While investors are worried that the price of bitcoin might be artificially held high, a head of a cryptocurrency firm is not concerned, CNBC reported. Until the market matures, cryptocurrency price manipulation is "unavoidable,” according to NEM President Lon Wong. "Price manipulation is not something new," Wong told CNBC. "You see it in mainstream markets as well. We are in a very nascent, growing phase of our industry and these things are unavoidable."
And new automated teller machines (ATM) in New England will make it easier for people to buy and sell their bitcoin, Finextra reported. Coinsource, the world’s largest bitcoin ATM network, has rolled out 10 new machines in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The news comes as merchants in the region have begun allowing their customers to pay in bitcoin.
In news from more traditional cryptocurrency exchanges, the founder of a top crypto exchange predicts that the entire market for digital coins will reach a value of $1 trillion in 2018, CNBC reported. Kraken CEO and founder Jesse Powell sees an “acceleration” of growth, even though cryptocurrencies have declined in recent weeks. "You've got a lot more kids graduating from crypto programs at universities now,” Powell said. “I think we're just going to see it continue exponentially from here."
But that news comes as a bank in India has banned customers from using its cards to buy cryptocurrencies, India Times reported. Citi India’s decision follows concerns over economic, legal and security matters, among others. The bank informed customers of its decision in the following message: "Citi India has decided to not permit usage of its credit and debit cards towards purchase or trading of such bitcoins, cryptocurrencies and virtual currencies.”
And while some want more cryptocurrency regulation, it may not come from the European Central Bank (ECB), Reuters reported. ECB President Mario Draghi said it’s not the ECB’s job to regulate digital coins. “Many of you posted questions about whether the ECB is going to ban bitcoins or it’s going to regulate bitcoins,” Draghi said on Tuesday (Feb. 13). “I have to say it’s not the ECB’s responsibility to do that.”
In China, fans of a Chinese boy band have taken the unusual step of forming an initial coin offering (ICO), Coindesk reported. They have created a token called TFBC – named after their idols, The Fighting Boys – which could be used for buying albums, tickets and chances to meet the band off-line. Despite their dedication to the band, some have questioned whether the project is legitimate.
And surprising news out of Iceland: The country may be expending more energy on mining bitcoin than powering its own homes, the South China Morning Post reported. A representative of Icelandic energy company HS Orka told the BBC that bitcoin mining operations use 840 gigawatt hours each year, in comparison to a home’s typical use of only 700 gigawatt hours.
In Japan, a cryptocurrency exchange that is still reeling from a massive hack is facing pressure from the Japanese government to increase its security standards, Reuters reported. The Financial Services Agency is mandating that Coincheck strengthen its security and provide a report of the steps it would take to ensure another theft does not occur. Customers withdrew just over 40.1 billion yen on Tuesday (Feb. 13), which equates to more than $370 million.