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BitBay Partners With German Firm to Enable Equity Token Trading with Fiat Currencies

Cryptocurrency exchange BitBay has partnered with a Berlin-based blockchain-powered equity fundraising platform Neufund, according to an August 2 press release. The partnership will reportedly enable investors to buy and sell equity tokens with fiat currencies.

According to the press release, Neufund is aiming to become the first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens, specializing in equity tokens. The company backs up its objective with a study conducted by Toronto-based firm Polymath, which says that by 2020 the security token market will hit a value of $10 trillion. Neufund believes that tokenized securities will provide necessary liquidity to traditional investment assets, including equity instruments.

The partnership with BitBay follows Neufund’s recent collaboration with the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance and the Malta Stock Exchange. Additionally, seven companies from five countries will conduct Equity Token Offerings (ETOs) through Neufund.

As per the statement, BitBay will be the first Neufund partner that allows companies to liquidate their equity tokens against fiat currency as the crypto exchange’s trading pairs include the euro, the U.S. dollar, and the Polish zloty.

ETOs are purported to be a new kind of fundraising, which enables any company, whether it is blockchain-based or not, to issue tokens on a blockchain in a public or private placement. Neufund claims that ETOs incorporate advantages of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and a venture capital fund.

In May, BitBay was forced to move its operations from Poland to crypto friendly Malta when local banks withheld cooperation with the exchange amid a wake of toughening policy from the Polish government toward cryptocurrencies. Malta has been taking great strides to become a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. Apart from BitBay, several large digital currency exchanges, such as OKEx, BitBay, Binance, have also moved their operations to the island state.

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Basketball Team Sacramento Kings Mine Ethereum to Fund Tech Education Scholarships

The Sacramento Kings basketball team has teamed up with a crypto mining hardware firm to install mining machines in an indoor arena, with the crypto earnings funding a scholarship program, local news outlet The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday, June 28.

The Kings have partnered with company MiningStore for the installation of Ethereum (ETH)

mining machines in Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center. All crypto proceeds will go to multi-year scholarship program MiningForGood, which the Sacramento Bee describes as a charity for tech education and workforce development in Sacramento. The first recipient of funding from the Kings will reportedly be an initiative for black communities in Sacramento called “Build. Black. Coalition.”

Vivek Ranadive, the Kings’ principal owner, said that the mining scholarship program aims to “inspire the next generation of tinkerers [sic] and thinkers to create change in their own community and around the globe,” Ranadive calls the team’s crypto-mining plans “innovative,” stating:

“Opportunity begins when technology allows the world to find innovative solutions to complex problems.”

Mining Ethereum for charitable causes has already been tried out around the world. In February, UNICEF Australia asked PC gamers to mine ETH  in their downtime as a donation to Syrian children, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin donated $2.4 million in ETH to fund anti-aging research.

The Sacramento Bee notes that the Kings began accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for their team store in 2014 after partnering with BitPay.

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Polish Bitcoin Association at War with Local Banks

Cryptocurrency stakeholders in Poland are on the warpath with local banks. The Polish Bitcoin Association (PBS), a coalition of crypto enthusiasts in the country are accusing banks of targeted discriminatory practices against them. Poland has a history of being hostile towards the virtual currency industry even though there is no official government policy to that effect.

Polish Bitcoin Association Accuses Banks of Discrimination

According to Finance Magnates, the PBS is petitioning the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) to look into claims of alleged cryptocurrency profiling by Polish banks. There are reports of banks freezing or closing accounts belonging to digital currency enterprises.

The PBS is also accusing banks of frustrating any efforts to run a profitable cryptocurrency business due to their restrictive policies. Banks are reportedly implementing a blanket over participants in the industry. According to the Association, about 15 financial institutions have so far declined banking services to more than 52 cryptocurrency-related firms. These banks have also either frozen or closed down the accounts held by 25 of such firms.

