Cyprus Financial Regulator Says Cryptocurrencies Not Suitable for Retirement Planning

The Cyprus financial authority, the CySEC, issued a warning last week on cryptocurrencies. The agency specifically directed consumers to read the European Securities and Markets
Authority’s warning on ICOs.

Additionally, the CySEC described cryptocurrencies as "digital representation" of value that are neither issued nor guaranteed by any central bank or public authority, and that these assets have no legal status of currency within Cyprus:

"They are highly risky, generally not backed by any tangible assets and unregulated under EU law, and do not, therefore, offer any legal protection to consumers.," said the CySEC.

The agency told consumers that cryptocurrencies and ICOs can be very risky and are usually highly speculative, as well as prone to bubbles and extreme volatility. The CySEC also warned retirees and pensioners that cryptocurrency investments are not suitable for retirement planning.

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French Financial Watchdog To Share Information With France's National Cybersecurity Agency

In light of the threat to the financial sector, France's financial regulator (AMF) and the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI) have agreed to work together more closely protect IT and financial markets infrastructure. On the 16th of February, both agencies signed a letter of intent.

"The financial industry and the markets are particularly vulnerable to digital risks and cyberattacks," said the AMF.

The AMF is responsible for ensuring the orderly operation of French equities, FX and bond markets. As such, it shares joint responsibility with ANSSI for the digital security of this sensitive sector.

ANSSI, as the national cybersecurity authority, is tasked with tackling threats against public infrastructure and private industry, in particular IT system of vital importance to the state.

The AMF said in their press release that both agencies will closely collaborate by sharing information regarding incidents that affect the security of various information systems, as well as managing of crises.

While both institutions already have a working relationship, this letter of intent is the next step in strengthening those ties:
"This agreement follows a similar initiative with the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Resolution in the banking and insurance sectors, to promote coordinated action in response to digital security challenges."

Israeli Financial Startup Launches First Bitcoin ATM in Jerusalem

Although the city of Tel Aviv had a total of three Bitcoin ATMs since the middle of last year, Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jewish state and an emerging hi-tech hub, didn't have a single cryptocurrency ATM machine.

But thanks to BitMarket, a Jerusalem-based financial services startup founded by two young Israeli entrepreneurs, the capital city finally got its first Bitcoin ATM in December, 2017.

In an interview with Israeli news service Ynet, BitMarket founders Idan Mizrahi, 28, and Or-Chai Levi, 24, said they were following the cryptocurrency markets develop for several years before deciding to venture into the space with their own company:

" a certain stage, out of belief in technology, we decided to take the plunge and set up the company.," Mizrahi told Ynet.

BitMarket's ATM, manufactured by Lamassu, only support fiat-to-bitcoin transactions at this time, and charges a 6.95% fee, according to CoinATMRadar.

U.S. Dollar Dipped 1.4% Last Week Despite Strong January CPI Readings

The dollar had its biggest weekly loss in two years, slipping to a three-year low against several currencies on Friday.

Extending overnight losses, the dollar’s index traded as low as 88.25 on Friday morning, the lowest since December of 2014. The index was on track to lose more than 2 percent on the week, but a strong equities rally sent the index into the green in the closing hours of trading on Friday afternoon.

The USD has been weighed down by a variety of factors in the first two months of the year, including worries that the Trump administration's tax cuts may exacerbate the growing budget deficit, which is projected to increase close to $1 trillion by the end of 2019.

And despite a stronger-that-expected U.S. inflation report on Wednesday, which showed January CPI gaining 0.2% and Core CPI gaining 0.1%, the dollar failed to gain momentum as investors began to consider the possibility of additional rate-hikes by the Federal Reserve later this year.

The dollar index finished on Friday closed at 89.08 with a modest gain of 0.52 percent, but booked losses of approximately 1.4 percent for the week.

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South African Rand Boosted to 3-Year High Against U.S. Dollar After Zuma's Resignation

South African stocks were boosted on Thursday by as much as 5 percent (biggest one-day gain in more than three years) after the resignation of Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president of nine years.

Market participants perceived Zuma's resignation as a net-positive for South Africa's economic growth prospects.

Zuma's reluctant exit was also sharply reflected in the strengthening South African rand. In the wake of Zuma’s exit, the rand soared to its highest level against the U.S. dollar since February of 2015. On Friday, the rand was trading at a 3-year high of 11.5575 against the USD.

