Peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange CoinTouch has shut its virtual doors over concerns related to the passage of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect later this month.
The exchange — which was based out of London and opened in 2014 — did not charge fees, and founder Chris Beach operated it at a loss as a service to the cryptocurrency community.
The platform allowed Facebook and Google users to securely set up P2P cryptocurrency trades with users within their social networks. When a trader placed a bid or offer, it would become visible to the user’s friends and friends-of-friends, which ensured that traders were able to verify the identities of their counterparties. If another trader wanted to fulfill an order, he or she could automatically send a message to the other user through Facebook, where the two parties could arrange the trade.
However, Beach wrote in a statement announcing the shutdown that the recently-passed GDPR — which adopts new standards for individual data privacy and use — introduces regulatory uncertainty that makes it too risky to continue to operate CoinTouch, particularly as a free service.
“I asked trusted contacts in the industry for advice on how to make CoinTouch GDPR compliant. They came back with different answers (through no fault of their own – the law is ambiguously defined),” Beach said. “I concluded that I cannot justify running a free service while taking on a legal risk.”
The developer, who operates a number of non-profit websites, said that he is in the process of shutting them all down before the new rules — which he says actually reinforce the dominance of tech conglomerates like Facebook, Google, and Twitter — take effect.
“So, perversely, this new EU law hurts small website like mine, but helps reinforce the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, who are able to prepare and defend themselves using established legal teams and cash reserves, and who now face less competition from startups,” he concluded.
Featured Image from Pixabay