Bitcoin news roundup, February 19, 2017
This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Former president of Bank of China claims it’s impossible to kill bitcoin
L H Li, former president of state-owned Bank of China, the fifth largest bank in the world, claimed that it is now impossible to take down bitcoin, in an interview for China’s predominant state broadcaster, CCTV. According to a translated statement, L H Li said: “Bitcoin was built on a platform without national boundaries. If you want to kill bitcoin, it will be an impossible task. So, it will continue to exist. What’s important now is that we should properly regulate it.”. The statement is of enormous importance, taking into account the People’s Bank of China’s interference in the bitcoin space. It’s possible that bitcoin’s acceptance as one of the world’s major currencies may be imminent.
The European Union plans to increase support for blockchain technology
According to a recently published statement, the European Union wants to increase the support it gives to the development of blockchain technologies and projects, even beyond financial services applications, currently being explored by several financial institutions. Last Spring the European Parliament approved a task force, led by the European Commission, to study blockchain technology. The statement even includes the possibility of future collaboration in blockchain-related events: “The Commission will organise a kick-off conference with the European Parliament on Demystifying Blockchain and a series of workshops to look at Blockchain developments and use case applications.”
BTCChina to freeze cryptocurrency withdrawals for one month
BTCC is to freeze bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals for one month, and is now the last of largest bitcoin exchanges in China to do so, in order to upgrade its customer verification system. The move comes after at a request from the People’s Bank of China, China’s Central Bank, in an attempt to combat money laundering. BTCC plans to end the process on March 15, but added that “If the system upgrade can be completed ahead of time, all business will return to normal immediately”. China’s other major exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi, also froze cryptocurrency withdrawals last week.
There are now over 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs throughout the world
According to CoinATMRadar, there are 1,008 bitcoin ATMs in the world right now, and over 36,000 bitcoin to cash service providers, all contained in 55 countries. The United States is leading the bitcoin ATM market with 626 units, while Canada comes in second place with 138. In Europe, the leading country is the United Kingdom with 53 ATMs, and in Asia Japan gets first place, with 11 ATMs.
Uganda’s central bank warned its citizens against cryptocurrency investments
The Bank of Uganda (BoU), Uganda’s Central Bank, issued a warning where it advised citizens against cryptocurrencies, claiming those that invest in them are “taking a risk in the financial space”. The warning, shared on Twitter, put Bitcoin, Litecoin, and OneCoin in the same group, drawing no distinction between legitimate and illegitimate currencies. The Bank of Uganda also enforced that the public is encouraged to do business with licensed financial institutions, as cryptocurrencies offer no protection to investors.
— Silver Kayondo (@SilverKayondo) February 14, 2017
New Zealand’s BitNZ to shut down due to “bank hostility”
One of New Zealand’s biggest and oldest bitcoin exchanges, bitNZ, will shut down soon, according to an explanatory note the company published on Reddit. The note reads: “Due to the refusal of NZ banks to allow bank accounts for the purpose of trading Bitcoins it is impossible for us to continue operations”. BitNZ’s users were asked to withdraw all of their funds before April 15, 2017. The move, however, comes as a surprise, since BitNZ has been around since 2011, has processed over 11,000 transactions so far, and claims to comply with AML/KYC requirements. Moreover, NZBCX, another New Zealand-based exchange, appears to be functioning normally.
Germany’s largest financial news network added bitcoin to its list of major currencies
Finanzen.net is Germany’s largest financial news network, and this week it added bitcoin to its list of major world currencies, next to fiat currencies such as the US dollar and the Chinese yuan. The list contains currencies considered to operate as the basis of the global economy, and currently only includes 7 major currencies. Finanzen’s bitcoin reports show it has been following bitcoin’s development closely, and in addition, the news network even added native support for the cryptocurrency in its platform.
Bitcoin’s value has stayed above $1,000 for a whole week
On last week’s bitcoin news roundup, one bitcoin was worth $1,009. At the time of press, one bitcoin is worth $1,061. The cryptocurrency is showing resiliency, as it is cementing itself above the $1,000 mark. Even though trading volume declined since the People’s Bank of China interfered, its value keeps on rising, and the effects of PBOC’s crackdown keep diminishing.
Ether prices surged and hit a new high for 2017
Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency, has recently seen a significant increase in value, as news of major companies – such as Microsoft, JP Morgan, and Banco Santander – working on Enterprise Ethereum started to appear. Enterprise Ethereum is essentially a modified version of Ethereum to be used for private blockchains, according to CryptoCoinsNews. At the time of press, one Ether was worth $12.72