Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Chief economist at The Bank of England (BoE) views the bitcoin as a replacement for cash. As Giulio Prisco of Bitcoin Magazine writes, BoE’s chief economist, Andrew G Haldane, stated that the U.K. government might issue a digital currency to mitigate the failure of central banks to stimulate economic growth, thus compromising the success of monetary policy, the widely known Zero Lower Bound (ZLB) problem. Although Haldane’s views are not representing BoE, there are indicative of what the Bank considers.
Australia’s major banks threaten to close corporate bitcoin accounts. As Paul Smith of The Australian Financial Review writes, leading banks in Australia have sent warning letters to major Australian bitcoin startups and exchanges, including Bit Trade and Buyabitcoin, stating that their accounts will be closed, without further notice. The accounts of 13 bitcoin companies are already closed. This move is expected to put the viability of new business at risk.
Following a series of contradicting decisions regarding banning or regulating the cryptocurrency since 2014, now Russia seeks to outlaw the bitcoin activities. As Gola Yashu of NewsBtc writes, the Russian government is questioning whether the bitcoin should fall under the new money surrogate law. If the bill is enacted, all bitcoin activities (mining, trading and transactions) will be banned. The paradox is that the Russian government is not exercising any control over the creation of digital currencies in the country. What will follow it remains to be seen.
Azerbaijan is actively seeking to create a cryptocurrency equivalent of its national currency. As Erin Lace of CoinTelegraph reports, the idea of the “Cryptomanat” coin followed the announcement of the creation of “BitRuble” in Russia last week. According to Nariman Agayev, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development Research, “Cryptomanat will not have a significant impact on the economy of Azerbaijan, since it won’t stay afloat for long. Our citizens prefer to deal with cash.”
The New Hampshire bitcoin tax billmay be ditched. According to Yessi Bello Perez of Coin Desk, the state’s legislative subcommittee considers to decline Eric Schleien’s bill, filled earlier in 2015, that would allow citizens to pay their taxes with bitcoin. Schleien has suggested that the state treasury works with a third-party service that accepts the digital currency so that the state receives U.S dollars in return. However, the first reaction of the committee is that the rule is “ineligible to legislate”. If the rule is rejected, the measure will be possibly be taken up during the new legislative session in 2016.
The European Banking Federation (EBF) suggests a regulatory framework for the bitcoin. As Maria Rudina of CoinFox writes, EFB, a banking group representing 4,500 banks and 32 national banking associations, released a plan stating the need for the digital renovation of the European banking system. Considering the ability of blockchain technology to lower transaction costs, increase market liquidity and secure consumer spending, the EBF suggests the implementation of existing anti-money laundering policies to digital currency transactions, while highlighting the need to further develop technologies that can exercise such control.
Circle Internet Financial gets BitLicense approved. AsKatherine Fletcher of Coin Report writes, the Boston-based bitcoin startup is the first company to receive aNew York State BitLicense, the most demanding bitcoin regulation that has caused several bitcoin companies to discontinue their services in the Big Apple. The license will allow Circle to offer digital-currency services to its customers, while protecting them with anti-money laundering compliance and cybersecurity policies.
BitPay’s“free and unlimited” bitcoin service to new merchants ceases. As Pete Rizzo of Coin Desk reports, the service aimed to help Bitpay reach 1 million merchants by 2017. Although the idea of unlimited was perceived as “forever” to allure merchants to the platform, the bitcoin payment processor has decided to stop this service. The small businesses that are using the new Starter Plan, up to 30 monthly transactions and up to $1,000 daily, will not be affected by this shift.