Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne is exiting the retail business so he can focus on blockchain because he believes it’s a disruptive technology that will transform the world.

“The blockchain revolution has a greater potential than anything we’ve seen in history,” Byrne told Fox Business on Nov. 26 (video below). “It’s bigger than the Internet revolution, how it’s going to restructure society.”

Fox Business host Stuart Varney — an alum of the London School of Economics — asked Byrne how he can be so optimistic when cryptocurrency prices have plunged recently.

Byrne: I Don’t Care About Daily Price Changes

Byrne said focusing on the minutiae of bitcoin’s daily price movements is losing sight of the forest for the trees. “What coins are doing on any given day is silly,” he quipped.

Byrne announced in 2014 that he wanted to pivot from retail to blockchain, and has been making huge progress on this front. “We now have very interesting positions in 19 blockchain companies,” he said.

One of those ventures involves a $6 million investment in an open-source, blockchain-based crypto social network called Minds.

As CCN reported, Minds is a blockchain-based alternative to Facebook, Twitter, and the Google-owned YouTube that promises strict user privacy and absolutely no censorship.

Patrick Byrne said 2019 will be a groundbreaking year for the industry.

“Next year is when you will see blockchain really start coming out with products into the world,” he said. “You’ll see blockchain products in Q1.”

When asked what we can expect to see in 2019, Byrne replied: “You’ll be able to trade security tokens. There’s a whole new class of securities coming into existence called security tokens.”

‘Every Stock Will Be Tokenized’

Byrne recalled that Robert Greifeld — the chairman of Nasdaq — predicted in November 2017 that every stock and bond on Wall Street today “could be” tokenized. “In five years, every one will be tokenized,” Byrne promised.

He added: “The architecture of Wall Street as we know it is going to be deprecated over five years and replaced with security tokens. If that’s true, we built…the New York Stock Exchange of that world. We spent the last four years and $100 million building it.”

When asked why a security token is superior to a stock, Byrne said it’s because of three things:

  1. 90 percent lower friction costs.
  2. Complete transparency for regulators.
  3. Immunity from market manipulation. “All kinds of mischief that goes on in the current version of Wall Street cannot go on in a blockchain version of Wall Street,” he said.

Byrne conceded that a major drawback of bitcoin mining is its high cost, but said his companies are involved in a project called raven coin, “which has a much different energy profile.”

Tim Draper: ‘Bitcoin Is Bigger Than the Internet’

In his exuberance for crypto technology, Patrick Byrne mirrored the unbridled enthusiasm of billionaire Tim Draper, who recently doubled down on his $250,000 bitcoin price target for 2022.

In April 2018, Draper said bitcoin is “bigger than the Internet.” The venture capitalist — who was an early investor in Tesla, Hotmail, and Skype — said bitcoin will be “bigger than all of those combined,” as CCN reported.

“This is bigger than the Internet,” Draper gushed. “It’s bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It’s bigger than the Industrial Revolution. This affects the entire world and it’s going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined.”

tim draper wears bitcoin tie and socks
Billionaire Tim Draper is such a bitcoin bull that he wears a bitcoin tie and matching socks. (Image: YouTube)

Draper is unfazed by the recent market crash, and remains confident that the global economy will soon transition to crypto, as CCN reported.

“It’s going to be better for people,” he said. “They’re going to move to crypto, and they’re going to go away from the political currency (fiat). That’s the way it’s going to move.”

So how confident is Draper in the future of crypto? So confident that he’s still hodling the entire stash of 40,000 bitcoin he acquired in 2014 at $600 a piece. “This is a new society, and you want to get out in front of it,” he said.

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Venture capitalist Tim Draper isn’t letting the latest Bitcoin crash get the best of him. He’s still betting on the digital currency and says it will lead the future of finance.

Crypto Will Dominate Because It’s Cheap

At the World Crypto Con in Las Vegas earlier this month, Draper reaffirmed his position that Bitcoin will reach $250,000 by the year 2022. Furthermore, he believes the entire economy will eventually pivot to digital currencies, and trusts Bitcoin to lead the way.

Discussing the benefits of digital currencies, he mentions:

They’re frictionless, they cost you less. I mean, just by that alone, it’s going to be better for people, and so they’re going to move to crypto, and they’re going to go away from the political currency. They call it fiat.

