U.S. Regulators Approve Coinbase Acquisitions, Enabling It to List Security Tokens


Coinbase Inc., has announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINFRA) have approved its purchase of three companies that will enable the cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service to offer security tokens under federal oversight, according to Bloomberg.

Speaking with the publication, a Coinbase spokesperson said the regulators have approved its it request to acquire Digital Wealth LLC, Venovate Marketplace Inc. and Keystone Capital Corp, acquisitions which CCN reported last month. Venovate and Keystone are both registered with the SEC and FINRA as broker-dealers. Digital Wealth holds an SEC registered investment adviser license, while Venovate is also licensed as an alternative trading system.

The approvals were not reported as of this writing on either the SEC or FINFRA websites.

Approval  Marks A Milestone

Achieving direct federal regulatory oversight marks a milestone, as well as a challenge, since Coinbase previously has only been overseen by state regulators.

The company noted in June that SEC oversight will enable it to work as a broker-dealer, a registered investment adviser, and an alternative trading system, widening the range of services it can offer to customers and assets it can list on its platform.

Alternative trading systems, which operate separately from public stock exchanges, could ultimately manage billions of dollars’ worth of tokens sold in ICOs. While some governments, including the U.S. and China, have clamped down on ICOs, these venues have raised in excess of $12 billion this year, more than tripling last year’s total, according to CoinSchedule.

According to the SEC, most coins sold in ICOs are securities under federal regulations, which require the issuers to register and abide by federal rules. The same requirement applies to the platforms that handle the trades of these tokens, which is why Coinbase has been so hesitant to list assets outside of those already offered through its brokerage service.

Coinbase will integrate its technology into the acquired companies, a company spokesperson said, which will necessitate ensuring employees are licensed and requiring the company to divulge onboards and data to customers. The spokesperson gave no timeline.

Coinbase Considers More Coins

Privacy-centric cryptocurrency zcash is one of five cryptocurrencies Coinbase is “exploring” adding to its platform.

The news comes as Coinbase is preparing to list as many as five new tokens in the coming months. On Friday,  Coinbase announced it is exploring the addition of five more coins: zcash, 0x, stellar, cardano and basic attention token. These coins would be in addition to bitcoin, litecoin, ether and bitcoin cash, which are currently supported on the platform, and ethereum classic, which the firm will add in the coming months.

Coinbase’s interest in the five coins does not signify that the coins are not securities, as some assets may not be available in every country due to legal status.

Also read: Breaking: Coinibase ‘on track’ to receive SEC registration, list blockchain securities

Classification Of Crowdsale Sold Tokens Uncertain

Jay Clayton, chairman of the SEC, previously stated cryptocurrencies that are designed to replace fiat currencies — such as bitcoin — do not fall under securities laws. There has been a debate, however, about how other cryptocurrencies that are sold in crowdsales should be classified. The SEC also said almost all ICOs qualify as a securites according to federal rules.

The four coins on the Coinbase platform were the only ones Coinbase was confident about supporting, Coinbase COO president and COO Hirji said earlier this year, in consideration of the U.S. regulatory climate. A broker-dealer status will allow the company to list more coins.

Hirji said the licenses will enable Coinbase to achieve its goal become the most trusted venue for people to trade and use different crypto assets.

Last month, Circle Internet Financial Ltd. reported plans to register as a trading platform and brokerage with the SEC in order to allow investors to trade tokens that are classified as securities. Circle further intends to secure a federal banking license so it can offer additional services.

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$12 Billion Bitmain’s Second Major Investment in 2018 is EOS


Bitmain, the world’s largest cryptocurrency company valued at $12 billion, and billionaire technology investor Peter Thiel have invested in, the development firm behind EOS.

Jihan Wu, the co-founder and CEO of Bitmain, who is expecting to close a $12 billion initial public offering (IPO) this summer, said in an official statement that the EOS protocol has shown significant innovation over the past year, with its focus on creating a scalable ecosystem for decentralized applications (dApps) and commercial decentralized platforms.

