This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
New York faces licensing backlog while trying to become a bitcoin hub
Since June 2015 virtual currency firms need a “BitLicense” to do business in New York City, in order for them to be able to legally hold and exchange virtual coins for fiat currencies. The license was a way for companies to gain customers’ trust, and for the city it was a way to get ahead of rivals in the fintech business. Unfortunately, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) had personnel problems, which in turn created a licensing backlog. According to Reuters, there were 15 pending applications at the end of October.
BTCC to expand to an international customer base
BTCC, formerly known as BTC China, markets itself as the world’s longest-running bitcoin exchange, and it wasn’t completely available for users all over the world. The company recently announced it was launching the BTCC USD Exchange service, with a new user interface, support for the US dollar and, in the future, other currencies as well. The new service will, however, not be available for US Customers, as the company is still expecting a license from the DFS in New York (see news above). It does, however, show the company wants to become an international exchange and compete with weakened big names such as Bitfinex.
Ethereum blockchain now has certified developers
B9lab announced in a blog post its first graduates from their Ethereum Development Course are now registered on the Ethereum Blockchain. The graduates will now have their certificates verified on the Ethereum Platform, and display their achievement on LinkedIn as well. The certificate is acquired by consistently having a score of 80% or higher throughout B9lab’s course, which lasts for 9 weeks and has an expected workload of roughly 5 hours a week.
Switzerland plans to regulate fintech
After Switzerland’s rail operator SBB started selling bitcoin as a way to see how much interested the country had n the cryptocurrency, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) announced it had plans to regulate fintech, in a move that wants to reduce barriers to the entry of fintech firms in the market. According to the FDF, this would significantly contribute to the quality of Switzerland’s financial center, and boost the country’s competitiveness. The Financial Market Supervisory Authority is to become the primary fintech regulator in the country, as the country’s stance has already drawn in a few startups.
Australian regulator looking out for fintech acquisitions on behalf of big banks
Speaking to Reuters Rod Sims, a member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that the organization may get involved if any of the “four major banks” of Australia get involved in the acquisition of fintech or blockchain startups. Sims claimed that, depending on the nature of the cooperation, if talking about blockchain technology, big banks may have to get ACCC’s permission before advancing These comments come as Australia is, just like a lot of countries throughout the world, attempting to regulate the industry.
One of Thailand’s biggest banks is working with IBM on blockchain
Kasikornbank, one of Thailand’s biggest banks is working with IBM on the development of blockchain technology in order to reduce recordkeeping costs. The bank is looking to officially integrate the service in 2017, according to Reuters. The partnership doesn’t end with Kasikornbank, as the banking giant is reportedly in discussions with other Thai banks so that the country’s biggest banks can connect via blockchain. At first, the network would be about certifying documents, but in the future it could go further. In the past, Kasikornbank had already hinted it was interested in discovering and pursuing possible blockchain applications.
Bitcoin at $704 as Zcash’s value goes down
Bitcoin is still above the $700 this week, even though it lost over 5% of its value as Bloomberg was citied reporting that the Chinese government wanted to impose capital controls for bitcoin. The Chinese government is allegedly imposing controls on the cryptocurrency as it is worried some exchange users are using local exchanges to buy so they can then sell abroad in a move that evades foreign exchange rules. Bloomberg’s article seems to have been taken down, but ZeroHedge’s report on it is still online.
Meanwhile, Zcash, which was worth over $4.000 last week, is now worth less than bitcoin. One Zec is currently worth $530, even though there are a lot less Zec’s in circulation than there are bitcoins. Experts believe this new cryptocurrency now needs to finds its way before it will rise in value.