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Israeli-born Natalie Portman has set off a controversy in her native country with a decision to skip a prestigious award ceremony there for political reasons. Portman had been scheduled to travel to Israel in June to receive the Genesis Prize, which NBC News notes is known as the “Jewish Nobel….
Israeli authorities are investigating how Dublin Mayor Michael Mac Donncha arrived in the country despite instructions to bar his entry.
Syria and it most powerful ally, Russia, blamed Israel for striking an airbase in the war-torn country on Monday, following a suspected chemical gas attack that drew condemnation from world powers.
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Israel will target militant groups inside Gaza if violence along the territory’s border with Israel drags on, the chief military spokesman warned on Saturday, a day after 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the area’s deadliest violence in four years, the AP reports. The violence significantly petered down…
Israel Securities Authority (ISA) Committee for the Examination and Regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) issued a series of “recommendations designed to dispel uncertainty and strike a balance between technological innovation and the protection of the investors.” Included in their findings were whether cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are considered securities – a decision carrying major implications for future regulation.
Israel’s ISA Declares Bitcoin Is Not a Security
“As a general rule,” the ISA Committee revealed, “cryptocurrencies that are designed to be used exclusively as a medium of payment, clearing, or exchange and are not limited to a specific venture; that do not confer additional rights; and are not controlled by a central entity — will not be deemed securities.”
Analysts are convinced this could be a precedent-setting decision, as developed economies all over the globe struggle with how to classify cryptocurrencies. Israel has been a leader of sorts, with a rather hands-off approach when it comes to regulation of crypto. Bitcoin ATMs in the country, as opposed to those in the United States for example, do not ask for basic know your customer identification. Put in fiat, receive bitcoin.
“The question of whether a cryptocurrency should be considered a security will be decided on the totality of the circumstances and features of each case in accordance with the purposes of the law,” the report detailed. “As a general rule, cryptocurrencies that confer rights similar to the rights conferred by traditional securities such as shares, bonds, and participation units, will be deemed securities. In contrast, cryptocurrencies that represent rights to a product or service and are acquired solely for the purpose of consumption and use and not for investment purposes, will not be considered securities.”
Recommendations were given to ISA Chair Ms. Anat Guetta. The newly appointed Chairwoman, so far, has been somewhat hostile to bitcoin, announcing earlier this month how her agency would ban it from the nation’s stock exchange indices. “We have decided to prevent the exposure of passive investors to companies whose main activity involves cryptocurrencies. Investment in these companies is high risk, speculative and volatile. We also published a detailed warning to investors about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrency,” Ms. Guetta stressed.
A Delicate Balance
Summer of last year, the ISA set up the ICO committee. It exists to “examine the application of the Securities Law to public offerings and issuances in Israel based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The committee was assigned to study and analyze these ventures, draft a comparative international review of the relevant law, and outline a recommended regulatory policy in areas related to the Securities Law, with the overarching aim of striking a balance between promoting technological innovation and protecting the investors,” the ISA release explained.
A key litmus test for whether a crypto is a security basically comes down to “if the token cannot be used when it is issued or if it can be traded on a secondary market, these may be indications that its acquisition was made for investment rather than for consumption purposes.”
It is clear from the document that regulators are attempting a delicate balance as they face realities brought about by cryptocurrencies and their spawn, ICOs. For the crowdfunding mechanism, the committee urged, “The use and extension of specific existing and future capital raising tracks for ICOs should be considered, including an examination of the following issues: lenient regulation for small-scale ICOs; raising capital through ICOs on crowdfunding platforms; defining a provisional framework for ICOs pilots, in the form of a regulatory sandbox, including oversight of the cryptocurrency developers, and; examining the option of relying on foreign regulation that applies to cryptocurrencies.”
Do you think this ruling bodes well for cryptocurrency adoption in Israel? Let us know in the comments!
Images via Pixabay, ISA.
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The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most daring and mysterious operations in recent memory. Although Israel was widely believed to have been behind the…
Israel Tax Authority issued a professional circular on February 19 (4 Adar 5768), clarifying the country’s tax policy on cryptocurrencies in general and bitcoin in particular. “Bitcoin and its like” are discussed in what’s referred to as a “final circular” on crypto and value-added tax (VAT) along with capital gains.
