$700 Billion Senate Defense Bill Calls for Blockchain Cybersecurity Study / China’s New Blockchain

 

$700 billion defense bill passed by the US Senate

includes a mandate for a blockchain study to be conducted by the Department of Defense. Yesterday, the US Senate passed a massive defense spending package that provides hundreds of billions of dollars to the US military. Public records show that an amendment included in that bill, proposed by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, would "require a report on cyber applications of blockchain technology" if signed into law. According to the official Congressional website, the amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent ahead of the defense bill's final vote. The research effort, according to the amendment's text is

described as:

"…a report on the potential offensive and defensive cyber applications of blockchain technology and other distributed database technologies and an assessment of efforts by foreign powers, extremist organizations, and criminal networks to utilize these technologies."

The study, additional materials indicate, is expected to be delivered six months after the defense bill is signed into law. But more steps remain before the study's mandate becomes law, however. The House of Representatives – the lower chamber of the US Congress – passed a similar bill in July, and now the two bodies have to hammer out a reconciled version and pass it.

 

Regardless of its recent crackdown on bitcoin exchanges

and initial coin offerings (ICOs), China's government still appears committed to the potential of blockchain in other areas. According to a report by Caixin, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has launched a research facility called the Trusted Blockchain Open Lab in order to support the ongoing development of the technology in China. To be operated by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the blockchain lab will conduct research in the area of blockchain, as well as creating a platform for specialists to share their knowledge around the technology.

The news comes amid an evolving conversation about blockchain domestically.

As reported by the China Economic Review, Di Gang, vice director of the Digital Currency Research Institute within the People's Bank of China, warned at an event yesterday that technical blockchain specialists were lacking in comparison to those using the technology for economic reasons. "There have been many blockchain conferences where the number of business personnel exceeds technical personnel," the official said.

Following China's September 4 ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and later closure of several cryptocurrency exchanges, Reuters reports that Sun Guofeng, director general of the Digital Currency Research Institute, said that the ruling was "necessary and timely" to halt criminal activity in the sector. However, he stated blockchain itself is a "good technology," adding that "an ICO is not the only way through which one can carry out research into it."

He continued by promising the ban would not have a negative impact on the broader blockchain industry. Various tech giants in China are also currently working with the technology, including Tencent, who announced a blockchain research partnership with multinational tech corporation Intel at a conference earlier this month. Additionally, payment giant China UnionPay recently filed a patent for blockchain based ATM network, while the Midea Group, an electrical appliances manufacturer, is seeking to patent a method for mining bitcoin with household items.

Chuck Reynolds


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Malta Unveils Blockchain Advisory Committee/Bitcoin Bounties to Sniff Out Online Pirates

Malta Unveils Blockchain Advisory Committee

 

Blockchain technology is fast being adopted by governments and businesses alike.

The small island nation of Malta has already made news for hosting Bitcoin meetups and offering to legalize the cryptocurrency wholesale. Recent news from the country indicates that its embrace of Blockchain technology will continue, as the government has formally announced the formation of a Blockchain Taskforce which will provide the roadmap for implementation of the National Blockchain Strategy.

Malta an ‘ideal ecosystem’?

The news was shared via a press release from the government, which stated,

Among other things:

"Apart from exploiting the opportunities that Blockchain technology offers for added efficiency in public sector processes and services, the government is ambitiously looking into the setting up of a new regulatory function with the primary objective of harnessing the technology with a legal operational framework, serving as a bold initiative leading to the formation of an ideal ecosystem for those willing to invest in Blockchain technology. "

Even as China appears to be retreating from its Bitcoin dominance, other countries appear to be willing to take up the baton and run. The Taskforce will be in charge of evaluating proposals sent by private entities seeking government contracts for Blockchain implementation.

Bitcoin Bounties to Sniff Out Online Pirates    

 

Bitcoin is often seen as the currency of online pirates.

But content producers and rights holders may soon be embedding hidden Bitcoin bounties on to their work to help lead authorities to the pirates spreading it illegally. Anonymously claiming a hidden Bitcoin wallet embedded on a piece of media will firstly reward the so-called snitch, but also send an alert that information has been pirated and illegally shared.

