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PR: Incent – A Crypto Rewards Platform

June 27, 2019 |

PR: Incent - A Crypto Rewards Platform

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Amid a surge in income-generating smartphone apps, Incent is making itself heard. The crypto rewards platform offers a unique opportunity for regular shoppers to earn a passive income.

Crypto loyalty platform Incent is giving everyday consumers a new way to save as they spend, building a nest egg at a time when there are few good opportunities for regular investors.

In the ten years since the Global Financial Crisis, Quantitative Easing has boosted housing and asset prices, the wealthy have prospered and inequality has increased – but ordinary people are struggling with increased debt and lower wages. Low interest rates offer poor returns, and less than half of milleninals have enough savings to last them just three months.

Income-generating apps
It is within this context that an increasing number of fintech apps are launching. These typically appeal to younger and novice investors, and aim to offer an easy way to put their money to work and tap into passive income streams – without the large capital or experience of professional investors.

Raiz, for example – formerly known as Acorns – is Australia’s #1 investment app. The platform enables users to invest spare change from everyday purchases in diversified ‘smart’ portfolios of ETFs, as well as setting aside regular lump sums, if they wish. In March this year, Raiz hit the milestone of 1 million downloads. In the UK, Nutmeg – an automated investment service – has over 50,000 users and £1 billion in assets under management.

Tech natives
These apps are designed to appeal to millennials and the younger, tech-savvy generations – also those who have been most affected by the financial crisis. It is no coincidence that millennials are also the demographic who are most likely to purchase and trade cryptocurrency, since they are both more comfortable engaging with new technologies and are seeking ‘alpha’, or better returns on their hard-earned cash.

As a crypto loyalty programme, Incent sits in both of these categories. The platform issues rewards of INCNT tokens to users on every spend they make, funneling cents and dollars into crypto in the same way that apps like Raiz seamlessly funnel change into equities.

Crypto economics
Unlike the conventional markets and fiat currencies, however, Incent has fixed supply and every new purchase of the token places net demand on the market.

‘The idea is simple,’ comments CEO Rob Wilson. ‘We want to make it as easy as possible for everyday consumers to access crypto, save money and build wealth. Our platform enables them to do that absolutely frictionlessly – once they’ve registered and synced their bank account, debit or credit card , they can go about their daily business knowing that every time they spend money, a little fraction of that is being stored as digital value.’

Incent’s waiting list is currently live, with full launch planned for July. Consumers will be rewarded in Incent tokens on every spend they make which are tradable on Bittrex. To find out more visit [] or join us on Telegram

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This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. 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 the press release.

The post PR: Incent – A Crypto Rewards Platform appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy

June 26, 2019 |

Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy

Last May, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed it would be issuing new tax guidance and rules about the tax treatment of digital assets and forks. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig told congressional leaders that the agency has made it a priority to issue crypto-related tax guidance. This week, spoke with Sean Ryan, CTO of Node40, a platform that helps people calculate digital currency-based taxes. He believes that the issuance of new crypto tax guidance is “long overdue.”

Also Read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrency Prices Continue to Accelerate

What to Expect From the Upcoming IRS Crypto-Tax Guidelines

Since cryptocurrencies were born back in 2009, the innovative money has mixed like water and oil when it comes to taxes. Cryptocurrency investors in the U.S. have been struggling to file taxes relating to digital assets because the rules have been unclear and have not been updated since 2014. For instance, the IRS told the public back then that digital currencies were not a currency and were to be treated as property with capital gains. However, taxpayers are still bewildered when dealing with digital assets as income, and the release of forks has caused confusion as well. In order to get a better understanding of what to expect when guidance from the IRS addresses the tax treatment of cryptocurrency and forks, spoke with Node40 CTO Sean Ryan about the upcoming guidelines.

Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy
The letter to congressional leaders and representative Tom Emmer from IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on May 16. Rettig told congressional leaders that new guidelines toward the treatment of cryptocurrencies will be issued soon and that it was a top priority for the tax agency.

Ryan explained that the issuance of the new guidance is long overdue. He is also cautiously optimistic that the tax agency will revise its stance to reflect a better understanding of the technologies involved. He believes the recent letter from Congress has provided the agency with the most problematic areas.

“So if they’ve educated themselves on those, it will be apparent in their new guidelines,” Ryan told “In particular, the IRS commissioner, in a May 19th response to Congress’s request for clarity, stated new guidance will be forthcoming and will address specifically the three most talked about uncertainties: acceptable methodology for calculating cost basis, acceptable methodology for assignment cost basis (FIFO, Specific Identification, etc.), and treatment of forks. I do believe it will be this year. I’m still hopeful it will be before the end of June or sometime in early July, though it’s looking less likely now.”

Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy
Node40 CTO Sean Ryan

Ryan then discussed whether or not cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will remain classified as property and if they will be subject to the same capital gains treatment. As much as it goes against the philosophy of “digital cash,” Ryan thinks it will be some time before the IRS is willing to cede ground on that front.

“Unless they are reclassified as securities or even a brand new asset type, property does appear to be the most appropriate classification — Some interesting ideas that have been floated include a possible de minimis exemption down the road, which would exempt certain transactions from capital gains on any appreciation. Such an exemption may reduce the friction of cryptocurrency in commerce but not on calculating taxes,” Ryan noted.

Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy

The Classification of Forks and Keeping Meticulous Records of Every Transaction Made

Moving on to the conversation of forked coins which investors receive when a blockchain split takes place, Ryan emphasized that it is one of the most hotly debated topics for crypto and taxes. The Node40 executive thinks that forked coins should have a cost basis of $ 0 if they’re disposed of. “Since owners of the currency have no way of opting out of the fork, any other basis would place an unfair burden on the taxpayer to report such receipt as income,” Ryan remarked, adding:

In fact, depending on the popularity of the new coin, the market may be illiquid or not even available if the coins are hosted on a third party platform such as an exchange. Provided the IRS has weighed up the technical considerations that come with hard forks, I would be inclined to think they’ll share my opinion – it’s impossible to say for certain, however.

