The United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) case to prove Ether is a security may not have been as strong as it let on. The SEC closed its investigation into whether Ether is a security on June 19.

Consensys lawyer Laura Brookover said there will be “no more protestations from the SEC that Ether is a security.” She said it was a reaction to being pushed to “lift the subpoenas on Consensys given their recent ETH [exchange-traded fund] rule change approvals predicated on ETH being a commodity.”

The letter from Consensys states that the SEC’s approval of spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) indicated that it had “updated its position to classify Ether as a commodity and not a security.”

However, the Commission itself has not publicly confirmed Consensys’ thesis. An SEC spokesperson told Cointelegraph it “does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation.”

Still, Carol Goforth, a professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law specializing in business associations and securities regulation, claims that the SEC’s approval of a spot Ether ETF does not mean ETH is a commodity. She added that there are already ETFs with commodities as the underlying asset.

Iran launches CBDC pilot

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is launching a national digital currency (CBDC) in a public pilot targeting domestic micropayments.

As part of the pilot, the Iranian digital currency will be available to banking customers and tourists on the island of Kish. The pilot started on June 21, the first day of the calendar month of Tir.

An island of 92 square kilometers, Kish is the second largest island in the Persian Gulf, located south of Iran.

Kish is a popular tourist destination, reportedly hosting around 12 million visitors each year. As Kish operates one of Iran’s free trade zones, tourists from many countries are exempted from obtaining a visa to visit Kish.

As part of the pilot, bank customers and tourists will be able to use the digital rial to pay for goods and services by scanning a barcode through special software. The digital rial introduces an additional payment method in addition to cash and bank cards.

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Uphold delists stablecoins on European market, citing MiCA

Cryptocurrency exchange Uphold has sent a notice to its European users informing them that the platform will end support for six popular stablecoins from July 1. 

Uphold says it is delisting the stablecoins to align with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA).

The six stablecoins are Tether (USDT), Frax Protocol (FRAX), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Pax dollar (USDP) and TrueUSD (TUSD).

Users holding these stablecoins must convert them to a different cryptocurrency before June 28, after which the cryptocurrency exchange will automatically convert them into USD Coin (USDC).

MiCA, which will come into effect on June 30, places additional and stricter regulatory requirements on fiat-backed stablecoins and e-money tokens that have crossed a predetermined adoption threshold, as determined by a set of seven quantitative and qualitative indicators.

In addition to requiring fiat-backed stablecoins to be backed by a 1:1 ratio of liquid reserve and issuers to create and maintain a reserve of assets held in custody by a third party isolated from other assets, the rule flatly forbids algorithmic stablecoins.

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Italian government to ramp up surveillance of crypto market

Italy is set to ramp up surveillance of the crypto markets as part of its compliance with the MiCA regulatory framework.

Under the new regulations, Italy will increase oversight over the digital asset markets to curb and punish insider trading and market manipulation schemes.

The decree stipulates fines ranging between 5,000 and 5 million euros ($5,400–$5.4 million) depending on the severity and scope of the regulatory violations.

MiCA regulatory framework is forcing blockchain firms to make some tough calls, while decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols are left with the difficult choice of fully decentralizing their networks or submitting to the framework’s Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer regulations.

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