Shares of South African banks, which are widely viewed within economic circles as a barometer of economic strength, rose considerably in the aftermath of Zuma's exit. The banking index jumped higher by almost 6 percent.

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Foreign Investors Start Reducing Their Exposure to Canadian Debt Securities

Statistics Canada issued its International Transactions in Securities report yesterday, which showed that foreign investors have begun reducing their holdings of Canadian securities by $2.0 billion in December of last year.

According to the report, foreign investors dumped Canadian debt securities but also made additions to their Canadian equities portfolios.

Key points from the report:

-Foreign investors poured in $188.5 billion into Canadian securities in 2017, led by strong acquisitions of Canadian bonds.

-Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian bonds by $4.0 billion in December of 2017.

-The divestment activity was focused mainly in provincial government bonds.

-Foreign investment in Canadian money markets came to $401 million in December.

-In December, Canadian short-term interest rates were up by 17 basis points and the Canadian dollar appreciated against the USD by 2.1 US cents.

-The Canadian equity market received foreign inflows of $1.7 billion in December.

And while foreign investors were reducing their exposure to Canadian bonds, Canadian investors were acquiring foreign securities by to the tune of $22.0 billion in December. Canadian investors in December purchased foreign equities totaling a record $19.8 billion - $11.4 billion went into the US market while $8.4 billion to other foreign markets.

"In 2017, Canadian investment in foreign securities reached $84.7 billion compared with $13.8 billion in 2016.," said Stats Canada.

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Weiss Rating Tells Cryptocurrency Investors to Steer Clear of Tether and Exchanges with USDT Pairs

In a strongly-worded blog post this week, Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings - the division of Weiss Ratings that focuses solely on cryptocurrency analysis - issued a strong warning against the dollar-pegged Tether (USDT) token.

Weiss analyst Juan Villaverde told cryptocurrency investors to avoid storing digital assets on exchanges (Bianance, Bittrex, Poloniex etc..) that use Tether, as well as not to trade any USDT-based pairs.

Previous warnings regarding Tether, usually made on various social media channels by concerned investors, were disregarded by skeptics on the grounds that Tether's market capitalization is a minuscule portion of the overall value of the entire crypto market.

This line of thinking was successfully used by skeptics to assuage investors' worries, but Villaverde says that Tether's daily turnover figures paint a very different picture:

"Tether is the third-largest cryptocurrency by trading volume, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are also used as liquidity.," writes Villaverde.

Additionaly, Villaverde postulates that a run and/or failures of Tether has the potential to "cause exchange failures."

To drive his point home, Villaverde also pointed out that Tether management has not provided an audit from a reputable firm, despite repeatedly being asked to do so:
"The big issue: There’s never been an audit, and the folks behind Tether have not been transparent when asked. They have continuously claimed their tokens are backed 100% by actual dollars, yet they have failed to present evidence to support this claim."
On a more positive note, Villaverde concludes that even in a worst-case scenario where Tether turns out to be fraudulent and goes under, cryptocurrencies will survive due to their revolutionary impact on "everything from finance to the legal industry to society itself."

First Bitcoin ATM Goes Live in Mongolia

Although the vast majority of Bitcoin ATMs are located in Europe and America, even countries like Mongolia that have a relatively small but growing cryptocurrency ecosystems, are seeing Bitcoin ATMs popping up.

On January 21, 2018, the first Bitcoin ATM - a model by manufacturer Genesis Coin - was installed in the city of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The new ATM is operated by TRADE Digital Exchange (TDX), a Mongolian cryptocurrency exchange with 12,000+ clients based out of Ulaanbaatar.

According to ATM tracking site CoinATMRadar, TDX's first Bitcoin ATM was installed inside the National Information Technology Park, an IT center launched in 2002 by the Mongolian Government with assistance from the South Korean government.

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Deutsche Bank Securities Fined Millions by SEC in Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities Scheme

Deutsche Bank Securities agreed to pay more than $3.7 million to customers as a result of an enforcement action by the SEC. The fine also included a $1.48 million in disgorgement.

The SEC found out in the course of their investigation that Deutsche traders made false statements while negotiating sales of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). The agency also found that customers overpaid for these instruments because they were misled about the prices at which Deutsche acquired the commercial mortgage-backed securities.

