It’s Never Been Harder to Mine Bitcoin as Hash Rate Hits New Highs

The mean hash rate of the Bitcoin (BTC) network has hit new all-time highs to mark the cryptocurrency’s latest technical achievement, fresh data suggests.

Compiled by monitoring resource Glassnode, a new analysis of Bitcoin’s historical hash rate shows that on Jan. 7, the mean value reached 119 quintillion hashes per second — its best ever at the time.

Bitcoin hash rate (1-day moving average) versus price

Bitcoin hash rate (1-day moving average) versus price. Source: Glassnode

Consensus on BTC hash rate record

Hash rate refers to the amount of computing power miners are using to validate the Bitcoin blockchain. The more power, the more notionally secure the blockchain is. A large hash rate can also be taken as a statement of the attractiveness of mining for participants.

Glassnode’s reading derives from the one-day moving average hash rate calculation. While the hash rate is impossible to measure exactly, the data supports other estimates showing the metric hit new records in recent weeks and months. 

As Cointelegraph reported, various statistics resources have confirmed the uptrend, with the highest reading approaching 150 quintillion hashes per second this week. 

Progress has been swift. According to Glassnode, the mean hash rate low of 36 quintillion hashes per second — which formed the basis for recent growth — occurred in late April 2019. 

Difficulty set for another 6% surge

This year, meanwhile, Bitcoin has already exhibited multiple signs a bullish transformation is once again underway. Alongside hash rate, commentators have highlighted increased trading activity among Bitcoin futures investors. 

Bitcoin mining difficulty

Bitcoin mining difficulty. Source: Blockchain.com

Mining difficulty, which had previously been in decline, is now increasing. Last week, the metric progressed 6%, while another 6-7% is on the cards at the next adjustment in nine days’ time. 

Anticipation has also been building around Bitcoin price action for the coming twelve months, with industry figures going on record to predict new all-time highs for BTC/USD before 2021.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Mind the Gap: Identifying and Trading 4 Different Bitcoin Chart Gaps

The talk of the crypto community in the past few months has been the gaps on the Bitcoin (BTC) CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) futures chart. Bitcoin trades 24/7 on major exchanges but does not trade on weekends on the CME. This often creates a gap, or empty space on the chart when trading resumes on the CME.

There is a famous saying in Physics: “nature abhors a vacuum.” This is a postulate attributed to Aristotle, who articulated a belief, later criticized by the atomism of Epicurus and Lucretius, that nature contains no vacuums because the denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill the rarity of an incipient void. People have expanded the concept to apply to many facets of life — including trading and technical analysis.

A gap is an unfilled space or interval on a chart, caused by sharp movement in either direction. In an upward trend, a gap is produced when the highest price of one candle is lower than the lowest price of the following candle. Conversely, in a downward trend, a gap occurs when the lowest price of any candle is higher than the highest price of the next candle.

Types of gaps

There are four types of gaps and they are traded in different manners. It is essential that investors be able to differentiate between them.

  • Breakaway gap — This gap is seen when price makes a strong directional move from an area of consolidation. It is particularly powerful for traders when combined with clear patterns on the chart like trading ranges and ascending and descending triangles. A breakaway gap with significant volume after the gap is a sign of a strong trend and is unlikely to be filled. A low volume move creating the space is more likely to see price returning to the area. Bottom line — breakaway gaps are less likely than other types to be filled.
  • Common gap — These are also known as area gaps, pattern gaps, and temporary gaps. These are the gaps that traders see most often in trading ranges and during sideways movement. They are often filled but offer very little information on what price is likely to do after this occurs. They rarely exist within a notable price pattern on the chart — they are simply areas where there was minimal trading that is likely to be filled.
  • Exhaustion gap — This type of gap is viewed as a signal that a trend is ending and that a new pattern or trend is likely. They occur near the end of a price pattern and signal a final attempt to hit new highs or lows. Exhaustion gaps generally occur in an area of rapid advance or decline, often on a large move straight up or down. They are normally preceded by a heavy volume spike and often foreshadow a “blow-off top” in an uptrend. These are the most likely gaps to be filled.
  • Measuring Gap — also known as a runaway gap or continuation gap these gaps occur in the middle of a price pattern and signal a rush of buyers or sellers who share a common belief in the underlying asset’s future direction. Measuring gaps do not occur during consolidation or in an area of congestion. They occur during a rapid price incline or decline. Runaway gaps are not normally filled for a considerable period of time, if ever.

