50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Fifty traders who use Indian crypto exchange Instashift have shared their thoughts on the current crypto environment in India. Most of them said that they “hodl” and would continue to invest in crypto despite regulatory uncertainty.

Also read: RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto Decision

Most Respondents Are Hodlers

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaA survey was conducted in the first week of October by Indian cryptocurrency exchange Instashift exclusively for news.Bitcoin.com. Launched in March, Instashift offers the buying and selling of over 80 cryptocurrencies.

Fifty active traders in India participated. The goal of the survey was to find out what they think about various crypto-related issues including their investment concerns, the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and whether they will keep investing in crypto despite regulatory uncertainty.

Among the 50 traders who responded, 43 said that they hodl while seven revealed that they invest short-term.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Furthermore, 40 traders believe bitcoin is a safe haven against rupee inflation while 10 traders disagree.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Crypto Investing Despite RBI Ban

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaIndia is currently drafting crypto regulations which were supposed to be ready in September but have been delayed. Meanwhile, RBI, the country’s central bank, has banned financial institutions under its jurisdiction from providing services to crypto businesses. A number of petitions have been filed against the ban. The country’s supreme court has been trying to hear them since Sept. 11, but the hearing has continually been postponed.

The banking ban by the central bank has adversely impacted some exchanges. One of the country’s largest crypto trading platforms, Zebpay, recently shut down its exchange operations due to the banking problem.

Despite the ban, 32 Instashift traders said that they would continue to invest in crypto even if the RBI intensifies its crackdown such as freezing crypto accounts. Another 12 traders noted that they are also likely to continue trading while six respondents said they would discontinue crypto trading.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

In addition, 36 traders believe that the Indian government will amend existing laws to accommodate cryptocurrencies. Ten respondents believe that the regulators will remove restrictions on crypto. However, only four traders believe that crypto will be legalized and regulated in India.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Preferred Cash-Out Methods

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in IndiaA number of crypto exchanges in India have come up with their own solutions to the RBI ban. Some have introduced exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer trading services, which they claim have gained much popularity.

Respondents were asked about their preferred methods of cashing out cryptocurrencies into rupees. Forty-eight traders said they prefer to cash out using peer-to-peer sites. Five traders prefer to use local cash deals, four prefer to use gift cards and online deals, and four others prefer to cash out using prepaid crypto Visa and Mastercard services.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

On Sunday, another cash-out method was introduced by one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, Unocoin. The company has launched crypto ATMs to bypass the RBI ban and allow its users to deposit and withdraw rupees. This option was announced after the Instashift survey had concluded, so it was not included in the survey.

As for where to keep their funds, 24 traders prefer to keep them in BTC, 14 prefer altcoins, and 12 specifically prefer stablecoins. Recently, an increasing number of crypto exchanges in India have started listing stablecoins such as tether (USDT) and trueusd (TUSD).

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Future Prospects of Crypto Ecosystem in India

Amid the banking ban, 35 respondents believe that the fear of regulatory uncertainty is the biggest hurdle stopping the Indian crypto economy from flourishing. Twenty-six traders believe that the lack of banking support is the biggest challenge. Twenty-five traders put the lack of understanding of the crypto industry as the most important factor, while 18 traders attributed the lack of liquidity in the market as the top reason.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

Despite all the hurdles, 41 traders said that they are long-term investors and will continue to invest in crypto. Seventeen traders admitted that they are apprehensive but expect the government to eventually create a positive environment for cryptocurrencies. However, four respondents are entertaining the idea of exiting the crypto space altogether.

50 Indian Traders Share Thoughts on Investing, RBI Ban, Future of Crypto in India

What do you think of the current crypto environment in India? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Major Indian Exchange Unocoin Launching Crypto ATMs

Major Indian Exchange Unocoin Launching Crypto ATMs

A major cryptocurrency exchange in India, Unocoin, has confirmed that it is launching crypto ATMs. While a formal announcement has not been made, an image of one of the exchange’s ATMs spreading on social media suggests that the machines support at least five cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Unocoin’s Crypto ATMs

Major Indian Exchange Unocoin Launching Crypto ATMsUnocoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India with over 1.2 million customers, is preparing to launch its own line of crypto automated teller machines (ATMs). An image of one of the exchange’s machines has been extensively shared on social media since Tuesday.

Sathvik Vishwanath, Unocoin’s CEO, confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com on Wednesday:

It is true that we are launching our ATM machines but we have not made the news public yet. We may need about a week more before we get this operational. Someone has spotted a machine and [they] are spreading the pic and speculation around.

The words “instant deposit & withdrawals for your Unocoin account” are written on the machine, along with “exclusive for Unocoin customers” and “credit & debit cards are not accepted.” There are also logos for BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC next to the machine, suggesting that the ATMs support at least the five cryptocurrencies.

Major Indian Exchange Unocoin Launching Crypto ATMs
Unocoin’s ATM. Photo credit: Twitter.

Other Developments at Unocoin

Unocoin has been promoting its crypto-to-crypto trading platform called Unodax since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular in April banning financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. The central bank’s ban went into effect in July. Unocoin subsequently disabled its deposit and withdrawal services for the Indian rupee.

Major Indian Exchange Unocoin Launching Crypto ATMs

Launched in May, Unodax currently supports four base coins and over 60 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs. However, Vishwanath shared with news.Bitcoin.com last month that “India’s biggest crypto population is not ready for the crypto-to-crypto trading.” He elaborated, “There is a bigger percentage of users who just buy bitcoin as an investment than trying to earn money through short-term trading,” noting that “Regulation has been the biggest challenge followed by sentiments of users.”

Recently, another major Indian crypto exchange, Zebpay, suspended its exchange operations due to the RBI banking ban.

What do you think of Unocoin launching its own crypto ATMs? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Proposed Crypto Mining Moratorium Rejected by County in Montana

Proposed Crypto Mining Moratorium Rejected by County in Montana

Montana’s second most populous county, Missoula County, has rejected the proposal for a moratorium on cryptocurrency operations. The proposal was first presented at a public hearing in June but was postponed for three months.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Proposed Crypto Moratorium Rejected

Proposed Crypto Mining Moratorium Rejected by County in MontanaMissoula County’s board of commissioners held a public hearing Thursday to decide whether to accept or reject the proposal for a one-year emergency moratorium on new or expanded cryptocurrency operations.

Crypto mining could be limited in the county “under temporary emergency interim zoning,” the Missoulian described. The mining moratorium proposal was first presented at a public hearing in June but the decision was postponed for three months “to give staff more time to consider various options,” the publication added.

