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EU set to introduce new legislation for safe #Cryptocurrency exchange

Graham Paul

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According to a report by the Cyprus Mail, a new cryptocurrency legislation for safe cryptocurrency exchange could be introduced in the EU countries. By this new legislation, under the new guidelines, Bitcoin and other digital currencies will be named monetary instruments all through Europe. This means legal cryptocurrency exchange will be more transparent than ever. Moreover, it is said that this new legislation will encourage the innovation associated to crypto and blockchains sector, writes Graham Paul.

The European Union has been working to make an exchange regulatory and legal framework on cryptocurrencies for almost a year. In this regard, the European Commission opened a consultation in December 2019 during which it publicly asked about comments on crypto regulation. The consultation was attended by top private companies such as Google and PayPal. In is the consultation the EU commission discussed on how to make the regulation more feasible, the obstacles that they may face while implementing those regulation and how to tackle those obstacles in an organized and efficient way.

At the end of the long consultation, European Commission Executive President Valdis Dombrovskis said that it was the lack of legal certainty which was the main blockade in the development of a strong crypto asset market in EU. He also added that, with European companies as the leading front in the innovation for digital finance, there is a good chance for Europe to become a global standard setter and toughen its international standing with this new legislation.

Cryptocurrencies are to be categorized as financial objects

Bruno Schneider-Le Saout, the president of the Brussels-based Blockchain Federation said, the new enactment will uphold European computerized finance for a long time to come. He believes that this new legislation will bring legal certainty which is crucial for both crypto assets as well as for implementation of DLT (distributed ledger technology) services and tokenization of financial instruments. Schneider-Le Saou also added that, it is pivotal that cryptographic forms of money will be recognized as financial instruments. This would permit this benefit class to be included for the European Union's lawful instruments managing the business sectors. This new regulation will have a great impact over the previous one.

It is seen that often people shy away from using cryptocurrencies due to its ambiguous legal credibility. While exchange of cryptocurrencies is completely legal in Europe, some people still have the idea that, cryptocurrencies are mostly used for illegal exchange. The reason behind this is people’s misconception of crypto. A clear legislation that applies solid regulation will change people perspective of crypto. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used for legal day to day transactions now more than ever and it’s uses will multiply significantly in the near future.

A new study by Bitfury’s analytics platform Crystal has revealed that the US has the most cryptocurrency transaction record between Jan 1 2013 and June 30 2019. Followed by UK and Honk Kong. The EU countries are also in the top list. It can be expected that this new legislation will shape the number of exchanges of currencies for EU countries to the peak.

Cryptocurrency is a currency system that does not require a third party to exchange money. Cryptocurrency reaches the recipient directly from the sender. This system is called ‘peer-to-peer’ network system. The transaction is completed using cryptography which is a very secure process. Since no third-party entity controls the transaction process, it is not possible to determine the transaction dynamics of cryptocurrency. This means that no one can know who is sending money to whom. Cryptocurrency transactions can be done with complete anonymity.

Bitcoin is currently the most popular and valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, XRP, Tether, EOS are cryptocurrencies with a great potential. It can be expected that people in EU will engage in buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more once this new legislation is passed.

With the use of cryptocurrency being more prominent day by day it would be useful to know some of its advantages.

Advantages of using cryptocurrency

  • Cryptocurrency is a completely decentralized currency system. Neither the govt nor any authority controls it. As a result of the peer-to-peer system, every user here is the real owner of their cryptocurrency. Nobody else can take ownership of their bitcoin network. Eliminates the chances of fraud or deceit.

  • The whole process of cryptocurrency transactions is anonymous. A crypto user can open multiple crypto accounts. No personal information, like username, address, etc. is required to open these accounts. As a result, the important identity of the user remains secret. This means no identity theft.