The German bank failed to have the appropriate compliance and surveillance processes in place which should have prevented the misconduct that led to the firm’s ill-gotten profits on CMBS transactions to the detriment of its customers.

The SEC said that Benjamin Solomon, the former head trader of Deutsche Bank’s CMBS trading division, did not take appropriate steps after becoming aware of false statements made to customers by traders under his watch.

Daniel Michael, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit, had this to say:
“Deutsche Bank and Solomon failed to keep watch as traders generated profits for the firm at the expense of CMBS customers by misrepresenting purchase prices and other important details.”
As part of the settlement with the SEC, Deutsche Bank agreed to repay clients the full amount of profits earned on any CMBS deals in which a misrepresentation was made, which amounts to more than $3.7 million.

The bank will also have to pay an additional penalty of $750,000. Solomon was given a penalty of $165,000, as well as a 12-month suspension from the securities industry.

According to the SEC, Deutsche Bank and Solomon agreed to the SEC’s order without admitting or denying the findings. There was also substantial cooperation by Deutsche Bank and Solomon during the SEC’s investigation.

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Tickmill Becomes Latest Forex Broker to Offer Bitcoin CFDs

Retail FX, CFDs and precious metals broker Tickmill began its foray into the cryptocurrency space this week with a new Bitcoin CFD offering. In an email to all clients sent out yesterday, Tickmill said:
“Bitcoin has joined our growing list of trading instruments, offering you the chance to invest in one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies while enjoying our competitive trading conditions.”
While the cryptocurrecy markets trade 24/7, Tickmill’s Bitcoin/USD CFD pair will trade 24/5, and traders will be limited to maximum leverage of 1:20.

Tickmill is the latest Forex broker to start offering bitcoin trading pairs, following in the footsteps of other well-known brokers like FXOpen, who recently began offering CFDs on six major cryptocurrencies to clients registered with its branch in the United Kingdom.

British Retail Forex Broker FXOpen UK Launches CFD Pairs on Major Cryptocurrencies

FXOpen UK, the FCA-regulated, London-based division of popular retail brokerage FXOpen, announced yesterday that all clients will be allowed to trade a select number cryptocurrencies as CFDs with a maximum leverage of 1:3:
"Cryptocurrencies can experience very high volatility and trade 7 days a week. Leverage is limited to 1:3 for all clients."
While clients of, the Nevis-registered and regulated division of FXOpen, have had the ability to deposit, withdraw and trade the major cryptocurrencies since 2014, clients registered with FXOpen UK were previously unable to trade digital currencies like Bitcoin & Litecoin.

According to FXOpen UK, clients can now trade six cryptos (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Emercoin, Namecoin, Peercoin and DASH) against each other and other national currencies like the USD, EUR, CNY and GBP.

The initial rollout includes a total of 24 different trading pairs. Russian ruble crypto-pairs are also available!

And unlike traditional FX pairs, clients at FXOpen UK will be able to trader on these pairs 24/7.

Payza Launches New Cryptocurrency Address Manager for Bitcoin

Payza, a UK-based online payments platform with more than 13 million clients, launched its new Cryptocurrency Address Manager (CAM) today. Payza said the new service allows all clients to generate and use new Bitcoin addresses on the fly:
"These are multi-use addresses that can be used to receive Bitcoin from other Bitcoin wallets without first having to set up an Add Funds by Bitcoin transaction."
Each Payza customer will be allowed to have a maximum of 50 cryptocurrency addresses at a time. While the new functionality is only accessible via the desktop Payza platform at launch, the company said its mobile app will also be equipped with the CAM in the near future.

Additionally, Payza said on its blog that it plans to add support for other cryptocurencies "in upcoming releases."

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Trading Begins on South Korea's Biggest Exchange, Bithumb - Investors Price BCH North of $500

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the new digital currency that split from the main Bitcoin network on August 1, made its debut today on South Korea’s largest exchange, Bithumb. In early trading, South Korean speculators and investors pushed BCH to a daily high of 959,000 KRW, or approximately $850.00 at current exchange rates.

At press time, BCH is trading on Bithumb at an effective USD price of $571, which is more than double the exchange rates currently quoted on Bitfinex, Bittrex, ViaBTC and HitBTC.

While BCH training has been active for several hour now on Bithumb, the higher prices could be due to the fact that deposits and withdrawals are still disabled.

