Australia’s Major Banks Decide Against Bitcoin Buying Ban

Australia’s major banks, ANZ, NAB, and Westpac, confirmed they have no plans to ban customers from purchasing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This is a different approach than that of UK-based Lloyds Banking Group, and US banks JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citi.

Previously, large banks around the world decided to ban customers from using credit cards to purchase crypto in an effort to defray the potential cost of defaulted debt should markets crash.

ANZ told ABC the bank “does not prohibit customers buying digital or cryptocurrencies, or accepting them as a form of payment.” Despite that fact, the bank does monitor transactions for suspicious or fraudulent activity.

Westpac simply has no restrictions regarding cryptocurrency purchases at this time.

As for National Australia Bank, a spokesperson said, ”ASIC advises that, as most of the virtual currency exchange platforms are generally not regulated, customers may not be protected or have any legal recourse if the platform fails or is hacked.” Because of that, occasionally card transactions are denied if the bank feels the customer is at risk of fraud.

Some people wonder if these recent bank policies are truly for customer protection. In fact, it’s possible that banks are trying to keep themselves in business as cryptocurrency threatens to make them obsolete. Even so, banks are unable to stem the flow of money into the crypto marketplaces as people rush to get in on the wave of the future.

 

Can Crypto Self Regulate? CTFC Commissioner Wants Industry To Try

No doubt, Crypto regulations are here to stay. Now it’s a question of who will create the governing rules?

At yesterday’s Senate hearing, details about how and why crypto regulation is necessary were discussed at length. Overall, the tone of the hearings was cautiously optimistic, which is reasonably good news for investors and those considering investing.

After the hearing, Brian Quintenz, a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission suggested perhaps the industry could and should regulate itself.

On Tuesday at a cryptocurrency event in New York, Quintenz pointed out, ”One of the other takeaways from yesterday was you didn’t hear either chairman say ‘no, absolutely not, this is not safe, we must stop this at all costs.’ No one said that.”

The reason Quintenz and others felt that the industry should self-regulate is due to the nature of how long passing and enacting new regulations about cryptocurrency in the U.S. will take. That, combined with the fact that the market is worldwide, means that digital currencies might do well in self-regulating ahead of government regulations. In that way, they can help set the framework for possible future laws surrounding the new technology.

Adam White, the general manager of the Coinbase’s GDAX, also said that the group plans to be open to working with the government on the issue. He said, ”I think we embrace regulation at Coinbase. We recognize that regulations are a complementary part of the financial system in many ways.”

Others in the marketplace also embrace regulation like Ripple andBitPesa.

Ultimately, investors shouldn’t fear regulation, and instead, they should seek to back entities and cryptocurrencies who openly work with governments for realistic regulation as the entire system moves forward and grows.

 

 

Forbes Richest People In Cryptocurrency List Shines Light On Digital Currency

Forbes annually publishes lists of the world’s richest people. For the first time ever, the publication compiled a list detailing the world’s richest people in cryptocurrency.

According to Coin Telegraph, Forbes Editor Randall Lane said with the list the publication aimed to provide “a snapshot of a pivotal moment, part of the transparency needed to pull crypto away from its provenance as the favorite currency of drug dealers and into the adolescence of a legitimate asset class.”

Of course, figuring out the wealth of the world’s richest crypto tycoons wasn’t an easy task compared with its world’s richest people list.

The list contains five categories of crypto rich including “idealists, builders, opportunists, infrastructure players and establishment investors.” To appear on the list, people need at least $350 million in cryptocurrency worth. Not surprisingly, some estimates on the list could be off. Plus, some people may have been left off the list

Forbes staff writer Jeff Kauflin explained it well when he wrote that the “newly minted crypto rich live in a strange milieu that blends paranoid secrecy with ostentatious display.”

A decentralized, encrypted payment system outside of the traditional world financial system certainly comes with a shroud of secrecy. In fact, anonymity drew many investors in the first place.

Of interest, the average age of those on the list is 42 compared with those on the traditional list. The smaller sample size probably accounts for some of the discrepancies, but certainly not all.

Despite the difficulties, Forbes rounded up 19 people to include on its first ever richest in cryptocurrency list. The publication referred to those on the list as Prophets of the Boom.

Alas, most of us don’t appear on the list… this time.

Binance Halts Trading While Denying Hack

It’s happened many times before. An exchange halts trading, and later news or rumors of a hack hits, and people lose lots of money. So far, Binance denies it’s been hacked despite the fact that the exchange halted trading.

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange is experiencing a prolonged system upgrade, which it says is the reason for the halt in trading. Meanwhile, users are unable to trade or withdraw until 4 a.m. UTC on Friday.

According to Coindesk, the exchange released a statement that said, ”We will allow a 30-minute window where users can cancel open orders prior to trading being opened. We will continue to update every two hours until the upgrade is complete.”

Because news of the outage didn’t come until Wednesday, many customers found themselves in a limbo when it came to trades and withdrawals. Despite many user fears, those who run the exchange vehemently deny that it has experienced any type of hack.

The exchange, which launched in the summer of 2017, is one of the largest in volume trading as much as $500 million a day, so any major issues with Binance could lead to problems overall for cryptocurrency investors.

After Hack, Coincheck Exchange Handles $373 Million In Withdraws – In One Day

Yesterday, Japan’s Coincheck Exchange reinstated withdraws and investors rushed to take their money out of the recently hacked exchange.

According to Coindesk, $373 million was withdrawn as the exchange partially reopened after being hacked last month. Hackers stole $500 million-worth of NEM tokens.

The exchange hopes to normalize and recover from the hack. However, dramatic withdraw numbers could indicate that its customer base has little confidence. This may mean problems as Coincheck attempts to recover from the hacking setback.

