Russia publishes ICO guidelines

The Russian Ministry of Communications has this week published the first drafts of upcoming ICO guidelines. Moscow is focusing on its own currency. In future, accredited initial coin offerings on Russian territory will only be possible with the help of the ruble. The guidelines are part of a larger legislative package on crypto-regulation, which is to be passed by the Russian State Duma by July. However, experts doubt its effectiveness.

Russia’s regulatory Bitcoin loophole system is taking shape:

As Kommersant reports this week, the Russian Ministry of Tele- and Mass Communications, MinComSvyaz for short, has published first drafts for the regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The document focuses on the currently still voluntary accreditation of Bitcoin loophole providers. After the Russian ICO scene experienced a real boom last year, Moscow seems to want to profit economically from the worldwide pull to issue new crypto currencies. Because the rouble itself is at the centre of the guidelines. Here is the review.

For successful accreditation, ICOs on Russian territory will in future only be able to be carried out with the help of the national currency. To issue their own token, providers will also have to prove that they have a starting capital of 100 million rubles (just under 1.4 million euros) and obtain a licence from the Ministry.

In addition, the money from the sales must demonstrably flow into Russian accounts instead of abroad. At the same time, nominal fixed prices are to be determined at which the providers are obliged to repurchase the shares from previously registered investors with their proceeds. This is likely to attract interested investors, but to raise suspicion among suppliers.

Guidelines leave gaps – brake or accelerator?

Apart from that, however, the guidelines currently leave gaps. Experts warn that the document contains no references to ICO specifics such as presales or lock-ups. In the course of such pre-sales, the initial prices are usually much lower than in the case of mass sales. The presale often serves as a launch pad and foundation for further infrastructure before the leap into mass business. Lock-ups, on the other hand, prescribe the holding period for first-time buyers.

This leaves the actual trading moments of interest to investors and traders untouched by regulation. The director of the Russian Crypto and Blockchain Association RACIB, Arseni Sheltsin, therefore doubts the effectiveness of the regulations vis-à-vis Kommersant.

„It is difficult to comment on the guidelines in any way, because they are detached from reality“.

However, this would also create uncertainty. He points out, however, that the vague, unfamiliar language of the guidelines could lead to future collisions and deter ICO providers.

Consultations continue
In order to prevent this from happening and to straighten out such linguistic irregularities, the draft law is currently still in public deliberation. Companies and associations such as Sheltsin’s RACIB can announce their interests to the ministry by mid-April.

The fact that accreditation takes place on a „voluntary basis“ is also a sigh of relief.

The guidelines are part of a larger regulatory effort aimed at „legalizing“ crypto currencies. The deputies of the State Duma are currently in the process of discussing a corresponding legislative package, which was introduced by the Deputy Minister of Finance in January of this year.

This law provides for crypto currencies to be regarded as digital analysis products in the future, not as means of payment. In addition, their trading will only be possible via state-authorized stock exchanges. It was only at the beginning of the month that President Putin urged that the package be adopted by July.

Nasdaq: Winkelvoss Bitcoin Fund could have enormous impact on the news spy

During the conversation with, LaValle discussed the impact of the Bitcoin ETF on the broad market.

Overall, he sees a positive future in the news spy of the Winkelvoss twins:

The ETF was first introduced in July 2013 by Bitcoin investors Cameron and Tylor Winkelvoss, and has since gone through the news spy review of approval processes. According to the news spy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the fund will be traded under the name „COIN“.

During the conversation with, LaValle discussed the impact of the Bitcoin ETF on the wider market. Overall, he sees a positive future in the efforts of the Winkelvoss twins:

„I think it is very important to know that we are about to welcome a new asset to the market. The way to initially give investors access to this investable asset through an ETF is a good choice. In a way, it gives credibility to the ETF and emphasises the benefits of an ETF as an investment shell. In this respect, it is also important for the ETF industry.“

It should also not be forgotten that the Winkelvoss twins recently introduced their own Bitcoin price index called WinkDex. The WinkDex will provide market information about the ETF in the future.

Increase in Bitcoin availability

For LaValle, the advantages of a Bitcoin ETF are obvious: „It is much easier for investors to gain market access through an ETF than to buy Bitcoin directly. This makes the digital currency much more attractive and trustworthy for investors, says La Valle.

LaValle to

„There are several ways to get to Bitcoin and each investor can decide which way to go. But I think the way through an ETF gives Bitcoin much more credibility“.

Furthermore, LaValle sees Bitcoin as very dynamic and therefore interesting for investors with the right appetite for risk.

He added that the ETF can be both an interesting trading and investment tool for the interested parties involved, provided that the ETF receives future regulatory approval.

A new way of investing
Asked whether the Bitcoin ETF is an innovation on the market, LaValle replied cautiously optimistically.

The Nasdaq manager said that if the ETF is listed, it offers investors a potentially groundbreaking option. He added that the Bitcoin ETF is certainly a step in an interesting direction from a product generation perspective and that Bitcoin can pave the way for investors.

