Indian FinTech Cashaa and the country’s United Multistate Credit Cooperative Society teamed up to launch what they say is the world’s first cryptocurrency bank branch through a joint-venture bank called Unicas, according to a release.
The new brick-and-mortar branch is located in Jaipur and the backers say they hope to add 14 more in January 2021 and 100 more in other areas over the next two years.
The backers wrote in a post announcing the branch opening that among its features will be giving customers the ability “to transact in cryptocurrency and (Indian rupees) through a single account.”
The operation also will provide traditional banking services, according to the backers.
“This will allow us to build, scale and offer customized financial and crypto products for the local Indian markets,” said Unicas Chief Executive Dinesh Kukreja said in a prepared statement.
In other news, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a nonstop social media cheerleader for the notion of building a high-tech ecosystem in South Florida, publicly embraced exploring using cryptocurrency to store some government financial reserves and blockchain to secure processes such as online voting.
In response to reports the state’s chief financial officer liked the idea of exploring storing 1 percent of government reserves in cryptocurrency, Suarez tweeted: “We have a great CFO that minds the public treasure but is forward thinking on blockchain and crypto technology…”
AMBCrypto reported Wednesday (Dec. 30) that the idea of putting 1 percent of Florida’s state-owned cash in cryptocurrency was initially advanced on Twitter and that Suarez has publicly called for legislation that would put Florida on the “vanguard” of crypto-friendly government jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, BitGo Inc., a provider of digital wallets to high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors, has paid the federal government $98,839 “to settle its potential civil liability for 183 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs,” the U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday (Dec. 30).
The Office of Foreign Assets Control stated in announcing the deal: “As a result of deficiencies related to BitGo’s sanctions compliance procedures, BitGo failed to prevent persons apparently located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria from using its non-custodial secure digital wallet management service. BitGo had reason to know that these users were located in sanctioned jurisdictions based on Internet Protocol (IP) address data associated with devices used to log in to the BitGo platform.”
The government added: “BitGo failed to implement controls designed to prevent such users from accessing its services and… BitGo did not voluntarily self-disclose the Apparent Violations and that the Apparent Violations constitute a non-egregious case.”
The transactions at issue totaled less than $10,000 and involved about 180 people, according to the government. The government also stated in its announcement that “mitigating factors” in BitGo’s favor included the company’s “relatively small” size, clean track record for at least five years before the potential violations, cooperation with investigators and investment in systems to prevent future similar incidents.
Among the changes, according to the government, are that BitGo hired a chief compliance officer and “screens all accounts, including ‘hot wallet’ accounts, against (the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, including blocked cryptocurrency wallet addresses identified by OFAC.”
Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency world, some leading industry players are fighting a federal move to expand anti-money-laundering regulations that have applied to banks handling cash since 1970 to exchanges handling cryptocurrency, Cryptonews and other media outlets report.
If the U.S. Treasury follows through with enacting the regulation after a comment period expires in the coming weeks, crypto exchanges will have to report transactions valued at $10,000 or more. Among the government’s arguments for expanding the policy is the use of cryptocurrency in crimes such as the distribution of ransomware.
Industry leaders, according to published reports, are complaining that the government’s 15-day comment period is too short and that the new regulations would make it hard to send funds to poor people without formal physical addresses.