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| January 24, 2019

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Cryptocurrency Adoption Rising in Iran as Government Mismanages Economy

January 24, 2019 |

Iran is toying with the idea of lopping zeros off its national currency as inflation goes through the roof. History tells us this is rarely a good idea. Cryptocurrency provides an alternative for those living in countries where the fiat currency is being rendered worthless. Crypto adoption in Iran is growing steadily, with government economic mismanagement credited with being a contributing factor. 

Also read: Venezuela Wants to Use Petro to Finance Large Housing Program

Iran Edges Closer to Cutting the Zeros

Iran, crippled by an economic crisis, is proposing redenominating its currency, according to the country’s local media. “A bill to remove four zeros from the national currency was presented to the government by the central bank yesterday and I hope this matter can be concluded as soon as possible,” Iran’s central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati was quoted saying.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Rising in Iran as Government Mismanages Economy

Many governments across the world have redenominated their currencies in a bid to save the economy. It was done in Brazil during a time when the country’s currency was being devalued by between 30 to 40 percent per month in the 1960s and 70s. Inflation still continued to rise. Zimbabwe, when suffering from hyperinflation, followed suit, though this initiative also proved fruitless. And most recently, Venezuela, now widely regarded as a failed state, last year shaved five zeros off its worthless bolivar. Once again, this doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference.

Iran’s government has toyed with the idea of debasing the rial for some time now. But 2018 was a particularly difficult year, with the national currency losing 60 percent of its value. This is in part to the U.S. reimposing sanctions on the country following the pull-out from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

As well as U.S. sanctions, years of economic mismanagement by the government has seen the country struggle, with the money supply increased by over 30 percent annually for over a decade, causing inflation to shoot through the roof and its citizens to suffer. The middle class in Iran has been brought down and its people have hit the streets in protest. But history tells us that lopping zeros off a currency doesn’t always do much good. Iranians who spoke to news.Bitcoin.com have said that bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption, which is already growing in the country, will continue to rise.

Crypto to the Rescue

As the people of Iran have become increasingly angry on account of the financial turmoil, protests continue to rock the streets, causing headlines. Now, with the government proposing to cut zeros from the rial in a bid to save the already damaged economy, it doesn’t look like things are going to get better any time soon.

So far, the country of 80 million has seen a proportion of its people use bitcoin and non-fiat cryptocurrency out of necessity. Foreign students needing to bypass the banking system, which they can no longer access due to sanctions, as well as others wanting to stave off inflation have been using peer-to-peer digital currency.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Rising in Iran as Government Mismanages Economy

As the graph above shows, P2P trading website Localbitcoins.com saw record volume in Iran during December 2017, the month when the protests against the government started. Around the time when the U.S. ended the nuclear deal with the Iran, and it was predicted that the country’s economy could fall into a death spiral, bitcoin trading again peaked. Volume on Localbitcoins.com has since been at its highest since the United Against Nuclear Iran summit in September 2018, which saw a number of countries push for regime change in the Islamic republic.

Proponents of cryptocurrencies have long said that rampant fiat inflation is the perfect demonstration of the value of digital assets that can’t be devalued in by central banks. Venezuela, which now has the world’s highest inflation rate, also has one of the fastest growing markets for cryptocurrencies. It is believed that Iran may be going the same way.

Computer network and security administrator Abed Pariazar said the use of cryptocurrencies is increasing as getting hold of U.S. dollars is becoming increasingly difficult. He said:

“Use of cryptocurrency will increase this year. Our currency will lose its value as inflation is an endless road.

Pariazar added: “My income is based on rial and if I keep it I will lose it all in the near future. I can’t change to [the U.S.] dollar easily so for this reason I prefer to change my income to cryptocurrency. More and more people are doing this.”

Maintenance technician Milad Boroumand explained: “In my country, most of the people change their money from rial to United States dollars or the euro, but at the current time we have a few sources of bitcoin to invest in.” He added that the number of people using cryptocurrency will more than likely double or triple soon as internet usage grows. Iran’s 2009 protests were dubbed the first “Twitter revolution” and since then technology has grown to play an even larger role in their lives.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Rising in Iran as Government Mismanages Economy

Though small, there is a cryptocurrency movement growing in Iran. Should its government press ahead with redenominating its currency and U.S. sanctions continue to cause chaos, greater bitcoin adoption seems inevitable.