“The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption,” said Wu.

Brendan Blumer, the CEO of, which has raised sufficient capital throughout its 12-month long $4 billion initial coin offering (ICO), emphasized that the company is currently interested in working with strategic investors that are aligned with the values and vision of the EOS team and community. Blumer stated:

“As prepares to announce its future plans, we’re excited to welcome key strategic investors aligned with our values of creating a more secure and connected world.”

Bitmain’s Second Major Investment in Two Months

bitcoin mining
Bitmain is best known for its bitcoin mining operation, but it has gradually been expanding its reach into other sectors.

In July, CCN reported that Bitmain became the biggest company in the cryptocurrency sector, easily surpassing Coinbase, Binance, and Ripple Labs with a staggering $12 billion market valuation.

Since forming its investment arm in early 2018, Bitmain has evolved into a proper conglomerate, initiating large-scale acquisitions and investments in the blockchain sector.

In May, Bitmain led a $110 million Series E round for Circle, a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet platform, to financially back the company’s long-term plan of maintaining private central banks, those that are independent of the government, through the development of a properly audited and transparent stablecoin.

“Bitmain Co-founder and CEO Jihan Wu is well known for espousing a vision similar to ours regarding the creation and adoption of a new global economy powered by cryptographic assets, distributed contracts, and open source blockchain technology. We are excited to be working directly with Bitmain on realizing our shared vision,” Circle said at the time.

The investment of Bitmain into is its second major multi-million dollar investment in the cryptocurrency sector in a span of three months, prior to its planned IPO in the Hong Kong stock market (Bitmain also invested $50 million in web browser Opera).

In previous statements, Wu and the Bitmain team expressed their enthusiasm towards decentralized protocols and dApps, especially platforms that are able to attract and serve millions of users with a network that can handle large volumes of transactions and information.

The acquisition of a stake in is in line with Bitmain’s intent to expand throughout the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector, with its mining equipment manufacturing business and investment arm as the company’s two core businesses.

Where EOS Goes From Here

If EOS is technically capable of serving dApps with millions of users and process tens of thousands of transactions per second, it will need to gain an active developer community that is on par with that of Ethereum.

As of July, Ethereum is said to have more than 250,000 developers on its protocol, including those initiating ICOs and creating independent blockchain networks deployed on top of the Ethereum blockchain protocol.

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GEORGI GEORGIEV | JUL 16, 2018 | 07:00

BlackRock, Inc. — the world’s largest asset manager and exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider — is reportedly exploring opportunities to legally take part in the cryptocurrency market.


Despite the company’s previous skepticism towards the cryptocurrency field, BlackRock, Inc. is looking at ways to take advantage of the “fast growing cryptocurrency market.”

Insiders familiar the matter told Financial News London that the world’s largest ETF provider has assembled a working group, which consists of members from different divisions, including Terry Simpson — a multi-asset investment strategist. The sources also suggest that the team will be investigating cryptocurrencies, ultimately aiming to determine whether BlackRock should get involved in the field.

BlackRock has yet to confirm the accuracy of the report.

In October 2017, Mark Wiedman, Global Head of iShares and Index Investments at Blackrock, said:

I don’t quite get the point of a bitcoin ETF in any case, because we’re talking about…trading products that are difficult to access. If bitcoin is ever successful – and again not my thing but – I wouldn’t recommend it. But if it were [successful], why would you need an ETF to access it?

Earlier this year, Isabelle Mateos y Lago, BlackRock’s Chief Multi-Asset Strategist and Managing Director, said that “at this stage, this [Bitcoin] is not an investable asset class.”

Republic of Georgia Emerges as a Global Leader in Cryptocurrency Mining

It’s worth noting that BlackRock has been losing top-end talent to the cryptocurrency field for quite some time.

Vishal Karir, a senior portfolio manager overseeing upwards of $1.5 billion of assets left the company for a cryptocurrency platform. Adam Grimsley and Michael Wong — two of BlackRock’s fixed-income managers — also resigned earlier this year and launched a cryptocurrency hedge fund.