A common mistake when trading gaps is confusing exhaustion and measuring gaps. This can cause an investor to position himself incorrectly and to miss significant gains during the last half of a major uptrend.

Keeping an eye on the volume can help to find the clue for discerning between measuring gap and exhaustion gap. Normally, noticeable heavy volume precedes the arrival of an exhaustion gap.

Exhaustion and measuring gaps predict moves in opposite directions, so it is essential to understand the difference. Also, it is important to note that once a gap starts to fill, it rarely stops — because there are no immediate areas of support and resistance within the gap.

The bottom line? Measuring gaps and breakaway gaps are far less likely to be filled than exhaustion and common gaps. Understanding the difference between the types of gaps can help traders and investors make money in every market.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the (@scottmelker) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Price Analysis Jan 17: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, BSV, LTC, EOS, BNB, ETC, TRX

The total crypto market capitalization has risen from about $190.5 billion at the start of the year to over $243 billion. That is a rise of about 27.55% within 17 days. This shows that the bulls are back in action. Another interesting thing to note is that the rally is led by altcoins, which are outperforming Bitcoin (BTC) by a huge margin. This shows that the current rally is more broad-based, announcing the arrival of altseason.

Venture capital firm Grayscale Investments reported that $225.5 million in investments flowed into its products in Q4 2019. That took the total investment inflow in 2019 to $607.7 million. 

The most encouraging sign was that 71% of the investments came from institutional investors, dominated by hedge funds. This shows that institutional investors have upped their stake in the asset class. 

Daily cryptocurrency market performance

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

The futures market gives a good insight into the sentiment of the larger players.  The CME group Bitcoin futures open interest has risen to 5,328 contracts. If the open interest maintains at the current level or increases further by the time of the monthly close, it will set a new record, and higher than the last one set in July 2019 at 5,252 contracts. Rising open interest with an increase in price is a positive sign, as it shows that the institutional players are confident that the rally will extend further. 

The price action on most major cryptocurrencies is showing signs of an up move. However, as the price is coming out of a long slump, it is likely to be a volatile ride up. Therefore, traders can swing trade the first leg of the up move for maximum benefits.

BTC/USD

After a minor correction of two days, Bitcoin (BTC) has resumed its up move. Its target remains $10,360.89. Though there is a minor resistance at $9,500, we expect it to be crossed. The 20-day EMA is sloping up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone, which suggests that bulls are in the driver’s seat.

BTC USD daily chart

BTC USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

In case of a correction, we anticipate the bulls to provide support at the 20-day EMA. Therefore, dips to the 20-day EMA can offer a buying opportunity for traders who want to add to their positions or establish fresh positions.

Our view will be invalidated if the BTC/USD pair turns down from the overhead resistance level and plummets below $7,856.76. Traders can hold their long positions with stops at $7,600.

ETH/USD

Ether (ETH) bounced off the immediate support at $157.50 on Jan. 16, which is a positive sign. This shows that the bulls are not waiting for a deeper correction to buy. The altcoin has reached the overhead resistance at $173.841, above which, a rally to $197.75 is possible.

ETH USD daily chart

ETH USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

We anticipate the bears to mount a stiff resistance at $197.75, hence, the traders can book partial profits on the remaining long positions close to $190.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the ETH/USD pair turns down from the current levels and plummets below the $157.60 to $151.829 support zone. For now, the traders can retain the stops at $150, which can be trailed higher after the pair scales above $173.841.

XRP/USD

XRP dipped to the neckline of the inverted head and shoulders (H&S) pattern on Jan. 16 but the bulls defended this level, which is a positive sign. If the price can now scale above $0.2454, it can move up to $0.31503. 

XRP USD daily chart

XRP USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

The traders who initiated long positions on our suggestion given in the previous analysis can maintain the stop loss at $0.1995.

Our bullish view will be negated if the bears defend the overhead resistance at $0.2454 and sink the XRP/USD pair below the neckline of the inverted H&S pattern.

BCH/USD

The bulls defended the dip to the $306.78 support levels on Jan. 16. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is currently attempting to rise above the overhead resistance at $360 once again. If successful, the altcoin can reach $423.40.

BCH USD daily chart

BCH USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

Both moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in overbought territory, which suggests that bulls are in command.