  • Creating a cryptocurrency account is very easy. During this case, there's no got to fill any troublesome form like opening a traditional checking account. No extra fees are required. No paperwork is required. The crypto transaction process is extremely fast. regardless of where the bitcoin is shipped from, it'll reach the recipient during a matter of minutes. This makes immediate settlement.

  • The cryptocurrency transaction process is completed very transparently. Records of every transaction are stored during a blockchain that anyone can view from any a part of the planet.

  • Since cryptocurrency removes the middle man in the transaction, no need of transaction fees.

Safe cryptocurrency exchange

One of the main concerns that people have about exchange of cryptocurrencies is safety. Safe cryptocurrency exchange can only be ensured from a licensed cryptocurrency exchange company or site or organization. Safety being one of the top objectives of this new cryptocurrency legislation, people can except a safer and easier use of cryptocurrencies. It will set a global standard and will possibly have a big positive impact in the days to come. No doubt legislations and security measures will make safe cryptocurrency exchange easier and more credible.

With the use of cryptocurrency increasing day by day more, people will more and more engage in buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. But before buying and investing in cryptocurrency it is crucial to understand its values and trends. There are a few precautions that needs to taken before buying or investing in cryptocurrencies. There are many paths can can lead you to unsure line which could you in trouble. There are a lot of ways safe ways to buy cryptocurrencies but there are also many which are unsafe.These unsecured sources can lead to malware scams, fake bitcoins, ponzi scheme, ICO scam.So it is best to do know about the seller’s credibility. It is highly essential to buy bitcoin from a licensed cryptocurrency exchange site or company. It is necessary that the owner, site, or company has a legal credibility.

No one can predict the future. Some of the famous economists think that in the future cryptocurrency will run the world, paper notes will not exist. There is no doubt that the graph of importance of blockchain and bitcoin in the world is upward.Considering it’s great potential, buying and investing in crypto might be a step in right decision for a profitable future.

Consumer protection

How the EU aims to boost consumer protection

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Find out how the EU aims to boost consumer protection and adapt it to new challenges such as the green transition and the digital transformation. Society 

As the economy becomes more global and digital, the EU is looking at new ways to protect consumers. During the May plenary, MEPs will debate the digital future of Europe. The report focuses on removing barriers to the functioning of the digital single market and improving the use of articial intelligence for consumers.

Infographic illustration on consumer protection in the European Union
Reinforcing consumer protection  

New consumer agenda

Parliament is also working on the new consumer agenda strategy for 2020-2025, focusing on five areas: green transition, digital transformation, effective enforcement of consumer rights, specific needs of certain consumer groups and international cooperation.

Making it easier to consume sustainably

The 2050 climate neutrality goal is a priority for the EU and consumer issues have a role to play - through sustainable consumption and the circular economy.

Infographic illustration on Europeans support tackling climate change
Sustainable consumption  

In November 2020, MEPs adopted a report on a sustainable single market calling on the European Commission to establish a so-called right to repair to make repairs systematic, cost efficient and attractive. Members also called for labelling the lifespan of products as well as measures to promote a culture of reuse, including guarantees on pre-owned goods.

They also want measures against purposefully designing products in a way that makes them obsolete after a certain time and reiterated demands for a common charger.

The Commission is working on right to repair rules for electronics and legislation on the environmental footprint of products to enable consumers to compare.

The review of the Sale of Goods Directive, planned for 2022, will look into whether the current two-year legal guarantee could be extended for new and pre-owned goods.

In September 2020, the Commission launched the sustainable products initiative, under the new Circular Economy Action Plan. It aims to make products fit for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy while reducing waste. It will also address the presence of harmful chemicals in products such as electronics and ICT equipment, textiles and furniture.

Making the digital transformation safe for consumers

The digital transformation is dramatically changing our lives, including how we shop. To help EU consumer rules catch up, in December 2020 the Commission proposed a new Digital Services Act, a set of rules to improve consumer safety across online platforms in the EU, including online marketplaces.

