Crypto regulation in September: no more whack-a-mole

For those of us observing the market for a while, crypto regulation has gone through a veritable transformation in 2018.

While changes have been slow (as regulation usually is) their combined effect is profound. This time last year, cryptocurrency regulation was considerably less organized and standardized. According to Bloomberg, regulators were playing something of a game of whack-a-mole while trying to make sense of an emerging industry.

Since then, legislators have found a much firmer footing. While the potential impacts of decentralization remain elusive for most, regulatory bodies around the world are by and large keen to tackle cryptocurrency and industry legislation has therefore taken significant steps on the past year.

Here’s a rundown of the regulatory status quo in top crypto geographies around the world.


Al through August, the crypto-world has been hearing echoes of the SEC’s initial rejection and subsequent reconsideration of bitcoin ETFs. A number of congressmen and women have come forward after new rulings by Congress that all House Members should disclose any crypto holdings. Meanwhile, a self-regulatory committee (VCA), led by the Winklevoss brothers, is set to meet for the first time this month to discuss the current state of US crypto legislation.

States in the news


California is leading the way in exploring the potential of blockchain technology on a statewide basis. A blockchain bill has recently been finalized, proposing a study group which will explore the technology’s potential within the state and consolidate the legal status of digital assets in California.


The state of Vermont is on the way to becoming a crypto-haven within the USA. Its newly minted law is said to pave the way for blockchain-based businesses. The law “provides the opportunity for companies looking to come down on the side of the consumer with regard to data privacy.”


The legal landscape is China continues to be volatile. A blockchain 101 was published for government officials to learn more about the technology, while users of popular communication tools (such as WeChat and Tencent) are facing a major crackdown began on crypto activity. To add further confusion, the detention of OKEx founder Star Xu came as a shock to many and caused further confusion.

The Chinese government has not made any announcements thus far regarding regulation, but the global industry continues to be puzzled by the ongoing rate of blockchain development in China despite apparent prohibition.


The Financial Services Authority, Japan’s main financial regulator, has recently appointed a new chief, Toshihide Endo, who is backing growth in the cryptocurrency industry. Mr. Endo has been clear from the start: he does not intend to impose ‘excessive’ regulations on the space. That being said, legislators are looking closely at speculative investing in Japan, and the screening process for applicants registering on cryptocurrency exchanges has become significantly more rigorous.

South Korea

South Korea has long been a worldwide leader in blockchain regulation and innovation. The government continues its push for blockchain growth by introducing a $4 billion budget for innovation in the space in 2019. From a legislation perspective, a Blockchain Law Society has been established by a group of judges, lawmakers and industry experts to discuss the pending legal aspects.

Meanwhile, across the border, there have been rumors that a North Korean blockchain and cryptocurrency conference may be happening as early as October 2018.


Promises of a hot regulatory didn’t quite come to fruition in Russia. Regulators still haven’t established a legal framework for the asset class and progress has been sparse. Many are still speculating about the potential outcomes. At present, there seem to be as many opinions as there are government officials, so the immediate regulatory landscape for digital assets in Russia remains unclear.


The Finance Ministers of the European Union member states met this month to discuss current regulation in the crypto industry and whether or not it needs to be tightened with regard to potential issues such as terrorist activities and money-laundering. The response from the meet was generally positive, with European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis quoted as saying cryptocurrencies ‘are here to stay despite market turbulence’.

A longer and more detailed version on this piece first appeared on the Element Blog.

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Crypto regulation in September: no more whack-a-mole was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.