For now, the traders can retain the stops on the remaining long positions at $300. The stops can be trailed higher after the BCH/USD pair scales above $360. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears sink the pair below the critical support at $306.78.

BSV/USD

Bitcoin SV (BSV) has pulled back to just below the 50% Fibonacci retracement level of the recent leg of the rally from $115.75 to $458.74. This shows that the bulls are buying on dips. However, the bounce lacks strength, which points to consolidation for the next few days.

BSV USD daily chart

BSV USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

Attempts to move up will face selling from traders who are stuck at higher levels. Hence, we do not expect a new high within the next few days at least.

On the downside, if the bears sink the BSV/USD pair below $280, the fall can extend to $255.62, which is an important level to watch out for. The traders who have a small long position open after booking profits recently can trail the stops to $280.

LTC/USD

After a minor correction for the past couple of days, Litecoin (LTC) has resumed its up move. The next level to watch out for is $66.1486. We expect the bears to mount a defense of this level but if the bulls can scale it, the up move can extend to $80.2731. 

LTC USD daily chart

LTC USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

The traders can trail the stop loss on the remaining long positions to $54. If the price rises above $60.8452 but fails to scale above $66.1486, the stops can be tightened further.

Contrary to our assumption, if the price turns down from the current levels and breaks below $54.7278, the LTC/USD pair can dip to $50.

EOS/USD

EOS bounced off $3.5216 on Jan. 16 and is currently attempting to scale above the overhead resistance at $4.24. If successful, the altcoin can reach $4.8719. We anticipate the bears to defend this level aggressively. 

EOS USD daily chart

EOS USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

However, if the bulls fail to scale above $4.24, the EOS/USD pair might consolidate for a few days. A break below $3.50 will signal a deeper correction. Hence, the traders can keep the stop loss on the remaining long positions at $3.4. The stops can be trailed higher after the pair sustains above $4.24.

BNB/USD

Binance Coin (BNB) bounced off $16.31 on Jan. 16 and broke above the minor overhead resistance at $18.19. However, failure of the altcoin to sustain above $18.2 indicates that buying dries up at higher levels. 

BNB USD daily chart

BNB USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

If the bulls fail to sustain the price above $18.2, the BNB/USD pair might remain range-bound for a few days. 

Our view will be invalidated if the bears sink the price below $16. Below this level, a drop to the 20-day EMA and below it to $14.5201 is possible. Therefore, the traders can retain the stops on the long position at $15.90.

ETC/USD

Ethereum Classic (ETC) has risen into the top ten list of cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization. The altcoin rallied from a low of $5.46914 on Jan. 14 to a high of $12.04 today by press time, a gain of about 120% in a very short timespan. 

ETC USD daily chart

ETC USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

Traders who had initiated long positions on our earlier recommendation are sitting on huge profits. We anticipate the bears to defend the overhead resistance zone between $12 and $14. The RSI has reached extremely overbought levels. Hence, a few days of correction or consolidation is likely.

Therefore, traders can book profits on 50% of the position at the current levels and trail the remaining position with a close stop loss.

TRX/USD

The bulls have maintained Tron (TRX) above $0.0163957 for the past two days but have not been able to build on the gains. This shows a lack of urgency among the bulls to buy at higher levels.

TRX USD daily chart

TRX USD daily chart. Source: Tradingview

If the bulls can push the price above $0.0181864,  move to $0.020 and above it to $0.0234 is possible.

However, if the bulls fail to carry the price higher, the bears will again attempt to sink the TRX/USD pair below $0.0163957. If successful, a drop to $0.0146343 is possible. We do not find any attractive buy setups, hence, we remain neutral on the pair.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Canadian Regulator Issues New Guidance for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Canadian authorities have issued new guidance to determine which digital currency trading platforms fall under derivatives law.

The Canadian Securities Administration (CSA) explained new provisions in the “Guidance on the Application of Securities Legislation to Entities Facilitating the Trading of Crypto Assets” published on Jan. 16. 

In general, the agency drew a line between trading platforms that make an immediate delivery of a crypto assets to its users, and those that hold the transaction of crypto assets until the user makes a later request.

To what exchanges do securities laws apply?

