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The People's Bank of China's "one-off depreciation" of the yuan triggered a chain reaction across global markets and all the asset classes amid rising concerns that Asia's largest economy is headed for a deeper slowdown.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1 percent by 4 p.m. in New York, oil plummeted to a six-year low and emerging-market equities slipped. Gold futures slid to $1107.70 in New York on Tuesday, giving away most of its earlier gains after touching a high of $1119.10. On the other hand, treasuries rallied as investors weighed the aftermath of the unexpected move.
"It's disappointing after one day of recovery to see oil roll back over, rates come back down and the market weaker," Tom Wright, the New York-based director of equities at JMP Securities LLC, said by phone. "We spend a lot of time obsessing over Greece or Puerto Rico but China is a much bigger economy and a much bigger problem to the global economy and devaluing the currency is shaking people up."
Coming to currencies, the PBOC move sparked fears of global "currency war". China's currency fell for third day in a row on Thursday with USD/CNY currently trading at 6.4144 levels. Analysts expect that the yuan may be allowed to fall even further to boost the economy.
Moreover, the yuan devaluation led to price divergence between USD and CNY exchanges as holders of yuan resorted to bitcoin as a safe haven.
BTC/USD soared to 271.50 levels on Tuesday, but lost momentum and is trading in the red today at 264.16 levels. However, short- term trend is bullish as long as support $247 holds. BTC/CNY rose from 1633.68 (Monday's close) to 1690.36 (Tuesday's close) following the devaluation.
In order to guard against losses, yuan-holders can purchase bitcoin and later cash back into yuan if bitcoin price goes up or to US dollar if bitcoin price declines.