ISA to Separate Cryptocurrency Firms from Local Stock Exchanges



The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) may require stock exchanges to suspend the trading of companies with a cryptocurrency business model. Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the, ISA, said at the Calcalist business conference that he was working on a proposal in this direction. 

If we have a company that their main business is digital currencies, we would not allow it. If already listed, its trading will be suspended,” Hauser stated. 

Currently, two companies traded on the Tel Aviv stock exchange are known to have their business dependent on cryptocurrencies – Blockchain Mining and Fantasy Network. 

Blockchain Mining has recently changed its name from Natural Resources. It saw its stock price jump around 5000% since August 2017 after the company redirected its business from gold mining to cryptocurrency mining. At the beginning of December, the company said that it would acquire a majority stake (75%) in Backbone Hosting Solutions Inc., a Canadian mining company also referred to as Bitfarms. 

Fantasy Network Ltd, formerly known as Bio-Cell Ltd, is a company operating in the Internet gaming industry. However, it has recently announced its intention to focus on the blockchain, the technology behind most of the cryptocurrencies. Fantasy Network reacted on December 19 to Hauser’s earlier allegation that companies focused on Bitcoin would not be listed in stock indexes:

These restrictions … could harm investment in the company and even exclude it from trade on the stock exchange,” the company said. 

In the statement, Fantasy Network notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that its board of directors had begun to develop applications for writing smart contracts on a platform created by Protocol Zen Ltd. 

Hauser, whose mandate as ISA chief expires next month, seems to be disturbed by the high volatility in Bitcoin’s price: 

We feel that the prices of Bitcoin behave like bubbles and we don’t want investors to be subject to that volatility and uncertainty. There is an importance to signal to the market where things are… Investors should know where we stand.”

Despite the skepticism around Bitcoin, Israel may consider having its own cryptocurrency. We reported today that an official from the Finance Ministry of Israel told the Jerusalem Post that both the Ministry and the central bank are positive about developing a “crypto-shekel.”