Regardless of the outcome, users will always need to keep meticulous records of every transaction made, from acquisition through transfers and to final disposal, Ryan emphasized. While the precise reporting methodology required by the IRS has yet to be announced, he said this includes LIFO, FIFO, and Specific Identification but detailed records will allow the individual to comply with the requirements and calculate their taxes at a later date. “I’m certain such regulations will need revisiting every 2-3 years for the foreseeable future — Back in 2014 we had only about a dozen currencies and no real discussions about forks,” Ryan explained.

Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig responded with an official statement to congressional leaders, explaining that he agrees with the request and the agency plans to issue tax guidelines soon.

“For the past five years, investors and traders have been struggling to make sense of nebulous guidelines, which have only driven a wedge between cryptocurrency enthusiasts and the tax authorities,” Ryan opined. “From talking with hundreds of accountants and individuals over the last several years on this topic, many don’t bother reporting, or end up over/underpaying – all due to such uncertainty in the gray area.” The Node40 CTO concluded by saying:

Five years in an industry as nascent as that of cryptocurrency changes the playing field tremendously. By now, regulators should be much more familiar with the technologies, and they should be prepared to issue clear and concise guidance to investors.

What do you think about the upcoming tax guidance from the IRS in regard to cryptocurrency treatment? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Node40, Sean Ryan, Pixabay, and Wiki Commons.

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The post Node40 Executive Explains What to Expect When the IRS Issues Its New Crypto Policy appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Tony Hawk Foundation Added to Bitpay’s 100 Crypto Supporting Nonprofits

June 25, 2019 |

Tony Hawk Foundation Added to Bitpay's 100 Crypto Supporting Nonprofits

On June 24, well known nonprofit the Tony Hawk Foundation revealed it is now accepting cryptocurrencies for donations through Bitpay. The foundation founded by the pro skater Tony Hawk has funded 623 skatepark projects and now people can donate with BCH and BTC. With the latest collaboration, Bitpay now services over 100 nonprofit organizations processing $ 37 million in donations over the last three years.

Also read: BCH Development Fund Doubles Its Goal After a Successful Month

Tony Hawk Foundation Now Supports Crypto Payments

Tony Hawk is one of the most recognizable professional skateboarders of all time. The American athlete has influenced generations of kids and young adults to jump on a four-wheeled board. Hawk not only created dozens of the tricks we know of today, but he was always relatable and funny in movies like Gleaming the Cube and the Bones Brigade. After his amazing career of inventing new tricks and pioneering the modern age of vertical skateboarding, Hawk created a nonprofit so the youth can continue this legacy.

Tony Hawk Foundation Added to Bitpay's 100 Crypto Supporting Nonprofits
People can donate to the Tony Hawk Foundation here.

So far there are more than 500 Tony Hawk Foundation (THF) grant recipients who have opened skateparks and these parks are visited by more than 5 million people annually. This week the charity announced a partnership with Bitpay in order to accept crypto payments in BCH and BTC.

“THF has long been recognized for our innovative approach to building communities, and we’re excited to offer this great new way to support our work,” Miki Vuckovich, executive director of the Tony Hawk Foundation, stated.

Tony Hawk Foundation Added to Bitpay's 100 Crypto Supporting Nonprofits
“After receiving thousands of e-mails from parents and children across America who did not have a safe, legal place to skate and in some cases arrested for skating on public property, Tony Hawk decided to establish a foundation whose mission would be to serve this population. $ 9 million has been awarded by the Tony Hawk Foundation to help create public skateparks.”

Bitpay Processes $ 37 Million in Cryptocurrency-Denominated Donations

The partnership with THF highlights the fact that the Atlanta based cryptocurrency payment processor Bitpay now supports over 100 nonprofits. According to the firm, since 2017 Bitpay has processed more than $ 37 million in cryptocurrency-denominated donations. Well known charitable organizations working with Bitpay include the Wikimedia Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Greenpeace, Heifer International, The Water Project, and the American National Red Cross. Donating funds with crypto can be done easily on a mobile device or home computer in less than a minute. Moreover, BTC or BCH-based donations can be accounted for and verified on a public block explorer.

Tony Hawk Foundation Added to Bitpay's 100 Crypto Supporting Nonprofits
Nonprofits that accept digital currency donations via Bitpay.

After revealing the alliance with the charity THF, Sonny Singh, the chief commercial officer of Bitpay, explained that as blockchain payments continue to move mainstream, “[Bitpay] is seeing an increase in donations from the crypto community.” Singh continued:

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash offer an economical payment option in comparison to traditional bank options where more money goes to charity rather than paying fees.

Many people believe that cryptocurrencies will revolutionize the money system, but at the same time, philanthropy can be enhanced by being able to fund any project from across the world. Much needed and often taken for granted things like schools and water wells can be built. And now people can donate to kids who want to drop in on a halfpipe for the first time or be the next kid to land the 900.

What do you think about the Tony Hawk Foundation accepting cryptocurrency donations? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Tony Hawk Foundation, Pixabay, and Bitpay.

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Updated Crypto Guidelines From FATF Has Far-Reaching Implications

June 25, 2019 |

Enforcement of Updated Crypto Guidelines From FATF Has Far-Reaching Implications

The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) has revealed updated guidelines that would require cryptocurrency and digital asset exchanges—and potentially independent business owners and crypto holders—to share sensitive customer information as VASPs (Virtual Asset Service Providers), compromising user privacy and restricting crypto market access.

Also read: BCH Development Fund Doubles Its Goal After a Successful Month

The Incoming Deluge

Regulations have value. In a private business they are boundaries and expectations set by the owner, and adhered to voluntarily by those that utilize their service. Management-imposed regulations in a private brokerage firm can keep irresponsible practices such as selling heavily margined stocks and other credit scams to naïve, desperate, and gullible investors to a minimum, for example. However, when regulations move beyond the realm of private property, and into the field of force and coercion—applied to all individuals regardless of property or individual self-ownership—the regulations then become immoral and violent.

