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European Crypto Firms To Change EU Policy: What Do They Ask?

More than 40 cryptocurrency executives have asked the European Union not to require crypto firms to disclose transaction details and block attempts to crack down on fast-growing decentralized finance platforms.

Like countries and jurisdictions worldwide, the EU is working hard to tame the free-roaming cryptocurrency industry. The EU leads the US and UK in developing the rulebook for the $2.1 trillion industry.

Crypto firms are urging policymakers to ensure their regulation does not go beyond the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules, which sets anti-money laundering standards.

EU lawmakers voted last month to introduce new safeguards for tracking bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What Is the EU Rule Suggesting?

Rules opposed by Coinbase require crypto firms to collect and store information about who is involved in digital currency transfers.

In response to last month’s vote, 46 European crypto firm leaders and organizations said in their letter that the proposals would put any digital asset owner at risk as they would lead to public disclosure of transaction details and wallet addresses. Organizers of the letter say this would compromise the privacy and security of cryptocurrency holders.

The EU has also introduced a broader framework known as MiCA. MiCA should regulate all issuers and service providers in the EU dealing with crypto assets. The European Parliament recently approved its draft regulation. It will be negotiated with the EU executive branch and the heads of state and governments of member states.

The letter asks the EU to exclude decentralized projects from the requirement to register as a legal entity. It also stated that MiCA should not regulate certain decentralized “stablecoins.”

The UK has announced it will regulate stablecoins as part of plans to create a global center for crypto assets.

CoinShares CEO Jean-Marie Mognetti, who organized the letter, said that current crypto regulations in Europe are more complex than in other regions, hindering companies from growing in Europe.

Diana Biggs, the chief security officer at DeFi Technologies, who also organized the letter, said she is keen to increase the influence of the European crypto industry on policymaking in Brussels.

Crypto Firm Exmo Exits Russia and Belarus by Selling Some of Its Operations

London-based crypto exchange Exmo is the latest crypto trading platform to officially shut down operations in Russia and Belarus due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Exmo officially announced Monday that it is selling its digital asset business in Russia and Belarus to a Russian software development company.

The deal includes Exmo’s customer accounts in Russia and Belarus and the local Fiat lane system, Zhdanov said. The technical code of the platform is not for sale and is wholly owned by Exmo Group.

Exmo’s ultimate beneficial owner, Eduard Bark, will also leave the company. He will transfer his shares to Zhdanov as part of the deal.

In addition to Russia and Belarus, the deal includes Exmo’s operations in Kazakhstan, where the new owner’s team is based. The unnamed buyer owns both a Russian software development company and a Kazakhstan-based crypto exchange legal entity, the CEO noted.

Exmo modified its user agreement to no longer include residents of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan on its platform. The exchange deactivated the Russian ruble trading pair on Friday.

Exmo is a major cryptocurrency exchange that has existed since 2013. Russian entrepreneurs Ivan Petuhovski and Pavel Lerner are the founders of the exchange. Russia has been one of its key markets. Thus, the company’s exit from Russia will have a major impact on the stock market.

The news comes shortly after Belarus-linked cryptocurrency exchange Currency.com announced last week that it would cease operations in Russia.

Some major cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance still operate in Russia. Binance chose to comply with sanctions on specific sanctioned individuals rather than the entire country.

FBI And CSIA Warn Of North Korean Cyberattacks On Crypto targets

Last month, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI issued an alert on North Korea’s state-backed cyberthreat targeting blockchain companies in response to the Ronin Bridge hack.

The alert was issued on April 18 in conjunction with the FBI and the Treasury Department, which provide blockchain and crypto companies with alerts and mitigation recommendations to keep their own operations safe from hackers.

Lazarus isn’t the only hacker group classified as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).

Lazarus includes APT38, BlueNoroff, and Stardust Chollima. These groups and others like them have been targeting various organizations in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industries that the communique calls. The victims include crypto exchanges, decentralized finance protocols (DeFi), and money-making games.

According to a report by Chainalysis, their efforts filled a $400 million vault with stolen cryptocurrency in 2021. The regime has already surpassed that amount this year with the Ronin Bridge hack. From that hack, it extracted about $620 million in cryptocurrency in late March.

What Causes North Korea’s Intensive Cyberattacks On Crypto Assets?

The CSIA doesn’t think theft will decrease anytime soon, noting that groups use spear phishing and malware to steal cryptocurrencies.

Kim Jong Un’s steadfast refusal to phase out his nuclear weapons program has forced the United States to impose some of the most challenging economic sanctions on his country. This prompted him to turn to cryptocurrencies to fund the nuclear weapons program. His cash flow has almost completely shut down through traditional means.

The alert explains how these groups use malware such as AppleJeus to target blockchain and crypto companies. Also, it offers advice on how users can mitigate risk to themselves and their users’ funds.

Most recommendations relate to sound security practices, such as using multi-factor authentication for personal accounts, educating users about common social engineering threats, blocking newly registered domain emails, and endpoint protection.

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