Japan now allows Bitcoin as a legal method of payment, and the SEC has denied a second Bitcoin ETF. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 13:
- After regulating digital currency exchanges in the country last year, the Japanese Diet has signed a landmark bill that will allow the use of digital currencies like Bitcoin as a legal method of payment. The long-awaited bill, which goes into effect today (April 1), still does not recognize Bitcoin as a currency, but it has accepted that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have “asset-like values” that can be used “as payment to indefinite parties for the cost of purchase or rent of items or receipt of services and which can be transferred by means of electronic data processing systems,” explained Bitflyer exchange. “Bitcoin will continue to be treated as an asset unless there are future revisions or directives to Japanese tax law,” the exchange noted.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied a bid to list a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on the New York Stock Exchange. The decision presents the second Bitcoin-tied ETF turned down by the SEC. On 10th March, the agency rejected an effort from investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to list a Bitcoin ETF on the Bats BZX Exchange – though last week Bats moved to fight that rebuffing, seeking an effective rehearing of the SEC’s decision. In its notice, the SEC cited justifications similar to those used in the Winklevoss ETF decision, namely a lack of market surveillance and a dearth of regulation in some jurisdictions.
- Digital currency exchange Coinbase has received approval to offer trading of Litecoin and ether in New York state. As a result, the startup has become the first business to provide Litecoin trading to customers in New York and just the second to offer ether trading. Almost a year ago, Gemini Trust Company, a digital asset exchange run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, became the first company to provide trading of the Ethereum token in the state.
- A group of international banks is reportedly planning the launch of cross-border payment services backed by blockchain. According to Nikkei, the group – which includes Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Banco Santander, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – is eyeing a 2018 launch, with a focus on both retail and commercial customers. Distributed ledger startup Ripple will provide the underlying technology, the paper said.
- Compared to two weeks ago, the price of Bitcoin has increased by around eleven percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $1,083 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by more than 37 percent at the same time, taking Ether up to a rate of $49.22 per ETH. Ethereum Classic even gained about 58 percent, with the price increasing to $2.80 per ETC. Zcash didn’t move as much but did lose roughly three percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $68 per coin.