Investing.com - Cryptocurrencies surged on Monday morning in Asia as social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ: NASDAQ:FB) was reported to be working on a digital token that could be transferred through the WhatsApp messaging app.
Bitcoin rose 3.8% to $4,144.5 and Ethereum leaped 13.46% to $146.01 at 1:42 AM ET (06:42 GMT).
XRP hiked 4.18% to $0.3864 on the Poloniex exchange, while Litecoin advanced 7.07% to $34.733 on the Bitifinex exchange.
Targeting the remittances market in India, Facebook’s digital currency will be pegged to the U.S. dollar for stability, according to a Bloomberg report. The company is currently working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets.
WhatsApp has over 200 million users in India, where people sent $69 billion home last year, according to the World Bank.
Facebook did not confirm the report, but said it is “exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology.”
Elsewhere, Argentina’s Athena Bitcoin has installed seven cryptocurrency ATMs in Buenos Aires, which will allow users to obtain bitcoin without waiting for confirmation on the blockchain, according to local media CriptoNoticias.
On the flipside, the regulatory surveillance on digital tokens will be tightened elsewhere. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will strengthen regulatory checks in the industry in 2019 due to its “significant growth and risks,” a report released last Thursday showed.
“For firms actively engaged in the digital asset market, OCIE [the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations] will conduct examinations focused on, among other things, portfolio management of digital assets, trading, safety of client funds and assets, pricing of client portfolios, compliance, and internal controls,” the report said.
The U.S. also introduced a bill to halt Iran from creating its own cryptocurrency as an extension to existing sanctions. The draft law seeks to ban transactions of any digital tokens from Iran and impose penalties on U.S. citizens and companies which offer financial and technological support to Iran for developing its own digital currency.