Argentinian Bank Drops Out of SWIFT, Favors Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

According to Toshi Times, Jose Dakak, the principal shareholder of Argentinian bank Banco Masventas, has stated that the bank will drop out from the global financial network SWIFT and begin utilizing the Bitcoin blockchain network to settle international payments.

Can Bitcoin Replace SWIFT?

Through a strategic partnership with Bitex, a cryptocurrency payment service provider based in South America, Dakak explained that the bank will outsource the conversion process of bitcoin to fiat currencies to Bitex, which will then send bitcoin to the recipient. The end cost would be the bitcoin transaction fee that is sent to the miners that verify transactions on the blockchain and the fee charged by Bitex.

“The service allows you to reduce costs associated with international transfers as there are no international banks as intermediaries,” said Banco Masventas.

Dakak noted that one of the initial actions the bank took to streamline the implementation process of bitcoin was to cooperate with the Bitex development team to ensure recipients of bitcoin payments can seamlessly receive cryptocurrency transactions without boundaries. Dakak stated:

“One of the actions was to contract Bitex as a strategic partner in the implementation of the Bitex platform for payments and collections operations for our clients abroad.”

The SWIFT network, which is utilized by the world’s biggest banks and financial institutions, is essentially a messaging network that enables banks to share information. Sending a payment from one bank to another requires a message to be sent on the SWIFT network, which has to be verified manually.

Sending international payments and remittance transactions on the SWIFT network can take at least five business days to three weeks, depending on the size of the payment. Because most international payments processed by banks are large, it often takes more than a week for the payment to be cleared.

argentina bitcoin
Source: Shutterstock

Bitcoin is not the most flexible blockchain network and it does not have the biggest capacity. But, it is the most robust blockchain protocol with the longest track record, equipped with one of the most active open-source development groups in the industry. Its transparency and security allow the Bitcoin network to operate as a reliable financial network for international payments.

Moreover, most international payments sent by banks, as stated above, are often large transactions that cannot be processed by remittance outlets. Although bitcoin transaction fees could be an issue for $1 to $10 payments, for payments above $1,000, the bitcoin transaction fee is a non-issue.

Why is SWIFT Still Used?

The SWIFT network is not only operated by leading banks by owned by the world’s biggest financial institutions. As such, even though the SWIFT network is outdated and utilizes an inferior technology, banks have the obligation to use it. That is, until minor banks like Bank Masventas opt out of the SWIFT network and begin to leverage public financial networks like bitcoin, which are completely decentralized and peer-to-peer.

Other banks have started to pilot blockchain protocols like Ripple and Ethereum to process international payments, which could be crucial in demonstrating the potential of cryptocurrency as an alternative to the global finance sector in the long-term.

Chinese Crypto Giant Huobi Launches Billion-Dollar Blockchain Fund

Huobi Labs, a blockchain incubator that is part of the Huobi exchange, has signed an agreement with Tianya Community to build a “Global Cultural and Creative Blockchain Lab” in Hainan Province, China, alongside the launch of a billion-dollar industry fund that aims to back the blockchain industry globally.

Under the background of the “new era of Chinese socialism characteristics,” the government has given Hainan Special Economic Zone a new mission of economic reformation. President Xi Jiping, personally planned, deployed and promoted the national strategy.

Huobi To Support National Strategy

Huobi China will support the national-level strategy and will use its technology, resources, talents and capital in the global blockchain industry to contribute to Hainan Special Economic Zone development and explore the construction of an international free trade port, the company announced on its website.

This year, the Huobi Group will:

1. Move Huobi China headquarters (Not Huobi Global, Nor Huobi Pro) to Hainan in the Hainan Ecological Software Park.
2. Build 10 global blockchain labs in collaboration with top global industry companies.
3. Build a global blockchain research institute with the world’s top universities.
4. Build a 40,000-square-meter blockchain incubator.
5. Create a billion-dollar global blockchain industry fund.

