The timing of the rollout couldn’t be better. Zug, Switzerland-based bitcoin wallet startup Bread unveiled plans to accept international bitcoin purchases via credit card. Bread is boasting features such as “high limits” and same-day delivery for bitcoin purchases, both of which are often missing from cryptocurrency exchanges. By allowing this service, which is a product of a relationship with Simplex, investors can bypass cryptocurrency exchanges, which incidentally top US banks have taken aim at of late. Bread tweeted – While Bread is making it easier for investors to get their hand on bitcoin, banks are making it more difficult. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Lloyd’s in recent days placed a ban on bitcoin purchases via credit card. Cryptocurrency exchanges appear to be tops on banks’ radar for credit card bitcoin purchases.
The company made the announcement on Twitter, stating that “our engineering team has begun the final testing phase of SegWit for Bitcoin” and that “SegWit-compatible Bitcoin sends/receives will be available for customers in the next few weeks.” As CCN reported, SegWit (or Segregated Witness) was activated on the Bitcoin network via a soft fork last August. By decreasing the size of transactions, SegWit lowers fees and optimizes the limited space in Bitcoin blocks. However, users only take advantage of this feature if they use SegWit-compatible wallet addresses. According to data from hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor, only about 15 percent of Bitcoin transactions currently employ SegWit, down from a high of about 18 percent in late January. This recent reduction could be linked to users taking advantage of lower transaction fees to move funds from legacy addresses to SegWit-compatible ones, but in any case it is clear that the network is not experiencing the full benefits that the scaling upgrade offers, in part because Coinbase and a few other large firms have been slow to implement it.
The hearing, which was held by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, touched on a broad range of regulatory concerns related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), trading platforms, derivatives and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and the assets’ perceived use to perpetrate financial crimes and subvert international sanctions. In their opening statements, both Clayton and Giancarlo expressed concern about the fact that cryptocurrency exchanges are currently regulated at the state level rather than the federal, and each reiterated that, at some undefined point in the future, Congress may want to increase federal regulators’ ability to oversee the spot markets.
Cryptocurrency prices began to creep back into positive territory after two top US market regulators signaled a cautious approach to cryptocurrency regulation during Tuesday’s high-profile Senate hearing. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo spoke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for more than two hours, delivering prepared remarks and answering pointed questions from regulators. As CCN reported, Clayton and Giancarlo largely stuck to the script during the hearing, calling for “carefully tailored” regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges at the federal level but cautioning legislators against acting too quickly — or with a heavy hand.
An official government report reveals details of a speech from Taiwan’s vice president of the executive branch of government Shih Jun-ji, speaking at a financial seminar on Friday when he touched upon the topic of cryptocurrencies and their possible impact on the island nation’s financial environment. The official called on the government to introduce measures to manage the cryptocurrency sector after underlining the soaring gains and development of cryptocurrencies in recent years. Shih was speaking at the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance when he elaborated on bitcoin, specifically, noting its market capitalization of $160 billion dollars (with bitcoin price pegged at $10,000) would be more than twice the entire financial budget of Taiwan’s government. Having done his homework, the official also added that the valuation of bitcoin, at $160 billion, would be equal to the total assets of all Taiwanese banks and onone-thirdf the country’s foreign exchange reserve. Put simply, the impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should not be underestimated, Shih said.