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Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles Lands New Job — CTO for Cryptocurrency Firm

April 20, 2018 |

Mark Karpeles Lands a Job — CTO for a Firm Associated With Cryptocurrencies

The infamous former CEO of the now defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, Mark Karpeles, is trying to start over with a clean slate in life. Karpeles has revealed to the media that he’s started a new C-level position as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for a firm called London Trust Media. The technology company invests in virtual private network companies and cryptocurrencies.

Also Read: Indian Exchange Takes Central Bank to Court Over Bank Ban

The Notorious Mark Karpeles Lands a C-Level Position With a Firm That Dabbles in Cryptocurrency Investments and Runs the Largest VPN Service Worldwide

Mark Karpeles is starting a new job, and he will be working with a company that’s into technology like virtual private networks (VPN) and cryptocurrencies. Karpeles has accepted a CTO position at a firm called London Trust Media (LTM), a company that owns VPN providers such as Private Internet Access, but has also injected funds into digital currency investments such as Purse.io, Zcash, Blockexplorer, and more. The former Mt Gox founder will now work remotely for the Denver-based firm who oversees the world’s largest VPN company alongside its recent cryptocurrency investments.

Mark Karpeles Lands a Job — CTO for a Firm Associated With Cryptocurrencies
Mark Karpeles will be the CTO for London Trust Media the firm that owns the largest VPN provider worldwide and invests in cryptocurrency investments like Purse.io and Zcash.

It seems Karpeles also lives a paranoid life, where he switches apartments in Japan every few months in fear of his safety. Karpeles also is afraid to set his bag down when being interviewed by the press in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. Karpeles is still on trial for embezzlement charges and in Japan, there is a 99 percent conviction rate. The case could still see an outcome where the former cryptocurrency exchange operator finds himself in prison.

“After I came out, I felt like in a kind of dream, like I didn’t feel things were real — Even today I’m not sure yet,” Karpeles explains this week in Tokyo.

Mark Karpeles Lands a Job — CTO for a Firm Associated With Cryptocurrencies
Mark Karpeles is still on trial in Japan.

A Second Chance in This Fight’s Critical Hour

Karpeles also believes the administrators behind the Russian bitcoin exchange BTC-e and the accused Alexander Vinnik were behind a string of attacks that hit Mt Gox back in 2011. Alexander Vinnik had been arrested in Greece for being a suspect in a massive money laundering law enforcement sting, and allegedly Vinnik and BTC-e had connections with the missing Mt Gox funds. “What he did, Mt Gox is a victim of this, which means that all creditors are victims of this, and I am too a victim of this,” explains Karpeles in his recent interview. However, Vinnik has denied allegations of being tied to BTC-e, and the Russian has not yet been charged with any connections to the Mt Gox investigation.

Karpeles’ new C-level position for a firm that dabbles in cryptocurrency investments also follows his recent statements on a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) about not wanting to receive the possible billion-dollar bankruptcy settlement that he could inherit. Moreover, even though Karpeles accepted a job as the CTO at London Trust Media he recently explained he wants very little to do with the cryptocurrency industry.  

“The only thing I’m touching related to cryptocurrency is how to solve this bankruptcy — Nothing more,” Karpeles states.

Bitcoin right now is, I believe, doomed.

The company London Trust Media is pleased to welcome the former Mt Gox CEO onboard as the firm’s new CTO. Andrew Lee, the co-founder, and chairman of London Trust Media explains he looks forward to helping Karpeles move forward. “I am more than willing to give a second chance to Mark in this fight’s critical hour,” Lee notes.

What do you think about Mark Karpeles working for London Trust Media and still being associated with the cryptocurrency industry? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, London Trust Media, AP, and Getty. 


