A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s markets regulator will propose regulation to ban companies based on bitcoin and other digital currencies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, he said on Monday.
Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), told the Calcalist business conference he will bring the proposal to the ISA board next week. If approved, it would be subject to a public hearing and then the stock exchange bylaws would need to be amended.
“If we have a company that their main business is digital currencies we would not allow it. If already listed, its trading will be suspended,” Hauser said, adding the ISA must find the appropriate regulation for such companies.
Hauser did not identify any companies that would be affected by his ban, but at least two firms listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) now describe digital currencies or the technology behind them as essential to their business: Blockchain Mining (BLCM.TA) and Fantasy Network (FNTS.TA).
Shares of Blockchain, which on Sunday changed its name from Natural Resources, have soared some 5,000 percent in the past few months since it announced it would shift its focus from mining for gold and iron to mining cryptocurrencies.
It was down 4.2 percent in afternoon trading on Monday. Blockchain was not immediately available for comment.
Fantasy Networks (FNTS.TA), a former gaming firm, said this month it was studying the possibility of operating in the blockchain field — the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies. Its share price quadrupled before losing 50 percent in the past two weeks.
Earlier this month, Hauser said bitcoin-based companies would not be included in stock exchange indexes.
In a Dec. 19 statement to TASE, Fantasy Networks acknowledged those remarks, saying: “These restrictions … could harm investment in the company and even exclude it from trade on the stock exchange.”
Bitcoin is a publicly available ledger of a finite number of digital “coins”, which backers say can be used as a currency without the support of any country’s central bank. It is “mined” by computers, which are awarded new coins for working out complex mathematical formulas. Several other cryptocurrencies have also been launched that work on similar principles.
The value of a bitcoin plunged by 30 percent to below $12,000 on Friday as investors dumped the cryptocurrency after its sharp rise to nearly $20,000. It recouped some losses to trade above $14,000 BTC=BTSP on the Bitstamp platform, down 9 percent on the day.
“We feel that the prices of bitcoin behave like bubbles and we don’t want investors to be subject to that volatility and uncertainty,” Hauser said. “There is an importance to signal to the market where things are… Investors should know where we stand.”
The proposal to block digital currency firms from the stock exchange will probably be the last move for Hauser, who will step down next month after 6-1/2 years as ISA chief.
“But once it’s on its way it will continue to be pursued,” said Hauser, who will be replaced by Anat Guetta.
He said he hopes she will promote easing capital gains taxes and focus on regulatory enforcement.
Editing by Peter Graff
Duterte: PH to buy arms only from Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) stands next to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting in Jerusalem September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
During his meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will only buy weapons from Israel.
“My orders to my military, that in terms of military equipment, particularly intelligence gathering, we only have one country to buy from – that is Israel,” he said.
He also said that the United States is a “good friend” but added that buying from them entails limitations, and it’s the same with China and Germany.
“If they (United States) sell you something, they would also be listening, so will China and everybody else, Germany,” said Duterte.
In mid-August, three prominent members of US President Donald Trump’s Cabinet signified through a letter the Trump administration’s intention to enter into an arms deal with the Philippines.
But Duterte challenged the U.S. government’s sincerity especially after the U.S State Department called off the procurement of assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2016 citing concerns of human rights violations in line the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“Bumili tayo ng 23,000 rifles. What happened? Binara ng isang congressman, ilang senador, ng Congress nila so I was forced to go to China (We bought 23,000 rifles. What happened? A congressman and several senators blocked the sale. So, I was forced to go to China),” the President had said. — Rosalie Coz
Israelis protest arms sale to the Philippines as Duterte, Rivlin meet
A protester holding a banner showing Duterte holding up an Israeli made Galil assault rifle | REUTERS
Israelis staged a protest against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Jerusalem on Tuesday (September 4) as the Filipino leader met with his counterpart Reuven Rivlin.
Duterte, on a four-day visit to Israel and Jerusalem, thanked Rivlin and welcomed further defense deals with Israel that were on the president’s trip’s agenda alongside tourism and labor deals.
The visit is aimed at cementing relationships between the Asian power and booming Israel, both historical U.S. allies.
The Philippine military, coast guard, and police have in the past acquired defense systems and weapons from Israel. But the Asian power has also purchased arms from other countries as well.
The Israeli defense ministry said it does not comment on the country’s defense exports.
In front of the presidential residence, a handful of protesters demonstrated against a possible weapons deal between the two countries.
The protesters chanted “shame” and “fascist” at Duterte and held up banners depicting the president with an Israeli-made Galil assault rifle, reading ‘Stop the Killings’.
Duterte who also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial on Monday (September 3) departs for neighboring Jordan on Wednesday (September 5). — Reuters
PH inks trade, labor, science deals with Israel
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio arrives at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, September 2, 2018. | PCOO
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formally received President Rodrigo Duterte who is in Israel for a for a four-day official visit.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of three agreements on trade, science, and caregiving.
Netanyahu underscored the diplomatic ties of the two countries that go back to when the Philippines provided sanctuary to Jewish refugees after World War II and voting at the United Nations in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel.
“We remember our friends, and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” he said.
The Prime Minister also recognized the assistance that Filipino caregivers provide to Israeli families.
“There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel where thousands and thousands of families have taken heart from the support given by Filipino caretakers for the elderly,” he said.
President Duterte, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the Jewish state for its fair treatment of Filipino migrant workers.
He also assured that the Philippines is prepared to extend support should Israel ever need it.
“We share the same passion for peace, we share the same passion for human beings but also we share the same passion of not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have the corrupt ideology, who know nothing but to kill and destroy. And in this sense Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend to your country,” Duterte said.
The President also visited Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and is set to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivilin.
Duterte is scheduled to visit a military camp to look at various advanced military weapon and equipment. — UNTV News & Rescue