Following an analysis of trading techniques on different platforms, the CSA concluded that some of them only provide their users with a contractual right or claim to a crypto asset, and do not immediately transfer it to a user. Such crypto trading platforms are subject to securities legislation, and thus fall under derivatives laws. The guidance detailed:

“Potentially, there will be ongoing reliance and dependence of the user on the Platform until the transfer to a user-controlled wallet is made. Until then, the user would not have ownership, possession and control of the crypto assets without reliance on the Platform. The user would be subject to ongoing exposure to insolvency risk (credit risk), fraud risk, performance risk and proficiency risk on the part of Platform.”

The CSA will not apply securities laws to crypto exchanges on which the underlying crypto asset is not a security or derivative, and crypto assets are delivered to a user immediately.

Canada’s crackdown on crypto

Previously, state and provincial securities regulators in the United States and Canada launched probes into potentially fraudulent crypto investment programs as part of the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA) “Operation Cryptosweep.” The initiative resulted in hundreds of investigations of initial coin offerings and crypto-related investment products.

In late December 2019, the NASAA said that cryptocurrency investment is among the top five investor threats for 2020. Commenting on the matter, the NASAA’s president Christopher Gerold said:

“It is important for investors to understand what they are investing in and who they are investing with. Don’t fall for promises of guaranteed high returns with little to no risk or deals pitched with a false sense of urgency or limited availability.”

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Tron to Include Zcash-Based Privacy Features, Announces Trusted Setup Ceremony

Tron (TRX) is set to feature zero knowledge-based privacy through the work of the TRONZ team. A trusted setup ceremony is set to be conducted soon, which Tron claims in a Jan. 17 blog post will “set a new Guinness World Record.”

TRONZ is a privacy initiative that is set to integrate Zk-SNARKs, the core privacy technology of Zcash (ZEC), in the Tron blockchain. While the team claims its implementation is the “most efficient, and least resource-consuming privacy protocol in the world,” no technical details were released.

Built with the “advancement of blockchain technology” in mind, the TRONZ team has allegedly “developed and tested the privacy protocol on the Tron network.” A mainnet release is set to occur soon, according to the post.

The goal of TRONZ is to introduce the privacy protocol to Tron smart contracts, allowing developers to introduce private data within them. In addition, the team wants to offer a blockchain-based Multi-Party Computation (MPC) solution for private computing needs.

The MPC technology will also be used to conduct the trusted setup ceremony, as it allows signers to safely participate in the creation of the parameters required for the setup. Inputs are split, and each single participant does not reveal his secret to others during the parameter generation event, which can alleviate many of the concerns of trusted setups.

The setup is set to be joined by over 200 people, and anyone can apply to be part of it.

Forked Zcash code

A look at the Tron GitHub page shows a variety of repositories directly “forked,” i.e. copied, from Zcash source code. The majority of the privacy-related repositories, such as tron-zksnark, zksnark-java-sdk, appear to have had no updates for several months. Tron’s version of librustzcash is in a similar position, save for a pull request to merge a recent code branch from Zcash.

Code for the MPC was also directly taken from Zcash. It appears that all of the changes made by the Tron team were on the readme file, with no structural changes present in the master branch save for those made by the Zcash team in 2018.

It is possible that the Tron team worked only on the original Tron repositories to integrate the privacy technology. However, the actual implementation of Zk-SNARKs appears to be almost entirely copied over from Zcash.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

New Hampshire’s Second Bill to Accept Bitcoin as Tax Payment Fails

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire state legislature have killed a bill that would have allowed state agencies to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for taxes. 

On Jan. 8, the New Hampshire House of Representatives announced a decision to retract the bill, following a motion from the General Court’s Executive Departments and Administration Committee to deem the initiative as “inexpedient to legislate.”

Bitcoin’s volatility was too high for state budgets 

According to public records, authorities considered the bill ineffective due to the high volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). If the bill was adopted, expenditures of the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) would have surged by an “indeterminable amount” in the fiscal year of 2020, the document reads:

“These changes would increase DRA expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2020, in anticipation of an implementation date of July 1, 2020.  DRA cannot estimate if any additional revenue would be generated due to the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The volatility of accepting cryptocurrencies could affect revenues due to tax assessments being generated in U.S. currency.”

A similar bill was introduced and deemed “inexpedient to legislate” back in 2015

Introduced in January 2019, the bill NH HB470 would have legalized tax payments in crypto starting from July 1, 2020. The bill was sponsored by Republicans Dennis Acton and Michael Yakubovich and originated from a similar bill that was first initiated in the state back in 2015. The older bill, HR552, was voted down 13–4 as “inexpedient to legislate” at the end of that year.