Conquering the Monetary Industry

Draper believes that eventually, cryptocurrencies will account for at least half of the world’s currency value:

That’s the way it’s going to move, and so the countries that are forward thinking are saying, ‘This is the way it’s going to be,’ so we’re going to make a huge mistake by trying to cling to our old currency, and that’s why you’re seeing the smaller countries all say, ‘Yeah, we want bitcoin, we want initial coin offerings (ICOs) here, we want the blockchain. We want all these things in our country.’

According to Draper, there is approximately $86 trillion in fiat currency all around the world which is respectively tied to certain countries’ fortunes. At press time, cryptocurrency only accounts for about $150 billion of the world’s total money supply.

Simplicity Is the Goal

However, he’s confident the ratio will eventually switch to a 50-50 balance, in which both fiat and crypto share equal positions in the global financial market. Explaining once again that cryptocurrencies are both frictionless and cheaper to operate, he states:

It will be easier to spend and invest your bitcoin than it is to spend and invest your dollars. I tend to move my dollars into bitcoin because I think, well, why would I want this currency that’s tied to some political force when I have a currency that is going to be frictionless and global? I would much rather have a global currency than one that is sort of tied to a political force.

Everybody’s Welcome in the World of Bitcoin

In the meantime, Draper says he also has plans to open a Bitcoin venture fund:

Eventually, I want to be able to raise a fund that is all bitcoin, invest it all in bitcoin into a bunch of different companies and have them pay their employees and suppliers in bitcoin, and then no accounting fees, and it’s done automatically, and it’s all built into smart contracts so that if one of those companies gets sold, I push a button and it just shoots into all their bitcoin wallets.

Like Draper, do you believe Bitcoin still has a chance? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) released a report on blockchain technology’s effect on international trade today, Nov. 27. Per the study, blockchain’s economic value-add on a global scale could reach almost $3 trillion by 2030.

“Blockchain and International Trade: Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for International Trade Cooperation” analyzes blockchain applications and challenges that must be considered before the technology’s deployment in various sectors. The study considers the technology’s effect on industries such as trade finance, customs clearance, logistics and transportation.

Blockchain Business Value Forecast

Blockchain Business Value Forecast. Source: WTO

The study estimates that blockchain has the potential to significantly cut trade costs by increasing transparency and facilitating processes automation, including financial intermediation, exchange rate costs, coordination, and other aspects. “The removal of barriers due to blockchain could result in more than $ 1 trillion of new trade in the next decade,” the report reads.

Blockchain is expected to help administer intellectual property rights across multiple jurisdictions by delivering more transparency and efficiency, and enhance government procurement processes, including fighting fraud and managing public contracts.

Blockchain purportedly could improve supply chains, allowing for the tracking of shipments and proving their authenticity. Additionally, the technology could open new opportunities to micro, small and medium-sized companies.

Conversely, the study warns about challenges that must be addressed before deploying blockchain, as well as its impact on international trade. The researchers point out limited scalability of blockchains due to the predetermined size of blocks, in addition to energy consumption and security issues.

Although “blockchains are highly resilient compared to traditional databases due to their decentralized and distributed nature and the use of cryptographic techniques, they are not completely immune from traditional security challenges,” the study states.

The report stresses the importance of developing a multi-stakeholder approach in order to find appropriate use cases in cross-border trade. According to the WTO, blockchain requires frameworks that ensure the interoperability of networks and provide clear legal status for blockchain transactions across jurisdictions. The report concludes:

“Blockchain could make international trade smarter, but smart trade requires smart standardization — and smart standardization can only happen through cooperation. If we succeed in creating an ecosystem conducive to the wider development of blockchain, international trade could well look radically different in ten to 15 years.”

Earlier this week, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin said that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin argued that although there are a number of companies that try to establish higher standards by using blockchain technology, he does not think the technology is applicable in every industry.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

In this article, Sonal Mehta, a Content Lead at SoluLab, discusses how blockchain will benefit farming and what are the agriculture blockchain startups working on those benefits.

Food and water are the two kinds of stuff without which no one can survive in this world. Everyone needs this in right quantities on a daily basis to survive; where did this food come from? The agriculture sector, right? When agriculture is done in the right way, its outcome with increased productivity will enhance the development of the country in the process too.

Agriculture is a sector that is constantly in demand and this constant demand is constantly rising and increasing the demand-supply gap. This is because of the increased global population and limited or scarce resources to meet the demands of the population. However, blockchain use cases in agriculture will have a positive impact on meeting those demands successfully.

