In this week’s daily editions of Bitcoin in Brief, we showcased stories about politicians trying to enforce their will on the cryptocurrency ecosystem around the world, thus pushing companies that are big enough to join the money-in-politics game.
Bitmain Expands R&D in Israel
On Monday, we reported that Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the Beijing-headquartered bitcoin mining hardware (ASIC chips) producer, plans to expand its research and development center in Israel and expects to triple its workforce in the country. Bitmain explained that it would recruit more than 40 researchers, programmers, engineers and marketing personnel to its development center in Ra’anana, to be added to the 15 employees there today. And in exchange-related news, we reported that Poloniex launched an official mobile app and Cobinhood added USD fiat trading.
Blackrock Probes Market
Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager with over $6 trillion in assets under management, made headlines on Tuesday by probing the crypto market. Reports have popped up the day before that the company has created a ‘working group’ to explore how it can take advantage of the hot new alternative investment instruments. CEO denied that Blackrock is setting up any crypto trading capabilities or received demand for it from its clients. However, he did confirm that the company is studying the performance of cryptocurrencies to be prepared for the eventuality in the future. In other interesting news, Bitpay was granted a New York Bitlicense and Coinbase claimed to get an approval from SEC and FINRA for its securities license acquisition – a claim it later walked back from.
Jersey Introduces Requirements for ICO Projects
On Wednesday, we reported that the Financial regulator of Jersey, the UK self-governing dependency, has introduced requirements for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A new ‘guidance note’ document listed a number of requirements that apply to ICO issuers and described certain procedures and processes that should be followed in order to mitigate and manage the risks for retail investors. Projects are expected to apply anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures as well as inform investors about the risks.
Anti-Crypto Politician Backed by Payments Firm
On Thursday, we reported about US Representative Brad Sherman (Democrat-California) who blasted cryptocurrencies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing entitled “The Future of Money: Digital Currency”. Members of the community were quick to point out that his top financial contributor for 2017-2018 is Allied Wallet – a payments processor offering credit card, ACH and other services that stand to lose out from wider cryptocurrency adoption.
“We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” Rep. Sherman proclaimed. “Mining alone uses electricity which takes away from other needs and-or adds to the carbon footprint. As a store [of value], as a medium of exchange, cryptocurrency accomplishes nothing except facilitating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.”
Belarus’ New Standards for Crypto Exchanges
On Friday, we reported that, having legalized crypto-related activities earlier this year, Belarus is now fine-tuning and expanding the regulatory framework. The Hi-Tech Park in Minsk (HTP) is currently developing standards for companies operating crypto exchanges and providers of services related to issuing and placement of tokens. According to local media reports, state bodies and representatives of the legal and tech communities in the country are involved in the process. The new set of rules and regulations is intended to supplement the basic framework outlined in the presidential decree. A legal expert added that entities in the field will be obliged to prove charter capital of at least $500,000.
Coinbase Dives Into Swamp
The big news on Saturday was that Coinbase has formed its own political action committee in order to raise money that can be spent on American elections. The company needs to keep US regulators off its back so it can continue to operate as a crypto exchange in the land of the free, and one day soon list securities as well. Having a political lobby that promotes its interests is an obvious move for a company that makes as much money as Coinbase, but one that smaller ventures won’t be able to match.
Peter Schiff: BTC Will Plummet
The most commented-on article during the week covered the recent appearance by the noted gold bug and bitcoin skeptic Peter Schiff on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Schiff blasted the world’s most popular decentralized money, insisted that a recent debate between him and the CEO of Shapeshift on the subject was rigged, and explained why he believes BTC’s price will crash further to $1,000 and lower. Join the discussion.
This Week in Bitcoin Podcast
Catch the rest of this week’s news in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with host Matt Aaron.
What other stories in the Bitcoin world caught your attention this week? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.