After Thursday’s hearing, the county posted a notice on its website stating:

The commissioners voted not to adopt interim zoning, and instead directed staff to investigate the development of regulations targeting the impacts of concern such as noise, electronic waste, and energy.

Jennie Dixon from the county’s Community and Planning Services department revealed that 92 percent of about 80 written comments from 71 individuals supported the moratorium, the news outlet noted.

No Authority

Attorney Jaymie Bowditch represents Hyperblock Technologies, the parent company of Project Spokane, one of the companies operating a cryptocurrency mining operation in the Missoula town of Bonner. He explained:

In order to approve the one-year moratorium using interim zoning, they [the county] had to show an imminent threat to public health or safety. By extending the public hearing for three months, it showed that no immediate danger was posed.

Proposed Crypto Mining Moratorium Rejected by County in MontanaCommissioner Jean Curtiss was quoted by the publication confirming that “the county doesn’t have the authority that the state or cities may have to regulate one industry using the interim zoning.”

Commissioner Dave Strohmaier commented, “We are talking about the impacts themselves, not necessarily crypto mining as an industry — the noise, e-waste, possible excessive use of electricity that threatens our planet.” He was further quoted suggesting: “It may be that we need a much broader approach because of the potential this would be myopic. But I do have serious concerns about the energy use.”

Crypto Mining in Missoula County

The county has been trying to attract crypto miners to set up operations. According to its website:

Missoula County is an attractive place for locating cryptocurrency mining operations due to the region’s low electricity rates and cool weather which helps to keep equipment from overheating.

Proposed Crypto Mining Moratorium Rejected by County in MontanaThe county’s website also details that “Electric utilities that operate in Missoula County report receiving large numbers of inquiries from cryptocurrency mining firms.” Furthermore, there are “two commercial-scale cryptocurrency mining facilities” that are currently operating in the county, “as well as an unknown number of small home-based cryptocurrency mining operations.”

However, the website also points out some concerns regarding “the current and potential adverse impacts of cryptocurrency mining on the public health and safety of its residents.” These impacts include noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, electrical system reliability and safety, fire safety hazard, and electronic waste containing heavy metals and carcinogens.

What do you think of Missoula County rejecting the proposed crypto mining moratorium? Let us know in the comments section below.


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India’s Zebpay Shuts Down Exchange Activities

India’s Zebpay Shuts Down Exchange Activities

One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, Zebpay, is shutting down its exchange activities due to the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. “At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business,” Zebpay wrote.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Zebpay Stops Exchange Activities

India’s Zebpay Shuts Down Exchange ActivitiesZebpay announced on Friday the shutdown of its popular crypto exchange, which according to its website has over three million users.

“Despite regulatory and banking problems along our journey, we continued to look for solutions as we did not want India to miss the bus of digital assets that power the public blockchain,” the exchange wrote. However, Zebpay admitted:

The curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully. At this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business. As a result, we are stopping our exchange activities.

The exchange is canceling all unexecuted crypto-to-crypto orders on Sept. 28 at 4pm (Indian time). Customers’ cryptocurrencies will be credited to their Zebpay wallets. “No new orders will be accepted until further notice,” the exchange clarified but noted:

Zebpay wallet will continue to work even after the exchange stops. You are free to deposit and withdraw coins / tokens into your wallet.

Effects of RBI Crypto Banking Ban

India’s Zebpay Shuts Down Exchange ActivitiesThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular on April 6 banning banks and financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect in July.

Shortly after the RBI issued its circular, Zebpay launched its crypto-to-crypto trading platform. In August, the exchange added trueusd trading.

However, the banking problem has been hurting Zebpay’s business. On Sept. 4, the exchange announced that it will return all users’ Indian rupees on deposit at the exchange. “We have been distressed at the raw deal crypto-traders are getting in India as a result of the banking problems,” the exchange described.

India’s Zebpay Shuts Down Exchange ActivitiesAccording to Unocoin, another major Indian exchange, “India’s biggest crypto population is not ready for the crypto-to-crypto trading,” CEO Sathvik Vishwanath told news.Bitcoin.com in September.

Meanwhile, a number of smaller exchanges have launched exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) trading which they claim to have rapidly gained popularity since the RBI ban. Even the central bank has noticed the growth of P2P trading. In its annual report, the RBI wrote that “some trading may shift from exchanges to peer-to-peer mode, which may also involve increased usage of cash.”

A number of petitions have been filed against the RBI ban and the supreme court has been trying to hear the case since Sept. 11. However, the case has been postponed repeatedly.

What do you think of Zebpay shutting down its exchange activities? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack Users

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack Users

Sophoslabs has published a report in which the company claims to have identified at least 25 Android apps published on the official Google Play store that contain script facilitating the ‘cryptojacking’ of users’ computing resources.

Also Read: Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan

25 Apps Containing Mining Malware Identified on Google Play Store

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack UsersSophoslabs claims to have discovered 25 apps on the official Google Play store that contain cryptojacking code within them.

report published by the company asserts that the apps in question have “been downloaded and installed more than 120,000 times.”

The apps accused on containing cryptojacking code are LHDS Vendors – which is published by Taste of Life Group, Mobeleader from Abser Technologies S.L., Palkar by Palpostr.com, Dizi Fragmanları İzle from Oguzhan Kivrak, Helper for Knight Game from Evgeny Solovyov, Game Viet 2048 from Thanhtu Media, Trance Droid by Happy Appys, A Paintbox For Kids by Uwe Post, Afterlife: RPG Clicker CCG by Levius LLC, Dominoes Games from Fun Board Games, Info Guru Pendidikan by Cakrawala Pengetahuan, Lighton by Buyguard, Tapbugs and Dreamspell – both published by Riccotz, and 11 apps published by Gadgetium – all of which comprised “preparation apps for standardized tests given in the [United States].”

88% of Cryptojacking Apps Contain Coinhive Implementation

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack Users22 of the 25 apps identified by Sophoslabs were found to contain an implementation of Coinhive’s code.

Lighton and Mobeleader were found to hosting mining scripts on their own servers – “presumably to thwart firewalls or parental controls/reputation services that might block Coinhive’s domain by default.”

A Paintbox for Kids was found to be running Xmrig – “an open source CPU miner that can mine several cryptocurrencies in addition to XMR.”

Cryptojacking Apps Discovered in Spite of Ban

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack UsersThe discovery of the apps comes in spite of the Google Play Store’s July ban on “apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices.”

