BitNZ, a New Zealand FinTech platform specializing in the exchange of Bitcoin, said that it was forced to close as a result of defensive actions of traditional banks. In contrasting news, bitFlyer announced new investments in its Bitcoin exchange from Japan’s three largest banks.
While Bitcoin has been able to free itself from its digital constraints, bureaucratic constraints, however, have slowed down its full development, preventing it from being a bona fide financial asset, as legitimate as hard cash. While projections and studies present Blockchain and Bitcoin as a major boon to banks, the latter seem more concerned with the immediate balance sheet.Bitcoin is the most valuable currency in the world right now at $1,013 USDClick To Tweet
BitNZ Doesn’t fly in Kiwi Land
Bitcoin exchange company bitNZ announced it would close down on 15 April 2017, urging customers to withdraw their coins before then.
In a post on Reddit, the company cited New Zealand banks and their refusal to let their clients trade in Bitcoin as a reason for shuttering their business. BitNZ also raised concerns over whether New Zealand had fair competition regulation. As a result, bitNZ closing caused a heated debate among Bitcoin aficionados.
This is not the first time that New Zealand banks’ anti-competitive behavior against FinTech has made news. Apple has also criticized NZ banks over blocking and delaying its service, Apple Pay, from gaining traction in the country.
The Sun Rises in the East
Bitcoin is far better off in Japan than in New Zealand. The interest in the virtual currency is growing from individuals and traditional banks alike. From 4,200 business accepting Bitcoin by the end of 2016 to a projected 20,000 during 2017, Japan has become a healthy home for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.
BitFlyer, Japan’s flagship Bitcoin exchange company, announced the inclusion of Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital–the three largest banks in the country–as shareholders.
Founded in 2014, bitFlyer was created as a response to the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox, and to fill the void left as there was no more Bitcoin exchange company in Japan. BitFlyer first wanted to regain confidence among Japanese customers and ensure that Japan remained open to virtual currencies. After raising millions of dollars from Japanese investors, the platform plans to raise more funds from foreign investors to offer its platform around the world.
2016 was an exceptional year for Bitcoin as it doubled its value against the US dollar, thus signing the best performance among world currencies for two consecutive years. Currently valued at $1,013 USD, Bitcoin kept strong, upward momentum throughout last year and hit the ground running in 2017, promising another stellar performance.