China bans Bitcoin

China bans Bitcoin, lowering the ceiling of the currency’s potential:

China bans Bitcoin, lowering the ceiling of the currency’s potential

China bans Bitcoin, lowering the ceiling of the currency’s potential

Bitcoin has been on nothing short of a meteoric rise in recent years — especially in the last few months. After passing an exchange rate of $1,000 per Bitcoin last month, people have been speculating about a big drop. Now it’s possible that China will be the one to pop the Bitcoin bubble. The country’s central bank yesterday banned financial institutions from trading in Bitcoins, or even from processing Bitcoin transactions.

The value of a single Bitcoin began the day at an average of over $1,200, but a sell-off started after the announcement started making the rounds. It was short lived, but the exchange rate did dip briefly below the $1,000 mark and is still down almost 10 percent from the high. Prices remain even lower on Chinese exchanges. So is this the beginning of a justifiable panic, or just a hiccup?

It’s not surprising the Chinese central bank would be wary of letting Bitcoin become more widely used — China is famous for its strict monetary controls. By keeping its currency from increasing in value, it makes exports cheaper and can more easily grow its economy by manufacturing iPhones and other electronic gadgets. Bitcoin, by contrast, has increased in value by orders of magnitude in the last few years.

The government also voiced concerns that the supply of Bitcoins is limited by design, but didn’t expand on why that’s an issue. We can, however, speculate that it could make Bitcoin harder to control as the Chinese central bank is used to doing with the traditional economy. Bitcoin can also be used completely anonymously, which has led to fears of money laundering in many nations — not just in China.

Price Growth

The new restrictions stop short of banning Bitcoin entirely in China, but it will definitely put a damper on adoption of the cryptocurrency. Banks are not permitted to get into the Bitcoin game, but payment processors are also not permitted to take any payments in Bitcoin. Individual people are allowed to use Bitcoins, at least for now, but they take on the risks themselves. However, a separate government posting warned people that many unregulated Bitcoin sites lack sufficient security safeguards, which is definitely not spin or propaganda; Bitcoins are stolen frequently and the victims have little recourse.

Recent events surrounding Bitcoin, like the infiltration of Tor-based Freedom Hosting and the arrest of Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht, have managed to put short-term dents in the value of the cryptocurrency, but it’s always rebounded. Perhaps the only thing that can actually bring the value down long-term level is regulation, but how do you regulate a completely decentralized system? Even China must be struggling with that one.

Sexist Iranian’s ban females from university

 

Iranian university bans on women causes consternation:

Iranian university bans on women causes consternation

Iranian university bans on women causes consternation

With the start of the new Iranian academic year, a raft of restrictions on courses open to female students has been introduced, raising questions about the rights of women to education in Iran – and the long-term impact such exclusions might have. More than 30 universities have introduced new rules banning female students from almost 80 different degree courses. These include a bewildering variety of subjects from engineering, nuclear physics and computer science, to English literature, archaeology and business. No official reason has been given for the move, but campaigners, including Nobel Prize winning lawyer Shirin Ebadi, allege it is part of a deliberate policy by the authorities to exclude women from education. “The Iranian government is using various initiatives… to restrict women’s access to education, to stop them being active in society, and to return them to the home,” she told the BBC. Higher Education Minister Kamran Daneshjoo has sought to play down the situation, stressing Iran’s strong track record in getting young people into higher education and saying that despite the changes, 90% of university courses are still open to both men and women. But many in Iran fear that the new restrictions could now undermine this achievement. “I wanted to study architecture and civil engineering,” says Leila, a young woman from the south of Iran. “But access for girls has been cut by fifty per cent, and there’s a chance I won’t get into university at all this year.” It is not yet clear exactly how many women students have been affected by the new rules on university entrance. But as the new academic year begins, at least some have had to completely rethink their career plans. “From the age of 16 I knew I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, and I really worked hard for it,” says Noushin from Esfahan. “But although I got high marks in the National University entrance exam, I’ve ended up with a place to study art and design instead.” Over the coming months campaigners will be watching closely to track the effects of the policy and to try to gauge the longer-term implications.