Do you think cryptocurrency adoption will grow in Iran as a pushback against U.S. sanctions? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coin.dance.


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Bitcoin News

Davos 2019: Leaders Share Mixed Cryptocurrency Predictions

January 23, 2019 |

The annual meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos from Jan. 22 to 25, attended by business leaders, politicians, and economists is in progress. Cryptocurrency is once again on the agenda, but so far the discussions emerging from the conference have been mixed, giving attendees plenty of FUD for thought. 

Also Read: George Soros: Bitcoin Is Propped Up by Dictators   

Cryptocurrencies on the Agenda at Davos

Davos 2019: Leaders Share Mixed Cryptocurrency PredictionsThis year many high profile government representatives dropped out from attending the Davos conference aimed at the global elite. President Donald Trump canceled his trip due to the ongoing government shutdown, French president Emmanuel Macron said he would not attend after weeks of protests in France, and U.K. prime minister Theresa May pulled out due to the complications caused by Brexit.

Despite the high profile dropouts the show, must go on. Delegates at the Swiss resort have been busy discussing major issues around crypto. Bloomberg TV reports that Huw van Steenis, senior advisor to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, said: “Cryptocurrencies fail fundamental tests of financial services.”

During a CNBC hosted panel, Jeff Schumacher, founder of BCG Digital Ventures, said: “I do believe it [bitcoin] will go to zero. I think it’s a great technology but I don’t believe it’s a currency. It’s not based on anything.”

Cryptocurrency Representatives Keep a Low Profile

From the conference, Angel Versetti, CEO of decentralized internet of things network Ambrosus, told news.Bitcoin.com there is a general sentiment of uncertainty and worry in the air, with broader menacing macro-trends indicating a potential looming global crisis not only economically, but also politically across different zones.

Compared to Davos 2018, many crypto delegates are keeping a low profile this year. Versetti said: “Already, almost every one of the great powers has canceled their attendance; heads of state from Russia, China, America, France, the UK, and India all opted not to attend. In general everything is toned down compared to last year.”

In 2018 we witnessed economic growth and the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place when cryptocurrencies were close to their peak value. Versetti said: 

While last year, people were talking about crypto and blockchain anywhere and everywhere, this year there is comparatively little discussion around it.

Davos 2019: Leaders Share Mixed Cryptocurrency PredictionsAnother observation made at Davos on Jan. 23 is that the flagship flashy crypto pavilions of last year, such as Consensys and Global Blockchain Council, have become much more modest and low profile.

“One can feel the crypto crisis there, because the pavilions are never full and most guests are from the crypto space itself, rather than from other industries. As the 1 percent continue to go back and forth on their position on crypto, big bankers’ skepticism on the role of cryptocurrencies in finance is unwavering. Some crypto events even shut down their pavilions and canceled their participation altogether,” said Versetti. 

Some attendees are remaining positive despite all the doom and gloom talk at Davos. Michael Sung, a technology investor and co-director of the fintech research center, told news.Bitcoin.com: “This year crypto will finally get grow up and get real, where the technology, business models, traction across industries, and regulation are all simultaneously maturing to enable practical enterprise applications. We are waking up from a crypto hangover where undisciplined unenthusiasm of last year will lead to better behavior which will drive the industry into professionalism such that institutional participation will be possible.”

More Balanced Panels and Views Shared

One key panel at Davos, called Building a Sustainable Crypto-Architecture, was more interesting as it featured a range of balanced views. The panel pitted well-known Bitcoin skeptics Gillian Tett from the FT and Ken Rogoff from Harvard against the founders of Circle, which is backed by Goldman Sachs and Bitpesa.

As the Building a Sustainable Crypto-Architecture panelists noted, it’s likely that regulation of the cryptocurrency space will increase. Regardless of the stance that lawmakers take, this much is for certain: business leaders will continue to flock to Davos every year and the vast majority will continue to be badly wrong about Bitcoin.

What are your thoughts on Davos and the leaders who attend the conference? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images and video courtesy of Shutterstock of World Economic Forum. 


