Despite billions being wiped off the value of the cryptocurrency market in the first few days of February, Ripple Technologies offered some welcome good news.
The company announced that it had signed up one of its biggest clients yet, Spanish banking giants Santander, who will be using Ripple’s blockchain xCurrent to facilitate its Apple Pay app.
The app, which will soon be available in Spain, Brazil, the UK and Poland, will offer same-day cross-border payments in under a minute and also provide a digital wallet.
Customers of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup will no longer be able to use their credit cards to buy cryptocurrency following new rules issued last week. Citing the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, the banks will no longer process credit-card payments to currency exchanges – although debit cards won’t be affected.
The banks are worried that people will be borrowing more than they can afford to repay by speculating with the likes of Bitcoin and Ripple – and that the banks will have little recourse to recoup any lost money.
Last Thursday’s budget speech in India by finance minister Arun Jaitley was seen as one of the triggers of the Friday sell-off in cryptocurrencies.
In the address, he said that the government “does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system”, which was seen as a precursor to an imminent ban.
However, Jaitley subsequently clarified his comments, saying to CNN that they are merely “discouraging people from using it now” and that a committee looking into it “will announce their decisions and next steps after they are done”.
New regulations – and even just the threat of them – in territories like China and South Korea sparked major sell-offs in the second half of 2017.
A new blockchain ETF is set to launch on the Toronto Stock Exchange this after the Ontario Securities Commission approved the fund. Run by Harvest Portfolios, the Blockchain Technologies ETF (ticker: HBLK) will offer Canadian investors the chance to buy into the blockchain technology sector, with investments in equities related the development and implementation of blockchain.
Two other Canadian companies, First Trust Portfolios Canada and Evolve Funds Group Inc., are also seeking to launch blockchain funds.
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