From Facebook to forex, and some interesting developments in the iGaming industry- these are some of the industry news stories that caught our attention this week.
Crypto & Blockchain
Bitcoin smashes the $6000 mark- For the first time in six months, BTC has surpassed the $6000 threshold. After gradually rising over the last few weeks, at the time of writing it sits at $6054. The market capitalisation has also surpassed the $100 billion mark, with BTC dominating the market with a 56.8% market share. Bitcoin is now presenting a clear upwards trend and many are confident that prices will to continue to steadily climb, heading towards $6200 in the next week or so.
Binance loses $40 million to hackers– Whilst it has been a good week for Bitcoin, it has not been such a good week for the world’s largest exchange, Binance. Around 7000 BTC were stolen from Binance’s hot wallet, with a value of over $40 million. Whilst this is not one of the largest hacks in history, it is pretty significant. When the news broke, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao suggested he could reverse the transactions on the Bitcoin ledger, to retrieve the funds that were stolen. This suggestion was not received well as such an act could call into question the supposedly immutable nature of crypto and blockchain.
Fidelity Investments branch out into crypto-trading- One of the world’s largest asset management firms which holds over $2.4 trillion, Fidelity Investments has announced it will start offering crypto trading within weeks. Whilst the trading facility will only be offered to institutional investors, the move has been touted as a surefire sign that Wall Street’s appetite for trading crypto will grow.
Facebook to launch cryptocurrency– One of the biggest headlines of the week was the rumour that Facebook is set to launch its very own digital currency. Entitled “Project Libra”, the new currency is expected to be useful both inside and outside of the social media platform, and may also be related to users interacting with adverts. Facebook has over 2 billion regular users and the integration of crypto into a platform like this is expected to have a drastic impact on the global adoption of cryptocurrencies, leading to an increase in interest of other coins as well.
New ID checks for UK gamers– As from 7 May, the UK Gambling Commission has enforced new rules that state online gambling operators must ensure age and ID verifications are carried out properly. The LCCP rules are designed to protect underage gamblers from being able to access to online gambling sites.
Sweden and Gibraltar sign iGaming MoU– The Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspekionen and the Gibraltar Ministry of Commerce Gambling Division (GDD) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise cooperation agreements. They plan to work together on a number of matters as well as increase information sharing. Camila Rosenbe, Director General of Spelinspekionen said “by opening the communication channels between the authorities, we become stronger in our supervisory activities. The news comes after Sweden entered into a similar agreement with the Malta Gaming Authority earlier in the year.
Seven banks in hot water over forex rigging– A total of seven banks operating in the EU are due to be charged by EU antitrust regulators for rigging foreign exchange rates. Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS are all expected to have to pay a penalty, whilst Credit Suisse is going to fight the allegations. The investigation into the alleged rigging took place over six years and could see banks paying a fine of up to 10% of their global annual turnover for breaching the EU’s rules.
China’s forex reserves see a big drop– Foreign exchange reserves in China have dropped by $3.8 billion to $2.094 trillion at the end of April. The fall has been attributed to changes in asset prices and exchange rate fluctuations, as well as a decrease in the price of bonds according to Zhao Qingming from the China Financial Futures Exchange. Despite this drop, Chinese officials are insisting that the “overall forex reserve is stable” and that economic growth will continue.
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