Bitcoin news roundup, February 5, 2017


This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Fidelity Charitable revealed it received $7 million in bitcoin donations last year

Fidelity Charitable, an independent American charity, recently announced bitcoiners donated the equivalent of over $7 million in 2016. The organization gave people the option to donate in bitcoin back in November 2015, hoping the move would provide the organization a new way to engage with its donor network. The results seem to show it did, and show that accepting bitcoin can be beneficial for every organization out there: not just for-profit businesses. Other non-profit organizations, such as the Wikimedia Foundation, have also been successful accepting bitcoin in the past.

The IRS is attempting to delay a hearing in its data dispute with Coinbase

Documents brought by CoinDesk show that the IRS is now trying to delay a hearing in its data dispute with Coinbase. According to a stipulation and proposed order filed in the US District Court of the Northern District of California, IRS attorneys asked to delay a hearing that was to take place on the February 16. The IRS’s argument is that it is considering whether to take additional action, and whether the hearing is necessary. It is to be delayed until March 23.

World affairs:

Europe may start limiting cash and cryptocurrency payments

According to an impact assessment published by the European Commission, cash and cryptocurrency payments may soon face restrictions. Critics believe cash payments promote anonymity when transacting and, as such, restrictions may be applied in order to “fight criminal activities entailing large payment transactions by organized criminal networks”. The proposal may extend to cryptocurrencies as it is believed these may be used by terrorist organizations to conceal transfers. The European Commission’s document reads: “In view of the development of cryptocurrencies and the existence of other means of payments ensuring anonymity, an option could be to extend the restrictions to cash payments to all payments ensuring anonymity (cryptocurrencies, payment in kinds, etc.).”.

Number of bitcoin-accepting merchants in Japan expected to quintuple in 2017

CrytpoCoinsNews pointed out the number of bitcoin-accepting merchants in Japan was above 4,200 by the end of 2016. This is quadruple the amount of 2015, and according to a report by Nikkel, the number of merchants that could accept bitcoin this year should go as high as 20,000, as ResuPress has recently launched Japan’s first electric utility service accepting the cryptocurrency, which may soon expand into gas and water. Moreover, Japan is to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which means more merchants in the country will want to cater to foreigners attempting to pay them in bitcoin.

Switzerland wants to reduce Fintech Market entry barriers

Switzerland’s Federal Council recently began consulting amendments in order to create new Fintech regulations that will make it easier for blockchain and bitcoin startups to enter the country and try out their business models with more certainty. The goal of the move is to enhance the Swiss financial center’s competitiveness. This may be achieved through the creation of a “sandbox” where Fintech firms can accept up to $1,01 million in funds before being classified as operating on a commercial basis, or by simplifying requirements relative to the country’s current banking license, among other measures.

India’s central bank cautioned the public against bitcoin – again

A public release by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, has reaffirmed it has not authorized the use of any virtual currencies among companies or individuals, meaning those who choose to use currencies like bitcoin are doing so at their own risk. The statement is reiterating one that had been previously issued in 2013, which means that even though years have passed, RBI still sees bitcoin the same way it did in 2013. The statement reads: “The Reserve Bank of India advises that it has not given any licence / authorization to any entity / company to operate such schemes or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency. As such, any user, holder, investor, trader etc., dealing with virtual currencies will be doing so at their own risk.”

Speaking to CryptoCoinsNews, Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of UnoCoin, a leading bitcoin exchange in India, said RBI did not contact the exchange in order to lay out groundwork to regulate bitcoin exchanges in the country.


Bitcoin at $1011, as President Trump’s actions create a significant backlash

President Donald Trump has been making a few controversial moves that caused significant reactions throughout the United States. The backlash may have caused people to hedge using bitcoin, driving up its value. Moreover, the People’s Bank of China’s involvement in the bitcoin trading business in the country made trading volume go down, but trader found a solution by moving to no-fee markets. At the time of press, one bitcoin is worth $1011 on Bitstamp.

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