Huobi Seeks Government Partnership

Huobi was among China’s biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms prior to crippling domestic regulations that effectively curtailed the industry. After closing its Chinese trading platform in October, Huobi founder Leon Li summed up China’s curtain call as a “watershed moment” for the industry before launching Huobi Pro, its international trading platform headquartered in Singapore.

Huobi’s recent announcement to offer its own token, dubbed “Huobi Token” (HT), is another step in the former Chinese exchange giant’s diversification strategy, which includes an expansion into major cryptocurrency markets in South Korea and Japan.

The utility token is based on the Ethereum blockchain’s ERC-20 standard and will be capped at 500 million tokens. ‘Huobi Token, short for “HT”, is a token system based on Blockchain launching and management,’ the firm explained in a post on its website.

Philippines Legalizes Cryptocurrency in Economic Zone of CEZA

The Philippine government is welcoming nearly a dozen cryptocurrency companies to operate in a special tax-friendly economic zone situated in close proximity to a number of neighboring countries.

According to a Reuters report, the Philippines will legalize the entry of  top 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-controlled economic zone that is within an hour’s flight away from the likes of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

The government aims to woo cryptocurrency companies to operate out of the economic zone with tax benefits to help generate employment opportunities locally, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority chief Raul Lambino told Reuters.

Notably, the official confirmed that the government will also license – in effect legalize – the cryptocurrency firms in the special zone.

The companies will also be allowed to operate exchanges, offer initial coin offerings (ICOs) and engage in cryptocurrency mining within the zone, he added, stating:

We are about to license 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans…They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.

There is a caveat, however. Any exchange of fiat money into cryptocurrencies or vice-versa should be conducted beyond Philippines’ borders to avoid infringing the country’s laws.

To aid in bringing jobs to those companies, the economic zone’s regulator is also considering establishing a new financial technology university in the economic zone with a specific focus on blockchain technology, Lambino added.

The embracive stance follows newly introduced rules by the CEZA in February which allowed cryptocurrency companies to legally establish offices and facilities in the special zone. To gain a license, companies must invest at least $ 1 million in the zone over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licensing fees.

Meanwhile, in the mainland, the Philippines’ central bank was previously known to be reviewing the applications of a dozen operators vying to register and launch cryptocurrency exchanges in the country as recently as December. It remains to be seen if these operators have since switched tact to register in the economic zone instead.

The Philippines became one of the earliest nations in the world to publish regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges in early 2017. The deputy director of the central bank, appearing in a televised interview in October 2017, lauded the ‘pioneering regulation’ and said bitcoin, as a monetary instrument, is “fast, near real-time and convenient”.

Bitcoin: The Return of The King

Most of you have seen this little, tiny, minuscule, almost invisible jump in volume that happen on the 12th April 2018. So far, it has been the singular highest jump in volume ever seen as market cap went from ~ $270 Billion to ~ $300 Billion. It means around $30 Billion were added to the market in less than 3 hours.

Bitcoin’s dominance remains over 40% and I suspect it will continue to rise as most money that just entered the market should be institutional. There are some strong contenders, like Ripple, due to the nature of the backers (mainly banks and financial institutions).

Nevertheless, there are two ways of looking at this, in my own personal opinion:

  • Either the money that just entered the market stays with the King, or
  • It’s distributed among preferential projects (top-10 I would bet on).

Because there is currently a huge time gap between technological developments and price, meaning price moves due to pure speculation rather than technological advancements or issues that arise. If you think differently look at the examples of IOTA or Verge which have been hacked, however prices of both coins kept rising afterwards. Heck, think about bitcoin: when did the price hit its maximum valuation? At the same time fees were the highest ever.

Price is dictated by volume and what happened was a grand spike in smart-money coming into the market. Maybe some of the money that left at the end of January is coming back.

 

Should we expect the price to continue rising?

