Fitch warns against using bitcoin in insurance sector

Fitch warns against using bitcoin in insurance sector
The agency said it does not expect bitcoin to be widely used by insurance companies to make claims or interest payments. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 18 August 2021

Fitch warns against using bitcoin in insurance sector

Fitch warns against using bitcoin in insurance sector

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, traded lower on Tuesday, falling by 0.25 percent to $45,978.27 at 6 p.m. Riyadh time while Ether traded at $45,978.27, down by 0.25 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Meanwhile, responding to El Salvador’s decision to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender, the credit rating agency called the move negative for domestic insurance companies due to the high risk of earnings and foreign exchange volatility.

The agency said it does not expect bitcoin to be widely used by insurance companies to make claims or interest payments, nor to offer digital currency-denominated policies.

It also stated that insurers would likely convert bitcoin into US dollars as quickly as possible to reduce exchange risks, if policyholders decide to use it to pay insurance premiums.

One of Europe’s fastest-growing fintech companies, Bitpanda, which was founded as a bitcoin exchange in 2014, announced on Tuesday that it has closed a $263 million funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

The company is valued at $4.1 billion. It also became the first-ever unicorn technology company. The Vienna-based investment platform said it would use the new capital to multiply technology, international expansion and growth.

Spain’s National Securities Market Commission issued on Tuesday warning notice for 12 companies, including crypto exchanges Huobi and Bybit, for offering investment services without registering with the authorities

According to its website, Spain’s SMC has only administrative powers and will have to appeal to the judicial system to penalize the companies.

As reported by CriptoNoticias, the warning is intended to alert operators and consumers, and does not mean that the exchanges will be banned from the country. CoinDesk reported.

Canadian mining company Bitfarms reported 396 percent year-on-year growth in its sales in the second quarter. It posted a net loss of $3.7 million during the quarter.

Its shares rose 0.5 percent to $6.42 after announcing its earnings. The company also mined 759 bitcoins in the second quarter at an average cost of around $9,000 per bitcoin, and held 1,293 bitcoins.

“The second quarter of 2021 was pivotal for our company,” said Emiliano Grodzki, CEO of Bitfarms. “From the beginning of 2021 through the end of 2022, we expect to increase our capacity eightfold and expand our geographic resources across North and South America while continuing to pursue opportunities elsewhere".

Bitcoin rewards company GoSats has launched a new card that allows users to earn bitcoins while shopping at major brands, potentially paving the way for widespread adoption of digital assets in the world’s second most populous country.

The new product was introduced in partnership with the National Payments Co.

Muhammad Roshan, CEO and co-founder of GoSats said: “Previously, people could only get bitcoin cashback on specific brands through our app but now can earn cashback in bitcoin on every spend,” Cintelegraph reported.


UAE restructures board of directors for its Securities and Commodities Authority

UAE restructures board of directors for its Securities and Commodities Authority
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 9 sec ago

UAE restructures board of directors for its Securities and Commodities Authority

UAE restructures board of directors for its Securities and Commodities Authority

RIYADH: The UAE’s cabinet announced a restructuring of the board of directors of Securities and Commodities Authority as it moves ahead with reforms to position the country as a leader on the global financial stage.

The board members affected include Ali M. Al-Rumaithi, Abdullah A. Al-Khatib, and Faisal Y. Solitin, as their positions will last for 3 years, the albayan newspaper reported.

Under the restructuring and as per SCA's duties, the board members will work to strengthen and develop the legislative and administrative system for the financial markets in the country.

However, their remit extends further to also encompass a focus on supporting the supervisory and regulatory systems to set UAE as a global leader in this field.

The restructuring is conducted under the supervision of Deputy Chairman of SCA, Muhammad A. Al-Hammadi, UAE Government Media Office announced. 

Established in 2002 following federal decree No.4, the Abu Dhabi-based SCA is a legal entity aiming to supervise and monitor the markets. 


Saudi TASI rallies for a tenth day as investors eye earnings: Closing bell

Saudi TASI rallies for a tenth day as investors eye earnings: Closing bell
Updated 13 min 27 sec ago

Saudi TASI rallies for a tenth day as investors eye earnings: Closing bell

Saudi TASI rallies for a tenth day as investors eye earnings: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main stock index closed higher on Thursday, holding onto strong gains from the past nine sessions, as investor sentiment rose with the start of the earnings season.

TASI gained 0.3 percent to reach 12,291 points, reversing losses from earlier today, while the parallel market Nomu slipped 0.3 percent to close at 26,071 points.

