Just days after rumours of an imminent ban on cryptocurrencies in Israel circulated, the head of the Israel Securities Authority has embraced ICOs and blockchain technology. He did however also say that he thought Bitcoin was in a bubble.
“Friendly regulatory approach”
Shmuel Hauser was speaking at a conference on Monday when he made the remarks. He said that “the chase after Bitcoin reminds me of the 19-century gold rush,” but didn’t dismiss blockchain technology or ICOs. He also suggested that Israel adopt a “friendly regulatory approach to ICOs.”
Israel has always promoted itself as a tech start-up hub. The embracing of blockchain technology and other fintech developments only surprises in its late timing. Creating a regulatory-friendly environment for ICOs appears to be another step in achieving that objective.
In January Bitcoin was declared a taxable asset rather than a foreign currency. However, more recently authorities have pledged to ease the tax burden on cryptocurrency profits.
Hauser, who is stepping down at the end of the year, had previously expressed some reservations about ICOs. The ISA (Israel Securities Authority) has spent the past few years cracking down on binary options scams, and there were some concerns that the same operators would move into the ICO industry.
However, Hauser’s stance has now softened, and on Monday he stated “ICOs are part of a welcomed evolution of the funding industry. But it needs to be properly managed and regulated.“ If his successor adopts a similar attitude, Israel may indeed become a hub for the crypto industry.