Some technical analysts believe price will continue to rise. Then again, the opposite might happen depending on many factors:

  1. Geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S. will most definitely shake-up traditional markets. This will no doubt influence the amount of money available to invest in the cryptocurrency market. I’m just not sure how this will affect all markets as at the end, there might be a surprising shift; people could begin to trust more in bitcoin due to its security, resilience and the fact it’s independent from governments and economies.
  2. Investors going short on bitcoin got destroyed and likely lost a lot of money. What can counter this is the CME Bitcoin contracts futures price, as I expect the futures’ volume to rise exponentially. Why? That’s easy: because it’s profitable for those investing in both markets.

  1. News sources. When many positive news start to arrive we usually see a growing euphoria and hype (check google trends) from dumb-money entering the market leading to massive price runs. I see no reason for this to be different this time. If history taught us something is that it “repeats” itself, going around and around in circles.
  2. Small technological hops (pun intended) will play a massive role in the long-term future, as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being given time to prepare for adoption worldwide. Hopefully exchanges won’t need to block new hordes of users signing up, bitcoin’s lightning network will be fully operational and segwit adopted by most mining agents and trading platforms.

We cannot forget price is crucial to bring new people into the market, but to keep those users technology must answer today’s problems. People do not care if money is centralized, decentralized, distributed, digital, or physical; People care about:

  • How can I get that money?
  • How much do I pay to store and transfer that money?

For truly massive adoption either the bitcoin team thinks of a way to easily distribute it among where is needed, this is, in countries where banking is limited for example, or a benign group of people develops a way to distribute the currency directly to people in exchange for something, other than money (time, attention, services, etc). I understand those who think until this currency is used by business worldwide it’s a joke. I get it, I truly do, however if the purpose of this cryptocurrency is to bank the un-banked and to be successful in connecting communities worldwide by allowing anyone to transfer and store value over the internet, then maybe the right way to do this would be to simply find ways to trade bitcoin for time and services in those places.

–note: i did not mention the question “how long does that money take to get to another account?”as the current banking system needs 3-5 business days for international transfers to take place. When the bitcoin network is clogged, i have personally waited around 24h for a bitcoin transfer to get approved. It still beats the banking system for personal transactions, which is the final aim of this cryptocurrency (in my opinion)–

Easier said than done

The reality, of course, is that acceptance dictates the rules of the game; businesses  have to start pushing cryptocurrencies by accepting them. At the end of the day for cryptocurrency to be used, all intervening agents must participate.

We must not forget there will always be two sides to the same coin:

  • Should we focus solely on price and volume, to master our gains? Or
  • Should we focus in improving technology scalability and marketing, to achieve worldwide adoption?

Doing one alone would be unwise as balancing both seems to be the right way for the market to grow. My only hope is that the entire community keeps improving the consensus in bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), never forgetting its true purpose

UK Watchdog to Publish its Review on Cryptocurrencies Later this Year

Britain’s financial regulator and markets watchdog outline its policy thinking on cryptocurrencies with a review to be published later this year.

In revealing its business plan for the coming financial year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) underlined cryptocurrencies as ‘an area of increasing interest for markets and regulators globally’. While admitting that cryptocurrencies do not directly fall under its regulatory scope, the FCA stressed that certain models of their usage bring them under its purview in a ‘complex’ landscape.

Pointedly, the FCA confirmed it would reveal its own take on cryptocurrencies, policy-wise, later this year. The regulator said:

We will work with the Bank of England and the Treasury as part of a taskforce to develop thinking and publish a Discussion Paper later this year outlining our policy thinking on cryptocurrencies.

The FCA is notably a member of the ‘Cryptoassets Task Force’ established by the British government in March 2018, consisting of the regulator, Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England (the central bank). The working group will explore and study the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said last month, helping the UK’s fintech sector to ‘grow and flourish’ in a regulatory climate that has broadly been supportive of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies over the years.