The ban followed several other undertaking perceived to comprise a crackdown on crypto across Google’s platforms – including the prohibiting of cryptocurrency mining extensions from the Chrome Web Store in April, and the banning of advertising content relating to “cryptocurrencies and related content” from Google’s platforms in March.

This week, Google showed the first signs of softening its stance on cryptocurrency since launching its crackdown, announcing that “The Google ads policy on financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan.”

Do you think that scammers will continue attempting to publish cryptojackers on Google’s Play Store despite the company’s ban? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan

Google has announced that regulated cryptocurrency exchanges will be allowed to advertise on its platforms in the United States and Japan starting in October. This removes some of the restrictions the company placed on crypto ads in June.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Some Crypto Ads Will Be Allowed

Google has posted a notice on its website regarding changes in its cryptocurrency ads policy, stating:

The Google ads policy on financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan…Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve.

The company considers “financial products and services to be those related to the management or investment of money and cryptocurrencies, including personalized advice.”

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanGoogle explained that “Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October,” noting that “This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products.”

In May, Google announced restrictions on ads relating to “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).” This policy went into effect in June. According to Cnbc, Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., gets roughly 86 percent of its total revenue from advertising. The firm earned more than $54 billion in ad revenue in the first half of this year.

Google’s Current Crypto Ads Policy

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanGoogle’s Advertising Policies section explains that some financial products are restricted “Due to the inherent complexities and risks involved” in their trading. The company noted that the information will be updated once the new policy goes into effect.

Currently, restricted products include “Ads for cryptocurrencies and related content” and “Ad destinations that aggregate or compare issuers of cryptocurrencies or related products.” For example, “Ads for initial coin offerings, ads promoting the purchase or sale of cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency wallets, cryptocurrency trading advice” are prohibited, the firm wrote. Furthermore, ads about “Cryptocurrency trading signals or investment advice; aggregators or affiliate sites containing related content or broker reviews” are also prohibited.

Other Platforms’ Crypto Ads Policies

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanSome other major platforms have similar policies regarding cryptocurrency advertising. After banning them in January, Facebook started allowing some types of crypto ads in June.

Twitter’s ads policy page currently lists “Cryptocurrency ICOs” and “Cryptocurrency token sales” under “financial services and related content” that Twitter permits the promotion of “with restrictions.”

Microsoft’s policy page for Bing ads currently states that advertising for “Cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency related products including, but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, and cryptocurrency wallets” are not permitted.

What do you think of Google bringing back some crypto ads? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Russian Crypto Groups in Telegram Increase Membership Despite Ban

Russian Crypto Groups in Telegram Increase Membership Despite Ban

The members of crypto-related Telegram channels have increased in number since the messenger was banned by a Moscow court in April, according to a study covering the top 50 Russian language groups. Despite a decrease in the views of published posts during the summer months, the readership of all examined groups has jumped by 21%, and 49% for those in the “Cryptocurrency” category.

Also read: US Startup Presents Telegram Alternative

Amidst Restrictions, Telegram Crypto Channels Attract More Russians

Russian Crypto Groups in Telegram Increase Membership Despite BanSeveral months after Russian authorities started a campaign against Telegram, the number of its Russian users interested in cryptocurrency has increased significantly. According to a new report covering the top 50 Russian language channels, the members of the crypto-related Telegram groups have increased by 49% since April when a ban on the popular messenger was officially imposed.

The clampdown on Telegram started when the country’s telecom watchdog, Roskomnadzor, attempted to restrict access to the platform by blocking its IP addresses. However, despite causing some interruptions in the service, the regulatory agency has been largely unsuccessful. Its efforts to block the app followed a decision issued by a district court in Moscow on April 13 that came in response to Telegram’s refusal to hand over its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service. Formally, FSB wants to obtain access to users’ communication under the country’s anti-terrorism laws. The actions of Russian authorities sparked protests.

Of course, the ban, the noise around it, and the difficulties Telegram is facing have had an adverse effect on some of its indicators. The study conducted by the non-profit organization Rspectr found that the posts in the examined most popular Russian channels have been losing 11.2% of their views on average each month, April through August, or 45% for the whole period. The growth of new subscriptions registered by the messenger has also decreased this summer – it’s been only 0.01% in the last month.

Russian Audience Interested in Cryptocurrency and Business

Nevertheless, the readers of the leading channels have actually increased in number, the researchers point out – by 21% during the same period (4% monthly). The membership of several of the top-50 groups continues to grow. The Russian audience is mostly interested in topics in the categories of “Cryptocurrency” and “Business/Economy”, which includes startups. The number of their readers has jumped by 49% (8.4% monthly) and 35% (6.2% per month) respectively.

Russian Crypto Groups in Telegram Increase Membership Despite BanThe study also covers the groups in the “Telegram” category, including the Russian language channel of Pavel Durov, founder of the messaging app, two channels for sharing proxy servers used to circumvent the blockade, as well as the “Teleblog” channel devoted to news about Telegram. The number of subscribers to these groups has increased by 186%, or 23.4% per month. The average reach of the posts in these groups rose by 28%, with Durov’s comments accounting for the largest share of the increase.

The authors of the report have noted the steady decrease in the frequency of posting in the studied channels, probably related to lower user activity during the holiday season, which is likely to have caused the drop in the number of views as well. A positive trend has been detected in August when the average number of views of the posts in the “Cryptocurrency” category jumped by 13%.

What do you think about the findings in the study? Is the ban on Telegram effective? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto Decision

RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto Decision

The Reserve Bank of India has filed an affidavit with the country’s supreme court in response to one of the petitions against its crypto banking ban. The central bank reportedly argues that it has acted within its power and that none of the petitioners have shown reasonable grounds for the supreme court to intervene.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

No Reasonable Grounds

RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto DecisionLast week, the Supreme Court of India was scheduled to hear all of the petitions against the crypto banking ban by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. However, the case was postponed the second week in a row from the original hearing date of Sept. 11. According to industry participants, the court is now scheduled to hear the case on Sept. 25.

In response to a petition filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the central bank filed an affidavit with the supreme court on Sept. 8, Inc42 reported on Sept. 21. “Inc42 has the copy of the petition filed by IAMAI as well as the response filed by RBI on September 8, 2018.”

RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto DecisionIn its affidavit, the central bank argues that the IAMAI petition, along with other petitions challenging its ban, “is not maintainable either in law or on facts and, hence, liable to be dismissed as such,” the publication noted.

Since the RBI issued its April 6 circular banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses, a number of petitions have been filed against the ban. They allege that the central bank’s action “violates Articles 19 (1) (g) and 14 of the Indian Constitution,” which “will lead to the closure” of affected firms, the news outlet explained. However, the RBI detailed in its affidavit:

The impugned circular and the impugned statement neither violate the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 or the right to trade and business guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution…The petitioner cannot seek to exercise the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court to avail a right which they do not have.

