Bitfinex Introduces ‘New, Improved’ Fiat Deposit System Following Last Week’s Suspension

Major crypto exchange Bitfinex has introduced an “improved” fiat deposit system shortly after temporary suspension last week.

Major crypto exchange Bitfinex has introduced an “improved” fiat deposit system, shortly after temporary suspension of deposits last week, according to an official blog post Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Last week, on Oct. 11, Bitfinex temporarily halted fiat deposits in four fiat currencies – the Euro (EUR), U.S. Dollar (USD), Japanese Yen (JPY), and Pound Sterling (GBP) – without specifying a reason for suspension and claiming that fiat deposits are “expected to resume within a week.”

Yesterday, October 15, the crypto exchange posted an update on fiat deposits, explaining that Bitfinex had “temporarily paused” fiat deposits for “certain user groups […] in the face of processing complications.”

The company also stressed that all crypto and fiat withdrawals were processing without any interference.

In today’s announcement, the Bitfinex team introduced a “new, improved and increasingly resilient” fiat deposit system.

The exchange claims the new system will again enable know-your-customer (KYC)-compliant customers “from around the world” to conduct deposits in the four previously suspended fiat currencies.

According to the statement, the new system will require users to process a deposit request, which will then be reviewed within 48 hours. The deposit itself, as Bitfinex states, will be processed “within 6-10 business days.”

The blog post also states that the minimum fiat deposit amount is to remain at $10,000, with a 0.1 percent processing fee.

Founded in Hong Kong in 2012, Bitfinex is one of the oldest and most popular crypto exchanges, currently ranked in third place globally in terms of daily trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap.

The company introduced fiat operations in 2015 in a move to enable traders to “enter the digital asset space,” as mentioned in a recent blog post published prior to fiat deposit suspension.

Last week, the exchange issued an official response to a recent swathe of online rumors that it is “insolvent” or facing banking issues. Bitfinex’s rebuttal came in the wake of last week’s reports that the exchange’s banking partner had lost both Bitfinex and affiliated firm Tether — who share a CEO, Jan Ludovicus van der Velde — as clients, among other reports.

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China’s Central Bank Seeks Digital Currency Specialists

The Chinese central bank has opened four job positions that require crypto-related skills, shortly after a report on the advantages of a yuan-backed stable coin.

The Chinese central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has opened four positions for crypto-related professionals, according to a document published Wednesday, Oct. 10 on the bank’s website.

Per the paper, PBoC is seeking two engineers at their Digital Money Institute with experience in blockchain and cryptography, security, and chip design. The bank wants the engineers to develop a secure big data platform and a chip processor that would allow crypto transactions.

The engineers will be responsible for digital currency related software systems, encryption technology and security models, as well as transaction terminal chip technology research and development.

PBoc is also seeking experts in economic law and finance who will be responsible for legal research, the analysis of economic mechanisms, risk management, and policy research on “legal digital currency.”

The move comes shortly after an op-ed published by CN Finance — a local finance journal affiliated with the PBoC — where the bank’s experts describe the recently launched USD-backed stablecoins that they claim could negatively influence other fiats, such as the yuan. The experts further stated that China should evaluate launching its own yuan-backed stablecoin while keeping the current ban on cryptocurrencies.

The Chinese government first opposed cryptocurrencies back in 2017, when all of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges were closed and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) banned. Later PBoC repeatedly issued warnings on risks of crypto trading.

After the ban, China has focused on blockchain solutions. This autumn PBoC announced the launch of a blockchain trading and finance platform in Shenzhen. The network will also spread to Guangdong, Hong Kong, and the Macau Bay Area and allows cross-border trading. An official blockchain pilot zone was later established in the Hainan province within a dedicated tech park.

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Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Suspends Fiat Deposits, Expects to Resume ‘Within a Week’

Crypto exchange Bitfinex has temporarily suspended all fiat currency wire deposits for the Euro, USD, JPY and GBP, says they will resume “within a week.”

Major crypto exchange Bitfinex has temporarily suspended all fiat wire deposits for the Euro, U.S. Dollar, Japanese Yen and Pound Sterling. This is according to several reports today, Oct. 11.

While the exchange has not specified a reason for the suspension, it states that deposits are “expected to resume within a week.”

As reported Oct. 8, the exchange has recently been prompted to officially respond to online rumours that claimed Bitfinex was insolvent and/or facing banking issues. As part of its recent statement, the exchange acknowledged that “complications continue to exist” for Bitfinex “in the domain of fiat transactions,” but stated this is something prevalent among “most” crypto-related organizations.