The alleged move of BlackRock caught the attention of cryptocurrency trader and host of CNBC’s Cryptotrader show Ran Neu-Ner.

Ran NeuNer@cryptomanran

The difference btw a future & an ETF is that an ETF has to buy the underlying taking liquidity out the market.
When the World’s biggest ETF company is looking at Crypto and the SEC has no real reason to block the next ETF, it could get a little exciting 

BlackRock begins exploration of bitcoin

BlackRock begins exploration of bitcoin

The asset manage has set up a working group to investigate ways it can take advantage of the fast-growing cryptocurrency market

The news also caught the attention of Arthur Hayes, co-founder of the cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX, who believes that a regulated ETF could have a substantial impact on the price of Bitcoin:

But we’re one positive regulatory decision away, [maybe] an ETF approved by the SEC, to climbing through $20,000 and even to $50,000 by the end of the year.

BlackRock’s purported move also comes days after the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) fileda proposed rule change to list and trade shares of Van Eyck Investment and SolidX’s Bitcoin ETF known as “Bitcoin Trust”. While the ruling is expected no later than September 24, Andy Hoffman of said:

If the SolidX Bitcoin Shares ETF is approved August 10th, it will likely catalyze a massive explosion of the Bitcoin price – and with it, the cryptocurrency space in general.

Bitcoin ETF CBOE Announces Increased Bitcoin Futures Margins Amid Market Manipulation Worries


The news of BlackRock’s alleged intentions has caused an immediate reaction in the price of the world’s first and foremost cryptocurrency. As noted by Bloomberg, Bitcoin (BTC) $6542.51 +0.39% marked its biggest increase in the past two weeks.

As a matter of fact, all top 10 of the market’s forerunners are trading in the green, gaining a minimum of 2 percent over the last 24 hours.

The price increase also follows recent news of billionaire Steven Cohen investing in Bitcoin.

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Bloomberg: Billionaire Steven Cohen Backs Crypto, Blockchain Hedge Fund

Bloomberg: Billionaire Steven Cohen Backs Crypto, Blockchain Hedge Fund

Billionaire Steven Cohen, the founder of Point72 Asset Management, is reportedly backing a crypto and blockchain-focused hedge fund, Bloomberg reports Friday, July 13.

Cohen invested in Arianna Simpson’s cryptocurrency hedge fund, Autonomous Partners, via his private equity firm Cohen Private Ventures, according to Bloomberg’s anonymous source.

Point72 Asset Management, whose most recent portfolio value is almost $24 billion, is headed by Andrew B. Cohen, who is also the Managing Director of Cohen Private Ventures.

Simpson founded Autonomous Partners in December 2017. In an interview with Fortune on July 12, she said that the fund has already secured “funding in the low eight digits” from VC and private equity firm Union Square VenturesCoinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, and former PayPalCOO and Craft Ventures co-founder David Sacks.

Simpson emphasized that the fund seeks investments from partners that “can be very much value-add beyond their capital.”

As Fortune reports, a low percentage of Autonomous Partners is devoted to major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The fund is mostly focused on crypto infrastructure projects, anonymity-oriented altcoins, and crypto companies that tackle scalability issues. The fund has also invested in OX, a protocol for decentralized crypto exchanges.

Simpson told Fortune that her fund has held off from investing in Ripple (XRP) pending clarification from U.S. regulators as to whether XRP will be classified as a security. She added that she “think[s] the whole space is still waiting for a bit more clarity.”

According to data from Autonomous Research, the number of crypto-focused funds was estimated at 251 as of April 2018, 175 of which were opened in 2017. In 2018, only 26 more funds have been established, signalling a possible downtrend in momentum.

As Cointelegraph reported April 3, various sources from the crypto space have warned that 10 percent of crypto funds could potentially be forced to close in 2018, allegedly due to the negative impact of regulatory uncertainty.

In March, news of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe into up to 100 crypto-related hedge funds indicated increasing scrutiny of their activities.

