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North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements

June 20, 2018 |

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements

The state of North Carolina has pushed the passage of House Bill 86 and some digital currency advocates and firms like Coinbase believe the bill makes the state more friendly towards cryptocurrency businesses. At the moment North Carolina’s House Bill 86 has been presented to Governor Roy Cooper and awaits his signature.

Also read: Major Korean Crypto Exchange: $ 31 Million Vanishes

North Carolina House Bill 86 Includes Money Transmission Changes and Licensure Guidelines in Regard to Virtual Currencies Passes Unanimously

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements On June 14, 2018, North Carolina’s general assembly unanimously ratified House Bill 86 which adds new language to the state’s permissible investments and statutory trust under the Money Transmitters Act. The bill’s final revision includes legal definitions concerning virtual currencies like bitcoin and other tokens. North Carolina’s legislation also requires the licensure of businesses that work with cryptocurrency activities. Furthermore, the state’s Commissioner of Banks Ray Grace can request data from the licensed cryptocurrency firm at any time. North Carolina House Bill 86 states:   

If the licensee possesses virtual currency as permissible investments under this Article, the Commissioner may at any time request that the licensee verify, in a manner acceptable to the Commissioner, aggregate virtual currency transmission obligations outstanding and virtual currency held as permissible investments, including virtual currency stored offline.

Coinbase Believes North Carolina’s Bill ‘Helps Cryptocurrency Companies Comply With the Letter of the Law’

North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements
Coinbase executive Mike Lempres

Commissioner Grace had also helped write the revised edition which included virtual currency definitions and licensee requirements. The firm Coinbase applauded the passage of House Bill 86 and formally thanked the banking commissioner, representatives Tim Moore, Dan Bishop, Jon Hardister, Bill Rabon, Stephen Ross, Jason Saine, and Jeff Tarte for helping bolster the legislation.

“Passage of House Bill 86 exemplifies how regulators and legislators can work together to foster innovation by either licensing cryptocurrency money transmissions or exempting cryptocurrency from money transmission laws,” the Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Coinbase, Mike Lempres said last Thursday.

By helping cryptocurrency companies comply with the letter of the law, leaders in both states are paving the way for the economic and social benefits of this new technology to flourish within their communities.           

The firm also complimented the state of Wyoming for recently passing its blockchain and cryptocurrency legislation after it had issues with the state prior to the passage of Wyoming’s guidelines. A while ago Coinbase suspended its services to Wyoming residents and the firm said at the time that the state’s Division of Banking made Coinbase operations impractical. As both North Carolina and Wyoming change their money transmissions laws the state’s look like they may see more business operations due to the legislative changes.

What do you think about North Carolina’s House Bill 86? Do you think more states will adapt virtual currencies into their laws? Or do you think these regulations are bad for cryptocurrencies in general? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Wiki Commons, North Carolina Emblem, Coinbase, and Medium. 


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The post North Carolina Banking Bill Passes — Adds Virtual Currency License Requirements appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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E3 expo highlights virtual reality’s never-ending challenge: to get real

June 14, 2018 |

When Elizabeth Ching took off her headset, she was panting.

She had just finished playing a new virtual reality boxing game called “Creed: Rise to Glory” at E3, the nation’s biggest video game convention, and she’d knocked her computer opponent out cold. With the exception of a few boxing classes…


L.A. Times – Business

Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu’s Science Fiction

June 11, 2018 |

Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu's Science Fiction

Science fiction writer Ken Liu has written an important short story, Bizantine Empathy, weaving as central to the narrative cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology. Finally, crypto breaks out of its ghettoization in popular fiction, where it has been the plaything of terrorists and drug dealers, and instead has been used as an elegant background to a larger point. We caught up with Mr. Liu to ask him more about his motivations for bringing such a technical topic into the science fiction community. 

Also read: Fidelity Investments Hints at Entering Cryptocurrency Exchange Space

Author Ken Liu Has Coding Street Cred

No less a personage than Bitcoin core (BTC) developer and ecosystem rockstar Jimmy Song praised science fiction writer Ken Liu as “one of the best coders” he’s ever worked with. Mr. Liu describes his career as “bizarre and strange” leading up to his foray into professional fiction writing. He’s coded for Microsoft and various startups, and then decided to earn a Juris Doctorate and try his hand at corporate tax law. He’s also an award-winning Chinese language translator, bringing leading science fiction from the East to the English speaking world. All of these pursuits led him to his recent short story, Byzantine Empathy. It’s at the sweet spot of Mr. Liu’s many forms of mastery: code, law, language. It’s also a literate take on cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology, which are integral to the story as essential parts.

Twelve Tomorrows is in its fifth edition with Wade Roush, futurist host of the Soonish podcast, as its editor. He tapped Mr. Liu for two tasks. He wanted a short story, and Mr. Liu delivered Byzantine Empathy as part of the anthology. Mr. Roush also asked Ken Liu to employ his considerable skill in translating Fields of Gold by Liu Cixin (Ken Liu’s translation of The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo Award for Best Novel). Published in conjunction with MIT Technology Review and MIT Press, the anthology is sure to draw eyes from the cryptocurrency community.

Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu's Science Fiction

News.Bitcoin.com: Of all the rabbit hole aspects of crypto and bitcoin, why did you focus in on the Byzantine Generals’ problem?

