Bitcoin is trading at $6,915, according to Coindesk, as it fails to defend the breakthrough to $7,000 after regulatory uncertainty emanating from Europe.
The slippage back to where we were two days ago follows the news that European finance ministers will meet on 7 September to discuss crypto regulation issues.
Ministers from the 28 European Union member states will look at how crypto innovation can be applied to make current systems more efficient. However, there will likely be other discussions around anonymity, market manipulation, exchanges and general investor protection.
ICOs “effective and efficient” says draft note for European finance minsters
The news isn’t necessarily a negative though. According to Bloomberg a draft note drawn up for the European finance ministers’ meeting makes the surprising statement (for the financial authorities) that initial coin offerings “have established an effective and efficient way to raise capital”.
Europe is behind the curve on crypto regulation in comparison to countries such as Japan and South Korea (see below).
Bithumb is back
Market participants are buoyed somewhat by the coming back online of South Korean exchange Bithumb.
Fears that regulators in South Korea might lean towards some of the prohibition policies China has favoured have abated. Push back from industry and, importantly, consumers/investors means the likely line of march by the authorities will now be in the footsteps of Japan where regulation and, for example, licensing of exchanges, is furthest advanced.
By some estimates a third of South Korean adults have invested in crypto at some point, making it one of the most vibrant markets globally. With greater regularity coming into view and the bear market appearing to bottom out, Asian buyers are likely to be a key driver of any advance, notwithstanding the Chinese bans.
Japan has taken the most crypto friendly approach of the large advanced economies, although despite its monitoring and surveillance the Coincheck hack earlier this year was able to happen; it shows that those financial authorities with policy stances that don’t involve outright bans, which is the majority are nevertheless still struggling to get to grips with how markets work, let alone how to police them.
Yahoo Finance gets crypto bug
Yahoo Finance has integrated Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin trading on the quote page of its US website. Simply click the buy or sell button to “Trade quickly and easily with any US broker”, reads the new feature bubble.
Yahoo was sold to Verizon last year and all its internet properties were acquired barring Yahoo Japan and its valuable Alibaba stake. Yahoo’s successor company is Altaba.
Welcoming the news, Anthony Pompliano, founder of Morgan Creek Digital and an early-adopter enthusiast, tweeted:
“You can now buy bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on Yahoo Finance. The Virus is spreading.”
Yahoo Japan is buying a 40% stake in the Japanese exchange BitARG as part of its plans to launch a crypto exchange next year.
US alt exchange Poloniex was bought by payments startup Circle last year in part of a definite consolidation trend emerging, with more tie-ups between established players and crypto projects. Companies are jockeying for position as they execute strategies to ensure they don’t miss out – or become disrupted by – the emerging opportunities.
It works the other way too. Today it was revealed that Huobi has bought a controlling stake in Pantronics Holdings, a Hong Kong-based investment firm. Pantronics shares were suspended from trading on 22 August pending the announcement.
Take a walk on the wildside
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