On Friday, the FCA mandated firms offering cryptocurrency derivatives to comply with all applicable rules to be authorized, stating it would be a ‘criminal offence’ otherwise.

Earlier in February, the UK’s Treasury Select Committee, an influential group of cross-party members of parliament (MPs), launched an inquiry into cryptocurrencies in an effort to better understand them.

While the Treasury Committee confirmed it would look at risks and threats posed by cryptocurrencies to ‘consumers, businesses and governments’, committee chair Nicky Morgan stressed the group would “also examine the potential the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the technology underpinning them, how they can create innovative opportunities, and to what extent they could disrupt the economy and replace traditional means of payment.”

Committee member Alison McGovern added that the inquiry would help UK lawmakers and politicians to better educate themselves on cryptocurrencies before enforcing policies. “It is time that Whitehall and Westminster understood cryptocurrency better and thought more clearly about the policy environment for blockchain technology,” she stated.

Telegram ICO Hits $1.7 Billion After 2nd Funding Round

The Telegram ICO has now raised a total of at least $1.7 billion, public documents show.

According to offering documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and dated March 29, the second round of Telegram’s much-hyped initial coin offering (ICO) raised $850 million in a sale that began on March 14.

The filing reports that 94 investors contributed to the funding round, placing the average individual investment at approximately $9 million. The previous funding round, which occurred in January and also raised $850 million, attracted 81 investors for an average individual investment of $10.5 million.

Both rounds of the Telegram ICO have been reported to the SEC under Rule 506(c) of Securities Act Regulation D, which allows unregistered securities issuers to raise an unlimited amount of money as long as they restrict contributions to accredited (i.e. wealthy) investors, file a simple report with the SEC, and require investors to submit to a predefined vesting period before selling their stakes.

The $1.7 billion Telegram has currently raised exceeds the $1.6 billion the firm was reportedly targeting in February.

However, Telegram has been notoriously opaque in both the development of its new blockchain protocol and the handling of the ICO, so it is unclear whether this marks the conclusion of the firm’s token sale or founder Pavel Durov will seek to raise more cash for the project in the near future.

This opacity has scared many big-name investors away, including renowned cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital.

The company claims that the Telegram Open Network (TON) — whose native token is called “Gram” — will be a revolutionary “third-generation blockchain” that has the network capacity to process 1 million transactions per second at virtually no cost. However, many blockchain developers have raised serious questions about the practicality of TON’s proposed system.

As CCN reported, quantitative analyst Aaron Brown estimated that the TON could reach a $200 billion market cap in five years — a best case scenario — but that current investors are likely overpaying for the Gram tokens.

Bitcoin Raise 7% to $8,460 Overnight as Cryptocurrency Market Rebounds

After dipping below $7,300 on most major cryptocurrency exchanges, the price of bitcoin has raised 7 percent overnight, increasing from $7,240 to $8,467, triggered by a variety of factors.

G20

Many analysts have attributed the recent increase in the price of bitcoin to the result of the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit, during which the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the global watchdog that oversees banks and financial networks as a representative of 20 major economies, stated that existing regulations on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will be held and no additional restriction or regulation shall be issued.

FSB’s official report referencing FSB Chair and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s letter read:

“The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become significantly more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system.”

Previously, up until this week, several analysts noted that the upcoming G20 meetup has contributed to the decline in the value of cryptocurrencies, as investors anticipated the G20 financial watchdog FSB to crackdown on cryptocurrencies and issue stricter regulations. Investors expected major economies to come together to regulate the global cryptocurrency market with harsher policies.

However, governments have decided to accommodate existing regulations on the global cryptocurrency market, which are already strict in regions like the US and Japan, and follow the regulatory roadmap of leading cryptocurrency markets to facilitate the rapidly growing demand for the emerging asset class.

