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| February 22, 2019

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PG&E should get out of the energy sales business, local governments say

February 18, 2019 |

A coalition of Northern California cities and counties is calling for state officials to remove Pacific Gas & Electric from the business of buying and selling electricity, which they say would allow the troubled company to focus on the safety of its poles and wires and reduce the risk of deadly…


L.A. Times – Business

Sears gets to stay in business: Bankruptcy judge OKs Eddie Lampert’s plan

February 11, 2019 |

A bankruptcy judge has blessed a $ 5.2-billion plan by Sears’ chairman and biggest shareholder to keep the iconic business going.

The approval means roughly 425 stores and 45,000 jobs will be preserved.

Eddie Lampert’s bid through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund overcame opposition from a group…


L.A. Times – Business

5 Crypto-Friendly Countries to Base Your Business

February 7, 2019 |

Choosing the best country to set up a business is vital in this digital age, and especially so for crypto companies. As governments around the world continue to learn more about cryptocurrencies and elect to either crack down on them or allow them to flourish, some jurisdictions emerge as being better than others for launching a crypto startup.

Also read: Markets Update: Traders Patiently Wait for Crypto’s Longest Bear Run to End

Take Time Choosing Where to Base Your Business

Many governments are still deciding what to do with cryptocurrency. While some are friendly towards it and see the benefit of crypto companies basing themselves in their jurisdiction, a number are openly hostile. If you’re planning to launch a crypto-related business, it makes sense to study the regulatory framework and government policy in a number of jurisdictions before reaching a decision.

Do you want to set up a business in a country that has historically had low taxation? If the country you are considering is receptive to crypto, and there are no signs of impending tighter regulation, will you still be able to attract investors? Does it have a vibrant ecosystem of fintech companies that will support your business? These are all matters that should be considered before setting up shop. The following crypto-friendly countries all have their attributes and are worthy of consideration before you settle on your HQ.

5 Crypto-Friendly Countries to Base Your Business

USA: Booming Bet Right Now

This U.S. is unsurprisingly a hotbed of crypto companies. Many high-profile cryptocurrency exchanges, custody providers, wallet developers, and miners operate from the U.S. and the government is working to enact a clearer legal framework for crypto-related businesses. Policy varies state to state, and while taxation guidelines in the U.S. have generally been unclear, in December lawmakers filed a bill to create tax exemptions for certain cryptocurrency transactions. The cryptocurrency community in the U.S. is thriving and the technology is slowly entering the mainstream. For example, Ohio last year allowed companies in the state to pay a variety of taxes, from tobacco sales tax to employee withholding tax, with bitcoin.

Switzerland: Established and Secure

Switzerland has long been a crypto-friendly nation. Its government has been open to the idea of cryptocurrency, encouraging crypto startups to set up shop there, and in December announcing a new legislative approach to blockchain. Switzerland’s tax rate is also attractive. In general, the country boasts a low-tax environment for businesses and many bitcoin service startups are already based in Switzerland. The country’s tax regulator considers cryptocurrencies to be assets, subject to wealth taxes that must be declared in annual returns. A 2018 report declared the top 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies in Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley” alone to be worth $ 44 billion. Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Lamassu moved to Switzerland due to problems with maintaining a bank account elsewhere and has been able to thrive in the progressive landlocked nation. And with some of the best universities in Europe, including the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, which hosts an innovation park, there’s plenty of talent to choose from.

5 Crypto-Friendly Countries to Base Your Business

Japan: Ahead of the Game

With the number of crypto companies in Japan growing – December saw 190 companies express the intention of market entry – the tech-savvy country is an ideal jurisdiction to set up a cryptocurrency business. The island nation has a booming bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry and was one of the first and only countries to recognize cryptocurrency within its legal system. Adoption is growing in the country too, with many businesses, restaurants and cafes accepting crypto for payments compared to other countries and jurisdictions on this list. Last year the country’s Financial Services Agency published its draft report of new cryptocurrency regulations. The country also allowed 16 of the country’s largest crypto exchanges to build a self-regulatory body. This step shows how Japan is ahead of the game in terms of regulation and allowing crypto companies to flourish. As a result, more and more startups are moving to Japan to take advantage of the friendly regulatory environment.

