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Financial Institutions

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Baker McKenzie is pleased to announce that the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in Africa report is now available. This guide summarizes the latest and key developments taking place in 22 selected African jurisdictions in respect of blockchain and cryptocurrency, focusing on the regulatory approaches up until the end of 2018. This guide also provides a comparative assessment of the stance adopted by such regulators, with a view to providing a better understanding of the opportunities and…

In January 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice published an opinion declaring that the agency interprets the federal Wire Act, which prohibits certain types of betting businesses in the U.S., to apply to gambling activities outside of sporting events and contests. This essentially reverses the Department of Justice’s opinion in 2011 that the Wire Act only applies to sports gambling. Therefore, businesses involved in interstate gambling activities of any type, such as lotteries and casino…

Pursuant to the Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019 (the Prescription Order), which came into force on 15 January 2019, digital currencies and digital tokens which are not issued or guaranteed by any government body or central bank, and fulfils other specific features, are prescribed as securities.The implications of treating digital currencies and digital tokens as securities are significant as the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act…

Two recent decisions issued by an Italian Court of First Instance and, subsequently, by the Court of Appeal intervene in the debate around the qualification of cryptocurrencies as an asset or money that may be validly injected into a limited liability company’ s capital.Both decisions refer to the same question: can a company accept cryptocurrencies as a contribution in kind to the company’ s corporate capital? Both courts answered in the negative, however on different…

Given the increasing reliance of Financial Institutions (FIs) on technology and online systems and the increasing threat of cyber attacks, it is timely that the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued, on 4 September 2018, a set of minimum standards on technology risk and cybersecurity management by FIs in Malaysia – the Risk Management in Technology policy document (RMiT). The RMiT has been issued as an exposure draft which it is intended will come into force on…

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued the policy document on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism for Digital Currencies (Policy Document). The Policy Document was issued on 27 February 2018 following a public consultation process in 2017.Overview of the Policy DocumentUnder the Malaysian Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA), a “reporting institution” (RI) includes any person who provides services of exchanging digital currency for money (and vice versa) or…

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange CoinCheck confirmed on 26 January 2018 that it has been the victim of a massive hack, resulting in what would appear to be the largest cryptocoin theft of all time. In a press conference CoinCheck admitted that the current understanding was that the hackers had stolen around 523 million of the exchange’s NEM coins which, at the time of detection, were worth around $534 million. This would surpass the $400 million worth of…

On 7 December 2017, Bank Negara Malaysia (ie, the Central Bank of Malaysia) (BNM) issued an exposure draft of the Interoperable Credit Transfer Framework (Exposure Draft) to invite public and industry feedback on the proposed introduction of interoperable credit transfer services that leverage on a shared payment infrastructure in Malaysia. The Exposure Draft is part of BNM’s continuous efforts to migrate the nation towards the use of electronic payments. Through the proposed Interoperable Credit Transfer Framework…

Globally, there is an emergence of initial coin (or token) offerings (“ICOs”) as a source of funding for startups and technology companies latching onto the digital token trends. The Singapore Business Times reported that based on information obtained from Tokendata.io, there were 34 ICO projects raising USD 665 million in July 2017 alone. Singapore has also seen its fair share of ICOs and digital tokens offering, ranging from property backed tokens to crowdfunding platforms for…

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize how financial institutions record, process, report and verify financial transactions. Many large financial institutions have already begun to invest in the technology. As momentum behind blockchain continues to grow, new services applying or leveraging the blockchain information will proliferate. Laws will need to address the various financial activities that will be shifted to blockchain technology.Blockchain employs distributed ledger technology. Nodes across the blockchain network apply every transaction to…