Korean Regulation Fails to Shake Bitcoin Market But Could Wipe Out Some Exchanges

Regulation

After South Korea’s regulators announced their emergency measures for cryptocurrencies, the bitcoin market breathes a sigh of relief. While a blanket ban was not adopted, other smaller bans remain and a clampdown on virtual bank accounts is presenting a serious challenge to exchanges.

Also read: South Korea Clarifies Position After Reports of Possible Ban on All Crypto Transactions

Bitcoin Market Relieved

Korean Regulation Fails to Shake Bitcoin Market But Could Wipe Out Some ExchangesSouth Korean prime minister.

The South Korean government held an emergency meeting on Thursday to adopt some measures to regulate the cryptocurrency market. The measures were announced to the public on the same day.

The regulators said from the start that they aim to curb the overheated cryptocurrency market. However, their announcement did not have a large impact. According to the Herald Corporation’s the Investor:

The market appears to be relieved because a blanket ban suggested by the Ministry of Justice was not adopted.

Last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on South Korea putting the Ministry of Justice in charge of a new task force aimed to spearhead regulations. The Ministry of Justice has been considering strict measures including a total ban on cryptocurrency trading, which was not adopted at the emergency meeting.

Meeting Notes Leaked

Korean Regulation Fails to Shake Bitcoin Market But Could Wipe Out Some ExchangesA page of the leaked document.

Approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes before the government’s final announcement, some meeting notes were leaked and posted online. “The online community posted photos of the conference materials at 11:55 am,” Joongang Daily reported. However, the leaked document is not the final version of the regulatory measures and some points on them were not adopted.

Nonetheless, referring to the leak, the prime minister was quoted, “It is very shocking and unacceptable to me.”

The regulators’ final announcement was made via the Office of the State Planning and Coordination Center. The Office held a meeting attended by the deputy ministers of each ministry at 10:00 am on Thursday Korea Time and sent an email out to the press at 2:37 pm.

During the actual announcement, the price of bitcoin trended downward only slightly before spiking up 7% from 18.158 million won to 19.345 million won at 5:20 pm Korea time.

Korean Regulation Fails to Shake Bitcoin Market But Could Wipe Out Some Exchanges

Bithumb Responds to Ban on Foreigners and Minors

Korean Regulation Fails to Shake Bitcoin Market But Could Wipe Out Some ExchangesThe final measures announced by the regulators include “banning foreigners and minors from opening a new account and those who already own cryptocurrencies are not allowed to make additional purchases,” the Investor described.

An official at Bithumb, the country’s largest bitcoin exchange, told the publication on Thursday:

The latest measures [on minors and foreigners] won’t have much impact on us as we are already very careful with minors and foreign investors. But they could hurt smaller and unorganized platforms which allow teenagers to trade virtual currencies.

Clampdown on Virtual Bank Accounts Could Force Some Exchanges Out of Business

The measures also include banning banks from engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities and clamping down on virtual bank accounts, which news.Bitcoin.com first reported on Wednesday.

“Cryptocurrency market watchers are crying foul about the government’s clampdown that called for banks to stop issuing virtual accounts for digital currency exchanges,” wrote the Investor. An official at a crypto exchange told the publication:

This is perplexing because the use of virtual accounts was a government initiative. We were close to signing a contract with two major banks for virtual account services but yesterday morning they told us they cannot go ahead with the deal. If all banks close their virtual accounts services for cryptocurrency platforms, then the platforms will go out of business due to a lack of alternatives.

The news outlet pointed out that there may be other ways to transfer money for trading in cryptocurrencies, but most transactions are done via virtual bank accounts. A Bithumb official announced:

We are reviewing alternative methods. Even if we cannot use virtual accounts, there are ways we can make sure that there are no obstacles for opening a new account or making transactions.

According to Hankyung, given that the announced measures were not as severe as previously indicated by the Ministry of Justice and the crypto markets continue to grow, “the government announced that it would prepare additional measures.”

