Thomson Reuters To Begin Tracking BTC Market Chatter To Help Traders

Canadian mass media and information company Thomson Reuters has announced the launch of a Bitcoin (BTC) sentiment data feed, according to a Thomson Reuters press release published today, March 12.

The release states that through the partnership of Thomson Reuters and MarketPsych Data LLC, the company is releasing a new version of its MarketPsych Indices that will now scan more than 400 news and media sites related to cryptocurrencies for its feed.

Austin Burkett, the Global Head of Quant and Feeds at Thomson Reuters, said in a statement:

“News and social media are driving the investment and risk management process more than ever with the continuing rise of passive and quant-driven trading. As the financial marketplace rises in complexity, so too does the need to provide our clients with not only the relevant data, but the tools to help them manage and analyze that data.”

Google Trends data shows that searches for the term “Bitcoin” coincide almost directly with Bitcoin’s price, showing that the virtual nature of cryptocurrency means that what happens online is connected to crypto prices, even if it not necessarily a direct cause and effect.

Thomson Reuters has previously interacted with the cryptocurrency sphere, for in July of 2017, the company announced the formation of a new startup tech incubator that supports innovation in Blockchain technologies.

Thailand Law to Regulate [Legalize] Cryptocurrency, ICO Markets Coming in April

Advertisement

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

The governor of Thailand’s central bank has confirmed an upcoming law to ‘comprehensively regulate’ cryptocurrency as a former Thai finance minister throws his support behind the idea.

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob has revealed details of a meeting between the country’s deputy prime minister, finance minister and other related agencies last week wherein the regulators reportedly agreed to ‘enact a new law to comprehensively regulate’ cryptocurrencies.

The central bank chief added that the new law – which will look to grant Thailand’s ICO-friendly Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) total regulatory powers – is expected to be finalized in a month’s time.

To this end, SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul has revealed that a ‘royal decree’ is commonly seen as the path to empower the SEC to regulate ‘all aspects’ of the crypto sector including cryptocurrency exchanges, ICO fundraising.

As reported in September, Thailand’s SEC revealed an encouragingly embracive outlook toward initial coin offerings, stressing it “realizes the potential of ICO” in bringing new forms of funding for businesses and startups. The SEC has since seen the drafts of its ICO regulatory framework released for public consultation, twice extended, complete its final round on January 22, the report revealed.

The idea has gained support from a former Thai finance minister and current FinTech proponent Korn Chatikavanij. Serving as Thailand’s finance minister from 2008 to 2011, Korn has previously been recognized as the ‘Global Finance Minister of the Year’  in 2010 after charting a course for the economy through the global financial crisis at the time. The Democrat Party politician now sees a role as chairman of the Thai FinTech Association, a Bangkok-based startup accelerator that also serves as a testing lab for FinTech startups looking to carve an entry into the domestic market.

In an interview last week, the chairman spoke of discussions between the body and Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bank of Thailand (the central bank) and the Finance Ministry with a focus on regulation for the cryptocurrency sector brought on by the SEC.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Korn reveals a concentrated effort to have the SEC, not the financial ministry or the central bank, be the sole authority responsible for introducing regulation for the sector.

“I agree with the Finance Ministry’s [view] of letting the SEC be the only organisation governing digital assets, because it already oversees securities and has a profound understanding of digital assets,” Korn said.

The former finance minister added:

“Digital assets are new for everyone, and no one knows everything [about them], so all parties should be open-minded, learn about them and have proper rules and regulations.”

So far, market participants have gotten on-board with the SEC’s floated mandatory “investment participation” requirement wherein ICO operators must have the offering originate in Thailand with capital of up to 5 million baht (approx. $160,000) registered as the minimum.

Bitcoin baht image from Shutterstock.

Follow us on Telegram.

Advertisement

John Oliver Compares Bitcoin With Bitconnect, Ridicules Tapscott’s ‘Dumb’ McNugget Metaphor

Comedian John Oliver tried to explain Bitcoin March 11 – with the help of a fake BitConnect promoter Carlos Matos and Don Tapscott comparing the Blockchain to a Chicken McNugget.

In the latest episode of the US-based host’s Last Week Tonight television show, Bitcoin, Blockchain and investing in cryptocurrency all came under the spotlight.

[embedded content]

The feature comes just weeks after fellow US host Ellen DeGeneres attempted to explain Bitcoin to mainstream audiences, comparing it to a baby goat.

