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Ohio Congressman Tells SEC Hands Off Crypto

Ohio Congressman and cryptocurrency advocate Warren Davidson is to go ahead with his plans to introduce a bill which will effectively eliminate the SEC’s jurisdiction over the industry.

The representative for Ohio is also pushing for sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulations. He recently invited 32 prominent representatives of the cryptocurrency industry to Washington in order to discuss future ICO legislation. Davidson sits on the United States House Committee on Financial Services, which is responsible for overseeing the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

The Bill will need to penetrate President Trump’s home guard in the House of Representatives and as yet Davison hasn’t named his co-sponsors. If passed, the bill would effectively create a situation where securities law would not be relevant to ICO as cryptocurrencies would be classified as products rather than securities.

Davidson is hoping for a bipartisan approach to getting the bill through, although the new Democratic majority is thought to have little effect in limiting the SEC’s regulations as they apply to cryptocurrencies. The Examiner commented:

“…[unlikely that the] incoming Democratic majority will get joyfully on board with any form, of crypto deregulation strategy, though the Congressional Blockchain Caucus has historically featured a bipartisan membership.”

Craig Phillips, the senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, stated publicly on Monday that the department would be releasing its latest position on cryptocurrencies in the near future.

It has been noted that despite Davidson’s push for change within the SEC to combat its punitive stance on cryptocurrencies, startups have taken their own approach to sidestep rules through VC funding or raising by raising funds privately. Over the next few months, the SEC has several pending cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.

CNN claims that this regulatory uncertainty could result in a decline in investor confidence, a fact which  Congressman Davidson and his supporters in Washington are fully aware of.

 

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UK Must Become Global Leader in Crypto Innovation

A UK expert has suggested that Britain must seize the opportunity and push cryptocurrency forward to become a global leader in digital assets. The comments were made by eToro UK managing director Iqbal V Gandham, who advised UK government backbencher Nicky Morgan on the Government’s Treasury Select Committee and its Digital Currencies inquiry.

Morgan served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from October 2013 to April 2014 and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from April to July 2014. In July 2017, Morgan was elected Chair of the Treasury Select Committee following the 2017 General Election. She later went on the become Secretary of State for Education.

Gandham claims that the UK must act now to get “ahead of the curve” to “foster innovation” in the cryptocurrency space and that as a global leader has the potential to have a major impact on the financial sector by pushing crypto innovation.

As the flagship cryptocurrency faces another unexpected drop in value with the Bitcoin market cap falling below USD 100 billion for first time since October 2017, the eToro boss suggests that a risk-based approach is needed to push mass adoption of the digital currency arguing, “If the UK is going to have any say in blockchain and crypto innovation and is going to lead the world, it needs to act in 2019“.

The latest drop in Bitcoin’s price can be laid firmly in the lap of the upcoming hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, according to CNBC’s Fast Money commentator Brian Kelly, which broke away from Bitcoin in August of 2017 in order to boost the number of transactions, suggesting, “When you do a software upgrade, everybody usually agrees. But in this particular case, everybody is not agreeing.”

A major sell-off in cryptocurrency markets on Wednesday has continued into this morning’s activity on Asian markets. The aggregate cryptocurrency market capitalization dropped by USD 15 billion over 24 hours Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

 

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Thai SEC Issues Warning on Q Exchange

Thailand’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning to residents about Q Exchange stating that it is not “a licensed digital asset operator”.

The SEC had said that Q Exchange offered electronic money advisory and cryptocurrency trading, through print media outlet and also by using social media and other forms of online media to facilitate publicity of their services.

It was pointed out that the company had scarce online data, providing only an index page of the website, with no information about the exchange nor the services being provided.

As reported by Thai local news media lokwannee, Q Exchange offers digital asset trading services in BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, LTC, NEO, OmiseGo, DASH, and ADA. It had plans to introduce its platform token, Q token.

