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| January 21, 2019

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American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage

January 18, 2019 |

American Companies Can Now Pay Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage

International cryptocurrency payroll service provider Bitwage has announced that it has partnered with Texas-based Simply Efficient HR. The move will allow companies to pay W2 employee and payroll taxes in all 50 U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico, using BTC and ETH.

Also Read: Bitpay Reports Processing Over $ 1 Billion Transactions in 2018

Bitwage and Simply Efficient Join Forces

With Bitwage’s solution now out of beta, American employees are able to choose any percentage of their wage to be in USD or cryptocurrency. To participate, a company needs to sign up to Bitwage, reach out to support for Payroll & HR services to receive personalized account management from the Simply Efficient HR team, and then add the account on Bitwage. Simply Efficient HR invoices companies through Bitwage for USD needed to fund payroll taxes and employee payrolls and the company accepts invoice and fund payrolls in BTC or ETH.

CEO of Bitwage Jonathan Chester commented: “As the leader in cryptocurrency payroll solutions, we are excited to continue to push the adoption of real use-cases within the industry. Together with Simplexity, we hope to close the financial loop within the cryptocurrency industry and continue to make bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a part of everyday life.”

American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage

Bridging the Gap to the Traditional Financial System

The partnership has been live in beta mode since November, with its first customer the peer-to-peer exchange Paxful. “Bitwage bridges the gap between bitcoin and the traditional finance system,” Hayel Abbassi, Paxful Controller, said. “As a company that earns 100% of revenue in bitcoin, we are always looking for service providers who will accept digital currency. Paxful has a significantly sized team in the states and we need to pay them as employees on payroll, not as contractors. Bitwage has recently formed a partnership with a traditional payroll company who integrates into their platform to provide these services. Paxful simply sends bitcoin to an address, and our employees receive net checks with the proper federal and state taxes withheld.”

American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage
W2 Tax Form

According to the announcement, U.S. Bitwage clients are also able to pay for benefits such as health insurance, as well as HR compliance services. Companies around the world are able to use their crypto holdings to pay local vendors in the U.S., E.U., U.K., Brazil, Philippines, India, Mexico, Argentina and other regions.

Would you be interested in settling payroll taxes with cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post American Companies Can Now Settle Payroll Taxes In Cryptocurrency via Bitwage appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Stock indexes hit one-month highs as tech companies rally

January 15, 2019 |

Stock indexes in the U.S. are rising to their highest levels in a month Tuesday. Netflix is leading a rally in internet and technology companies after raising subscription prices, and China’s government said it plans to cut taxes — a step that could generate more business for tech firms.

Healthcare…


L.A. Times – Business

Why Some Crypto Companies Consider KYC and AML Compliance Unnecessary

January 14, 2019 |

When it comes to cryptocurrency regulation, there is a lack of consensus on how to protect investors. Criminal activity such as fraud, hacks and theft is prevalent, not only in the crypto realm, but in the traditional financial world too.  Some exchanges have deemed know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance as unnecessary, however, claiming it infringes on the user’s right to privacy. 

Also read: Following the Crypto-Anarchist Dream: 3 Reasons to Reject KYC and AML

Crypto Exchanges Refuse KYC

There are a number of crypto exchanges doing everything in their power to avoid having to introduce KYC. Ethfinex’ Trustless DEX launched without KYC, having pointed out that it is impossible to obscure the source of a person’s funds: every transaction is visible and recorded forever onchain. Cryptocurrency exchange Hodl Hodl allows traders to swap cryptocurrencies without the need to undergo compliance. These exchanges require no lengthy signup process and no interminable wait for KYC checks to be approved, but such platforms are the exception rather than the rule. For legal and regulatory reasons, exchanges and similar financial organizations within the crypto sector are usually obliged to perform KYC. 

Why Some Crypto Companies Consider KYC and AML Compliance Unnecessary

From Crypto Anarchism to Close Regulation

The concept of Bitcoin was born around 2008 during the financial collapse. Originally, cryptocurrencies emerged as a means to allow privacy-oriented value storage and transfer to take place. Even before Bitcoin’s inception, crypto anarchists were employing cryptographic software in order to avoid scrutiny and potential prosecution while sending and receiving information over networks in an effort to protect their privacy and political and economic freedom. A central element to this philosophy is the inherent distrust of states in favor of individual sovereignty and self-determinism.

