A round up of Bitcoin news from around the world.
European Central Bank has no power to regulate Bitcoin, says Mario Draghi (EUCB President)
The European Central Bank’s president, Mario Draghi, recently pointed out that the institution has no power to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. His statements were made to the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as when asked about cryptocurrency regulations and bans Mario Draghi notably stated:
- “It would actually not be in our powers to prohibit and regulate them. We have to ask what effects cryptocurrencies have on the economy.”
Mario Draghi added that cryptocurrencies are, however, still too immature to be considered as a viable payment method, and that the ECB’s primary concern surrounding cryptocurrencies and digital innovation is cybersecurity.
A public Swiss university is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment method
According to an announcement, Switzerland’s Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is now accepting Bitcoin payments for student-related bills, through a partnership with Bitcoin Suisse AG. The university itself won’t be handling any Bitcoin, as the brokerage firm will exchange Bitcoin payments for Swiss francs. According to the university, Bitcoin Suisse AG will be the one to bear any losses caused by currency fluctuations.
According to CoinDesk, the move is perhaps unsurprising as the university had already shown interest in the technology, and is already involved in a number of blockchain initiatives. Other universities throughout the world, including King’s College New York, and the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, also accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
There are now 11 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) recently issued operating licenses to 11 Bitcoin exchanges, including the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer. According to CoinDesk, 17 license applications are still being reviewed, while 12 firms already had to shut down in light of the country’s new regulations, which aim to protect consumers by making sure operating exchanges meet risk management standards and properly manage funds.
According to reports, to maintain their licensed status exchanges will need to meet certain criteria, including high cybersecurity standards, minimum capital reserve requirements, and the employment of AML/KYC practices.
Singapore to regulate Bitcoin payments
Singapore’s minister for its central bank authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently stated that the institution is working on creating regulatory framework for Bitcoin and Ether payments. The minister confirmed it in a response to a question from an MP, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and while he admitted that the MAS has been monitoring and has no intention of regulating these cryptocurrencies, certain activities will require regulatory framework.
Shanmugaratnam revealed that only about 20 Singaporean retailers accept Bitcoin, and further explained in a statement that the MAS will produce targeted regulatory framework for ICOs, if deemed necessary. He stated:
- “Virtual currencies can go beyond being a means of payment, and evolve into “second generation” tokens representing benefits such as ownership in assets, like a share or bond certificate. These are financial activities that falls under MAS’ regulatory ambit.”