It is highly unlikely that the G20 meetup was the sole factor behind the recent price surge of bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market. But, the cryptocurrency market was in need of an optimistic and positive development to secure an upward trend again, after being in a slump for over a week.

Consequently, the valuation of the cryptocurrency market recovered beyond $310 billion, subsequent to falling below $280 billion, and is eyeing to initiate a short-term rally.

In previous reports, CCN emphasized that the January correction would require several months to recover because many investors were hurt by the decline in the price of cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the cryptocurrency market was considered the path for short-term profits. In early 2018, investors have stated to view the market differently, and speculators or weak hands have left the market.

2018 saw significantly developments in bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major cryptocurrencies along with emerging blockchain technologies. Yet, the price has not represented the magnitude of developments that have happened in the space, most likely because speculators and weak hands were not interested in the technology, but rather in short-term profits.

Short-Term

In the short-term, given the continuous increase in the dominance index of bitcoin, it is highly likely that bitcoin will maintain its dominance over the market in a volatile period like this. Bitcoin’s dominance index is already at 44 percent, and has been increasing since February, as more investors have started to eye bitcoin as a safe investment over other cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency news: Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

LITECOIN is currently ranked as the fifth cryptocurrency on the market, it has grown more than 3855.16 percent over the past year and has shot from $4.26 this time last year to a price of $168.49. So why has it experienced this remarkable growth and could it overtake the number one cryptocurrency bitcoin?

Litecoin was founded in 2011, two years after bitcoin was born.

The token is often referred to as the ‘silver to bitcoin’s gold’, as it was launched using the same code as bitcoin and its aim was to improve on the transaction speed of bitcoin.

Instead of using bitcoin’s SHA256 network, Litecoin used scrypt functions which helped to improve transaction speeds.

Bitcoin creates a block of information with data encrypted in 10 minutes, whereas Litecoin does it in two and half minutes per block.

As a cryptocurrency, it is favoured by traders as it is considered to be not as congested as bitcoin and is a lot cheaper as a result.

And experts claim Litecoin has asserted itself as a cryptocurrency which deserves to be in the top five, but does it have the potential to ever overtake bitcoin?

Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

Litecoin has experienced remarkable growth this year, increasing in price by 3855.16 percent, compared to bitcoin’s 593.39 percent.

Bitcoin has been plagued by extended transaction speeds as users flood the network – many have said it has become a victim of its own success and has become too congested.

Despite this, experts do not predict Litecoin overtaking bitcoin any time soon.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency on the market so has first advantage and is recognised as a well-know cryptocurrency name, Nicholas Cawley, analyst at Daily FX explained to Express.co.uk.

The number one cryptocurrency managed to garner a critical mass and drew in investors and traders, and Mr Crawley said he does not envisage Litecoin ever outshining bitcoin.

However the analyst also predicts Litecoin will overtake another cryptocurrency this year, which is currently fourth on CoinMarketCap.com.

“I think Litecoin will overtake Bitcoin cash but in market capitalisation terms will struggle to overtake Bitcoin,” Mr Cawley said.

Bitcoin Cash has just under 17 million tokens in circulation against a maximum of 21 million, while Litecoin has 55.5 million of a maximum 84 million in supply, so if prices remain the same litecoin’s market cap will grow faster than Bitcoin Cash.

“I also like the Litepal payment system and when we eventually see the launch of the Litepay debit card, then I can see Litecoin overtaking Bitcoin Cash.”

Kristjan Dekleva, head of product development at Blocktrade was in agreement and did not forsee Litecoin taking the number one spot on the cryptocurrency market.

Mr Tekleva said: “I don’t believe that Litecoin will overtake bitcoin. Litecoin does its intended job well for certain intents and purposes and has somewhat wide market penetration.

“But one it lacks the name recognition that Bitcoin has, which helps it stay where it is despite its flaws, and two there are numerous other altcoins that do Litecoin’s intended job, quick and cheap transactions, much better.

“Ultimately, it functions ok, but not well enough to break out of mid-market in the long run.”

