Some users in the occupied Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are turning to crypto dealers to buy bitcoin to purchase investments abroad.
Since Palestinians cannot send money directly to online crypto exchanges because none work with local banks, locals rely on dealers to act as “liquidity gateways.”
Ahmed Ismail, a financial analyst in Gaza, said there are at least 20 unofficial “exchange” offices in the region dealing cryptocurrency to locals. And one currency dealer in Gaza told CoinDesk that over the past four years he helped up to 50 families a month purchase an average of $500 worth of bitcoin each to send money abroad or shop online.
“Bitcoin, in their opinion, is cheaper, safer, and quicker,” he said. “Nothing works with Palestinian banks. Bitcoin wallets are alternative banks.”
In other news, CoinDesk reported that the $1 billion blockchain fund backed by the Chinese city of Hangzhou’s government is getting ready to roll out a Japanese yen-pegged stablecoin.
Yao Yongjie, one of the founding partners of the Xiong’An (Grandshores) Blockchain Fund, revealed that plans are already underway, with the stablecoin expected to launch by the end of this year or early 2019. Grandshores Technology – also chaired by Yao – is planning to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) to help finance the project.
The New York State Attorney General’s office has just released a 32-page report that says cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to market manipulation, but aren’t doing much to protect consumers.
“The industry has yet to implement serious market surveillance capacities, akin to those of traditional trading venues, to detect and punish suspicious trading activity,” according to the report by Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office.
The report added that exchanges like Kraken, Binance and Gate.io do not have the required license, known as a BitLicense. As a result, Underwood’s office has referred all three exchanges to the New York Department of Financial Services for possible violation of digital-currency regulations after each refused to provide information requested by the state.
“New Yorkers deserve basic transparency and accountability when they invest – whether on the New York Stock Exchange or on a cryptocurrency platform,” Underwood said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “Many virtual currency platforms lack the necessary policies and procedures to ensure the fairness, integrity and security of their exchanges.”
Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, while Kraken is 14th and Gate.io ranks 27th.
And High Times is no longer accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option as it looks to raise $50 million from accredited investors for an initial public offering.
While the publication had said that it would accept bitcoin as a payment method for the fundraise, the company later stated in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the announcement was a mistake. Yet despite the filing, it continued to accept bitcoin and ethereum as payment options, a spokesperson later told CoinDesk.
“They issued the release to make the SEC happy,” the spokesperson said at the time.
Now, the bitcoin payment option has been removed from the company’s investors page.