Consumer Archives -
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that it received more than 1,200 complaints relating to cryptocurrencies via its ‘Scamwatch’ portal during 2017. In light of the number of complaints, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to potential investors outlining the risks associated with cryptocurrency investment.
Australia’s Consumer Watchdog Received 1,289 Complaints Relating to Cryptocurrencies Last Year
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that data obtained from the ACCC indicates that Australian citizens’ losses to cryptocurrency scams totaled $ 1,218,206 AUD ($ 955,000 USD approximately) for 2017. The number of complaints received last year has prompted Australia’s corporate regulator, ASIC, to issue a warning to potential cryptocurrency investors.
John Price, the ASIC commissioner, recently described cryptocurrencies as “quite speculative products [that] can be quite high-risk. It’s been quite well documented that some of these products are scams, so please don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose some or all of your money.”
Increasing Regulation of Australia’s Cryptocurrency Sector
From April onward, Australian businesses providing cryptocurrency exchange services will be required to register with AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, and report information regarding the transactions of their customers.
Under the new legislation, it will be illegal for an “unregistered person” to provide virtual currency exchange services. “Businesses that trade digital currencies for money, and vice versa, will be required to enroll and register with AUSTRAC,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in August 2017 during a parliamentary speech regarding the then regulatory proposals.
Angus Taylor, Australia’s new federal minister for cyber security, recently praised the new legislation, stating “We’ve had a lot of cooperation from the cryptocurrencies because they know they need to be legitimate, they know they need to be part of our financial system, and they know they don’t want to be facilitating illegal and criminal activity.”
“We’ve acted early, we’ve acted much earlier than many other countries around the world,” Mr. Taylor added. “Obviously cryptocurrencies are growing, and it’s appropriate that the Government establish a regulatory framework with a particular focus on criminal activity.”
Do you think that cryptocurrency scams warrant further regulatory intervention, or should the onus be placed on investors to conduct proper due diligence? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Australia’s Consumer Watchdog Received 1289 Crypto Complaints in 2017 appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Let’s say there was a federal agency charged solely with protecting consumers from financial abuse. And let’s say that agency was so good at its job, it succeeded in returning $ 12 billion to consumers who had been ripped off by greedy banks and lenders.
How would you reward that agency?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pressing Wells Fargo & Co. to explain reported problems in issuing refunds to customers for who were charged inappropriately for auto insurance and mortgage fees.
In a sharply worded letter to Chief Executive Tim Sloan, Warren called the problems “unacceptable.”
Consumer prices jumped more than expected last month, the Labor Department said Wednesday, adding to the fear of higher inflation that has roiled financial markets in recent days.
The consumer price index increased 0.5% in January, up from 0.2% the previous month and well above analyst estimates….
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year sued four lenders affiliated with a Northern California Native American tribe, alleging their costly loans violated interest rate caps in more than a dozen states.
The enforcement action came amid a probe into yet another high-interest lender,…
The Federal Reserve ordered Wells Fargo & Co. on Friday to cap its growth and improve its corporate governance, punishment for what the regulator called “widespread consumer abuses and other compliance breakdowns” at the San Francisco financial giant.
The bank, apparently in response to the action,…
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure is constitutional, appeals court rules in a blow to agency’s opponentsJanuary 31, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
Supporters of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might have just won the war over the future of the controversial watchdog even as they are losing battle after battle over its operations under President Trump.
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the bureau’s structure is constitutional,…
Japan’s largest consumer electronics retailer Yamada Denki has partnered with the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bitflyer to trial bitcoin payments. Initially, bitcoin will be accepted at two of Yamada Denki Labi stores in Tokyo, but the company plans to roll out the digital currency payment option nationwide in the future.
Yamada Denki Stores Accept Bitcoin
Japan’s largest consumer electronics retailer, Yamada Denki, has announced that it has begun trialling bitcoin payments starting on January 27. This is in partnership with Bitflyer, Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume.
According to a guide published by Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo and an independent research by a Japanese investment research service, Kenkyo Investing, “Yamada Denki is the largest home appliance and electronics chain in all of Japan.”