At the end of the interview DaValle only had one sentence to say:

„Time will tell us how great this innovation will be.“

Banks buy Bitcoin formula to trigger blackmail virus

So-called Ransomware occupies the computer or laptop and demands a payment from the victim in order to unlock and use the device again. Sometimes they threaten to delete the files. Even banks do not come around the blackmail viruses and are forced to pay Bitcoins for the unblocking.

Who would have imagined that banks would get into Bitcoins so early? Probably nobody. So far, banks are less likely to be on the move in the Bitcoin environment for strategic reasons. Rather, banks are dependent on Bitcoins because they are constantly victims of Ransomware attacks due to their size.

Banks protect themselves against Ransomware with Bitcoin formula

As can be seen in particular from a statement by Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski, banks even keep a not too small amount of Bitcoin formula in their wallet in order to be able to react and pay quickly in the event of cases. Such ransomware is particularly dangerous in the banking sector because Bitcoin formula is in danger of being deleted or passed on.

Kleczynski even confirms: „I talked to some banks and they said they had 50 to 100 bitcoins on the wallets in case of an unexpected Ransomware attack.

Banks: Dependent on large information systems

Banks are heavily dependent on huge internal information systems and networks in their day-to-day business. An attack on this network can bring the entire work process to a standstill. There is a constant race between security experts and Ransomware hackers.

Kleczynski suspects that there has been a shift in the targets of hackers. According to him, the goal is no longer individual private users, who offer a lucrative attack surface through the masses, but increasingly individual companies. Hackers are often expected to use more or less anonymous means of payment such as Paysafecards or Bitcoins.

When Ransomware Decides Life and Death
A Ransomware attack alongside the financial sector can have a particularly dramatic effect on companies in the healthcare sector. A failure of the IT system could not only have economic consequences, but could also block important (possibly life-supporting) devices and thus endanger the lives of patients. In most cases, these companies pay the required amount to the hacker instead of trying to eliminate the virus themselves. Kleczynski supports this approach:

„It should never be about human lives, but if it is – for whatever reason – the case, I would pay the amount. It’s just money…Likewise as a student who wrote his dissertation for four years and didn’t make a backup. I wouldn’t pay for someone who’s about family photos that are still copies on the digital camera anyway“.

Especially people who have some previous knowledge in technical fields refuse to pay blackmail software providers. Thus one tries mostly in self direction to solve the problem with the help of the Internet. Any private user who manages to unlock the PC has saved a lot of money in the process.

The situation is different for institutional users: Their business life often depends on whether access to certain data is possible. It can quickly become very expensive if access is blocked and paying the ransom may be an even more economically viable alternative. This idea seems to have recently found acceptance among hackers, so that an increased concentration on enterprise victims of Ransomware is to be expected.

The 10 Greatest Myths about the Bitcoin secret

In the series „The 10 biggest myths about crypto currencies“ we would like to take a closer look at the 10 most common claims concerning crypto currencies and their chances and risks. We will daily a new myth vorknöpfen and check this for correctness.

A regulated trade with the Bitcoin secret is not possible

The regulation of the Bitcoin secret has developed into one of the central, if not the central topic in the area of blockchain, especially in the course of the last six months. As a reaction to the increasing popularity of Bitcoin secret crypto currencies on the one hand and the new crypto currencies created by countless ICOs on the other, more and more countries around the globe are currently being urged to think about regulatory measures and create framework conditions for this growing sector.

A crypto currency as a non-physical, decentrally organized digital currency naturally poses challenges to central banks and financial market regulators all over the world. Especially under many legal aspects, the emergence of crypto currencies creates precedents that cannot be easily integrated into the existing legal framework.

The second part of this series already wrote about the different handling of the regulation of crypto currencies. If one refrains from radical measures of crypto-regulation, above all practised in China, the majority of constructive approaches on the part of the state can indeed be discerned.

In the course of this, some of the crypto exchanges operating in Japan were closed

Japan, for example, can be named as one of the most brilliant examples at this point. At the beginning of October, a broad-based regulatory action was launched to implement a law to regulate digital currency exchanges. Rules were enacted to prevent crypto currencies and their trading on stock exchanges from being misused for money laundering and thus involved in criminal activities. In addition, the Know Your Customer Principle (KYC) has set a standard that is subject to an annual audit. The same law had also officially declared Bitcoin legal tender in Japan at that time.

However, those providers who were able to meet the requirements demanded by the Japanese government were provided with official state licenses. Such a regulatory solution can have a decisive long-term effect on the acceptance of crypto currencies and – despite partial restrictions – even contribute to their further growth. A clearly defined set of rules that sets a framework for trading in crypto currencies is a basic prerequisite for mainstream adaptation. Without the necessary legal certainty and consumer protection, it will be difficult to convince broad sections of society and traditional companies of crypto currencies.

It remains to be seen that regulated trade in crypto currencies is possible – it is already happening in Japan. The successes there prove the system right: Japan has risen (following the ban on crypto exchanges in China) to become the world’s largest market for trading in crypto currencies. In view of this development, it seems only a matter of time before similar laws are also applied in Europe.