In November 2018, the state of Ohio was reported to become the first state to accept crypto for tax payments, initially allowing the option exclusively to businesses in the state. 

However, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague subsequently suspended the service in October 2019, claiming that the state needs to make sure that such initiatives were established in accordance with Ohio law.

Indeed, bills that would allow crypto holders to use Bitcoin to pay their taxes have seen little traction in state legislatures in the United States. In 2018, similar crypto tax-friendly bills introduced by Arizona, Illinois and Georgia ended up dead in committee, adjourned indefinitely, or vetoed by the governor, respectively. 

News source CoinTelegraph.com

CME Bitcoin Futures See Open Interest Surge as Global Volume Hits $25B

Bitcoin (BTC) derivatives trading looks set to reach record levels this month as volume spikes and open interest hovers near all-time highs.

Data from CME Group shows that as of Jan. 16, open interest for its futures products alone totaled 5,328 contracts — or 26,640 BTC ($237 million).

Open interest on track for record

The figure is higher than any monthly close CME has seen since it debuted in December 2017, with July 2019 currently in the lead with 5,252 contracts.

Open interest did surpass current levels earlier in January, reaching around 5,400 according to the latest data from United States regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, published on Jan. 7.

As Cointelegraph reported, futures offerings have received significant attention from both investors and commentators as new participants appeared to fuel a Bitcoin price rise in 2020. 

Bitcoin futures 1-month overall volume

Bitcoin futures 1-month overall volume. Source: Skew Markets/ Twitter

As BTC/USD accelerated towards $9,000 this week, overall futures trading volume likewise saw a significant uptick. According to unofficial data from monitoring resource Skew Markets, worldwide volume hit $25 billion — the most since late October. 

“I think that’s a strong signal indicating that we’re reversing now and probably have bottomed out,” regular Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe commented about the latest data.

2020 the year of “clear” institutional adoption

CME launched a new product in the form of options on Bitcoin futures earlier in January. The release came just days after competitor FTX did likewise.

The company said it considered the options a “success” as volumes reached 275 BTC by day two.

Catering to long-term demand from institutional investors has long been a preoccupation for cryptocurrency businesses. In its 2019 retrospective this week, venture capital giant Grayscale revealed annual investment totals of over $1 billion

A record for the firm, executives announced they now it was “clear” that the industry was seeing institutional adoption.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Bitcoin Price Already Up 25% in 2020 After Hitting $9,000

Bitcoin (BTC) hit $9,000 on Jan. 17 as technical metrics continued to break both local and all-time records. 

Cryptocurrency market daily overview

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

BTC clips $9,000 as traders lie in wait

Data from Coin360 and Cointelegraph Markets showed BTC/USD finally rising to the significant $9,000 boundary on Friday, following a bullish run-up overnight.

At press time, a slight retracement had sent the pair slightly lower to $8,900, with 24-hour returns still at 3% and weekly performance stronger at almost 16%. Bitcoin holders are currently sitting on monthly gains totaling almost 35%.

Bitcoin 1-day price chart

Bitcoin 1-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Now, however, attention is turning to shorter time frames. For regular Cointelegraph contributor filbfilb, despite Bitcoin’s bullish overall movements, the next close would be crucial in determining short-term trajectory. 

Specifically, if BTC/USD were to close below the bullish candle, which took it to current highs, the chance of a bearish reversal would be on the table. The price under such circumstances would then paint a so-called swing failure pattern, or SFP, which in turn may keep the pair lower.

“When price pierces above a key swing high but then closes back below that swing high, we have a potential bearish SFP,” he summarized in private comments to Cointelegraph.

In addition, the 200-day moving average, which has served as major resistance for the past two years, is also hovering around the low $9Ks. Thus, it will likely present a critical barrier for the bulls if a run-up to $10,000 is to occur. 

Bitcoin price vs. 200-day moving average, 2018-present

Bitcoin price vs. 200-day moving average, 2018-present. Source: Tradingview

Regardless, Bitcoin was exhibiting multiple trends to excite analysts as the week drew to a close. 

Hash rate, a measure of the computing power dedicated to validating the Bitcoin blockchain, hit a new all-time high on Thursday. While figures vary, monitoring resource Coin Dance put Bitcoin’s hash rate at 149 quintillion hashes per second.