MEPs want consumers to be equally safe when shopping online or offline and want platforms such as eBay and Amazon to step up efforts to tackle traders selling fake or unsafe products and to stop fraudulent companies using their services.

MEPs also proposed rules to protect users from harmful and illegal content online while safeguarding freedom of speech and called for new rules on online advertising giving users more control.

Given the impact of artificial Intelligence, the EU is preparing rules to manage its opportunities and threats. Parliament has set up a special committee and emphasises the need for human centric legislation. The Parliament has proposed a civil liability regime for artificial intelligence that establishes who is responsible when AI systems cause harm or damage.

Strengthening the enforcement of consumer rights

EU countries are responsible for enforcing consumer rights, but the EU has a coordinating and supporting role. Among the rules it has put in place are the directive on a better enforcement and modernisation of consumer law and rules on collective redress.

Addressing specific consumer needs

Vulnerable consumers such as children, elderly people or people living with disabilities, as well as people in financial difficulties or consumers with limited access to the internet need specific safeguards. In the new consumer agenda, the Commission plans to focus on problems with internet accessibility, financially vulnerable consumers and products for children.

The Commission’s plans include more offline advice for consumers with no internet access as well as funding to improve the availability and quality of debt advice services for people in financial difficulties.

Because children are particularly vulnerable to harmful advertising, Parliament has approved stricter rules for audiovisual media services for audiovisual media services.

Guaranteeing the safety of products sold in the EU

Consumers often purchase goods manufactured outside the EU. According to the Commission, purchases from sellers outside the EU increased from 17% in 2014 to 27% in 2019 and the new consumer agenda highlights the need for international cooperation to ensure consumer protection. China was the largest supplier of goods to the EU in 2020, so the Commission will work on an action plan with them in 2021 to increase the safety of products sold online.

In November 2020, Parliament passed a resolution calling for greater efforts to ensure that all products sold in the EU are safe, whether manufactured within or outside the EU or are sold online or offline.

Next steps

Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee is working on the Commission proposal for the new consumer agenda. MEPs are expected to vote on it in September.

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coronavirus

Coronavirus: Health Security Committee updates the common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The Health Security Committee (HSC) has agreed to update the common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs), including those whose results are mutually recognised by EU member states for public health measures. Following the update, 83 RATs are now included in the common list, of which the results of 35 tests are being mutually recognised. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Rapid antigen tests play a crucial role to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Diagnostics are a central element for member states in their overall response to the pandemic. Having a wider list of recognised rapid antigen tests will also make it easier for citizens to benefit from Digital Green Certificates and to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU in the coming months.”

In addition, the Commission and the Joint Research Centre have agreed on a new procedure for updating the list of common and mutually recognised RATs in the future. From today onwards, RATs manufacturers will be able to submit data and information for certain tests that meet the criteria agreed by the Council on 21 January 2021. This includes only those rapid tests that are being carried out by a trained health professional or other trained operator and excludes rapid antigen self-tests.  Moreover, as part of the new procedure, the HSC is setting up a technical working group of national experts to review the data submitted by countries and manufacturers and to propose updates to the HSC.

They will also work with the JRC and the ECDC on a common procedure for carrying out independent validation studies to assess the clinical performance of RATs. The updated common list of COVID-19 RATs is available here. Manufacturers can submit data on rapid antigen tests available on the market here. The Council Recommendation on a common framework for the use and validation of RATs and the mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results in the EU can be found here.

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Mohsen Rezaee emerges as the West's man on the ground

Guest contributor

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As nuclear talks in Vienna stall, negotiators are keeping a close eye on Iran’s upcoming presidential elections, the outcome of which could be key to breaking the current deadlock, writes Yanis Radulović.