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The post Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles Lands New Job — CTO for Cryptocurrency Firm appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn’t Require KYC

April 20, 2018 |

The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn't Require KYC

This week as people hear about the peer-to-peer exchange Localbitcoins requiring identification for traders who deal in “significant” trade volumes, many of them are scouring the internet in search of decentralized exchanges that don’t require Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification. One such trading platform called ‘Hodl Hodl’ launched its beta version this past February allowing traders to swap cryptocurrencies without the need for regulatory compliance protocols.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank  

The Peer-to-Peer Multi-Sig Escrow Exchange ‘Hodl Hodl’ Doesn’t Require KYC Verification

There’s a new peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange called ‘Hodl Hodl,’ a platform that launched this past February, allowing traders to trade digital assets without the need for a third party. The trading platform creates a multi-signature escrow system that sets a predetermined trading time for both participants. At the moment Hodl Hodl is in its beta form and only has two cryptocurrencies available for trade at the moment which include BTC, and LTC. The creators of the exchange state more features will be launched when the platform comes out of beta in the summer of 2018.

The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn't Require KYC

Hodl Hodl is very similar to Localbitcoins and the platform Bitquick as it allows deals between buyers and sellers. The trading platform does not require users to verify their identities. Moreover, there are many options available for payments such as Moneygram, Skrill, various credit cards, Venmo, Western Union, Alipay, and many more. In order to sell BTC or LTC, a user simply fills out the trade requirements which include location, the amount they want to sell, a payment window, and the payment type. On the buyer side, users choose which cryptocurrency trades and the specific requirements look enticing to them. For instance, certain payment options for purchasing BTC on Hodl Hodl are higher than other options available. Credit card purchases show a price of over $ 9,000 per BTC while other options are still a few hundred dollars more than the current spot price.

Peer-to-Peer Review and Reputation System to Curb Counterparty Risk

Because the platform is still in beta users can experiment with the Hodl Hodl testnet exchange first. When the peer-to-peer platform comes out of beta, the exchange will be charging a maximum of 0.6 percent per trade. However, right now up until the beginning of July 2018 the exchange is waiving fees for users. Hodl Hodl claims they do not hold funds and basically provide traders with “secure multi-signature (P2SH) contracts, and you control the key to the funds in escrow.”

The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn't Require KYC

Additionally, the platform offers two-factor authentication (2FA), and a dispute resolution system as well. Hodl Hodl does not require KYC verifications but does have a trader review and reputation system. The exchange explains the rating system is used so counterparties can be trusted among other traders.  

“It shows whether he is fulfilling his obligations to other parties, whether he makes the payment fast, and whether he is responsive,” explains Hodl Hodl. “The Rating system is a useful tool for traders — it is information about how the trader behaved in the past and a reason/incentive to continue to act properly in the future.”

The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn't Require KYC

Hodl Hodl Doesn’t Leave Beta Until the Summer of 2018

Overall the Hodl Hodl system’s cryptocurrency trades function similarly to peer-to-peer ‘escrow-like’ trading platforms. Much like Bisq, Barterdex, and the other exchanges that facilitate trading activities without KYC in a decentralized manner — the Hodl Hodl platform doesn’t have a ton of action as far as volume. At the moment there are users selling BTC in various increments up to $ 10,000 USD, but some have caps between $ 300-1,500. The development team has explained that more cryptocurrencies will be added in the future alongside improving its mobile interface.

Have you tried the peer-to-peer exchange Hodl Hodl? Let us know what you think about this platform in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse this product/service. Readers should always do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images via Shutterstock, Jamie Redman, and Hodl Hodl. 


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The post The Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchange Hodl Hodl Doesn’t Require KYC appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

April 19, 2018 |

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

The Bank of Japan has become the latest government financial institution to recognize the risks of state-issued cryptocurrencies. According to its Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya, a national digital coin may jeopardize the traditional financial system established in developed countries. The Japanese central bank has no plans to issue its own crypto, he said.

Also read: “Private Digital Money” Better than State-Issued, Swiss Central Banker Says

Centralized Coin to Hit Financial Stability

Digital currencies issued by central banks may have a large impact on the current financial system, the Deputy Governor of Japan’s central bank Masayoshi Amamiya said during a fintech conference. He told attendees, including representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Japanese Financial Services Authority (FSA), that the Bank of Japan had no immediate plans to mint its own crypto.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency
Masayoshi Amamiya

Amamiya noted that central banks were established to overcome “the turmoil caused by multiple payment instruments.” That’s why they were assigned the exclusive role to issue “central bank money,” he explained. In the two-tiered modern financial system, private banks provide payment services to the general public and allocate financial resources to the economy through loans and credits. According to the Bank of Japan’s executive, this structure “reflects the wisdom of human beings in history to achieve both efficiency and stability.”

