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Two U.S. Health and Human Services appointees who served on President Donald Trump’s campaign, were booted from the agency this week after months of igniting controversy on social media.
Seems House conservatives are still hoping to see Rod Rosenstein hit the unemployment line. Conservative lawmakers were honing an impeaching filing for the deputy attorney general Friday at the same time he announced 12 indictments against Russians for alleged election hacking, Capitol Hill sources tell Politico . In fact, Rosenstein was…
Scarlett Johansson is reportedly quitting the film “Rub and Tug” after critics slammed the actress for taking on a transgender role, demanding movie makers recast the character “Dante Tex Gill.”
A World Health Assembly meeting that had been expected to easily pass a resolution promoting breastfeeding turned ugly when the Trump administration got involved, reports the New York Times , citing “more than a dozen participants from several countries.” The sources say that the American delegation to the United Nations-affiliated meeting…
South Korea has been busy revising its cryptocurrency regulations. The regulators plan to ease the rules on crypto assets in line with G20 policies. While a new crypto classification system has been created, another government agency is conducting an on-site inspection of crypto exchanges following multiple hacks. In addition, the Bank of Korea has released a report with its view on using crypto as a means of payment.
South Korea has been actively revising and updating its regulations for cryptocurrencies. The Korea Times reported last week that the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), has revised “its guidelines relating to ‘all activities’ of Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange operators.”
Furthermore, “financial regulators plan to ease rules on crypto-based assets in line with policies initiated by G20 nations to establish unified regulations,” the publication detailed.
However, an FSC official told the news outlet that “Any major reversal in policies is unlikely.” Specifically, the policy change will not affect the way cryptocurrencies are classified for regulatory purposes. “The administration earlier classified cryptocurrencies as ‘non-financial products’ due to their speculative nature,” the news outlet conveyed, emphasizing:
The FSC and FSS [Financial Supervisory Service] will not change the government’s stance on crypto or digital assets as it’s difficult to value them as ‘financial assets’.
New Crypto Classification System
The South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance’s Statistics Korea, responsible for statistics in the country, has created a classification system for cryptocurrency operators and other blockchain-related entities.
Sedaily explained that Statistics Korea has been gathering comments on the new classification system, which will be reviewed by the National Statistical Commission Policy Subcommittee on July 11. The official results will be announced on the 25th. The publication detailed:
Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bithumb and Upbit are expected to be officially classified as crypto asset brokers after the government’s current title of ‘virtual currency handler’ is removed…The blockchain industry will be managed as a formal industry, starting with the government’s industrial classification, and conducting surveys and statistics.
Specifically, the news outlet added that “Blockchain platforms such as EOS and Ethereum also have unique industry classification criteria.”
The agency explained that the proposed classification “will be used for administrative purposes for the development of related statistics and various government policies and support,” Zdnet clarified. This new classification of crypto-related entities for statistical purposes does not affect the regulations by the FSC.
On-Site Investigation of Crypto Exchanges
The government also announced last week that the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has launched an on-site investigation of major cryptocurrency exchanges. This is in collaboration with the Korea Internet Promotion Agency (KISA) following the hacks of multiple crypto exchanges. The announcement states:
The on-site inspection mainly focuses on the technical and administrative protection measures for personal information, such as access control to the personal information processing system, prevention of tampering with access logs, encryption of personal information, and prevention of malicious programs.
Bank of Korea’s Crypto Report
The Bank of Korea (BOK) released its big report on “crypto assets and central banks” on Friday, July 6, according to local media. This report examines domestic and international discussions on the economic and legal nature of crypto assets, as well as key issues related to the central bank.
Korean banks held crypto-assets totaling 2 trillion won (US$ 1.79 billion) as of December last year, equivalent to about 8 percent of the total deposits by the country’s brokerage houses, the central bank described.
According to BOK, “The amount of crypto-asset investment is not really big, compared with other equity markets, and local financial institutions’ exposure to possible risks of digital assets is insignificant,” Yonhap conveyed.
“Cryptographic assets are highly volatile, and transaction costs such as fees and processing time are high, making it difficult to function as currency,” Real News Korea quoted the report which also states:
It is not easy [for cryptocurrency] to have broad acceptance in the short term and [it] is less competitive than traditional means of payment such as cash or credit cards. In other words, it is difficult to become a medium of exchange.
While concluding that “it is difficult” to use cryptocurrency as money, Business Post quoted the central bank describing, “It is likely [for cryptocurrency] to be used as a means of payment in limited areas such as overseas remittances.”
Furthermore, the central bank divulged in its report:
If the technical problems of virtual currency are resolved and the acceptability of virtual currency in the general society is increased, it cannot be ruled out that it can be widely used as an investment asset and payment means.
What do you think of all the changes in Korean regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the Hankyoreh, and the South Korean government.
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British spies were aware that the U.S. mistreated suspected militants after the Sept. 11 attacks and were complicit in “inexcusable” interrogation and detention methods, an influential parliamentary committee said in a report.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
Cryptocurrencies – Thematic Research, a report recently issued by Global Data, is attempting to smash what it views as myths and huge untruths about the hype surrounding crypto. Among their findings, the company concludes cryptocurrencies are expensive, slow, mostly unspendable, and cannot scale to meet their projected demand.
Cryptocurrencies Expensive, Slow, Unspendable, Cannot Scale
Talk about kicking a fellow when he’s down (assuming cryptocurrencies are male). London-based research firm, founded in 2006, Global Data, released a 34 page study on exactly why they believe crypto won’t ever live up to its hype or promise.