The potential enforcement of updated crypto guidelines from the FATF has far-reaching implications for the privacy markets worldwide, and is being undertaken ostensibly to combat terrorism, money laundering, and other related cyber-crimes. For those abreast of the current world situation, where the very same G20 nations that would be enforcing VASP guidelines are waging endless war, inflating currencies, trafficking drugs and humans, and destroying whole countries and economies, the irony here is a little hard to shake. It seems a whole new influx of laws are coming, and how the market handles this new deluge will be very telling.

Enforcement of Updated Crypto Guidelines From FATF Has Far-Reaching Implications

The Soft Power Sway of ‘Guidelines’

What’s interesting about these new FATF guidelines is that, in and of themselves, they are just that: guidelines. There is nothing technically binding about any of them, legally speaking. However, with this news emerging just before the G20 summit in Osaka in Japan on June 28-29, where blockchain tech and cryptocurrency will be a central topic, it’s probably not presumptuous to begin connecting the dots. (In fact, Japan is already considered by many to be the world leader in cryptocurrency adoption and regulatory action.)

Participant countries will be creating their own VASP and FATF-compliant legislation, and those exchanges and traders refusing to comply will then presumably be blacklisted and made “irrelevant” or “radioactive” by default. As an important aside, this style of “soft power” governance is becoming more and more common, and is not a coincidental phenomenon. Where statism has always been about control via direct force, more or less, it is increasingly sold as “winning hearts and minds,” “convenience,” and “social progress,” with the violent force component hiding just beneath the surface.

What do the FATF Guidelines Require?

Among other things, the final, updated “guidance” encourages the dissemination of basically any and all sensitive trader information—up to and including national ID numbers, IP addresses, browsing histories, and potentially even emails—in the supposed interest of combating anonymity—ostensibly that anonymity being used for cover in illegal actions. As you and I know, this is an especially scary prospect considering that legality and morality are never synonymous, and often are at direct and vehement odds with one another.

Regulatory Tidal Wave: FATF Issues New Guidance Instructing Exchanges to Collect and Share Sensitive User Information

Later in the guidelines, on page 43 it is written:

Examples of existing technologies that providers could consider as a foundation for enabling the identification of beneficiaries of VA transfers…include…Public and private keys…Secure Sockets Layer (TLS/SSL) connections, which make use of public and private keys among parties when establishing a connection and secure almost all transmissions on the Internet, including emails, web browsing, logins, and financial transactions.

Wow. So much for anything “crypto” or “secure” about these suggested courses of action.

Regulatory Tidal Wave: FATF Issues New Guidance Instructing Exchanges to Collect and Share Sensitive User Information

Iran as a Central Factor

Do the current U.S. military tensions regarding Iran play into all of this FATF and G20 excitement? First, a couple things to note. One is that Iran has already announced plans to drop the U.S. dollar soon in foreign trade. The resource-rich country seems to be an obsession for the U.S. military and political machine in general, with almost constant saber-rattling in major news media outlets for the past decades regarding the Iranian nuclear program and supposed links to terrorist organizations.

Second, the country is—in a sense—financially independent and oil-rich, and thus not easily swayed by Western interests. Iraq and Libya have previously ventured down similar independent paths, and the wake of destruction resulting from NATO aggression and U.S.-allied military action can be seen all too clearly. The message? Use our money, submit to our governance, or pay dearly.

While fiat currencies, the USD in particular, have held court for a long, long time now via their Keynesian magic of unlimited printing (“quantitative easing”) and force-based participation (the gun to your head telling you “THIS HAS VALUE”), the crypto space provides a whole new paradigm. Doesn’t it make sense to fear this innovation’s adoption by one’s enemies—including Iranian interests—if the objective is to control the flow of capital and resources? Listen to how often the supposed threat of “terror” is hammered into our heads in regard to crypto and the “necessary” legislation and regulation which must supposedly surround it.

Regulatory Tidal Wave: FATF Issues New Guidance Instructing Exchanges to Collect and Share Sensitive User Information

What the FATF Guidance Means for the ‘Little Guy’

By ‘little guy’ I mean the average investor, small business owner, entrepreneur, or trader. Heck, it even could include that random, oddball, lucky individual who already has his “moon Lambo” from investing wisely back when this whole crypto thing was just getting off the ground floor.

Quite simply, all these FATF guidelines mean is: we want to know what you are doing with your assets at all times. Of course private businesses have every right to govern themselves as they see fit. Property owners may determine how their private exchanges are run as they are, in the end, the rightful owners of the business, However, when it comes to the blanket legislation and violence-backed regulation engendered by “soft power guidelines” such as those just issued by the FATF to be enacted over anyone and everyone regardless of property rights, it’s clear an imminent financial and philosophical conflict is at hand.

Surfing the Tidal Wave of Legislation

This tsunami of red tape and state violence heading our way is certainly picking up momentous speed. Every year, every month and every day some new measure is taken by the bureaucracies, politicians and bankers of the world, which compromises the freedom of the individual, and increases the power of the state. It is my hope and vision that innovation and peaceful non-compliance, secured on a sound philosophical base, is truly the ticket that will win the day. In that way, instead of being engulfed by the deluge, perhaps we can instead surf the wave, already having some knowledge of how the technology works, with the state at large lagging behind, as per usual.

Then, when it comes time to pay for more war, more extortion, more trafficking, more destroyed families, communities, homes, dreams and lives, people can begin to simply say—with their wallets…“No.” Shielded by the relative privacy and anonymity blockchain tech and encryption (when properly used) can afford, I don’t think this scenario is too hard to imagine, although self-defense against state violence is always a necessary consideration.

As Buckminster Fuller so aptly stated: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Only Time Will Tell

At the time of writing, BTC currently sits at almost $ 11,000 and BCH is approaching $ 500. There is definitely an excitement in the space, and it feels good. The FATF will issue their guidelines, and major nation states around the world will likely adhere. None of this changes the most critical thing, however: more and more people will begin to be financially empowered, and presented the opportunity to take control of their own financial destiny, instead of bowing to an increasingly irrelevant and obsolete system whose extinction is certain.

What are your thoughts on the FATF’s proposed guidelines? Let us know in the comments section below.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Facebook’s Libra digital currency may force Washington to clarify crypto policy

June 23, 2019 |

Facebook Inc.’s decision to create its own digital money — with the grandiose ambition of establishing an alternative global financial system — is jump-starting a long-simmering debate in Washington over how to regulate cryptocurrency.