Masayoshi Amamiya shared his concerns that the issuance of central bank digital currencies will grant households and businesses direct access to central bank accounts. “This may have a large impact on the two-tiered currency system and private banks’ financial intermediation”, BOJ’s representative warned. Currently, the central bank allows direct access to its accounts only to a limited number of entities such as private banks, he remarked.

At the same time, Amamiya believes that central banks should always pay attention to ongoing innovation and follow technological advances in order to provide societies with the best financial infrastructure. BOJ fully acknowledges the importance of understanding innovative technologies not only for maintaining stability, but also for seeking their application in the future, the Deputy Governor said.

State Cryptos Rested on the Back Burner

Masayoshi Amamiya’s comments come at a time when a growing number of central banks and financial authorities are turning their backs on centralized, state-sponsored cryptocurrencies. Proposals to issue such digital coins, with or without blockchain, have been made in several countries over the past few months. They have been seen as alternatives to decentralized cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, that would allow governments to use the technology without losing control over the financial system.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency
Swiss National Bank

This month a high-ranking representative of the Swiss National Bank expressed concerns similar to those shared by BOJ’s Deputy Governor. Private-sector digital currencies are better and less risky than any version that might be offered by a central bank, according to Andrea Maechler, a member of the SNB’s governing board. “Digital central bank money is not necessary to ensure efficient cashless payments,” she said.

In Maechler’s words, a government-backed cryptocurrency would make it easier for people to withdraw their money, if they felt a bank was in difficulties. “It would deliver scarcely any advantages, but would give rise to incalculable risks,” she warned. Just like her Japanese colleague, Andrea Maechler saw a threat to the “tried and tested” two-tier system.

Initially enthusiastic about the idea of a state-backed cryptocurrency, the Central Bank of Russia has gradually changed its position, too. Plans to introduce a so-called “cryptoruble” have been postponed. Centrobank revealed intentions to study the possibility of issuing a “virtual national currency” last summer. Later, however, its Deputy President Olga Skorobogatova said “the introduction of a national digital currency seems unjustified”. Russia may instead seek consultations with its partners from EAEU and BRICS on creating a common digital coin for international transactions.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued CryptocurrencyThe Russian Finance Ministry, which has led efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies, has also indicated a negative stance on the “cryptoruble”. In a letter to President Putin, Minister Anton Siluanov said that a centralized digital coin isn’t possible due to certain features of cryptocurrencies, including the decentralized nature of distributed ledgers. Russia is now heading in a different direction, with 27 digital economy draft laws to be reviewed by the State Duma this year. Two of them aim to legalize initial coin offerings, mining, and possibly regulate digital currency payments.

Do you think centralized cryptocurrencies have any future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin Dance.


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Philippines Senator Wants Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes

April 18, 2018 |

Philippines Senator Wants Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes

On Monday April 16, the Philippines opposition senator Leila M. de Lima asked her fellow bureaucrats to push the passage of the cryptocurrency bills she helped frame. The proposed bills aim to introduce a harsher penalty towards criminals who use cryptocurrencies during illegal activities.

Also read: ‘Cryptomatoes’ Using Excess Mining Heat to Grow Produce

Philippines Lawmaker Wants to Speed Up Cryptocurrency Regulations

Philippines Senator Wants Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency CrimesThere’s been a lot going on in the Philippines as far as cryptocurrencies are concerned and lawmakers are yearning to form some laws around the industry that provides this technology to citizens. Only recently the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a couple who were involved in a Ponzi scheme that had participants paying for investments in bitcoin. Arnel and Leonady Ordonio accumulated 1 billion Philippine Pesos ($ 1.9Mn USD) worth of bitcoins from investors. The Ordonios promised investors guaranteed 30 percent profits and some people spent $ 50,000 USD. Further, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) taking a stance against cloud mining operations just recently and the SEC believes mining contracts should be defined as securities.

Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. The recent Ordonio Ponzi scheme has compelled her to call upon her colleagues.

“I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon,” the senator explains.

Knowing that virtual currency resembles money, and that the possibilities in using it are endless, higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.

 

Philippines Senator Wants Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes
Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks criminals who use cryptocurrencies should have harsher sentences than those who use other means of funding. De Lima is also facing trial for alleged participation in the illegal drug trade.

The Opposition Senator Believes Cryptocurrency Criminals Deserve Harsher Penalties

SB1694 would re-define the Republic Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in order to penalize cryptocurrency criminals one degree higher than the traditional RPC.

“No matter how small or big a group, a punishment must be given. It should never be easy to escape after stealing the hard earned money of other people,” de Lima said.

The older RPC also states that “syndicated estafa and other forms of swindling shall be punishable by life imprisonment to death” if the act involves five or more individuals. De Lima’s proposal wants to lessen the guidelines of the law to two or more people involved with a syndicated crime involving cryptocurrencies.

The opposition senator also details that citizens from the Philippines should be leery of cryptocurrency investments. It’s also worth noting that senator Leila M. de Lima is a controversial figure, and is currently facing trial for profiting from the illegal narcotics trade. 

What do you think about the Philippines senator who wants harsher punishments for those who use cryptocurrencies in crimes? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, AP, and Wiki Commons. 


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Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Withdraws from Japanese Market

April 17, 2018 |

Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Withdraws from Japanese Market

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is suspending all of its services to Japanese residents. The exchange has been allowed to operate in Japan while its application with the country’s financial regulator is being reviewed.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Kraken Pulling Out of Japan

Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Withdraws from Japanese MarketKraken announced on Tuesday the suspension of its services to Japanese residents. “The exact dates for suspending trading and funding have not yet been determined,” the exchange wrote, adding that tentatively the last day for deposits is “around mid-May,” the last day for trading is “around mid-June,” and the last day for withdrawals is “around end-June.” Kraken elaborated:

This is a localized suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan. Clients residing outside Japan who have access to our Japan banking partners will continue to have access and will still be able to trade our JPY markets.

The exchange detailed, “The decision involved careful consideration of revenue against the costs and resources required to maintain service,” noting that “suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas.”

Residents of Japan waiting on Mtgox distributions “will still be able to withdraw the funds through their Kraken account as a one-time payment, provided that this is approved by the court,” Kraken confirmed.

Rising Costs of Doing Business in Japan

Kraken has been serving Japanese residents since October 2014. It has applied for a license with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) but has not been approved. The exchange has been allowed to operate while its application is still pending as a “deemed dealer.”

Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Withdraws from Japanese MarketHowever, since the hack of Coincheck, the agency has been scrutinizing all crypto exchanges and has launched on-site inspections of all deemed dealers. Initially, there were 16 deemed dealers in Japan but a growing number of them have been withdrawing their applications, citing high costs.

Kraken is the seventh crypto exchange to withdraw its application with the FSA. Others are Tokyo Gateway, Mr. Exchange, Raimu, Bitexpress, Bit Station, and Campfire.

Kraken detailed:

We deeply regret suspending this long-standing relationship and hope to resume services for Japan residents in the future…at the present time, it is impractical to continue service for Japan residents…After we have had a chance to better catch up to our rapid growth, we will consider the possibility of resuming service for Japan residents.

What do you think of Kraken pulling out of Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nikkei, and Kraken.


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Tax Time is Here and Lots of Cryptocurrency Holders Don’t Care

April 16, 2018 |

Tax Time is Here and Lots of Cryptocurrency Holders Don't Care

In the U.S. tax season has arrived and many American cryptocurrency proponents are squirming because they have to pay for some of the gains they made last year. However, there are a lot of digital currency holders who could care less about taxes and they strongly believe that taxation is antithetical to cryptocurrencies. While there is a good portion of digital currency holders planning to file their gains and losses, many crypto-advocates don’t plan to pay their tax liabilities.