RBI’s response further reads, “There is no statutory right, much less an infringed one, available to the petitioner to open and maintain bank accounts to trade, invest or deal in virtual currencies.” In addition, the central bank claims that IAMAI and others “haven’t got any reasonable or tenable ground for interference by this court.”

RBI Defends Its Circular

The central bank argues that its April 6 circular is in line with its three previous statements regarding cryptocurrencies – one in 2013 and two in 2017.

RBI Argues Supreme Court Should Not Interfere With Its Crypto DecisionCalling the circular an essential step, the RBI claims that cryptocurrencies “are associated with multiple risks such as lack of customer protection, high volatility, vulnerability of wallets and exchange houses to cyber-attacks, money laundering, etc,” the news outlet conveyed.

“Unlike a currency which is defined as something that can be a medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account,” the central bank asserted that cryptocurrencies, “given their volatility, lack of intrinsic value and low adoption, satisfy none of these criteria.” Emphasizing that “Their value is merely derived from the parties to a transaction willing to pay a particular amount” for them, the RBI maintained:

The impugned circular and the impugned statement have been issued in a manner that is consistent with the powers conferred on the RBI by the law and the same are legal and valid.

What do you think of RBI’s response to the petitions against its ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Close to being yet another annoyingly false media piece on how ‘hard’ it is to live on cryptocurrency, the Netflix of China, Iqiyi, followed a woman attempting just that for 21 days. Bitcoiners have been doing so for years through various service providers, exchanges, and, yes, even peer-to-peer, yet the clearly untrue ‘hard’ narrative is often repeated. Thankfully, the new Chinese documentary Bitcoin Girl is somewhat different; instead of focusing upon tech hurdles exclusively, it also highlights how bitcoin lives on during a severe Communist Party crackdown.

Also read: Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

Netflix of China Airs 21 Day Bitcoin Challenge

Rifle through Youtube, and it’s easy to find a zillion vignettes and documentaries about using bitcoin, cryptocurrencies in general, as either part of a lifestyle or as a principal medium of exchange. The mainstream conception is always about hurdles and difficulties, and they usually devolve into dark web ghettos or tales of criminal gangs nefariously employing the tech.

And so it’s somewhat refreshing to learn a documentary series running in China on its version of Netflix, Bitcoin Girl 21 Days Digital Survival Challenge, offers a glimpse behind the wall, as it were, of the Communist state and how crypto enthusiasts are attempting to cope.  

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin
Ms. Youbing

An introduction blurb to the series, translated by google, reads, “There is such a girl, she is a blockchain believer. She said she wanted to rush into a city alone one day and be an experiment that only survived by bitcoin. Challenge rules: 1. With 0.21 bitcoins, one person lives in Beijing for 21 days. 2, only payable in bitcoin, can not accept any charity.”

For those lost in translation, the series (now up to 17 episodes as of this writing) is based upon He Youbing, an aka for a young-ish woman setting out to survive on about $1,300, give or take, on bitcoin without help or assistance – just peer-to-peer transactions, phone to phone.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Alone with Nothing but Bitcoin

Ms. Youbing was unable to take anything with her. No basic necessities are allowed. She must make do with what she has in China’s most populous cities, beginning in Beijing. Presumably, the show gave her the aka, which means having something of an obsession – in this case cryptocurrency.

The documentary’s main difference is its setting. And though it for sure could be viewed as propaganda to make crypto seem futile to the average person, it’s also a strange admittance. China, of course, has become notorious for its cryptocurrency bans. Recently, it has gotten so bad even events related to crypto are banned. Just prior to venues being formally prohibited, the government stepped up censorship campaigns against popular smartphone applications such as Wechat. Over 100 foreign crypto exchange websites were also banned. The Chinese government even put pressure on Alipay to stop all OTC crypto trading on their platform.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on BitcoinAnd all of these no doubt contribute to the first episode’s showing her desperate and frustrated. Most of her day is spent trying to inform vendors just what bitcoin is, much less getting them to accept it. From fun parks to restaurants, she was unsuccessful the entire day and evening. Though she manages to find an unlocked public bike, helping to make her case to more potential businesses and ordinary people, she finishes her night exhausted and defeated, sleeping at a McDonald’s.

Sustenance came wherever she could find it, as the already slight woman dined on free condiment packets while eating leftover burgers yet to be thrown away, and even literally low hanging fruit. It was actually two days of this, and by the second she was vomiting, sick from the experience. The manufactured drama helped the local media bring attention to her case. Well-wishers brought her food, exchanged for bitcoin, while she was checked at a nearby hospital. An art gallery volunteered to put her up for the third night.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

No Publicity is Bad Publicity

Strange and wonderful happens next. Chinese city dwellers find her on Wechat as a result of media coverage, and begin to exchange services and goods for bitcoin with her. In fact, a great many seemed to have no problem trading fiat, causing the show’s producers to adjust the rules to include no online transactions – real people, real life only.

The publicity compounded, and reports detailed how many Wechat groups were following her, filled to capacity. The upward limit is 500 people per group. Something like six such groups popped up, and from every sector of Chinese society.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Clearly, cryptocurrency fever remains behind the great Red wall. If the documentary does anything positive, it shows the power of crypto and social media. Even through massive crackdowns, smartphone and related tech brought fellow Chinese to her once word got out. Soon, outside of Beijing, she finds a restaurant to accept bitcoin. She is able to negotiate crypto for clothes, and even had a hotel booked for her.

The rest of the series appears to be much in this fashion, and for some reason the government has not censored it, yet. In fact, Ms. Youbing only seems to be gaining traction. The documentary’s makers do film how a significant portion of those familiar with bitcoin (BTC) are still stinging from giant transaction fees and slow confirmation times that characterized the final leg of its bull run in late 2017.

Their distrust of BTC is also heightened by crypto’s association with scams, and Ms. Youbing spends her time trying to convince potential trade counterparts she is legit. Without trying, Bitcoin Girl stumbles into the medium of exchange versus store of value debate. If 17 episodes are any guide, the Chinese clearly are ready for something closer to bitcoin cash (BCH) and its qualities over a seemingly tainted BTC.   