What do you think of the regulators’ emergency measures? What do you think will happen to Korean bitcoin exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Yonhap, and Bithumb.


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Regulation

South Korea’s government released emergency measures for cryptocurrency regulation on Thursday. Bitcoin exchanges will now be regulated. Among other measures, there will be a ban on banks, minors, and foreigners trading cryptocurrency as well as a clampdown on virtual bank accounts needed to trade cryptocurrencies in Korea.

Also read: South Korea Clarifies Position After Reports of Possible Ban on All Crypto Transactions

Regulating Crypto Exchanges

South Korea’s government held an emergency meeting to discuss cryptocurrency regulation on Thursday. Following the meeting, the regulators released “virtual currency emergency measures,” Hankyung reported. The publication explained, according to the announcement:

A virtual currency exchange, which has more than 10 billion won in sales such as Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit, or more than 1 million visitors per day, is expected to receive the government’s ‘Information Security Management System (ISMS)’ certification next year.

The regulators have also increased the standard and penalties applicable when a security breach occurs at exchanges. “We will not allow virtual currency transactions unless the requirements for protection of investors, transparency of transactions and other measures are met through prompt legislation in the near future,” the government was quoted by the publication.

South Korea Releases Emergency Measures for Cryptocurrency RegulationThe government’s emergency meeting.

This week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the regulators proposing six conditions for crypto exchanges to operate.

A Ban on Banks, Minors, and Foreigners

The measures contain some prohibitions. News.Bitcoin.com reported on Wednesday of the government’s plan to impose a ban on banks from engaging in any cryptocurrency activities. Hankyung confirmed:

The government also decided to ban financial companies from buying, securing, and investing in virtual currency.

South Korea Releases Emergency Measures for Cryptocurrency RegulationThe measures also impose a ban on foreigners and minors. “Foreigners who are not residing in Korea or minors including high school students will not be able to open an account for virtual currency transactions in Korea,” the news outlet detailed. Moreover, those who already own cryptocurrencies will not be able to make additional trades.

As for a blanket ban suggested by the Ministry of Justice, the news outlet noted that “the ban, which has been reviewed by the Ministry of Justice, has not been adopted at the meeting. It was reported that the government was worried that if all transactions were banned, there would be controversy over infringement of private property.”

Clampdown on Virtual Bank Accounts

South Korea Releases Emergency Measures for Cryptocurrency RegulationThe government’s measures include a “clampdown that called for banks to stop issuing virtual accounts for digital currency exchanges,” wrote the Investor. These accounts are issued by banks for cryptocurrency exchange customers. News.Bitcoin.com explained on Wednesday how a virtual account is needed for cryptocurrency trading in Korea.

According to Hankyung, the government asked banks to confirm whether the owner of the cryptocurrency account is a minor or a foreigner. However, a bank official told the publication that “banks only issue virtual accounts to the exchanges and do not know who the virtual accounts are issued to.”

Nonetheless, most major banks in South Korea have announced that they will stop providing virtual bank account services to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Crime, Monitoring Trends, and Taxation

The government also decided to strengthen the crackdown and punishment of cryptocurrency related crimes, including the investment and recruitment of multi-level sales, fictitious coin sales, and illicit transactions. In addition, the news outlet conveyed:

The police are planning to conduct a special crackdown on ‘hacking and personal information infringement cases’ related to virtual currency, as well as investigating the actual conditions of virtual currency transaction refunds.

The Financial Services Commission (FCC), the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), and the Korea Exchange will be monitoring cryptocurrency trading trends as well as “abnormal trading of virtual currency related stocks,” the publication noted.

As for taxation, the government announced that it will examine the issue by forming a task force with private experts and related organizations such as the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the National Tax Service. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the government planning to tax bitcoin use as well as get user data from exchanges.

How effective do you think South Korea’s emergency crypto measures will be? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Hankyung.


