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Cryptocurrency Crux Forges Ahead

Samantha Mitchell

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Bitcoin

The debacle in the crypto market has continued, with the latest price decline throwing it to its lowest level since late last year. On the other hand, traders in this vast market now have new reasons to sell their virtual currencies as worries over strict regulations by central bankers and the US authorities continue to loom.

Biggest Losers

The selloff that has just come after a scathing beginning of 2018, which saw huge sums of US dollars from virtual coins knocked since the year began. This is one of the things that have terribly flustered this once blossoming market, which takes great pride in its two main attractions: decentralization and anonymity. But as all that continues, Bitcoin appears to be one of the crypto coins that have really lost. On Tuesday, 6th February 2018, for instance, this largest virtual currency in terms of market capitalization was at $6,477 during noontime in London. This came after an earlier slide that placed it at a low price of $5,922. The price of Bitcoin declined in a dramatical move after news erupted that Lloyd’s Bank and the Chinese government were planning to ban purchasing of the Cryptocurrency with credit cards.

Here’s What Drives the Crypto Market

But the tribulations did not only befall this largest digital coin, but other key players also felt the same wrath. Other well-established coins like Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin came down by almost 9%.

Speaking to an online trading company called Oanda, Craig Erlam who is a London-based market analyst said that one thing that drives the Cryptocurrency market is the negative news it keeps on receiving on a daily basis. He referred to the speculations of regulations that have stemmed out of the United States, South Korea, and India as some of the negative news that keeps on driving this market. Craig Erlam did not forget to mention the alleged hacking attempts that have also been reported in this industry.

The Federal Oversight

The downslide acquired some new impetus after reports emerged that two leading American market agencies were in the process of holding talks with the Congress, to ask them if they can allow federal oversight to be used in trading platforms for digital currencies. It can be remembered that a number of these trading platforms have been transacting their businesses in a total regulatory gray zone.

Barely 24 hours ago, the heads of both the Securities and Exchange Commission {SEC} and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission {CFTC} made an appearance at the banking committee of the US Senate. They were there mainly to talk about the operations of Cryptocurrency. Agustin Carstens, the Bank of Settlements’ general manager, said that authorities should control the digital currencies due to the connections they currently have in the financial system. He went ahead to argue that ministries of Finance, the central banks, market regulators, and tax departments should be at the forefront of policing the operations of the digital frontier. From the look of things, words of Zhou Shuoji that “the crypto market is currently feeling the pressure exerted by the regulation calls” could be nothing but the truth. Zhou Shuoji works as a partner at FBG Capital, one of the best Cryptocurrency investment firms operating in Singapore.

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Cryptocurrencies: cheapair.com To Change Bitcoin Payment Processors

Samantha Mitchell

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Cryptocurrencies: cheapair.com To Change Bitcoin Payment Processors

The Background

Cheapair.com was the first in the travel industry to make the move to taking Bitcoin payments in 2013. Both flight and hotel bookings have been able to be made with the Bitcoin Cryptocurrency. However, the online travel agency has recently announced to its customers – on the 20th April 2018 – through the company blog that it will be changing the backend of its payment processing. Jeff Klee, CEO, told customers that their current provider – Coinbase – will stop supporting the way that cheapair.com processes it’s payments. The worrying fact is that this is happening in a matter of weeks rather than months! Jeff Klee is currently looking for a solution and a new supplier.

The Possible Solution

One of the main concerns that CheapAir.com has with merging with the Bitpay technology is the simple fact that Bitpay does not support wallets that are not compliant with BIP-70. Customers who currently have a non-compliant wallet will, therefore, have to move swiftly now and secure another wallet to ensure a smooth transition.

However, the above is not all bad news as cheapair.com is now using this as an excuse to upgrade so that the agency can now accept payments from Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin. This is already in the testing stage.

The CEO is also looking at setting up a more dedicated and specialized Cryptocurrency customer service team. Customers can call or email the team to request support from advisors that are trained and experienced with Cryptocurrencies. The CEO has admitted that there have been frustrations in the past with the lack of technical knowledge in his customer service team and has taken full responsibility for this promising to rectify the issue now.

Furthermore, there will be upgrades to the online travel agency’s financial procedures. At the moment, some of the processes are not as streamlined as they could be. The aim is to automate refunds as a starting point.

Jeff Klee has been extremely candid with the details provided and has admitted that their current supplier Coinbase is no longer providing the service that they need and has left them with no alternative but to find someone else to process their payments at the last minute. He has also been very honest to state that their plan is to integrate with Bitpay. However, this move will mean that it may be disappointing for some customers who will need to secure another compatible wallet for Bitpay as an intermediary stage.

The company is putting a positive spin on the whole episode which is the only way to move forward and it is refreshing to see a company make the most of a situation that they have been forced into. The CEO has really driven the company to look at ways to improve their service for their customers. He has – probably more importantly – reached out to customers to ask their opinion on whether they would feel comfortable to purchase another wallet that is compatible with Bitpay. He has actually provided his own business email address so that customers can contact him directly. A bold move and one that will be interesting to follow.