In a recent op-ed, Bitcoin.com’s Sterlin Lujan wrote of the crypto anarchist dream being financially independent and removed from the state apparatus, while Wendy McElroy, the author of The Satoshi Revolution, has questioned what is meant by “the law.” She writes that a government should not be allowed to monopolize its citizens’ financial affairs as it monopolizes so many other aspects of their lives. “The term [the law] refers to nothing more than the rules that identify and regulate a system. When the system is human society, discussions of law tend to become matters of power because some people want to dominate,” writes McElroy. 

Some Laws Do More Harm Than Good

Why Some Crypto Companies Consider KYC and AML Compliance UnnecessaryThe crypto world has often been dubbed the Wild West in dire need of regulation and direction. But is that really the case? There is evidence to show that instances of money laundering and other financial crimes are significantly lower in the crypto space than they are in the traditional financial sector. Onerous KYC and AML regulations also serve to deter new entrants, increase compliance costs for crypto companies, and arguably stifle innovation.

Kraken exchange has complained of the cost of compliance, stating that the “cost of handling subpoenas (regardless of licenses) is quickly becoming a barrier to entry.” Rather than deter criminals and increase transparency, some argue that all KYC/AML does is financially exclude those who lack the documentation to prove their identity – a particular problem for the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked. While some exchanges, such as Binance, are famously KYC free, its decision to partner with blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis is evidence that Binance is taking its regulatory obligations seriously. The crypto exchange, the world’s largest by trading volume, is now preparing to introduce KYC for its customers, mirroring the actions of other exchanges such as Kucoin that have similarly caved in.

Despite KYC and AML being a multi-billion dollar industry, critics remain convinced that the practice does more harm than good. While some exchanges are able to evade compliance through operating offshore and prohibiting U.S. investors from signing up, the majority have no choice but to bow to regulatory demands or face the consequences.

Do you support KYC and AML? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Why Some Crypto Companies Consider KYC and AML Compliance Unnecessary appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

As baby boomers age, we’re ‘in for a death boom.’ Companies can help grieving employees

January 12, 2019 |

Bobbi and Daniel Manka were settling into bed after a night out dancing when Daniel stood up, clutched his chest and gasped, “911.”

Just like that, Bobbi Manka lost her husband of 44 years and gained “a hole in my heart that will never be replaced.”

But she has found comfort where she didn’t know…


L.A. Times – Business

China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies to ‘Promote Healthy Development’

January 11, 2019 |

China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies 'to Promote Healthy Development'

China is coming down hard on blockchain companies, even though the government appears to favor blockchain over cryptocurrency. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced new regulations on Jan. 10 that will compel blockchain platforms to eliminate “undesirable” content while giving authorities access to private stored data and to check the identity of users.

Also read: Bitcoin Goes on Sale in 24 French Tobacco Stores

‘Rules to Promote Healthy Development of Blockchain Industry’

China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies to 'Promote Healthy Development'

China’s Internet Information Service Management Measures, which come into force on February 15, will “promote the healthy development of blockchain technology and related services,” CAC claimed in a press release. It said the rules are built to “safeguard national security and social public interests, [and] protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens.”

China has clamped down on virtual currencies since 2017 when the government outlawed initial coin offerings and prevented domestic cryptocurrency exchanges from operating within the Asian country’s economy.

But its government appears to tolerate distributed ledger technology on account of its many uses outside of the cryptocurrency realm. Industries such as oil, shipping, and agriculture are starting to show interest in blockchain, the technology which underpins crypto assets like bitcoin.

Stringent Registration Requirements for Users

Blockchain companies will now be required to register users with their actual names and national identity or mobile number while eliminating content that Beijing deems unfavorable. Companies are expected to “immediately release” stored data that the state regards as a threat to or contravening existing national laws. The new regulations state:

The blockchain information service provider shall implement the responsibility for information content security management, and establish and improve management systems such as user registration, information review, emergency response, and security protection … If the user does not perform real identity authentication, the blockchain information service provider shall not provide related services.