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Gibraltar Paves Way for Regulation of Crypto and DLT Companies

Regulation

The Legislature of Gibraltar has approved a bill designed to update the territory’s Financial Services regulations. The bill is expected to pave the way for the territory’s introduction of comprehensive legislation governing the operations of companies working in the distributed ledger and cryptocurrency industries next year.

Also Read: Despite Regulation, Russians Plan to Build Europe’s Largest Mining Farms

Gibraltar Updates “Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act”

Gibraltar Paves Way for Regulation of Crypto and DLT CompaniesIn an explanatory memorandum, the bill states its intention “to extend measures for the protection of investors to the customers of licensees carrying on controlled activities which are not investment services.”

The amendments predominantly comprise the addition of the terms “customers” and “potential customers” alongside “investors” and “potential investors” in numerous sections of Gibraltar’s Financial Services Act. As such, analysts have inferred that the amendments are designed to extend existing regulations designed to protect qualified investors to also cover the engagement of retail investors with products issued by Gibraltar’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry.

The Bill Has Been Passed One Month Before Gibraltar Is Expected to Introduce a Regulatory Apparatus Governing the Territory’s Distributed Ledger Technology Industry

Gibraltar Paves Way for Regulation of Crypto and DLT CompaniesThe new DLT regulations, the “Financial Services (Distributed Ledger Technology Providers) Regulations 2017”, will see Gibraltar issue a “DLT provider’s license” to successful applicants. DLT providers will be required to adhere to the regulatory requirements of the country’s Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act, in addition to the “regulatory principles” laid out in the new legislation. Gibraltar’s regulators have stated that “Subject to sub-regulation, these Regulations come into operation on 1 January 2018.”

In recent months, the British overseas territory has increasingly sought to position itself as an attractive jurisdiction for DLT and cryptocurrency companies to operate in. During September, Gibraltar announced its intention to develop a “complementary regulatory framework” for initial coin offerings, defying the international trends at the time. In August, the territory saw the installation of its first bitcoin ATM, situated in the reception area of the World Trade Center Gibraltar.

Do you think that Gibraltar will be successful in attracting cryptocurrency and DLT companies to base their operations in the territory? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies

Economics

In contrast to many people around the world, who adopt bitcoin to make a quick profit, citizens of Venezuela use the currency as a matter of sheer survival. Venezuelans resort to the cryptocurrency to stay afloat, fighting the rising tides of hyperinflation. Even in the face of fierce government crackdowns, which are only getting worse, its people continue to rely on bitcoin.

Also Read: Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Bitcoin Miners Must Register

We previously covered the Venezuelan government’s crackdown on bitcoin mining and how people are still willing to risk arrests and police extortion to continue. Despite this, the government is not relenting, and even appears to be intensifying its efforts.

A mandatory national registry of bitcoin miners is expected to launch by December 22. Carlos Vargas, President Maduro’s recently appointed ‘superintendent of Venezuelan cryptocurrency’, said on Tuesday: “We want to know who they are, we want to know where they are, we want to know what equipment they are using.”

At the same time, Venezuelan police continue to harass miners. On Saturday, a team of detectives arrested Daniel Andrés Di Bartolomeo Viloria, and took position of his 21 mining rigs. He faces charges of money laundering, illicit enrichment, computer crimes, financing terrorism, exchange fraud, and damage to the national electric system.

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies

A Matter of Survival

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining IntensifiesAnti government protest in Caracas, Venezuela

It is, sadly, nothing new for South Americans. They’re often caught in the traps of looking for ways to defeat hyperinflation, government wealth confiscations, and capital controls. While the region’s middle class and wealthy view bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an investment choice, Venezuelans fear they have no other viable option.

Citizens have been forced to use bitcoin to be able to provide basic necessities for their families such as food, medicine, and clothing. In one lengthy report about the situation, Venezuelan John Villar describes how he used bitcoin to buy plane tickets abroad and medication for his wife as well as pay his employees’ salaries. He said: “This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of survival.”