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Cryptocurrencies: Tighter Regulations In Europe

Samantha Mitchell

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Cryptocurrencies: Tighter Regulations In Europe

The Background

As changes and upgrades in Cryptocurrencies continue to occur and the industry develops, so do the regulations surrounding this new concept.

The European Parliament unanimously this week voted – by a large majority – to support a December 2017 agreement around the use of Cryptocurrencies. The total regulation of Cryptocurrencies is moving closer and closer. This will be great for all concerned and sets a firm precedent in how things are moving forward in this industry.

The European Parliament members voted to agree with the European Council regulations on vital issues such as the prevention of the rise of Cryptocurrencies in money laundering as well as terrorism. The vote was a very clean and redefining moment with 574 for yes and only 13 for no, with 60 absentees.

This is a very strong message for the European community not only addressing anonymity of financial services but also implementing rules on exchanges and platform providers. Now it means that everyone has to be registered with the authorities and will have to apply for due diligence procedures – including customer verification – before receiving the OK from the government. Quite a big moment for the European community.

Moving Forward

The new regulations will not take long to put into force… in fact, they will be running in three days as stated in the Official Journal of the European Union. Once this is in place, the member states will have 18 months to bring all of these new country laws into their constitutions. However, it is not expected that it will take this long to implement these new laws, as countries are very keen to protect themselves against the evils of Cryptocurrency as soon as possible. There are many robberies, kidnapping, and the likes already being reported and industry is eager to protect itself as soon as possible to alleviate a huge crime wave before it actually hits. Changes are absolutely vital in the prevention of money laundering, tax evasion, and criminal activity. As experts highlight, criminals have not stopped, and there is still a lot of bad behavior going on, whether it is laundering or finance terrorism, it is still happening all the while there is money to be gained. This new legislation just solidifies things, helps to support those living in the country and makes them feel safer.

Governments are completely exposed at the moment with Cryptocurrency because it is such a new industry and so completely unknown. There are also so many ways to exploit the system. Until the industry settles down and becomes more stable, with government officials realizing where the loopholes are, this is going to be a tricky road ahead. These tougher measures will hopefully break open the duty of financial companies and help them to undertake due care and diligence. However, this is absolutely not a given. Money laundering and tax evasion is rife no matter where you are in the world and especially so in a new and developing industry.

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Crypto Mining: The South Koreans Are Tightening The Import Of Crypto Mining Chips

Samantha Mitchell

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Crypto Mining: The South Koreans Are Tightening The Import Of Crypto Mining Chips

Importing Mining Chips Is Getting Harder

Following the huge influx of mining chips over recent months, the Korean Customs Service has now implemented stricter rules on the import of these chips. This will make it harder for the Cryptocurrency miners in South Korea to get these internationally produced chips sent into the country.

The Korean Customs Service has now listed mining chips as an item, which needs to meet their regulations before they are released into the country. The chips will be scrutinized against current laws as well as safety and sanitization certifications before they are allowed into South Korea.

These new rules have been implemented following the upsurge in imports recently. It has been reported that in November and December 2017, approximately 1.3 billion Korean Won ($1.2 million) worth of mining chips were imported into the country. The Korean Customs Service stated that this amount was spread through 454 imports of mining chips.

Why The Changes And Concern?

As is well documented and known, the industry is still very much unknown, and suppliers / providers are being very cautious because of this simple fact. The South Koreans are just being careful at the moment and ensuring that nothing untoward happens to the mining machines once they have entered the country. There is a large amount of power consumption and heating required to run these machines, and the Korean Customs Service will be double checking everything to alleviate any possible fires from breaking out around the country as a direct result of mining. This is even more important when you consider that there is very little known about just how much power is required to run these machines.

Going forward, there will be strict examinations of mining machines whenever they enter the country. Safety will be the main area of concern and machines will be assessed based on the laws of the importation of electronic goods. The laws were implemented and are governed by the National Radio Research Agency.

There is widespread worry that illegal mining activities will raise electricity costs in the country and increase the risk of fire if not controlled well. Again this is very much an unknown. Both the public and private sectors have shared their worries and are now working hard to restrict illegality. This is certainly a hot topic for the South Korean Police who have already arrested 14 individuals from 13 companies for accessing cheap power to mine Cryptocurrencies. This was further to the banning of mining Cryptocurrencies inside of a building of a retail marketplace in Seoul earlier in the year. Nothing actually caught fire, but there was anxiety that something would and that the power/building would overheat.

Although South Korea is one of the first to implement such sanctions on importation, it will not be long before others follow suit. Something that must now be expected as this merging market expands. Countries and governments will continue to be attentive when it comes to mining until more about the industry and its effects are known.

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