After announcing that it was hit by a cyberattack in December, Russian cryptocurrency exchange Livecoin announced in a note that it is shutting its business and refunding its clients.

“Our service has been damaged hard in technical and financial way,” the exchange said in the note. “There is no way to continue operative business in these conditions.”

March 17, 2021, is the last day users can request an account payout, the note stated. The exchange warned its customers to be wary of fraudsters claiming to be Livecoin representatives who could try to scam them by demanding payment in exchange for their refund.

In other news, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the U.S. dollar will remain strong on the international stage and won’t be surpassed by bitcoin anytime soon, although it could be a veritable reserve currency, CoinDesk reported.

“Unless the U.S. becomes a catastrophe, it’s hard to see what the alternative is to the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency,” Harper said in an interview with Cambridge House’s Jay Martin, according to CoinDesk. “Other than, you know, gold, bitcoin … I think you’ll see that the number of things that people use as reserves will expand, but the U.S. dollar will still be the bulk of it.”

Harper said that while digital currency is a medium of exchange and a unit of account, he can’t see how it stores value — the third “critical” purpose of a currency, CoinDesk reported.

Meanwhile, an Australian cryptocurrency exchange operator is suing Westpac and ANZ for harmful discrimination that allegedly interfered with his ability to run his business, according to a report from the Australian Financial Review.

Allan Flynn is seeking $125,000 for “emotional distress and damage to his reputation,” the report stated. He may up the request, made in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Civil and Administrative Tribunal, to $250,000.

He claims several Australian banks, including Bendigo Bank, CBA, NAB and ING, closed 20 of his accounts without warning over the last three years. Flynn purchased bitcoin for his roughly 450 clients, the report stated.

Flynn claims his accounts were repeatedly closed within days of opening, and when asked why, he was told he was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud,” according to the report.

“How am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account?” Flynn said, according to the report. “I am by no means alone or the first. I know of at least one other trader who has had accounts closed more than 60 times.”

In 2020, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) found that Westpac was within its terms and conditions to close Flynn’s account, but awarded Flynn $250 in compensation for not receiving reasonable notice before his account closed, the report stated.

And, China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN) is looking to build a digital payment network over the next five years that integrates the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) of international central banks and stablecoins of foreign technology companies, according to a Medium post.

“This digital payment network will completely change the current payment and circulation method, enabling a standardized digital currency transfer method and payment procedure for any information system,” the post stated.

The BSN plans to launch the beta version in the latter half of 2021, according to the post.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: RETAIL BANKING SERVICES’ PARADIGM SHIFT STUDY – JANUARY 2021 

About: The January 2021, Retail Banking Services’ Paradigm Shift Report, PYMNTS examines how consumers choose to engage with their FIs when accessing information about various products and services, especially since the pandemic’s onset.





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