Its Chief Analyst, Gary Barnett, gets to the heart of the matter, “Many of the most basic claims made by proponents of cryptocurrencies simply are not true. We are told that cryptocurrencies speed transfers up, that they help to eliminate middlemen and that they are free of cost, but none of this is true.” Anecdotes abound as to the veracity of his claim, especially as it relates to bitcoin core (BTC), the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, and the most well known. The ecosystem has famously chosen to employ ‘middlemen,’ the very same Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper was written to avoid, such as banks (Coinbase) and other exchanges that are allowed to hold full control over a user’s coins and tokens.
“Cryptocurrency transactions are not free,” Mr. Barnett continues. “For example, at its peak the per transaction cost for bitcoin exceeded $ 50, which is not exactly a great way to buy $ 25 worth of groceries. While the cost per transaction hovers around $ 1 when the bitcoin network is not under load, it will inevitably rise if transaction volumes grow again.” Here again, the whipping boy is BTC, and no mention is made of viable alternatives in this regard like bitcoin cash (BCH) or others.
Perhaps most damning, when considering just what the ‘currency’ part of cryptocurrency means, Mr. Barnett fires “no cryptocurrency is widely accepted and transacted. The number of retailers and businesses that accept cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services is vanishingly small, and those that do typically report very low volumes of cryptocurrency transactions by comparison to other means of payment.” This somewhat begs the question, but it might require Mr. Barnett and Global Data to be a little hipper when it comes to the more recent history of BTC in particular. Enthusiasts have taken nuanced sides as to the importance of claims like Mr. Barnett’s, and the differences are so profound in the crypto space entire projects exist to prove the others wrong. Plus, it is early days with regard to merchant adoption — constant mainstream media hectoring, along with governments the world over threatening ever tighter regulation, doesn’t help matters.
The Scaling Issue Continues to Haunt
Global Data hammers home a key bugaboo with regard to crypto, scaling. For ‘big blockers,’ this issue seems to trump most. With the advent of bitcoin cash (BCH), larger blocks allow for more transactions, less congestion, and ultimately lower fees and faster confirmations, at least in theory and so far.
Nevertheless, the report concludes “cryptocurrencies cannot scale. The Visa payment network is capable of supporting 24,000 transactions per second (tps) at peak rates and regularly averages in the region of 1,500 tps. Bitcoin, meanwhile, struggles to achieve a transaction rate over 10 tps, while bitcoin cash can handle around 60 tps. The only cryptocurrency which comes close to Visa’s average is Ripple, which is capable of 1,500 tps.”
And so, mainstream research firms such as Global Data are left to muse about the current state of crypto valuations. As “currently applied to cryptocurrencies,” Mr. Barnett stresses, they “have no basis in fact; cryptocurrencies represent a classic bubble, in which valuations are purely the result of speculation on the likely behavior of the market rather than a clear-eyed assessment of underlying value.” No mention is made of it being only near a decade in arriving at valuations, and how currencies such as BTC are up thousands of percents since their inception. Bubble doesn’t seem, yet, to describe crypto prices well.
The report’s lone sober take, though still mired in mainstream cynicism and assumptions, comes as a preface. “In fairness,” researchers note, “all currencies are a confidence trick. The US dollar, British pound, and the Euro all depend on nothing more than market confidence for their value. The extent to which a currency works effectively is a function of a range of factors and this report sets out to determine whether cryptocurrencies represent a serious alternative to the established fiat currencies.” Few crypto proponents would claim decentralized money to be quite there, but, then again, government money has had a huge head start.
Is crypto a failed, over-hyped experiment? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via the Pixabay, Global Data, Shutterstock.
Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.
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Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. said it is taking “immediate action” to look into a report that one of its engineers is part of a white nationalist group and was involved in violent brawls during last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Investigative news outlet ProPublica…
Tax agencies around the world keep applying pressure on bitcoin and crypto companies to make their operations transparent to them. The latest example comes from Israel, where a local exchange with over 50,000 clients has been convinced to report its bigger traders to the national tax authority.
Bits of Gold to Report to Tax Authority
Tel Aviv based cryptocurrency exchange Bits of Gold has agreed to report on its ‘heavy’ users to the Israel Tax Authority, according to media reports from the country. The company will pass on information to the tax authority on anyone who traders a total of $ 50,000 or more over a twelve-month period. It agreed to this after the authority carried out an onsite inspection of its operations at the exchange’s offices, targeting information on its bigger clients.
Exchanges operating in the country already have to report big trades to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, but that information doesn’t get to the tax authority easily as there are laws in place to prevent this to protect citizens’ privacy. Moreover, the Israel Tax Authority does not have the legal right to compel companies to report on their clients without their agreement and court precedents back this up, according to local newspaper Calcalist.
Putting the Squeeze on More Investors
Furthermore, according to the reports, this agreement with Bits of Gold is a sign of things to come as the Israeli tax authority now plans to approach more local companies and exchanges trying to reach similar arrangements. And this is just the latest initiative by the Israel Tax Authority in the crypto field.
Back in May it was reported that regional branches have sent out letters to those they suspect are trading bitcoin, demanding that the recipients divulge all of their involvement in the cryptocurrency market including all past transaction history and current holdings. People were being asked to list all exchange accounts and wallets they ever had and report their trade earnings. Additionally, the agency demands that people will reveal if they are engaged in mining.
Should crypto exchanges agree to report on their clients if they are not compelled by law? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.
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Dressing like a duchess doesn’t come cheap.