Claim the bounty, report the pirate

It is a constant battle for right holders to maintain the control of their work, as blocking and closing down illegal websites is becoming more and more futile. It has seen a tech company based in South Africa called Custos Media Technologies take a different approach.

Their idea is that a hidden watermark, which contains a small amount of Bitcoin, can be placed on media files like movies or ebooks. If you’re the first person to find the watermark, you can claim the Bitcoin prize and in doing so will alert Custos. “Each watermark contains a Bitcoin wallet, with a reward for anyone who anonymously claims it once the media has passed out of the control of the original recipient,”

the company says.

“Media downloaders who want to search for such rewards can do so anonymously, from anywhere in the world. The moment a bounty is claimed — and by the nature of cryptocurrencies, this can only happen once — the transaction reflects on the Blockchain, and Custos notifies the media provider of the incident.”

Blockchain bounties make the system work

This idea set out by Custos again shows how Blockchain technology’s scope is increasing and finding more and more uses.In this case, as a bounty, the Blockchain is effective in delivering the bounty as the pirated software is found and reported.The system relies on a peer-to-peer architecture which allows users to transact directly without needing an intermediary and all transactions are recorded in a digital ledger that can’t be altered. Of course, the system also allows those doing the reporting to remain anonymous.

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Cryptocurrency Is A Bubble: What’s Next?

Cryptocurrency Is A Bubble:
What's Next?

 

In my article Cryptocurrency Is A Bubble I predicted it would crash.

Well I was wrong, it crashed twice.

In part two, Cryptocurrency Is A Bubble, Revisited,
I argued you should skill up because this was the big one.
Which I’m sure many are doing right now.

Now the big question is what is going to happen next?

It is going to crash again but the trend is going to be up punctuated with gut wrenching corrections. This is only the beginning, not the end, of Bitcoin and the other 1,000 altcoins. There is only one call to make. That call is simple and was highlighted by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan: Is cryptocurrency a fraud? JPMorgan thinks it is, and you'd think they should know, having been investigated by the likes of the FBI and fined bazzillions for such things.

However, I say no.

Clearly if you agree with Jamie Dimon and you are right that people just “can’t go around inventing their own currency,” you should just avoid the whole area. Don’t let go of that view and buy in at the top. Now that would be painful. If Dimon is right, cryptocurrencies will end badly just like many banks.

If cryptocurrencies are not frauds, they will grow. The key question, then, is what is the current market cap of all cryptocurrencies on earth now and what could it be in the future? It is currently $121 billion. (Though by the time you read this it might be a lot higher.) $121 billion is equivalent to the market cap of McDonald’s, esteemed purveyors of hamburgers.So here is the Google trends for them both–and I’ve thrown in the U.S. dollar, for fun.

Google trends for cryptocurrency versus Macdonald's and the U.S. dollarSo it looks as if Ronald, like China, needs to worry about Bitcoin becoming too important.But seriously, a financial instrument category with $121 billion float is not a material issue to the world economy.Or is it? Clearly China sees it as a looming threat. Having banned initial coin offerings (ICOs),  it then banned Bitcoin exchanges, hand that triggered this crash.

I think it is very bullish that China wants to clamp down. China bans powerful ideas because it cannot stand any but its own. China just endorsed the power of cryptocurrencies so any doubts about the strength of the concept can be forgotten. If cryptocurrency is this potent, then a market cap of $121 billion is a drop in the bucket. So what should the float of a global currency platform capable of making the Chinese government skittish be?

Let’s take gold as a benchmark–after all, that is what its fans claim it is. The market cap of gold reserves is held to be $5 trillion and gold is good for nothing but dentistry, electronics and payments in times of war. So why couldn’t cryptocurrencies match it? As long as a cryptocurrency can be accessed and created then its money supply can grow to meet the needs of its user base. As Bitcoin and the likes are nowhere near the mainstream then the upside must be multiples of where it is today. That could be a striking multiplier.

So what could go wrong?