Saudi oil giant Aramco recouped morning losses to end 0.4 percent higher. The Kingdom’s largest lender, the Saudi National Bank, edged down by 0.13 percent.

The Gulf’s leading miner Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma’aden, closed at its highest value since listing of SR93.7 ($25).

Al Moammar Information Systems Co., MIS, saw a 0.3 percent increase in its share price.

Earlier, MIS announced the launch of a system to provide cloud management solutions in Saudi Arabia, following a deal with BMC Software.

Nama Chemicals Co. topped the gainers, surging 5.9 percent to SR41.5.

Shares in Yanbu National Petrochemical Co., known as Yansab, led the losses, down 2.6 percent despite posting a 126-percent jump in net profit in 2021.

In energy trading, Brent crude reached $88 per barrel, and US WTI crude oil neared $87 per barrel as of 3:34 p.m. Saudi time.


Saudi oil exports and production continue to rise, highest since April 2020: JODI

Saudi oil exports and production continue to rise, highest since April 2020: JODI
Updated 40 min 44 sec ago

Saudi oil exports and production continue to rise, highest since April 2020: JODI

Saudi oil exports and production continue to rise, highest since April 2020: JODI

Saud Arabia's crude oil exports and production went up again in November to reach their highest levels since April 2020, according to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative.

Saudi crude oil exports grew by 116,000 barrels per day in November to 6.95 million barrels per day.

This corresponded to a monthly 1.7 percent increase from 6.83 million bpd in October, JODI revealed in its latest report.

In annual terms, outgoing oil shipments were up by 9.4 percent.

Additionally, crude oil production grew by 132,000 bpd in November to 9.91 million bpd. Crude output rose by 1.3 percent from 9.78 million bpd in October.

This was accompanied by a 10.5 percent yearly growth.

Moreover, crude closing stocks decreased by 4.43 million barrels from October to 132.4 million barrels in November, the lowest ever level on record. Crude stocks also fell by 11.1 million barrels, or 7.7 percent, from November 2020

Refinery intake increased by 161,000 bpd, or 6.2 percent, from a month earlier to 2.77 million bpd in November.

The direct use of crude oil, which measures oil usage for generating electricity, went up by 3.4 percent to 0.339 million bpd. This followed the steep 40 percent decline experienced in the prior month.

 


Russian central bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining

Russian central bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 20 January 2022

Russian central bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining

Russian central bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining
  • Russians are active cryptocurrency users, the central bank said, with an annual transaction volume of about $5 billion

Russia's central bank on Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, citizens' wellbeing and its monetary policy sovereignty.


Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism.

It eventually gave them legal status in 2020 but banned their use as a means of payment.


In December, the price of bitcoin fell after Reuters reported, citing sources, that Russia's regulator was in favour of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.


In a report published on Thursday, the central bank said speculative demand primarily determined cryptocurrencies' rapid growth and that they carried characteristics of a financial pyramid, warning that bubbles in the market could form, threatening financial stability and citizens.


The bank proposed preventing financial institutions from carrying out any operations with cryptocurrencies and said mechanisms should be developed to block transactions aimed at buying or selling cryptocurrencies for fiat, or traditional currencies. The proposed ban includes crypto exchanges.


Russians are active cryptocurrency users, the central bank said, with an annual transaction volume of about $5 billion.


Russia is the world's third-largest player in bitcoin mining, behind the United States and Kazakhstan, though the latter may see a miner exodus over fears of tightening regulation following unrest earlier this month.


The central bank said crypto mining created problems for energy consumption.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are "mined" by powerful computers that compete against others hooked up to a global network to solve complex mathematical puzzles.

The process guzzles electricity and is often powered by fossil fuels.


"The best solution is to introduce a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Russia," the bank said.


Saudi energy ministry signs hydrogen projects with NEOM, TRSDC, other ministries

Saudi energy ministry signs hydrogen projects with NEOM, TRSDC, other ministries
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi energy ministry signs hydrogen projects with NEOM, TRSDC, other ministries

Saudi energy ministry signs hydrogen projects with NEOM, TRSDC, other ministries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy is signing today initial agreements with several local and government stakeholders, for projects where hydrogen is to be used in the transport sector. 

The ministry is partnering with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, as well as the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture. 

Other stakeholders who are attending the signing ceremony also include the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, NEOM, Saudi Green Initiative, Saudi Railway Company, Princess Norah Mint Abdul Rahman University, the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, The Red Sea Development Company, Saudi Ground Services, and the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company. 

The MoUs singing will take place at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.