For years, U.S. regulators and lawmakers have bickered over…

L.A. Times – Business

BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive

June 23, 2019 |

BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive

Italy has had its share of economic problems in the past decade and a growing number of its citizens blame the euro for their country’s misfortunes. Italians, many of whom still prefer to use cash, are now turning their attention to cryptocurrencies such as BCH. Federico Pecoraro, the CEO of Chainblock, one of the first crypto companies in the country, thinks it’s the right time to enable more people and businesses to benefit from using decentralized money. He considers bitcoin cash a good candidate to become the world’s digital coin for daily spending.

Also read: These Websites Help You Shop With Major Retailers Using Cryptocurrency

Rome’s Troubles Create Conditions for Cryptocurrency Adoption

Italy is an interesting case in Europe. In certain aspects, the country is part of EU’s Southern Flank, a region facing serious economic and financial challenges in the past 10 years. On the other hand, it’s one of the world’s largest economies. And just like the rest of the continent, it has its own North-South disproportions in terms of industrialization and level of economic development. As a whole, Italy remains one of the most advanced economies, it’s the third-largest in the Eurozone and the eighth in the world by nominal GDP. It is also one of the largest exporters on the planet, including of high value added products.

BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive

The Italian economy took a hard hit from the 2008 financial crisis. The country’s problems were exacerbated by its huge public debt accumulated due to excessive spending by the government in Rome during the previous couple of decades. Since then, Italy has managed to catch up with the average Eurozone growth indicators. However, many ordinary Italians, over a third of whom live in poverty or risk of social exclusion, blame the adoption of the euro for the loss of economic power. Critics say Europe’s common fiat currency has been tailored to the interests of others further north.

In these circumstances, cryptocurrencies are gradually winning hearts and minds in Italy. Despite the ups and downs, the long-term trend in the economy built around decentralized digital assets has been mostly positive. Crypto winter, which seems to have passed already, has been a tough time for almost any company involved in cryptocurrencies, according to Federico Pecoraro, CEO of Chainblock. There has been an overall decrease in transactions in the Italian crypto sector during last year. “Media coverage has been quieter after March 2018 too,” the entrepreneur told

Leading Italian Crypto Company Launches New Services

Chainblock is a well-established crypto company which started in 2013 as the first Bitcoin ATM operator in Italy. It has recently expanded its portfolio and now operates Chainblock Buy, a hybrid exchange for buying, trading and selling cryptocurrencies, Chainblock Buy With Cards which is a service for people who want to buy coins with debit and credit cards, and Chainblock Pay, a solution for merchants that want to accept crypto payments. The latter already has a prominent client – Vapor Art, which is the largest supplier of e-cigarettes in Italy. Pecoraro explained:

We love small businesses that want to accept crypto payments but we want to enable as many merchants as we can with a strategic market approach. Our goal is to provide affordable and scalable solutions for both big and small shops and spread real cryptocurrency mass adoption. We plan to enable 5,000 merchants to accept Bitcoin payments.

Pecoraro pointed out that Chainblock Buy With Cards and Chainblock Pay are the company’s latest products that were launched in 2019, while Chainblock Buy has been online since last year. At the same time, the company remains a market leader with its core ATM business – people can use its teller machines to purchase digital coins with fiat cash. “Our mission is to allow anyone to easily buy and spend cryptocurrencies, and we proudly support Bitcoin Cash from its beginning,” emphasized the company’s chief executive.

Like other crypto businesses with strong foundations, Chainblock has used the “winter months” in the industry to develop new products in order to expand its customer base. It also installed six new ATMs in 2018, including one device in a large shopping mall visited by over 8 million customers annually. “At the end of 2018, we had a 156% increase in transactions and a 144% increase in new users,” Federico Pecoraro revealed. He believes Italy has what it takes to become the starting point of an economic revolution that embraces cryptocurrencies and says this could happen sooner than people might think. That’s why, during a meeting with representatives of Banca d’Italia, the country’s central bank, his team proposed the conversion of some of the nation’s gold reserves into bitcoin. Italy actually has the third biggest gold reserve in the world, the businessman noted.

BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive
Banca d’Italia

Pecoraro further elaborated that while bitcoin core (BTC) may have the role of a store-of-value currency at the moment, bitcoin cash (BCH) could be the cryptocurrency that would fit perfectly as a real global coin for daily spending. “We’re proud to support it on our products. Indeed, our clients have the opportunity to buy BCH through any of our services,” he stressed. The entrepreneur also shared details about the profile of his company’s customers. Most often, young clients buy online while older customers generally prefer to purchase digital assets from ATMs with cash.

“Italian people still use a lot of cash, and we give them an easy way to convert it into their favorite cryptocurrencies. The average Chainblock Buy user is a male aged 24-35 who wants to invest some money in cryptocurrencies, while the average Chainblock ATM user is rather a curious person exploring cryptocurrencies for the first time,” said Federico Pecoraro. “Our ATMs guarantee a unique experience through which people can understand how easy it is to buy bitcoin cash and bitcoin core.”

Italy is home to large diasporas from Eastern Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean region, and Pecoraro acknowledged that immigrants and guest workers were among Chainblock’s first clients. “In fact, cryptocurrencies are still the best way to send money worldwide, a cheap and fast way, especially in countries where there is no strong banking system. At the same time, due to strict KYC/AML policies, sending coins is not as easy as it was years ago and this could be a barrier for first-time users. We try anyway to do our best and we also expect to work soon on specific remittance products and services,” the CEO added.

Lack of Regulatory Clarity for Digital Assets Persists

Chainblock is operating as a crypto company that provides non-custodial services but it’s compliant with the applicable know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) requirements and is partnering with traditional financial institutions including the central bank. However, Italian authorities have so far taken few steps to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. In February 2019, lawmakers approved a bill introducing legal definitions for terms associated with the crypto sector such as “smart contract” and “distributed ledger technology” (DLT). The law, which is the first attempt to regulate some aspects of the industry, tasked the country’s Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale with creating specific technical standards DLT technologies will be expected to meet.

BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive
Italian parliament

Despite the new legislation, the legal status of cryptocurrencies in Italy remains largely undefined. Banca d’Italia has previously described them as “digital representations of a value” and some substatutory acts on money laundering have noted that coins can be transferred, stored and traded electronically, used as a means of exchange and to pay for goods and services. In early 2018, public consultations were conducted on the adoption of rules to govern the registration of companies dealing with crypto assets, and in December the Ministry of Economic Development selected 30 individuals to develop the country’s regulatory strategy regarding blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.

The Italian securities regulator, Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob), has so far issued multiple warnings against unlicensed companies promoting crypto investment opportunities. Meanwhile, the debate on how to tax crypto holdings and profits continues. More clarity regarding cryptocurrency regulations in Italy and other countries is likely to come after the recent release of the international standards for virtual assets issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The intergovernmental body vowed to closely follow their implementation in member states within the next 12 months.

Do you expect Italy to regulate cryptocurrencies by the end of 2019? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The post BCH Can Be the Global Coin for Daily Spending, Says Italian Crypto Executive appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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FATF Releases Global Standards for Crypto Assets

June 22, 2019 |

FATF Releases Global Standards for Crypto Assets

The Financial Action Task Force adopted its new rules on crypto assets and published its updated Guidance on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers Friday. Under these new measures, crypto service providers will be required to implement the same requirements as traditional financial institutions.

Also read: Indian Cryptocurrency Regulation Is Ready, Official Confirms

FATF’s Obligations

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against threats such as money laundering and terrorist financing, wrapped up its Plenary Week Friday in Orlando, Florida.

At the closing of the event, the FATF announced that it had adopted and issued “an Interpretive Note to Recommendation 15 on New Technologies,” which clarifies the amendments to the international standards relating to crypto assets and describes how countries must comply with relevant recommendations.

FATF Releases Global Guidance for Crypto Assets

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin delivered the closing speech to the plenary. He said:

The Interpretive Note adopted this week includes virtual asset standards that are binding to all countries … Under these new measures, virtual asset service providers will be required to implement the same AML/CFT requirements as traditional financial institutions.

“The obligations require countries to assess and mitigate their risks associated with virtual asset activities and service providers,” and “implement sanctions and other enforcement measures when service providers fail to comply with their AML/CFT obligations,” the FATF explained. They are also required to “license or register service providers and subject them to supervision or monitoring by competent national authorities,” and “will not be permitted to rely on a self-regulatory body for supervision or monitoring.” The FATF clarified:

Some countries may decide to prohibit virtual asset activities based on their own assessment of the risks and regulatory context, or to support other policy goals.

Guidance on Crypto Assets and Providers

The FATF also published its updated Guidance on Friday for a Risk-Based Approach to Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers “to further assist countries and providers of virtual asset products and services in understanding and complying with their AML/CFT obligations.” This guidance builds upon its 2015 guidance paper.

FATF Releases Global Guidance for Crypto Assets

Mnuchin commented that “By issuing updated guidance, the FATF is enhancing financial transparency and setting expectations,” noting that “This will enforce a level playing field for virtual asset service providers, including cryptocurrency providers, and traditional financial institutions.”

He detailed that crypto service providers will need to “Identify who they are sending funds on behalf of, and who is the recipient of those funds.” They will also need to “Develop processes where they are required to share that information with other providers of virtual assets, and law enforcement.” Further, they need to “Know their customers and conduct proper due diligence to ensure they are not engaging in illicit activity,” as well as “Develop risk-based programs that account for the risks in their particular type of business.” He further remarked:

The FATF standards are only effective if jurisdictions around the world actually take measures to implement them … The United States calls on all nations to join us in ensuring the FATF’s standards are implemented globally.

The industry has voiced some concerns regarding some of the recommendations, as previously reported.

FATF and G20 – What’s Next

At the recent G20 Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, the member countries reaffirmed their support for the FATF’s new guidance. Some countries have already started implementing the FATF’s recommendations. The FATF has 38 members, comprising 36 jurisdictions and two regional organizations.

FATF Releases Global Guidance for Crypto Assets

“Today, the FATF has successfully delivered on the G20 call to regulate and supervise virtual asset activities and related service providers for AML/CFT,” the FATF declared, emphasizing:

The threat of criminal and terrorist misuse of virtual assets is serious and urgent, and the FATF expects all countries to take prompt action to implement the FATF Recommendations in the context of virtual asset activities and service providers.

The FATF also announced that it will closely monitor the actions that countries are taking during the next 12 months and establish a Contact Group to engage industry and monitor industry-led efforts to enhance compliance with its standards. “The FATF will monitor implementation of the new requirements by countries and service providers and conduct a 12-month review in June 2020,” the money laundering watchdog reiterated, adding that it is now devising a methodology to assess how countries implement its new requirements for the October Plenary.

What do you think of the FATF guidance on crypto assets and service providers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of the FATF and the Japanese government.

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Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

June 21, 2019 |

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

Since leaked information regarding India’s cryptocurrency bill emerged, there have been constant discussions about what it entails. Four different government bodies have been asked about their involvement in the drafting of the bill. South Korea went through a similar situation, causing confusion to the public.

Also read: Indian Cryptocurrency Regulation Is Ready, Official Confirms

RTIs Filed Seeking Answers

Since local media started reporting on the leaked information of India’s unannounced cryptocurrency bill, numerous discussions have ensued over what it entails.

A number of Right to Information (RTI) applications have been filed regarding the proposed regulation and, so far, four different government bodies have replied. They are from the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), and the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

These RTI applications were filed in response to media reports of a draft bill entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019,” which two major Indian news outlets, The Economic Times and Bloombergquint, reported on. recently provided a preliminary analysis of the bill’s leaked content.

Background – Who Is Actually Drafting the Bill

The Indian Ministry of Finance has explained several times that an interministerial committee under the chairmanship of Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs and Finance Secretary, had been constituted with representatives from concerned departments to consider all aspects of cryptocurrency. The committee would then produce a report with recommendations for the country’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrency.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation
India’s Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg.

