Israel Securities Authority Proposes a Ban on Bitcoin Trading in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Israel Securities Authority (ISA) head Shmuel Hauser said that a proposal seeking to ban companies with major involvement in Bitcoin trading from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) will be tackled by the ISA board in early January 2018.

The aim is to implement stricter regulations in the digital currency market in the country.

Based on a report by Reuters, Hauser made the announcement in a business conference in late December 2017. He also claimed that if his proposed regulation is approved by the board, it will still undergo a public hearing before its implementation.

“If we have a company [and] their main business is digital currencies, we would not allow it. If already listed, its trading will be suspended.”

The proposed regulation is seen as part of ISA’s increasing focus on the digital currency market in Israel.

In late August 2017, the regulator decided to conduct a study on the applicability of the country’s domestic securities laws on initial coin offerings (ICO). The results of the study, as well as the agency’s recommendations are due to be released before the end of December.

The proposal is also viewed as the regulator’s response to the market trend where public firms experienced a sudden surge in stock price following their rebranding to something associated with Blockchain and virtual currencies.

An example is the 5,000% increase in the stock price of Blockchain Mining (BLCM.TA) within months after it announced that it is shifting to cryptocurrencies from gold mining.

Hauser’s announcement could also be a response to the high volatility seen in the virtual currency market. On December 22, the market experienced a major price correction in which the total market capitalization (cap) dropped by almost 30% to $418 billion.

The market, however, bounced back immediately and reached a market cap of $584 billion as of press time on December 27.