencies.

FinCEN delegates its investigative activity for anti-money laundering (AML) violations to the Internal Revenue Service, which – as of this year – is now conducting regular audits of digital currency companies to ensure compliance.

Multiple companies in the space have reported that they are, in fact, under audit.

6. California: A License for Digital Currency Businesses

When it comes to moving money, or when it comes to technology, California is among the most important jurisdictions in the US.

Yet, it has refused to license bitcoin companies, refused to enforce its existing money transmission licensing laws against bitcoin companies operating in the state and refused to interpret how those laws might apply to the bitcoin industry in general.

Finally, in March, the state introduced AB 1326, an act that would explicitly bring bitcoin companies under licensing guidelines.

The bill has passed the California Assembly and will be reintroduced into the California Senate when it reconvenes in 2016.

5. SEC: Some Mining Contracts Are Securities

Just this month, we learned that bitcoin mining contracts can be securities, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In its enforcement action against Josh Homero Garza and his bitcoin mining company, GAW Miners, the SEC alleged that Garza and GAW were engaged in a Ponzi scheme where they sold contracts called 'Hashlets' to the public.

The agency explicitly alleged that the Hashlets were securities regulated under the Securities Act, and therefore the SEC had jurisdiction over the fraud.

The SEC went out of its way to note that not all mining contracts are securities, and described the particular characteristics of the Hashlets that crossed the line.

4. New York: The BitLicense

If you’ve been following one story in bitcoin law this year, it’s probably been the 'BitLicense'.

The BitLicense is the media-friendly name for an amendment to New York’s money services laws that sought to create a brand new technology license for bitcoin and other virtual currency companies operating in the state.

The BitLicense saga began in 2013, when the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) rolled out the red carpet for the glitterati of the bitcoin industry to offer their testimony on the new proposal.

The project was first welcomed by many as a shining badge of legitimacy for the industry. For some, though, it began to lose its luster in 2015, when it became clear that the language of the license would prove vague and ultimately over-inclusive.

The final license became effective in August of this year.

3. ItBit: An Alternative to the BitLicense

Where some zigged, others zagged.

In addition to offering a BitLicense, New York provided an alternative route to operating legally in the state. In 2015, the NYDFS awarded its first trust charter to a bitcoin business: the bitcoin exchange operated by itBit.

The trust structure puts itBit in a different position than that of a BitLicensee.

For example, where a BitLicense holder could merely take custody of a client’s bitcoins, itBit must act as a fiduciary to its clients, putting their interests above its own.

2. ECJ Bitcoin Sales Are Not Subject to VAT

In October, the European Court of Justice ruled definitively that sales of bitcoin are exempt from VAT. Following an initial dispute between a member of the bitcoin community and Sweden’s tax office, the European court first addressed the bitcoin taxation issue in June of last year.

The matter was elevated to the European court after a Swedish court found against the tax office and ruled bitcoin transactions there should be exempt from VAT.

Had the court decided otherwise, retail bitcoin activity might have been all but snuffed out in Europe.

1. UK Treasury: AML Rules for Wallets and Prudential Regulations for Exchanges

It may be a controversial call, but I believe the most important regulatory development of 2015 came from the UK.

In response to a call for comments, the UK Treasury announced in March that it plans to require digital currency exchanges in the UK to implement AML standards similar to other regulated financial intermediaries.

However, the prudential requirements (like minimum capitalization requirements and bonding) applicable to some financial services companies will only apply to custodial operations, and will be opt-in. Custodians won’t be required by law to satisfy the requirements, but those who do can tout a presumably confidence-inspiring 'seal of approval' developed by the British Standards Institute.

This places UK businesses under a very different – and frankly much more reasonable – regime than their neighbors across the Atlantic.

2016: What to expect?

If 2016 proves itself even half as interesting as 2015, the industry is in for an eventful year. I can think of at least two developments to anticipate in 2016.

First, I predict we will see a federal Virtual Currency Transaction Report or VCTR. Admittedly, this is more of a report than a prediction, since FinCEN has suggested as much in informal comments.

Currently, bitcoin exchanges and custodial wallets must report any cash or coin (paper or metal) transactions above $10,000 in a so-called Currency Transaction Report (CTR). Because few digital currency companies have a brick-and-mortar presence, the industry as a whole files few CTRs.

This represents a blind spot in FinCEN’s financial surveillance. FinCEN has already dropped hints that it is considering extending the CTR requirement to bitcoin. We might see that as soon as this year. It might even be a part of a more comprehensive rulemaking.

Second, we will see states start to make laws concerning not only digital currency businesses, but also blockchain technology businesses.


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杨玉颖未央青年

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翻译硕士在读,CATTI笔译二级,带着觉知,用心翻译。

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