Hodler’s Digest, Aug. 12–18: BTC Premiums, Coinbase Blow, Binance Revival
Hong Kong and Argentina pay through the nose for Bitcoin, Binance could be back in the U.S. within months and Barclays cuts ties with Coinbase in the U.K.
Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Bitcoin (BTC) briefly veered back into four figures this week — reversing recent gains. It comes amid cooling tensions between the United States and China in their long-running trade war, with Washington deciding to delay the introduction of new tariffs that would have affected laptops and smartphones. Interestingly, crypto consumers in some parts of the world have ended up paying a premium for their Bitcoins in recent days. A report on Wednesday revealed that investors in Hong Kong were paying about $300 extra for BTC at the time — with pro-democracy protests and violent clashes with police creating political uncertainty. Over in Argentina, where the peso collapsed following the sitting president’s shocking defeat in primary elections, consumers on local exchanges were at one point paying out $420 more for their crypto than they would on major platforms.
More than 20 trading pairs vanished from Poloniex this week, with the California-based crypto exchange blaming their removal on low trading volumes. LTC/XMR, DASH/XMR, STEEM/ETH, GAS/ETH, LOOM/USDT and FOAM/USDC were among the pairings affected. Poloniex has stressed that each of these assets will remain independently tradable. This isn’t the first time that the American platform has streamlined its offering in recent months. Back in May, nine coins were delisted for its U.S. customers — Bytecoin (BCN), GameCredits (GAME) and Gas (GAS) among them — due to uncertain regulations.
Changpeng Zhao — or good ol’ CZ, for short — has predicted that Binance will be back in the business of operating crypto-to-fiat operations in the U.S. within two months. In an interview, the exchange’s CEO said: “I don’t want to promise any fixed dates, but there’s a lot of work being done and there’s a lot of things going on in flux, but I would say in a month or two.” June saw Binance temporarily restrict services in the U.S. as it worked to open a new division that would have the approval of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. CZ added that he is upbeat about the future of U.S. regulation — saying that the clear legal framework for traditional financial services shows that the environment for crypto will improve in time.
In news that could hit the crypto community hard, British banking giant Barclays has reportedly severed ties with the Coinbase exchange. For users in the United Kingdom, this could slow down the exchange of crypto for British pounds substantially. Until recently, Coinbase users were able to access the U.K.’s Faster Payments Scheme, but restrictions brought in last month meant they had to use SWIFT instead — an inferior system that takes days to complete a transfer. Spain’s Santander was also accused of joining the bank blockade against Coinbase this week, with British users complaining that they were struggling to deposit fiat funds. A U.K. spokesman denied this was the case, telling Cointelegraph: “We do not block payments to any legitimate company, however in certain circumstances we will refer payments for additional security checks, where we believe there may be a higher risk of fraud.”
The Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt, the much-anticipated U.S. platform for daily and monthly Bitcoin futures, has a launch date: Sept. 23. The company says it is full steam ahead on the service, and testing is now under way after it secured approval from regulators. Bakkt had initially announced plans to offer such a platform back in August 2018, but it suffered repeated delays because of compliance issues. The futures contracts are going to be provided through a partnership with Intercontinental Exchange Futures U.S. and International Exchange Clear U.S.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $10,134.51, Ether at $184.93 and XRP at $0.27. The total market cap is at $263,812,932,637.