The main risk is that cryptocurrencies could be banned outright everywhere. It is an obvious thought and the one grasped at most frequently. I don’t think this will happen, as for a start, politicians don’t close their own loopholes. Furthermore, it only takes one global jurisdiction to allow cryptocurrency and the distributed nature of cryptocurrencies and the Internet leaves the door wide open for all. What is more, blockchain technology has huge potential to revolutionize economies by building a trustless infrastructure with transparency. This will disintermediate layers of inefficient gatekeepers whose rent seeking behavior gums up the economies of the world with their unnecessary tollgates.

Any economy using that technology will wield a massive economic advantage against luddites so the outcome is economically inevitable. Luddites can’t win. Have they ever? You could say cryptocurrencies are better than old style currencies and that their very nature makes them invulnerable but I feel the protection is in the pure efficiency of blockchain technologies and the giant economic advantages they will bring. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are genies that won’t go back into their bottles and like the Internet, change everything.

Blockchain is about trustless systems. Trustless systems, of which Bitcoin is one, are the real revolution behind this surge. Trustless systems are a platform for tremendous progress. Imagine all the things in your life that would be better if you didn’t have to trust or distrust people. How many hours a week do we spend unlocking doors or substantiating facts or protecting ourselves from error and "bad actors."

Blockchain is going to be huge and it would be perverse if the thing that is driving it forwards, cryptocurrency, was somehow going to be run out of town on a rail at the same time. So while China might try and nip Bitcoin in the bud I think it is unlikely that less twitchy and less totalitarian countries will follow suit. It could happen but I believe it won’t.

So if it is not banned, what is the future?

The clamor is a clue–cryptocurrencies are creating more than $121 billion of noise, the real is trend to look at is the U.S. dollar. That is 13 trillion dollars of money talking. So if Dimon is right, Bitcoin is perhaps worth a bit more than the noise made by Big Macs, which is $23 billion dollars of happy meals, but if he’s wrong then ‘to the moon’ is certainly a possibility. How high is the moon? It is hard to judge, but I would be surprised if it was not at least 10 times as much as today. Is 100 times such a dream?

It is worth remembering that the total value of stocks on the NYSE and Nasdaq is $27 trillion. And more intriguing still, U.S. money supply is on $13 trillion. Then even more interesting still, the U.S. national debt is around $20 trillion. So there is $27 trillion of stocks, $20 trillion in bills but only £13 trillion in money.

Optically that does look right. $47 trillion in paper assets, not to mention hard assets like land, real estate etc,  but only $13 trillion in money? Money starts to look like a pinch point to me. Now could that be a reason for a hunger for usable currency… could there just not be enough money about? Could the missing ingredient in the tepid world economy, which doesn’t seem to get either growth or inflation, be not enough M2 (let’s call it money)?

Could there just not be enough money to get activity going? Has it all been sumped in assets and higher technical solvency requirements? If Gresham’s law is true, and bad money drives out good, then governments better get cracking and get the money out there and save us all from stagnation and/or Bitcoin. If they don’t, then cryptocurrencies will do the trick. ICOs anyone? Bitcoin or no, it’s a new dawn and you have to be in it and it’s going to be wild.

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Bank of Namibia Rejects Bitcoin Exchanges on Basis of 50-Year-Old Law

Bank of Namibia Rejects Bitcoin Exchanges on Basis of 50-Year-Old Law

 

Namibia’s central bank, Bank of Namibia,

has claimed that virtual currency exchanges have no place in the African country, under its decades-old law. The central bank also announced that merchants in the country may not accept cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, as payment for goods and services. In its latest position paper as of mid-September 2017, the Bank of Namibia explained that Bitcoin and other digital currencies present only a “minimal” threat to its monetary policymaking role. However, it claimed that the cryptocurrencies are not authorized in the country under the Exchange Control Act of 1966.

Part of the position paper reads:

"In addition to the bank not recognizing virtual currencies as legal tender in Namibia, it also does not recognize it to be a foreign currency that can be exchanged for local currency. This is because virtual currencies are neither issued nor guaranteed by a central bank nor backed by any commodity."

