Bitcoin Today: Cryptos Gain as Regulation Takes Backseat, IMF Offers Boost

Bitcoin maintained its earlier gains in Tuesday trading, reaching as high as about $8,150 in morning action. Tuesday marked the third-straight day the No. 1 cryptocurrency by market value hovered above the $8,000 mark after a 15-day streak trapped below it.

Most other high-market cap cryptocurrencies traded into the green on Tuesday. Here are the stories you can’t miss in cryptocurrencies for Tuesday, April 17.

IMF Head Gives Bullish Boost

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde said in a blog post that cryptocurrencies have significant power to cut down transaction costs while underlying blockchain technology could improve efficiency and safety in financial markets. “Crypto-assets enable fast and inexpensive financial transactions, while offering some of the convenience of cash,” Lagarde wrote. “Some payment services now make overseas transfers in a matter of hours not days … The underlying technology of crypto-assets-distributed ledger technology, or DLT-could help financial markets function more efficiently. Self-executing and self-enforcing ‘smart contracts’ could eliminate the need for some intermediaries.”

Pornhub Tanks Verge

Adult entertainment website Pornhub announced it will begin accepting anonymity-focused cryptocurrency verge as payment on its site. In a release, Pornhub said it was an effort to “keep current with our community’s payment preferences.” The statement continued, “Pornhub users will now be able to use verge, which allows for anonymous transactions by obfuscating the IP address and geolocation of its users so that they are untraceable, to pay for all Pornhub purchases – including Pornhub Premium, the company’s HD, on-demand streaming service.” The deal wasn’t initially good for verge’s price though, as investors appeared to be selling on the news. The token tanked as much as 7% in afternoon trading before paring some losses. Verge was on Tuesday the No. 21 largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Blockchain Taps Goldman Exec

Cryptocurrency wallet and data provider Blockchain has tapped a former executive from Goldman Sachs to run its institutional sales and strategy, according to Coindesk. Breanne Madigan previously lead the bank’s institutional wealth services, where she managed relationships with funds holding about $1.49 trillion in total assets. Madigan told Coindesk she envisioned her role as “helping more traditional investors gain unparalleled access to the future of finance,” and that she had previously worked with “many of the largest and best-known hedge funds.” Blockchain operates in 140 countries and has opened 24 million wallets. It previously announced it plans to triple its headcount in 2018.

Kraken to Suspend Service in Japan

Kraken, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced it will shutter its services in Japan by the end of June amid growing costs with which the company hasn’t been able to keep pace. Kraken, which began operating in Japan in 2014, said the company and its employees “deeply regret suspending this long-standing relationship and hope to resume services for Japan residents in the future.” The statement continued, “However, at the present time, it is impractical to continue service for Japan residents. The decision involved careful consideration of revenue against the costs and resources required to maintain service.” Kraken noted that, as it grows quickly, resources have become scarce and, “after we have had a chance to better catch up to our rapid growth, we will consider the possibility of resuming service for Japan residents.”

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