What can citizens do in the face of a government crackdown on bitcoin miners and users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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10 Bitcoin Apps That Everyone Should Have

Featured

Owning a smartphone, like owning bitcoin, is obligatory these days. All the cool kids are doing it, along with all the uncool kids who were hodling hard back when bitcoin was ripe for mockery. Not any more. Whether you’re a bitcoin veteran or are new enough to believe HODL means Hold On for Dear Life, you might find something interesting in this list of 10 great cryptocurrency apps.

Also read: Getting Bitcoin on Grandma’s Android Phone: 3 Easy Steps

Blockfolio

The go-to portfolio checker for pretty much everyone, Blockfolio is clean and simple. You need to enter your cryptocurrency holdings manually, so it’s not great for day traders who are jumping from coin to coin. For everyone else though, Blockfolio lets you set and forget. Setting’s easy; forgetting the urge to refresh your portfolio every 30 seconds is a lot harder. Get it on Android and iPhone.

As alternatives, Acrypto for Android and Condex and Crypton for iOS also look tasty. So does Delta, which is available for both platforms, and likewise with Coincap.

10 Bitcoin Apps That Everyone Should Have

Bitcoin Checker

One for Android users only, Bitcoin Checker is a neat little widget that can be resized and used to display any cryptocurrency from any exchange. Whether you want to check arbitrage opportunities by monitoring bitcoin at multiple exchanges or keep track of your altcoin bags on obscure exchanges, Bitcoin Checker has got you covered.

Coin Tracking

For serious cryptocurrency trading, Coin Tracking is fricking awesome. It creates pretty pie charts of your portfolio and allows you to calculate such metrics as realized and unrealized gains and reports for tax declaration. You do pay your taxes, right? Course you do. You’ll need to subscribe to benefit from all of Coin Tracking’s features. The service comes with a nifty iOS and Android app.

10 Bitcoin Apps That Everyone Should Have

Lawnmower

Lawnmower doesn’t cut your grass, but it does cut through a lot of the noise regarding cryptocurrency investing. A clean interface makes it easy to view historical charts, market data, and news, and to invest fixed amounts on a weekly or monthly basis. It’s available on Android and iOS.

Ztrader

If your cryptocurrency exchange of choice doesn’t have a mobile trading app (such as Bittrex or Poloniex), Ztrader allows Android owners to connect via API and execute trades. Exchanges such as Bitfinex, Binance, and Coinbase all have excellent mobile apps, but not all platforms are as accommodating.

Earn.com

Earn.com is an Android and iOS app that lets you earn cryptocurrency for answering messages and completing tasks. Getting paid bitcoin for answering email sounds too good to be true, but it’s legit. There’s a caveat though: to earn anything of consequence, you’ll need to be an influencer whose wisdom is sought out by the crypto community. Better up your Twitter game.

10 Bitcoin Apps That Everyone Should Have

Bitcoin.com Wallet

10 Bitcoin Apps That Everyone Should HaveYou didn’t think we were gonna omit our own wallet did you? The user-friendly Android and iOS Bitcoin.com wallet is the perfect repository for your bitcoin and bitcoin cash. Lest we be accused of trying to monopolize the wallet market, there’s a number of other well-rated mobile wallets out there including Bread for Android and iOS.

Google Authenticator

If you’re not using Google Authenticator for iOS and Android to secure your accounts via 2FA, you’re asking to have your coins stolen.

And now for two non-essential but still pretty nifty apps: Coinpaper is an Android app that converts the charts for bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin into a live wallpaper. Crypto Ladder displays real-time cryptocurrency rankings by market cap for Android and iOS. It’s mesmerizing, but don’t stare too long or you’ll get giddy.

