Bitcoin startup has received the first BitLicense and Russia may criminalize the use of the digital currency. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 39:
- Bitcoin startup Circle has become the first company to receive a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Even though Circle is a Bitcoin wallet service, it also eliminating the need for users to actually hold Bitcoins. Instead, users will be able to “enjoy the benefits of Bitcoin without ever holding or buying Bitcoin, and without being exposed to Bitcoin price volatility”, as a result of instant conversion on both ends of a transaction. US customers can simply hold USD while still able to send BTC, while the recipient can have these automatically converted back to USD. A bonus is that these US deposits are now insured by the FDIC.
- Bank of America (BoA) has submitted a patent application titled “System and Method for Wire Transfers Using Cryptocurrency” that includes phrases like “fund transfers using cryptocurrency bypassing the use of traditional wire services”. The payment method seems somewhat similar to Circle’s double instant conversion method described previously. BoA also adds OKCoin, BitStamp, BTCC, Cryptsy, CoinMarket & Justcoin as examples of exchanges that might be used in the process.
- Australia’s biggest banks have started to move against Bitcoin companies by closing their accounts, forcing at least 13 of them out of business. A Westpac Banking Corp spokesman cited tighter anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules as an excuse for eliminating its potential future rivals. It raises the possibility that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) might look into this, but a spokesperson from the ACCC declined to comment on the matter.
- Russia could be taking hostility against Bitcoin to an even higher level, as a report by Russian news source Interfax suggests that Russia’s Ministry of Finance is preparing a law that would criminalize actions involving the digital currency. The latter could mean that any action involving acquiring, selling and distributing cryptocurrencies would be punishable with a fine (up to 300,000 RUB) or 360 hours of correctional labor.
- The price of Bitcoin increased slightly this week, trading a little more than one percent higher than one week ago at an exchange rate of about $234 per BTC. On the other hand Ethereum continued its crash, with ETH shedding more than 17 percent of its value compared to the previous week. One ETH can now be bought for just 74 cents.