Do you think crypto will continue to grow in China despite all the bans? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Major Indian Bitcoin Exchange Discusses the Aftermath of RBI Ban

Major Indian Bitcoin Exchange Discusses the Aftermath of RBI Ban

It has been about two months since the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) went into effect. News.Bitcoin.com talked to Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO and co-founder of Indian exchange Unocoin, to discuss the aftermath of the central bank’s ban.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

All Eyes on Supreme Court

Major Indian Bitcoin Exchange Discusses the Aftermath of RBI BanThe RBI issued a circular on April 6 banning all financial institutions under its control from providing services to crypto businesses. The central bank gave banks three months to exit any existing relationships with companies dealing with cryptocurrencies. A number of industry participants have filed petitions with the country’s supreme court against the ban. The court is set to hear them all on September 11.

Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO and co-founder of Unocoin, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, told news.Bitcoin.com that after the RBI ban:

The volumes have significantly come down as this is not only restricting the new users joining the platform but it is also hurting the sentiments of the present users. Now everyone in this space is waiting for the apex court comments on Sept 11th.

His Bangalore-based exchange is still growing, albeit at a slower rate than previously. Currently, “We have about 20,000 users coming in on a monthly basis. In the good months, we have seen this kind of number every 3 days,” he shared.

Regulation is the Biggest Challenge

Major Indian Bitcoin Exchange Discusses the Aftermath of RBI BanThe Indian government has been drafting crypto regulation. According to Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, the draft was supposed to be ready in July. However, it has reportedly been delayed until the year’s end.

The central bank has also reportedly set up a new unit for cryptocurrencies, blockchains and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) sent officials to Japan, the UK, and Switzerland last fiscal year to study cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings from each of the three countries’ financial regulators.

Vishwanath commented:

Regulation has been the biggest challenge followed by sentiments of users. However, the price surge may positively influence the sentiments but the regulation can continue to be a challenge for the time being.

The Popularity of P2P and Crypto-to-Crypto Trading

Since the ban, some local crypto exchanges have come up with their solutions for INR withdrawals. The most popular method to bypass the central bank’s ban is by exchange-escrowed P2P services. News.Bitcoin.com has reported on the rise in popularity of P2P trading in India several times.

Major Indian Bitcoin Exchange Discusses the Aftermath of RBI BanEven the RBI anticipates the shift from trading on regular exchanges to P2P trading. “Developments on this front need to be monitored as some trading may shift from exchanges to peer-to-peer mode, which may also involve increased usage of cash,” the central bank wrote.

As for Unocoin’s likelihood of adding their own P2P solution, Vishwanath revealed that “presently, we do not plan to but we are evaluating.” In May, the exchange launched a crypto-to-crypto platform called Unodax, which now offers 41 trading pairs in multiple base coins. However, he described:

India’s biggest crypto population is not ready for the crypto-to-crypto trading. There is a bigger percentage of users who just buy bitcoin as an investment than trying to earn money through short-term trading.

Meanwhile, another major Indian exchange, Zebpay, announced on September 4 that it will return all users’ Indian rupees on deposit at the exchange. Citing the RBI ban, the exchange wrote, “We have been distressed at the raw deal crypto-traders are getting in India as a result of the banking problems.” Zebpay will begin the refund process on September 5. “While it is not possible for us to speak on behalf of our banks, we intend to return your money to you as soon as possible,” the exchange reiterated.

What do you think of how the RBI’s banking ban affects the crypto industry? Let us know in the comments section below.


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As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country’s Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run Dry

As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country's Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run Dry

The Golix bitcoin ATM took on obvious importance when it was first introduced in the Zimbabwean capital Harare, early April. In a country without a currency of its own, where conventional automated teller machines (ATMs) have become useless due to a severe cash crisis, the bitcoin machine was seen as the new gateway to faster cash transfers and cash availability. Now, it is a ‘white elephant’ – unused and redundant. But Golix trudges on.

Also read: South African Tax Authority Going After Crypto Traders

A Digital Cash Machine Without Cash

As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country's Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run DryThe ban on cryptocurrencies issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in May of this year upset ambitious plans by Golix, the Southern African country’s biggest digital currency exchange, to mainstream virtual money, and to its bitcoin ATM – a novelty at the time – hardly four weeks after it had come online.

Today, the machine no longer dispenses cash, or facilitates any trades at all, even though it can still be seen in the Golix offices in central Harare. There is no point, after all, to have on display a little piece of furniture if there is uncertainty about the future of cryptocurrencies in the country.

Golix spokesperson, Nhlalwenhle Ngwenya, refused to comment about any operational issues, claiming such matters were still under litigation. The exchange is challenging the RBZ ban in the Zimbabwe High Court, a case still pending. But at the time the ATM was activated in April, Golix said:

After realizing that the public is still struggling to understand or in some cases access bitcoin, we felt that the bitcoin ATM would be a huge and necessary step towards engaging people on how they can use cryptocurrencies for their daily business.

Crowning Moment Shattered

As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country's Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run DryThe Bitcoin machine was, perhaps, the Harare-based trading platform’s crowning moment since it became Zimbabwe’s first digital currency exchange in September, 2015 with only a handful of trades. By the time of the ban in May, Golix had traded more than $20 million worth of bitcoin. Its reported revenue climbed 6,200 percent to $158,000 at the end of last year. About 50,000 people were actively trading bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, dash and ethereum on the platform in May, compared to a few dozen customers two years earlier. Things were looking pretty good until the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced an unexpected ban on cryptocurrencies.

Virtual money had long operated under a cloud of uncertainty, but the RBZ move at the time suggested they were entering a dark, unpredictable phase. They have. Often, investors look at digital currencies as an investment. But the RBZ’s chokehold on limited foreign currency means that some Zimbabweans had started to use cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services abroad – like school fees, health bills or car imports. Golix was their intermediary. And the central bank didn’t like that. It accused Golix of mimicking banking activities by accepting deposits, something they weren’t allowed to do because, one – the exchange was not a bank, and two – it wasn’t licensed to do so. The RBZ pointed to Golix’s, or any other crypto exchange, ability to transfer cash across borders like a remittance company, without its approval and, obviously, control, as perhaps the highest form of mischief and anarchy.

Cut All Ties

On May 11, RBZ governor John Mangudya ordered banking institutions that were offering services to Golix and the other Zimbabwean exchange, Styx24, to cut all ties with the crypto exchanges within 60 days. The banks were a lot swifter in their responses and severed ties within days of the instruction. Panic ensued and there was a run on Golix deposits. A ban had taken effect, albeit through the backdoor.

This is the ban that has taken cryptocurrency investors in Zimbabwe away from centralized, stable exchanges to social media forums like Whatsapp and Facebook, where the risk of theft, loss and fraud is significantly higher – apparently anathema to the central bank’s intentions. A ban that has frustrated Golix’s maiden token sale of $32 million in July, an offer floated in defiance of the ban, was itself seen by pundits as having clearly spooked the RBZ into the prohibition in the first place.

