With Chinese ban final on crypto, firms scramble to sever ties
Sep27

With Chinese ban final on crypto, firms scramble to sever ties

Cryptocurrency exchanges and providers of crypto services are scrambling to sever business ties with mainland Chinese clients, after Beijing issued last week a blanket ban on all crypto trading and mining. In a culmination of years of efforts to rein in the sector, 10 powerful Chinese government bodies including the central bank said overseas exchanges were barred from providing services to mainland investors via the internet – a previously grey area – and promised to jointly root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activities. “While this is not a surprise as China has ‘banned’ crypto many times in the past, this time there is no ambiguity,” said Henri Arslanian, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) crypto leader and partner, on Twitter. “Crypto transactions and crypto services of all kind are banned in China. No room for discussion. No gray area.” Huobi Global and Binance, two of the world’s largest exchanges and popular with Chinese users, have stopped new registrations of accounts by mainland customers. Huobi also said it would clean up existing ones by the end of the year. “On the very day we saw the notice, we started to take corrective measures,” Du Jun, Huobi Group co-founder, said in a statement to Reuters news agency. Du did not give an estimate how many of its users would be affected, saying only that Huobi, once the world’s biggest crypto exchange, had embarked on a global expansion strategy many years ago and seen steady growth in Southeast Asia and Europe. Bitcoin fell by as much as 8.9 percent […]

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Bitcoin slumps as China bans all cryptocurrency transactions
Sep25

Bitcoin slumps as China bans all cryptocurrency transactions

China banned all crypto transactions and vowed to root out mining of digital assets, delivering the toughest blow yet to the industry. Crypto-related transactions will be considered illicit financial activity, including services provided by off-shore exchanges, the People’s Bank of China said on its website. It added that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Tether, are not fiat currency and cannot be circulated. Bitcoin slumped in the wake of the announcement, falling 8% to about $41,000 as of 9 a.m. in New York. Chinese officials are going further to stamp out crypto trading for its ties to fraud, money laundering and excessive energy usage. China already has rules that bar banks from offering crypto-related services. To get around such rules, traders have moved to over-the-counter platforms and offshore exchanges. “China’s ban on all cryptocurrency trading activity will have some short-term impact on the currency’s valuation, but long-term implications are likely to be muted,” said Ganesh Viswanath Natraj, an assistant professor of finance at Warwick Business School. While there are probably still Chinese onshore speculators, activity has already shifted out of the country over the years, said Clara Medalie, the research lead at data provider Kaiko. Crypto mining’s massive energy consumption is also part of the reason the industry is coming under scruntiny. In a separate statement, China’s economic planning agency said it’s an urgent task to root out crypto mining and the crackdown is important to meet carbon goals. China is facing a severe power crisis that’s already roiled commodities from aluminum to steel, and […]

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Bitcoin, Bukele and democracy in El Salvador
Sep21

Bitcoin, Bukele and democracy in El Salvador

This September, El Salvador rolled out Bitcoin as an official legal tender. Nayib Bukele, the youngest president in the history of the country, wanted to adopt cryptocurrency to improve the economy. But his critics said it might be a distraction from the measures Bukele has taken dismantling democratic institutions, as well as his attacks on the press. In this episode:  John Holman (@johnholman100), Al Jazeera correspondent Roman Olivier Gressier (@romangressier), Reporter for El Faro (@_elfaro_) Connect with The Take:  Twitter (@AJTheTake), Instagram (@ajthetake) and Facebook (@TheTakePod)

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Bitcoin sinks below $43,000 as Evergrande fears sweep markets
Sep21

Bitcoin sinks below $43,000 as Evergrande fears sweep markets

Cryptocurrency prices slumped as a broad selloff sparked by worries about contagion from China Evergrande Group swept through global markets. Bitcoin was down 8.1% to trade around $43,743 as of 5:11 p.m. in New York. It had dropped as much as as 10.7% earlier, which pushed it below $43,000 and to its lowest level since the beginning of August. Ether briefly dropped below $3,000. Popular DeFi tokens some of the biggest declines: Cardano fell more than 10% over the last 24 hours, as did Dogecoin, while Polkadot lost roughly 16%, according to CoinMarketCap.com. The losses mirrored the action in the broader market as investors weighed the risks coming from Evergrande’s debt woes and this week’s Federal Reserve meeting. The S&P 500 fell 1.7% in its worst session since May, while European equities tumbled the most in more than two months. “Some have attributed the sudden dip to the currently ongoing Evergrande situation in China which has already caused turmoil in traditional markets,” wrote Jonas Luethy, a sales trader at GlobalBlock, the U.K.-based digital asset broker. “Analysts have suggested a choppy week is ahead, with a potential pullback to as low as $41,000.” The swiftness of the plunge was likely accelerated as more than 272,000 traders had their accounts liquidated over the past 24 hours, equal to around $1.3 billion worth of crypto, according to data from Bybt, a crypto futures trading and information platform. “This is part of a well-established pattern where it sells off as traders cash in their riskier assets to cover […]

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El Salvador protest breaks out against Bitcoin adoption
Sep08

El Salvador protest breaks out against Bitcoin adoption

People marched in El Salvador’s capital to protest against the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender amid a bumpy initial rollout of systems to support the digital currency. El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender on Tuesday. Protesters burned tyres and set off fireworks in front of the Supreme Court building as the government deployed heavily armed police to the scene. “This is a currency that’s not going to work for pupusa vendors, bus drivers or shopkeepers,” said a San Salvador resident who opposed the adoption of the cryptocurrency. Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran corn-based food. “This is a currency that’s ideal for big investors who want to speculate with their economic resources.” The protest came as El Salvador’s government was rushing to iron out technological snags in Bitcoin’s first-day rollout. Ahead of the launch, El Salvador bought 400 Bitcoins worth about $20m.

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Glitches, protests as Bitcoin becomes legal tender in El Salvador
Sep08

Glitches, protests as Bitcoin becomes legal tender in El Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador – Bitcoin is now officially legal tender in El Salvador, but the country’s landmark adoption of the world’s largest cryptocurrency got off to a less than auspicious start on Tuesday. Before the law officially took effect at 3pm local time (21:00 GMT), the country’s new digital wallet – called Chivo – suffered glitches, forcing the government to take it offline while it boosted server capacity. “We have disconnected it while increasing capacity of the image capture servers,” tweeted President Nayib Bukele. “The installation problems that some people had were for that reason.” Por unos momentos no funcionará @chivowallet, la hemos desconectado mientras aumentamos la capacidad de los servidores de captación de imágenes. Los problemas de instalación que tuvieron algunas personas fueron por esa razón. Preferimos corregirlo antes de volver a conectarla. — Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 7, 2021   As the government grappled with technical problems, a small but growing group of people opposed to the new Bitcoin law turned out to protest it in the capital San Salvador. Among them was University of El Salvador student Marvin Rivera. “I want to be clear that I don’t oppose Bitcoin,” he told Al Jazeera, holding a sign that read ‘No to Bitcoin, No to Dictatorship’. “What we are against is the process that has happened and that we never had any say in this,” he said. That sentiment has been echoed by both opponents and supporters of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption. The common denominator among the […]

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