Blockchain Projects in Agriculture and Their Benefits

Agriculture also contributes to the country by creating demand for products that are manufactured and produced using the raw materials provided by farming.

There are some blockchain agriculture companies like provenance, OriginTrail, etc. today that have aimed towards reducing the challenges faced by farming using the features of blockchain. Some of these challenges include no availability of proper land maintenance resources, equipment or inability to forecast natural climatic changes, etc.

Ripe.io – Better Network Connection with Suppliers and Dealers

With blockchain, the farmer or the farming business is able to buy the reaped products such as grains, vegetables, flowers, spices, etc. and they are organized in a structured manner. Then those products can be allocated into groups and categories respective of its place of delivery or type of product, etc.

These products then can be easily sent to suppliers and dealers using blockchain platform. This is because blockchain provides a direct peer to peer connection and thus the farmer or the farming business does not have to wait for someone else to handle their supply. They themselves can connect with the supplier and make the transaction successfully.

With blockchain, farmers also have the ability to track their products and keep a track where their product is in the supply chain in real-time. Ripe.io is striving hard to provide a hassle-free tracking feature for the farmers, which will reduce the mal-practices and fraudulent activities.

AgriDigital – Cost of Operation and Transaction

Farmers of every country face the biggest challenge of dealing with the cost of transaction or operation to sell their products. Often, the cost of their selling is lower than the cost paid for the transaction undertook to make sure the products reach the customer. In simple words, the cost of the supply chain is higher than the price at which the products are sold. Because of this reason, most of the farmers end up in debt which they are striving hard to repay.

With blockchain, this major challenge can be eliminated as blockchain allows direct connection to the customer or supplier. Thus, there is no extra supply chain cost and also the farmer or the farming business is able to deliver their products more quickly. This is due to the feature of blockchain operating in a decentralized system.

AgriDigital is creating supply chain in a much transparent manner for farmers and their farming business using the technology of blockchain. They are using the feature of blockchain providing direct connection to other users to make a trade for framing food in such a way that, the farmers get their share of profit. This is possible by allowing the farmers to connect with buyers directly without having to wait.

UPS – Improved Analytics to Make Smart Decisions in Future

In agriculture, various activities are performed and traditionally these data are stored in paperwork, which makes it harder to verify or integrate data to make better decisions. With blockchain every process and operation that take place is stored digitally and they can be integrated with each other, which in turn will provide meaningful data to forecast or make smart decisions.

For example, blockchain stores data of when it rains; when the farmer sowed the seed when the farmer reaped the grown plants; climatic changes; wind pressure; groundwater levels, etc. When data like these are integrated with each other, the farmer will be able to forecast when to replenish the groundwater level; when to protect his crops in case of a forecasted rain or draught with the help of data stored.

Blockchain makes business analytics of farming more efficient and effective. UPS has made an alliance with blockchain in transport alliance to analyze and make better smarter decisions on logistics. They greatly feel that blockchain is the only way today farming will meet the current huge quantity of demands.

Indigo Agriculture – Inventory and resource management

In agriculture, lots of resources are used on a daily basis and they all need to be replenished constantly to avoid any disruption in the farming process. Without a record of the inventory, the farmer will face a great deal of trouble and challenge in maintaining a well-balanced supply and demand.

Blockchain helps to record all data from the inventory in a structured and organized manner, thus allowing the farmer to keep track of what needs to be bought, replaced and replenished.

Indigo Agriculture is working on the traceability, production and goods movement to help with the inventory management of farming resources.

IBM Blockchain – Using internet of things (IoT)

Internet of things creates an environment where the farmer can monitor and track the soil quality, fertility, maintain pest-control, manage irrigation, etc. IoT sensors are deployed in the farming fields to record necessary data according to the requirement and the farmer gets accessibility to these data and is able to focus on what is the top priority to make better production.

IBM is working on providing such sensors and tracking data for farmers so that their agricultural business can blossom to reap profits.

Over to You: Blockchain is a Boon for Agriculture

Blockchain is going to revolutionize agriculture sector and hopefully soon, it will eradicate hunger and poverty in every country. With blockchain, farmers are able to track, monitor, control and manage different kinds of agricultural resources and goods. The potential of blockchain is realized and it is going to automate the agriculture sector too. Blockchain is going to change the world of agriculture sooner than you think.