As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country's Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run DryKeen to conquer Africa, the Golix issue, which was released outside Zimbabwe and closed July 25, was under-subscribed by 35 percent. The idea (to defy the ban) was, ostensibly, to portray a-business-as-usual atmosphere to fresh-faced investors in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, where the exchange had just opened an office and started to promote the Golix token, and also to prove a point to the conservative Zimbabwean financial regulators, who had made trading in Golix’s primary market virtually impossible, that the business could still flourish elsewhere.

Looking For a Way Out

As Zimbabweans Struggle For Cash, Even The Country's Only Bitcoin ATM Has Run DryToday, the Golix office in Harare is still open, manned by a threadbare staff, but only to manage its growing presence in Africa, and in anticipation of a favorable outcome of the case in the High Court, whose hearing date has yet to be set. The exchange continues to make noise about its new GLX token on social media, while sidelining issues around repaying Zimbabwean investors and the thousands of dollars it owes them, both in real cash and cryptocurrency, since its bank accounts were frozen with the ban in May.

Ngwenya, the exchange’s spokesperson, refused to discuss the matter, citing the pending court challenge. But some investors are starting to express concern: “I have had no explanation besides an email saying they (Golix) will provide updates… and they have been quiet since,” complained an investor, who had just $70 worth of bitcoin left on the platform at the time of the ban.

On paper, cryptocurrency withdrawals would have been the easiest thing to do because Golix keeps some of the coins in their hot wallet – a kind of live online purse that allows for instant cryptocurrency transfers. And those in the cold storage – the offline wallet, where the majority of crypto is stored, shouldn’t be difficult to transfer to investors. The RBZ ban affected fiat withdrawals, not crypto.

Do you think financial regulators in Africa will allow cryptocurrencies to flourish unhindered? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.

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Iran Expected to Lift Cryptocurrency Ban in September

Iran Expected to Lift Cryptocurrency Ban in September

The deputy for innovative technologies at the Central Bank of Iran, Nasser Hakimi, has stated that Iran’s financial regulator will be reviewing the country’s blanket cryptocurrency ban. The central bank official also indicated that the country’s regulatory apparatus pertaining to virtual currencies is expected to be finalized by the end of September.

Also Read: Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without License

Iranian Central Bank Official Hints That Cryptocurrency Ban May Be Repealed During September

Whilst speaking at a conference on cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology in Tehran on Sunday, Nasser Hakimi, the Central Bank of Iran’s deputy for innovative technologies, made statements inferred as indicating that the Iranian administration will likely repeal its blanket ban on cryptocurrencies during September.

“The first concerns the prevalent global cryptocurrencies. The High Council of Anti-Money Laundering has imposed a ban in light of concerns over global allegations of money laundering and financing of terrorism. But it seems that after the government’s consideration, this blanket ban will be reviewed,” Mr. Hakimi stated.

The blanket ban, first announced on April 22nd of this year, was ostensibly intended to address concerns pertaining to money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Iran to Deliver New Cryptocurrency Regulations in September

Iran Expected to Lift Cryptocurrency Ban in SeptemberThe cryptocurrency ban is expected to be lifted when Iran announces the finalization of its new regulatory apparatus pertaining to cryptocurrencies, which is currently slated to occur by the end of September.

According to Financial Tribune, Iran’s new cryptocurrency policies have been developed under the guidance of President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran Is Testing National Cryptocurrency

Iran Expected to Lift Cryptocurrency Ban in SeptemberMr. Hakimi also discussed the possibility of Iran’s current position regarding the development of a state-issued cryptocurrency, stating: “National virtual currencies haven’t proved successful experiences in the world, but some economic officials have emphasized on this, so the Informatics Services Corporation has readied a test edition and some other entities are also cooperating in this.”

Saeed Mahdiyoun, an official representing Iran’s Supreme Cyberspace Council, also recently indicated that the country’s cyberspace authority was actively exploring the idea of introducing a national cryptocurrency.

Do you think Iran will repeal its cryptocurrency ban next month? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in India

P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in India

Since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, banned banks from providing services to cryptocurrency businesses, traders are increasingly trading on peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Local crypto exchanges have come up with a number of exchange-escrowed P2P solutions.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Localbitcoins

Trading volumes in both the Indian rupee (INR) and BTC increased on Localbitcoins between the week of April 7, when the RBI issued its circular, and the week of August 18. The INR trading volume increased 25 percent, from 68 million rupees (~US$974,561) to 85 million rupees (~$1,218,201). The number of BTC traded increased about 23 percent from 150 BTC to 184 BTC.

P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in India

Earlier this month, news.Bitcoin.com reported that Indian traders have also found some other creative ways to trade cryptocurrencies amid RBI’s ban including Dabba trading via Telegram.

Exchange-Escrowed Marketplaces

P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in IndiaThe Mumbai-based Koinex is offering an exchange-escrowed P2P service called Loop for the trading of BTC, ETH, and XRP. Founder and CEO Rahul Raj explained to Inc42 that “buyers and sellers on Loop can create their own listings (like a marketplace) or explore existing listings to choose their best trades.”

He elaborated, “while it’s still early days, Loop has been very well received by the Indian trading community and we are seeing increasing traction every day,” adding:

Other key aspects of Loop include a user rating mechanism, cancellation option for sellers, listing modification, dynamic pricing, cleansing of stale listings, and a host of other features to ensure only genuine and legitimate trading on the platform.

Another crypto exchange, Coindelta, has created an exchange-escrowed P2P system called Flux. BTC, ETH, XRP, and USDT can be transferred directly between Coindelta and Flux, but other cryptocurrencies must be converted to USDT on Coindelta before sending to Flux.

Auto-Matching Orders

P2P Exchange Options Increasing for Crypto Traders in IndiaThe Wazirx P2P system uses USDT in transactions. Sellers convert their cryptocurrencies to tether and sell them for rupees and buyers convert their rupees into tether to trade on the exchange. “Wazirx acts as an escrow account for holding the cryptos during the transaction,” the exchange described.

Orders are automatically matched by the exchange, CEO Nischal Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com:

The auto-matching open order book in P2P has never been attempted before and people love the ease.

Furthermore, Wazirx tweeted on August 25, “Wazirx has the cheapest price for crypto in India.”