While Andrei Barysevich, Director of Advanced Collection at Record Future, believes Litecoin has the capability to overtake bitcoin at some point, but not in the current climate.

“Bitcoin is not going anyway, everybody knows about bitcoin, in my view, it is going to remain as a gold standard. People will continue to use and continue to store money in bitcoin,” he said.

“However in day to day operations, I think Litecoin is to become more dominant currency, as soon as we start to see established e-commerce websites accepting Litecoin, that’s the time when i think Litecoin is going to dominate bitcoin cash.”

Mr Barysevich added to say he believes Litecoin will continue to experience growth in 2018 and will add on the success it is already experienced.

 

Israel: Steps Toward Cryptocurrency Support

In terms of technological innovation, Israel has been labeled by some as “The Startup Nation”with Israeli ventures raising over $5 billion in capital in 2017. This is almost 10% of China’s yearly fundraising total. While there’s a number of popular applications, platforms, and products including USB flash drives, the Waze navigation app, SodaStream carbonation machines, the country has set its foot in the crypto industry as well.

Back in 2017, Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, partnered with Microsoft to create a Blockchain-powered platform to “make the process of signing up guarantors simple and quicker.” And in February 2018, the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) stated that cryptocurrencies will be taxed by the capital gains as properties.

On February 26, 2018, the country took it even further, when the Israeli Supreme Court handed down a decision that would temporarily block Leumi Bank, limiting a local broker, Bits of Gold, from facilitating the sale of cryptocurrency.

Though many were quick to laud the temporary ruling as ‘precedent-setting,’ it still leaves ample room for further developments. The judge ruling the case, Anat Baron, said that her decision was “not intended to harm the bank’s rights to analyze with specificity every transaction that takes place with the bank account or to take any actions that are related to minimizing risks.” This likely means cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges putting transparency first will be regarded as lawful—for now

Founder and CEO of Bits of Gold Yuval Roash sees this decision as justified, saying,

“Regulation is one of the things that has been important to us since the beginning. From the very beginning, we saw the problem with Bitcoin in terms of its anonymous characteristics, and we wanted to receive a currency service certificate—and we received it in August 2013.”

This is significant progress from December of last year, when a Tel Aviv district court ruled in favor of Leumi Bank, who had refused service to Bits of Gold because of Bitcoin’s inability to meet anti-money laundering standards. Bank Leumi had also been piggybacking on the Bank of Israel’s June labeling of exchanges as “websites that facilitate gambling transactions”, which is a sore spot for Israel especially. The country proved to be careful about upsetting the balance within its borders, and even blocked popular ride-sharing application Uber from an Israeli debut.

After examining the last five years of Bits of Golds’ operations, Judge Baron determined Leumi’s previous assumption that violations of the law would occur if Bitcoin were left unchecked were false.

In relation to the ruling, Yair Geva, head of the Hi-Tech Department of Israeli law firm Herzog, Fox & Ne’eman, remarked:

“It should be emphasized that the Court did not rule on the fundamental question—which has not yet been decided—whether Bank Leumi is entitled to refuse banking services for cryptocurrency trading. Although the final decision is still pending, it seems that this recent verdict of the Supreme Court will continue to give tailwinds to the tremendous growth of the crypto industry in Israel particularly, and to hi-tech as well as the financial industry in general. One of the reasons for this is that the Supreme Court clarified that Bits of Gold operated transparently and did not violate any statutory provision. In other words, the Supreme Court determined that currently there is no direct legal prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in Israel. It remains to be seen how regulators in Israel will respond to this landmark decision.”

Regardless of how regulators will respond, it’s already clear that progress on Israeli blockchain innovations hasn’t slowed.