Other highlights of the central bank’s position paper

The Bank of Namibia mainly cited previous reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its position paper. Among the familiar points that it raised, are the possible use of digital currencies on money laundering activities, the perceived shortcomings of a currency without support by a government or a commodity, and the potential benefits of the cryptocurrencies’ underlying distributed ledger technology, or Blockchain technology to the financial system. The central bank reiterated that it cannot endorse any activity involving virtual currencies, despite their ability to facilitate remittances and other consumer payments due to the lack of a

legal premise.

"Virtual currencies cannot be used to pay for goods and services in Namibia. For example, a local shop is not allowed to price or accept virtual currencies in exchange for goods and services. Users of virtual currencies should, therefore, exercise caution when dealing in this type of currencies or when comparing it to e-money.”

Bitcoin taking hold in Africa

In Africa, it is Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa that are the pioneers of cryptocurrency, but as the world of Bitcoin spreads, places like Tanzania are starting to show growth.

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Japan Becomes Largest Bitcoin Market as Traders Leave China

Japan Becomes Largest Bitcoin Market as Traders Leave China

 

Japan has once again become the largest Bitcoin exchange market

with 50.75 percent market share of the global Bitcoin exchange market. Analysts including BitFury Vice Chairman George Kikvadze attributed the surge in the trading volume of the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market to the exit of Bitcoin traders in China. Earlier this week, the Chinese government, local authorities and financial regulators officially requested Chinese Bitcoin exchanges and trading platforms to halt their services by the end of September. OKCoin and Huobi, the two largest exchanges in China, were granted leeway to operate until Oct. 30, considering the fact that they have not been involved in any initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the past.

But, it seems as if traders are not willing to take any chances with the Chinese government and their unpredictable nature. The Chinese Bitcoin exchange market’s daily trading volume has halved within a period of three days, from 15 percent to less than seven percent. According to various trusted Bitcoin market data providers such as CryptoCompare, China only accounts for 6.4 percent of global Bitcoin trades at the time of reporting.

US market benefits

Prior to the nationwide Bitcoin exchange ban by China, the US exchange market had consistently secured its position as the largest market in the world. However, almost immediately after the announcement of the country’s three largest Bitcoin exchanges, BTCC, Huobi and OKCoin, were released, traders moved over to the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market. The abrupt migration of traders led to the short-term surge in the trading volume of Japan, allowing the market to overtake the US by over 20 percent in global Bitcoin exchange market share.

Contrary to many negative reports, prominent developers, analysts, researchers and experts within the cryptocurrency and Blockchain sectors including Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and billionaire investor Tim Draper expressed their optimism toward the shutdown of the Chinese Bitcoin exchange market. Lee emphasized that the Chinese government will no longer be able to manipulate the market, as it had done since 2013.

Lee says:

“This is a good thing. China can no longer play with the markets by banning Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency cannot be killed by any country. One solution to centralized exchanges is decentralized ones. I hear the Decred Project team has something cooking that helps with that.”

Bitcoin stabilization

As Lee emphasized, the exit of the Chinese Bitcoin exchange market should really only have affected around 10 to 15 percent of traders in the global Bitcoin exchange market. Yet, speculators and impatient traders initiated a major sell-off as the Chinese government banned exchanges, leading to a major correction on Bitcoin price.

Over the next few weeks, the global Bitcoin exchange market will stabilize, as traders move from the Chinese market to South Korea and Japan, two markets that have developed significantly more efficient regulations, industry standards and policies for both cryptocurrency exchanges and users. It is likely that as Lee and Draper noted, the closure of the Chinese Bitcoin exchange market could lead to the stabilization of the global Bitcoin exchange market, which may be beneficial for Bitcoin in the long run.

Chuck Reynolds

 


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Julian Assange Supports Bitcoin As Ways to Free Catalonia From Spain’s Dictate

Julian Assange
Supports Bitcoin As Ways to Free Catalonia From Spain’s Dictate

 

A recent report from BBC News

indicates that the Spanish government will seize control of the finances of the autonomous region of Catalonia within 48 hours, if they don’t stop the ‘illegal’ referendum vote regarding independence. Jullian Assange, the freedom-touting founder of Wikileaks, quickly tweeted his support of the referendum, as well as a comment on the importance of

Bitcoin in this regard.