Oliver began by attempting to define the nature of decentralized networks, noting their advantages over banks in terms of cost and security, but the segment soon took a questionable turn.

Inviting the fake Matos to the stage, Oliver failed to question his investment advice. This included not “just blindly hodling” coins bought. The real Carlos Matos himself has been the face of de facto defunct BitConnect before appearing to U-turn on his support.

The crypto market is extremely volatile and insufficiently regulated – they pump, they dump,” ‘Matos’ added.

BitConnect hit the headlines in January when it closed down almost its entire operation following revelations it was a suspected Ponzi scheme.

Prior to summoning his fake Matos, Oliver had shown a clip of a more reputable source in the form of investor Don Tapscott explaining why Bitcoin is so difficult to hack.

The Blockchain is a highly-processed thing – sort of like a Chicken McNugget,” he said. “And if you wanted to hack, it’d be like turn a Chicken McNugget back into a chicken.”

Oliver described Tapscott’s words as an “extremely dumb metaphor.”

Blockchain Tech Merger UniBright Announces Details of Token Generation Event

Advertisement

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below.

When anyone hears of the word Blockchain or decentralization, the first thing that comes to mind is cryptocurrency. The current technology’s prototype was introduced more than two decades back as a form of file system integrity. The real adoption was by the infamous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, when he wrote the paper on Blockchain and implemented it in the next year as Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency was born and the immense rise of its value led to other formations of cryptocurrencies that used on or another form of Blockchain technology.

Blockchain As a system, Not Money

Blockchain is more than just about assigning value that can be monetized. As a distributed ledger system, it can carry any information. Be it accounting or the results of the latest fashion trends. In the race to become the next big thing, Blockchain-based firms have conce ntrated on the financial aspect: how to increase monetary value of the digital asset and capitalize on it. This has led to other uses of Blockchain being pushed into the shadows.

Why The Cold Shoulder To Potential Power of Blockchain?

A platform for businesses to utilize Blockchain for their every day operations, UniBright makes it easier for companies shift their ERP systems to decentralization. The UniBright team assessed that apart from Blockchain’s monetary asset systems overshadowing other uses, there were a few fundamental problems that resisted adoption by businesses:

  • Lack of Blockchain developers and high demand lead to expensive manpower.
  • Complexity in developing smart contracts, a crucial element to Blockchain adoption.
  • Difficulty in selecting the right Blockchain technology.
  • Lack of knowledge on transferring data from distributed ledgers into a user interface for less computer oriented employees.
  • Merging of Blockchain in existing incompatible systems.

Solving The Blockchain Puzzle

UniBright developed four distinct services that allows for easy integration of Blockchain by corporations into their systems:

  • Visual Workflow Design: Requiring no coding skills, it is a collection of set of instructions that users can connect together, like building blocks, in a visual manner.
  • Contract Lifecycle Management: The workflow design is automatically encoded into a smart contract by a push of a button. The system also selects the Blockchain protocol that is most suitable.
  • The Explorer: The Explorer monitors all business practices included in the Lifecycle and presents the information in an easy to understand method when proper inquiry is made.
  • The Connector: Integrates different IT systems with smart contracts and different Blockchains so that a company can integrate the new system seamlessly into its existing setup.

By making Blockchain adoption easy, UniBright intends to bring about mass adoption by organizations, small or large, in a variety of sectors, including, but not limited to, insurance, production, finance, medical and much more.

Payment Of Services & Fund Raising

UniBright’s services are paid for through its internal token, the UBT. It is an Ethereum based token and is an industry standard ERC20. Out of the 150,000,000 tokens, 100,500,000 will be available in its token generation event that will start 10th April, 2018, continuing for a month. Unclaimed tokens will be destroyed to avoid inflation. Being sold at 1 UBT = 0.14 USD, the tokens will be available to early backers in exchange for ETH, BTC and on the instant crypto exchange ShapeShift.

More information is available at their website: https://unibright.io/

Follow us on Telegram.

Advertisement

Officials from Upstate New York Town Seek to Ban Bitcoin Mining

Advertisement

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

Plattsburgh, NY city officials want to reserve their cheap electricity for non-crypto economic development. Plattsburgh, NY is located in Clinton County, and its current claim to claim to fame is a new Showtime series featuring Ben Stiller about an escape from a local prison being filmed downtown. But bitcoin mining is also making headlines, amid fears that the town’s power supply could be depleted.

