Bitcoin Prices Fall; Japan May Approve Crypto Exchange-traded Funds

On Tuesday Bitcoin and other major digital coin prices slipped in Asia, as regulators around the globe are reportedly divided on approaches to cryptocurrencies. Japan was possibly giving a nod to crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) while a European Central Bank policymaker was calling cryptocurrency ”nonsense”.

Bitcoin lost 1.1% to $3,958.0 by 12:22 AM ET (05:22 GMT). Ethereum was down 4.59% to $147.15, and XRP dropped 1.3% to $0.35848.

Litecoin also slid 0.7% to $37.920.

Citing a person familiar with Japan’s Financial Services Agencies’ thoughts on the issue, Bloomberg reported that the agency may approve crypto ETFs that track the digital tokens.

The Japanese financial watchdog is currently looking into industry interest in ETFs and may green light the funds, the report said. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is said to be submitting draft legislation by March this year, with a goal to make it a law by 2020 earliest.

This is a shift in the watchdog’s attitude towards cryptocurrency. Last month, it opposed revisions to the nation’s securities law to allow crypto futures and options to be listed on major financial exchanges, saying that these products would only bring speculation.

Those in the crypto industry believe that ETFs would make crypto products more legitimate. Last November, Switzerland became the world’s first to approve such products by listing the Amun Crypto Basket Index ETP.

While Japanese regulators appear to be softening toward cryptocurrency, a policymaker from the European Central Bank is taking a harder line, saying the cryptocurrency bubble has started to burst.

Ardo Hansson, who is also the governor of Estonia’s central bank, said in a conference in Riga that virtual currencies will end up as a “complete load of nonsense.”

“I think we will come back a few years from now and say how could we ever have gotten into this situation where we believed this kind of a fairy-tale story,” he said.

Sceptical about crypto assets, Hansson also mentioned they could be used for illegal activities.

In one year’s time, Bitcoin’s value has dropped more than 70%, from close to $15,000 last January to around $4,000 at the beginning of this year./



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