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The post Davos 2019: Leaders Share Mixed Cryptocurrency Predictions appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings

January 22, 2019 |

Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings

Romania has amended its tax laws, allowing it to start taxing gains from bitcoin investments at a rate of 10 percent. The improved fiscal code legislation categorizes earnings generated from buying and selling cryptocurrencies as “income from other sources” and therefore subject to income tax, local media reports.

Also read: Falcon Private Bank Launches Crypto Wallet With Support for Direct BTC and BCH Transfers

Only Gains From Crypto Investments to Be Taxed

Romanian daily financial newspaper Ziarul Financiar quoted Adrian Benta, a local tax consultant, as saying: “Now, the earnings from bitcoin are taxed and declared in the annual income statement. Only the earnings [or gains, as opposed to revenues] are taxed.”

Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings

Gains from any single transaction which are below 200 Romanian ron (about $ 50) will not be taxed, the article said. However, investors will pay the 10 percent income tax on crypto earnings that exceed a cumulative 600 ron in a year.

Benta told the Bucharest-based publication that the cryptocurrency tax thresholds, according to the new legislation, were “fair”. He stated:

Before this, we had a more cumbersome procedure in which one had to register as freelancer if he was trading repeatedly. It is now treated as an extraordinary income from other sources.

It is not clear how government will enforce compliance of the self-declared crypto income tax.

Growing Crypto Taxation Trend

The east European country’s nascent bitcoin market was recently rocked by news of the arrest and impending extraditiin of Vlad Nistor, founder and chief executive officer of Coinflux, to the U.S. Nistor, who heads one of Romania’s biggest digital asset exchanges, is facing charges of money laundering, allegedly committed through his trading platform. Coinflux has traded the equivalent of $ 229 million worth of crypto since it was founded in 2015 and reported turnover of $ 3.4 million last year.

Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings

Cryptocurrency has become a prime target for governments throughout the world seeking to help themselves to profits from a technology built to resist their control. Romania joins a growing list of governments to roll out crypto tax legislation. Chile announced this week that it will start taxing bitcoin profits in April and that it will monitor individual investors to ensure they are paying the crypto tax at the right level. In Spain, government has drafted a law that seeks to compel investors to declare their crypto asset holdings, partly as a measure to prevent tax evasion.

Spain’s Ministry of the Treasury has since identified 15,000 cryptocurrency investors it is monitoring to prevent tax evasion and money laundering. The ministry has vowed to ensure that the investors pay taxes on capital gains from digital currency transactions and that they declare any other benefits accrued from trading.

What do you think about the growing trend by world governments to tax cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Romania Imposes 10% Tax on Cryptocurrency Earnings appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Why Cryptocurrency Custody Solutions Are on the Rise

January 22, 2019 |

The last six months has witnessed significant growth in the number of businesses and banks launching cryptocurrency custodial services. These solutions give institutional investors peace of mind that their assets are secure, insured, and under the care of a trusted third party, freeing them from responsibility for safeguarding their cryptocurrency.

Also Read: Fidelity Launching Crypto Custody and Trading Services

Recent Crypto Custodianship Launches

Why Cryptocurrency Custody Solutions Are on the RiseThe number of crypto custody solutions being launched is growing rapidly. These services are aimed at institutional investors such as hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries.

According to research by the Bank of New York Mellon, there is increasing demand in the market for a traditional, established custodian to provide secure storage of cryptocurrencies. For many it is the bridge that will support institutional capital moving into the cryptocurrency market. There have been reports of major banks testing and in some cases rolling out crypto custody solutions.

Most recently, Swiss investment bank Vontobel launched the ‘Digital Asset Vault.’ The service allows Vontobel’s clients, which include over 100 banks and wealth managers, to issue instructions for the purchase, custody and transfer of digital assets integrated within their familiar banking infrastructure and regulated environment. The German stock exchange Börse Stuttgart has launched a custody service for digital assets. State Street, Fidelity and Coinbase also offer services. 

Regulation in the U.S. requires advisers to keep client funds with a qualified custodian. Across the pond, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has raised the issue that there is no harmonized definition of safekeeping and record-keeping for ownership of securities. This in turn makes it difficult to apply custodial requirements to a new asset class such as cryptocurrency. ESMA believes that greater clarity around the types of services and activities that may qualify as custodial under EU financial services rules, in a DLT framework, is needed.  