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Top Swiss Stock Exchange Says It Is ‘Open’ to Offering Crypto Trading on Its Platform


Top Swiss Stock Exchange Says It Is ‘Open’ to Offering Crypto Trading on Its Platform

SIX Group, the parent company of Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, has revealed that it is “open” to the possibility of offering cryptocurrency trading services on its digital trading platform. The platform, still in development, is set to launch by mid-2019, SIX Group’s spokesman told the Swissinfo news outlet in an interview July 15.

Swiss Infrastructure and Exchange (SIX) Group operates the country’s largest stock market, and is planning to launch a “fully-regulated” platform for digital asset trading by mid-2019. The service is set to offer a “complete” range of services from, including initial coin offering (ICO) consulting for those ICOs that are not classified as securities.

In the interview with Swissinfo, SIX Group spokesman Stephan Meier claimed that there is a “real need” for the establishment of “transparency and accountability in the crypto-world.” According to Meier, this would benefit both the businesses and investors in the crypto industry, and the participants of traditional markets.

“Not only traditional financial service providers and investors are interested in this, but also numerous companies and investors who want to take advantage of the new digital opportunities for raising capital and trading in digital assets.”

Meier clarified that SIX Group has not yet made a decision on what “specific products will be offered to list and trade” on its upcoming platform, noting that the question of whether cryptocurrency trading will be available is still “open.”

He added that the company would “technically be able to add various digital assets to the platform,” stressing that each digital asset will undergo a “due diligence process” before being added.

Stephan Meier also claimed that the company “want[s] to build a bridge between the traditional financial services and digital communities.” He emphasized that SIX Group is working in “close consultation” with regulatory authorities to find out “in which areas adjustments or additions to the legal framework may be necessary.”

Earlier this week, Switzerland has been reported as the second “most favorable” country for ICOs in terms of funds raised, outperformed only by the U.S.

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Chile Court of Appeals Orders Bank to Resume Business With Crypto Exchange Orionx


Chile Court of Appeals Orders Bank to Resume Business With Crypto Exchange Orionx

Chilean Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of crypto exchange Orionx, resolving that the state-owned bank Banco Estado should reopen the company’s deposit account, local news outlet La Tercera reported July 12.

The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago has accepted the appeal filed by Orionx crypto exchange against Banco Estado, which closed the company’s deposit account in late March. At that time, the bank cited the lack of “regulatory recognition of [cryptocurrency trading]” as justification for its decision.

Now, by the ruling of the Court of Appeals, Banco Estado has been ordered to reopen the deposit account of Orionx. The Court called the bank’s original decision to close it an “arbitrary and illegal action, which constitutes a deprivation of the right protected by Article 19 No. 2 of the Political Constitution of the Republic, that is, the right to equality before the law.”

In late April, Chile’s anti-monopoly court similarly ruled that two banks, Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca, have to reopen the previously closed accounts of crypto exchange Buda.

In May, the president of Central Bank of Chile Mario Marcel announced that they are considering the development of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to better manage the risks associated with crypto trading.

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Greek Court Rules to Extradite Alexander Vinnik, Accused of Laundering $4 Bln in Bitcoin

Greek Court Rules to Extradite Alexander Vinnik, Accused of Laundering $4 Bln in Bitcoin

A Greek court has ruled to extradite the alleged former operator of crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, to France, local news outlet CNN Greece reported Friday, July 13.

The 39-year old Russian national Vinnik, also known colloquially as “Mr. Bitcoin,” was indicted by U.S. authorities on charges of fraud and money laundering last year, reportedly involving up to $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC).

Vinnik’s Greek lawyer Ilias Spyrliadis confirmed to Russian news agency TASS that “the court has granted France’s request for Vinnik’s extradition.” Spyrliadis also revealed that he is planning to appeal against the court’s decision in the Greek Supreme Court.

According to CNN Greece, Vinnik himself challenged the decision of the Greek court on extradition to France, denying the allegations of French authorities, who issued a warrant, in which the alleged BTC-e owner was accused of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.” Vinnik responded that he was “transferring e-money through a platform,” considering it as “legitimate personal transactions.”

