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Israeli Finance Watchdog Seeks to Ban Public Firms from Bitcoin Trading

Originally published on: CoinDesk
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December 27, 2017

Bitcoin trading companies in Israel may soon face tighter rules imposed by the country’s finance regulator.

According to Reuters, the head of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) Shmuel Hauser said in a business conference on Dec. 26 that a proposal will be presented to the ISA board next week, which seeks to ban any company that has a major involvement in bitcoin trading from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

Hauser told the news agency:

“If we have a company [and] their main business is digital currencies, we would not allow it. If already listed, its trading will be suspended.”

According to Hauser, if the proposal is approved, it would go through a public hearing before the domestic exchange is required to abide the new laws.

Such a move is perhaps seen as a follow-up to the ISA’s decision in late August to probe into regulatory laws on initial coin offerings (ICOs). At the time, the organization was said to be planning to release a report for recommendations before the end of December.

The regulation proposal may also be seen as a response to the market trend where public companies have seen their stock price spike after rebranding to something related to the blockchain and cryptocurrency – a trend also reflected on the stock exchanges in the U.S.

As identified by Reuters, at least one public company Blockchain Mining (BLCM.TA) has seen a 5,000 percent surge of its stock price within months after announcing to shift from mining gold to cryptocurrencies. However, the company later changed its name Natural Resources on Sunday, according to the news outlet.

Hauser’s comment also follows a volatile market for cryptocurrency, particularly, last Friday on Dec. 22, when the market saw perhaps the largest single-day correction. The cryptocurrency market capitalization first hit as low as $418 billion, nearly 30 percent down from its all-time-high earlier last week. But it soon bounced back over $500 billion and reaching $584 billion as of press time currently.

Israeli flag via Shutterstock

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