Bitcoin has reached $3,500 across multiple trackers as commentators eye a stabilization or even further growth.
Bitcoin has reached $3,500 across multiple trackers as commentators eye a stabilization or even further growth.
A cryptocurrency startup called Bitcoin Egypt is launching the first bitcoin exchange in the country this month. News.Bitcoin.com talked to co-founder Rami Khalil to find out more about the exchange as well as the bitcoin scene in Egypt.
Founded by Rami Khalil and Omar Abdelrasoul, Bitcoin Egypt plans to launch a bitcoin exchange this month. “The tentative launch date is the 31st of August. We will definitely at least go into alpha testing at that time if we are not fully operational,” Khalil told news.Bitcoin.com.
He claims that it will be the first in the country. “There were no prior (registered) exchanges before,” he detailed, citing “everything operates peer-to-peer and under the radar now. It’s currently a ‘black’ market in Egypt.”
At launch, the exchange will only support trading between the Egyptian pound and bitcoin. “The fees will be a fraction of the transaction size (<0.25%),” Khalil said. The company plans to add support for ether, other altcoins, as well as other fiat currencies in the near future, followed by a payment service next year.
Only “rudimentary contact information (full name, ID numbers, address, etc..)” will be collected by the exchange, he detailed, adding that “since bitcoin is technically a commodity in Egypt, we’re not bound to any formal KYC/AML regulations.”
The bitcoin ecosystem in Egypt is currently small with only a handful of traders listed on Localbitcoins. However, Khalil said “there are a few hundred people actively using and trading bitcoin on a daily basis in Egypt on online forums.” As for merchant adoption, he said it is “virtually non-existent,” noting that “people generally assume it’s taboo. We’re of course looking to change that outlook, and improve adoption.”
Last week, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) Sherif Samy reiterated that digital currencies such as bitcoin and ether are not authorized or supervised by the authorities, according to local publications. With the absence of legal and loss protection, any dealings with them carry significant risks, the chairman noted.
In June, there were reports that suggested that the central bank was considering allowing the circulation and trading of digital currencies, which the bank’s deputy governor Lobna Helal promptly denied.
“The central bank rejected this currency because the state can control the local and foreign traditional currencies, and can impose certain fees on their movement and transfer to and from Egypt,” banker and economist at Zagazig University Ashraf Ibrahim told Al-Monitor. With state-controlled currencies, “the central bank can tax the investment and trade activities generated by those funds, but cannot do the same with bitcoin,” he asserted.
Khalil told news.Bitcoin.com that “from personal contacts, the Ministry of Finance fully understands what bitcoin is, and only has problems with its potential for money laundering,” adding that:
Formally, there are zero laws or regulations in place about digital assets/cryptocurrency. We’re hoping to help shape their views and provide any assistance where needed.
He then noted that “the local banks have been very firm in asserting that they have no plans to start providing bitcoin services themselves and that they will never consider it a currency, but so far no one has turned us away from opening a bank account in our company’s (very explicit) name.”
Do you think bitcoin can take off in Egypt? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and UASA
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A think-tank backed by a group of UK-based law enforcement officials have published a newly drafted report called “Policing Bitcoin” which aims to standardize the practice of seizing bitcoin from criminals.
Last week the ‘N8 Policing Research Partnership’ published a report that explains how they would like to see UK law enforcement handle bitcoin seizures. The report claims that criminals prefer to use cryptocurrencies in crimes like ransomware, dark web activities and more. The paper says bitcoin is the most favored cryptocurrency employed in illicit activities and N8 believes UK-based officers need to grasp this new technology.
“Cryptocurrencies have increasingly become a common method of value exchange in a number of types of criminal activity,” explains the four-page proposal. “This collaborative project has brought together a variety of experts from different disciplines and practices to explore the challenges posed by criminal use of cryptocurrency with regard to the investigation, production of conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, and prosecution of offenders.”
The N8 police report details that law enforcement needs education on things like bitcoin exchanges, bitcoin ATMs, forensic tracing tools, a literature guide, and a booklet designed to help officers identify bitcoin activity. Additionally, the reports suggests that police departments utilize “Tier 1-Bitcoin experts, Regional Cyber Crime Units, Digital Media Investigators, and Tier 4-Frontline officers and investigators.”
Tier 4 – Frontline officers — All UK police staff should be required to complete a mandatory Bitcoin e-learning package (NCLAT), on how to identify bitcoin activity and who to contact for further advice.
The N8 Police Research Partnership is a network of policing practitioners and senior researchers located around Northern England. The group aims to formalize regional officer networking and improve “police innovation.” The team has been studying digital currencies and blockchains for over two years and hopes their recommendations will be favored by lawmakers.
“As part of the project, research was conducted and advice sought regarding the legislative framework available for officers to lawfully seize bitcoin,” details N8’s report. “A recommendation has also been made to the Home Office regarding a potential legislative amendment to categorise bitcoin as cash for the purpose of cash seizure legislation.”
The project has identified a number of practical and intellectual issues for further research, namely how bitcoin relates to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Currently, the research group says they are drafting a “detailed bitcoin seizure guide” which provides a full walkthrough for officers on how to seize these types of funds. N8 explains the guide is based on research conducted with a group of international law enforcement partners.
What do you think about the N8 organization and how they are creating a bitcoin seizure booklet for officers? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments below.
Images via Bitcoin.com, the N8 website, Matt Groening, and Pixabay.
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