Yabai’s guide to Japan’s biggest electronics stores describes, “Yamada Denki is known to be Japan’s biggest electronics store that carries a large selection of products sold at reasonable prices,” adding that:
Some of their products include computers, tablets, massage chairs, cell phones, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, cameras, and home remodeling items…Most of their displayed items and old models are offered at discounted prices, making Yamada Denki one of the best places tourists can get more bang for their bucks.
For the trial, two directly operated stores have started accepting bitcoin: Yamada Denki Labi Shinjuku east exit pavilion and Concept Labi Tokyo.
The company says that these locations have many foreign visitors, making them good test locations for the digital currency integration. There is a limit of 300,000 yen (~USD$ 2,760) for using this payment option. To commemorate the event, Bitflyer is giving away 500 yen to the first 500 customers paying with the digital currency using Bitflyer wallet at each store.
After the two test stores, Yamada Denki aims to deploy bitcoin payments nationwide, according to Bitflyer. “Through collaboration with Yamaka Denki, we are contributing to improving the convenience of more customers in Japan and overseas,” Bitflyer commented. The exchange has recently launched in Europe.
In addition to providing an additional payment method, Yamada Denki wrote:
We will implement initiatives to improve bitcoin recognition and usage promotion.
With the introduction of bitcoin payment service, we respond to the diverse needs of our customers both in Japan and overseas. We believe that we can provide improved service and convenience.
Future Stores Could Accept Bitcoin
Yamada Denki operates stores under a few brands including Tecc Land stores, Labi stores, Yamada Mobile, and Yamada Outlet.
Tecc Land stores are often found as standalone shops across Japan. Labi stores are large-scale outlets often found in front of train stations in city centers. Yamada Mobile specializes in mobile phones and computing. According to the company’s latest statistics, there are 956 directly-operated stores as of March 2017.
In April of last year, another major electronics chain partnered with Bitflyer to accept bitcoin payments. Bic Camera also trialed the bitcoin payment method at two of its stores initially. Then in July of last year, the company announced that it was rolling out the bitcoin payment options to all of its stores. There are approximately 40 Bic Camera stores across Japan.
What do you think of Yamada Denki stores accepting bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia, Touch J, Nikkei, Yamada Denki, and Bitflyer.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Japan’s Largest Consumer Electronics Chain Trials Bitcoin Payments appeared first on Bitcoin News.
From Israel to Australia, commercial banks in various parts of the world have tried preventing people from entering the cryptocurrency market by blocking money transfers to bitcoin exchanges. Now the largest consumer association in Portugal has called out a local bank for trying to do the same.
Banco Santander Totta
DECO, the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection, has came out against the actions of Banco Santander Totta S.A., the fourth largest bank in Portugal. This happened following reports by Portuguese clients of the bank that it is blocking interbank transfers to accounts related to bitcoin exchanges. The association has confirmed that the bank is acting in this manner as a policy, despite not having any known legal basis to support its actions.
Founded in 1974, DECO is an independent non-profit association with charity status. It is the largest consumer association in Portugal and has been afforded the status of ‘public utility’. Hopefully its position will help clients make Santander Totta reverse its policy towards transfers to bitcoin exchanges.
Banco de Portugal
After trying to make a transfer from Santander Totta to a Coinbase bank account in Estonia and getting rejected, a DECO associate asked the bank for the reason it blocked the transaction. After initially avoiding the question, the bank finally answered that the operation was not allowed because it related to a “virtual currency that is not regulated.”
The consumer association has determined this action has no legal support basis in Portuguese or European Union laws.
The Portuguese central bank, Banco de Portugal, said that there is no regulatory framework established in the country for virtual currency exchange platforms and its supervisory activity does not include actions related to this specific operational reality, essentially meaning that the central bank hasn’t issued any guidelines instructing banks not to approve money transfers to accounts of bitcoin exchanges. Additionally, at least one other Portuguese commercial bank, Novo Banco, commented to DECO that it has no current restrictions in place to inhibit these operations.
Should any banks be allowed to decide on their own that they are blocking transfers to bitcoin exchanges? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
The post Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.