Why all freedom loving people and states need Bitcoin part 29192:

— Julian Assange

Support from Wikileaks

The vote was proposed after years of the wealthy region paying into the central government far more than it received in public services. The Spanish government has threatened to take control of all financial transactions in order to stop the spending of state funds on illegal acts. Spain’s finance minister Cristobal Montoro is

categorical:

"These measures are to guarantee that not one euro will go toward financing illegal acts.”

Paying for independence

The reality that Bitcoin represents a non-government controlled currency that can function without centralized government systems, makes it immune to geopolitical upheaval. This value-stability principle is what has made many industry insiders call it ‘digital gold.’ Assange’s post would indicate that those who desire freedom of finance and removal of government strong-arming and restrictive practices, should be heavily in favor of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As liquidity and use-cases for Bitcoin increase, its position as a supra-governmental currency will continue to stabilize.

Chuck Reynolds


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China’s Stricter Bitcoin Regulations Will Strengthen Hong Kong Market

China's Stricter Bitcoin Regulations Will Strengthen Hong Kong Market

 

On September 15, the Chinese government and local financial regulators

officially requested Chinese exchanges and trading platforms to shut down by the end of September. OKCoin and Huobi, the two largest exchanges in China, were granted leeway to operate until the end of October. Rather strangely, bitcoin price rebounded from $2,900 to $3,600 as the Chinese government and local exchanges confirmed the nationwide suspension of exchanges. Many analysts explained that traders were looking to purchase the dip, which justifies the abrupt $800 increase in bitcoin price within a 24-hour period. Many investors, traders and analysts still remain optimistic in regard to China’s ban on exchanges because throughout 2017, the Chinese bitcoin exchange market only accounted for approximately 10 to 13 percent of global bitcoin trades.

Regulatory friendly region

More to that, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong Leonhard Weese noted that China’s restrictions on bitcoin trading and usage will drive businesses to Hong Kong and nearby countries like Japan and South Korea.

Weese told South China Morning Post:

“People in China will be more careful about marketing these events, and a lot of that marketing activity will come to Hong Kong in the form of conferences and communities,”.

Since early 2015, Hong Kong has been praised for being a regulatory friendly region for bitcoin and blockchain startups. Still, unlike China, South Korea and Japan, Hong Kong’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange markets have struggled to demonstrate exponential growth. For the past three years, only 1 Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex was able to evolve into a major global bitcoin trading platform. But, Weese emphasized that if China continues to crackdown on bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related businesses, it will further drive growth to Hong Kong.

Unfairly punished

It is important to acknowledge that leading bitcoin exchanges like OKCoin, Huobi and BTCC, the three largest exchanges in China, were unfairly punished for their cooperation with the government. Over the past 12 months, the entire Chinese bitcoin industry has closely collaborated with local authorities in order to establish transparent industry standards and to improve the Chinese bitcoin exchange market. Instead, they were ultimately shut down by the powers, despite having allocated massive amounts of capital and resources to comply with the demands of the

Chinese government.

Chinese #bitcoin exchanges worked with the government, allocating substantial resources to improve the market & they were punished instead.

— Joseph Young

It is difficult to imagine that startups with limited capital and even large-scale bitcoin companies will be willing to undergo the same path Chinese bitcoin exchanges have taken just to be shut down and terminated by the authorities. In the upcoming months, as BTCC, OKCoin, Huobi and other bitcoin exchanges continue to expand their international services, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan will likely experience rapid growth in terms of bitcoin users, trading activity and conferences.

Thai Securities and Exchange Commission Supports Creation of ICO Laws

The Securities and Exchange Commission in Thailand (SEC Thailand)

has announced that it is supporting the drafting and implementation of regulations covering initial coin offerings (ICO). The commission claimed that this is necessary as some coin sales may be considered as a securities offering under the country’s laws.

Tokens only facilitate fraud against unwitting investors

According to SEC Thailand, some ICOs may be considered as financial returns, rights and obligations, thus, should be subjected to existing regulations that cover them. The agency also warned that some token sales are only meant to facilitate fraud against unwitting investors. However, the SEC showed that it is willing to support ICOs, as well as the creation of laws to regulate them.