Plattsburgh boasts some of the cheapest energy prices in the United States because of hydroelectric power stemming from the St. Lawrence River. When the dams were formed on the river nearly 70 years ago, the town locked in low electricity rates for a fixed supply. Bitcoin miners are taking advantage of it, but the city’s mayor is crying foul.

“With great use of additional power, we are put over our threshold each winter and we are put over our threshold of ratepayers,” said Mayor Colin Read.

This is threatening the business of mining operations such as David Bowen’s Plattsburgh BTC, a 20-computer business housed in an old paper warehouse. Bowen recognized the opportunity in the town back in 2014 and has been mining bitcoin ever since. Good news traveled fast, and since that time a handful of other bitcoin miners have become his neighbors.

But now their fate hangs in the balance. According to reports, bitcoin mining consumers about 10% of Plattsburgh power generation. Mayor Read said that this has led to the city having to purchase power in the open market at rates much higher than the rate base.

Power Struggle

While other businesses in the town consumer similar amounts of energy, the mayor would prefer to see the power supply go to a business that adds hundreds of jobs to the area. He quipped to The New York Times about bitcoin miners: “They hire a security guard,” he said. “And a guy who comes when something breaks.”

Meanwhile, about 80 miles down the road from Plattsburgh in Massena, NY, where there are also low-cost power agreements in place for industrial use, Coinmint wants to develop a 16,000-computer server bitcoin mining facility. The company is still in negotiations but the prospects look good amid a downturn in aluminum smelting that took a hit on the local economy.

Coinmint is looking to occupy the abandoned aluminum plant, where it plans to introduce some 150 jobs to the area. The company has reportedly requested access to 15mw of cheap power.

Plattsburgh city officials plan to take up the topic of bitcoin mining at an upcoming hearing scheduled for mid-March.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Follow us on Telegram.

Advertisement

Cryptocurrency and Equity Markets: Weekly Performance Review

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Last week, the relatively low volatility in the cryptocurrency market came to an end. Just about all cryptocurrencies dumped together with sharp declines, triggering renewed fear among traders and investors. As always, a bottom – at least temporarily – was eventually found, leading to bounces across the board.

On the other hand, global equity markets were relatively stable and mostly holding above the support, following sharp drops in previous weeks. In most cases, major stock markets continue to evolve a potential bottom other than India, which as of last week has fallen through key support levels.

Global equity markets: holding steady

The German DAX Index and S&P 500 led the way with gains of 3.63 percent and 3.54 percent respectively. At the start of the week, the DAX fell to a new trend low of 11,831.0 before seeing support, around the long-term uptrend line and prior swing low from August. It quickly reversed intraday to close at the high of the day. Nevertheless, it remains in a downtrend following a breakdown from a bear flag trend continuation signal two weeks ago.

The UK FTSE Index and Shanghai Composite saw modest gains of 2.19 percent to 7,224.50 and 1.62 percent to 3,307.17, respectively. The trendline resistance remains above the FTSE, and it has been tested several times in recent weeks and stopped an advance. This puts the index at risk of falling below last week’s low of 7,062.10. At the same time, a potential bullish double bottom has formed. However, it is not confirmed unless there is a rally above the two-week high at 7,326.

Market

Hang Seng: pointing higher

Since falling from the January peak of 33,484.1 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index has found support twice around the long-term uptrend line and it continues to hold. Last weeks low of 29,852.40 was the second time that the index bounced off the support area around the line. This tells us to keep an eye on the line going forward for signs of a change in the relationship between the price and the line. In addition, notice that the brown 100-day moving average (MA) support line on the enclosed chart has been parallel to the trend line for a year. The 100-day MA is currently at 30,081.39.

The Hang Seng’s most likely next upside target looks to be around 32,522.1/32,552.1. That’s where an ABCD pattern completes, and the 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement is hit, respectively.

If a drop below last week’s low occurs instead then the index first heads towards the most recent swing low of 29,129.30 at A, followed by a price zone around 28,588.50 to 28.495.77, which identified from the prior resistance peak in May 2015, and the 200-day MA (purple line).