Also Read: Blockchain Mining Completes Bitfarms Merger, Stock Jumps 49%

Cryptocurrency Taxes: Not Many People Pay Them

If you’re a cryptocurrency enthusiast then over the past few weeks you’ve probably seen a lot of articles on paying cryptocurrency taxes, how to pay them, and the horror stories involved with those who have to pay taxes on every transaction because — every single one is a taxable event in the U.S. Even though lots of people believe the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) classification is unjust by defining cryptocurrencies as a property rather than a currency, people still are forced to pay for their cryptocurrency gains. Just recently there’s been a multitude of reports on cryptocurrency taxation, and some of them explain that a lot of cryptocurrency proponents don’t seem to care about paying their digital asset taxes.

Tax Time is Here and Lots of Cryptocurrency Holders Don't Care
Tomorrow, taxes are due for American citizens, and there’s a good portion of cryptocurrency holders not willing to pay digital currency capital gains.

Jagjit Chawla, the general manager of Credit Karma Tax explained this week that out of 250,000 individuals who claim to hold cryptocurrencies like bitcoin less than 100 people (0.0004%) reported their gains to the IRS.

“There’s a good chance that the perceived complexities of reporting cryptocurrency gains are pushing filers to wait until the very last minute,” explained Chawla.

Further a recent Pollfish conducted Lendedu survey of 1,000 U.S. residents who own cryptocurrencies revealed that 35.87 percent of respondents answered, “No, I do not plan on reporting gains or losses on my tax return” The news also follows the recent IRS Coinbase investigation that reported on how there are millions of Coinbase customers, but less than 900 individuals per year reported their taxes over the past few years.

Salty Tax Paying Bitcoiners Get Mad at ‘Tax Cheats’

The articles reporting on people not paying their cryptocurrency tax obligations has got a bunch of bitcoin users ‘salty’ this past week. One individual on the Reddit forum /r/bitcoin says that “tax cheats” are smearing the good name of bitcoin owners.

“This is just another way to try and defeat Bitcoin. Nobody likes a tax cheat. Convince the country that BTC holders don’t pay their taxes, and before you know it, you have large numbers of people against them,” explains the post on April 16 the day before tax obligations are due in the U.S.  

I personally pay my taxes on BTC. It’s not an anonymous currency, and one day, (the IRS can look back seven years) you may get caught. If regulation forces exchanges to hand over all of their customer data, everyone who didn’t pay will be in for a wild ride.

‘Without Projects That Express Principles, You Have Nothing of What You Want With a Revolution’

However, the individual who wrote that post didn’t get the support he was looking for as many of the comments declared that “taxation is theft.” One person who specifically disliked the phrase ‘tax cheats’ in the post writes:  

Even the term ‘tax cheating’ is a fallacy itself, implying people voluntarily agreed being taxed and are backing out of their agreement or smt. If I live in a county where politicians can raise taxes without consulting the parliament or making a referendum who is cheating who? Because I FEEL it’s us the people who are being cheated into paying more taxes.

Another person details their issue with the post, “The financial system now is the problem — My government is a warmongering fascist state — F#&$  paying taxes in this shit hole!

Tax Time is Here and Lots of Cryptocurrency Holders Don't Care
Many cryptocurrency advocates follow Libertarian philosophies which believe that ‘taxation is theft.’

It’s safe to say that cryptocurrencies and taxes are very topical conversations, and the subjects often gets people upset. A large majority of the comments on the ‘tax cheat’ post disagreed with the person who wrote his opinion that tax cheats smeared the reputation of tax-paying citizens. There are a lot of cryptocurrency proponents who are also adamantly against paying taxes, and many of them are vocal about spreading the message that ‘taxation is theft’ over the years. 

“Without a big expression of intentionality to what is considered not the ‘polite things to do with bitcoin’ — specifically money laundering, specifically private access to your coin, holding your own keys — without projects that express these principles, you have nothing of what you want with a revolution — This leaves me to proclaim that most people involved with bitcoin were not serious about that in the first place,” Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson explains in a 2015 interview.