Companies will also be required to report to the government any new updates to their product range and to “accept social supervision” while adhering to strict registration requirements. Entities found to be in violation of the rules could be subject to fines or prosecution, the CAC said. Fines range between 5,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan ($ 700 to $ 4,400).

China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies to 'Promote Healthy Development'

The CAC claims in its new regulations that it is working to reinforce the blockchain industry. It says it intends to “strengthen industry self-discipline, improve industry standards,” and to guide blockchain platforms “to promote industry credit evaluation system construction,” among other things.

What do you think about the new rules guiding the operation of blockchain companies in China? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies to ‘Promote Healthy Development’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Stocks open sharply lower on Wall Street as big tech companies take losses

January 2, 2019 |

The stock market had a sour start to the new year as large technology companies suffered losses in early trading.

Apple and Amazon each fell about 2% in early trading Wednesday, as did Microsoft. Netflix tumbled 3.5%. Markets were closed Tuesday for New Year’s Day.

Stocks are coming off their worst…


L.A. Times – Business

67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK Regulator

December 31, 2018 |

67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK Regulator

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reportedly provided an update of its investigations of crypto companies. A total of 67 inquiries were launched, 49 of which have been closed, leaving 18 businesses currently under investigation. The UK government has reportedly said it is ready to give power to the FCA to regulate the crypto industry.

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

More Crypto Companies Under Investigation

67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK RegulatorThe U.K.’s FCA has released new information regarding its investigations into crypto businesses to The Telegraph in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. The publication reported on Saturday that the FCA revealed that “as of Nov. 12 it had opened inquiries into 67 firms involved in cryptocurrency businesses.” The Financial Times elaborated:

The Financial Conduct Authority on Sunday confirmed it was investigating 18 businesses involved in the sale of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The regulator has also issued alerts and warnings about dozens of companies suspected of cryptocurrency investment scams.

67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK RegulatorOut of 67 inquiries, 49 have been closed. The FCA issued consumer alerts for 39 firms. “Alerts are issued by the regulator when it is concerned a company is operating without authorisation, and is a suspected scam,” the publication described. The other 10 inquiries were closed because the companies involved were either warned that they may need authorization to continue their activities or there was not enough evidence to proceed with the investigation. The regulator declined to name the companies under investigation.

In May, the FCA investigated 24 crypto firms. In November, The Telegraph reported that the number of unauthorized crypto companies the regulator suspected of operating in the financial services industry jumped to 50, citing information from a different FOI request. In addition, the regulator has received seven whistle-blowing reports from employees of crypto businesses this year, whereas it did not receive any in the previous three years.

Regulating the UK Crypto Industry

While cryptocurrency transactions are currently not regulated in the U.K., companies that sell regulated investments with cryptocurrencies as their underlying assets may need approval from the FCA. However, “it is currently unclear in some instances whether certain assets fall within the scope,” the news outlet noted.

67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK RegulatorFollowing a report by the Treasury Committee published in September stating that “‘Wild West’ crypto-assets should be regulated,” the government earlier this month said that it is ready to give the FCA power to oversee the cryptocurrency industry. The authority will launch a consultation early next year to determine how the crypto market should be regulated.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, explained that the government will discuss whether crypto assets that “have comparable features to specified investments but that fall outside the current perimeter” should be regulated, the news outlet quoted him as saying. Glen further detailed:

Subject to the outcome of this consultation, the government stands ready to legislate to expand the regulatory perimeter to ensure that FCA regulation can be applied to all cryptoassets that have comparable features to security tokens, regardless of the way they are structured.

Furthermore, the FCA said in October that it is considering banning the sale of crypto derivatives. In November, news.Bitcoin.com reported that the regulator indicated that a “comprehensive response” to the illicit adoption of crypto assets is being planned.

What do you think of the U.K.’s FCA investigating all these crypto companies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the U.K.’s FCA.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 67 Cryptocurrency Companies Probed by UK Regulator appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Two Mining Companies Among Georgia’s Major Electricity Consumers

December 31, 2018 |

Two Mining Companies Among Georgia’s Major Electricity Consumers

Two companies mining cryptocurrencies have topped a list of the largest consumers of electricity in Georgia. In this crypto-friendly nation, however, that’s not necessarily a sin or a disadvantage. Energy-intensive enterprises in the Caucasian country purchase the power they need at wholesale prices.

