As we enter the fourth and last quarter of the year 2017, we reflect back on how far we have come. In the world of finance, digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are all the rage. Bitcoin and Ethereum lead the race with both being valued at $4593 and $303 respectively. With different countries, banks and individuals taking different stances on the matter, who is to say where this will all end up?
Recently, the People’s Bank of China induced a countrywide lockdown on the trading of cryptocurrencies. These digital commodities are feared to pose a threat to the current financial and monetary system. There are talks about the Chinese government launching its own state controlled cryptocurrency.
China has a history of this kind of interference in the lives of its citizens. It has its own internet and alternate applications for Uber, Whatsapp, Youtube and Facebook. The country has always believed in self-development rather than sharing concepts and ideas of the United States. Having their own digital currency will allow the Chinese government to closely monitor trade activity and prevent a nationwide collapse, if it comes to that.
A finance professor at NYU expressed his concern for the Chinese investors and traders. He went on to say: “They (the Chinese government) didn’t ban Bitcoin, but banned exchanges from trading for speculative purposes. It has a lot to do with problems in the Chinese financial system, that they’re worried about this as a competitive threat in some way.”
Yermack also said that the pessimist approach by the Chinese should be a sign for future investors who are indicating long term growth.
Japan, on the other hand, has given recognition to Bitcoin as an acceptable system of payments. Japan has always been more technologically forward than China when it comes to cars, tech and computers. The Japanese government introduced new regulation regarding all digital currencies.
India wasn’t far behind. Zebpay, which is the largest Bitcoin exchange in India, doubled its subscribers in less than 4 months, hitting a total number of one million users.
Sweden, Norway and Denmark aims to be the worlds’ first cash free societies. Previous reports indicate that almost 50% of Swedish banks do not store cash anymore. The entire country uses credit cards and a system of direct deposits and online banking to conduct their daily transactions. Bitcoin might be the next step for progress. The Chamber of Commerce of Denmark aims to get rid of cash completely by the year 2030 by shifting all transactions to computers and digital currencies.
The Malaysian Central bank follows suit with the Chinese government. Malaysia is the 4th largest economy in Southeast Asia. Its decision impacts all neighboring countries which includes Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) held its 9th International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing (ICFTF) 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. The conference’s primary concern was to deal with the present threats of financial crimes and the exploring the capacities of new technologies. Previously the officials were dismissive and saw digital currencies as a fad.