Bithumb said in a statement today that Bitcoin Cash transfers will be allowed at some point, but no details were given, “The opening date of Bitcoin Cash(BCH) deposit/withdrawal service will be given through further notification.,” said Bithumb.

Moreover, Bithumb's BCH/KRW pair has seen $96 million in turnover so far today! For comparison, the combined 24h BCH volume of Bittrex, Bitfinex, HitBTC and Kraken, comes out to $82 million.

Korean Exchange Bithumb Says New Bitcoin Cash Trading Schedule to be Released

Bithumb, Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, will be giving its clients 0-fee trading for 24h in tandem with the launch of Bitcoin Cash trading pairs. In today’s blog post, Bithumb said the promotion will only run for two days:
“Fee Free Event will be running from August 3rd (Thurs) 18:00 KST to August 4th (Fri) 18:00 KST”
Additionally, Bithumb stated that Bitcoin Cash will have the “BCH” ticker, and not “BCC,” which is currently used by Bittrex, HitBTC, BitBay and Bleutrade.

Bithumb previously said that Bitcoin Cash trading will begin on August 3, but today, Bithumb explained that a new opening schedule will be released on Friday, August 4, 2017. The Korean exchange also said that trading, deposits and withdrawals of Bitcoin Cash have been delayed due to the unstable production rate of new blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain:
“Up until August 3rd 12:00 KST, Bitcoin Cash has been showing instability on the block production or even on the deposit/withdrawal.”
Although miners on the Bitcoin Cash network produced only three blocks on August 1st, as the special mining difficulty reduction algorithm was not activated, the rate of new blocks has picked up greatly over the past two days.

So far today, 19 new blocks have been found, and yesterday, miners produced 10 new blocks as the difficulty dropped off substantially, according to data from At press time, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is running at a quarter of the main blockchain's difficulty.

Majority of exchanges have already opened up Bitcoin Cash trading, however, many of BCH-supporting exchanges also made the decision to block traders depositing new coins until new blocks are found at a steadier pace.

At press time, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is valued at $7.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and one BCH will set you back about $433.

Bitcoin Cash Climbs to $300 on Bittrex and Kraken After Successful Split From the Bitcoin Chain

The Bitcoin Cash/Bitcoin pair opened at a 0.003 today on American exchange Bittrex. But just an hour after the launch, Bitcoin Cash climbed to a daily high of 0.14789 against Bitcoin. While on HitBTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is currently trading as high as $360.

Social media and Reddit forums were rife with speculation that the value of Bitcoin Cash would crash to $0 at launch, as existing Bitcoin holders would dump their BCH holdings. But those theories were proven wrong today as investors on Bittrex and Kraken snapped up the cheaper BCH coins.

Although there are great discrepancies at this time between BCH exchange rates on different trading venues due to thin liquidity, Bittrex's BCC/BTC trading pair has the most volume so far today, beating Kraken's BCH/BTC pair by about $2 million.

At press time, the Bittrex BCC/BTC pair has seen 2997 BTC ($8.26 million) in Bitcoin Cash trades in the first 2.4 hours.

Since the Bitcoin Cash exchange rate on Bittrex is currently hovering at 0.1087, the most accurate price for Bitcoin Cash in dollars would be approximately $298.925.

'Bitcoin Cash' Receiving More Support Ahead of Launch From Asian Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Another major South Korean exchange announced support for Bitcoin Cash (BCC) today. Seoul-based Korbit said in a blog post on Tumbr that all clients will get BCC at a ratio of 1:1 to their Bitcoin deposits at the time of the fork, which is scheduled for August 1.

And just like Bithumb, Korbit states that all clients will be able to trade BCC a few days after the fork, when the BCC chain is stable.

A similar attitude towards BCC was also adopted by Huobi, one of China's largest exchanges by volume. In today's statement, Huobi said its clients will automatically receive free BCC coins after the fork. Additionally, Huobi said that trading of BCC will commence after "another announcement around August 1,2017."

While many Asian exchanges have already expresses support for the new Bitcoin fork, European and American exchanges/services have not been so welcoming. Bitrefill, a service that enables clients to top up their prepaid phones with bitcoin, said today that BCC will not be supported:
"We don’t have any plans to support Bitcoin Cash as a currency. Our limited engineering resources are currently being prioritized to supporting SegWit and Lightning Network transactions once those things become available."
Bitrefill also said that any BCC in company possession after the fork will be sold off on exchanges and redistributed back to clients.