This post is credited to coinspeaker

The Philippine government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority has unveiled a plan to attract Japanese, Korean and Australian companies to its “Crypto Valley of Asia.” The authority is also cracking down on crypto companies operating within its economic zone without a license.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Ceza’s Crypto Valley of Asia

Philippine Crypto Valley to Attract Companies From Japan, Korea and AustraliaThe Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) announced last week its plan to attract companies from Japan, Korea, and Australia to its Crypto Valley of Asia.

Philippine Crypto Valley to Attract Companies From Japan, Korea and AustraliaCeza has partnered with one of its principal Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange (Ovce) licensees, Rare Earth Asia Technologies Corp., to achieve this expansion. The agreement gives the tech company the exclusive right to be Ceza’s sole marketing and technical partner to promote Ceza in the aforementioned three countries, the authority explained.

Crypto Valley of Asia will be marketed as “the most ideal investment destination in Asia for blockchain, crypto and financial technology (fintech) companies,” Ceza wrote. The authority further noted that it offers companies “clear guidelines and transparency, attractive tax incentives, access to a rich pool of talent in the areas of blockchain and fintech, and other benefits,” elaborating:

The development plan for the Crypto Valley of Asia includes the launch of a blockchain and fintech university to provide skilled and experienced workers for companies in the economic zone.

Philippine Crypto Valley to Attract Companies From Japan, Korea and AustraliaOn Nov. 23, the Philippine News Agency reported that Ceza’s revenue from January to September reached 521 million pesos (~$10 million), doubling from 224.55 million pesos earned for the full year of 2017. Ceza CEO and Administrator Raul Lambino explained that Ceza’s venture into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has boosted its revenue this year, adding that “Growth in the economic zone will be investment-driven.” Furthermore, about 50,000 jobs will be created, the news outlet noted.

Rare Earth will also be issuing a “token that enables its exchange partners to receive a share of transaction fees,” Ceza added. “This initiative shall be subject to Ceza fintech and Ovce rules and regulations as well as its upcoming framework and regulations on ICO [initial coin offering] and STO [security token offering].” In addition, Ceza wrote:

As part of the agreement with Ceza, Rare Earth will comply with all the Philippine rules and regulations of the concerned regulatory agencies such as the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when appropriate.

Crackdown on Unlicensed Crypto Firms

Philippine Crypto Valley to Attract Companies From Japan, Korea and AustraliaThe Manila Times reported on Nov. 22 that Ceza is cracking down on cryptocurrency firms operating in the zone without authorization. Ceza is collaborating with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police to go after unlicensed crypto businesses.

The authority has also issued an order to closely monitor activities in its crypto valley program, the news outlet wrote. According to Lambino:

There have been reports of some unlicensed cryptocurrency firms that have burrowed into Ceza’s emerging fintech-crypto hub where they set up illegal operations.

In October, Ceza announced that it had awarded licenses to 19 companies, allowing them to operate crypto businesses within the zone.

What do you think of Ceza attracting companies from Japan, Korea, and Australia to its Crypto Valley of Asia? Let us know in the comments section below.

This post is credited to news.bitcoin

A South African law firm has published a short essay on proposed tax legislation for cryptocurrency in the country. Cox Yeats Attorneys, a Durban-based firm, argues that the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, published by the National Treasury in July, will be bad for the digital asset industry, according to local media reports.

Also read: Uganda to Regulate Cryptocurrency Use as Fake Bitcoin Schemes Surge

Law Would ‘Significantly Deter’ Crypto Use

South Africa’s National Treasury published the draft virtual currency law on July 16 in response to rising public interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The bill is the country’s first attempt to regulate the use of crypto assets, which have been largely unregulated until now. It includes proposed changes to both the Income Tax Act and the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act for cryptocurrency taxation purposes.

Law Firm: South Africa's Draft Tax Law Could Affect Cryptocurrency Use

“The amendments, if promulgated in their current form, will significantly deter the use of cryptocurrency in South Africa for both trading and investment purposes,” Wade Ogilvie, a partner at Cox Yeats Attorneys, wrote in an article that was originally published in The Sunday Tribune. Changes to the income tax law will define cryptocurrencies as “financial instruments,” he said. That will place them in the same category as loans, debts and common stocks.

Ogilvie said this could have “a ripple effect throughout” South African tax legislation. He cited Section 22 of the Income Tax Act, which “provides for the determination of the value of undisposed trading stock to be included in taxable income.” He also pointed to another section of the same law that specifically excludes financial instruments for this purpose.

