Vanguard Joins Fee-Free Race, Bithumb Fined $69 Million: Editor’s Pick

Keep up to date with the most interesting crypto and FX news stories so far in 2020.

It might be the holiday period, but this past week has been full of developments in the foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency industries. So let’s take a look at the most interesting stories in the first best of the week segment of 2020.

Vanguard enters the commission-free race

Mutual fund giant Vanguard Group has started off the new year by entering into the commission-free race. This week, the company said it would allow customers to trade stocks and options for free.

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As Finance Magnates reported, the no-fee trading structure went into effect Thursday for accounts of all sizes, wiping out Vanguard’s charges per trade, which ranges from $2 to $7. Option traders, however, should be aware that they will continue to pay $1 per contract, though commissions were eliminated.

What does 2020 have instore for crypto custody?

2019 was a big year for the crypto industry – Libra brought the arrival of “Big Tech” into the space, the launch of ICE’s Bakkt and Fidelity’s custody services brought more “legitimate” opportunities for institutional investors to enter into crypto, and the resurgence of crypto markets after the doldrums of 2018 filled the industry with a more mature and savvier investor base.

This week, Finance Magnates sat down with Dmitry Tokarev, the CEO of Copper, who discussed the current state of crypto custody and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. To find out what he said, listen to the interview here.

Spotware plans UK expansion in 2020

It goes without saying that 2019 was a difficult year for brokers, particularly with regulations making it harder to retain retail clients. However, there were those within the space that managed to move forward despite the challenges. Finance Magnates recently caught up with Alexander Geralis, Business Development Manager at Spotware, to see how the company fared in 2019 and what it expects for the year ahead.

Namely, despite the threat of Brexit now likely to be a done deal this year, the company isn’t moving away from the United Kingdom. In fact, Spotware is planning on focusing more on the region.

South Korea government won’t tax cryptos

This week South Korea delivered some good news to crypto traders, as the country’s government has decided not to impose any taxation on earnings from digital asset trading.

As Finance Magnates reported, the clarification came in a recent announcement by the country’s Ministry of Finance and Strategy, per which crypto trading profits cannot be taxed under the current laws.

SEC fines binary options marketers $60 million

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has imposed more than $60 million in fines and penalties against three US-based binary options marketers. Timothy Atkinson, his former business partner Jay Passerino, and their business ‘All in Publishing’ were accused of marketing fraudulent binary options to US customers on behalf of their associated brokers.

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The people in the videos told viewers that they were enjoying rich lifestyles from trading binary options. To find out more on the penalties, read the article here.

Crypto adoption in the Middle East

Finance Magnates started 2020 by taking a look at the cryptocurrency industry in the Middle East. What did we find? Although adoption might be slow in the region, there are several countries in the region that are truly taking notice.

From the UAE to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Lebanon, some private and public entities are willing to take the risk by embracing the new technologies earlier than the others. However, there are also other countries that decided to crack down on anything involving cryptocurrency.

2019: a year of migration for brokers and traders

It goes without saying that 2019 has been an eventful and, in many regions, a challenging year for retail brokers. Tightening regulations, lower trading volumes, and shifting trends have shaped the industry these past 12 months.

In the wake of all these changes – which regions benefitted and which jurisdictions have suffered? You’ll need to read our analysis here to find out.

Co-founder of Ethereum bail set to $1 million

Virgil Griffith, a co-founder of Ethereum, on Monday, was granted conditional bail by a judge at the US District Court in New York. The bail was set to $1 million, secured by the homes of his father and sister.

Griffith was arrested on Thanksgiving day, and the prosecutors brought charges against him for traveling to North Korea and teaching how to dodge sanctions using digital currencies in a conference organized by the government in Pyongyang. Read more here.

JPMorgan bids to secure majority stake of Chinese joint venture

JPMorgan Chase is moving to control 100 percent of its futures joint venture in China, a few weeks after the US bank secured the go-ahead to start operating its majority-owned securities business in the mainland.

JPMorgan has applied to win an auction to purchase the shares needed for a majority equity stake in its Chinese futures joint venture, pending regulatory approval. The lender is bidding for five percent of J.P.Morgan Futures Co., a joint venture between the bank and its local partner. JPMorgan currently owns 49 percent.

Bithumb fined $69 million for withholding tax

The final topic for this best of the week analysis concerns Bithumb. The South Korean crypto exchange ended 2019 on a sour note with multiple local news agencies reporting that the Korea Tax Service has imposed a fine for withholding tax of 80 billion won (over $68.9 million).

As Finance Magnates highlighted, the withholding tax penalty was imposed because the tax agency has no clear assessment standard for crypto businesses.

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