Custodial Services Are for Traditional Financial Banks

Why Cryptocurrency Custody Solutions Are on the RisePaul Puey, CEO of cryptocurrency wallet Edge, explained that while there has been a rapid increase in custody solutions, this trend has been limited to the traditional financial world of banks and funds that don’t leverage any of the utility and value of crypto. 

He said: “This would be akin to 1990s internet companies filing for telephone regulations to build VOIP solutions to replace phone carriers. Nothing very disruptive would come from that. Crypto is unique and powerful because custodians aren’t needed to hold digital value. We can replace institutional crypto investors with non-custodial apps that hold the money for users.”

It can be argued, however, that custody services are critical to the efficient functioning of financial markets. As highlighted above by the SEC and ESMA, these often require regulation in order to protect investors from potential misappropriation of their assets.

Michael Ou, CEO of Coolbitx, explained that regulatory factors will play a big role in driving compliance efforts of digital asset exchanges, particularly those in the U.S. or serving U.S. customers, saying:

Custody providers face a simple fact: KYC/AML compliance is a major time and resource strain. In traditional finance, you will hardly see a single entity offering KYC/AML compliance, a large marketplace of buyers and sellers, custody, and all other services that a single exchange offers now.

He explained that as the market matures, so does the division of labor within the market. Therefore it is far easier for exchanges to work with entities specializing in custody. According to Michael Ou, investors can expect to see custody solutions become a mainstream component of the cryptocurrency industry in the months and years ahead.

What are your thoughts on the growth of crypto custody solutions? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Why Cryptocurrency Custody Solutions Are on the Rise appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Russian Institutions Back Proposal to Let Companies Use Cryptocurrency

January 21, 2019 |

Russian Institutions Back Proposal to Let Companies Use Cryptocurrencies

An idea to allow companies from certain sectors and in some regions to use cryptocurrencies is gaining traction in Russia. The proposal has been included in a draft law prepared by the Economy Ministry, a high-ranking parliamentarian has voiced his support, and big business is discussing its implementation.

Also read: No Reason to ‘Bury’ Cryptocurrencies, Russian PM Medvedev Says

Draft Law Offers to Create Regulatory Sandboxes in Russian Regions

Select entities from the IT sector and the blockchain industry may be permitted to utilize digital assets in their financial transactions, Russian media reported. The experimental regulatory regime is to be implemented in some regions of the vast country, according to a draft law put forward by the Ministry of Economic Development.

Russian Institutions Back Proposal to Let Companies Use Cryptocurrency

The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, supports the idea of “pilot regions” where the circulation of cryptocurrencies can be tested, the chairman of the parliamentary Financial Markets Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, told the business outlet Izvestia. Efforts to regulate the crypto space continue in several directions, he added, and the establishment of regulatory sandboxes is one of them. Aksakov further detailed:

The law on the regulatory sandbox, which I hope we’ll adopt during the spring [parliamentary] session, will allow either individual companies or a given industry to use crypto instruments in their economic turnover and business operations in certain regions.

The Economy Ministry said its bill is still under discussion. The potential regions and corporate entities for the program have not been determined yet but according to its representatives, businesses working with cross-cutting information technologies will be eligible to participate. This includes not only blockchain firms but also businesses developing quantum technologies and artificial intelligence products.

Local authorities and companies based in the Russian regions of Kaliningrad Oblast and the Republic of Tatarstan have already expressed a desire to be part of the implementation of the proposed regulatory regime. Other regions such as Primorsky Krai, Omsk Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Saint Petersburg, the capital Moscow, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea are also potential candidates.

Businesses Affected by Sanctions May Use Cryptocurrencies

Major Russian companies are currently discussing the proposal within the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP). The leading industry organization has already created a special advisory board which is looking into related matters, RSPP vice president Sergey Mytenkov told Izvestia. He believes it’s necessary to authorize about a dozen companies to operate with financial crypto instruments in order to make an assessment of the possible legal and economic risks.

