Chinese government continues its battle with cryptocurrencies. Regulators will investigate accounts at Chinese banks and payment systems to check if businesses or individuals are involved in trading at foreign exchanges. Assets of such traders may be suspended. These measures are taken to exclude the possibilities of Chinese citizens to purchase cryptocurrency. As a way of avoiding the ban implemented last year, some companies launched offshore platforms where citizens are able to trade using their bank accounts and payment apps.
In their annual report 2017 J.P. Morgan Chase added a segment on crypto to the “Risk Factor” section. The report also states: “… financial institutions and their non-banking competitors face the risk that payment processing could be disrupted by technologies, such as cryptocurrencies.” The main fear is that such competition may potentially “put downward pressure on prices and fees for JPMorgan Chase’s products and services or may cause JPMorgan Chase to lose market share.”
On Monday president Nicolas Maduro announced that ICO pre-sale for high-profile oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency was very successful and received 171,000 intents to contribute. According to the official report, 3,523 countries registered to buy Petro. Venezuela will use Petro as a tool to avoid economic sanctions levied by the US. The country also plans to launch second state cryptocurrency – the Petro Gold.
In the past 24 hours the price of LTC went from $230 to $216 (press time) and it seems that such decline trend continues. Experts suggest that indefinitely delayed launch of much anticipated fintech start-up LitePay debit card, which was planned for February 26th, might be the reason for this. In their official email to users, the company said that launch did not go according to the plan due to “hostile actions by card issuers towards crypto communities.”
On Monday Bitwala announced that they are building a new bank account service that will provide seamless transitions between cryptocurrency and fiat. The new account that has features of both traditional banking and crypto economy is set to be introduced in the next few months. With the new service customers will have the ability to trade cryptocurrencies and at the same time manage their daily expenses by setting up direct debits.
Telegram has already raised $850 mln in a private sale for development of the TON platform with its own cryptocurrency Gram. Pavel Durov plans to double this amount with a second sale by the end of February and in case the platform is not launched by October 2019, in his official document, he promised to refund all investors. However, the same document also states that the company does not provide any guarantee that Telegram will have sufficient funds for these refunds.
One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges Poloniex, with daily trading volume of $142 million, has been acquired by US-based payment company Circle. This move could potentially legitimize cryptocurrencies even further. The main objective of acquisition is to “extend the firm’s commitment to a new vision for global finance and cement its position as one of the leading companies in the blockchain industry.”
The financial cryptocurrency platform Amon will create a unique payment card with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In their whitepaper they claim that this will be the only platform where users can use their most valuable cryptocurrencies to make real time purchases. Amon card holders will have three payment methods available: pay with a single currency, personally select the currency to use after swiping the card, or let the Amon Artificial Intelligence System select the best currency to use. Amon private ICO is due to start on March 1, 2018, for 24 hours (1 AMN = $0.05).
Coinbase has announced that this week SegWit protocol will be implemented on their website for Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. This upgrade will improve the transactions time and reduce commissions by up to 20%. As Coinbase covers a massive share of all transactions, SegWit implementation is expected to bring a significant increase in Bitcoin network speed. Other companies, such as Bitcoin Core and Bitfinex are also using the benefits of SegWit.
Editorial Director of American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) Jeffrey Tucker has a desire to establish a Bitcoin Embassy in the United States. The Atlanta Bitcoin Embassy is open now, but is not officially launched. The idea of establishing a new Bitcoin Embassy came to Jeffrey after his visit to Bitcoin Embassy in Tel Aviv. He notes, “The atmosphere of teaching, sharing, and mutual inspiration is constant. It was so inspiring”. His idea is to bring cryptocurrency enthusiasts together. Jeffrey Tucker is known as well as a keynote spokesperson at nearly all crypto conferences.