Law Firm: South Africa's Draft Tax Law Could Affect Cryptocurrency Use
Wade Ogilvie

“(This) means that those who trade in cryptocurrency may not benefit from valuing their undisposed cryptocurrency using the valuation method contemplated in Section 22,”  Ogilvie said.

“The amendment may also stifle investment in fintech companies in South Africa as section 11D of the Income Tax Act, which provides an allowance for companies that invest in research and development in South Africa, specifically excludes the creation or development of financial instruments. This would include companies who mine or develop cryptocurrencies.”

Growing Cryptocurrency Adoption

Bitcoin adoption has grown sharply in South Africa over the past few years, in spite of regulatory concerns and falling cryptocurrency prices. The country, Africa’s most sophisticated economy, recently hosted its first bitcoin ATM and has consistently ranked as the highest in the world for search interest in “bitcoin,” according to Google Trends data.

Regulators have been largely cautious in their approach to cryptocurrency, as they are trying to avoid triggering a domestic stampede into a technology that could change the face of the global financial industry. The South African Reserve Bank, the country’s central bank, has warned that cryptocurrency isn’t “legal tender.”

Law Firm: South Africa’s Draft Tax Law Could Affect Cryptocurrency Use

Taxpayers in the country “are merely required to declare their gains and losses” involving crypto asset transactions. The South African tax regulator will then “look at the intention of the taxpayer when determining whether the income is capital or revenue in nature.”

Bad Law

Ogilvie said the draft law will also seek to add “the acquisition or disposal of any cryptocurrency” to a section of the existing income tax legislation that “deals with the ring-fencing of assessed losses of certain trades.” This, again, will shortchange digital currency investors.

He wrote:

Although taxpayers who trade in cryptocurrency may set-off their assessed losses from income derived from that trade, they may not set-off their assessed losses against income derived from other trades.

The bill proposes amendments to the VAT legislation that would include defining “financial services” as the “issue, acquisition, collection, buying or selling or transfer of ownership of any cryptocurrency.”

“As cryptocurrency is not considered legal tender, VAT vendors providing wholly tax-deductible supplies who accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment will not be able to on-sell the cryptocurrency and claim the full input VAT as their business will be considered as one which supplies mixed supplies,” Ogilvie explained. “Accordingly, only a portion of the input VAT will be deductible.”

He said that in its current form, the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill “appears to curtail investment as opposed to encouraging it. The use of cryptocurrencies is on the rise and it may be that (the) Treasury, and the Reserve Bank, are forced to address the insurgence sooner than expected.”

What do you think about the proposed cryptocurrency taxation law in South Africa? Let us know in the comments section below.

This post is credited to news.bitcoin

The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) is launching what it claims to be the country’s first “Blockchain Academy,” according to an announcement published Nov. 26.

The BIBF was established in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1981 by approval of the Specific Council for Vocational Training. The institute is an unregistered non-profit semi-government entity that provides training in the financial sector.

The establishment of the Blockchain Academy purportedly marks the country’s first blockchain professional qualification program offering. The training program is designed to prepare participants to earn the international qualification of Certified Blockchain Professional C|BP and was developed by the BIBF and Dubai-based training firm MyLearning Key.

The C|BP Certification purportedly comprises of three competency areas in blockchain technology; development, implementation, and strategy. BIBF Director Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh said that the organization introduced the Blockchain Professional Qualification to “support the growing demand for skilled blockchain professionals.”

Ahmed Naeemi, the Head of IT, Operations and Project Management, said that the new initiative aims to support businesses and organizations as they adopt new technologies like blockchain.

In September, the government of Bahrain stressed the importance of blockchain technology for the country’s economy, also urging cybersecurity vigilance. Abdulhussain Mirza, Bahrain’s minister of electricity and water affairs, stated that “technologies such as blockchain take us a huge step forward in finding a secure way to facilitate transactions.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, multisectoral blockchain company Bitfury partnered with the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics to create an accelerator for blockchain projects. In addition to helping develop blockchain projects, the university will provide educational programs dedicated to “training specialists who are able to create innovative projects using digital technologies in a short time.”

The University of Tokyo will also launch a blockchain course following a donation of nearly  $800,000 from several companies, including Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and the Ethereum Foundation. The course is focused on the development of decentralized solutions, their social implementation, and human resources.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

Al Hilal Bank says it has conducted the first “sukuk” transaction using blockchain technology.

The Al Hilal Bank has used a blockchain to sell and settle part of its $500 billion five-year sukuk issued in September 2018. The transaction amounted to $1 million and the sukuk was sold to a private investor, a spokesperson confirmed to Reuters.