Singapore: Low Tax, Lots of Talent

The business-friendly, low-tax and tech-friendly Singapore is another jurisdiction worth considering. Although the previous regulatory framework for crypto wasn’t entirely clear, and some businesses were unable to expand due to troubles with bank accounts, the country’s financial regulator said in October that it was very open to crypto companies working with banks to reach an agreement to allow these businesses to grow. Last year, the central bank of Singapore finalized the country’s new regulatory framework for payment services, which now includes cryptocurrency. Singapore isn’t quite on a par with Japan, but it’s moving in the right direction. Its large big tech and business community would also be ideal for attracting investors and talent for a crypto-focused startup.

Luxembourg: Most Economically Developed

5 Crypto-Friendly Countries to Base Your Business

A tiny country of little under 600,000, Luxembourg boasts one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp. Tokyo-based Bitflyer also has offices in the European country after being granted a Payment Institution license to operate in the European Union. Luxembourg has long been a financial hub and business-friendly nation and the country clearly sees the potential of cryptocurrencies. Crypto exchanges in Luxembourg are governed by the CSSF and must follow the same rules as other financial institutions. Regarding taxes, cryptocurrencies are treated as intangible assets, and are not subject to income tax until they are disposed of, while cryptocurrency transactions are exempt from VAT. The country is also a good place to draw talent for a crypto company, with the innovative University of Luxembourg which is currently working to enhance the security of crypto assets.

What do you think about these countries and the way they deal with crypto companies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock.


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The post 5 Crypto-Friendly Countries to Base Your Business appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

February 2, 2019 |

The Best Ways Merchants Can Start Charging Customers in Bitcoin

As more people become interested in the world of cryptocurrency, adoption grows and so does the number of merchants interested in accepting bitcoin payments. Here are some of the easiest methods for integrating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into your online business. 

Also read: Wikipedia Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash Donations via Bitpay 

Why Your Business Might Want to Accept Bitcoin

Charging customers in bitcoin can prove beneficial to a business in many ways. For a start, accepting payments via credit card can be expensive, with banks and payment processors typically taking a cut of 3-5 percent. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can actually reduce such fees to less than one percent. In the case of bitcoin cash, fees are usually less than one cent. Bitcoin transactions are also irreversible, so chargebacks or returns, which are common with credit card payments, become a thing of the past. Receiving payments in bitcoin can also dramatically expedite international transactions while minimizing fees, which is ideal for online merchants.

On top of all this, there is immediacy of access to funds. Merchants of course like to have funds available as quickly as possible, as cash flow can make or break a business. Charging customers in bitcoin is one way to facilitate this. These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

How to Get Started

First and foremost, when a business wants to start charging its customers in bitcoin, it needs to make this fact obvious. Just as many businesses, both online and offline, make it clear they accept Mastercard, Visa or Paypal, a merchant accepting bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will want to display this fact prominently on their website, and particularly at checkout. A brick and mortar store can display their wallet addresses in the form of a QR code at the counter. Hardware terminals and touchscreen apps are other methods for accepting payments.

These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept CryptocurrencySetting prices is also an important matter to consider. When a business accepts bitcoin, it makes sense, at least at this stage of cryptocurrency adoption, to display the corresponding fiat currency price, and charge the customer accordingly, since the value of bitcoin fluctuates. Depending on where the business is based, tax will also have to be taken into account. It makes sense to view any bitcoin received as payment as similar to receiving a cash payment; though somewhat anonymous, it will still have to go through the books like any other payment. One thing to bare in mind is refunds. If a customer requests a refund, the merchant will need to ask for their address in order to send the cash back to them – although some platforms have ways of dealing with this smoothly.

Bitpay

Bitpay is by far the most common method for merchants to accept bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and other cryptocurrencies right now. Its system is fast, simple and incurs little risk of volatility for merchants, since Bitpay will handle settlement and automatically convert the crypto into fiat. The cryptocurrency payment processor recently released figures revealing it processed over $ 1 billion in payments last year. When it comes to refunds, things are simpler with Bitpay and merchants only need an email address in order to return funds to the buyer’s account.

These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

Benefits of Bitpay include its ability to support numerous currencies including the U.S. dollar, euro, pound sterling and Chinese yuan and direct bank deposits.