What do you think about cryptocurrencies and taxes? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, the Bastiat Institute, and Pixabay.   


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Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Cryptocurrency Framework

April 13, 2018 |

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework

The Prime Minister of Vietnam has signed a directive for the country’s central bank and the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the management of cryptocurrency-related activities. This follows an alleged fraud involving a cryptocurrency that scammed 32,000 Vietnamese out of VNĐ15 trillion.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Prime Minister’s Directive

The Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has signed a directive to strengthen “the management of activities related to bitcoin and other virtual currencies,” Viet Nam News reported, elaborating:

To limit the risks and adverse impacts on society, as well as promptly detect, prevent and handle fraud, the Prime Minister asked the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to direct credit institutions and intermediary payment service organisations not to conduct illegal transactions related to digital currencies.

The authorities have repeatedly warned about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies “as well as their use for criminal activity such as money laundering, terrorist financing, illegal remittance, tax evasion and fraud,” the news outlet added.

Preventing Crypto Scams

This directive follows an alleged crypto fraud involving a theft of VNĐ15 trillion (~USD$ 658 million) from 32,000 victims in Ho Chi Minh City. Dozens of investors protested over the weekend at the office of Modern Tech Jsc Co, which marketed the Ifan tokens. They carried banners saying “biggest digital money fraud in history,” the publication conveyed, adding that the location turned out to be a ghost address with no sign of company activities.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework
Protesters holding banners outside Modern Tech office. Photo: Huy Hung.

For an investment of $ 1,000 or more, Modern Tech promised a return of at least 48% in cash and an additional 8% for recruiting other buyers, one protester explained. However, the global decline of the crypto market has caused Ifan’s value to plummet to about 1 US cent and the company subsequently changed its policy to pay out interest and principal back in the Ifan currency instead of cash, the publication described.

The SBV has been closely following this case, the news outlet reported a central bank official indicating. “We are gathering information about the case, but officially we haven’t launched an investigation until we receive accusations from any of the alleged victims,” Le Dong Phong, the police chief of Ho Chin Minh City told Reuters.

Crypto Laws In the Works

According to the Prime Minister’s directive, financial organizations must “strengthen their management, review and report suspicious transactions related to cryptocurrencies,” Viet Nam News added.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

Following the directive signing, the Vietnamese Government Office published Letter No. 2768 / VPCP-KTTH on Wednesday to provide directions for the Ministry of Finance, Information and Communication as well as the SBV to follow, according to the Government Gazette.

The Prime Minister continues to put the Ministry of Justice in charge of studying and completing a “uniform and unified legal framework on the management and handling of virtual currency, virtual property and electronic money,” the Gazette detailed. The Justice Ministry, the SBV, and other related agencies are already carrying out the crypto-related tasks assigned by the Prime Minister in a directive submitted in January. According to the Gazette, the Justice Ministry sent a written statement to the Prime Minister, stating:

Although there are no regulations on virtual currency, there are also no rules that ban transactions using virtual currency.

The SBV also submitted its comments to the Prime Minister, emphasizing that it “is the only agency issuing paper money and coins” which are the only legal means of payment in Vietnam. “As such, the SBV believes that bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not currencies and legal means of payment in Vietnam. The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency as a means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam,” the Gazette reiterated.

What do you think of the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s directive on cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Huy Hung.


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The post Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Cryptocurrency Framework appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Malta Succeeds in Attracting Another Cryptocurrency Exchange, Okex

April 12, 2018 |

Malta Succeeds in Attracting Another Cryptocurrency Exchange, Okex

The Maltese government’s plan to bring more international cryptocurrency business to booster the local economy, by positioning itself as a hospitable jurisdiction within the EU, appears to be paying off. Following Binance moving to the island just last month, Malta has now succeeded in attracting yet another exchange, Okex.