HSI

BSE 30 Sensex: falls through support

India’s BSE 30 Sensex Index barely got a bounce following the decline to support of the 100-day MA (brown line) and 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement area in February. Once finding support the Sensex formed a relatively narrow range rectangle consolidation pattern around support of the MA and both above and below the long-term uptrend line, until last week. That’s when the index broke down from the rectangle pattern and below the 100-day MA. Last week the Sensex was the worst performer of the seven equity indices followed, falling by 739.80 or 2.17 percent to close at 33,307.14.

NVY

Just below last week’s low of 32,991.14 is the next key support zone around 32,737 to 32,360, consisting of the 200-day MA and prior support and resistance levels, respectively. Note that a break below the 32,565 swing low from December will violate the uptrend price structure and therefore likely leads to a much deeper correction.

Last week’s low completed an 88.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of the prior uptrend. If the last week’s high of 34,060.13 can be exceeded to the upside, then the Sensex might have a chance of bouncing higher. Until a breakout above last week’s high downward pressure remains dominant.

Cryptocurrencies: rock my world

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts had their world rocked once again last week with most coins dropping precipitously within a relatively short period of time. There was a confluence of factors that may have contributed to the wave of selling including:

  • Hacking – reports have circulated that trading robot apps connected to Binance, a top cryptocurrency exchange were hacked.

  • Fear of regulation – the US Securities and Exchange Commission announces a plan to regulate crypto exchanges as securities exchanges, adding a layer of regulation to the industry operating in the US.

  • Large supply – the bankruptcy trustee for Mt. Gox sold approximately $400 mln of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash since late September and it is reported there is an estimated $1.8 bln still to be sold. Of course, this raises fears that a large supply has been and will continue to weigh on prices for some unknown period of time.

Performance

Although the news seems to have played some part in spooking the market, in almost all cases the charts were already bearish, pointing to lower prices. The news may have just accelerated the speed in the direction the price was already heading. For those nimble and able to sell short, some nice opportunities presented themselves.

IOTA and Dash were the biggest losers, with IOTA falling $0.53 or 27.9 percent to end at $1.38, and Dash down $109.40 or 18.1 percent to close at $494.88. Dash remains in a clear downtrend indicated by its trend line, moving averages and price structure (lower highs and lower lows). The price broke through the support of the 200-day MA and is testing support of the February swing low of $376.05. Last week’s low was $438.80.

Although falling $0.07 or 8.4 percent to end at $0.82, Ripple tumbled the least out of the eight cryptos. Earlier in the week, Coinbase killed rumors that it would be adding Ripple to its platform. XRP remains in a downtrend but above its 200-day MA, whereas a number of other major cryptos are below their 200-day MAs. Following just behind Ripple is Litecoin with a 12.8 percent decline. Litecoin fell $27.28 to close at $186.04 and is flirting with the resistance of its 50-day line. Until last week’s decline, it had held above support of the 50-day for the prior couple of weeks.

Ethereum: bounces off solid support, but will it continue to hold?

Ethereum ended down $129.89 or 15.2 percent last week to close at $724.61. It remains in a clear downtrend on a daily basis and is below the 50-day line which continues to fall, but above the 200-day MA, which is still rising. Last week’s low was at $637.73, right around the confluence of both the 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement and the 127.2 percent Fibonacci projection. The projection also completed an ABCD pattern or measured move where the second leg down off the swing high at point A was around 127.2 percent of the price change in the first leg down.

ETH

The key resistance to watch is the nearby downtrend line. The ETH/USD pair would need to close above that line on a daily basis before there some sign that the bounce off last week’s bottom at D may continue. If the price falls further below last week’s low then next watch for support around the confluence of several Fibonacci price levels around $612.67. After that, there is a price zone from approximately $587.07 (200-day MA) to the most recent swing low of $565.54.

IOTA: showing relative weakness

IOTA has been falling in a well-defined downtrend since the peak at $5.80 in December. Not only it was the weakest performer last week but it is also the worst performer so far in 2018, down 60.6 percent. As of last week, it takes a unique position technically as it is the only crypto out of the eight followed that fell below its prior swing low from February. This is a sign of relative weakness when compared to the other seven cryptocurrencies on our list. The low from February was at $1.20, and last week the IOTA/USD pair dropped to $1.136 before reversing higher. Further, the cryptocurrency is now clearly back below its 200-day MA (purple line) as of last week’s drop, after being above it for most of the past several weeks.