What other apps deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Economics

With the meteoric rise in the value of bitcoin this year and the media cacophony around it, its a surprise that not all world leaders have spoken about the subject yet. One political figure that we can now rest assure is keeping an eye on bitcoin is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also Read: Israeli Regulator Won’t Allow Bitcoin Firms to Be Included in Stock Indices

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to DisappearSitting down with reporters to an off the cuff Q&A at the Israeli parliament’s diner, the PM was asked for his advice whether an individual should invest in bitcoin or not. He answered: “So first of all, why can’t you also sell money? Why not? It’s the same. The reason you can’t sell money is that you are very worried and want a mediating party to handle the risks. Prevent theft, all that stuff. That’s why banks exists. Are banks doomed to eventually disappear? The answer is yes! Should this be done tomorrow and should it be done via bitcoin? That is a question. But the truth is that what I just said is what propelling bitcoin upward.”

Asked a follow up question about the current rate of change, the PM added: “Nothing exists that can continue at this pace, it’s not possible.”

Netanyahu is an MIT graduate and prior to his political career he was an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to DisappearIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Are banks doomed to eventually disappear? The answer is yes!”

Crypto Nation

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to DisappearLike many other countries around the world, Israel have been taken away by the bitcoin mania in the last couple of weeks. The local media reports price changes daily, it interviews people that became millionaires over night and shows the long lines of people waiting outside bitcoin ATM locations in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli financial press is also focusing on bitcoin as everything crypto-related brings in clicks and viewers these days. The biggest story at the moment is the issue of a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange listed gold company switching to bitcoin mining. Its stock price jumped 3,750% before the regulator came out against it. Another story currently in the headlines in this context is that of local cryptocurrency developer Colu raising $14.5 million from Israel’s largest holding company IDB Development Corporation. The Israeli regulator is also expected to announce a welcoming legal framework for ICOs by the end of the month.

Are world leaders beginning to understand the bitcoin revolution? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Once Coy Hedge Funds Now Rush to Bitcoin

Featured

Bulls are on parade as hedge funds pour money into bitcoin-related projects and products. Traditional hedges have been outperformed by cryptocurrency funds in 2017, and the phenomenon has turned into a full-fledged feeding frenzy. New indices are popping up to track it all. Ecosystem stalwarts Bitgo and Bitpay expect new rounds of funding, and well-over 100 such funds are now dedicated to cryptocurrency.  

Also read: SEC Ramps Up Crypto Oversight – Hires Coin ETF ”Expert”

Once Coy Hedge Funds Now Rush to Bitcoin

Crypto Hedge Funds Up 1,500% in 2017

Hedge funds as a whole are up a nice inflation-beating 7.5 percent as the year finishes. When placed against crypto-related industry products, legacy financial professionals are scrambling to up their game. Hedge Fund Research (HFR) President Kenneth Heins tells Lindsay Fortado: “Investor interest in funds offering exposure to blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies has surged in recent months.”

Citing the explosive growth in investor interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies,” the company created “two new indices, the HFR Blockchain Composite Index and the HFR Cryptocurrency Index, the first family of indices designed to capture performance of hedge funds investing,” its website touted.  

HFR’s Blockchain index shows “a meteoric surge of +1,522 percent in 2017 through November,” while its Cryptocurrency variation “has surged +1,641 percent in 2017 through November,” the company claims. “HFR began tracking the first cryptocurrency hedge fund in 2013, though interest and growth in this area has surged in 2017 as a result of stratospheric price increases and broad proliferation of new coins via ICOs, as well as launches of listed futures contracts,” the company notes.

Once Coy Hedge Funds Now Rush to Bitcoin

Ahead of CME & Nasdaq Bitcoin Futures, Hedge Funds Clamor for Access

As cryptocurrencies hit another all-time-high, racking up a half trillion dollar market capitalization, interest is booming. With futures market makers CME (Monday) and Nasdaq (mid 2018) bringing ‘legitimacy’ to bitcoin and its family, once reticent hedge funds have stopped being coy.