The exchange may have targeted the Thailand market as blockchain business is taking a critical turn there both in terms of development and regulation. Chamnarn Suk, General Manager of Q Exchange Co Ltd, during the launch of the exchange had this to say:

“We are a joint venture with a major Korean company. The best management system in the industry… We intend to be the largest provider of currency exchange and services in Thailand, where we will educate…”

However, the Thai regulator has warned citizens that if investors, traders or holders of digital assets are “persuaded to receive digital asset exchange services or electronic money transactions”, they are at risk, as they are “not protected by the law under the supervision of the SEC”.

This public notice has also been followed up with a cease and desist order, whereby the SEC has expressly informed the Q Exchange management to cease its enticements for public investment and instructed the company to take precautions against violations of the Digital Asset royal decree of 2018.

On the subject of regulation, the country’s deputy prime minister, Wissanu Kreangam, is a strong voice for the intensifying of digital currency control measures, stating their vulnerability to being used for criminal activities such as money laundering and funding terrorism.

 

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Sell or Hodl? Crypto Traders Seek Direction in Fluctuating Market

With uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market and a sudden drop in Bitcoin’s value overnight, investors are again posed with the sell or hold dilemma, but many experts maintain that increased demand for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) augers well for the flagship digital currency in the long term.

Long-term forecasters say that Bitcoin has a strong likelihood of becoming a reliable store of value and a viable payment mechanism. Experts point to rising futures volumes and increased institutional participation in trading as positive outcomes going forward.

Historically, negative news hits the market with a crash, such as the SEC’s rejection of nine cryptocurrency ETFs in August, despite the US regulator stressing it “emphasizes that its disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether Bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment”.

Signs are that despite this latest drop in market prices, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is healthy with daily trading almost doubling its total just days ago. Crypto advisory firm Autonomy’s co-founder Ricky Lee suggests, “For our trading activities, the [upcoming Bitcoin Cash] hard fork recently has generated tremendous interest and trading volume, above 4 billion daily, among traders.”

With Bitcoin’s value shedding almost USD 1,000 in just a few hours late yesterday, Willy Woo, the founder of data analytics site Woobull suggests that overnight recovery is highly unlikely and the current market trend may continue well into 2019. CNN Bitcoin analysts suggest that USD 5,633 is looking to be the current interim resistance level, but a break below that support would have the effect of scaring off investors. Conversely, a break above this level would suggest a long position at USD 5,712.

Looking for factors as to why the drop happened, whether it be Bitcoin futures or the Bitcoin Cash fork, there are suggestions that the effect of the sell-offs in tech stocks led by Apple on Wednesday are making their mark on cryptocurrency prices, although most point to the current uncertainty around so-called altcoins Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, both poised for fundamental and controversial changes in development and infrastructure.

 

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Forbes 30 Under 30 List Shows Blockchain “Here To Stay”

The latest Forbes “30 under 30” annual list which describes itself as selecting the “brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada” has been published, and blockchain entrepreneurs display a notable presence in the 2018 edition.

600 names are featured on its pages, from across a diverse range of sectors. This year, the finance sector features the co-founder of Lightning Labs, Olaoluwa Osuntokun, whose company is attempting to make Bitcoin more effective for smaller transactions, as well as reduce its cost.

With stablecoins making headlines, Intangible Labs boss, Nader Al-Naji, joined Osuntokun in the finance section of the list. New Yorker Al-Naji’s firm raised USD 133 million to create Basis, an algorithmically-controlled stablecoin. The project itself was founded by three Princeton graduates. The founding team included Naji, Lawrence Diao (co-founder) and Josh Chen (co-founder). Other listed members of the executive team include Brian Freyburger (CTO).

The Finance 30 featured another New Yorker, JB Rubinovitz, for Bail Bloc which helps people in difficult circumstances to post their bail through spare-cycles crypto-mining. Users can volunteer their “computers spare power to get people out of jail”.