Also Read: Australia’s Digitalx Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Fund

Maltese Blockchain Ecosystem

Okex, the Chinese-run cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong, has announced today that it will be expanding to the European island nation of Malta. The country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, commented: “We welcome Okex, a world-leading digital exchange, to our growing blockchain ecosystem. Malta is fast becoming the jurisdiction of choice for Distributed Ledger Technology companies in the European Union and globally.”

Malta Succeeds in Attracting Another Cryptocurrency Exchange, Okex

Chris Lee, CEO of OKEx, said: “We look forward to working with the Malta government as it is  forward thinking and shares many of our same values: the most important of which are protection of traders and the general public, compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer standards, and recognition of the innovation and importance of continued development in the Blockchain ecosystem.”

Warm Welcome to Crypto Companies

Malta Succeeds in Attracting Another Cryptocurrency Exchange, Okex
Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri (middle) with OKEx Chief Risk Officer Tim Byun (right) and Vice President Jason Lau (left)

Unlike other regions, Malta offers crypto firms with an environment where the government is not only open to their business but actively seeking it as well. For example, before making its decision Okex management was able to meet with members of the Maltese government and regulatory leaders. This allowed them to understand the country’s legislative and regulatory plans, provide written feedback and engage in open dialogue, they explained.

Tim Byun, Chief Risk Officer and Head of Government Relations of OKEx, commented: “Malta’s Virtual Financial Asset Act is a solid foundation for the industry and the government to work together in fostering the nascent blockchain/digital asset industry. More specifically, Malta’s sound risk-based approach will help cultivate a responsible, compliant, and healthy ecosystem.”

Back in March 23, Binance revealed that it would be moving its operations and starting to recruit 200 people to work on the island as soon as possible. Okex are now establishing an entity in Malta in accordance with the expected regulations and framework and will apply for a license when it becomes available. If and when the company obtains such a license, they expect to have a full team of local management, front office staff, as well as KYC and AML officers, a representative told news.Bitcoin.com today.

Should other governments in Europe soon follow the example of Malta to foster the growth of the local crypto ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you agree with us that Bitcoin is the best invention since sliced bread? Thought so. That’s why we are building this online universe revolving around anything and everything Bitcoin. We have a store. And a forum. And a casino, a pool and real-time price statistics.

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Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

April 12, 2018 |

Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

Cryptocurrency is the main source of income for 12% of Russian speaking crypto users, according to a new survey. More than 90% of the respondents say they want to use digital coins as a means of payment, and a quarter of those interviewed are already doing that. 40% of the participants view cryptos like bitcoin as a good long-term investment. They have no intentions to sell their crypto holdings in the near future.    

Also read: Russians Owe 13% Tax on Their Crypto Incomes

40% of Russian Crypto Owners Are Hodling

The survey conducted among Russian cryptocurrency owners found that most of them have started dealing with cryptos in the last couple of years. Nevertheless, 28% of the respondents consider themselves active users, and 12% say cryptocurrency is their main source of income.

Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto UsersThe crypto shopping platform Fatcats.market has interviewed 382 Russian speaking crypto users, whose median age is 27 years. Most of them are men – 93%. Women are only 7%, while those under 18 years of age are 10%. The survey has been conducted on Telegram channels from March 22 to April 2, 2018.

A sizable majority of the respondents say they want to keep cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and use them for payments. 40% admit they are investing in different cryptos. Mining is not that popular anymore, with only 14% being actively involved and 11% saying they are cloud mining.

Another 40% of the crypto users think cryptocurrency is as good long-term investment. They are not planning to sell their coins for fiat money in the near future. According to the authors of the study, the main conclusion is that Russians are ready to use cryptocurrency both as an investment instrument and as a means of payment.

The ongoing survey also found that only 8% of the participants are not ready to buy goods using cryptocurrency, while 20% hesitate to pay for services in crypto. That means merchants selling goods for bitcoin are trusted more than service providers. 26% claim they have already made purchases with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

When it comes to buying goods, computers, smartphones, and other gadgets are the most preferred items – 77%. 65% want to purchase audio and video equipment, and 66% will be happy to spend their cryptos on airline tickets and traveling. About 60% are ready to purchase real estate or a new car and 45% would buy food, furniture, or a fridge with bitcoin. Paying for freelance work is the most likely crypto spending for services (68%).

