Fake PBoC Digital Currency Project Has Chinese Regulators Concerned

Most cryptocurrency users are well aware of what the PBoC aims to achieve. More specifically, the financial institution is looking to issue a national digital currency. It appears this plan will not come to fruition soon, though. What is worrisome is how a promotion of a fake PBOC-based digital currency gains a lot of momentum right now. These products are not authorized by the People’s Bank of China by any means.

Big projects often get copied by people with criminal intent. This is especially true when banks or governments are involved. A new project claims a digital currency backed by the PBoC is being issued right now. That is anything but the case, as the institution has no plans to do so anytime soon. However, this scam claims investors can buy digital currency right now. The People’s Bank of China has issued a nationwide warning about this fake project already.

PBoC Is not Backing Any Digital Currency Projects

The People’s Bank of China has not yet issued a digital currency. Nor have they authorized any institution to do so. One particular unnamed currency claims to have the support of the PBoC, which is not the case. It is evident this is a scheme to defraud potential investors. It is unclear who is behind this fake project, though. Anyone who comes across this project needs to avoid it and report it to the appropriate parties.

It is evident the Chinese market is awaiting Bitcoin regulation. Until this regulation goes into effect, projects like this will pop up left, right, and center. Bitcoin and outcomes are gaining a lot of popularity right now. It only makes sense for China to issue its own digital currency moving forward. It is unclear when this will happen, though. For now, the institution has not commented

Russia and China May Digitize Their Currencies With Ethereum

An increasing number of central banks and governments are working on digitizing their national currencies. China and Russia are investigating the potential of Ethereum as the base protocol for a digital Yuan and Ruble respectively.

Currently, the Royal Chinese Mint, the subordinate unit of China Banknote Printing and Minting, is testing Ethereum and its ERC 20 token standard to digitize the renminbi (RMB) or the Chinese yuan. As ConsenSys’ head of global business development Andrew Keys revealed in his blog post, the Royal Chinese Mint is at the forefront of research and exploration into digital money.

By utilizing the ERC 20 token standard, the Royal Chinese Mint is essentially considering the possibility of releasing unique tokens that are compatible with the Ethereum network; an Ethereum-compatible token would grant higher liquidity and interoperability.

The Royal Chinese Mint is currently “concentrating on the research and exploration of the forefront of digital money, taking part widely in innovation and practice in the fields such as digital currency, mobile finance, smart-city construction and Internet-based finance; it also actively promotes the application of blockchain technology in finance and related fields,” wrote Keys.

Apart from the Chinese government, Russia is also looking into Ethereum and its potential in the finance sector. Although technical specifications and details of the Russian central bank’s national digital currency project remains undisclosed, in 2016, the Bank of Russia announced the development of an Ethereum-based interbank blockchain prototype called Masterchain. Some of the largest commercial banks in Russia participated in the pilot test, and the Bank of Russia’s Deputy Governor recently expressed her optimism toward cryptocurrency.

“Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future. Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects, we will understand what system we could use

U.K. Broker Hargreaves Lansdown to Offer Bitcoin Investment to its Customers

Britain’s largest brokerage firm, Hargreaves Lansdown, announced that it would provide its clients with the opportunity to invest in bitcoin by listing XBT Provider’s Bitcoin ETN (exchange traded note) on its online trading platform.

London-based Hargreaves Lansdown was founded in 1981 and has grown into Britain’s largest brokerage firm with over 875,000 customers and £70 billion ($90.27 billion) of assets under administration. The idea to provide its customers with the opportunity to gain investment exposure to the digital currency bitcoin sprung out of investor interest.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s Head of Communications, Danny Cox, stated:

“We have seen a handful of clients asking for the [bitcoin] ETN, so it’s not purely driven by a provider wanting to be listed [on Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform]. We are making it available to self-select investors in the same way we offer access to around 3,000 other exchange-traded funds, notes, and commodities.”

The bitcoin ETN provided by Sweden-based XBT Provider is listed on the Nasdaq Nordic exchange in Stockholm and comes in two formats; the Bitcoin Tracker One (COINXBT SS), and the Bitcoin Tracker Euro (COINXBE SS), which are denominated in Swedish krona and euros respectively.