Coinbase Commerce

Another popular way to accept bitcoin payments is to use Coinbase Commerce. This is ideal for an online business as it enables merchants to accept payments in bitcoin and instantly convert it into fiat to save themselves from price volatility. It’s free, too, unlike receiving payments via credit card. Given the recognition and trust granted to the Coinbase brand, it may make sense for merchants to integrate Coinbase Commerce.

These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

Gocoin

Receiving international payments is much easier when charging customers in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Gocoin is one of the largest crypto payment processing services and supports a number of cryptocurrencies. It offers easy integration in the form of a plugin that businesses can install on their website and has a zero chargeback system.

These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

Btcpay

Open source payment processor Btcpay is particularly useful for more technically accomplished merchants. The processor is essentially a decentralized version of Bitpay and allows easy migration of existing codebase to the merchant’s self-hosted payment processor. Btcpay is helpful for merchants who want to be in control of their own funds and to accept several different cryptocurrencies. The merchant retains complete control of the full node, and payments go directly into their cryptocurrency wallet, which increases privacy and security.

These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency

What other cryptocurrency payment processors have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Gocoin. 


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Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

The post These Payment Gateways Will Enable Your Business to Accept Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

California Inc: Where’s the line when a president also happens to run a business?

January 21, 2019 |

Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business section.

I’m Business columnist David Lazarus, and here’s a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.

It will be interesting to see how CEO Elon Musk puts a positive spin on things after Tesla…


L.A. Times – Business

IRS releases rules on 20% tax break for pass-through business owners

January 18, 2019 |

Business owners — and their accountants — can rest a bit easier: The Internal Revenue Service has provided the long-anticipated final word on how they can claim one of the biggest perks in the 2017 Republican tax overhaul.

The regulations detailing the new 20% deduction for pass-through business…


L.A. Times – Business

Hostile Bid for Gannett Rattles Some in the Newspaper Business

January 15, 2019 |

The hostile takeover bid for Gannett Co. by MNG Enterprises Inc., a newspaper group backed by a hedge fund, has stoked fears that an industry already reeling from years of cutbacks could be in for even more severe cost-cutting.
WSJ.com: US Business

What would happen if PG&E sold its gas business or filed for bankruptcy?

January 8, 2019 |

California’s largest power company faces an existential crisis as it confronts the looming possibility of tens of billions of dollars in wildfire liability.

Shares of PG&E Corp. — which owns Pacific Gas & Electric Co. — sank 22.3% to $ 18.95 on Monday after reports that the utility could face at…


L.A. Times – Business

Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in Bitcoin

January 4, 2019 |

Overstock Chooses to Pay Part of the Company's Business Tax in Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency-friendly company Overstock.com announced on Thursday that company will be paying part of its business taxes to the state of Ohio using bitcoin. Overstock will use the state’s Ohiocrypto.com website to pay for the corporation’s commercial activities tax this year.

Also read: 10 Years Ago Bitcoin’s Genesis Block Changed the Course of History

Overstock Pays the Company’s Business Tax in Bitcoin

Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in BitcoinLast November, the U.S. state of Ohio launched a payment portal that allows businesses to pay taxes with bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) via Bitpay’s payment services. On Jan. 3, Overstock announced it was the first major U.S. company to pay a portion of its Ohio state business taxes with cryptocurrencies. Overstock CEO and founder Patrick Byrne detailed during the announcement that forward-thinking states like Ohio will help ensure the U.S. doesn’t get left behind during the digital revolution.   

“We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy,” said Byrne. The Overstock CEO also emphasized the importance of non-restrictive legislation over these types of technologies.

Byrne continued by stating:

“[Overstock] is proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.

Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in Bitcoin
Ohiocrypto.com was launched in November 2018.

Digital Asset Payments Add ‘Convenience’

There are 23 types of taxes that can be paid using BTC and BCH in the state of Ohio and Overstock will be using the ability to pay its commercial activities tax (CAT). Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel explained that taxpayers who use credit cards have to pay a 2.5 percent charge, whereas cryptocurrency payments only incur 1 percent. However, because Overstock paid its CAT early using a digital asset, it will not incur a fee as filings before the deadline are fee exempt. Mandel has also explained that Ohio may expand the program in 2020 by adding other types of taxes and possibly more cryptocurrencies. The state’s Treasurer explained the government’s office is thrilled to see Overstock embrace Ohio’s newly launched crypto payment services.  

