In this issue:

Canadian Ether Fund Launches, Swiss Bank Tokenizes Shares, New German Law Passed

Blockchain Solutions Launch in Wine, Royalties Management and Clothing Industries

UK and Estonia Take Diverging Approaches to Crypto Registration, Dark Market Seized

Canadian Ether Fund Launches, Swiss Bank Tokenizes Shares, New German Law Passed

Earlier this month, 3iQ Corp., a Toronto-based investment management firm, announced the listing of its fund, The Ether Fund (the Fund), on the Toronto Stock Exchange, following the recent completion of its initial public offering for approximately US $76.5 million. The Fund aims to provide investors with the ability to purchase shares in the Fund and receive exposure to changes in ether’s price over time. The same company launched a similar bitcoin fund earlier this year.

This week, Sygnum announced that it was the world’s first bank to tokenize its shares on a distributed ledger, thereby laying the foundation for a future public offering. The bank currently holds a banking license in Switzerland and a Singapore asset management license, and it plans to eventually list shares in those two countries. The announcement states that tokenization will allow the share registry to continuously and automatically update whenever capital increases or share transfers occur, allowing the bank to manage primary and secondary market transactions in a fully digital manner.

On Wednesday, the German government passed legislation to introduce all-electronic securities as part of a wider blockchain strategy. The law relaxes rules that had required issuers and holders of securities to document transactions with hard-copy, paper certificates. The country’s finance minister stated that electronic certification, which includes blockchain-based securities, is “the future” and will cut costs and administrative burdens.

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Blockchain Solutions Launch in Wine, Royalties Management and Clothing Industries

Late last week, a major global technology firm and eProvenance, a “company specializing in monitoring and analyzing wine shipment conditions,” announced the launch of VinAssure, a “blockchain-powered platform that offers a smarter and highly secured way to track wines as they move through distribution from vineyard to consumer.” According to a press release, the first member of VinAssure is “a U.S. importer of responsibly-sourced wines, cider and spirits from independent producers in Spain and France.”

This week, a different major global technology firm and a Big Four professional services firm announced the expansion of a “blockchain-based solution for gaming rights and royalties management to provide a financial system of record, from contract creation to payment and reconciliation.” According to a press release, the solution now, among other things, improves the process for recording royalties and generates “accounting entries from the blockchain platform into existing ERP applications.”

According to another recent report, a French fashion brand has partnered with blockchain startup SUKU to begin tracing provenance data related to recycled clothing. The SUKU platform is reportedly powered by the Ethereum-based Quorum blockchain.

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UK and Estonia Take Diverging Approaches to Crypto Registration, Dark Market Seized

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set up a Temporary Registration Regime to allow cryptoasset firms that have applied for registration with the FCA to continue trading. The Temporary Registration Regime is meant for existing cryptoasset businesses that applied for registration before Dec. 16 and whose applications are still being assessed. New businesses are required to have full registration with the FCA before trading.

Estonia, on the other hand, has cracked down on cryptocurrency companies. According to reports, Estonia has withdrawn licenses from over 1,000 crypto companies in 2020 due to the cost of monitoring compliance. Meanwhile, Europol released a press release this week announcing that the Finnish Customs have shut down the Sipulimarket dark web marketplace and seized all of its content. This takedown was carried out in collaboration with the Polish Provincial Police Headquarters in Wroclaw and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and Eurojust.

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