According to the XBT ETN fact sheet, “the Certificates are non-equity linked securities which synthetically track the performance of the price of bitcoin less a fee.” That means that the exchange traded note is structured in a way that it tracks the price of bitcoin (in US dollars) but does so in euros or krona minus a fee. That also means that UK investors who purchase the bitcoin ETN will not only be exposed to the fluctuations in bitcoin but also those of the US dollar to either the euro or the krona depending on the ETN the investor buys. XBT ETN holders will face a fee of 2.5

Bitcoin May Become the Main Currency for Palestinians

Bitcoin or a ‘Palestinian Pound,’ a digital currency inspired by Satoshi Nakamoto’s innovation, could potentially be used to propel the independence and financial sovereignty of Palestine, as Azzam Shawwa announced at a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development meeting over May 9-11.

The unstable political and socio-economic situation in the Middle East has been a hindrance to the empowerment of Palestinians for many years. Palestinians have been forced to use several currencies in order to access wealth and be able to pay for services. Since they do not have any currency of their own they are required to use the euro, or the U.S. dollar, the Israeli shekel or the Jordanian dinar in their daily lives. This, of course, is not a viable economic option. However, bitcoin might solve this and become a game changer for Palestinians.

Reuters recently revealed that Palestinian officials could soon start developing its own digital-only currency, or even adopt bitcoin as its national currency. According to the head of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), this is considered to be a move designed to safeguard against potential Israeli interference. Other options, such as keeping the status quo of using four currencies, or formally adopting one of them are also under consideration but according to the PMA representative said the digital route was the preferred one.

But it is unclear how the planned e-pound would skirt the 1994 Paris Protocol agreement which gave the PMA the functions of a central bank but without the ability to issue currency. The protocol recommended the use of the shekel and gave Israel an effective veto over a Palestinian currency.

The agreement and resulting violence lead to a restriction on the freedom of movement of people within the territory. Consequently, Palestinian Territories are very vulnerable to “fluctuations in the flow of

Australia Sets Out to Improve Regulatory Framework for Bitcoin and Fintech

The Australian government has released a statement called ‘Response to The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Business Set-up, Transfer, and Closure’ detailing its plans to make changes to its regulations on blockchain and cryptocurrencies as well as creating a better working environment for fintech innovation in the country. These changes are now being implemented through the 2016/2017 national budget.

In the paper, the government has provided details on its stance on double taxation on bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) moving forward with its promise to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on bitcoin payments. Also, new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulations with regard to digital currencies have been proposed. The government believes that its new proposed regulations will allow the digital currency ecosystem to flourish in Australia.

Through a summary of the 2016/2017 budget released on May 3, the government also elaborated on its plans to create a “regulatory sandbox” to spur on innovation in the fintech sector. Working in collaboration with Australia’s FinTech Advisory Group, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will set the plan into motion.

Lastly, the government will test the viability of blockchain solutions in both the public and private sector through Data61, which is part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Bitcoin Regulation in Australia

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with similar characteristics are considered a form of barter.

“Transacting with bitcoins is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. The ATO’s view is that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes. Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.”

In other words, when making payments for goods and services

Could Brexit Force Further Fintech and Cryptocurrency Innovation in the UK?

The United Kingdom has relied on its financial services industry to drive economic growth for decades. However, in light of the British population’s vote to leave the European Union and, thereby, potentially lose the access to the European Single Market, the UK’s status as Europe’s leading financial hub may wane. Is this for better or for worse regarding the crypto scene in the UK?

After surprising results of the ‘Brexit’ referendum in June 2016, several international London-based banks announced plans to move a significant part of their operations to mainland Europe to ensure future access to the European market.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced that in light of the uncertainty surrounding Britain leaving the European Union that it will move hundreds of staff to offices in Paris and Frankfurt as part of their Brexit contingency plans, which will now be executed as Article 50 was triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May on March 29. The American bank, however, is not the only financial institution that is relocating operations out of London.

London-headquartered HSBC intends to move 1,000 individuals from London to their Paris office within the next two years, while Swiss banking institutions UBS stated it could move as many as 5,000 employees to offices in Europe. US banks Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are also among the banks that will move staff out of London in light of the UK leaving the EU.

The primary reason for international banks relocating their key operations out of London and into the borders of the European Union is to prevent the banks from losing access to the Single European Market. The uncertainty stemming from the upcoming ‘Brexit” negotiations that will determine the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union also includes uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future access to the Single European Market. Should