Vinnik’s lawyer Spyrliadis assured Russian BBC that the latest extradition to France would lead to a further extradition to the U.S., because “otherwise the U.S. cannot get him, since the extradition process was blocked.”

The Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a comment July 13 in response to the events, accusing the Greek authorities of “continu[ing] to complicate relations with Russia.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that Russia’s request to extradite Vinnik should have been given priority over France’s, concluding “[i]t is obvious that Russia cannot leave these actions unanswered.”

On July 25, 2017, Vinnik was arrested by Greek police under the order of of the U.S. Ministry of Justice, following the closure of once major cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, allegedly owned and administered by Vinnik.

Having publicly stated his innocence in September 2017, Vinnik also denied his involvement in the Mt. Gox hack back in 2011 after a group of Bitcoin security experts claimed that Vinnik had a direct relationship to the incident.

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Why I’m joining the crypto revolution

Great educational article worth sharing with my followers.  Enjoy!

In the last few months I have had a chance to dig deep into blockchain, from the technology to the regulation to the governance and tokenomics. Little did I know back then that I would meet the most engaged, positively minded community.

The first thing I discovered is that the crypto community is nothing like the tech community. Most people building and funding serious blockchain projects are not doing it for the money, they are doing it because they believe deep down in the power of self-governed communities to change the world for the better. This is also why so many burners are into crypto, the spirit is the same.

Of course there are people looking at it from a purely financial perspective. But I think I can say now that they are not those that lead that movement. They are just followers. Those that matter are ambitious, they are revolutionary, they live crypto to the point of being decentralized themselves. What most call being nomad, we call being decentralized. What most call a remote team, we call a decentralized team.

If “disrupting” XYZ was the leitmotiv of startups, “decentralizing” XYZ is the one of crypto. Just like tech founders of the old internet days cared about changing the status quo, crypto founders today care about fixing things. They don’t think so much about money as they do about impact. There is this magical, candid feeling in crypto that we can actually make a difference, that despite the hyper centralization of wealth and power in the past 20 years, a new world order can emerge.

I also learned that tokens are in fact not about currency. They are about creating incentives for people to form self-governing communities, behaving in a way that is beneficial to the group. Tokenizing a product doesn’t necessarily mean accepting crypto as payment: it means designing a product around the token so that the token dynamics make the product better. It’s basically about combining behavioral economics with product design. If you are a product manager, designer or entrepreneur, you must get into that now.

I have not been so excited about something since I started doing Artificial Intelligence 15 years ago. I really see now why people are saying blockchain will change the world. I get it. And I now believe it too.

Aside from converting my fiat money into crypto, I have also been working hard with my team to decentralize everything in our upcoming consumer product, Snips AIR. We are doing it because existing voice assistants represent everything that’s wrong with the internet: they use open source software but don’t contribute. They centralize all our personal data in one place, making us all vulnerable to mass surveillance and hacking. They exploit and monetize our personal data without giving us anything in exchange. They steal our privacy and the one of our families. They exploit developers without caring about their future, asking them to publish their products on appstores before arbitrarily kicking them out.

Decentralizing voice assistants is how we can fix that. By processing data on device, we don’t need to send it to the cloud. By using a blockchain to decentralize machine learning, we can reward users for their data, without ever actually access it. By using a token to power an appstore, we can let the community decide what can be built and by whom. Basically, Snips would know nothing about its users, nothing about their lives and have no say in what people can do with their assistant.

If you want to support our vision, and help us destroy the bad AIs, contribute at or join our telegram group



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MELANIE KRAMER | JUL 15, 2018 | 20:00

Facebook may have made a significant blockchain hire recently, but there is a shift occurring in the technological landscape as leading tech giants are seeing an exodus of their top talent toward careers in blockchain. Could this be an indicator of success for the cryptocurrency sector?