Replying to questions from Lok Sabha on Dec. 28 last year, the Ministry of Finance detailed:

The committee, with representation from Meity [Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology], RBI, SEBI [Securities and Exchange Board of India], and CBDT [Central Board of Direct Taxes] is working to develop a framework for regulating cryptocurrencies.

Suggestions Include Banning and Regulating

The Garg committee received numerous recommendations regarding what should be in the cryptocurrency bill. In the Finance Ministry’s summary report of its key activities for the calendar year 2018, published at the end of March, the ministry revealed:

Various options for treating virtual currencies and crypto assets including banning/ regulating are being examined by the committee.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

The Anti-Crypto Camp

The news of the ban recommendation has spread far and wide. One government body in particular, the IEPFA, has been vocal about its anti-crypto views. The Economic Times quoted the IEPFA’s CEO on April 26 as saying: “When it comes to investor protection, the IEPFA has to take a stand against certain things … We think that cryptocurrency is a Ponzi scheme and it should be banned.”

On June 17, local news outlet Coin Crunch India reported that it had received a reply to an RTI application filed with the IEPFA by its founder, Naimish Sanghvi, regarding the department’s plan to ban cryptocurrency. The IEPFA confirmed that “A meeting on this subject was held under the chairmanship of CEO, IEPF Authority on 24.01.2019 with all concerned i.e. Department of Economic Affairs, CBDT, CBIC [Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs] and MCA,” adding:

It was unanimously decided in the meeting that Department of Revenue and Department of Economic Affairs may immediately take steps to completely ban sale, purchase and issuance of all forms and types of cryptocurrencies. In the meeting, it was discussed that it has features of Ponzi scheme.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

The Economic Times, which reported on this meeting three months after it took place, noted that the MCA raised several crypto-related concerns “in its feedback to the Department of Economic Affairs.” This suggests that the IEPFA’s proposal was among a number of recommendations which the Garg committee received.

The Pro-Crypto Camp

While the alleged Indian crypto ban proposal has received much attention, it was not the only recommendation that the Garg committee considered, as explained in the finance ministry’s summary report.

A number of government departments are in favor of regulating cryptocurrency. For example, policymakers gathered at Blockchain Summit India in February where cryptocurrency regulation was discussed. Among participants were the Department of Science and Technology, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, and the Department of Information Technology.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

“The summit is targeted towards enabling Indian government and ministries to speed up the process of developing a flourished blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem,” the summit’s website describes. At the event, policymakers discussed how to “speed up the process of regulating cryptocurrency,” Janina Lowisz, Marketing VP at Cashaa, the event’s fintech partner, told An announcement was made at the end of the summit stating that “The regulation is planned to be implemented by end of financial tenure.”

Last week, Indian government-backed educational platform Swayam started listing a course on cryptocurrency and blockchain which was previously offered through the NPTEL website. This 12-week undergraduate course entitled “Blockchain Architecture Design and Use Cases” will run from July 29 to Oct. 18.

RBI Distancing Itself From Ban Proposal

The RBI is part of the Garg committee which drafted the long-awaited Indian cryptocurrency bill, so it is a natural conclusion that the central bank would be informed of any decisions made by the committee. The RBI is currently recognized globally as the sole regulator for crypto assets in India, as outlined by the Financial Stability Board in its report to the G20.

However, in its reply to an RTI application filed by Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, the central bank claimed that it did not have any knowledge of the aforementioned bill. This RTI reply was received on June 4.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

The RBI stated that it did not receive a copy of this draft bill, which The Economic Times claims had been “circulated to relevant government departments,” or any written correspondence from other ministerial departments or the central government officially about this bill. It also never sent out an official communication to other departments on this matter.

Moreover, the RBI said “no” to the question of whether it had conducted an “internal meeting in this matter to discuss, deliberate and decide the plan of action ahead of how to ban cryptocurrencies and regulate official currency bill.”

Sethi proceeded to ask: “Did RBI also endorse to any other government department, the same idea of [a] complete ban on sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrencies.” The central bank replied “no.” The bank added that it did not receive “any written communication / copy of such endorsement from any other government department in this matter.”

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

Regarding the claim made by The Economic Times that “A number of government departments including the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) have endorsed the idea of a complete ban on the ‘sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency,’” the RBI emphasized:

RBI did not receive any communication in this regard from the above mentioned government departments.

The IEPFA did not name the RBI as one of the participants in its January meeting, according to its reply to Sanghvi’s RTI application. This could explain why the central bank denied any knowledge of or involvement in the proposal resulting from the IEPFA meeting.

Two Other RTI Replies

Two other RTI applications were filed regarding the above-mentioned bill. One was a second RTI filed by Sanghvi — this time with the DEA. “On May 20, 2019 DEA rejected the RTI application citing ‘Section 8(1)(i)’ as the reason for rejection,” he shared.

Section 8(1)(i) of The RTI Act 2005 states that “the decisions of the Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over … those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed.”

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

The Economic Times article was clear that the IEPFA submitted its feedback to the DEA. However, as the Ministry of Finance confirmed in its report, there were various options considered by the Garg committee, including banning and regulating.

The other RTI application was filed with the IRDAI by journalist Ashish Bhatnagar. He cited the Bloombergquint article which claims that the government may constitute a separate board to monitor crypto transactions consisting of representatives from various ministries such as the IRDAI, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority, the RBI, and the SEBI. Bhatnagar asked if the IRDAI had been part of the committee drafting the cryptocurrency regulation. The response he received was “No information available.”

A Lesson From Korea

It is not uncommon for government departments to disagree with one another. A classic example is what happened in South Korea last year when a government department announced, without consulting other departments, a plan to ban cryptocurrency trading and shut down crypto exchanges.

South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki told reporters on Jan. 11 last year that his ministry was “preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through its exchanges,” many news outlets reported. Following his announcement, over $ 100 billion was wiped off global cryptocurrency markets.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation

However, Kim Dong-yeon, the South Korean Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister at the time, told reporters the following day that “The issue of banning exchanges that the justice minister talked about yesterday is a proposal by the Justice Ministry.” On the contrary, he revealed that “discussion was underway on how the government could reasonably regulate cryptocurrency trading,” adding:

A balanced perspective is necessary because blockchain technology has high relevance with many industries such as security and logistics.

