Israel’s Market Regulator Wants to Ban Companies Based on Bitcoin

Israel’s market regulator is seeking a ban on companies based on cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Speaking at the Calcalist business conference, Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), said that a proposal will be brought to the ISA board next week, reports CNBC.

Hauser said:

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

If approved it would be subject to a public hearing while stock exchange bylaws would need to be changed.

At present there are two companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which list cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, or the blockchain as important to their business: Blockchain Mining and Fantasy Networks

Blockchain Mining has seen its shares rise by more than 5,000 percent after changing its name from Natural Resources and shifting its focus to mining digital currencies rather than that of gold or iron.

Fantasy Networks, a gaming company, has also spoken of the possibility of working in the blockchain field. News of this saw its shares quadruple; however, in the past two weeks it has lost more than 50 percent. In a statement from the 19th December, to the Israel stock exchange, Fantasy Networks said:

These restrictions … could harm investment in the company and even exclude it from trade on the stock exchange.

The value of bitcoin dropped by around 30 percent on Friday to below $12,000 after nearly reaching $20,000 on the 17th December. A massive sell off from traders keen to make a profit saw them dumping the digital currency. However, bitcoin is steadily making a comeback and is currently trading at $16,172, figures from CoinMarketCap show.

It is because of the cryptocurrency’s fluctuating price that many are fearful it is in a bubble, with Hauser adding:

We feel that the prices of bitcoin behave like bubbles and we don’t want investors to be subject to that volatility and uncertainty. There is an importance to signal to the market where things are … Investors should know where we stand.

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