Part of the agency’s statement reads:

"The SEC Thailand encourages access to funding for businesses, including high potential tech startups, and realizes the potential of ICO in answering startups' funding needs. In cases where an ICO constitutes offering of securities, the issuer will need to comply with applicable regulatory requirements under the SEC Thailand's purview."

The statement further adds:

"…to strike a balance between supporting digital innovation and protecting investors from potential ICO scams, the SEC Thailand is considering appropriate approaches on ICO and welcomes comments and suggestions from the private sector.”

Positions of other countries on ICOs

Several securities regulators worldwide have also issued their positions on ICOs in the previous weeks. In Canada, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) claimed that many of the virtual currencies probed by regulators fall under the definition of a security and should be subject to a range of legal requirements.

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued an advisory, advising prospective investors to investigate and determine the risks when participating in token sales. In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has claimed that the sale and issuance of digital tokens should be subjected to the country’s federal securities law. Such moves should not be confused with governments having the ability to ban Bitcoin since they are mainly targeting companies looking to raise money from their self-created tokens.

Chuck Reynolds


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Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

  Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

Chase Bank CEO Jamie Dimon recently rejected Bitcoin

as a ‘fraud,” likely causing additional sell offs after the news of the Chinese exchange ban was released. The financial guru commented that Bitcoin was in a bubble not unlike the famous Tulip bubble during the 17th century. However, in a somewhat surprising move, JP Morgan purchased a large block of Bitcoins just after the CEO’s harsh criticisms, according to a careful observer

on Twitter.

We see you

— I am Nomad

The user 'I am Nomad’ posted the tweet including a screen shot of the BTC chart with the JP Morgan Chase purchase circled. There has been some commentary by industry insiders that banks have a vested interest in seeing Bitcoin fail, even while they are seeking to join the upswing in potential profits. Chase bank is no different, apparently, based on the information which has recently come to light.

Growing mainstream financial acceptance of the cryptocurrency, including widespread increase in hedge funds and institutional investors would indicate that the predictions of Jamie Dimon and other bears may not be sound.

Fundstrat Founder Tommy Lee Unfazed By Bitcoin Drop

 

Tommy Lee, the notoriously bearish financial analyst

and founder of Fundstrat, affirmed his position that Bitcoin is the best investment through the end of the year. Lee continued to espouse his strongly bullish position on an interview with CNBC, in spite of the recent double-digit drop. Other analysts have expressed strong disdain for the digital currency, including Chase’s Jamie Dimon, who recently called the cryptocurrency a ‘fraud,’ and opined that governments would soon step in and regulate the currency.

No bubble

Lee, who predicts a Bitcoin price of $25,000 in the next five years, says that Bitcoin cannot be in a bubble, in spite of the substantial price run up in the past year. Lee answered Bitcoin critics

by saying:

"We have some data. There's only about 300,000 holders of at least $5,000 of Bitcoin. That’s like saying the iPhone was a bubble in 2007, four days into the sale because there were 500,000 iPhones sold.”

Whether Lee is right or not, the market has certainly rebounded from the sub-$3,000 levels after the announcement of Chinese exchange closures.

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Beijing cryptocurrency exchanges told to announce trading halt

Beijing cryptocurrency exchanges told to announce trading halt: source

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese authorities have ordered Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchanges to stop trading and immediately notify users of their closure, signaling a widening crackdown by authorities on the industry to contain financial risks. Exchanges were also told to stop allowing new user registrations as of Friday, according to a government notice. The notice was signed by the Beijing city group in charge of overseeing internet finance risks and circulated online. A government source verified it to Reuters.

Platforms should also tell the government by Wednesday Sept. 20 how they will allow users to make withdrawals in a risk-free manner and handle funds to make sure investor interests are protected, according to the notice, which was also reported by state newspaper Securities Times.