An additional cause for concern for Coincheck is recent scrutiny from Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). The group conducted an on-site check after the major hack to ensure that the firm’s security measures were strong enough to protect the remaining funds on the exchange.

After the check, the FSA announced that Coincheck, along with 15 other crypto exchanges, hasn’t obtained full licensing as a result of ongoing security concerns.

Unfortunately, there is no timeline for when or how Coincheck will compensate victims of last month’s hack at this time. They do, however, plan to continue operating per chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka.

 

Bitcoin Nowhere Near Its Full Potential According to One Financial Expert

While Bitcoin and cryptocurrency suffered big losses in the past several weeks, recent news for most coins is bullish. In fact, recently, one financial expert said that BTC only reached 1% of its potential leaving plenty of room for profits.

According to SteemIt, financial expert Vincent Launay believes cryptocurrency is in its very young infancy. Of course, others like JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon believe that Bitcoin and its crypto siblings are simply a fraud destined for failure.

However, Launay believes we can see BTC’s future by looking at what it stands for today. Currently, the digital currency is a safe haven and a means of payment. As a safe haven, it’s comparable to gold, the dollar, the euro, and the yen.

Currently, the cash deposits in the $150 billion market cap Bitcoin are $12, 500 billion. Currently, the gold market is around $8,000 billion. That means that the $12,500 billion represents only 1% of the possible $150 billion market cap. To achieve just 50% of gold, the price of each BTC must reach $241,000.

That is nearly mind-boggling, and if the cryptocurrency maximizes its potential, those who hold it will become rich beyond their biggest dreams.

Have you invested yet?

Confirmation: Coinbase Reveals It Overcharged, Drained Customer Accounts

The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase accidentally charged its customers as much as 50 times too much on credit and debit cards. In many cases, this unexpected overcharging drained bank accounts or maxed out the credit cards.

More than one customer highlighted the discrepancy it what charges they expected versus what charges actually occurred on Reddit. While it’s often difficult to separate fact from fiction in online crypto forums, in this case, the discrepancies were all too real.

According to a Bitcoinist report, a member of Coinbase’s team took to Reddit to confirm the situation.

Justin_coinbase, an official member of Coinbase’s engineering team, wrote, “We are actively investigating some reports from our customers about unexpected credit or debit card charges appearing on their statements from previous Coinbase purchases. We can confirm that the unexpected charges are originating from our payment processing network, and are related to charges from previous purchases. To the best of our knowledge, these unexpected charges are not permanent and are in the process of being refunded…”

Ultimately, Coinbase is investigating the situation and in an update, another Coinbase team member revealed the issue originated downstream from the service, and that the exchange is working to correct the situation.

Coinbase is a wildly popular U.S. exchange, and more than 13 million registered users use it to trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

10 months ago

Robinhood Requests Explode With Addition Of Crypto Trading

Since its cryptocurrency trading announcement last week, requests for Robinhood Financial LLC accounts have exploded. In fact, in four short days, the brokerage’s waiting list ballooned to well over 1 million despite the fact that BTC lost about 50% of its value in the past six weeks or so.

Although Robinhood’s initial popularity came from allowing anyone to buy and trade stocks fee-free, the site plans to charge for cryptocurrency transactions, according to Bloomberg. However, they won’t take a commission, and the nominal fee simply allows Robinhood to defray the costs associated with trading crypto.

Right now, users are already able to track prices, news, and set up alerts for top coins on the app.

It’s no surprise why potential users are eager to jump on the Robinhood exchange. At a much lower cost than Coinbase’s 1.5% to 4% fee schedule in the United States, the app provides an attractive new option for buyers.

While trading is set to begin in February for those with “early access,” most users likely won’t be able to take action until sometime mid-year due to the overwhelming demand.

Despite growing concerns about government regulations as well as slow transactions and other complaints, the demand for cryptocurrencies doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon. That’s not surprising considering where things were just one year ago.

 

Crypto Trading Ban? South Korea Minister Says They Won’t

Another day, another cryptocurrency dip based on a possible government ban or new regulation news.

A South Korea lawmaker question about the government’s plans for industry regulation sparked fears of an outright ban, which happened recently in China. However, the country’s finance minister soothed concerns of a ban.

According to Reuters, Kim Dong-yeon said, “there is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency [market].” Instead, he clarified, “Regulating exchanges is [the government’s] immediate task.”

The country recently increased scrutiny of cryptocurrencies and added new rules that forbid the use of anonymous trading accounts, which means that users must become verified using their real names or face penalties for non-compliance.

Because South Korea is one of the world’s biggest bitcoin and altcoin trading markets, concerns of a ban led to a brief crypto selloff amid fears before the country moved to help calm the markets.

This type of near-daily volatility provides investors who can stomach steep drops an opportunity to buy low in hopes that prices stabilize and rise as government positions on crypto become clearer.

Misinterpreted Speech Leads To Bitcoin Selloff

Even something as minor as a misinterpretation of a government official’s speech is enough to spark a Bitcoin selloff these days.

India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley spoke to parliament on February 1, and he referred to cryptocurrency as an “illegitimate activities”  and promised a government crackdown, according to Coin Telegraph.

Jaitley said, “The government does not recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system.”

His comments were misinterpreted as an outright ban on crypto in India, which caused Bitcoin to fall below $9,226 on Thursday amid the uncertainty.

India’s leading Bitcoin company, Unicoin, tweeted that the announcement did not revise the government’s cryptocurrency stance.

Bitcoin interest in India remains high since the country reformed its currency. As for the government’s official policy on crypto, despite some warnings against it, nothing is formalized after two years of sporadic attempts.

Despite the misinterpretation of Jaitley’s statements, at this time, the government of India made no change in its policy regarding cryptocurrencies, which could mean a quick rebound in prices today.