Another group of businesses that might be interested in the crypto regulatory sandboxes are those Russian entities that maintain an international presence and have been forced to deal with foreign sanctions and restrictions. Mytenkov said that cryptocurrencies and asset-backed digital tokens can be used by these companies to attract capital and make payments.

Russian Institutions Back Proposal to Let Companies Use Cryptocurrency

The latest regulatory development concerning cryptocurrencies in Russia comes before the second reading in the Duma of a package of draft laws designed to regulate the crypto space. The bills were voted on first reading in May 2018 but their adoption was postponed many times and now lawmakers are expected to review them again in February.

Since last spring, the original texts have been revised significantly and references to cryptocurrency, tokens, mining, and smart contracts have been dropped. Under pressure from the industry, Russian lawmakers recently broadened the legal definition of “digital financial assets” to cover cryptocurrencies. However, Russian media reported last week that the Presidential Council for Codification has criticized the legislation. The Kremlin’s negative assessment means more changes may be on the way.

What do you think of the proposal to allow Russian companies to operate with cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.   


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin News

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

January 20, 2019 |

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is filled with unique individuals with a penchant for sharing dank memes. Besides an arsenal of killer graphics that depict the current mood of the markets, they’re also equipped with a wide variety of animated GIFs to virally share across social media and messaging platforms like Telegram.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Memes: The Only Assets That Can Survive a Bear Market

Over the Last Two Years, There’s Been No Shortage of Crypto GIFs

During 2018, a steady influx of memes and GIFs provided some relief from the market turmoil. Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) animations are a popular medium across the internet, but cryptocurrency fans have a particular fondness for them. Various animations portray bitcoin markets, hodlers, traders, and rekt individuals in a humorous manner. What follows is a look at some of the top crypto-related GIFs that have provided light relief amidst all the market fakeouts.

Feels Guy Working at McDonald’s Watching Crypto Candles

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Vitalik Impress

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Christopher Walken Hodler

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

FOMO Kitten

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Kramer Changes the Crypto-Market Trends

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Bought the Dip

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Hold This Altcoin Bag, Pleb

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

HODL

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

We Dump Them Every Day

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Limp Chart

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Feels Enters the Capitulation and Despondency Stage

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Our portfolios may be worth less in fiat terms, but at least we’re rich in GIFs. 2019 will likely conjure up more market turmoil, cushioned by an array of fresh memes and GIFs to be savored, shared and passed down to the next generation along with our magical internet money.

What do you think about the popular GIFs shared on social media and Telegram this year? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Telegram, Twitter, and Imgur. 


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Bitcoin News

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

January 19, 2019 |

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Chile is to start taxing cryptocurrencies in April, when taxpayers pay their yearly income taxes, but it’s unclear at what rate. According to local media reports, the country’s revenue authority has included crypto assets in the Annual Income Tax Returns form, which will be declared as “other own income and/or third-party income from companies that declare their effective income.”

Also read: Report From Within Shut Down Zimbabwe: A Government That’s Crippled Its Own Economy

Investors to Pay Tax on Crypto Earnings

Chile exempted cryptocurrencies from Value Added Tax laws in 2018, labeling them “intangible assets” but investors will now be required to pay tax on earnings generated from crypto-related investments, Diario Bitcoin reported, quoting the country’s tax collector, Internal Revenue Service.

It is not clear at what rate the crypto tax will be levied, but individual income tax thresholds in the country averaged 39.38 percent during the 15 years to 2018, according to research website Tradingeconomics. Today, the rate stands at 35 percent.

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Fernando Barraza, director of the revenue authority, said citizens who buy, sell or trade virtual currencies will have to register their enterprises by completing what are known as “tax-exempt invoices.” These invoices allow the Internal Revenue Service to monitor their operations. The article stated that the Chilean government had become interested in tracking cryptocurrency activities following a sharp rise in their use as “valid currencies to trade products and services.”

Legitimizing Cryptocurrencies

The move by the revenue collector to tax crypto assets is widely regarded by observers as a major step towards legitimizing the trade and use of virtual currencies in the south American country. Until now, the legal status of cryptocurrency in Chile has remained a matter of conjecture. The country does not recognize virtual currencies such as bitcoin as legal tender, but they are not banned either.