IOT

Resistance at the 200-day MA is now at 1.71, with the downtrend line not far away. If you look at the brown falling 50-day line on the enclosed chart, you can see it has been following the downtrend line for the past couple of months. This means that a bullish breakout of the line must also quickly be followed by a breakout above the MA, which is now at $1.965. Until then the downtrend continues.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange; the charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

How to Decentralize Travel Monopolies, Explained

Who are the travel monopolies?

Travel monopolies include the likes of Airbnb.com, Expedia, and Booking.com.

These are platforms that may have been considered “decentralized” in the past, but a further look sees that they are far from it. Before online booking, brick and mortar travel agencies were the most popular way to book flights and accommodations. Big hotel companies had the advantage to plug complete monopolies over particular travel agencies, adding large percentages of commission for the middlemen who would book everything.

Online platforms like Expedia.com and Booking.com aren’t much different, but they offer a few more options and have tightened up the ship. Then came Airbnb.com, which made renting spaces easier and more affordable. It single-handedly disrupted the hotel industry giving people another, more p2p option.

How are these options not fully decentralized?

While Airbnb undercut the market by cutting out many middlemen, the operation itself is still centralized.

Airbnb is the middleman and charges vendors a high booking fee price. Booking.com, Expedia.com, and Airbnb take 15-45% booking fees from their vendors, causing vendors to up their prices to accommodate. The vendor and renter both share the weight of these fees in the price of the fees. Airbnb, for example, takes up to 12% in guest service fees and additional 3% service fee from the host.

These are all “middlemen fees:” fees to pay lots of people who run the database, as well as run the offices.

How can blockchain help decentralize the process?

Blockchain can cut out middlemen.

Blockchains are sleek, slim, and fast. They can perform many of the jobs that companies currently are paying people to do. Smart contracts help to create trustless systems that do not need intermediaries or escrows. Digital identities can track people via the blockchain to keep loyalty points in order from airlines. Global ledgers can settle payments with less bulk to make airlines cheaper.

They can cut out a lot of middleman fees, like at 15% from Airbnb.

How would that work?

The platform would directly connect the guest to the vendor.

There are projects like Concierge.io, for instance. It has created a platform that connects vendors and renters via p2p without commission for the supplier, which will be passed onto the customer with low prices. Vendors have different payment options to gain better exposure for their product — they can pay with popular cryptocurrencies, the project’s token, CGE, and via standard payment ways.

How does p2p interaction work?

P2P stands for ‘peer-to-peer.’

This means that there is a way for guests to search for their optimum place and to talk straight to the owner of the listing. The project, for example, uses NEO platform to create NEOcontracts (smart contracts) that will ensure that the vendor and guest come out with the best deal. Smart contracts lock currency in the contract so that a middleman is not needed. Once all requirements are settled within the contract, the money is released.

So you’re saying there are other blockchains that can be built on?

There are other competitors that offer different things.

NEO is a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) token just like Ethereum. This means that platforms can build their product on the NEO blockchain, just like with Ethereum. NEO uses Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (DBFT) for consensus, allowing 1000 transactions/sec. It also supports a number of programming languages, while Ethereum developers need to learn Solidity, a language built just for Ethereum. NEO is the most popular BaaS token competitor to Ethereum at the moment.

Binance Offers $250,000 Bounty For Arrest of Hackers

The Binance cryptocurrency exchange is offering a $250,000 equivalent bounty on the arrest of the hackers involved in the March 7th incident, Binance stated in an announcement March 11.

According to the announcement, the first person to supply the information that results in a legal arrest, in any jurisdiction, will receive the bounty in Binance Coin (BNB), which is traded and used on the Binance exchange. If there are multiple sources of information that lead to the final arrests, the bounty may be split between sources.

In the statement, Binance stresses the importance of an concerted effort to address crime and unethical behavior in the crypto community:

“To ensure a safe crypto community, we can’t simply play defense. We need to actively prevent any instances of hacking before they occur, as well as follow through after-the-fact. Even though the hacking attempt against Binance on March 7th was not successful, it was clear it was a large-scale, organized effort. This needs to be addressed.”

In addition to the current bounty, Binance has allotted $10 mln in crypto reserves for future bounty awards against any hacking attempts on Binance. Per Binance’s statement, the exchange has also invited other exchanges globally to follow suit. “Protecting your funds is and has always been our highest priority!,” they added.