Sukuks are Sharia-compliant Islamic bonds, or financial certificates, that allow investment in Islamic countries without breaking religious laws. They are similar to government-issued bonds, investment in which is not permitted in Islamic law because bonds yield interest.

The Abu Dhabi bank’s CEO, Alex Coelho, said it was the first bank to offer a “Smart Blockchain Islamic Sukuk,” adding that smart contracts would make transactions safer.

The bank’s digital transformation team partnered with UAE-based FinTech company Jibrel Network and was supported by Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) FinTech Regulatory Lab.

As with other investment product settlement trials, like one recently conducted in Singapore, blockchains are being tested and used in the hopes that they reduce administrative overheads and improve record-keeping and efficiencies for financial transactions. Al Hilal bank is another example of the global permeation of blockchain technologies, even in such products as the sukuk, which must also be compliant with Islamic law.

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One of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coincheck, announced today in a press release that it has resumed its trading activities on assets Ripple (XRP) and Factom (FCT), thus making all assets on its platform fully available for trade.

It finally resumes full trading activities with the deposits and buying of these two assets after months of suspension following a hack in January that left the exchange vulnerable with NEM cryptocurrency deficits worth USD 530 million.

The hack exploited the exchange’s hot wallet which prompted a sequence of security upgrades and an eventual USD 34 million buyout by Monex Group two months later.

In the document, the exchange clarified that it had taken actions to protect its clients, stating, “Coincheck had suspended certain services in order to protect the integrity of customers’ assets and to investigate the cause of the breach to its system.” The exchange’s activities were gradually resumed alongside several security upgrade verifications.

Firstly, they resumed JPY withdrawal in February 2018 running through March and June of this year. Next, the exchange resumed new account opening on 30 October followed by deposits and purchasing of some cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETC, LTC, BCH. Then, ETH, XEM, and LSK trading activities were resumed on 12 November, the exchange is fully operational with all tradable assets now available on the exchange upon the resumption of XRP and FCT services.

The expectations of customers would be built upon the rehabilitated exchange under the new management which promises to provide a secure environment for customers and to grow sustainably as a socially valuable cryptocurrency exchanger.

Further, Monex will combine its expertise with that of Coincheck, leveraging on their experience in the financial industry and with the blockchain technology.

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The nation’s financial regulators have criticized Keplerk, a France-based financial technology (fintech) company, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF)  for allying with tobacco retailers in the country to enable them to sell bitcoin to clients through its bitcoin vouchers beginning from January 2019, according to a Finance Magnates report  on November 26, 2018.

Keplerk in AMF Hot Waters

As reported by BTCManager on November 23, 2018, Keplerk announced its collaboration with French tobacco retail shops to make it possible for the outlets to sell bitcoin and ether to their clients through vouchers from early next year.

However, barely a week after announcing the innovative move, Keplerk has reportedly been sharply criticized by the AMF.

Per sources close to the matter, the French financial regulator has said in a statement that Keplerk is an unregulated entity and as such would not be able to offer customers enough protection.

“PAYSAFEBIT SASU, which has a capital of 50,000 euros ($57,000), operating with the trade name KEPLERK, which is neither approved by a French nor a foreign authority, is not likely to provide any form of customer protection,” stated AMF, adding “KEPLERK must not be confused with companies approved in France such as Kepler capital markets as they have no connection whatsoever.”


Bitcoin Not Suitable for Retail Investors?

While Keplerk’s strategic partnership with French tobacconists may be seen as a forward-thinking maneuver by cryptocurrency enthusiasts as the move, if successful, would have given hodlers a somewhat hassle-free way of quickly buying bitcoin and ether, the region’s financial watchdog sees it quite differently.

Citing the seemingly volatile nature of bitcoin and other digital assets, the AMF has reportedly declared that the burgeoning digital assets class is only meant for institutional investors, high net worth individuals and financial experts, and not for “unsophisticated private investors.”

Although blockchain-based virtual currencies are not outrightly banned in France as obtainable in a few crypto-unfriendly jurisdictions like China and some others, it’s worth noting that the AMF and other French financial heavyweights have always taken a strict stance towards digital assets.

Earlier in January 2018, BTCManager informed that the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had called for the creation of new guidelines and a more robust regulatory framework for the country’s digital currency ecosystem to deter terrorists and money launderers from using cryptoassets in aiding their crime.

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