Skip to content

About us

eCounsel group

A boutique firm with unparalleled expertise in business and technology. We have good command of industrial ecology and legal practice, and have undertaken highly regarded cases. Because the small business scope, we pay more emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency, and choose clients with deliberation. The managing partner not only has extensive experiences in various legal issues more over than 20 years, but invests and manages several technology companies. In addition, he always checks each case rigorously. Clients’ business objectives are our primary focus. To achieve the same in the most cost-effective fashion trumps all seemingly sophisticated legal discussions.

Crypto - Fiat Financial Regulation

2018 - 09 - 07

Traditional financial institutions (e.g. banks) have been reluctant to work with cryptocurrencies and crypto businesses. Many banks treat crypto exchange businesses as high risk clients. In the end of last year, the Taiwanese Financial Supervisory Commission issued a public statement stated that banks and financial institutions shall not accept and exchange bitcoin, nor provide bitcoin service via ATM machines.

Anti-money laundering and fraud are the key factors to explain the banks’ conservative attitude towards crypto related businesses. However, being able to keep an account with a bank and use services provided by a bank is crucial for the continuation of an crypto business, particularly an exchange business. Here are 3 nations that take initiative to support crypto businesses when it comes to dealing with the banks.

Switzerland

Once known for its active and vibrant crypto industry, notably a “Crypto Valley” that supports over 200 crypto business entities, Switzerland is losing crypto businesses to offshore rivals due to hostile local banking relationships. Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB), the 4th largest Swiss bank, has closed the accounts of more than 20 crypto businesses. With more ICOs being issued in the nation, Swiss banks are worried that some ICOs would violate AML policies and put the banks at risk at the same time.

In order to restore the faith of a vibrant crypto industry and reassure the safety of local banks, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer step in and called for a meeting with the central bank and the bankers association to work on compiling a set a checks and conditions that all banks could follow when opening an account for crypto businesses.

Liechtenstein

Being the 6h smallest country in the world does not stop Liechtenstein from creating a welcoming environment for crypto businesses and fintech startups, in which the number of registered businesses are greater than its citizens.

Liechtenstein embraced more crypto businesses around the same time the Swiss started losing them. The reason why so many crypto businesses turned to Liechtenstein is the welcoming banking environment. Funds from ICOS are usually raised in crypto, such as bitcoin and ether, without exchanging them into fiat money the funds have very limited use in the broader economy. Nowadays, Bank Frick in Liechtenstein has become a popular choice for Swiss crypto businesses who struggled to secure a local account.

Some of the benefits that Liechtenstein offers include exemption from EU regulations while still trading across Europe due to financial passporting rules, low tax rate, and a friendly Blockchain Law ready to come into effect soon.

Israel

Bits of Gold, a local crypto exchange in Israel was denied banking service from Bank Leumi, one of the biggest banks in the country which the crypto exchange had held a account since 2014. In 2015, Bank Leumi decided to close its account despite the exchange’s lawful conduct. Since then, the exchange has been working with an injunction that allowed it to act until the final verdict. Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court passed a temporary order prohibiting Bank Leumi from blocking activities in Bits of Gold’s account.

“The Bank’s decision is based on the assumption that the Company’s activity does indeed entail risks that arise in violation of the provisions of the law, and therefore the Bank is liable to pay a price for the materialization of those risks. For over five years in which the account has been operating, these concerns have not materialized. as the District Court has determined, the company acted transparently and did not violate any provision of law.”

Recommended article 

The Evolution of Internal Control

【第肆章 – 內控基本觀念二】    既然內部控制是一種過程,那麼理論上從人類有群體社會之後就會出現內部控制的事實,比如說如何經營一個初始的家庭或是聚落等等。而在企業活動中,內部控制一詞最早是在1949年由美國會計師協會所提出來的。 依據1949年被提出的定義,內部控制是為了達到確保資產安全、確保會計資訊的正確、促進營運效率及確保員工遵循既定的管理政策之方法與措施,與現今廣為接受的定義是差不多的。 1950年內部控制第一次出現在美國的法律當中,要求公司要有相當的內部控制。 1958年美國會計師協會又將內部控制區分為會計控制及管理控制,前者著重財務文件的正確性及資產安全,後者促進營運效率及法管理政策之遵循。 1977年美國頒布「懲治外國行賄法案」,規定凡是受1934年證券交易法案規範之公開發行公司必須建立一套有效的內部控制。    1988年美國會計師協會澄清及擴大內部控制的觀念、認為內部控制結構包括三種組成要素:控制環境、會計制度、控制程序。    1992年美國COSO委員會提出「內部控制:整合性架構」(Internal Control:Integrated Framework),1994年提出整合性架構的補充報告,除了提出內部控制三大目標外還提出了五大組成要素:控制環境、風險評估、控制活動、資訊與溝通、監督。    1996美國會計師協會修正其審計準則公報,確認內部控制的架構是由COSO委員會提出的五大要素所組成。 1996年COSO委員會提出「內部控制衍生議題」(Internal Control Issues in Derivatives Usage)的研究報告。 2002年美國因應2001年所發生的恩龍案而制定了沙賓法案(Sarbanes-Oxley Act),其中第404條要求公司於提出年度財報時必須附加關於內部控制制度建立、維持及其有效性評估之報告,第302條則規定公司管理階層必須提出聲明書,保證公司揭露之財報或內部控制等相關報告所提供之資訊為真實。 整體上看來內部控制經歷了三種不同的階段,最初內部控制的概念是源自於內部牽制,一件事情分別由公司內的兩個人或兩個部門以上來處理,藉由互相牽制的辦事方法來防止舞弊或錯誤,此種分權的概念在18世紀工業革命後,大型企業出現後受到歡迎。 1940年代內部控制的概念慢慢擴及到企業的的各個領域,內涵已經包括了企業整提的經營手法及各種企業內制度,並且可以區分成會計控制與管理控制,各國法規也逐漸要求公司的內部控制符合相當的水準。內部控制制度在這個階段當中逐漸深化以及具體化。 於1990年代後內部控制又進入新的里程碑,COSO委員會針對內部控制制度提出三大目標、五大構成要素等,成為全世界內部控制制度理論的權威性研究報告,其內涵遠比先前的任何一個概念都來的廣泛。 參考資料: 1. 陳文彬,企業內部控制評估。2-3頁。 2. 内部控制的演進及其發展原因分析。

SEC Shows You What an ICO Fraud Look Like

According to ICO consulting firm Satis Group’s report, near 80% ICO projects can be seen as fraudulent. ICO is the hottest way for blockchain startups to raise funds. Companies can issue a token sale, which the…

Five Components of Internal Controls

Besides the three objectives, The COSO report also covers the five interconnected factors that constitute internal controls systems, which are control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication and monitoring. (一)控制環境 COSO報告除了三大目標之外還提出了組成內部控制制度、彼此互相關聯的五大要素,分別是控制環境(control environment)、風險評估(risk assessment)、控制活動(control activities)、資訊與溝通(information…