Could the UAE and Saudi Arabia sign up for oil-backed cryptocurrency?

Crypto News: US regulators sound positive note on sector regulation
Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has called on all 14 OPEC nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, to develop a platform to trade oil-backed cryptocurrencies. Photo by Spencer PlattGetty Images
By Eddie Taylor
Wed 07 Feb 2018 08:32 AM

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has called on all 14 OPEC nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, to develop a platform to trade oil-backed cryptocurrencies.

Maduro proposed the plan in a meeting with Mohammed Barkindo, secretary general of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), on Tuesday. “I will officially send all the OPEC producers a proposal,” Maduro said.

The South American country is already in advanced stages of launching its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, whose public ICO will launch in March. It is hoped the coin can be used to pay taxes, fees and public services – and provide a stable alternative to the Bolívar.

US regulators offer cautious support for cryptocurrencies

Despite regulation and even outright bans starting to sweep through the cryptocurrency landscape, especially in Asia, the chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) offered hope that the US wouldn’t be following suit.

In written testimony presented to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, J Christopher Giancarlo advised a “do no harm” approach to regulations.

“With the proper balance of sound policy, regulatory oversight and private sector innovation, new technologies will allow American markets to evolve in responsible ways and continue to grow our economy and increase prosperity," he said, and that ignoring such innovation “will not make them go away, nor is it a responsible regulatory response."

He did, however, warn against ICO scams that are little better than Ponzi schemes, such as My Big Coin Pay Inc.

Bitcoin-based pension plan launched

Considering the wild swings in the market so far in 2018, trusting your retirement nest egg to cryptocurrency might seem a risk not many would be willing to take. However, a new crypto, called CoinIRA allows individuals to legally own Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and other digital currencies using tax-deferred funds from a retirement account – should anyone be so brave.

“The investor sets up a self-directed IRA, transfers money from an existing 401(k) or IRA account to the new IRA, then uses that money to purchase bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” says CoinIRA CEO Trevor Gerszt.

“Those cryptocurrencies are held by a custodian, preferably in cold storage so that the assets aren’t vulnerable to hackers.”

“Cryptocurrencies have tremendous long-term growth potential, as digital payments are the way of the future, so it’s only natural to think of cryptocurrencies as a possible retirement asset,” he added.

Miami mansion sells for 455 Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency trader Michael Komaransky just sold his seven-bedroom Miami mansion for 455 Bitcoin (around $3.5m) – the first major Bitcoin transaction for a residential property.

The sale completed in January, although the transfer of Bitcoin was incremental until it reached 80 percent of the asking price and the handover took place yesterday.

Komaransky wanted to accept Bitcoin to demonstrate that it could be used as a viable payment tool – although he might regret the timing considering 455 Bitcoin was worth $7.3m just a month ago.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.