100 60

Japan has officially revised its laws to provide more clarity – and tighter controls – over cryptocurrency.

The legislation amending the Payment Services Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act was formally enacted on May 31 and will take effect in April of next year.

Among the notable changes, the act does away with the definition of “virtual currency” and replaces it with the broader term “cryptographic assets.”

Further, any company even storing cryptocurrency will be considered a “cryptographic asset exchange” and thus required to register and maintain what experts believe will be an expensive license.

“Smaller companies will need abundant funds if more stringent management systems are required. It may be impossible to maintain existing business unless it changes,” said Masahiro Yasu, CEO of ALIS, token-based social media system that will be affected by the change.

The new law, which had been in the works for months, will also limit margin trading in cryptocurrency.

Craig Wright’s copyright registration of the original bitcoin white paper is starting to create ripple effects.

On May 28 Scribd, a service for posting downloadable documents on the Internet, notified CoinDesk that it had pulled down our copy of the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper.

“This is a notification that Scribd’s BookID copyright protection system has disabled access to Bitcoin White Paper (id: 411710754). This does not necessarily mean that an infringement has occurred, or that you have done anything wrong,” the company wrote in a terse email.

This was the link in question – a plain, unmodified copy of the Satoshi white paper. I also uploaded a copy calling it a musical production of the white paper. Scribd did not pull mine down although it should, theoretically, be covered by Wright’s copyright.

As we noted before, while Wright did register copyright for the white paper this means absolutely nothing unless someone contests the copyright in court. However, because systems like BookID most likely ping the US copyright database, copies of the paper will be dinged on public services.

Chilling effects

The chilling effects of this are very real. While in our specific case there is little concern the white paper will ever disappear – it will be here forever or until CoinDesk’s servers melt down – the loss of access could have far-reaching and unintended consequences.

What’s more, anyone can register a copyright for almost anything. Copyright – and patent-trolling – are already rampant in other parts of tech and it’s clear blockchain is next.

As for CoinDesk’s particular problem, everything seems back to normal… for now.

Jason Bentley, Legal Operations Manager at Scribd, wrote:

Our team has reviewed your response and has determined that Scribd’s BookID copyright protection system likely misidentified your content as infringing. We have restored your content and accompanying metrics. It may take several minutes for restored documents to re-appear on Scribd. BookID is part of Scribd’s diverse efforts to reinforce the rights of intellectual property rights holders. The volume of content in our copyright database prohibits us from proactively reaching out to uploaders before content is disabled.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and thank you for using Scribd.