Arizona senator doubles down on crypto amid the winter of discontent: Law Decoded, Jan. 23-30

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Even though this winter continues to stress test the case for Bitcoin (BTC) advocation, some lawmakers strive to put their names on the crypto hot list among the likes of United States Senators Cynthia Lummis and Pat Toomey. State Senator Wendy Rogers, 68, introduced two bold bills in the Arizona legislature. One focuses on making BTC legal tender in the U.S. state. If passed into law, BTC will have the same status as the U.S. dollar, becoming an accepted medium of exchange for debt payment, public charges, taxes and dues in the state. The bill is not Rogers’ first attempt at making BTC legal tender, with a similar bill defeated in 2022.

Rogers also participated in introducing a bill that seeks to make crypto a tax-exempt property in the state. Alongside Senators Sonny Borrelli and Justine Wadsack, Rogers proposed to let Arizona residents decide on amending the state’s constitution regarding property taxes. Should the measure pass the legislature, voters could choose to make digital currencies — specifically tokens that are not “a representation of the United States dollar or a foreign currency” — tax-exempt.

Though not so bold, another important bill was introduced to the New York State Assembly. The bill would allow state agencies to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for fines, civil penalties, taxes, fees and other payments charged by the state. The bill does not obligate state agencies to accept crypto as payment, but it does clarify that state agencies can legally agree to accept such payments and that the courts should enforce these agreements.

The fate of crypto legislation will be decided by Panama’s Supreme Court

Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo sent the crypto legislation passed last year to the high court for review, claiming the so-called “crypto bill” is unenforceable and violates the constitution’s core principle. President Cortizo also argued that the bill had been approved through an inadequate procedure following his partial veto of the legislation in June 2022. At the time, the president argued that the bill needed more work to comply with new regulations recommended by the Financial Action Task Force to improve fiscal transparency and prevent money laundering.

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South Korea to deploy cryptocurrency tracking system in 2023

South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has announced plans to introduce a crypto-tracking system to counter money laundering initiatives and recover funds linked to criminal activities. The “Virtual Currency Tracking System” will be used to monitor transaction history, extract information related to transactions and check the source of funds before and after the remittance. While the system is slated to be deployed in the first half of 2023, the South Korean ministry shared plans to develop an independent tracking and analysis system in the second half of the year.

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US securities regulator probes Wall Street over crypto custody

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been probing traditional Wall Street investment advisers that may offer digital asset custody to its clients without the proper qualifications. Much of the SEC’s efforts in this inquiry examine whether registered investment advisers have met the rules and regulations around the custody of client crypto assets. By law, investment advisory firms must be “qualified” to offer custody services to clients and comply with custodial safeguards set out in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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