Russia may ban Bitcoin payments, and Japan has issued new operating licenses to 11 exchanges. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 39:
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a press release about their creation of a dedicated “Cyber Unit.” Among other things, this unit will exercise some oversight over digital currencies. Specifically, the new Cyber Unit will be targeting cyber-related misconduct, including: violations involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings. It thus seems that the SEC is officially taking on the role of policing both ICOs and the “distributed ledger technology” sector.
- Alexey Moiseev, the deputy finance minister of Russia, said earlier this week that he expects pending legislation on cryptocurrencies will feature a ban on payments made in cryptocurrency. According to the state-backed news source TASS, Moiseev – who previously said that bitcoin should be classified as a kind of asset in Russia and limited to qualified investors – told reporters on Monday that “no regulator doubts that payments will be banned.” Moiseev said that he expects a long-in-the-crafting bill to be completed in October, though given past developments in Russia, the bill could conceivably see further delays.
- The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes that cryptocurrencies may give traditional government-issued ones a “run for their money.” Speaking at a conference in London, IMF chief Christine Lagarde told attendees that she thinks “it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies.” Notably, she outlined possible scenarios in which a country – particularly those with “weak institutions and unstable national currencies” might actually embrace one more directly. “Instead of adopting the currency of another country – such as the U.S. dollar – some of these economies might see a growing use of virtual currencies. Call it dollarization 2.0,” she said.
- Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued operating licenses to 11 bitcoin exchanges. In an official announcement, the regulator confirmed the action, one that follows an amendment to the payment services law that mandated all cryptocurrency exchanges register with authorities by the end of September. Passed in April, the new law established bitcoin as a legal payment method and extrapolated security guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges. The licensing enforces certain operational requirements for the exchanges, including high standards for cybersecurity, the segregation of customer accounts and the verification of customer identities.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by around 14 percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $4,327 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by more than 7 percent over the same period, taking Ether up to a rate of $301 per ETH. Ethereum Classic gained about 22 percent, with the price increasing to $12.99 per ETC. Zcash gained 29 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $278 per coin.