Today on Bitcoin This Week we comment on Expedia and their recent cancelation of Bitcoin as a payment method, the US Homeland Security seizures millions worth of Bitcoin in a massive operation and much more.
Polish Banks Denying Services to Crypto Industry
The Polish Bitcoin Association has demanded that the National Financial Regulatory Authority investigate fifteen banks it accuses of denying banking services to over fifty entities operating in the crypto-sphere. The Association, which called the actions of the banks “disgraceful”, also alleged that the accounts of 25 entities have been closed.
Poland’s fourth largest bank “MBank” was singled out as being particularly hostile towards the crypto industry, allegedly denying services to twelve companies. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has yet to confirm if it will investigate the complaints. Crypto exchanges are perfectly legal under Polish law, although companies have found themselves with little choice but to move to friendlier jurisdictions, as the difficulties in securing basic banking services have made it impossible to operate in Poland.
Jury is Out On Chinese Blockchain Ruling
A Chinese court has ruled that files stored on the Blockchain can be used as evidence in a manner similar to legally attested documents. The ruling, which was delivered by the Internet Court in the Hangzhou province, is thought to be the first time that the immutability of blockchain has been tested before a judge.
The case was taken by a local media company, which alleged a Shenzen competitor had breached copyright. It presented screenshots of documents it had stored with a Blockchain deposition company which, it claimed, authenticated the details in a manner similar to an affidavit. The question before the courts was whether these screenshots could be used in evidence. In affirming their validity, the judge commented that there was no reason why such technology couldn’t be used in evidence, on a case by case basis. The decision makes pleasant reading for blockchain enthusiasts. However, those hoping that it will replace lawyers in the near future should probably keep the champagne on ice for the time being.
Homeland Security Agents Infiltrate The Darkweb
The US Department of Justice revealed that its agents had infiltrated criminal gangs by posing as crypto traders on the Darkweb. In an operation that lasted over a year, Homeland Security Agents posed as a money launderer willing to trade US Dollars for virtual currencies. The sting, which also involved US Immigration, Postal, Drug Enforcement and Secret Service officials, has led to 90 open criminal cases around the country.
“Criminals who think that they are safe on the Darknet are wrong,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, before revealing that 35 Darknet vendors had been arrested, along with the seizure of $26.5 million worth of Bitcoin, Bitcoin mining equipment, gold bars, fiat currencies and illegal drugs. The success of the operation will give heart to investigators who have struggled to stem the tide of illegal substances surfacing from the murky underbelly of the secretive internet sub-sphere.
Expedia Cancels Crypto Payments
Holidaymakers were left feeling jet lagged this week with the confirmation that online travel booking platform Expedia has unceremoniously dropped Bitcoin as a payment method. The move was confirmed this week, although Expedia has actually been denying Bitcoin payments since the 8th of June.
There has been speculation that the recent suspension of Coinbase’s merchant tool was the reason behind the decision. Expedia had accepted Bitcoin as part of a partnership with Coinbase but has not followed other booking platforms\- such as CheapPay\- in sourcing new payment partners. The move clears the way for Bitcoin-haters, who will doubtless call this an example of the virtual currency’s unsuitability as a payment method.
BitCoin Fails to Steady After A June To Forget
There were fewer shocks on the markets this week, which will give some relief to traders who have seen the currency lose over $1500 since the start of June. Monday opened at $6171, after huge weekend losses. Those hoping for a quick recovery were disappointed with highs of just above $6000 mid-week and lows below the critical support level. However, better news followed at the weekend with a $500 increase on Saturday and it was in the green again on Sunday, seeing out the week trading for just under $6400. To see current prices click here.
Without any significant shocks to report this week, the Bitcoin market has rallied somewhat, although its Friday plunge wiped large amounts from the market. There was finally some good news too, with the announcement that Facebook has reversed its decision to ban crypto advertising, leading to a bounce-back in prices at the end of the week.