This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments.
CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, aims to launch Bitcoin futures
This week, the CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, announced that it plans on launching Bitcoin futures during the fourth quarter of 2017. According to an announcement on the group’s website, the futures will be cash-settled based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate, a price index it launched last year in a partnership with Crypto Facilities, a firm in the U.K. Terrence Duffy, CME Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), stated:
- “Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a Bitcoin futures contract. As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
Analysts predict the move, contingent on regulators granting CME approval for these products, will bring more institutional investors to the cryptocurrency industry, as these are going to come due to an increase in liquidity. In addition, Bitcoin derivatives may open the door for an exchange-traded fund (ETF), as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made it clear it wouldn’t review any more Bitcoin ETF applications until derivatives were listed and traded on a regulated exchange.
Cryptocurrency-related jobs surged in an online freelancer marketplace
Freelancer.com, a jobs portal for freelancers, recently revealed that during the third quarter of 2017, its Bitcoin jobs category grew by a whopping 82%, making it, by far, its fastest-growing category, according to reports. According to Bitsonline there’s a catch to this, as the website adds ICO and blockchain-related jobs to its “Bitcoin” category. Adding to that, the CEO revealed that some of the hottest skills in demand within the category were the ability to design new types of cryptocurrencies, write whitepapers, and manage ICOs. Although this clearly points out FinTech’s development, it means most “Bitcoin jobs” have nothing to do with Bitcoin.
SEC warns celebrity ICO endorsements may be “potentially unlawful”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published an announcement that warns investors on celebrity-endorsed Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as these may potentially be unlawful, according to the organization. The SEC’s announcement states that celebrities who endorse ICOs may be unlawful if they do not disclose the source, nature, and amount of compensation being paid directly or indirectly by the company there are promoting. The announcement reads:
- “Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion. A failure to disclose this information is a violation of the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws. “
Credit Suisse CEO points to Bitcoin as “definition of a bubble”
This year various bankers and Wall Street personalities shared their thoughts on Bitcoin. Some, like Warren Buffet and Jamie Dimon, made it clear they aren’t fans of the cryptocurrency, by saying it is a bubble and a “fraud”, respectively. Now, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam also cautioned against the cryptocurrency, as interest in it could eventually subside. Moreover, he pointed out that Bitcoin currently faces a number of challenges, and that its anonymity may concern banks who “in the current state of regulation have little or no appetite to get involved” in the cryptocurrency, due to money-laundering challenges. To the CEO, Bitcoin is “the definition of a bubble” because people now buy it to sell it at a later date, hoping its price surged. Thiam stated
- “From what we can identify, the only reason today to buy or sell Bitcoin is to make money, which is the very definition of speculation and the very definition of a bubble.”
Amazon subsidiary registers three cryptocurrency-related domain names
Last week, DeepDotWeb covered the existence of rumors stating e-commerce giant Amazon could soon start accepting Bitcoin payments. This week, industry publication Domain Name Wire revealed that a subsidiary of the company, Amazon Technologies, registered three cryptocurrency-related domain names: amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com, and amazonethereum.com. Their purpose is still unknown, and some speculate it may be a defensive move by Amazon, to protect its own brand. The e-commerce giant bought AmazonBitcoin.com back in 2013, and at press time the domain merely redirects to its homepage, Amazon.com.
Vietnam rules Bitcoin payments illegal
According to various publications, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, recently ruled that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, cannot be used as a legal payment method, as the development of legal framework for cryptocurrencies was recently completed, after Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered it this year. A published notice includes acceptable payment methods, including checks, collection orders, goods, and bank cards. Since Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies aren’t in methods considered acceptable, they are considered illegal. SBV’s statement notably reads:
- “[A]ccording to the provisions of the law, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are not lawful means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of Bitcoin and other similar virtual currency as a means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam.”
Those who are caught paying or accepting payments in cryptocurrency can be subjected to a fine that can be anywhere between VND 150 million and 200 million, roughly $6,000-$9,000.
Chinese exchanges launch P2P trading to remain active
According to Bitcoin.com, Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges recently found a way to remain active in the country after the government’s crackdown: peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platforms. Huobi reportedly launched its trading platform, Huobi Pro, and Okex announced the launch of a P2P trading platform. Both of these exchanges responded to China’s crackdown by relocating most of their operations to outside of China, and will launch P2P trading platforms that will accept a number of fiat currencies, including the Chinese yuan (CNY).
Lebanon Central Bank hints at digital currency launch
According to Lebanese publication The Daily Star, Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh recently announced that the financial institution, Banque du Liban, is planning on launching its own digital currency. The bank’s governor stated that “necessary arrangements,” including protection against cybercrime, need to be taken before the digital currency launches. Salameh pointed out the new digital currency is going to be legal in the country, and took advantage of the opportunity to bash Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by stating they were a threat to consumers. He added that Banque du Liban has banned the use of these currencies in the Lebanese market.
Bitcoin at $7,192.4 as crypto market cap tests $200 billion mark
Bitcoin’s price hit a new all-time high above $7,400 this week, but soon correct back to $7,192.4 at press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise helped the cryptocurrency market cap reach $200 billion before falling back to $196 at press time. Bitcoin’s dominance is currently at 60.9%, as its market cap is of $120 billion.
Bitcoin Cash at $614.95 as its surge is seemingly over
This week, following the announcement of Bitcoin Cash’s hard fork covered last week by DeepDotWeb, the cryptocurrency continued to surge to about $661.4 before its price fell back down to $614.95 at press time. Bitcoin Cash’s surge was supported by a huge trading volume mainly coming from Korean exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. BCH’s market cap is at $10.3 billion.