Incentives for Depositing INR

Crypto exchange Bitbns also recently launched P2P transaction functionality which has been updated several times. Last week, the company announced an incentive scheme for anyone depositing INR in order to speed up order matching. The exchange explained:

We have introduced an option that allows withdrawers to tip depositors as per their wish. The tip could be anything in the denominations of 0.1 i.e 0%, 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3%, and so on up to 1% of the transaction amount.

However, some users have complained on social media about not being able to withdraw funds. Some also said that they have been scammed on the exchange’s Telegram group by people pretending to be Bitbns’ admin.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by any parties in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. 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.

What do you think of these trading options? Let us know in the comments section below.


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China Continues Crackdown: No Hotels, Malls, Offices Used as Crypto Venues

Zheping Huang, reporter for South China Morning Post, claims to have verified authenticity of online documents urging further crackdowns by the Chinese government as they relate to cryptocurrency. Shopping malls, hotels, offices in the Chaoyang district were issued notice forbidding them from hosting crypto related events. These new prohibitions come just after crypto social media news sites were also banned this week.

Also read: Meet Bitmain Founder Jihan Wu: A Most Important Man in Crypto

China Continues Crypto Crackdown

It appears the government of China is pressing forward on its campaign to make it nearly impossible for average Chinese to use cryptocurrency. Earlier in the week, the government moved against crypto news sites. Now it appears to be prohibiting enthusiasts from meeting in the usual public places for events such as conferences and conventions.

China Continues Crackdown: No Hotels, Malls, Offices Used as Crypto Venues

Wechat, the very popular Chinese social media application, was ordered to remove more than half a dozen crypto news organizations from its platform. In a similar prohibition, the government has ordered Beijing hotels in its downtown to stop hosting crypto-related events, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

A document making the rounds online reportedly urges Beijing’s central Chaoyang district to cease in hosting crypto related events at shopping malls, office buildings, and hotels. To confirm its authenticity, reporter Zheping Huang was able to get local authorities to vouch for its validity. “A staffer with Chaoyang’s financial authority said the notice was triggered by a local event organized by an overseas cryptocurrency exchange last week, and is restricted to the district in question.”

What’s in a Name?

The most recent rounds of prohibition by the Chinese government actually began back in September of last year when initial coin offerings (ICOs) were summarily banned. Though the government does have an overt distaste, to put it mildly, for cryptocurrency, it seems to welcome what it considers blockchain technology.

China Continues Crackdown: No Hotels, Malls, Offices Used as Crypto Venues

Turns out that is a loophole many Chinese citizens could drive a truck through. All companies had to as a result was change their emphasis from crypto to blockchain. The Morning Post explains, “Blockchain media outlets came to prominence despite the cryptocurrency bans as they fill a niche in providing investors with timely information on cryptocurrency prices, and reviews on blockchain-related projects. Just like other Chinese news services, these platforms rely heavily on Wechat to reach audiences aside from their apps and websites. The blocked accounts on Wechat come from some of the most popular blockchain news platforms including Jinse Caijing and Huobi News, whose apps and sites are still in operation.”

Do you think China will continue to crackdown on cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Bitcoin Illegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (المملكة العربية السعودية) regulators issued a statement this week through its monetary authority. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are illegal in the country. Citing “negative consequences” and “high risk,” the government believes it must protect subjects from themselves.  

Also read: Report: 15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Pronounces Bitcoin Illegal

Dated 8 August 2018, مؤسسة النقد العربي السعودي, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) began, “The standing committee warns against trading in the digital currencies or what is known as virtual currency for their negative consequences and high risks on traders as they are out of government supervision.”

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority

SAMA functions as the kingdom’s central bank. It issues the Riyal, oversees banks and foreign exchanges, and the traditional aspects of price and exchange rate stability, crediting itself with ensuring the growth and soundness of the domestic financial system.

“The committee assured that virtual currency including,” SAMA continued, “for example, but not limited to, the Bitcoins are illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices. The committee warns all citizens and residents about drifting after such illusion and get-rich scheme due to the high regulatory, security and market risks involved, not to mention signing of fictitious contracts and the transfer of funds to unknown recipients/entities/parties.”

Saudi Royals Do Crypto, Sometimes

Popularly, the Kingdom is said to be in something of a modernizing period. Its ascended Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister under King Salman, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who will turn a tender 33 years old in a manner of days, is known as a reformer of sorts. As one of the youngest monarchical office holders in the world, he is particularly lauded for making strides in his country for women.

Bitcoin Ilegal: Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority
Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Women, under his dictates, are slowly being reintroduced into society as drivers, singers, and sporting enthusiasts. His view on cryptocurrency isn’t well known. Fall of last year, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal called bitcoin a “fraud” on American television (he would later run into his own legal problems involving fraud), but that is the closest Royal Family pronouncements have come with regard to crypto, until now.  

Perhaps another hint comes from a more conciliatory side of SAMA, and its reported usage of Ripple settlement tech or its effort at building a state-backed regional cryptocurrency in conjunction with United Arab Emirates. Whatever the ultimate case, cryptos without state backing, such as bitcoin, are illegal for now.

Will Saudi Arabia eventually given in on bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below. 


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Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Following several announcements of plans for global expansion, this week crypto exchange Huobi has reportedly informed Indian users of its intentions to present them with a P2P platform that allows trading in Indian rupee. The email notice published by local media promises zero transaction fees for exchanging BTC, ETH, and USDT.

Also read: 3 Million Brits Invested in Crypto via Exchanges, Few Sought Advice

Reports: Huobi to Launch P2P Platform for Indians

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has announced in an email to Indian users its decision to offer peer-to-peer trading services in their country, local crypto media reported. The notice states that they will be entitled to zero transaction fees for trades in bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and tether (USDT). Users will be able to buy and sell these cryptocurrencies with support for transactions in Indian rupees (INR), according to a copy of the correspondence published by Crypto News, India.

The exchange says that “[…] we do think it’s time that we provide a solution of buying/selling digital assets with INR for all Indian users: Huobi OTC – a proprietary peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that allow[s] users and merchants to trade digital assets with your local currencies.” The crypto company also notes that “every registered Indian user of Huobi can log in to https://otc.huobi.com to trade digital assets with INR.” Customers are also advised to transfer to Huobi Global if they want to trade more cryptocurrencies with high liquidity.

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

The announcement was made after Huobi recently sent a questionnaire to its Indian users. In another email, the exchange also invited them to become “Global Merchants”. The message read, “After becoming a global merchant of Huobi OTC, you will be entitled to: post-fiat-to-token advertisements to gain more earnings during “Buy & Sell” processes; enjoy zero transaction fee and obtain 24/7 customer support.”

