Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • November 2, 2020
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2 November 2020.

Dive into a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto this week. European Central Bank asks public about decentralized Euro, Bitcoin briefly hits highest level since January 2018, Indian crypto industry expanding, regulators seem reluctant to engage & Facebook bans Bitcoin content.

European Central Bank asks public about decentralized Euro

Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank, today opened up the matter of a digital euro to public consultation. One of the questions? Do Europeans want a digital euro that does not rely on intermediaries? “As Europeans are increasingly turning to digital in the ways they spend, save and invest, we should be prepared to issue a digital euro, if needed. I’m also keen to hear your views on it,” she tweeted today. Lagarde, who used to run the International Monetary Fund, said in a subsequent video that the survey means that “consumers and Europeans can actually express their preference and tell us whether they would be happy to use a digital euro just in the way they use a euro coin or a euro banknote, knowing that it is central bank money that is available and that they can rely upon. We are still in the review and consideration stage,” she said. The survey asks respondents to rank their preferences for a digital euro and answer such questions as: “What services, functionalities or use cases do you think are feasible and should be considered when developing a digital euro?” The ECB’s survey describes “two approaches we can take to make a digital euro work, one that requires intermediaries to process the payment and one that doesn’t.” In the first, the ECB describes a digital euro that “has no need for the central bank or an intermediary to be involved in the processing of every single payment.” This would “feel closer to cash payments, but in digital form – you would be able to use the digital euro even when not connected to the internet, and your privacy and personal data would be better protected.” In the second approach, intermediaries would record the transactions. The first approach takes a leaf out of crypto’s book: Bitcoin was built to end reliance on intermediaries.


$14K: Bitcoin briefly hits highest level since January 2018

Bitcoin has soared to a 33-month high above $14,000, showing resilience amid growing instability in the traditional markets. The top cryptocurrency by market value reached $14,047 around 10:05 UTC on Saturday – the highest level since January 2018, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. Earlier this week, bitcoin (BTC, -1.65%) narrowly missed breaching the June 2019 high of $13,880 and faced selling pressure as global stock markets registered sharp losses as concerns over the resurgent coronavirus spiked. However, the downside was restricted to above $13,000 even as classic haven assets like gold fell to one-month lows near $1,860 amid the dollar strength. Stocks have just seen both their worst week and month since March. Bitcoin’s defense of $13,000 and a quick rise to 33-month highs is perhaps not surprising. Market sentiment has been buoyed by several public companies’ recent disclosures of bitcoin treasury investments. “Bitcoin currently has a very strong underlying bid from institutions,” trader and analyst Nick Cote told CoinDesk. If the cryptocurrency manages to establish a foothold above the June 2019 high of $13,880, the focus would shift to the daily chart resistance range at $15,800–$16,000. At press time, bitcoin had dropped back to $13,993, but is still up over 25% for October – the biggest monthly rise since April.


Indian crypto industry expanding, regulators seem reluctant to engage

As Cashaa launches crypto banking services in India, the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow despite uncertain regulations. The people of India are awaiting access to crypto banking services, as British-based fintech firm Cashaa has collaborated with India’s United Multistate Credit Cooperative Society to launch a crypto-centric banking company called Unicas that will initially open 34 branches in Northern India and plans to have expanded to 100 branches by next year. Considering that India is largely a savings-driven economy, Unicas will also offer crypto saving accounts that pay interest on deposited crypto. This could act as a catalyst for co-operative credit societies in India to enter the market and make the most of this opportunity. But overall, the Indian crypto industry has seen enormous growth both in volumes and new clients since its Supreme Court removed a two-year ban on banks servicing cryptocurrency exchanges in March 2020. Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX — a crypto exchange based in India — told Cointelegraph: “The Indian crypto ecosystem has been growing tremendously since the Supreme Court lifted the banking ban on crypto in India. […] The positive verdict was immediately followed by a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This period has also given people more time at hand to read about crypto and participate in it.” Ashu Swami, the chief technology officer of Apifiny — a cryptocurrency liquidity and solutions provider based in New York — attributes this growth to the increasing evidence of Bitcoin (BTC) becoming a safe haven and the ease of making inward remittances to the country with cryptocurrencies. “Senders are realizing that virtual currencies are a more efficient medium,” hence the growth in demand. He further added: “The INR has been highly volatile, having depreciated over 80% vs. the USD in the last decade. Gold is very hard to trade and has high transaction costs; real-estate has been in a slump since the demonetization of 2016; and the stocks are at record high valuations, and many believe they are due for a correction any time now.” As a result of these factors, according to statistics provided by Apifiny, almost all of the major international crypto exchanges have reported a traffic increase from five to 10 times from Indian users in 2020. Meanwhile, local crypto exchanges in India have reported a tenfold increase in registrations in 2020, which is 2.5 times the global average of 400% year-over-year growth.


Facebook bans Bitcoin content—a push for Libra?

Facebook users have been reporting that there has been a new ban on Bitcoin-related content, however, other cryptocurrencies have been excluded from this ban. On Facebook posts that include videos, photos, and messages have been censored if they have a #Bitcoin hashtag involved, and the public has been blocked from accessing any information related to the world’s largest cryptocurrency. However, on another social media platform, Twitter, users were able to discuss the issue of Facebook banning Bitcoin, as Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey is a fan of the cryptocurrency. Dorsey has discussed openly about Bitcoin on multiple occasions, and even his company Square has also recently invested in Bitcoin. A tweet regarding the recent ban read: “Bitcoin censored on Facebook! I was searching for #Bitcoin content on Facebook and apparently that hashtag is under a “temporary” ban. This is outrageous. Please retweet!.” Although Facebook has banned Bitcoin-related posts, other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Cardano, and even other alleged scams were available for search on the social media platform. However, only the Bitcoin hashtag related posts are not available on Facebook, searching for the term Bitcoin itself has not been censored by the platform. Facebook has banned cryptocurrency products and services previously in 2018. The social media platform said that it was open to emerging technologies, only to those who are acting in “good faith.” During the initial coin offering (ICO) boom, Facebook responded with: “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and crypto-currencies that are not currently operating in good faith.” The company even said that cryptocurrencies could harm its users’ interests, and that the policy put in place would help to detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices. Facebook later allowed cryptocurrency ads again, and even decided to launch its own digital asset, Libra. The stablecoin has faced a range of regulatory hurdles, and its launch has been halted. Facebook has not issued any statement in regards to the latest Bitcoin hashtag ban at press time.

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