One of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) top policymakers is the latest in a host of leaders calling for regulation of digital currencies, Reuters reported. Cryptocurrencies — and the financial institutions that trade them — need to be more closely watched by regulators, ECB Executive Board Member Yves Mersch said. “Any virtual currency business of credit institutions needs to be rigorously supervised to ensure that risks emerging from such activities are contained,” Mersch said at an event. “Furthermore, given the risks posed by leverage, credit institutions should not accept virtual currencies as collateral (by banks),” he said.
In other cryptocurrency news, Binance is out of commission for temporary “system maintenance,” TheNextWeb reported. The company took to Twitter to announce the shutdown: “Due to an unforeseen slowdown in the speed of our data sync, we now estimate for all trading activity to resume at 2018/02/09 4AM (UTC). In the 30 minutes prior to the commencement of trading, users will be able to use utilize all other account related functions.” The loss of trading functionality has drawn the ire of users who believed that the exchange should have warned them of the shutdown ahead of time.
Over in Japan, regulators are seeking to raid cryptocurrency exchanges as soon as this week in the wake of the hack of Coincheck in which $531 million worth of digital coins were stolen, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The news comes as the Japanese government hopes that exchanges will strengthen security with increased oversight. While 32 companies operate cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan, only 16 are actually registered with the government due to a law that took effect in 2017. The government has allowed the other 16 exchanges to operate without registering because they existed before the law took effect.
And a congressional candidate in California is accepting donations through a novel medium — cryptocurrency. Brian Forde, who’s looking to unseat an incumbent in Orange County, CA, has accepted actual bitcoins from donors, Bloomberg reported. An investment bank CEO, Stan Miroshnik, donated 0.656 bitcoin to the campaign last summer. At the time, that amount equalled the FEC’s $2,700 limit on campaign contributions.
Across the country, a Connecticut lawmaker wants to impose a fee for cryptocurrency transactions that occur in the the state, Coindesk reported. Representative Patricia Dillon’s bill calls for “the general statutes be amended to establish a fee to transfer or trade virtual currency in this state.” But the proposed bill did not say how much that fee would be. Other lawmakers throughout the world have suggested similar measures: An ECB council member suggested that cryptocurrency transactions be subject to a value-added tax (VAT).