Users alerted Binance to the breach in the security after observing irregular and unauthorized transaction behavior in their accounts. The exact method the hackers employed remains unclear, though some users have posited that a possible compromise of users’ API keys could explain how the hackers sidestepped Binance’s two-factor authentication system. Binance resumed trading activities the next day, March 8.

Bitcoin Cash is Up 5% on the Day in Contrast to Market Retreat

Advertisement

Get Trading Recommendations and Read Analysis on Hacked.com for just $39 per month.

Bitcoin Cash is gradually trying to maintain its position above $1,000 – at the time of writing, it is valued at 1,068.87. Along with Litecoin and Dash, it is the only cryptocurrency in green in the top 10 list. One certain event can be linked to its increasing price: the Gemini exchange.

Winklevoss Twins Considering BCH

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss talked about expanding their exchange to other cryptocurrencies including Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash at the Cboe Risk Management Conference (RMC). Both the Gemini exchange and the Chicage Board Options Exchange (Cboe), have a partnership such that Cboe will only list currencies present on the twins’ platform, as per their deal which allows Cboe to use Gemini’s cryptocurrency data to calculate futures. So, only one of these companies have to decide whether they want to allow new cryptocurrencies, forcing the other to accept the decision.

In this case, both the exchanges share the same belief. CBOE has always wanted to include other digital tokens, as stated by president Chris Concannon, “You look at the entire crypto space and you look at what other products have the liquidity and the notional size, a derivative makes sense.” As noted by Tyler Winklevoss, their wishlist includes tokens that “are from the Satoshi Nakamoto family tree — Bitcoin cash, Litecoin.” Hence, Gemini’s decision to add these new tokens will automatically add their futures on CBOE as well.

Bitcoin’s price soared past $11,000 when Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Cboe confirmed that bitcoin futures were given a green signal for Dec. 2017. As CCN predicted a few days ago, the slightest implication by Gemini and Cboe has given Bitcoin Cash a boost of 5%. This assessment is based on two simple reasons: the price stabilization of bitcoin and the ‘legal’ status it acquired “in the eyes of many Wall Street traders” post the launch of bitcoin futures.

Bitcoin Cash in 2018

With Mt. Gox trustee selling $404 million worth BTC and BCH, and US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcing that cryptocurrency exchanges offering tokens or ICOs must be registered with the federal agency, bitcoin has declined in value this week. But bitcoin cash had a slightly different year as it kept on moving back and forth from $1,550 to $1,457 within 24 hours in February. Starting this month at $1,207,  the price went as low as 965 on Mar. 9 before jumping back above $1,000 earlier today.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Follow us on Telegram.

Advertisement

Finnish Crypto Exchange Risks Collapse As Banks Refuse To Do Business

Finnish cryptocurrency exchange and crypto wallet services provider Prasos Oy is one step from being “frozen”, as most Finnish banks will no longer conduct business with them, Bloomberg reports March 9.

Founded in 2012, Prasos has seen a ten-fold spike of transaction volumes reaching $185 mln in 2017, which became a subject of concern among the banks.

Finnish banks do not have a codified set of regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies and the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions could potentially run afoul of current Finnish anti-money laundering laws (AML). As a result, four banks; S-Bank, the OP Group, Saastopankki, and Nordea Bank AB closed Prasos Oy’s accounts in 2017. For now, Prasos has to manage all its clients’ transactions through one bank.

Tomi Narhinen, CEO of Saastopankki, commented that the anonymous character of crypto operations breaches the AML laws of the European Union (EU).

In most cases it’s practically impossible or at least very hard to do business with cryptocurrency dealers and exchanges, because it can be impossible to determine the origin of the funds,” said Narhinen.

Prasos’ CEO Henry Brade noted that the company is facing a critical situation. “The risk is that we’ll see our last bank account closed before we can get the next one opened,” Brade stated. “That would freeze our business.

The legal status of cryptocurrencies in the European Union was cast further into question in December 2017, when the EU decided to more closely regulate cryptocurrency exchanges in order to protect banks against money laundering and tax evasion.

Brade noted that the company has fully adapted AML measures, and it expects the authorities to formulate the necessary regulations.

“We’ve created identification practices, which we have taken into use in March, and they comply fully with anti-money laundering laws and regulations, even though authorities do not even require this from us as our business is not under regulatory obligations.”

Cointelegraph reported in February that Finnish authorities were confused by Treasury guidelines surrounding the storage of 2,000 confiscated bitcoins.