The exchange’s statement was partly prompted by reports that its banking partner, Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank International, is now seeking a buyer and had lost both Bitfinex and affiliated firm Tether as clients.

In response to the Noble Bank reports, some in the crypto space had suggested that Bitfinex has now shifted to banking with HSBC via a private account registered under the name “Global Trading Solutions.” The exchange has not officially responded to these claims, although it has emphasized that all Noble-related allegations “have no impact” on Bitfinex’s operations, survivability, or solvency.  

As previously reported, Bitfinex’s circuitous history of banking relationships began in April 2017, when U.S. Wells Fargo & Co. allegedly refused to continue operating as a correspondent bank. Bitfinex then filed a lawsuit against the bank that was quickly dropped.

Bitfinex is currently the 4th largest exchange globally by daily traded volume, seeing a 154 percent increase over the 24-hour period to see almost $633.4 million in trades on the day.

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China Should Consider Launching its Own Stablecoin, Central Bank Expert Says in Op-Ed

An expert from the People’s Bank of China thinks the country has to study USD-backed cryptocurrencies and to launch its own yuan-backed stablecoin.

The Chinese government should consider launching its own yuan-backed stablecoin despite the current ban on cryptocurrencies, an op-ed in Chinese financial journal CN Finance reports Tuesday, Oct. 9.

An expert from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), Li Liangsong, and professor of Fudan University Wang Huaqing wrote an article called “Analysis of Digital Stable Coins” for CN Finance — a bimonthly journal affiliated with the PBoC.

In the opinion piece, the authors provide a brief review of USD-backed coins, such as Tether, the Gemini dollar, and Paxos Standard. The researchers expect them to increase the role of dollar on a global stage and to suppress other fiats, with the yuan among them.

The authors suggested that China should analyze other companies’ experience and “double its efforts” to create a local stablecoin. However, other digital currencies have to stay prohibited in China, they stated.

Stablecoins have recently seen a boom with two USD-backed coins launching in the U.S. in September.

The Winklevoss twins, founders of crypto trading platform Gemini, acquired permission from New York regulators to release their own stablecoin, the Gemini dollar. Later, Circle — through a consortium that includes Bitmainannounced it is launching a USD-backed digital token dubbed the “USD Coin.”

Shortly after, the audit giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partnered with decentralized lending platform Cred to offer their expertise in launching its USD-backed coin, especially in terms of transparency and “substantiation,”

The Chinese government first started its anti-crypto campaign in 2017 by closing all of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges and banning Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Following the move, the PBoC has repeatedly warned citizens about the risks of crypto trading.

Despite the crypto ban, the country has actively been exploring blockchain solutions. Earlier this autumn, the PBoC announced that its blockchain trading and finance platform is launching in Shenzhen. The ecosystem is also being tested in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and the Macau Bay Area and is being developed for cross-border trading. Later, the country’s official blockchain pilot zone was established in the Hainan province within a dedicated tech park.

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‘Huge Cash Flows’: Lithuania Voices Concern Over ICO, Crypto Trading

Lithuanian regulators are focusing on ICOs and cryptocurrency trading in new investigations and potential policy reforms.

Lithuanian authorities held a seminar examining the “threats and potential benefits” of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) to the country’s economy, a press release reported Wednesday, October 3, amid an ongoing investigation into cryptocurrency trading habits.

The Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS) organized the meeting, which included representatives from government ministries, the central bank, and the General Prosecutor. According to the press release, the gathering revealed that Lithuanian processes “huge” turnover from crypto to fiat.

Antonio Mikulsk, head of the FCIS, said:

“Virtual currency has huge cash flows, but (there are) worries about converting them into dollars and euros as quickly as possible, (and) leaving virtual currencies as quickly as possible.”

Lithuania had pledged to create a formalized regulatory environment for cryptocurrency and related products, noting the benefits that come from adopting a hands-on approach to the industry.

Now, authorities are noting that a high ICO turnover volume — €500 million (about $576 million) over the past eighteen months — calls for tougher anti-fraud mechanisms.

“According to ICO figures, Lithuania is one of the world leaders and shows the highest, 305 percent, growth from all over the world,” FCIS deputy director Mindaugas Petrauskas added, quoting data from local consultancy firm Versli Lietuva.