However, Chilean crypto exchanges have in the last year had running battles with commercial banks, who closed their accounts without explanation. A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Chile in December means banks can now close such accounts legally. In a case pitting state-owned Bancoestado against digital asset trading platform Orionx, the court ruled the bank was justified in closing the exchange’s accounts.

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Judges said the bank acted in compliance with laws on money laundering and terrorist financing, a threat allegedly posed by censorship-resistant decentralized cryptocurrencies. The Supreme Court claimed that digital assets lack “physical manifestation” and “have no intrinsic value.” It also took issue with the fact that they are not controlled or issued by governments or companies.

Tax lawyer Patrício Bravo, representing the non-profit Bitcoin Chile, commented that the new crypto tax was an attempt by the Internal Revenue Service “to expand the tax structure as much as possible to cover all types of crypto assets.”  Bravo, who was speaking to local news outlet Crypto Notidies, also noted that the tax may have been “due to the current lack in Chilean legislation of figures specifically designed for this type of instruments, which makes it difficult to generate more specific items.”

What do you think about Chile’s cryptocurrency tax? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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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.


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Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown

January 17, 2019 |

Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown

The Thai Ministry of Finance has rejected the last cryptocurrency exchange application it had been reviewing. The exchange, which has been ordered to close down business and return customer funds, is determined to stay operational. “Shutting down is not an option for us,” its chief strategy officer reportedly said.

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

Coin Asset Exchange Rejected

Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders ShutdownThe Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Monday the outcome of the latest cryptocurrency exchange application it had been reviewing. The country’s Ministry of Finance, under the recommendation of the SEC board, decided to reject the application of Coin Asset Co. Ltd. to operate a crypto exchange.

The company has been allowed to operate in Thailand while its application was being reviewed. However, the SEC has notified the company of its rejection and ordered it to cease operations by Jan. 21.

The regulator told the exchange’s CEO, Sivanus Yamdee, that the minimum processing time is four months should the exchange reapply for a license, the Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday. Yamdee said his company will meet with the SEC on Friday to discuss continuing crypto operations. The news outlet further quoted him as saying:

We are seeking a way to keep our digital asset exchange operating as the business cycle is moving towards a peak … We are unable to endure such as long processing time. The business cycle is on the rise and there are costs for conducting daily business. It is not easy to maintain customer loyalty.

With about 10,000 customers, the exchange’s 24-hour trading volume is approximately 91 million baht (~$ 2.87 million) at the time of this writing. In August last year, the exchange unveiled its own line of cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs). It also lists Jfin coin, the country’s first initial coin offering launched by a subsidiary of a company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Jay Mart Plc.

Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown

Coin Asset’s new chief strategy officer, Arnon Saksri, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying:

Ultimately, we want to be regulated … It will improve investor confidence and the legitimacy of our cryptocurrency businesses, but the SEC has to find the right way to do it … Shutting down is not an option for us.

The Thai Ministry of Finance issued licenses to four cryptocurrency businesses on Jan. 8, three of which are exchanges and one is a broker-dealer.

Reason for Denial

According to the statement by the Thai SEC, the finance ministry cited “a major change to the company’s management … [which] affected the readiness of the company’s important work systems” as the reason for rejecting Coin Asset’s application. The commission detailed that “three out of four directors responsible for the [exchange’s] important work systems resigned.” The ministry elaborated:

The company failed to meet the standards on work systems. For example, the systems for custody of client assets and know your customer (KYC) were inconsistent with the standards accepted by the [Thai] Anti-Money Laundering Office.

The exchange maintains that its security system is safe, noting that it complies with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 international standard, Prachachat Turakij publication reported on Tuesday. Coin Asset added that its KYC process is linked to Thai banks, with comprehensive anti-money laundering measures.

Thai Cryptocurrency Exchange Determined to Stay Open After SEC Orders Shutdown

The finance ministry has allowed the company to keep operating until Jan. 21 “to ensure proper proceeding of related matters including notification to the clients regarding asset refunds or asset transfers to other digital asset operators according to the clients’ order,” the SEC emphasized. “Regarding clients’ assets under custody, the company is requested to transfer or return the assets according to the clients’ order and report the results of the matter to the SEC.”

