The past 24 hours have seen a flurry of pretty important pieces of news in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency world, so it’s hard to focus just on one. Here are some of the top stories to think about today.
Facebook Bans Ads for Bitcoin and ICOs
Facebook has decided to ban ads that feature cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings (ICOs). The company claims that ads touting those products often engage in false or misleading claims, and thus they seek to protect consumers.
It’s an unfortunate step, as there are far more legitimate cryptocurrency businesses out there than fly-by-night operators. And with such a crowded field right now, advertising is the best way for new companies to get their name and brand recognition out there. Banning advertisements only benefits the existing incumbents who already have name recognition, while not really doing anything to help consumers.
It would have been far better for Facebook to launch a program vetting cryptocurrency advertisements rather than to institute an all-out ban. That would have benefited both consumers and businesses. We’ll have to see whether Facebook decides to drop or modify its ban if the company faces backlash.
South Korea Announces No Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Trading
South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-Yeon announced that South Korea had no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency markets. South Korea had been the object of “will they, won’t they” speculation in recent weeks, with rumors swirling that the government might try to ban cryptocurrency trading.
The government had recently raided several cryptocurrency exchanges after allegations of tax evasion, helping fuel rumors of a crackdown. And with China taking major steps to ban cryptocurrency activity, it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility for South Korea to try to do the same.
Kim’s comments should have a beneficial effect not only on South Korean cryptocurrency markets but on world Bitcoin markets as well, as South Korea remains a major player in Bitcoin markets. Maintaining that market should allow Bitcoin to continue to mature.
Huobi to Open US Office
Bitcoin exchange Huobi, formerly one the largest in the world, plans to open an office in San Francisco. Huobi was one of the exchanges affected by China’s crackdown on Bitcoin exchanges late last year. While many Bitcoin exchange operations moved to Hong Kong or to various offshore islands, Huobi’s plans to start operating in the US are very promising.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading destroyed the competitive edge that China had over other countries. There was always the possibility that those innovative Bitcoin companies would come to the United States, since US regulators have thus far treated Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a relatively light touch. Now it is finally coming to fruition. American Bitcoin customers and investors will benefit greatly from the enhanced competition that will result from Huobi’s entering the US market.