“All trading exchanges must by midnight of Sept. 15 publish a notice to make clear when they will stop all cryptocurrency trading and announce a stop to new user registrations,” the government notice said. China is cracking down on the cryptocurrency business to try to limit risks as consumers pile into a highly speculative market that has grown rapidly this year. Reuters and other media reported earlier this week that it planned to shut down the exchanges.

Shanghai-based BTCChina, a major Chinese bitcoin exchange, said on Thursday it would stop all trading from Sept. 30, citing tightening regulation. Smaller Chinese bitcoin exchanges ViaBTC, YoBTC and Yunbi on Friday announced similar closures. Beijing-based platforms OkCoin and Huobi, which are among China’s biggest exchanges, said late on Friday that they planned to stop yuan-based trading by Oct. 31. By (10.06 a.m. ET) 1406 GMT, BTC’s price was down 7.63 percent at 19,797.00 yuan ($3,024.71). The bitcoin price was down 5 percent at $3,071 at 1036 GMT on U.S. exchange Bitstamp. The bitcoin price index on trade website Coindesk slid below $3,000 for the first time in six weeks.

Bitcoin fell by more than 10 percent on Wednesday after a warning by JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon that it “is a fraud” and will eventually “blow up”. Li Lihui, a senior official at the National Internet Finance Association of China and a former president of the Bank of China, told a conference in Shanghai that global regulators should work together to supervise cryptocurrencies. “Digital tokens like bitcoin, ethereum that are stateless, do not have sovereign endorsement, a qualified issuing body or a country’s trust, are not legal currencies and should not be spoken of as digital currencies,” he said.

“They can become a tool for illegal fund flows and investment deals.”

He said there should be a distinction between digital currencies, which were being studied and developed by authorities such as the Chinese central bank, and digital tokens such as bitcoin. Digital currencies developed by authorities could be used for good, with the right regulation, he said. The state-backed internet finance body was set up by the central bank, and its members include banks, brokerages, funds and consumer finance companies. On Wednesday, it urged members to abide by Chinese laws and not deal in cryptocurrencies.

Since January, Chinese bitcoin exchanges have rolled out a series of changes to comply with increased scrutiny by Beijing. But they were thrown into chaos on Sept. 4 when China issued a directive banning initial coin offerings (ICOs). China’s crackdown “is all about protecting market stability and protecting the interest of investors, so halting these kinds of initial coin offerings is a very necessary action,” Li said. Vlad Zamfir, a researcher at the Switzerland-based Ethereum Foundation, told Reuters that it was no surprise China is moving against such currencies. Beijing has capital controls, he said, that are “in direct tension with the free ability to send any amount of money anywhere without any kind of delay”.

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2 of China’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges are shutting down trading — but bitcoin is soaring

2 of China's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges are shutting down trading — but bitcoin is soaring

 

Two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China

NEW YORK – Two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China, OKCoin and Huobi, have released statements saying they will shutdown all trading between bitcoin and yuan on their exchanges by October 31. They released seperate announcements on their websites Friday morning. Trading between digital coins will still be permitted for the time being, however. Bitcoin, which was reeling amid reports Thursday of a crackdown on Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges by regulators, is actually rallying now. The cryptocurrency was up 14.1% at $3,706 a coin at 10:59 a.m. ET Friday.

The price of bitcoin collapsed 16% against the dollar on Thursday and continued its slide until early Friday morning amid uncertainty about the future of the cryptocurrency and other digital coins in China, one of the biggest markets for cryptocurrencies. On Thursday,  BTCChina, the second largest Chinese exchange, said it would stop trading at the end of the month. Yunbi, another cryptocurrency exchange, also announced it would shut its trading operations on Friday, according to CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency news site.  

Thursday night, however, there were some signs that Chinese regulators could have a change of heart. Charlie Lee, the creator litecoin, one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, tweeted that OKCoin and Huobi, another leading cryptocurrency exchange, were set to meet with regulators on Friday. Many people in the cryptocurrency community viewed this as a possible turning point, hoping the exchanges would be able to convince regulators to "change their tune." Li Lihui, a senior official at the National Internet Finance Association of China and a former president of the Bank of China, said on Friday that regulators from different countries should collaborate on cryptocurrencies, according to reporting by Reuters. 

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