“ED&F Man Capital Markets, a $14.2 billion company, has signed agreements with 35 hedge funds, family offices and proprietary-trading firms to help them buy and sell bitcoin futures and is in talks with at least a half dozen more,” reports Bloomberg.

For the better part of half of 2017, ED&F has been preparing with CME for Monday’s open, according to Sonali Basak. ED&F Man’s Brooks Dudley explains, “The prime brokerage relationship is an important one, people don’t hop around prime brokers. So to bring on a lot of new clients for one product is very unusual.”

The popular narrative of the press is bitcoin’s volatility and its bad actors. Valuations have broken through the noise. According to Mr. Dudley, “There were a couple of proprietary-trading firms that I didn’t expect to trade bitcoin, had never been really excited about it, and then Thursday, Friday they called and asked if we could prepare them for the open,” he noted.

Once Coy Hedge Funds Now Rush to Bitcoin

Bitgo and Bitpay Feel the Love

Two weeks. That’s it. Bitgo gobbled over 40 million USD in a recent funding round. “This has been one of the easiest fundraising processes ever,” CEO Mike Belshe explained to Business Insider.

Bitgo greases entry for institutional investors such as The Royal Mint and CME, allowing access to cryptocurrencies through proprietary tech. It does appear this next year will see a rush of hedge fund bulls into the broader crypto market, especially if valuations continue to rise. Mr. Belshe predicts: “We need to be prepared for the $1 billion fund which needs our technology.”

Meanwhile, only three years after having raised 30 million USD in initial funding for payments processing solutions to companies such as Gyft, Microsoft, and Newegg, Bitpay disclosed its efforts to raise another 30 million.

According to its blog, Bitpay’s 2017 “achieved a record year for merchant payment processing on the Bitcoin blockchain, now approaching $2 billion in annualized payment volumes.” Its popular “prepaid Visa debit card, which lets bitcoin users turn bitcoin into dollars, pounds, or Euros for use with Visa merchants, has also seen significant year over year growth.”

What do you think about hedge funds investing in crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, AP.


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South Korean Banks Drop Crypto Accounts as Government Plans a Ban

News

South Korean regulators have announced a plan to ban banks from activities involving cryptocurrencies, prompting major banks in the country to declare they will no longer issue accounts required for crypto trading. South Korea’s top bitcoin exchanges are all effected, including Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. Banks that have made announcements include Shinhan Bank, Korea Development Bank, and Industrial Bank of Korea.

Also read: South Korea Clarifies Position After Reports of Possible Ban on All Crypto Transactions

Crypto Ban Planned for Banks, Minors, and Foreigners

The South Korean government has been holding meetings daily to discuss cryptocurrency regulation. On Wednesday, local publications reported that the regulators are planning to ban banks from activities involving cryptocurrencies. According to AFP:

The Prime Minister’s Office said Seoul would ban financial institutions from dealing in virtual currencies – including buying, possessing, or holding them as collateral.

South Korean Banks Drop Crypto Accounts as Government Plans a BanIn addition, Korea Herald reported that “banks in Korea that provide virtual bank accounts for cryptocurrency trades will have to verify the identification of account holders when creating new ones,” according to the plan. Furthermore, the regulators plan to ban minors and foreigners from both trading in cryptocurrency and creating bank accounts in the country.

Virtual bank accounts are issued by traditional banks for customers of cryptocurrency exchanges. A customer wanting to start trading at a crypto exchange must first open a virtual bank account and deposit money into it. All major Korean exchanges, including the country’s largest bitcoin exchange Bithumb, require customers to open virtual bank accounts before trading. The Kyunghyang Shinmun described:

Virtual currency can be traded only after joining a virtual currency exchange and depositing money in a virtual account assigned to the exchange.

Banks Ditching Crypto Accounts

Wednesday’s announcement marks the first time the regulators have applied restrictions on virtual bank accounts.

