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Pakistan’s Sindh High Court Gives 3 Months to Government for Cryptocurrency Regulation

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Pakistan’s Sindh High Court has directed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to speed up the regulation of cryptocurrencies. A three-month deadline has been given to Pakistan’s ruling government for submitting the proposed regulatory rules. In a bid to fast-track the momentum of this task, a new committee has been formed headed by Kamran Ali Afzal, the federal finance secretary of Pakistan. The court has advised the government to invite suggestions from all stakeholders as well as government officials and ministries.

The court’s instruction to the Pakistani government has come after a two-judge hearing on a petition that challenged the ban on cryptocurrencies. Along with the petitioners, details of whom remain unknown, officials from the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also attended the hearing.

Reza Baqir, Pakistan’s central bank, had said in April that the authorities were studying ways to regulate cryptocurrencies and their capability of facilitating off-the-book transactions within a legal framework.

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These seemingly pro-crypto moves being initiated by the Pakistani authorities come at a time the crypto-culture is creating strides in the country.

In the 12 months up to June 2021, the cryptocurrency market grew by 706 percent and reached a value of $572.5 billion (roughly Rs. 42,62,844 crore) in regions of Central and Southern Asia as well as in Oceania (CSAO), a report by research firm Chainalysis had claimed recently.

In Asia, Pakistan ranks third after Vietnam and India in terms of widespread crypto adoption. In addition, Pakistan also ranks 15th in the world for crypto adoption as per another report.

The Chainalysis report estimated that Pakistan received an excess of $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 11,230 crore) in crypto-cash last year.

The discussions around the expanding crypto space have also begun to get louder in Pakistan. For instance, in a recent National Assembly session, Pakistan’s politicians cited India’s example in letting the crypto space breathe and churn profits in return.

“Over 56 million people have been using cryptocurrencies in 2021. Our neighbour India has created four crypto exchanges, out of which, the native token of WazirX is being traded globally with a market share of over $172 million (roughly Rs. 1,287 crore),” a Pakistani politician recently told the Assembly in Hindi.

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Along with Pakistan, India is also processing ways to regulate decentralised currencies.

India awaits the result of an official draft cryptocurrency bill that will be presented before the Parliament in its upcoming Winter Session.

In September, a new committee was formed under India’s finance ministry to find out if income made by crypto-trading could be taxed.

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Amid the growing crypto culture, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been overlooking the draft formulation of the cryptocurrency bill.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is also working on launching its official digital currency as a regulated “central bank digital currency (CBDC)” by the end of 2021.


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

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Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

Russia’s oldest prison, called the Butyrka, has emerged as a site for unlawful crypto mining activities. A prison warden belonging to a high rank has also been accused of stealing electricity from other parts of the prison, in order to facilitate crypto mining from within the facility. Built in central Moscow back in 1771, Butyrka is over 250 years old and houses up to 2,000 inmates. As for now, police investigation into the crypto mining activities inside the jail has been opened.

The matter came to light after mining equipment were spotted inside a psychiatric clinic run by the Federal Penitentiary Service at the prison.

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The probing officers suspect that crypto generation from inside the prison has been going on since November 2021, Bitcoin.com said in a report.

Over 8,400 kW of electricity is estimated to have used between November 2021 and February this year, by people who were minting cryptocurrencies from inside the government facility. In a wider picture, the government of Russia actually paid for the electricity that was diverted to facilitate crypto mining operations in the prison.

As for now, details on the warden facing an inquiry and related accomplices in the case remain unclear.

The procedure of crypto mining is infamous for consuming huge amounts of electricity and disrupting the power supply of regions.

Several areas around the world including China, Kazakhstan, and Georgia’s Svaneti town have been crippled under power shortages caused by crypto mining.

Russia however, is looking to legalise crypto mining so that energy production in the required capacity is carried out without disrupting the lives and industrial activities of its citizens.

In January this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin had noted that the country does have advantages in the mining of cryptocurrencies.

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Back in March, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Evgeny Grabchak also batted in favour of ‘eliminating legal vacuum’ and regulating crypto mining during the first national conference of legal crypto miners in Russia’s Irkutsk region.