The FCIS is simultaneously examining banks’ role in processing high-volume crypto-to-fiat transactions resulting from exchanges, noting that any single transaction over €80,000 (about $92,200) must be investigated, Lithuanian news outlet Delfi reported October 5.

Various regional banks are involved in the investigation, including SEB Bank, Swedbank, and Danske Bank. The sum total of crypto exchange transactions from 2017 to 2018 stood at €661 million (around $762 million) at the time the data became public, Delfi notes.

“Such a sum already causes a certain suspicion,” Petrauskas said about the €80,000 threshold, which involves around 500 individuals and 100 business entities.

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New Taiwanese Exchange Rewards Users for Token Mining and Staking From Its Fee Revenue

The company says customer fiat assets are stored safely and securely with a third party bank trust custodian.

MaiCoin, the largest one stop digital asset platform provider in Taiwan, recently launched it’s MAX Exchange. The exchange initially started by offering Taiwan Dollar (TWD) to crypto pairs and it currently lists 16 crypto/TWD pairs. As part of its global aspirations, MAX Exchange has recently launched a total of 51 crypto to crypto pairs which include both USDT and TWDT stablecoin pairs.

MAX Expansion

While TWD fiat trading is only open to citizens of Taiwan, crypto-to-crypto pairs are now available for the global market, requiring MAX users to register with an email address for Level 1 access. According to the exchange website, this provides them with a $15,000 daily withdrawal limit. For users willing to provide a phone number and a selfie with ID verification, this daily withdrawal limit is increased to $150,000.

“What sets MAX Exchange apart from the competition is that customer fiat assets are stored safely and securely with a third party bank trust custodian,” reported the MAX representatives to Cointelegraph. “We are also partnering with mobile phone providers on a solution to allow MAX Exchange users to store their private keys at the semiconductor level on their smartphone so that they are always in control of their own assets”.

In order to develop and support its community ecosystem, MAX Exchange will launch its native token (MAX). 150 million MAX Tokens (30 percent of total supply) will be distributed via a Transaction (TX) Fee Mining model. What differentiates its TX mining model from previous iterations is that MAX incorporates a difficulty feature where mining rewards decrease as more coins are mined to slow down issuance and native tokens are purchased in the open market, the company explains.  

The exchange plans to use 80 percent of its trading fees to purchase MAX tokens on the market as rewards for its makers (40 percent of fees), takers (10 percent of fees), and holders/stakers (30 percent of fees) on the platform.  

MAX users can stake, or lock up, MAX tokens to increase their staking power by up to five times. “An ageing boost component is applied to staked coins. The longer coins are staked, the more their staking power increases”, added the MAX representative.

History of MaiCoin

The MAX Digital Asset Exchange is an extension of the business’ over the counter OTC platform, MaiCoin, which has been in operation since 2014. Combined, MAX and MaiCoin are the largest and longest running digital asset platforms on the Taiwanese market. In an interview with Bloomberg on Jan 30, Alex Liu, the founder and CEO of MaiCoin, said that he targeted continuing expansion of the business throughout Asia to help fill the void left by regulatory uncertainty in China and Korea.

MAX and MaiCoin say they have been first to the market with almost every digital asset traded in Taiwan including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

According to the company, in 2014, MaiCoin and MAX were the first platform to facilitate fiat deposits through thousands of 7-11 and Hi-Life convenience store ATMs and Kiosks nationwide.

In 2015, the business moved into the merchant services industry, launching a series of applications to facilitate point of sale (POS) transactions that helped local businesses more seamlessly accept digital asset payments.  

In 2016, MaiCoin established AMIS Technologies to build Ethereum based enterprise blockchain solutions for the domestic financial industry. Today AMIS is a founding member of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) and developer of the Istanbul Byzantine fault tolerant consensus protocol which has been employed as the consensus algorithm in JP Morgan’s Quorum platform. The group continues to build up its enterprise blockchain solutions and is working closely with ITRI, Fubon FHC, Taishin Bank among other major financial institutions.  

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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European Central Bank: ‘No Plans’ for Digital Currency, Cash Demand Growing

The European Central Bank is not planning on issuing its own digital currency under current conditions, President Mario Draghi has confirmed.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has “no plans” to issue its own digital currency, President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament Wednesday, September 12.

Addressing a query by MEP Jonás Fernández, Draghi said “substantial development” was still needed in the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies before the Central Bank would consider using them.

“The ECB and the Eurosystem currently have no plans to issue a central bank digital currency,” he summarized:

“Nonetheless, we are carefully analysing the potential consequences of issuing such a currency as a complement to cash.”

