Another week has passed on the cryptocurrency and forex markets. Banks in the United Kingdom reportedly cut ties with Coinbase, and Plus500 revenues plummeted in the first half of 2019. Keep up to date with all this and more in our best of the week segment.
FATF’s new crypto surveillance system is fake news
This week, Finance Magnates reached out to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), after rumors swirled that 15 countries had teamed up with the agency to create a new system that would collect and share personal data.
However, as we revealed exclusively, there is no such task force being assembled. A spokesperson for the agency said that the FATF is not in the business of creating technological solutions; it merely “set standards and [promotes their] effective implementation.”
Plus500 revenues tumble 68% in H1 2019
This past week, Plus500 published its interim results for the first half of 2019. According to the company’s statement, its revenues declined by 68 percent from a year ago to $148 million. The figure is also lower by 42 percent when compared to the second half of 2018.
Following the weak results, the firm is committing to a new stock buyback program. The Israeli company is going to spend up to $50 million of its cash reserves to buy back its own stock. The company’s stock rallied nearly 20 percent following the news.
Ethical questions arise for companies abandoning blockchain
The next issue in our best of the week segment concerns blockchain. This week, Finance Magnates analyzed that as some companies abandon blockchain, more ethical questions are arising.
Take Israel-based blockchain startup Colu, which decided to eliminate blockchain and cryptocurrency from its business plan entirely, citing “regulatory and technical challenges.”
As Colu exits blockchain, Colu DLT, a subsidiary of the Colu Group will become “one of the first companies to voluntarily offer to purchase the entirety of tokens sold during an ICO, as blockchain project concludes.” But will the company buy the tokens back at the original price? What other issues does this make? Find out more here.
Banc de Binary reaches $300,000 settlement with CySEC
CySEC released a statement this week stating that it had reached a 300,000 euro ($335,408) settlement with former binary options broker Banc de Binary earlier this year.
As Finance Magnates reported, the Cypriot regulator accused the broker of infringing upon a number of different regulatory standards.
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Zenus Bank secures regulatory approval in the US
Zenus Bank, which was founded by Mushegh Tovmasyan, an ex-retail trading executive who held senior sales positions at Alpari before founding Divisa Capital, was awarded a license by US regulatory authorities this week.
Based in Puerto Rico, the challenger bank aims to solve a key financial inclusion challenge by enabling remote access to best in class global banking products and services for people around the world. Find out more about Zenus Bank here.
FX trading on the rise in Australia
Interest in OTC forex trading is growing among retail investors in Australia, according to Cathie Armour, Commissioner of the ASIC. Speaking at the ACI Redefining Conduct in FX Markets Seminar in Sydney, Armour noted that the number of retail clients trading OTC derivatives has doubled in the past two years.
During 2018, 675 million transactions were made for OTC derivatives. From this, 426 million, or more than 60 percent, were in forex products. This is significantly higher than the regulator’s previous review when there were only 165 million transactions in FX products.
Take a look at what else she said here.
Victim of Greek Madoff files appeal in the UK
A Ponzi scheme operating a couple of years ago run by George Daskaleas – dubbed the “Greek Madoff” – allegedly defrauded Greek investors by convincing them that he’d successfully been trading on the foreign exchange market.
What was interesting about this case was that victims claimed that the broker where the profits have been allegedly realized, confirmed the balances on the accounts of George Daskaleas and his company GStar FX Inc.
This week, there was a development to this story, as an appeal case was filed with the England and Wales Court of Appeal. According to the filing, the brokerage in question, IKON is once again listed as a defendant. What the claimants allege is that the company facilitated Daskales in his effort to attract investments into his company GStar FX.
UK banks turn away from Coinbase
In our final story for our best of the week segment, Coinbase received a bout of bad news, according to reports. First, it was reported that banking giant Barclays had cut its banking ties with Coinbase in the United Kingdom.
As Finance Magnates highlighted, this is impacting the UK-based clients of the crypto exchange as it has lost its access to the UK. Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), which enables instant deposits and transfers of the British pound. As a result, fiat deposits or withdrawals from the exchange for Coinbase UK customers are taking days to process.
On the same day, it was also reported that Santander UK ended their relationship with the major US-based crypto exchange, further tightening the noose. The news was first revealed by a post on Reddit.