Nikhil Srinivasan and Alex Kern, the Coinbase acquisition Distributed Systems co-founders, also received a mention for creating an automated identity verification platform with the potential to ingrate into its wallet along with other innovative applications

Earlier this year, Bitcoin News published the Forbes 400 list including cryptocurrency entrepreneurs who received mentions with the rather uncomplimentary title of  “Freaks, Geeks And Visionaries” which featured Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, as the first person from the cryptocurrency space to be on the prestigious list of America’s richest. That issue featured Binance chief Changpen Zhao on its cover. The list including blockchain movers and shakers also included crypto-billionaires the Winklevoss twins.

Forbes editor Randall Lane was happy to admit that “a blockchain-enabled financial system of some kind is here to stay” but conceded there would always be casualties, citing the burst dot-com bubble of 1999.

 

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Rosetta Coffee Adopts Crypto for International Export, Improved Farmer’s Pay

The Rosetta Coffee Company has announced that it will begin accepting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Litecoin, and Zcoin. This will allow Rosetta Coffee to export internationally for the first time, and to increase their farmer’s wages by sending cryptocurrency directly to them, cutting out middlemen.

Chargebacks had been such an issue when exporting coffee internationally that Rosetta Coffee had cut off all potential international clients. Now that the company is accepting cryptocurrency, which is immutable and irreversible, it can export coffee to anywhere in the world without risk. Co-founder Aaron Skeen says, “We have always been restricted from selling to international customers due to poor merchant protection from Visa and Mastercard. We are excited that cryptocurrency allows us to start offering our coffee to new international customers, knowing that the purchase is guaranteed no matter which country they are located in.”

Beyond this, fiat payment networks regularly deal with payment delays, lack of security and high fees. Accepting cryptocurrency will mitigate all of these problems.

Rosetta Coffee’s network of coffee bean farmers will see this as steps towards more efficient payments and lower fees, translating to higher income. Skeen says, “Cryptocurrency allows them to receive payment directly and immediately without paying a middleman. They will be able to take home more of what they earn. We think this is awesome and it aligns directly with our mission. In the coming weeks and months, we will be working with farmers to iron out this process and make it more accessible.”

Rosetta Coffee is a small batch coffee company based in the United States that has only been around since 2006.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 13th November 2018, Jihan Wu Leaves Bitmain Board of Directors

Listen to the 13 November 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast we discuss how BP, Shell, and Equinor are adopting blockchain technology for energy trading, and how Bitmain’s Board of Directors has been re-shuffled. Hear about a coffee company which has adopted cryptocurrency. Learn about how the President of Venezuela says citizens must buy Petro before the end of 2018 or lose the right to trade it for other currencies.

Follow the Bitcoin News Daily Podcast on AnchoriTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicPocket CastsOvercastCastbox, and Breaker. We broadcast a new episode every day, covering the most important topics in the crypto, Bitcoin, and blockchain world!

 

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Jihan Wu Loses Voting Rights in Bitmain Reshuffle

Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitmain who owns 20.25% of the company’s shares and a personal net worth in excess of USD 2 billion, has stepped down from his role as director. Now Wu is a supervisor, meaning he can discuss business decisions with the Board of Directors but cannot directly vote on business decisions.

Wu’s change of position coincides with a larger reshuffling of the Bitmain Board of Directors. Zhao Yifeng, Ge Yuezhen, Zhou Feng, and others have also stepped down from being directors. Further, Hu Yi retired from the Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Jank Group, Bitmain’s corporate lawyer, has been promoted to executive director.

The exact reasons for this reshuffling remain undisclosed but it is speculated that they are related to the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fork coming on 15 November 2018 since Bitmain has strongly backed BCH. Previously, Bitmain liquidated large amounts of its Bitcoin holdings to buy BCH at USD 900, and have seen 40% losses as of November 2018. Now tensions are running higher than ever since the Bitcoin fork is now itselt splitting into different versions. Indeed, Wu’s Twitter is filled with controversial posts regarding BCH.

It is also possible that the reshuffling is related to the upcoming Bitmain initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Bitmain is aiming for a USD 18 billion IPO after a USD 1 billion funding round juiced its valuation to USD 15 billion. If this does occur it will be the largest cryptocurrency related IPO in history. Bitmain is the largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining equipment. In the first half of 2018, Bitmain sold USD 2.684 billion of mining equipment.