Just last week, Facebook hired its first Director of Engineering for blockchain technology. Though it looks like this was an internal promotion of the engineer, Evan Cheng, who has worked at Facebook since 2015, it is nonetheless a significant hire for the Silicon Valley social media giant.


In a recent interview on Balancing the Ledger, Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of Polychain Capital, said he found it exciting that “incumbent tech giants” are getting into “cryptocurrency technology,” but noted:

It’s hard for me to imagine a way that a centralized entity like Facebook could own a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency or blockchain.

Carlson-Wee feels the kind of “centralized revenue extraction” seen in the business models of social media giants like Facebook is incompatible with peer-to-peer networks.

Facebook also has David Marcus – formerly in charge of the company’s standalone Messenger app – heading up a group exploring blockchain technology and its possible use cases within the company. Between the two hires, Carlson-Wee believes that Facebook definitely “has a shot” at entering the blockchain space.

Olaf Carlson-Wee


One challenge Facebook, Google, and other technology giants that have dominated the landscape for so long are facing is the loss of important talent to the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.

This could be important to the cryptocurrency space. Carlson-Wee is not so much concerned about the market price of crypto-assets as an indicator of success, but more in the “developer momentum” happening in the building of blockchain applications.

What we’re seeing is an absolute exodus from many of these major tech giants like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Snapchat of really high-quality talent who are now starting cryptocurrency startups.

For the investor, whose company has over $1 billion dollars worth of assets under management in mostly long-term blockchain projects, the development activity is a far better litmus test for the industry.

Carlson-Wee feels that there is far more activity in the sector today and that the industry as a whole is “doing better than ever before.” Thus, the increase in blockchain network and application development could be a far better metric for judging the performance of the industry than price.

Do you think the level of activity in blockchain development is a more accurate indication of blockchain and crypto success? Let us know in the comments below.

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38% of South Africans Wish They Had Invested in Cryptocurrencies: Survey

south africa

Pan-African financial services giant Old Mutual has released the 2018 Savings and Investment Monitorsurvey for South Africa. The report indicates that 38% of the residents and citizens of Africa’s second-biggest economy who were already aware of the existence of digital assets wished they had put their money in cryptocurrencies.

South Africans also expressed positive sentiment regarding cryptocurrencies in general with 71% of them saying that “you can make a lot of money with them.” However, there are also 43% of South Africans who likened them to pyramid schemes.

Cryptocurrency Awareness Levels

Regarding cryptocurrency awareness, 60% of South Africans told the survey that they had no inkling of their existence while the percentage of those who demonstrated a high level of cryptocurrency knowledge was 4%. Those whose awareness of cryptocurrencies was low was 17%, while 19% heard about them only recently.

The Old Mutual survey comes in the wake of data obtained from Google Trends showing that based on online searches of Bitcoin, South Africa had the highest level of interest in the world in the flagship cryptocurrency over the past 12 months.

And as detailed by CCN in May, a survey conducted by South African tech publication MyBroadband, the MyBroadband 2018 Cryptocurrency Survey, revealed that nearly 50% of those who were not currently in possession of digital assets or had never owned them planned on investing in them this year.

“Of the survey respondents who do not own or who have never owned cryptocurrency, almost 50% said they plan to invest in an aspect of cryptocurrency or crypto mining in 2018,” CCN reported at the time.

Not Currencies But ‘Cyber-Tokens’

Perhaps due to the popularity of cryptocurrencies in the country and the higher adoption relative to other African countries, the South African Revenue Service late in April demanded that taxpayers declare gains or losses they have made from cryptocurrencies as part of their taxable income. At the time, SARS indicated that cryptocurrencies were intangible assets, not currencies. In the case of cryptocurrency miners the tax agency directed that mined coins would be treated as ‘trading stock’ until exchanged or sold for cash.

The deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Francois Groepe, seemed to side with SARS in May, as he stated that the central bank did not view cryptocurrencies as currencies due to the fact that they supposedly did not meet the requirements of money. Instead, Groepe clarified, the SARB would refer to them as cyber-tokens.

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