This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Microsoft temporarily stopped accepting Bitcoin payments
Software and hardware giant Microsoft halted Bitcoin payments this week, as first reported by Bleeping Computer, citing the “unstable” state of the cryptocurrency. When pressed, the company’s customer support revealed that Microsoft decided to stop accepting the cryptocurrency back in July 2017, due to “problems processing payments.” A few days later, however, the company reinstated Bitcoin payments, reportedly after working with its payment provider to ensure “lower Bitcoins amounts would be redeemable by customers.” Notably, the cryptocurrency community escalated cases with the company once it stopped accepting Bitcoin, so an increase in customer demand could’ve been a factor behind the move.
JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon reveals he “regrets” calling Bitcoin a fraud
JP Morgan Chase chief executive officer Jamie Dimon, who last year called Bitcoin a fraud and stated that he would fire any of his employees trading the cryptocurrency, recently revealed that he regrets saying the flagship cryptocurrency is a fraud. In an interview with Fox Business, the CEO stated:
- “The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICO’s you have to look at individually. The Bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about Bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”
TorGuard is accepting Bitcoin mainnnet lightning payments
TorGuard, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, recently started accepting Lightning Network payments on the main Bitcoin network, despite the technology not being fully released just yet. The company announced the move via Twitter claiming that “testnet is so boring,” and asking customers to contact them for details on how to purchase their service using the Lightning Network.
Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready. TorGuard will cover loss of funds when sending us LN payments. Testnet is so boring.
— TorGuard (@TorGuard) January 8, 2018
The Lightning Network itself is an anticipated technology that will allow Bitcoin users to transact nearly instantly, while paying virtually nothing for the transaction to be processed. It works by building a layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. The Lightning Network has been underdevelopment for years but has recently been making headlines due to being close to its release date, at a time in which Bitcoin transaction fees near their all-time high At press time, according to BitInfoCharts, the average Bitcoin transaction fee is of over $28.
KFC Canada allows customers to buy fried chicken with Bitcoin
KFC Canada recently started accepting Bitcoin for a limited amount of time, and for a specific cryptocurrency-themed product called “The Bitcoin Bucket.” It costs 20 Canadian dollars and cannot be purchased at physical KFC locations, only online. After being purchased it’ll be delivered to the customer’s door, incurring a $5 fee for the service, according to the website’s check-out process.
The fried chicken chain is accepting Bitcoin via BitPay, and revealed a full-blown social media marketing campaign along with the product. It includes various humorous tweets, as well as a four-hour long Facebook livestream showing the price of the bucket in Bitcoin.
— KFC Canada (@kfc_canada) January 12, 2018
South Korea in turmoil over potential cryptocurrency crackdown
The cryptocurrency ecosystem took a hit this week, after the South Korean Ministry of Justice revealed it planned on drafting a cryptocurrency trading ban bill. The crackdown would supposedly protect cryptocurrency investors who could suffer from the so-called bubble. Moreover, regulators are afraid cryptocurrencies could be used to launder money. As Reuters points out, it could take years for the parliament to approve such a bill, and the government wasn’t completely behind the move as soon after its announcement the Ministry of Strategy and Finance revealed it doesn’t support nor agree with the proposal. In uproar, over 70,000 South Koreans signed a petition opposing the potential ban, and opposition parties rallied against the move that was deemed a “policy of seclusion.” This forced the Ministry of Justice to soften its stance on the ban proposal and claim it was just one of the options on the table.
In an official announcement, South Korean government reaffirms there will be NO TRADING BAN for #cryptocurrency market in the short term and NOTHING IS FINALIZED.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) January 11, 2018
U.S. Government to auction off over 3,800 BTC
The U.S. Marshalls Service recently announced that it will auction off over 3,813 Bitcoins. The funds were seized in “various federal criminal, civil, and administrative cases.,” and potential bidders will need to register before January 19 and put down a $200,000 deposit just so they can participate. The coins will be auctioned off in blocks, of 100 BTC, 500 BTC, and 813 BTC and given that it won’t be open trading, winners will be notified on January 22.
Per recent prices, this means the U.S. government will auction off over $54.7 million, and that the minimum purchasable amount is of $1.4 million (100 BTC).
Ukraine considers regulating Bitcoin and issuing its own cryptocurrency
According to a statement released by Ukraine’s security council yesterday, authorities have formed a working group to introduce “comprehensive regulations” to the cryptocurrency sector. During a meeting on cybersecurity and infrastructure, it was remarked that a lack of regulations around the technology is a threat to the country’s economy and security, and this idea led to the creation of the working group, comprised of major government watchdogs, the central bank, the national police, and others. The group’s work will consist of determining which agencies have jurisdiction over cryptocurrency markets, and creating a system to collect income tax on cryptocurrency trades. The statement also says that the country’s central bank may create its own cryptocurrency
The government’s statement reads:
- “Moreover, the authorities were assigned to develop a mechanism for ensuring access of law enforcement bodies to the data of cryptocurrency exchanges with the obligation of the given subjects to store information about all transactions within the period established by law for financial institutions and disclosure of customer information on a motivated request.”
Bitcoin at $14,365 as market recovers from the South Korean ban fiasco
Bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, fell to little over $13,100 when news of the potential South Korean cryptocurrency trading ban broke, but it soon started to recover after it was clear a potential ban would take years to occur, if it did occur. At press time, one Bitcoin is trading at $14,365 as the flagship cryptocurrency is up by 3.88% in the last 24-hour period. Bitcoin’s market cap is of $242 billion, while the ecosystem’s market cap is currently at $740 billion.