The IPO application process does not come at an ideal time, with Bitcoin’s network hash rate plateauing for the first time in years, which means there is less demand for new mining equipment. However, Bitmain continues to be on the cutting edge of the cryptocurrency mining industry with the release of 7 nm chips that claim to have the highest mining efficiency in the world at 0.042 W/GH. Apparently, the first wave of these sold out rapidly.

According to research, it is common for a firm that is undergoing an IPO to restructure, in order to better negotiate the institutionalized process an IPO requires.

 

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Swiss State Secretary: Standards Not Regulation Will Boost Crypto Market

Switzerland’s State Secretary has commented that fintech has moved beyond “hype-cycle” into a stage where standards are now more important than regulation. Secretary Joerg Gasser was speaking at this week’s Singapore Fintech Festival.

The Swiss minister pointed out the increased demand for fintech regulation internationally was not necessarily in the best interest of promoting the industry. Improved market efficiency within the sector has lead to a situation where more focus can now be placed on technologically-neutral regulations based on a far more collaborative approach toward blockchain technology. Standards, Gasser maintained, are now the key element moving forward.

During the panel discussion entitled ‘Capital Markets: Killer Use Case for Blockchain?’, Gasser pointed out that powerful investors are now getting into blockchain, which has increased the demand for regulation. But adoption can only be assured if industry standards continue to be maintained.

He cited his native country, Switzerland, as an example of principle-based and technology-neutral regulation, a country in which regulation was seen as cooperative rather than punitive, encouraging innovation through government support.

This was demonstrated earlier this year when Switzerland took another step along that road with the country’s stock exchange, SIX,  announcing that it will open its doors to digital currencies. The new platform being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT.

SIX, regulated by national regulator Finma and the Swiss central bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019. SIX’s chief executive, Jos Dijsselhof commented:

“For us, it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”

With SEBA Crypto AG expecting to be licensed as a securities dealer and bank by June of next year, it appears that banks are finally warming to the concept of digital assets. Guido Bühler, CEO of SEBA Crypto AG, suggests that five large asset managers from overseas have also shown some interest in the bank.

The bank plans to offer custodial services with plans to raise a further USD 206 million through an ICO in order to expand its operations into major financial hubs in the new year.

 

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Brazil Gets First Crypto Investment Fund Following Securities Commission Ruling

Following the Brazillian Securities and Exchange Commission’s (CVM) ruling to allow cryptocurrency fund shares and derivative investments, national firm Genial Investments has stepped up to offer the first approved financial product.

CVM passed the cryptocurrency policy as part of ‘Instruction 55‘ in September.

The ‘BLP Criptoativos FIM‘ fund is composed 20% of cryptocurrency related assets and 80% of treasury bills, with the internal regulations managed by Brazil Plural Bank. Its stated objective is to achieve a higher rate of returns than the Interbank Deposit Certificate long-term rate.

While investors using the fund will not have access to the direct strategy of the cryptocurrency portion, Genial says there will be a preference placed on the 20 most liquid cryptocurrencies.

Eduardo Salvatore, head of business development at local cryptocurrency exchange and partner of Genial Investments FlowBTC, said that the fund was a crucial move in diversifying cryptocurrency products on offer as interest in the industry grows. ”From FlowBTC’s point of view, it’s an important step that brings institutional investors into the picture,” Salvatore said, sharing the same optimism of cryptocurrency funds with those in the US, Europe, and Asia.

He added that although the fund may not appeal to ”classic early adopters”, the outcome would certainly be greater volumes of investment in the market, benefiting the whole ecosystem.

It is classified as an overseas investment fund, although it is open to the general public. The fund will charge a performance fee of 20% over what exceeds 100% of the Interbank Deposit Certificate. A minimum monthly contribution to the fund of BRL 500 (USD 133) is required until January 2019, and BRL 1,000 from February 2019.

Applications are now open for investors wishing to open a fund.

 

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