The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has begun accepting filings by exchanges in a step toward approval of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF). 19b-4 amendments were filed for spot BTC ETF applications from asset managers BlackRock, Valkyrie, Grayscale, Bitwise, Hashdex, ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, VanEck and WisdomTree. Most companies have now also filed the S-1 amendments with the SEC, including Valkyrie, WisdomTree, BlackRock, VanEck, Invesco and Grayscale, ARK Invest and 21Shares. Some experts have speculated that final approval for the spot Bitcoin ETFs will drop before Jan. 10 — the deadline for an offering from ARK Invest and 21Shares.

However, according to a survey from ETF issuer Bitwise, only 39% of U.S.-based financial advisers believe a Bitcoin ETF will be approved this year. Despite this pessimism, most surveyed advisers do expect a Bitcoin ETF to be approved eventually. 22% said approval would come in 2025, and 24% answered “after 2025.” Another 2% stated that the approval would come in 2023, although this prediction didn’t materialize. When added together, this implies that a full 87% believe that an ETF will be approved eventually. 12% answered “never” when asked this question.

Some even consider the potential approval a “historic mistake.” Dennis Kelleher, CEO of the nonprofit organization Better Markets, has urged the SEC not to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, arguing that it goes against the core principles of the regulatory body. Kelleher emphasized that if the SEC were to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF, it could lead to investors facing significant risks of potential fraud. “The approval of these spot Bitcoin ETPs would not only expose investors to a market thoroughly contaminated with fraud and manipulation,” he stated.

AI will impact legal work, Supreme Court Justice predicts

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts released the end-of-year report for the Supreme Court, saying he predicts artificial intelligence (AI) will “significantly” impact legal work. In his yearly wrap-up, Roberts included AI as a major focus of his personal statement, in which he predicted judges would “be around for a while,” but with equal confidence, “I predict that judicial work — particularly at the trial level — will be significantly affected by AI.” He wrote that the changes sparked by AI will not only involve how judges do their job but also their understanding of AI’s role in cases they deal with. Roberts highlighted that, as the technology evolves, courts will need to “consider its proper uses” in litigation.

Continue reading

IRS requires reporting data from $10K crypto transactions this year

Aspects of the infrastructure bill signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden are now in effect, including provisions requiring many digital asset transactions worth more than $10,000 to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The bipartisan infrastructure bill, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in 2021, expanded the requirements for brokers to have many crypto exchanges and custodians report crypto transactions greater than $10,000 to the IRS. The bill mandates crypto brokers to report personal information on transactions to the IRS, including the sender’s name, address and social security number, within 15 days. The requirements, aimed at reducing the size of the tax gap in the United States, were initially scheduled to take effect in January 2023, having companies send reports to the IRS in 2024. According to Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito, many users “will find it difficult to comply” with the reporting requirements without guidance from the IRS. He speculated that filers would attempt to comply with the law but risk being found guilty of a felony.

Continue reading

South Korea might ban credit card payments for crypto

South Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), is proposing to change the country’s credit finance laws to prohibit local citizens from purchasing cryptocurrency with credit cards. The FSC cited concerns about illegal outflows and money laundering that could come with South Korean citizens buying cryptocurrency from foreign exchanges. Under current laws, local cryptocurrency exchanges only allow transactions between virtual assets through deposit and withdrawal accounts where the user’s identity can be verified, but these rules don’t apply to foreign crypto exchanges. The financial services regulator is now seeking public input on the proposal, which will last until Feb. 13. It is expected to go through a review and resolution process and aims to be implemented in the first half of 2024.

Continue reading