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Israeli cryptocurrency market attempts to catch up with global pace

An Israeli crypto firm becomes the first in the country to get a capital markets license.
Picture taken on Feb. 6, 2018, shows a person holding a visual representation of the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin,

Significant steps are taken to regulate Israel's cryptocurrency market. Outgoing Capital Market Commissioner Moshe Barkat has approved a permanent license of a financial services provider for crypto broker Bits of Gold. This comes after HBH received its first license. Bits of Gold is a trading company that provides buying and selling services of virtual currencies to its customers, while HBH builds crypto trading infrastructure for banks and institutional entities. Until now, crypto companies had to operate under a temporary business permit. With the license, these companies will be able to engage with the banking and financial system more easily. So far, the banking system in Israel has opposed crypto trading on the grounds of anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing risks.

Ben Samocha, co-founder and CEO of CryptoJungle, an Israeli crypto website and academy, believes this is an important development. He explained to Al-Monitor that the license is crucial because it forces banks to transfer responsibility to the new financial service providers in regard to AML and terrorist financing. "This reduces their ability to prevent Israeli citizens from being exposed to digital currencies in a simple and convenient way," he noted.

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