Calls for cryptocurrency regulation were a resounding theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. The world’s most prominent financial institutions remain wary of going all in on cryptocurrencies, amid fears of future regulation leading the market to tank. Governments around the world have signaled their ongoing or imminent intent to legislate and regulate cryptocurrencies around the world, and it seems the largest banking and financial firms are waiting for more clarity before they forge ahead with plans to enter the market. Countries like Russia are forging ahead with the creation of their own, government-issued cryptocurrency, which they can fully control. Others, like Venezuela, have been forced to do so to battle out-of-control inflation that has crippled its economy (cointelegraph).
Bitcoin forks are expected to spur in 2018. Bitcoin Cash is the most well known Bitcoin fork out there, sitting comfortably in the top five coins in terms of market cap. However, in 2017, there were 19 registered Bitcoin forks. Still, that pales in comparison to the 50 that are expected this year, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research (cointelegraph).
Square Cash and LINE, two popular mobile apps, have announced that they will support the buying and selling of cryptocurrency on their platforms. On January 31, Square, Inc. announced that its Cash App had begun to support the buying and selling of bitcoin for all users. The firm’s statement claims that “most of our buys and sells happen in seconds.” That same day, LINE Corporation, the company behind the LINE messaging app, which is one of the most widely used in several Asian countries, revealed plans to integrate a new range of “financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans, and insurance,” into the app itself. The Japanese firm reports that it has applied to the country’s Financial Services Agency for status as an authorized digital asset exchange (ethnews).
A state securities regulator in Texas has put out yet another cease-and-desist order on cryptocurrency-related activities. According to an emergency order signed on Jan. 24, the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) is taking aim at a Hong Kong-based firm dubbed R2B Coin, which the agency alleges is issuing unregistered securities to Texas residents with false and misleading information. According to the R2B website, the firm says its pre-mined cryptocurrency “R2B Coin” will have an offering price ranging from $0.008 to $188. It further claims that “R2B Coins will reach $200 within three months after the start of trading, and will be among top 10 currencies in 1–1.5 years.” The state agency states that such offering, which is being promoted by “misleading and deceptive” information, falls under the definition of securities.
And lastly, In the rush to buy cryptocurrencies, some investors have made purchases using credit cards. For reasons such as default risk and fraud protection, this could be problematic. Now, some credit card companies are reportedly classifying cryptocurrency purchases as cash advances. According to a recent survey conducted by LendEDU, nearly one in five bitcoin investors made their cryptocurrency purchase using a credit card. They also found that one in 25 bitcoin buyers carries the debt over to at least the next month (ethnews).
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