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PBoC Governor Blasts ‘Explosive’ Cryptocurrency Speculation


The governor of China’s central bank struck a critical tone on cryptocurrency speculation during a media appearance on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference amid the Two Sessions, China’s annual political event, People’s Bank of China (PBoC) governor Zhou Xiaochuan took aim at cryptocurrency projects that have shifted away from their purported use cases in favor of promoting what is essentially market speculating.

“Lots of cryptocurrencies have seen explosive growth which can bring significant negative impact on consumers and retail investors,” Zhou said. “We don’t like (cryptocurrency) products that make huge opportunity for speculation that gives people the illusion of getting rich overnight.”

The comment may signal an increasing level of scrutiny down the road by the PBoC over initial coin offerings and trading services that are still available for domestic investors, even after regulators issued a ban on ICOs and essentially pushed fiat-to-crypto exchanges out of the domestic market.

It also follows recent measures reportedly taken by Chinese regulators to block social media channels offered by cryptocurrency exchanges that still provide trading services in the country.

That said, the central bank still holds what appears to be a positive view on blockchain development, and projects trying to bring genuine services to consumers. That position is also in line with the PBoC’s efforts to study applications of the tech through its digital currency research lab.

On Friday, Zhou called for those behind such efforts to be cautious – and not to grow too fast.

“For blockchain projects with technological potentials, they should conduct thorough testing before rolling out services. Otherwise, a reckless expansion may incur serious security and financial stability issues,” Zhou said.

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US Congress to Discuss ICOs in Hearing Next Week


A subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee is set to hold a hearing next week on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

A notice posted on the committee’s website states that the Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment Subcommittee hearing – entitled “Examining the Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets” – is scheduled for March 14 at 10 a.m. EST.

Speaking to CoinDesk on the sidelines of this week’s DC Blockchain Summit, U.S. Representative Tom Emmer – a member of the subcommittee – suggested that the hearing would largely be educational in nature, aimed at providing members with more information about the market for cryptocurrencies and token sales.

He also indicated that, amongst Financial Services Committee members, there’s a growing interest in learning more about the subject and the implications of the tech’s use in areas like remittances.

The hearing represents the latest Congressional foray into the world of cryptocurrencies, coming more than a month after the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a major hearing on the topic that included testimony from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. At that hearing, the two notably indicated that their respective agencies could ultimately seek additional oversight powers over the market.

As of press time, no further details have been published regarding the hearing. An agenda outlining the scope of the hearing, as well as who is set to appear as witnesses, is forthcoming, officials said.

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Poll Suggests Young Romanians Want to Pay with Crypto


17 Percent of Romanians Plan to Buy Cryptocurrency Soon

Poll Suggests Young Romanians Want to Pay with CryptoAccording to the poll, 57 percent of Romanians in urban areas have heard of cryptos. Almost a third of them believe that they are the currencies of the future. 17 percent of the respondents admit they are planning to acquire digital coins within a year. Another 8 percent say they have already bought cryptocurrencies in the past 12 months.

“The fast development of the digital environment is pushing the limits in almost every field. It is not surprising that a payment instrument, which doesn’t know geographical borders, is becoming increasingly popular”, said Traian Nastase, managing partner of Isense Solutions – the company that conducted the study. The poll confirms that Romanians have started to become familiar with the term cryptocurrency. They want to keep up with the trends and take advantage of the opportunities generated by new technologies, he added.

Nastase also noted that cryptocurrencies remain a sensitive topic, as there is a very low degree of regulation in the market. “That is why any communication in that direction should be based on significant efforts to correctly educate and inform consumers”, the Isense representative said, quoted by local media.

More than a Third of the Respondents Have Trust in Cryptos

The survey shows many of those who are familiar with cryptocurrencies want to use them as means of payment – 44 percent. At the same time, 35 percent say they have trust in them. The poll was conducted among 500 internet users from urban areas, aged 18 – 65, who participated in the Research Romania panel.

Young Romanians are more enthusiastic about cryptocurrencies. A total of 61 percent of the respondents under the age of 40 believe that digital coins represent the future of payments. 44 percent have trust in cryptocurrencies and half of them want to be able to pay with crypto. 22% say they intend to purchase at least one coin in the next 12 months.

Poll Suggests Young Romanians Want to Pay with Crypto

The study also measures the popularity of different cryptocurrencies among Romanians. More than half of people living in the cities have heard about bitcoin, and 19 percent know about bitcoin cash. Ethereum (11 percent), Litecoin (10 percent), and Ethereum Classic (7 percent) complete the top 5.

Romania, like other countries in Southeast Europe, is a tech-savvy nation and the willingness of its citizens to embrace cryptocurrencies is no surprise. The country offers some opportunities for crypto-related businesses. With electricity rates of less than $0.14 per kWh, it welcomes miners relocating from places with toughening regulations and increasing expenses. Recently, a Canadian-based company announced an investment to build a wind-powered crypto mining facility in Eastern Romania.

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Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in Korea


Bithumb’s New Venture

Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in KoreaOne of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, announced on Wednesday that it is introducing the “Touch B” brand and entering into the kiosk business. Describing a kiosk as an unmanned order and payment system, Yonhap elaborated:

Bithumb has agreed to supply kiosks to food and beverage franchise stores, small restaurants, and cafes under the brand Touch B, in partnership with kiosk manufacturers.

Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in Korea“The entry into the kiosk business is meaningful to provide substantial benefits and low-cost rents to small business owners,” Bithumb was quoted by Zdnet Korea. “We will continue to work in various industries based on the blockchain technology…to provide total solutions for small businesses through our partnership.”

Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in Korea

The Kiosk Culture in Korea

Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in Korea
Tros Systems’ kiosks for food ordering.

In South Korea, ordering food using kiosks is popular. Bithumb partnered with several kiosk manufacturers in February including Unos Pay, Tros Systems, and I’m U “to supply kiosks optimized for small businesses that operate food and beverage franchises, small restaurants, and cafes,” the publication detailed.

Furthermore, the exchange plans to charge a rental fee that is 10% below the industry rate for kiosks. “This will help SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] reduce costs, increase sales and provide efficient store operations,” the publication described, adding that:

The kiosk is a multimedia device that combines touch screen, graphics and communication functions. It is an unmanned information guidance system that provides efficient information to users…and simplified payment.

Bithumb Launching Kiosks at Restaurants for Food Orders and Crypto Payments in Korea
Mcdonald’s kiosks in South Korea.

Bithumb also plans for the kiosks to take cryptocurrency as one of the payment options. The exchange believes that the kiosk business will create a synergy among all of its offerings.

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