The country’s major state-run and commercial banks immediately responded by announcing that they will stop issuing new virtual bank accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges. Some are even canceling existing accounts, Arirang News reported, adding that:

Such measures will effectively freeze most traders out of the cryptocurrency market as the country’s leading virtual currency exchanges such as Bithumb and Coinone require users to create a virtual account before they can conduct any transactions.

If a bank closes an exchange’s virtual bank accounts, then “it is fundamentally impossible to sell and buy virtual currencies through the bank,” Business Korea noted.

Major Banks Jumping Ship

South Korean Banks Drop Crypto Accounts as Government Plans a BanAmong the banks that have decided to stop issuing virtual accounts are Shinhan Bank, Korea Development Bank (KDB), Industrial Bank Of Korea (IBK), Woori Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, and KEB Hana Bank.

Shinhan Bank, which issues virtual accounts for Bithumb and Korbit, will not issue new virtual accounts but will not cancel existing accounts, according to the Kyunghyang Shinmun. In November, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the bank launching a cryptocurrency custody service.

The state-run KDB which issues virtual bank accounts for Coinone announced that it will “stop all the businesses related to cryptocurrency transactions, including bitcoin, from January next year,” Business Korea reported on Wednesday.

Woori Bank which issues virtual bank accounts for Korbit is taking the same approach as KDB. The bank will cancel existing virtual accounts as well as suspend issuing new ones. IBK Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, and KEB Hana Bank have all stopped issuing virtual accounts.

At the time of writing, Nonghyup Bank has not made an announcement regarding the matter. According to the Investor publication, this bank provides virtual account services to several exchanges including Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit.

What do you think of the South Korean government’s plan to ban banks from dealing with cryptocurrencies? What do you think will happen to the Korean crypto market? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Shinhan Bank, Nonghyup Bank, IBK, Woori Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, KEB Hana Bank, and KDB.


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Market Updates

After hovering around the $16,500 zone for most of the day on December 12, bitcoin jumped in value to around $17,100 during the early hours of December 13. Bitcoin markets were coasting along in that range for a few hours, and then around 12 pm EDT the price started heading south and dropped one deep leg down to the $15,400 territory. At the moment the price has rebounded, and bullish traders are desperately trying to command prices ranges above the $16K region.

Also Read: Lightning Network’s New Infrastructure and Interoperability

Bitcoin Markets See Turbulent Price Swings

Bitcoin markets and the cryptocurrency’s price has been exciting to watch as spectators around the world wonder what will happen next. At the moment bitcoin core (BTC) markets are recovering from a massive dip that took place around midday eastern standard. The price is hovering around $16,000-16,200 after falling nearly $1,500 in value over the past two hours. Volume is high as global trade volume has seen roughly $13bn over the past 24 hours. The top five exchanges swapping the most BTC volume are Bitfinex, Bithumb, GDAX, Bittrex, and BTCC. The drop also sent many other digital assets into the red zone as they followed bitcoin’s temporary dive. The top ten digital currency market capitalizations have bounced back as well with only a few of them still nursing their wounds.

Technical Indicators

Looking at the charts shows that bulls have a lot more work to do if they want to grasp prices they held earlier this week. Looking at order books on the sell side shows there are some significant walls to hurdle above the $16,500-$17,000 range. However, on the flip side, the backdrop of buy walls show some stronger foundations, but traders should be careful if the price breaks below $15,250.

Markets Update: Bitcoin's Price Takes a Quick Dive Dropping 5 Percent BTC trade volume has seen roughly $13bn over the past 24 hours

The short-term 100 Simple Moving Average (SMA) is way above the 200 SMA which means the price will likely see some more uptick northbound. RSI and Stochastic oscillators still show oversold conditions, but both indicators have been telling this story regularly. The most prominent hurdle bulls face will be three key zones which include $16,500, $17,200, and $17,500 in order to break new ground.