The cryptocurrency coalition believes the banks are carrying out a tacit campaign of discrimination in a country where cryptocurrency hasn’t been deemed illegal. A portion of the PBS complaint to the OCCP reads:

The effects of the banks’ actions described clearly aim at removing virtual currency entities from the market, despite the fact that such activities are legal and conducted with dignity. In view of the above, action by the regulators is necessary, and this notice and his requests are fully substantiated.

At the time of writing this report, the OCCP has yet to release any official word concerning the matter. Thus, it is not clear whether the antitrust authority would investigate the case. Erring banks may face severe sanctions if the claims turn out to be true.

The Travails of the Cryptocurrency Community in Poland

While there isn’t nay official government directive banning cryptocurrencies in Poland, the environment is still less than conducive. In May, BitBay, the country’s largest crypto exchange platform announced that it would be closing its offices in Poland in favor of a move to Poland. The platform had become frustrated by the discriminatory practices of several banks in the country.

The country’s central bank sponsored a smear campaign earlier in the year that aimed to cast cryptocurrency trading in a negative light. The apex bank paid popular YouTube vloggers to run a veritable campaign of calumny against Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. The ban on ICOs is the only official governemnt position concerning the cryptocurrency industry in Poland.

Poland isn’t the only country where crypto businesses face discrimination from banks. Ireland, Chile, Zimbabwe, India, and Iran have also enacted negative laws against the nascent virtual currency industry.

What are your opinions on the current cryptocurrency climate in Poland? Do you think the crypto community in the country stands any chance in its fight against the discriminatory policies of local banks? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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BitBay: Poland’s Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange Announces Move to Malta

Poland’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, BitBay announced on May 29 that it would cease operations in the country in favor of a move to Malta. The platform revealed the decision in a statement published on its website. BitBay blamed the increasing operational restrictions brought about by the refusal of banks to offer services to the firm as the reason for the move.

BitBay was established in 2014 in Katowice, Poland. The platform offers trading support for 29 digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The crypto exchange service has over 800,000 customers and facilitates an average of 125 transactions per minute. BitBay joins other platforms like Binance and OKEx in moving to the Mediterranean Island country.

Banks Withdraw Support for BitBay

According to BitBay, banks in the country refused to offer their services. As a result, the platform is forced to move its business elsewhere to continue servicing its customer base. A portion of the statement on the platform’s website reads:

The activity of the BitBay exchange in Poland requires cooperation with Polish bank. Unfortunately, the last Polish bank ready to provide bank services undertook unilateral decision to finish the cooperation with BitBay with the effect at the end of May. In those circumstances, the continuation of providing high-quality services by BitBay exchange in Poland is no longer possible.

In line with the move to Malta, BitBay has set a September 17 deadline for account holders to create their Malta BitBay account. After the deadline, only the withdrawal option will be available to users who are yet to migrate their accounts. Such users will also not be able to make deposits.

Poland isn’t the only country where banks are restricting services to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The central bank of Iran and Zimbabwe recently barred banks from transacting with crypto exchange services.

Poland is Not a Crypto-Friendly Country

Generally, Poland is one of the least crypto-friendly nations in the EU. Several government agencies have in the past tried to stifle the growth of the industry in the country. The Polish central bank sponsored a campaign against cryptocurrency investment by paying popular YouTube personalities to produce disparaging videos about the market. The Finance Ministry also enacted a stringent tax law on cryptocurrency trading. The tax law was met with great consternation by digital currency investors in the country.

Malta is Fast Becoming the Blockchain Capital of Europe

While Poland continues to stifle the growth of its domestic crypto industry, Malta is taking giant steps to encourage more digital currency investment within its shores actively. As a result, major cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Binance and OKEx have announced plans to move their operations to Malta.

Joseph Muscat, the country’s Prime Minister, is a crypto and blockchain enthusiast who believes that bitcoin and other digital currencies are the future of money. Thus, under the aegis of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, the country is trying to develop regulations that will encourage the growth of nation’s cryptocurrency market. Apart from Binance and OKEx, Neufund is also moving to Malta.

Image courtesy of BitBay.net