Cryptocurrencies should be regarded as high-risk investments, Dubai financial regulator says

Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables individuals to transfer value to each other and pay for goods and services, bypassing banks and the mainstream financial system. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Cryptocurrencies should be regarded as high-risk investments, Dubai financial regulator says

DUBAI: Dubai’s financial regulator on Wednesday cautioned potential investors the risks associated with online products involving cryptocurrencies, which it described as “high-risk investments.”
“The DFSA would like to make it clear that it does not currently regulate these types of product offerings or license firms in the Dubai International Financial Center, DIFC, to undertake such activities,” the Dubai Financial Services Authority said in a statement.
“Before engaging with any persons promoting such offerings in the DIFC, or making any financial contribution toward such offerings, the DFSA urges potential investors to exercise caution and undertake due diligence to understand the risks involved.”
The regulator said that these products usually involve the issuance of some form of virtual coin, token or other symbol of virtual currency in return for payment of a subscription price, and are offered to the public through fundraising events referred to as ‘Initial Coin Offering,’ ‘Initial Token Offering’ or ‘Token Sale’.
“The DFSA wishes to highlight that these types of product offerings, and the systems and technology that support them, are complex. They have their own unique risks, which may not be easy to identify or understand,” DFSA said.
“Such risks may increase where offerings are made on a cross-border basis. These offerings should be regarded as high-risk investments.”
Earlier this week Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, described bitcoin as a ‘fraud’ and was ‘worse than tulips bulbs,’ referring to a famous market bubble from the 1600s.
“The currency isn’t going to work. You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart,” Dimon said at a banking investor conference in New York.


EU’s Barnier urges UK to accept EU court deal for Brexit

Updated 26 May 2018
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EU’s Barnier urges UK to accept EU court deal for Brexit

  • Brexit negotiator says Britain playing "hide and seek" by delaying details on trade relationship.
  • UK ministers decry remarks as not "helpful."

BRUSSELS: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned Britain on Saturday that failing to agree a deal on the governance of a withdrawal treaty which preserves the primacy of the EU court would mean no treaty and no transition period.

Barnier also described British delays in spelling out what kind of trade relationship London wants as “a game of hide and seek” in remarks prepared for delivery to a gathering in Portugal of jurists specialized in EU law.

He chided British criticism of EU positions as a “blame game,” urging London to recognize that it could not retain many elements of EU membership after Brexit.

The sharp tone of the former French minister’s remarks follow several days of talks in Brussels between his team of EU negotiators and British counterparts, after which a senior EU official dismissed as “fantasy” both London’s overall proposals for future close relations and an offer to avoid a disruptive “hard border” between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

British ministers said those remarks were not “helpful.”

Barnier said he was ready to have “political level” talks to try to advance in three key areas where uncertainty remains, 10 months before Britain is due to leave in March 2019 — how to rule on future disputes over the withdrawal treaty, a “backstop” solution for the Irish border and a framework for future ties.

Referring to discussions within Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on whether to drop an insistence on having no customs union, he said: “If the United Kingdom would like to change its own red lines, it must tell us. The sooner the better.”
“We are asking for clarity,” he added. “A negotiation cannot be a game of hide and seek.”

On the issue of the governance of a withdrawal treaty, which both sides hope to have ready around October, Barnier repeated the EU’s insistence that primacy of the European Court of Justice inside the Union be maintained in regulating any dispute that could not be resolved by a joint committee appointed by the political leadership of the two sides.

“We cannot accept that a jurisdiction other that the Court of Justice of the European Union determines the law and imposes its interpretation on the institutions of the Union,” he said.

The role of British judges would be respected, he added.

But without an agreement on this, the whole deal would collapse: “Without an agreement on governance, there will be no withdrawal agreement and so no transition period.”

Many businesses are counting on an interim accord to maintain a broad status quo between Britain and the EU after Brexit until the end of 2020.

Barnier, who has been hoping to making substantial progress on key issues before May meets fellow EU leaders at a Brussels summit in a month, also criticized what he called a “blame game” in which British officials were accusing the EU of failing to show flexibility to allow continued close cooperation in areas such as security, the economy and research.

This, Barnier said, was to ignore the close legal framework within the EU which was the basis for trust and cooperation among its nation-state members. “We cannot share this decision-making autonomy with a third country,” he said.

“The United Kingdom must face up to the reality of the Union ... It is one thing to be inside the Union and another to be on the outside.”