“We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency — Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join Ohiocrypto.com,” said Mandel.

Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in Bitcoin
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Overstock’s founder Byrne has been a proponent of cryptocurrencies for some time and his company was one of the first major retailers to begin accepting bitcoin. The company is also working on its own blockchain project and announced that it was accepting a wider assortment of digital currencies in 2017.  In a recent interview, Josh Mandel stated he believes the new tax collection program will add more “convenience” for businesses like Overstock and looks forward to seeing other firms pay taxes with this form of money.

What do you think about Overstock paying part of its Ohio business taxes in Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Ohiocrypto.com, Politico, and Pixabay. 


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The post Overstock Becomes the First Major US Company to Pay Business Tax in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining Business

January 2, 2019 |

Japan's DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining Business

Japanese e-commerce giant DMM.com is reportedly exiting the cryptocurrency mining business due to “deteriorating profitability,” local media reported. This news follows an announcement by another major Japanese company, GMO Internet, that it will no longer manufacture and sell mining machines, citing similar reasons.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Out of the Mining Business

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining BusinessJapanese entertainment and e-commerce giant DMM.com Inc. is reportedly exiting the cryptocurrency mining business, according to local media. Toyo Keizai publication reported on Dec. 30 that DMM made a decision to exit the crypto mining business since September. “Deteriorating profitability is the main cause,” the publication quoted the company as saying, elaborating:

The withdrawal process such as the sale of the machines will go over to the first half of 2019.

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining BusinessDMM founder Keishi Kameyama described on Dec. 31 that, going forward, “he will work hard on ‘[the] exchange [business] and blockchains,’” Nikkei reported. A subsidiary of the group, DMM Bitcoin, is one of the 16 regulated crypto exchanges in Japan.

The company announced the establishment of its virtual currency division in September last year and began mining operations in Japan’s Kanazawa city in October. Multiple cryptocurrencies were mined “such as bitcoin, ethereum, [and] litecoin,” Toyo Keizai detailed.

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining Business

Launching with ambitious goals for its mining division, DMM announced at the time that it “will operate a mass-scale, made-in-Japan quality, mining farm whose operating size will be unmatched by any of the domestic operators.” It also planned to rank in the “top three of the world’s mining farm companies in terms of scale.” DMM also created a “research and development specialty lab” for crypto mining called DMM Mining Labo.

Showroom Closing

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining BusinessAlong with the official launch of its mining farm, DMM announced in February a plan to open up a showroom for public access at its mining facility in Kanazawa. The company planned to operate 1,000 mining machines in the showroom of about 500 square meters in April. “We plan to start accepting from the middle of March tours for the general public,” DMM detailed at the time.

However, Toyo Keizai reported that DMM had underestimated security concerns and quoted the company explaining:

I would like users to experience the extraordinary mining site in their lives. From such thought DMM opened a part of the [mining] farm to the public, but this was canceled in early June. It is because it is judged that ensuring security is difficult. Overseas, theft of virtual currency mining machines has been steady, and [there were attempts] even at the DMM’s Kanazawa farm.

Last week, DMM announced that its crypto trading app Cointap will not be launched as planned. According to the publication, the company believes that attracting beginner crypto traders has become difficult due to the decline in cryptocurrency prices and the hack of Coincheck exchange in January.

Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining BusinessDMM’s news came less than a week after another major Japanese company, GMO Internet, announced that it will no longer manufacture and sell mining machines. However, GMO said that it will continue to mine in-house and will relocate its mining farm. “Regarding the current mining machine markets, the environment is increasingly competitive because of the decreased demand mainly due to the decline in the cryptocurrency price, the decline in the sales price, etc,” GMO explained.

Attempts to contact DMM.com for comments have not yielded any results at press time.

What do you think of DMM shutting down its cryptocurrency mining business? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, DMM.com Inc., and GMO Internet.


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The post Japan’s DMM Exiting Cryptocurrency Mining Business appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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