Only 1% Think Cryptocurrency Is a Bubble

The organizers of the study have tried to gauge the importance of cryptocurrencies for Russian users. 28% of them think that digital coins are an interesting part of the information technology field. 26% consider them an additional source of income. 17% if the respondents say cryptos form up to 30% of their investment portfolio. For another 16%, virtual money is an important income, and 12% say it forms a significant share of both their income and their investments (70% or more).

Only 1% of the interviewed think cryptocurrency is a bubble that will burst. The data also shows that the majority of the participants have entered the crypto ecosphere relatively recently. 80% have done that between 2016 and 2018. About 12% have started using cryptocurrencies from 2012 to 2015. Less than 10% are not yet taking advantage of digital money.

Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

The majority of Russian crypto owners possess bitcoin (55%) and ethereum (45%), Fatcats.market found out. 11% of the respondents have bitcoin cash (BCH) in their wallets. Ripple (XRP), litecoin (LTC), and cardano (ADA) are also popular. 40% of the surveyed admit they own tokens from initial coin offerings (ICOs), proving significant exposure to crypto investment opportunities.

Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

Most crypto owners (>43%) use the services of crypto traders to convert their coins to fiat currency, followed by those who prefer cryptocurrency exchanges (>38%). Almost 18% of the respondents either use alternative methods or do not sell their cryptos at all. More than a quarter of the interviewed say the fees they usually pay are between 2 and 5%. Half of them estimate transaction times anywhere between 1 and 60 minutes. The majority of Russian crypto users consider price volatility and complicated transactions as the main obstacles to spending more cryptocurrency.

Do you receive income in cryptocurrency? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Fatcats.market.


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Australia’s Digitalx Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Fund

April 12, 2018 |

Australia’s Digitalx Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Fund

Traditional Australian investors have gotten a new alternative for investing in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets. A publicly listed firm has launched a fund focusing on the field. Additionally, Digitalx has created a new educational video platform about cryptocurrency.

Also Read: Australia’s Blockbid Exchange Granted Cryptocurrency License by Austrac

Digitalx Investments

Australia’s Digitalx Launches Cryptocurrency Investment FundDigitalx Ltd (ASX: DCC), has launched a new crypto-assets investment fund that will focus primarily on leading cryptocurrencies while allowing diversification with regulated ICO tokens, crypto derivatives, fiat, and managed schemes. Ellerston Capital veteran Tim Davies has been appointed as portfolio manager.

To create the fund, DigitalX pitched in $ 750,000 from its bitcoin and ethereum holdings, and will hold a 73% stake as the investment advisor. It seems that investors were quite happy with the new direction Digitalx has taken, as in response to the news the company’s share price jumped as high as 27% during trading on Tuesday at ASX (Australian Securities Exchange).

“We believe cryptocurrencies are under-researched by mainstream asset managers and there is an opportunity to leverage our expertise in Blockchain technology and crypto-asset investment to create value for our clients,” DigitalX managing director Leigh Travers said.

Crypto Education

Australia’s Digitalx Launches Cryptocurrency Investment FundIn addition to the new fund, Digitalx also announced that it is entering the crypto education scene. The company has partnered with digital media provider Multiplier to create two upcoming websites, Multipliercrypto.com and Coin.org, to teach the Australian public about cryptocurrencies and the technology behind them. These are said to offer video mini tutorials on crypto-assets delivered by industry experts to help newcomers learn with ease.

“These sites will be a platform to educate new investors from around the world about the opportunities and risks of crypto-assets, including cryptocurrencies and ICOs, including being a resource for updated regulatory information as it continues to develop,” Travers said. “The value of cryptocurrency digital real estate is expected to grow significantly with recent news from the world’s largest technology companies Google, Twitter and Facebook to limit cryptocurrency advertising,” he added.

Are cryptocurrency funds a good way for equity investors to get into the bitcoin ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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