Also read: Huobi and Major Russian Bank to Provide Legal Help to the Crypto Industry

Bitcoin Miners Buy Electricity on Wholesale Market

Georgia is among several jurisdictions in the post-Soviet space that have been attracting crypto miners with lax regulations and relatively low operating costs, including the price of electricity which is a major expense in the business of minting digital coins. Reports earlier this year have indicated that the country ranks second only to China in terms of mining profitability. According to Eurostat, in the first half of 2018 the average electricity price for Georgian households was just under €0.07 per kWh (~$ 0.08) and less than €0.05 per kWh (~$ 0.06) for non-household consumers.

Two Mining Companies Among Georgia’s Major Electricity Consumers

Two Georgian mining companies – Geo Service and BFDS – have now been included in a list of five largest consumers of electricity that also includes the metallurgical enterprise Georgian Manganese, the utility company Georgian Water and Power (GWP) and Kutaisi Investments. What’s more, the crypto businesses are leading the group mentioned in a report about Georgia’s projected electric power balance for 2019, Business Gruzia reported.

According to government data, the two mining companies have used a total of 55.6 million kWh in the month of November. And for a period of seven months, Geo Service has consumed almost 108 million kWh, while BFDC Georgia, a company owned by the mining hardware manufacturer Bitfury, used another 339 million kWh.

All the five companies operate energy-intensive facilities. And in Georgia, such enterprises purchase the electricity they need on a separate, wholesale market and directly from producers and importers. That allows them to bypass the distribution utilities which charge additional fees. According to Georgia Today, these intermediaries will raise the tariffs for other groups of consumers in January, after approval from the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission.

Georgia to Consume Over 14 Billion kWh in 2019

According to the electric power balance report, the electricity consumption of the whole country during the next year is expected to reach 14.2 billion kWh. The large consumers which buy their electricity directly from the producers, and not from the utilities Telasi (2.9 billion kWh) and Energo Pro (6.59 billion kWh), will need a total of 2.7 billion kWh.

The forecast published by the Sarke news agency shows that In 2019 Georgia’s own electricity generation capacities will produce up to 12.7 billion kWh, while the imported electricity will amount to 2.8 billion kWh. The country is heavily reliant on its hydroelectric power stations which will generate around 10.3 billion kWh, with thermal power stations projected to produce 2.3 billion kWh and the Kartli wind park – 86 million kWh.

Two Mining Companies Among Georgia’s Major Electricity Consumers

Mining as a business and a source of income has gain popularity in the whole Transcaucasian region. Bitcoin farms have spread so fast in Abkhazia, a breakaway territory in northwestern Georgia, that the local government was forced to introduce temporary power cuts for the miners during the winter months. Georgia and Abkhazia share a huge hydropower complex located on the de facto border, which under normal circumstances satisfies most of the needs of the partially recognized republic.

Neighboring Armenia has taken steps to legalize and regulate cryptocurrency mining. This year the country became home to a large mining facility with 3,000 devices minting bitcoin and ethereum. Its owners, the Armenian consortium Multi Group and the Swedish company Omnia Tech, plan to expand its capacity to 120,000 machines.

What are your expectations about the prospects for the cryptocurrency mining sector in Georgia and the region? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin News

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency Market

December 28, 2018 |

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency Market

In an exclusive interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Japan’s top financial regulator has confirmed the number of companies currently wanting to enter the Japanese cryptocurrency market. Meanwhile, several existing crypto exchanges in the country are undergoing changes.

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

Over 190 Companies Want In

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com on Wednesday the number of companies to date that have expressed interest to register as cryptocurrency operators. The FSA said:

Including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, more than 190 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency MarketThis number is 30 more companies than the previous count the agency revealed in August. At that time, the FSA said that 160 operators had expressed intention to enter the Japanese cryptocurrency market.

While the FSA did not discuss specific applications, some companies have made announcements themselves regarding their plans to start crypto-related businesses. Among them are Line Corp., Yahoo! Japan, Money Forward Inc., Drecom Co. Ltd., Yamane Medical Corp., Adways Inc., Avex Inc., Daiwa Securities Group, Samurai & J Partners, Appbank Inc., I-Freek Mobile Inc., Forside Co. Ltd., and Fasteps Co. Ltd.

