Binance US Plans to Commence Customer Onboarding Next Week

Binance, the largest crypto exchange by volume is making its U.S. debut next week.

Binance.US said today that the platform will open registration and deposits on September 18. According to a company blog posting, the launch will initiate a rollout of multiple Binance products across the U.S.

After registration, six cryptocurrencies will be available for deposits including bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and tether.

Trading will commence later at an undisclosed date.

Based out of San Francisco, Binance.US was announced earlier this year. Residing officially in Malta, Binance has physical locations in Jersey, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Uganda. (Positive)

Binance Charity Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations for Hurricane Relief

Binance Charity, the philanthropic wing of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has begun a campaign to help support victims of Hurricane Dorian.

On Sept. 5, Binance Charity started accepting cryptocurrency donations for a campaign that will help provide food and aid for hurricane victims through local organizations in affected areas.

On the campaign website, Binance states that donations in Bitcoin (BTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and XRP will be distributed to the Hurricane Relief Project. At press time, the campaign has received 14 donations for a total of 0.558 BTC ($5,852.90). None of the funds have been distributed yet. 

According to Binance Charity, the donations and eventual disbursements will be recorded on a blockchain, making the process more transparent. In addition to asking the blockchain and crypto communities for donations, Binance Charity has also asked for recommendations on how to make disbursing aid faster and more effective. (Positive)

Nasdaq Adds Crypto-Related Index For Decentralized Finance ‘Defix’

According to an announcement on Monday, stock exchange operator Nasdaq has added yet another crypto-related index – this time for decentralized finance (DeFi).

The operator has partnered with London-based brokerage firm EXANTE to offer the DeFix index, which includes “real-time” information for projects such as Augur and MakerDAO, among others.

“DeFiX is the first altcoin index that reflects the dynamics of the most promising blockchain projects working in decentralized finance: Augur, Gnosis, Amoveo, Numerai, Maker, 0x,” said Nasdaq.

The new index is available on the Nasdaq Global Index Data ServiceSM (GIDS), its consolidated data feed, and is refreshed every 60 seconds. In addition to Nasdaq, users can also view the DeFix index on Tradingview and Google, as well as Yahoo Finance in the future, per the announcement. (Positive)

Switzerland Open to International Cooperation on Libra, Says Watchdog

Switzerland’s financial watchdog says it is open to international cooperation and oversight of the way in which it regulates Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency network Libra

Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) director Mark Branson said it was illusory to believe that a single country could regulate a project of Libra’s scope on its own.

The country has a robust regulatory and supervisory framework that can address the needs of major legacy financial players — and equally, therefore, those of ambitious new fintech projects, he said. 

Branson noted that FINMA does not need foreign pressure to recognize the major challenges that a project of Libra’s scale poses for regulators: “It was crystal clear from the start that this project could have huge dimensions and implications,” he said.

Just as the supervision of large Swiss banks such as UBS or Credit Suisse does not take place in complete isolation, he added, so a project of Libra’s global significance can only be tackled through international coordination and consultation.

Branson also underscored that FINMA’s approach to market regulation is both principle-based and technology-neutral, meaning that Libra, “fits perfectly into our regulatory framework”:

“Switzerland […] does not regulate all forms of institutions and products down to the last detail […] We have just published a guide on how to classify stablecoins under Swiss law. And we show: it does not need new laws. The risks are well known, for example regarding money laundering, customer protection, system stability. There are already regulations for all of these.” (Neutral)

Bank of New York Mellon Appointed as Transfer Agent for Proposed Bitcoin ETF

Bank of New York Mellon has been appointed to serve as transfer agent and administrator of  Bitwise Asset Management’s proposed Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF)

On September 11, Bitwise amended the S-1 form that it submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The amendment also lists major accounting firm Cohen & Company as auditor, while Boston-based legal firm Foreside Fund Services is listed as the Bitcoin ETF’s marketing agent. 

Whether any of the aforementioned firms will act in their appointed regard depends on an eventual decision to allow the listing by U.S. financial regulators.

In January 2019, Bitwise filed its proposed rule change to the Securities Act of 1933 to list its Bitcoin ETF on NYSE Arca. Since its filing, the ETF has experienced a circuitous series of delays from regulators, who are still nervous about the potential for manipulation in cryptocurrency markets and its subsequent effect on a hypothetical Bitcoin ETF. Most recently, the SEC delayed its decision on the Bitwise ETF to October 13. (Neutral)

„(…) In These Conditions, We Cannot Authorize the Development of Libra on European Soil”, Said France’s Minister of The Economy and Finance

France’s Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, claimed that the country will halt the development of Facebook’s planned Libra stablecoin in Europe because it threatens the “monetary sovereignty” of governments.

“I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,” said Le Maire on Thursday.

Le Maire made the comments at the opening of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Blockchain Policy Forum 2019 in Paris. In June, Le Maire said that Libra “can’t and…must not happen” and that “it is out of question’’ for the proposed stablecoin to “become a sovereign currency.”

On the other hand, Dante Disparte, Head of Policy and Communications for the Libra Association, told: “In the nearly three months since the intent to launch the Libra project was announced, we have become the world’s most scrutinized fintech effort. We welcome this scrutiny and have deliberately designed a long launch runway to have these conversations, educate stakeholders and incorporate their feedback in our design.”

Disparte also added that “the comments today from France’s economy and finance minister further underscore the importance of our ongoing work with regulatory bodies and leadership around the world.”

While France likely cannot completely block the development of Libra, as the Libra Association is headquartered in Switzerland, it could block apps supporting Libra. The French government could also prevent merchants from accepting the proposed stablecoin in France, thereby making it impractical to use.

The news is yet another setback that Facebook has suffered since announcing the Libra project only three months ago, in mid-June. Regulators and politicians from around the world have stepped in to express their concerns and objections. (Neutral)