Bitcoin and its peers are going to face regulation, the European Commission has signaled, while in Switzerland, the chairman of the stock exchange has sought a central bank-backed cryptocurrency. In Asia, a Thailand bank has ended the account of a leading cryptocurrency exchange and in Canada, a bank has banned customers from using credit cards for cryptocurrency transactions. And a rapper admitted that the news about him owning a Bitcoin stash was fake.
EU Ready To Regulate Cryptocurrencies; Urges Nations To Embrace Blockchain
The European Union is preparing itself to regulate cryptocurrencies if risks emerging from the sector are not handled at the international level, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Monday after a round-table on cryptocurrencies. The financial services commissioner stated that the EU will take the decision on addressing the issue of cryptocurrencies later this year or early in 2019. Further, he said blockchain technology holds a strong promise for financial markets and urged the nations to accept it to remain competitive, but by checking problems that expose investors to substantial risk.
Swiss Stock Exchange Chairman Favors SNB-backed ‘e-franc’
Switzerland’s domestic economy is set to benefit from a central bank-backed cryptocurrency, Romeo Lacher, chairman of the country’s stock exchange, said. In an interview to the Financial Times newspaper, published Sunday, Lacher said Switzerland should consider launching a cryptocurrency equivalent to the Swiss franc called “e-franc”, to emerge a leader in digital technologies. The “e-franc” would also boost electronic payment systems that are increasingly replacing cash, he said. “I believe there would be a lot of upsides, we would be strongly supportive,” Lacher told FT. Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank responded in negative, maintaining that there was “no need” for an “e-franc”, FT reported.
Bangkok Bank Terminates Account Of Thai Crypto Exchange TDAX
Thai bank Bangkok Bank has terminated account transactions of Thailand’s second largest privately held cryptocurrency exchange Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX), claiming that its activities are not in accordance with its business purpose registered with the Commerce Ministry, according to a Bangkok Post report. However, TDAX Founder and Chief Executive Poramin Insom said its trading of bitcoin and 10 other cryptocurrencies would not be affected despite the termination of the bank account. Insom added that investors can conduct transactions with three other banks, namely Kasikornbank (KBank), Siam Commercial Bank and Krungthai Bank.
Canada’s TD Bank Also Bans Use Of Credit Cards To Buy Cryptocurrency
Canada’s largest bank Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank) is banning the use of its credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, according to an email statement by the bank on Friday. The ban follows a similar move by several banks in the U.S. and the U.K. Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canada’s second-largest bank by assets, said in an email statement that “it does allow its credit and debit cards to be used for transactions involving cryptocurrency in limited circumstances.” However, RBC warned its customers on the highly volatile nature of the digital currency and also cautioned them on the possibility of a sudden drop in the value of cryptocurrencies which “could expose them to substantially higher debt levels than they are able to repay.”
Canada’s third-largest bank Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) also is closely monitoring its cryptocurrency transaction policy.
Chinese Retailer JD.com Launches Accelerator For Blockchain, AI Development
JD.com, one of China’s largest retailers and e-commerce companies, launched a new accelerator program for the development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. The Beijing-based program called AI Catapult will commence in March and will partner with blockchain startups to build new businesses and create and test real-world applications of their technologies at scale, the Fortune Global 500 company said in a statement on Tuesday. Initially, six startups will be part of the program.
Crypto Startup Circle Buys US-based Token Exchange Poloniex
Cryptocurrency startup Circle, backed by Goldman Sachs, announced Monday the acquisition of US-based digital asset exchange Poloniex. The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, while Fortune magazine reported that the deal is worth around $400 million. In a statement, Circle, which is based on blockchain technology and crypto assets, said Poloniex has grown to become a major token marketplace, and was one of the first exchanges in the world to offer meaningful liquidity in ethereum. It was also the first exchange to reach $1 billion in daily volume.
Rapper 50 Cent Denies Owning Any Bitcoin
50 Cent, the rapper who claimed in January that he had accepted bitcoins as payment for his album, officially admitted that he has never owned any bitcoin. The rapper declared in court that he “has never owned, and does not now own, a bitcoin account or any bitcoins, and…none of his companies had a bitcoin account from 2014 to the present,” celebrity news website The Blast reported, citing court documents that 50 Cent filed in his bankruptcy case. Late January, entertainment news website TMZ reported that 50 Cent had agreed to accept bitcoins as payment for his fifth album Animal Ambition and became the one of the first artists to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
As of 6.32 am ET on Tuesday, Bitcoin was up 10.14 percent at $10,670 and Ethereum was higher by 2.44 percent at $880.91 on Coinbase.