The Korean government took the justice minister’s action seriously. President Moon Jae-in quickly issued a statement declaring that Park’s remarks were “not a finalized decision,” which needed to be coordinated with other government ministries.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

This matter was scrutinized in the Korean National Assembly many times. In February, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon said in the National Assembly:

The closing of [cryptocurrency] exchanges is not a serious consideration … It is one of the many possibilities.

Park soon stated publicly: “I apologize for the confusion.” Lee subsequently pushed for the government to implement a code of conduct to avoid similar problems occurring in the future. “Each agency should take necessary measures, such as supplementing the code of conduct for employees in charge of virtual currency issues,” the prime minister suggested.

Today, more than a year later, South Korea has neither banned cryptocurrency trading nor shut down local crypto exchanges, and the Korean government continues to discuss better crypto regulation.

Influence From Other Countries

The Indian Ministry of Finance also revealed in its summary report that the Department of Revenue had been working with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on its guidance on crypto assets. The report reads:

Department of Revenue has been actively involved in the working papers being developed by the FATF on various issues (such as virtual currency, proliferation financing among) which will act as guidance for the member countries.

The FATF is expected to release this new guidance on June 21 at the completion of its plenary week which is going on right now.

Recently, India’s new finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, attended the G20 Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, where crypto regulation was discussed. India, along with other G20 countries, has reaffirmed its support for the FATF’s recommendations.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Japan on June 8-9.

India will also participate in the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Japan, a country where cryptocurrency is welcome and legal as a means of payment. Japan has legalized 19 crypto exchanges and over 140 companies have expressed interest in market entry, the country’s top financial regulator told Recently, big players have entered the space including Yahoo Japan which launched its own crypto exchange and Rakuten, the country’s e-commerce giant.

Time to Make a Difference, Finance Minister Is Listening

While Garg himself has reportedly said that the report containing the recommended crypto regulation is ready to be submitted to the finance minister, a bill has not been introduced or approved. Any draft bill will have to go through many approval steps before it becomes law.

Indian Government Shed Light on Proposed Crypto Regulation
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Sitharaman, who succeeded Arun Jaitley, tweeted on June 5:

Grateful for every thought/idea that’s being shared by scholars, economists and enthusiasts through print, electronic, and on social media. I read many of them; also, my team carefully collates them for me. Value every bit. Thanks. Please keep them coming.

The Indian crypto community has been tweeting to Sitharaman and other lawmakers for positive crypto regulation. Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, started his “India Wants Crypto” social media campaign about 230 days ago which has been increasingly gaining support from the community. “The objective of this campaign is to be heard by our lawmakers. India needs to be at the forefront of the crypto revolution,” he wrote. Furthermore, a petition has been started on for the government to accelerate the implementation of the crypto regulation and dispel rumors surrounding the matter. At the time of writing, over 2,300 have signed.

Meanwhile, the Indian supreme court is expected to hear about the report from the Garg committee as well as address the banking restriction by the central bank on July 23. The G20 summit will take place on June 28 and 29 while the FATF is set to release its new guidance for crypto assets on June 21.

How do you think India will finally regulate cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the Times, the Japanese government, and the Indian government.

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PR: Anxone Provides Multi-Layer Security For Crypto Storage

June 21, 2019 |

Anxone Provides Multi-Layer Security For Crypto Storage

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Security for digital assets: Investors, exchanges, custodians

Hacking is a front and center issue for digital asset exchanges. Especially given its worrying year-over-year increases, from US$ 152mn in 2016 to US$ 950mn in 2018. Our current year 2019 has already posted over US$ 1bn in lost assets due to hacking, which puts security as a paramount consideration for digital asset markets to continue growing and maturing.

Security for investors

Investors store digital assets in hot and cold wallets. As a brief recap, a hot wallet is connected to the Internet and is largely used like a conventional checking account – for day to day transactions and transfers. Only the amounts needed for such uses are stored there, as its visibility on the Internet makes it the most prone to hacking; and indeed, all of the hacking previously mentioned happened to assets being stored in hot wallets on exchanges. A cold wallet is disconnected from the Internet and is the digital equivalent of a savings account; such is where the majority of an investor’s assets are held. It is safer and more secure than a hot wallet.

Because of the inherent vulnerabilities of hot wallets, investors are advised to balance them with cold wallets for the storing of their assets. But cold wallets also have vulnerabilities – for example, the private key, which is needed for all transactions, might be lost; or the holder of a private key may be otherwise coerced into giving it up through threats of various kinds.

Enter the role of next-generation exchanges like ANXONE, which have designed best-in-class security measures to protect investor’s assets and safeguard against hacking. Features include highly secure vaults, hot and cold wallet storage, multi-layer security protocols for both hardware and software, and a governance framework built by a team of seasoned security technologists.

Security for exchanges

The large-scale hacks of the past few years are evidence that hackers have become increasingly sophisticated. It is thus imperative for exchanges to be uncompromising in their approach to security.

Exchange technology providers like ANXONE have a ready solution for those wishing to set up and operate an exchange for trading digital assets. Although their exchange solution covers all essential pillars – liquidity, performance, compliance, and security – its approach to security is particularly noteworthy, due to it being designed specifically for the needs of institutional investors. And because such investors require rigorous security assurances, ANXONE has had to design their solution to deliver unparalleled controls for preventing hacks and other threat vectors.

The emergence of custody

Parallel to improvements of exchange security has been the emergence and growth of digital asset custody solutions, which are being hailed as a turning point for the token economy. Seen as a necessary prerequisite for institutional investors to enter digital asset markets and as a general advancement in security, custody is promising greater protection for investors’ assets.

ANXONE has developed and launched a one-stop, professional-grade custody solution to do just that. Its features include security infrastructure built in DoD-certified (Department of Defence) faraday cages and operated from top tier data centers; customized wallet solutions, which include the ability for clients to conduct frozen-wallet-only fund transfers and the option to integrate with industrial wallet solutions or manage their own cold storage systems; crime insurance, offered through a panel of London-based, third-party insurers arranged by AON; and a platform that is regularly updated in terms of its supported tokens, technology, processes, and security protocols.

