This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins to compensate users for their Bitcoin Cash funds
On August 1, all Bitcoin holders received an equivalent amount in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), following the network’s hard fork. Popular peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins never really gave users who had their Bitcoin on the platform access to their Bitcoin Cash funds, and now the company revealed that it sold these funds and will be compensating users in Bitcoin. In a blog post, the exchange wrote:
- “LocalBitcoins has decided against supporting Bcash, for various reasons. Our primary focus is to provide easy access and global liquidity for Bitcoin and to ensure the security of Bitcoins held in customer accounts.”
Notably, LocalBitcoins used the pejorative term “Bcash”, and added that supporting the cryptocurrency would shift resources away from its mission of serving the Bitcoin community. It further advised users that similar compensations won’t happen in the future, presumably referring to the potential SegWit2x hard fork scheduled for later this year.
Bitcoin exchange Coinbase launched live phone support
One of the most popular Bitcoin exchanges, Coinbase, recently announced live phone support as part of its commitment to improving its customer support service. Phone support agents will be available to customers Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Pacific time, and will be able to help out with ID verification issues, limit increases, and trust and safety issues such as helping users lock their accounts in case they believe they’ve been compromised. They won’t, however, help out with specifying the status of transactions, or answer questions about a customer’s account history.
The move comes as Coinbase claims to now have over 10,000,000 users, and intends to use part of the $100 million it raised in its latest funding round to improve customer support. Coinbase’s live phone support can be contacted at 888-908-7930.
Edward Snowden says Zcash is the “most interesting Bitcoin alternative”
World-renewed advocate for user data security and privacy, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, recently shared his opinion on two privacy-centric cryptocurrencies: Monero and Zcash, who provide users secure, anonymous transactions. When a Twitter user stated that Zcash was built by professional academic cryptographers, the former Central Intelligence Agency employee replied:
Agree. Zcash's privacy tech makes it the most interesting Bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin is great, but "if it's not private, it's not safe." https://t.co/HqwQOvSCiz
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 28, 2017
When another user asked for his opinion on Monero, Snowden replied that it was a great project, but pointed out that “the problem with amateur crypto is mistakes happen and have huge consequences for people like me.” This, in reference to MoneroLink, which suggests as much as 60 percent of Monero transactions can be linked.
South Korea banned ICOs
Earlier this month, DeepDotWeb covered China’s ban on ICOs. Now, according to reports, South Korea’s financial regulator is following China’s footsteps as it banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The Financial Services Commission stated that the ban was partly due to the need to tightly control and monitor virtual currency trading. According to CNBC, in a statement the country’s financial regulator stated that ICOs seem to be on a rise both globally and in South Korea, and that “stern penalties” will be issued on organizations and any parties involved in issuing ICOs. According to CryptoCoinsNews, Kim Yong-bum, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission, was quoted as saying:
- “We are worried about adverse effects such as increased risk of fraud, The ICO will be prohibited in all forms. ”
The financial regulator’s announcement added that it doesn’t necessarily mean the government implicitly accepted virtual currency trading as part of its financial system, as it will monitor markets to see if additional regulations are necessary.
There are now 11 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) recently issued operating licenses to 11 Bitcoin exchanges, including the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer. According to CoinDesk, 17 license applications are still being reviewed, while 12 firms already had to shut down in light of the country’s new regulations, which aim to protect consumers by making sure operating exchanges meet risk management standards and properly manage funds.
According to reports, to maintain their licensed status exchanges will need to meet certain criteria, including high cybersecurity standards, minimum capital reserve requirements, and the employment of AML/KYC practices.
European Central Bank has no power to regulate Bitcoin, says Mario Draghi
The European Central Bank’s president, Mario Draghi, recently pointed out that the institution has no power to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. His statements were made to the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as when asked about cryptocurrency regulations and bans Mario Draghi notably stated:
- “It would actually not be in our powers to prohibit and regulate them. We have to ask what effects cryptocurrencies have on the economy.”
Mario Draghi added that cryptocurrencies are, however, still too immature to be considered as a viable payment method, and that the ECB’s primary concern surrounding cryptocurrencies and digital innovation is cybersecurity.
Bitcoin at $4,288.07, following South Korea’s ICO ban
South Korea’s ICO ban, mentioned above, barely affected Bitcoin’s price this week as the cryptocurrency didn’t even drop below the $4,000 mark because of it, according to data from CoinMarketCap. In fact, the cryptocurrency’s price surged this week, from about $3,800 to $4,288.07 at press time. Bitcoin’s market cap is currently at $71.16 billion, and its dominance is of 48.6%. The cryptocurrency ecosystem’s market cap is currently of $146.5 billion.