Following the commission’s announcement, Coin Asset informed its customers that they can continue to trade until Jan. 21 and have until Feb. 14 to withdraw funds.

Do you think the Thai SEC will let Coin Asset remain open? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Thai SEC.


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How Indian Cryptocurrency Users Avoid Banks Closing Their Accounts

January 16, 2019 |

How Indian Crypto Users Avoid Banks Closing Their Accounts

Banks in India have been closing the accounts of customers they believe have made transactions involving cryptocurrencies. The majority of crypto users in the country, however, have reportedly found a way to avoid their accounts being closed by their banks which are complying with the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank.

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

Avoiding Problems With Banks

Reports of banks in India closing customer accounts with cryptocurrency-related transactions have been on the rise. Banks cite compliance with the circular issued by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), that bans them from providing services to customers and businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies.

How Indian Cryptocurrency Users Avoid Banks Closing Their Accounts

A spokesperson for local cryptocurrency exchange Instashift told news.Bitcoin.com that banks have been closing the accounts of customers when they find any cryptocurrency-related words such as “bitcoin” in transaction remarks. He clarified that if a customer’s bank account “comes under scrutiny and the bank officers read the crypto keywords in remarks” then the bank account will be closed.

The CEO of crypto exchange Wazirx, Nischal Shetty, shared with news.Bitcoin.com on Tuesday that the:

Majority of the people understand not to enter such terms in the remarks. So simply avoiding entering anything related to crypto in the payment remarks is more than enough to avoid any problems from banks. There’s no other way for banks to know if a P2P transaction was done to transact in crypto.

Other Indian crypto users agree with this strategy. Twitter user Cryptomaniac advised, “Use P2P without writing anything related to crypto in remarks. And don’t do heavy transactions.” P2P is the exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer style of trading which has been growing in popularity since the RBI ban. Most crypto exchanges in India offer this type of trading. Another Twitter user, Vivekmacha, agreed and wrote that “If we use P2P they can’t track us,” emphasizing the importance of not writing any crypto-related terms such as bitcoin or BTC in remarks when making transactions.

The Instashift spokesperson explained that crypto users that have their bank accounts closed just “open a fresh account in another bank” and continue to trade without “using any crypto terms for transactions,” emphasizing:

It’s easy to open a new account for a person in India & banks also welcome people to open accounts.

He noted that “no matter how many accounts you open, all bank accounts get linked with your PAN card” which he said is similar to the social security number used in the U.S.

More Banks Closing Accounts of Crypto Users

Many banks in India have been closing customer accounts showing evidence of cryptocurrency transactions. Two major banks in the country — Kotak Mahindra Bank and Digibank — have recently gained more attention for doing so when Twitter user Indiancryptogirl posted letters she claimed to have received from them. Digibank is powered by DBS, a major Asian financial services group. “We have observed few transactions in your account with brokers / traders, dealing in virtual currencies,” the letter reads, adding:

Since these types of transactions are not permitted in India, we are constrained to place a credit freeze in your account. Further as per the extant guidelines, we are required to exit such relationships where transactions with brokers / traders, dealing in virtual currencies are observed.

A credit freeze, the bank explained, means that customers “will not be able to deposit any funds” into their accounts. The bank proceeded to inform that “Hence 30 days from the date of this communication your account will be closed by the bank.”

How Indian Cryptocurrency Users Avoid Banks Closing Their Accounts

Kotak Mahindra Bank and Digibank are not the only ones taking a hostile approach toward customer accounts showing crypto transactions. Twitter user Pushpendra Singh wrote, “So many Indian banks doing the same thing,” claiming that one of them is UCO Bank. Another Twitter user, Bluecrypto, said the “same happened with me and my HDFC account got closed.”

Another bank with a similar policy is Standard Chartered bank which requires customers opening an account in India to agree to this statement: “I confirm that this account will not be used for settling transactions or dealing in virtual currencies, including but not limited to bitcoins.”

However, Twitter user Yatharth Vashishth pointed out that banks are only following RBI’s order. “Kotak Bank is acting as per regulations by the RBI. All banks are instructed to shut accounts of all entities dealing in crypto. Not a big deal.”

What do you think of how Indian crypto users respond to banks closing their accounts? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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