Also making fresh progress was overall interest in Bitcoin, with data from Google Trends showing worldwide searches for the term “Bitcoin” at their highest since late October. 

Cointelegraph regularly reports on both hash rate and public awareness on Google Trends.

Ethereum Classic winning bet among altcoins

Altcoins continued their highly varied bullish price action as Bitcoin hit two-month highs. 

Out of the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap, it was Ethereum Classic (ETC) which led the charge on Friday, rising over 30% to $9.82.

Ethereum (ETH), the largest altcoin, meanwhile managed 6.5% to trade at $172.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Other solid performers were Chainlink (LINK) and Cosmos (ATOM), both of which delivered around 17% 24-hour gains. 

The overall cryptocurrency market cap was $245.6 billion, with Bitcoin’s share at 66%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Russia’s New Prime Minister Sets Course for Digital Economy

The Prime Minister of the Russian Federation has called on the country to prioritize the development of the digital economy.

As domestic news outlet RIA Novosti reported on Jan. 16, Mikhail Mishustin — who was confirmed in the position as the Prime Minister earlier today — noted some key priorities for his work and outlined the need for institutional reforms in Russia.

Mishustin said that the country should implement modern information technologies, including the development of a national digital economy program, adding:

“The state should become a digital platform that is created for people.”

Mishustin gave his statement after the government and Russia’s former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that they were resigning. The decision was taken amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message to the Federal Assembly, in which he outlined a number of fundamental changes to the country’s constitution. 

Blockchain plays an important role with major firms in Russia 

Major Russian firms, including some in which the state holds a significant stake, are beginning to test and apply blockchain tech to various aspects of their operations.

Last December, Russia’s national energy grid operator Rosetti began testing a blockchain solution for payments in the retail electricity sector to automate and make transactions between energy producers, suppliers and consumers more transparent.

In November of last year, Russia’s largest bank, the majority state-owned Sberbank, pioneered a blockchain solution for repurchase agreements. The bank had been awarded a patent for the solution, which uses smart contract technology to automate repo transactions between parties.

Major players in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space have also praised Russia’s role in the industry’s development. Last year, the CEO of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, praised the programming talent coming out of the country and named Putin as the most influential person in the blockchain industry.

Russia still lacks clear standards for crypto

Meanwhile, digital currencies still do not have solid legal ground to stand on in Russia. There have been numerous attempts to define cryptocurrencies legally over the past years. At different times, Russian lawmakers have been urged to introduce a regulatory framework by President Putin (twice), the local Supreme Arbitration Court and the Financial Action Task Force.

In May 2018, the crypto bill titled “On Digital Financial Assets” was passed by the Russian parliament but was soon sent back to a first reading due to a lack of definitions for key concepts, such as crypto mining, cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Ban on crypto and confiscation of Bitcoin

Moreover, in November of 2019, news broke that Russia was allegedly preparing a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services. The press department of Russia’s central bank commented on the issue: “If a decision is made to ban cryptocurrencies as a means of payment at the level of legislation, we consider it appropriate to support this position.”

That same month, Cointelegraph reported that Russia was allegedly planning to create legal statutes allowing the police to achieve the impossible: the confiscation of Bitcoin (BTC).

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Binance Exchange to Restrict Access to Japan Residents

In a Jan. 15 announcement on Binance’s Japanese support website, the exchange revealed it would restrict access to residents of Japan at an unspecified later date.

The restriction is said to be implemented gradually, with details to be revealed later, according to the announcement.

Currently, there are no restrictions in place and Japanese users are able to operate the exchange normally. 

Binance was previously headquartered in Japan after exiting China. As Cointelegraph reported in March 2018, the exchange moved its operations to Malta following an official warning by Japanese regulators due to its lack of a national exchange license.

Several exchanges have since registered with the regulator. Binance rival Huobi had obtained the license in January 2019, while Japanese corporation LINE’s BitBox exchange secured it in September.

It is possible that Binance encountered similar regulatory difficulties despite not legally residing in the country. Crypto exchange Kraken ceased to provide services to Japanese residents in April 2018, admittedly citing rising costs of doing business — potentially due to the licensing requirement.

Cointelegraph’s inquiries on the matter to Binance were not immediately answered. The story will be updated as more information is received.

News source CoinTelegraph.com