Category Archives: BaFIn

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Germany’s Only Regulated Crypto Exchange Acquires Major Trading Bank

Germany’s only regulated cryptocurrency exchange has announced the acquisition of Bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.

The announcement by Bitcoin Group SE, the holding company behind Bitcoin.de, signals not only expanding its current trading services but also its potential to operate cryptocurrency ATMs in the country. Tremmel Bank is not only well connected with both domestic and foreign banks, but also insurance companies, asset managers and fund companies.

This places Bitcoin Group SE in an ideal position to begin offering crypto custodial services as part of an expanded service through its bank as well as expanding its cryptocurrency offerings. Tremmel’s competence in the trading of stocks, bonds, and other exchange products is sure to have been a driver in the acquisition.

The exact acquisition figure has not been revealed by Bitcoin Group SE although a press release put the amount “in the lower seven-digit euro range”. However, before the move can go ahead, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) need to give final approval. As Bitcoin Group SE has acquired 100% of Tremmel, the accompanying banking license becomes another huge asset in terms of future plans to extend its crypto profile and associated services once the takeover is complete.

Earlier this year, the German Federal Government stated that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to financial stability. The government stated on 12 June that the volume of cryptocurrencies, when juxtaposed to the overall size of the German financial system, is comparatively low and, therefore, simply needs careful monitoring and regulatory measures put in place in order to control the space.

Recently, Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart, took the step to host Crypto Trading and Coin Offerings. The intention for Boerse Stuttgart is to keep everything under one roof where hosted ICO coins can be traded alongside leading cryptocurrencies such as BTC and ETH.

 

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UK Exchange Jumps the Gun On German Crypto Regulator

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has closed down the operations of UK cryptocurrency exchange Finatex Ltd.

It appears that the UK firm was ordered to “cease cross-border proprietary trading immediately,” for slipping under Germany’s regulatory wire, having not received the necessary authorization to operate cross-border exchange transactions from BaFin. The UK company which was launched in Leeds, Yorkshire in 2016 has announced it plans to dissolve the company this week as a result.

This is not the first time that BaFin has stepped in to flex its regulatory muscles in recent months over the question of cryptocurrency exchanges’ rights to operate. The last attempt to prosecute a company trading Bitcoin operating without a license was, however, unsuccessful after The Berlin Court of Appeal overturned the case.

Inconsistencies in the way cryptocurrency firms can operate cross-border transactions in Europe have caused some concern recently, and the German case once again brought these to the notice of European financial regulators. Although individual EU countries have clearly defined rules in their own jurisdictions for the trading of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, the EU as a whole has so far failed to come together with a Europe-wide regulatory framework. The EU passed a motion in 2016 enabling taxation of cryptocurrency holdings, investments, and profits.

Now that the Berlin Court of Appeals has classified Bitcoin as a “financial instrument” it now comes under the auspices of BaFin’s financial regulatory practices. Its CEO Felix Hufeld only last month told investors that they should avoid ICOs due to scamming concerns. He argued:

“We do not want to stifle innovation, but must avert dangers at the same time. For example, it is important for us to take action against money laundering and safeguard the privacy rights of investors. In addition, there should be certain minimum standards for the underlying terms of the contract.”

Earlier this year, the German Federal Government stated that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to financial stability. The government stated on 12 June that the volume of cryptocurrencies, when juxtaposed to the overall size of the German financial system, is comparatively low and, therefore, simply needs careful monitoring and regulatory measures put in place in order to control the space.

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German Finance Regulator: Blockchain Could Be Revolutionary

Chief of the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), Felix Hufeld, has described blockchain technology as “revolutionary” while stating that he sees it as capable of turning the financial sector ”upside down”.

Speaking during an event in Berlin last week, Hufeld, president of BaFin, outlined his position on both Bitcoin and blockchain.

While holding a skeptical view on the sustainability of Bitcoin’s price and the current initial coin offering (ICO) boom, Hufeld expressed his belief that blockchains capacity to power distributed applications “could actually be revolutionary”.

Highlighting the benefits unique to blockchain, Hufeld noted: “These apps are not only safe from failures of individual computers or providers, they also promote the development of a ”blockchain economy”.

An additional advantage of blockchain Hufeld considers is its potential in providing “effective control mechanisms or trustworthy institutions” in areas such as international aid that lack dependable regulation.

It appears Hufeld’s opinions have developed since April when he stated he merely did not want to ”kill [blockchain] innovation“, as BaFin expanded cryptocurrency regulations on the pretext of money laundering concerns.

Germany’s position on Bitcoin

Earlier this week, members of the German federal government stated that they believed Bitcoin did not provide a threat to financial stability because they view the volume of cryptocurrency asset transactions as too low to have a large impact on the German economy.

However, the representatives said that they believed an increase in regulatory measures was required to control the industry, with the government considering it important to monitor this area closely at the G20 level.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report in April that cited similar reasoning as that of the German government in regards to not seeing cryptocurrencies as a threat to global financial stability.

 

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German Banks Can Offer ATMs Exchanging Bitcoin and Ether to Euro

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies, according to Trustnodes.

The German FCA has announced that the country’s banks can take up the new option, but as yet none have responded to the opportunity to allow customers to exchange BTC or Ether for Euros using the machines.

Responding to a question by Thomas Lutze, representative of a left-wing party in Germany, BaFin stated:

“Each institute, which has permission for proprietary trading, also has the right to set up machines that allow the exchange of Bitcoin in euros and vice versa. So far it is not known that this was done.”

Its reported that the modification of the machines would offer QR code facilities to enable simple address scanning and modification.

Cryptocurrency ATMs are becoming far more commonplace around the globe, although Europe has a long way before it catches up with the US. Prague has recently seen the arrival of 10 new Bitcoin ATMs across the city’s subway routes, and London now has 74 positioned around the city, although 118 businesses also accept Bitcoin as payment.

However, London ranks 6th globally on the crypto convenience list, with the top five cities all located in North America. Los Angeles tops the list with 145 ATMs and over 850 firms accepting Bitcoin payments. Other cities with a healthy spread include Toronto, New York, and Atlanta. Argentina has expressed a desire to have a gargantuan total of 30,000 located across the nation and US capital Washington DC has recently doubled its ATM availability from 20 to 40 due to public demand.

There are reportedly six German banks currently trading cryptocurrency according to BaFin, although the banks haven’t as yet been named. It remains to be seen whether banks see enough customer demand to operate the service

However, German stock exchanges are seriously looking at cryptocurrency options for the future. Deutsche Boerse, the owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is evaluating whether to offer cryptocurrency products, according to Bloomberg. If this is the case, this will be the second German stock exchange to make announcements this year regarding a move towards the adoption of cryptocurrency related products, after Boerse Stuttgart Digital Adventures announced the release of its Bison app in April.

 

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