Markets Update: Bitcoin's Price Takes a Quick Dive Dropping 5 Percent The price of bitcoin core (BTC) touched a low of $15,400 and bounced back to the $16K range shortly after.

Digital Asset Markets Closing In on a $500 Billion Market Cap

Three out of the top five digital assets with the largest market caps have recovered from bitcoin’s price dive. The three cryptocurrencies doing slightly better include ethereum, bitcoin cash, and ripple. Ethereum (ETH) markets are up 15 percent as the price per ETH is around $700. Bitcoin cash (BCH) has had a pretty decent day as markets are now up over 5 percent with one BCH priced at $1,600. The currency ripple (XRP) probably had the best day out of all the cryptocurrencies on December 13 as one XRP is now $0.45 after gaining over 70 percent in value. Lastly, litecoin (LTC) is down 6 percent and the price per LTC is roughly $300 at the moment.

Novogratz Says Sell Your Litecoin and Sees Bitcoin Hitting $40K While Cboe Futures See a Low

Bitcoin proponents and community sentiment still seems fairly positive, and many still believe the price will see even more all-time highs this coming year. For instance, the macro hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group, Michael Novogratz, is more optimistic about bitcoin after seeing litecoin’s recent spike. According to an interview with CNBC, Novogratz says he would sell litecoin holdings after LTC spiked over $300, and sees bitcoin reaching $40,000 in a mere two months.

Markets Update: Bitcoin's Price Takes a Quick Dive Dropping 5 Percent Cboe futures hit a low on December 13.

However other mainstream investors don’t seem so confident as Cboe’s bitcoin-based futures markets are way down. After skyrocketing to a high of $18,650, futures markets are now seeing lower predictions in the $16,750 price range. On the first day of Cboe’s bitcoin futures trading markets were halted due to a large price swing. The same thing happened today on December 13 as the sudden drop in value had Cboe’s bitcoin markets cease operations temporarily. 

Bitcoin spectators, skeptics, proponents and avid cryptocurrency enthusiasts have no idea what will happen next, but it’s safe to say most of them have been glued to the market action over the past few weeks.

Where do you see the price of bitcoin heading from here? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


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Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across India

Regulation

Investigators from the income tax department of India have conducted onsite searches at the offices of the country’s top nine bitcoin exchanges early on Wednesday morning.

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Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across IndiaGovernment officials told the Indian news agency PTI that multiple teams of detectives from the tax department, under the command of the Bengaluru investigation wing, surveyed the trading venues in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Gurugram.

This action was taken under section 133A of the Indian Income Tax Act for “gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transaction undertaken by them, identity of counter-parties, related bank accounts used, among others,” according to the quoted officials.

The teams of detectives are said to be armed with various financial data and inputs about the workings of the exchanges. Reports called this the first big action against the exchanges operating in the country, suggesting that more is to come.

Regulations Are in the Works

Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across IndiaReports from India indicate that the authorities are preparing a regulatory and legal framework to try and deal with what they see as the challenges bitcoin trading poses, led by the country’s central bank in cooperation with other government agencies.

In November India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley said: “Recommendations are being worked at. The government’s position is clear, we don’t recognize this as legal currency as of now.” This came after the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the nation’s central bank and related financial ministries to hasten their regulatory mechanisms with regard to bitcoin.

It is feared among the local bitcoin community that these upcoming regulations will define trading activities as illicit. However, there are also indications that they might focus instead on ICO ponzi schemes as those have been getting more heat lately.

Bitcoin trading soared in India recently with some of the country’s top exchanges Zebpay, Coinsecure, Unocoin, and Bitxoxo reporting a huge influx of new users as well as massive trade volumes. Some of the new interest in bitcoin comes from ‘high net worth’ individuals which might have pushed the tax authorities to send a signal with this latest action.

Are tax authorities around the world going to follow their U.S. IRS and Indian counterparts soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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