With a fourth round of talks set to resume in Vienna this week, pressure is mounting on high-ranking European negotiators to reach an accord that bridges the geopolitical chasm between Washington and Tehran and brings Iran back into compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A historic non-proliferation agreement and widely regarded as one of the Obama administration’s premier foreign policy achievements, the JCPOA set out a framework to curtail Iran’s nuclear breakout time and established formal steps for capping the enrichment of fissile material, scheduling transparent atomic facility inspections, and dismantling excess centrifuge installations. In return for sustained compliance with this framework, the U.S. and other major world powers agreed to a gradual lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

When the US withdrew from this landmark agreement in 2018, the European co-signatories of Germany, France, and the UK stepped up to keep the deal alive. However, European relations in the region quickly became strained by the revival of Washington’s “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran, a campaign which aimed to strangle the Iranian economy via unilateral sanctions and escalatory retaliatory actions.

Unsurprisingly, Washington’s pivot to maximum pressure has placed major European powers in a foreign policy double bind. While the recent uptick in U.S.-Iran tensions has trended downwards since the election of President Joe Biden, his predecessor’s approach in the region has had a lasting effect upon Iranian goodwill towards multilateral agreements like the JCPOA.

For the European co-signatories, the nuclear talks in Vienna are embedded within a broader strategy of strategic détente and diplomatic reintegration between Europe and Iran. Beyond the obvious advantages of nuclear non-proliferation, Europe is also eyeing a future where Iran can step up as a fully-fledged, sanction-free actor on the international stage. Despite having an estimated 9 percent share of the world’s oil reserves, the sanction-sapped Iranian economy is woefully underdeveloped. Throw in the simulative potential of Iran’s frozen assets — estimated to be worth between $100 and $120 billion — and it’s easy to see why Europe views Iran as such a promising partner for foreign direct investment.

On a condition of anonymity, a senior official from the US State Department spoke with Reuters and shed some light on the likelihood of a deal being inked during the fourth round of talks, saying: "Is it possible that we'll see a mutual return to compliance in the next few weeks, or an understanding of a mutual compliance? It's possible yes.”

Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s top negotiator, is slightly more pessimistic at the chances of a deal in the immediate future. Speaking on state TV, Araqchi emphasized that Iran would not rush into a new deal without a stable framework of safeguards.

"When it will happen is unpredictable and a timeframe cannot be set. Iran is trying (for) it to happen as soon as possible, but we will not do anything in a rush," Araqchi said.

As formal talks stall, European negotiators are looking at Mohsen Rezaee, one of three front-runners in the upcoming Iranian presidential elections, to cut through the diplomatic red tape and promote mutually beneficial collaboration with the US and EU.

Unlike his fellow presidential candidates, Rezaee is not a lifelong politician. Nevertheless, with a career spanning the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the Expediency Discernment Council, Rezaee is a seasoned diplomat and pragmatic negotiator. Perhaps Rezaee’s most impressive achievement is the fact that in all his years of civil, military, and political service, he has never once been subject to a corruption scandal or criminal probe.

While established politicians like Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif may be a more conventionally attractive partner with the West, there is growing conviction in Europe that Rezaee, a well-rounded, well-respected, and reliable candidate, is the man best suited to represent Iran and its position on international nuclear negotiations.

A proven leader who is unafraid to express his opinions, Rezaee has repeatedly shown that he is capable of adjusting his opinions and uniting coalitions. Despite his role as a representative of the “Revolution Generation”, Rezaee has made it clear that he is no radical. After years of civil service, Rezaee has broken ranks with many of the hardline views that are commonplace in the IRGC. In fact, in an interview with the Tehran Times, he went as far as to dismiss a nuclear arms race as unwise, remarking: “Political wisdom requires not to chase weapons that can destroy the entire humanity.”

With impediments to progress rearing at every turn in Vienna, it has become abundantly clear that the West needs a man on the ground in Iran. Mohsen Rezaee, and the emerging movement he represents, may be the key to breaking the deadlock in negotiations and bringing Iran back as a major player in the global economy.

The opinions expressed in the above article are thoseof the author alone, and do not reflect any opinion on the part of EU Reporter.

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