Japan’s Changing Crypto Landscape

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency MarketThere are currently 16 registered crypto exchanges in Japan. Under the revised Payment Services Act, crypto operators must register with the FSA. Japan also has three deemed dealers, which are companies that have been allowed to operate while their applications are being reviewed by the regulator. They are Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin.

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency MarketIn September, regulated crypto exchange Zaif was hacked and was subsequently taken over by another regulated exchange, Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange Inc. Bittrade was recently acquired by Huobi and is in the process of relaunching as Huobi Japan. Madison Group has announced a plan to acquire a stake in Bitocean, another registered exchange. In addition, Ceres Inc. announced on Thursday a capital tie-up with crypto exchange Xtheta to start a joint service next spring.

Among deemed dealers, Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after it was hacked in January. Everybody’s Bitcoin was acquired by mega e-commerce and internet giant Rakuten Inc. Despite acquisitions, the FSA confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com on Wednesday that Japan still currently has 16 registered crypto exchanges.

DMM and GMO

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency MarketDMM.com, the parent company of DMM Bitcoin, a regulated crypto exchange, announced on Tuesday that it will no longer launch its Cointap app. The company began accepting registration for this service in January and initially planned to release the app in the spring. The e-commerce giant emphasized that the group will continue to offer crypto trading services at DMM Bitcoin.

190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency MarketGMO Internet, the parent company of crypto exchange GMO Coin, also announced on Tuesday that it will no longer develop, manufacture or sell cryptocurrency mining machines, although it will continue to mine in-house. However, GMO said that this decision will not affect services by GMO Coin or the development of its yen-pegged stablecoin, which was announced in October.

What do you think of the number of companies wanting to enter the Japanese crypto market? Let us know in the comments section below.


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


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 190 Companies Seek to Enter Japanese Cryptocurrency Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

50% of Chinese Stock Exchange Companies Investigated Fail to Demonstrate Real Applications for Blockchain

December 27, 2018 |

Chinese Stock Exchanges Investigate Blockchain Companies, Half Fail to Demonstrate DLT Applications

According to Chinese state media, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have carried out investigations into 30 percent of companies listed on their exchanges that are performing operations pertaining to distributed ledger technology (DLT). Of the companies investigated, less than half were able to demonstrate applications for blockchain technology.

Also Read: Chatter Report: Vitalik Doesn’t Believe in Proof of Work, Chris Pacia Discusses Big Blocks

Listed Blockchain Companies Undergo Questioning From Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges

50% of Chinese Stock Exchange Companies Investigated Fail to Demonstrate Real Applications for BlockchainThe recent speculative frenzy surrounding cryptocurrencies has led to a number of businesses seeking to associate their operations with virtual currencies and DLT. In many cases, the purported foray into blockchain has appeared dubious at best, despite many companies seeing dramatic volatility in the price of their shares, buoyed by news of blockchain adoption.

Chinese state-operated media outlet Securities Daily estimates that 80 public companies listed on the exchanges purport to have included DLT in their business model. Of the 80 companies, 56 have seen a rise in price, placing blockchain among the few sectors to be performing well in the two cities.

Data produced by Hithink Flush Information Network has indicated that 70 of the 80 blockchain-related stocks have seen price moves meeting the daily limit 10 percent price volatility during 2018, seven of which exceeded the limit more than 10 times this year.

More than 50 Percent of Investigated Blockchain Companies Fail to Demonstrate DLT Applications

50% of Chinese Stock Exchange Companies Investigated Fail to Demonstrate Real Applications for Blockchain23 of the 80 DLT companies have been directly investigated by the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges. Two thirds of the examinations took place during the first quarter of 2018.

According to Sina, the exchanges’ investigations predominantly sought to ascertain “the specific model of the blockchain business, including application scenarios and profit models,” and potential “operational risks” that may arise as a consequence of adopting DLT.

When asked to demonstrate the results of their blockchain operations, the companies are reported to have most frequently used the words “exploration” and “research,” with 13 of the 23 companies suspected of having sought to associate themselves with blockchain solely to drive speculation while failing to evidence applications for DLT.

What is your response to the exchanges’ findings that the majority of companies seeking to ride the blockchain bandwagon have no intention of delivering products and applications built on the technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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