Bitcoin is the ‘people’s declaration of independence,’ Dubai summit is told

A person holding a visual representation of the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin (Jack Guez /AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Bitcoin is the ‘people’s declaration of independence,’ Dubai summit is told

DUBAI: Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has recently been the subject of wild market gyrations, is “the people’s declaration of monetary independence,” the World Government Summit heard in Dubai.

Nick Spanos, founder of the Bitcoin Center in New York, was speaking at a packed session entitled “Is the future of cryptocurrencies gold or dust?”. He defended the record of the currency and said its current decline would never render it worthless.

“It will not crash to zero because it’s scarce. It is not a bubble. It’s the pin that’s going to pop the legacy currency bubble that’s been holding the people back,” he added.

The cryptocurrency has recovered some lost ground recently, trading around $8,500 yesterday compared with a price of below $6,500 earlier this month, but still way off the highs seen last year, just short of $20,000.

Bitcoin has been slammed as a “fraud” and a “Ponzi scheme” by some orthodox investors.

That volatility has prompted calls for regulation of the cryptocurrency industry, which is currently traded off central exchanges and is regulated only lightly in many countries. Spanos said: “If you try to regulate it, you will only regulate your country out of it.”

Other members of the panel took a more measured approach. Lawrence Wintermeyer, principal of the Elipses firm and “social capitalist,” said there was a need to get banks and exchanges involved in “know your customer” (KYC) and anti-money laundering procedures regarding bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Kian Lon Wong, president of the NEM Foundation, which promotes the use of blockchain technology in business, said: “It is in the trading of cryptocurrency that the problem is, for example in money-laundering. But it is still a lot less than in the conventional currencies.The regulators are on a learning curve, especially over how to regulate trade in exchanges.

“The minimal requirement should be security. We need the exchanges and the regulators to come together on this,” he added.

Jesse Powell, chief executive of the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, said that it was difficult for regulators to control it because it was a globally traded product. “It trades not just in your jurisdiction but anywhere in the world.

“The regulators should take care not to make it too difficult because the next stage after a central exchange is a decentralized exchange, and they’re much more difficult to control.” he added.

He also warned that Bitcoin consumers “should look out for themselves. I still say buyer beware.”

Wong denied that there was an element of price manipulation in last year’s big rises. “We’re in a growing place and these things are unavoidable. I have no concern about manipulation. Blockchain is a proven technology and it’s here to stay,” he said.

Spanos explained last year’s dramatic rises in Bitcoin as down to “peer interest and trust.” He said cryptocurrencies would have a $1 trillion market capitalization this year, compared with the top level of $600 billion in 2017.


Indonesia looks for investment opportunities in Yemen

Updated 20 September 2019

Indonesia looks for investment opportunities in Yemen

  • Indonesia’s ambassador to Yemen expressed Indonesia’s interest in various fields
  • There are currently more than 2,500 students from Indonesia studying in Hadramout

DUBAI: Indonesia’s ambassador to Yemen discussed investment opportunities in the country with Yemeni officials in Hadhramout on Thursday, Saba News reported.

Hadhramout Local Authority and Leaders of Industrial and Commercial Chamber of Hadramout met with Ambassador Mustafa Tawfiq to discuss ways to strengthen trade exchange between the two countries.

The ambassador expressed Indonesia’s interest in various fields including scholarship programs and training for small business.

“In light of the current situation in Hadhramaut and the security and stability achieved, commercial and industrial relations between Hadhramaut and Indonesia are witnessing a remarkable and significant development in this aspect,” Tawfiq said, calling for increased visits between businessmen in Hadramaut with their Indonesian counterparts to expand the economic partnership between the two sides.

Meanwhile, Assistant Deputy Governor of Hadhramout for the Valley and Desert Districts Affairs, Abdulhadi Al-Tamimi welcomed Indonesia’s interest in investment opportunities, praising the historical relations between Yemen and Indonesia.

There are currently more than 2,500 students from Indonesia studying in Hadhramout, Al-Tamimi said.

The Indonesian envoy welcomed local businessmen to visit Indonesia next month where Jakarta will hold the 43rd Trade Expo where more than 1,100 companies will be participating.

However, the Yemeni official raised the issues of obtaining visas to Indonesia after the embassy’s move to Amman, Jordan from Sanaa after the Houthi militia took over the Yemeni capital.