“As with any new and promising technology, jurisdictions that instate well-balanced policies to promote innovation and adoption, will find themselves attracting talent and business to their ecosystems on grand scales. The best frameworks will be the ones that take a learning approach, allowing entrepreneurs and institutions to deeply understand how these technologies affect all stakeholders and develop the policies which are beneficial to most while educating the public on tradeoffs and accountability. Israel has always seen the advancement of technology as a strength and opportunity, and is well positioned to lead in Blockchain development and applications,” said Galia Benartzi, Co-founder of Bancor.

Itay Nagler, Israeli citizen and CEO of blockchain-driven travel startup Cool Cousin, says that Israelis, as a default, undercut the perception that things can’t or shouldn’t change.

“We are almost raised to believe that there is always a better, more efficient way to do things. That is one of the main reasons such a small country is home to many great innovative companies and individuals. This is also an explanation to why Israelis were among the firsts to adopt blockchain technology and crypto. A lot of us see it as a wonderful solution to many problems and our mentality of “no fear” to change, and relatively easy access to quality human resources and funding allows us to act on it. This, I believe, helped us during the past decades to position ourselves as pioneers and experts in many industries.”

Even though there were no concrete regulations of the industry before, it didn’t stop entrepreneurs from launching blockchain projects of their own. Bancor was one of the first major ICOs, raising over $150 million in mere minutes, and has its origins in Israel. IOTA , an IoT-focused Blockchain solution, recently opened an office in Tel Aviv, noting that the city is “a well-established tech hub, always ranking in the top 10 of start-up reports.”

These positive changes, however, go contrary to the recent decision by the Israeli regulators of not including companies involved in the crypto industry in the TASE, Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices, due to its ‘trading volatility.’

Israel appears to be setting itself in the Blockchain ecosystem, along with the rest of the world, but tries first guarantee that the market’s grey areas be limited while its most useful attributes allowed to flourish

Traditional Liechtenstein Bank Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

Citizens of Liechtenstein, a country that has become rather famous for its cryptocurrency acceptance, will soon be able to purchase digital currencies directly from a bank. Given the royal family’s demonstrated interest in the asset class and the general willingness to embrace cryptocurrency development, the move is perhaps not too surprising.

According to a press release issued by Bank Frick on February 28, 2018, it will be offering a wide variety of cryptocurrencies on its trading platform effective immediately. The initial set of digital currencies available for purchase will include BitcoinEthereumLitecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash.

The target audience of the bank likely comprises of high net worth individuals and institutional investors, or rather, the type of individuals that already have a sizeable amount of funds in various banking instruments.

For any cryptocurrency exchange or broker, especially those, security is an important consideration. As is traditional for any cryptocurrency exchange, Bank Frick has stated that it will store all of its customers’ cryptocurrency assets in cold wallets, or rather, on computers air-gapped from the internet for the most part. Other security features, however, were not detailed in the press release.

The financial institution in question is already a fully-regulated bank that complies with all know-your-customer related laws at the country and EU level. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the same identification requirements will be carried over for any investor looking to purchase any amount of cryptocurrency from Bank Frick.

The bank also confirms regulatory compliance in its statement,

“At Bank Frick, cryptocurrency investments are subject to the same strict statutory measures as traditional financial transactions,” and “Clients can only invest in cryptocurrencies once they have been fully identified and verified. The verification and identification process also involves checking the origin of the money used to invest in them.”

Even though Bank Frick is a financial institution that primarily caters to Liechtenstein citizens, it has announced that the platform will be available to any European entity interested in it. The Chief Client Officer, Huber Büchel, said,

“Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe. This is because they know that we can offer them reliable support in implementing their business models with cryptocurrencies and blockchains in line with the existing regulatory framework.”

Furthermore, the bank has announced that it will be accepting foreign currencies in exchange for cryptocurrency assets. At this time, investors can transact in US Dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs.

Bank Frick joins a rather exclusive list of banks willing to not only adopt, but also facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. With most financial institutions around the world heading in the exact opposite direction, it is clear that Liechtenstein’s banks have other intentions.