About ANXONE Solutions

ANXONE Solutions is an industry pioneer and provider of blockchain technologies with a growing suite of products and services. Our digital asset exchange solution enables you to build a branded exchange and deploy it within 30 days. We manage end-to-end development, configuration and implementation of your turnkey platform, so you can focus on launching and growing your business.

Our custody solution is the first to be insured and audited in Asia, and covers hot and cold wallets. It is a proprietary solution designed to meet the full range of custodial needs – digital security, physical security, process security, insurance, customized wallet solutions, and more – for trading in digital assets.

To learn more, visit ANXONE website or contact

Contact Email Address

Supporting Link

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. 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 the press release.

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Facebook Is a Threat to Governments Not Crypto

June 20, 2019 |

The moment Facebook released the whitepaper for its planned Libra coin, social media was flooded with claims about Zuckerberg’s new drive to take over the cryptocurrency market, with some even calling it a Bitcoin killer. However, looking at the actual details of the plan, it has little to do with cryptocurrency and is in fact more of a threat to government fiat.

Also Read: Zuckbucks or Bust: How SEC Rulemaking Hurts Startup Cryptos and Favors Big Tech

Libra Wants to Be a New Global Fiat Currency, Not a Cryptocurrency

Without getting into deep technical arguments about what is a real blockchain, it is easy to see that Libra will hold little appeal to cryptocurrency purists as it is neither decentralized nor permissionless. This is plainly obvious to the people behind Libra, as the whitepaper’s writers take considerable efforts to try and obscure these two critical issues with the project.

In order to claim that its new venture is decentralized, Facebook has surrounded itself with other companies and organizations that will serve as founding members of the association governing Libra and be the network’s first validator nodes when it launches. These will be the players who get to decide how the project is run as well as who can join it later on. Imagine a politician handpicking all the members of some important committee and then saying its decisions will be totally independent. It seems to be stretching credulity.

As for being permissionless, Facebook is not even trying to hide that Libra isn’t going to be built this way. Instead, it just pays lip service to the idea and states its aspirations for a “journey toward building a permissionless system.” It only plans to begin this within five years of the public launch of the ecosystem, meaning by 2025, and offers absolutely no hint of a deadline for actually achieving such a transition. Moreover, the whitepaper lists plenty of excuses as to why a permissionless system can’t work properly, giving the impression it is setting the ground for endless delays or outright abandonment of this “journey” at some point after the project is well established.

Facebook Is a Threat to Governments Not Crypto

The people that Libra is aimed to appeal to as money are those that don’t have access to mainstream financial services and who may have never heard about such concepts as decentralization or permissionless networks. People like the unbanked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America who have access to Facebook’s Messenger and Whatsapp on their cheap mobile phones but no reliable and affordable way to store their earnings digitally, send money to family abroad or take out non-predatory loans. These are the adopters envisioned in the whitepaper as well as the environment depicted in the promotional materials for Libra.

Of course, there are already many ventures aimed at tapping the potential of the vast unbanked market, as well as reasons for Facebook to branch out into offering financial services. Its operations have become the focus of intense public scrutiny recently with worries over abuses of user privacy, enabling propaganda, limiting free speech and more. If and when major changes to the way Facebook does business are forced on the company, it would be smart to have an additional revenue stream.

Zuckerberg must have looked to China and seen how the local social network Wechat leveraged its over one billion users to become an online payments behemoth in the country. If Facebook can do the same in other emerging markets, while capturing part of the profits banks and credit card companies make in developed markets with its monopoly over social networking, the move should make its CEO even more unfathomably powerful. However, Zuckerberg couldn’t just settle at that.

Exchanging Sovereignty for Total Surveillance Capabilities

Libra isn’t a stablecoin as it isn’t meant to be pegged to a particular fiat currency at a fixed ratio but rather has its own value. It will be managed by a currency board-like body and backed by a reserve basket of bank deposits and short-term government securities.

Libra is also different from Wechat Pay, or for that matter Paypal, Visa and Mastercard, as it is not meant to be solely a tool for transferring money but a currency in its own right. Its officially stated aim is to be a new global currency, and one that is more attractive than current government fiat at that. Since time immemorial, minting coins was an exclusive sign of sovereignty. That’s how historians determine exactly when an empire captured a new land or when kingdoms rose and fell as the first thing they would do was create coins with the face of the new ruler on them. While cryptocurrency advocates wish to diffuse this power away from state control, Libra threatens to usurp it for itself.

Facebook Is a Threat to Governments Not Crypto

The announcement triggered politicians from across the globe to react angrily to Facebook’s plan. In the U.S., the House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters called for a moratorium on developing Libra until “Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” and the Senate Banking Committee is set to hold a hearing on the subject next month. German MEP Markus Ferber warned that Facebook could become a “shadow bank” and suggested regulators be on high alert. Russian State Duma member Anatoly Aksakov stated that his government doesn’t plan to legalize Libra. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire took the strongest stance on the matter, saying that “It is out of question’’ that Libra will “become a sovereign currency,’’ adding that “It can’t and it must not happen.”

India has blocked Facebook’s plans for an internet service that will lock users to its services in the past and the company must know that many governments might take a similar approach to Libra in the future. However, Zuckerberg has also learned how to maneuver in the political playing field, spending millions on lobbying and hiring well connected politicians such as former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. It has already been revealed that Facebook has been in discussions with some major central bankers and they appear to be broadly supportive of Libra from their statements. Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, sees “potential benefits” to the system and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney thinks Libra can have some uses.

If it is allowed to launch as planned and actually succeeds in establishing itself as a global currency, Facebook can also try to lure powerful governments to cooperate with Libra in the long run by offering them something those seeking total power long dreamed of. Such a system will enable total surveillance over the economic activity of the populace. Politicians and central bankers could get the cashless society they routinely say they want, without having the difficulties of developing such a system themselves, freely giving them access to information on all transactions in real-time.

What do you think about Facebook and Libra? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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