While still claiming to want innovative companies to establish themselves under his jurisdiction, the top Israeli regulator today came out against bitcoin-related businesses.
Bitcoin Not Welcomed on TASE
Speaking this morning at the Hi-tech Growth and Debt Financing Conference held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) Prof. Shmuel Hauser, the outgoing ISA Chairman, talked about his views on regulation and investor-protection in an age of technological progress.
Setting the tone of his speech, which included many other innovations other than those bitcoin-related, he said: “we want make sure that fintech will not be a revolution that creates anarchy. We don’t want fintech to be viewed as a jungle of investments in which the interests of the public are not protected.”
When addressing the issue of bitcoin, after the obligatory ‘this looks like a bubble’ regulators routinely say these days, the professor added: “I would like to emphasize that we will not allow companies whose values are based on bitcoin values, such as ‘Mashabei Teva’ to be included in TASE indices. We will also consider not to allow trading in ‘back-door’ ‘costumes’ of bitcoin or alike, on TASE until we find suitable regulatory framework for such instruments.”
What Goes Up
‘Mashabei Teva’ which the professor singled out is the Israeli brand of TASE-listed Natural Resource Holdings, a precious metals company whose stock price jumped 3,750% after it announced a switch to mining cryptocurrencies. Investors bailed as a response to these remarks and the shares crashed by about 36% as of the time of this writing.
The ISA head still made an effort to show he is open to innovation in his speech today. He said: “As for the ICOs, the story is different…I believe that the issue of issuing digital currencies (ICO tokens) must receive a favorable regulatory approach, perhaps even a courageous one.”
Do bitcoin related businesses even need to be listed by legacy financial institutions? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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Author: Avi Mizrahi