Grabchak has said that it is essential to identify appropriate mining sites in the country and manage electricity keeping crypto mining requirements in mind, especially at the regional levels.


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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SWIFT Partners with Capgemini to Test Cross-Border CBDC Interoperability

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SWIFT Partners with Capgemini to Test Cross-Border CBDC Interoperability

Bank messaging service, SWIFT, short for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is set to test the interoperability of Central Bank of Digital Currencies (CBDC) by interlinking several CBDC networks in order to execute cross-border payments. Besides currently linking financial institutions worldwide to communicate and execute financial payments, the Belgium-based member-owned cooperative has approached digital services provider Capgemini to help carry out its experiments. While there aren’t too many CBDCs around for SWIFT to experiment with right away, so far nine countries have brought CBDCs into use with China’s Digital Yuan (e-CNY) being one of the most widely experimented with digital currency.

An official blog post published on May 19 suggests that using CBDCs for cross-border payment solutions may have been a blind spot for the original idea of a digital currency since its development had the primary focus on resolving issues in line with domestic policies. However, Thomas Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT, expressed that new different CBDC networks must work together to enable “frictionless” transfers across the borders, and SWIFT will play a critical role.

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Capgemini and SWIFT are working together to develop a proof of concept to link a variety of CBDC networks along with other traditional currency networks. Globally, most central banks are creating CBDCs, ‘with a number of banks using different technologies, standards, and protocols for their digital currencies,” Zschach said.

As indicated in the company’s statement, the company will develop a gateway that will intercept, translate, and send domestic CBDC transactions to SWIFT for onward transmission. It will rely on existing SWIFT protocols, authentication models, and infrastructure. Over 11000 financial institutions are linked within 200 countries through SWIFT.

The new alliance is a continuation of the efforts SWIFT began with Accenture last year. As a result of that collaboration, a CBDC network and RTGS system were able to conduct a cross-border transaction.

The experiments will demonstrate that SWIFT has the capability and the technical components to link different networks if they are successful.

SWIFT’s head of innovation Nick Kerigan said, “This would help CBDCs address a major industry problem. We can also assist central banks with making their own CBDC networks capable of cross-border payments.”


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Terra's Do Kwon Denies Any Tax Evasion Attempt on Twitter After South Korea Authorities File Lawsuit

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Terra’s Do Kwon Denies Any Tax Evasion Attempt on Twitter After South Korea Authorities File Lawsuit

Days after news of a lawsuit being filed in South Korea against Terra on charges of tax evasion, Do Kwon, the CEO of Terraform Labs has stated on Twitter that the closure of two of the firm’s offices in Busan and Seoul was just coincidental and had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation from national tax authorities. Kwon who hasn’t been very active on the microblogging platform since the UST, LUNA crash on May 13 clarified that his decision to move to Singapore had no connection to the ongoing investigation and that he’s been in Singapore since December 2021.

Terraform Labs is the core development team working on the Terra blockchain whose native assets, LUNA and UST stablecoin, recently collapsed after a bank run that wiped out billions of dollars of value.

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A local news media report last week suggested that authorities in Korea were investigating Kwon and Terraform Labs for more than $78 million (roughly Rs. 604 crore) in unpaid corporate taxes.

Investigations into Terraform Labs first began in June 2021. The investigation revealed that the company was registered in the Virgin Islands and Singapore. Following the investigations, the Terra subsidiary in the Virgin Islands was fined $3.6 million (roughly Rs. 28 crore) in income tax and $34.7 million (roughly Rs. 269 crore) in corporate tax by October.

The decision is reported to have made Kwon unhappy with crypto taxation in the country and according to the report by Naver news, Kwon tried to liquidate Terra’s domestic operations just before the LUNA crash. The financial watchdog allegedly busted Terra Labs during the attempt to transfer tokens to Luna Foundation Group in Singapore.

When questioned on Twitter by FatMan, an anonymous Terra analyst and commentator, about the accuracy of the reports, Kwon responded.

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“We have no outstanding tax liabilities in Korea,” he said, adding that the company had already paid its dues in full after it faced a tax audit. “Happy to engage with any lawsuit or regulatory inquiry to the best of our ability – we have nothing to hide,” Kwon added.


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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