Also read: Switzerland Enacts ICO Guidelines
Israel VAT Good News on Crypto
“The Tax Authority’s position, which was expressed in the past, is [bitcoin is] a property, not a currency,” the Israeli agency clarified upfront. Israel is the economic jewel of Southwest Asia, routinely ranking alongside countries many multiples its size in terms of innovation and output. Punching above its weight in cryptocurrency as well, the country has grappled with bitcoin since at least 2013 in one form or another. Openness to the decentralized currency idea extends all the way to its current Prime Minister. Its tax policy might be not only a regional trendsetter but a world model.
Going forward, “For purposes of income tax – in accordance with the circular, a distributed means of payment is an asset, and therefore a person whose activity as aforesaid does not reach a business is only entitled to capital gains tax and the person whose activity in the field reaches a business (trade in a distributed method of payment and / Such a measure), tax will be paid as any business activity,” the circular noted, suggesting it was speaking to the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) policy as well.
Value-added tax (VAT) in Israel is applied to most goods and services at the 17% mark, and electronic accounting for VAT is regulated by law in the country. As such, “a distributed means of payment is an intangible asset, and therefore anyone whose activity in the field is for investment purposes only, which does not reach a business, is not liable for VAT,” which leaves the average Israeli investor be, at least on that score.
“A dealer whose receipts are accepted by means of a distributed payment method will be paid VAT according to his business activity,” however, “regardless of the manner of receipt, so that as a rule, VAT will not be paid; A person whose activity in a distributed means of payment reaches a business (from such trade) shall be classified as a financial institution; And those whose activities are mining, will be classified as a dealer for VAT purposes,” the agency explained.
Because bitcoin is an asset, property, it is subject to Israeli capital gains, which range to a high of 25 percent. Miners, if the implications remain, seem to be stuck with the worst of it, as they’re not only to pay capital gains but also VAT, which could boost their tax bill to some 42%.
What do you think about the Israeli plan? Let us know in the comments section.
Images courtesy of Pixabay.
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Swastikas and profanity were reportedly scrawled on the property of the Polish embassy in Israel over the weekend in the wake of controversial remarks made by the country’s prime minister about the Holocaust. The symbol of hate appeared on the entrance to the property in Tel Aviv on Sunday, one…
While some state authorities and financial regulators might deride bitcoin, more people are using the cryptocurrency in their everyday lives. This has recently become evident by divorce cases around the globe involving bitcoin, with the latest example coming from Israel.
A rabbinical court in Israel is now facing a bitcoin-related quandary for what appears to be the first time ever. The religious tribunal is asked to rule on the cryptocurrency in a matter of a specific divorce.
An Israeli couple, identified as a top female banker and a male executive at an investment firm, both in their early thirties, just got married three months ago. In the Jewish wedding ceremony the groom has to commit to pay the bride some compensation in case of a divorce. It is recommended that people will write a symbolic sum that they can afford, because if it comes to that they will be obliged to pay it in parallel with any alimony decided on by the civil divorce courts. However, in this case they decided on 30 bitcoin, worth about 2 million shekels at the time.
The woman testified that despite some guests doubting the gesture, “we thought it was neat and cool… in the old days they talked about fifty camels and a dozen silver coins, and today we talk about bitcoin.”
This week the wife turned to the rabbinical court asking for her divorce compensation in the form of 2 million shekels. The husband agreed to pay as he is obliged, but only according to the exchange rate at the time of the divorce (much closer to one million shekels) than at the time of the wedding.
The woman claims that the man initially wanted to show off by writing down 2 million shekels but she convinced him to write 30 bitcoin instead, as the figure appears less off-putting. She said: “My husband is an investments man and I am a banker, and we had an understanding between us that bitcoin is a legitimate currency. If he would have not specifically mentioned the sum of two million shekels I would not have asked for its value at the wedding day.” Now its up to the rabbinical court to decide how to resolve the issue.
This Israeli divorce is only one of numerous such cases around the world right now. Just one British law firm professes to be handling three such cases at present, with the largest involving a tug-of-war over crypto valued at $ 840,000.
Should bitcoin investors just start demanding prenuptial agreements before getting married? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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