Explaining why no plans were afoot at the ECB, Draghi drew attention to those same factors.

“…The technologies which could potentially be used to issue a central bank digital currency […] have not yet been thoroughly tested and require substantial further development before they could be used in a central bank context,” he told Fernández, adding:

“With regard to the central bank administering individual accounts for households and companies, this would imply that the central bank would enter into competition for retail deposits with the banking sector and lead to potentially substantial operational costs and risks.”

He added there was at present “no concrete need” to issue an additional currency within the eurozone, saying demand for cash banknotes “continues to grow” in the EU28.

Draghi continues the wary stance the 28-member bloc has traditionally held on bank-issued cryptocurrency, in contrast to moves by countries such as Russia and China.

Earlier this year, a joint report from the ECB and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlighted “side effects” of a potential launch of such a currency, also considering the need for more research beforehand.

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Mt. Gox Opens Online Rehabilitation Claim Filing System for Corporate Users

Defunct Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has extended its online rehabilitation claim filing system to corporate users.

Now-defunct Japanese Bitcoin (BTC) exchange Mt. Gox has extended its online rehabilitation claim filing system to corporate users, according to an official announcement posted on the exchange’s site today, September 12.

Today’s announcement follows upon an online system for individual (non-corporate) users that was released August 23, allowing them to file proofs of bankruptcy claims. The deadline for filing the rehabilitation claims is October 22, 2018, and the claims can also alternatively be filed offline.

The announcement has been signed by Tokyo attorney Nobuaki Kobayashi, who has been appointed to act as civil rehabilitation trustee to manage Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy estate funds.

Beginning Q4 last year, Kobayashi’s oversight of the selling off of vast reserves of BTC in order to reimburse affected Mt. Gox users had earned him the moniker of Tokyo’s Bitcoin Whale amid allegations the sell-offs had a conspicuously adverse effect on markets.

As previously reported, Kobayashi has since pledged to cease the sell-offs as the proceedings for civil rehabilitation began, with users now set to receive compensation in crypto instead of fiat currency. In early August, lawyers representing a group of Mt Gox creditors issued an update confirming that repayments would be made in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

As a Cointelegraph analysis has outlined, roughly 24,000 creditors are thought to have been affected by Mt. Gox’s hack and subsequent collapse in early 2014, which resulted in the loss of 850,00 BTC valued at roughly $460 million at the time. The incident remained the most infamous and titanic scandal in industry history until this year’s $534 million Coincheck hack.

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Russia’s Digital Economy Bill Supported by State Duma Committee in Move Towards Crypto Regulation

The State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work will support a digital economy initiative that will “minimize” the risks of citizens using digital assets.

Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work will support the first reading of an initiative that will add the basic norms of digital economy to the Russian Federation Civil Code.  This is the latest step on the road to regulating cryptocurrency in the country, local news outlet Izvestia reports Wednesday, May 16.

Pavel Krasheninnikov of political party United Russia and head of the Legislative Work committee, told Izvestia that the initiative aims to “minimize the existing risks of using digital objects for transferring assets into an unregulated digital environment for legalization of criminal incomes, bankruptcy fraud or for sponsoring terrorist groups.”

The initiative, which is scheduled to be considered next week, does not mean that digital currencies will now become a legitimate means of payment. Instead, a separate law developed by the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Economic Development will set conditions for digital currencies to be used as payment “in controlled quantities.” The initiative does assert that digital confirmation by a user in a smart contract is equal to his written consent.

Russia first prepared a bill “On Digital Financial Assets” in March of this year, which would provide federal laws governing cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) inspired by President Vladimir Putin’s decision to begin crypto regulation on July 1.

The March 20 draft defines crypto and digital tokens are assets only to be traded on authorized exchanges, also requiring user account at crypto exchanges to comply with AML and counter terrorism financing regulations. A review draft of the bill from mid-April added that the exchange of crypto for fiat above around $9,600 will be subject to mandatory currency exchange regulation.

Igor Sudets, the director of the program “Blockchain for Lawyers” at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow, told Izvestia that “it is important that the crypto currency and tokens are included in the legal field of the Russian Federation”:

“On the one hand, these are opportunities that we have no right to miss. On the other hand, while they are outside the legal field, they can be used to give bribes, withdraw money in the case of bankruptcy, pay ‘black salaries, and simply get stolen – with no repercussions [for criminals].”

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