The launch of the Indian P2P platform has yet to be officially announced by Huobi with a release expected on its social media channels. However, the authenticity of the emailed message has been confirmed already by a spokesperson reached by Crypto News: “For OTC supports INR currency. Yes. It’s legit,” the representative is quoted as saying.

Peer-To-Peer Trading Expands After Ban, Before Regulation

Huobi’s announcement comes in difficult times for the Indian crypto community. In recent months, Indian companies and individuals working with cryptocurrencies had to deal with a bank crackdown that followed a ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank. The measure came into force on July 5, after the Supreme Court upheld it in a hearing on July 3, when it did not grant a stay before the compliance deadline, and then in another one on the 20th, when it did not overturn the ban. The final hearing on the matter was scheduled for September 11.

In April, the RBI ordered regulated financial institutions to quit providing services to entities and citizens dealing in cryptocurrency. The restrictions have since forced Indian crypto exchanges to suspend fiat transactions and offer crypto-to-crypto trading options. Comprehensive regulatory guidelines are expected in September, as news.Bitcoin.com reported earlier this week. A draft has been prepared already and consultations are underway to finalize the framework.

Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Until the important decisions are made this fall, P2P platforms are offering a viable option for Indian traders who want to exchange cryptos with rupees. Cryptocurrency exchanges, Koinex and Wazirx, are already offering peer-to-peer trading services.

If Huobi fulfills its promise to Indian users, the launch of its P2P platform will become the latest in a series of moves aimed at expanding its global reach. Huobi’s plans include Europe, Asia, America, and Australia. In June, the Singapore-based exchange confirmed its intentions to open an office in London. In early July, the third largest crypto trading platform launched a platform in Australia with 10 pairs against the AUD. Huobi is also eyeing opportunities in Toronto, San Francisco, and São Paulo.

Do you trade cryptocurrencies on P2P exchanges? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of Payment

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of Payment

The law commission established by the order of the Indian government has issued a report recognizing cryptocurrency as a means of payment. This is reportedly the first time that a body appointed by the government admitted cryptocurrencies have value and can be used in transactions.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Government-Appointed Body Recognizes Crypto

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe Law Commission of India recently published a report on the legal framework for gambling and sports betting in India. The 140-page report explains that gambling is defined as the act of “wagering or betting on games of chance but does not include betting or wagering on games of skill.” Wagering and betting are subsequently defined as “the staking of money or virtual currency [VC], whether or not it is equivalent to a recognized currency.”

The commission was established by the order of the Indian government to advise them on legal reforms. It was asked by the country’s supreme court in July 2016 to examine if betting should be legalized in India.

According to the report:

The issue of online gambling has further been worsened by the rise in popularity and ease of availability of VC, a form of electronic money.

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe commission noted that gambling with cryptocurrencies “pushes even the online gambling market underground, and very often, out of the reach of the law enforcement authorities.”

While proposing that “stringent law(s) should be put in place to control foreign direct investment and at the same time, to prevent money laundering, while also implementing necessary tax reforms,” the commission wrote in the report’s conclusions and recommendations section:

Similar restrictions should also be prescribed for the purpose of the amount one would be allowed to stake while using electronic money facilities of the likes of credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, VCs, etc.

The report additionally states that “gambling transactions should be made cashless, making use of electronic means of payment such as credit cards, debit cards, net-banking, virtual currencies (VC – also known as cryptocurrency), etc.”

Implication of the Law Commission’s Report

Indian Government-Appointed Commission Recognizes Crypto as Means of PaymentThe report also cites the April 6 circular issued by the Indian central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses.

Last week, the Indian supreme court heard some petitions relating to crypto regulation and the RBI ban. While the crypto community was hopeful that the court would hear all the petitions and perhaps even grant a temporary stay on the RBI ban, the court reportedly did not hear all the cases and proceeded to set the final hearing date to September 11, allowing time for RBI and other regulators involved to respond to the petition.

Commenting on the law commission’s proposal, Nischal Shetty, CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, told Quartz:

It is the first time that a body appointed by the government has given recognition to virtual currencies that they have value and can be used for a transaction … Therefore, it is a very positive sign, especially considering the report has come out after a lot of deliberation.

Tuhina Joshi, an associate at legal firm TRA Law which represents several crypto exchanges, was quoted by the publication, “the law commission recommends that regulating gambling is preferable to an outright ban. This is the same argument we are making in context of cryptocurrencies.”

What do you think of the law commission’s proposal? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

Vietnam’s securities watchdog has required local businesses not to engage in transactions with cryptocurrencies. The announcement follows a directive issued by the country’s prime minister earlier this year aimed at tightening what Vietnamese regulators call the management of crypto activities.

Also read: China Releases Ranking of 31 Crypto Projects

Securities Watchdog Asks Companies to Obey AML Rules

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) has required relevant companies and funds not to engage in any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies. The measure, referred to by local media as a ban, affects public companies, securities companies, fund management firms and securities investment funds. They have also been asked to obey anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

According to the SSC, the announcement is based on Directive No 10/CT-TTg signed on April 11 by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Viet Nam News reported. The document puts an emphasis on strengthening the management of activities related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The outlet also notes that the use of digital currencies is prohibited in Vietnam.

Not the First Anti-Crypto Measure

This is not the first administrative measure aimed at curbing crypto activities in the country. In April, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) banned commercial banks, payment services providers and intermediaries from making transactions involving cryptocurrencies. The central bank also issued a warning stating that such activities may increase the risks of money laundering, terrorism financing, trade fraud and tax evasion.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoLast October, the SBV declared that cryptos do not represent a “lawful means of payment” in the Asian country. Its proposals in that respect, which were submitted to the government in Hanoi, included a ban on the issuance, distribution, and use of cryptocurrencies as well as criminal prosecution and fines for their users.

Recently, citing the familiar argument – the need to improve the management of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam – the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the SBV reached an agreement to suspend the import of crypto mining equipment. The proposal came from the Finance Ministry in June, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.

Fraud and Scam in Vietnam

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoIn the past couple of years, the Vietnamese mining sector has been growing rapidly leading to a significant increase in the number of imported mining rigs. Digital coin minting, however, has caused concern in Hanoi. In May, close to 150 Vietnamese government agencies, financial institutions and businesses took part in a large cyber-security drill aimed at preventing the spread of mining malware.

Crypto-related fraud has played a role in shaping the current attitude of Vietnamese authorities and regulators towards the crypto space. The country recently had to deal with one of the largest scams in crypto history in which more than 30,000 people were defrauded into investing in the Ifan and Pincoin currencies.

What are your expectations for the future of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the SSC.


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