Ken LiuIn a short story, there’s only enough room to focus on one aspect of the many interesting aspects of cryptocurrencies, and the idea of consensus, of authority in the system, felt to me to be the most compelling subject and the one that dovetailed the best with the human story I wanted to tell.

In my line of work, as you can imagine, I come across fictional adaptations of crypto, either as part or integral to an arc, and inevitably they involve international terrorism or drugs. You’ve gone in an entirely different direction. Was that a conscious decision?

I don’t think I was writing consciously “against” some dominant narrative, exactly. I find the mathematics, the algorithms, the history and ideas behind cryptocurrencies beautiful and interesting, and I wanted to tell a story that tries to engage with these ideas in a serious, empathetic way. Too often, coverage of complex ideas in the mainstream media is simplified to the point of nonsense or forced to fit into existing narratives, and I think sometimes the fiction we read is influenced by this kind of coverage. I wanted to go back to the fundamental papers, the source code, the people who devote their time and energy to crypto, and to tell a story that respects the reader as well as the crypto practitioner, and doesn’t shy away from the complexities of the ideas themselves.Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu's Science Fiction

How did you end up being published in Twelve Tomorrows?

The editor, Wade Roush, invited me to contribute. The idea was to write a story centered around some of the technology areas covered by the MIT Tech Review extensively. I thought VR and blockchain, two areas where I have some experience and expertise, would be perfect. The story then came to me essentially overnight.

How did you create the fictional cryptocurrency, empathium?

I’ve studied the problems of disaster relief and NGOs for some time, and there are many institutional issues related to the way we direct and harness people’s natural empathy for victims of natural and man-made disasters. I wondered how blockchain and VR could perhaps be used to help ameliorate/complicate these issues, and those thoughts became the basis for empathium.

You chose two very hot topics as your muse, cryptocurrency and virtual reality for this short story. Why?

I think blockchain, besides being a really interesting bit of applied math, also represents a new development in the general history of the technology of consensus building and collective decision making. (Other notable entries in this history include things like elections, juries, courts, absolute monarchies, etc.) VR, on the other hand, is a new emerging medium, and every new medium (writing, film, TV, the Internet) has profoundly altered the way we empathize with others and construct individual and group identities. How can a scifi writer resist playing with two technologies with such profound implications for the present and the future?

Symbolic Systems Beg to be Hacked

Does having worked extensively in the corporate law field informed your fictional writing?

I think having looked at the way legal structures constrain and guide corporate decision making, competition, and collaboration, and how such constraints and guides can be bypassed and thwarted, I tend to view system hacking as a fundamental part of any society, including fictional ones.

At first glance, your professional pursuits seem all over the place. What is the connection between science fiction writing and having a background in programming and law?

Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu's Science Fiction
Ken Liu

My background is in technology and law (I was a programmer and a lawyer), so I tend to view everything through the lens of symbol systems. There is a great deal of commonality in the way programmers and lawyers think about their respective symbol systems: fundamentally, both are hackers trying to construct symbolic machines that will accomplish a certain effect by following the rules of the systems in which they operate.

It turns out that writing fiction is quite similar. Readers have been trained to respond emotionally to various literary and narrative techniques, and a writer builds emotional machines out of these tricks no different from the way lawyers put together contracts or corporate structures, or the way programmers craft apps and utilities.

Here’s where the analogy becomes interesting though. In fiction, programming, or law, practitioners who love their work are always seeking to go beyond mere technical competence. We’ve all seen snippets of source code or legal arguments that give us a feeling of transcendence, that rises to the realm of art, elegance, beauty. It is the same in fiction. To build an emotional machine that does the job is easy; to build a beautiful and true emotional machine, on the other hand, takes skill, luck, and a glimpse of that transcendence that unites all creative endeavors.

Do you think cryptocurrency lends well to science fiction? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay, MIT Press.


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.

The post Crypto and Virtual Reality Meet in Ken Liu’s Science Fiction appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Virtual Currencies to Become “Part of the Economic Practices” of All Nations – CFTC Commissioner

June 7, 2018 |

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC Commissioner

United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner, Rostin Behnam recently gave a speech in which he predicted that “virtual currencies […] will become part of the economic practices of any country.” The CFTC commissioner predicted that cryptocurrencies will have a transformative effect in providing financial services to unbanked populations, and undermine corruption through increasing financial transparency.

Also Read: Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban Alternatives

“Cryptocurrencies Will Proliferate to Every Economy and Every Part of the Planet” – CFTC Commissioner, Rostin Behnam

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerWhilst speaking at the recent BFI Summit at the United Nations Plaza in New York, CFTC Commissioner, Rostin Behnam, expressed his belief that virtual currencies will be integrated into the economic practices of all nations.

Mr. Behnam stated that “virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere. Let me repeat that: these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet. Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival. And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.”

“We are Witnessing a Technological Revolution. Perhaps We are Witnessing a Modern Miracle”

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerMr. Behnam predicts that virtual currencies will undermine financial corruption, however, he also warns that the “economic […] kleptocracy” exerts excessive influence over the cryptocurrency markets, that virtual currencies could become a vehicle for further capital accumulation for the financial elites.

Mr. Behnam states “One of the often discussed problems in developing countries is corruption. I know it is a perennial problem, undermining the work of the United States and virtually all international organizations. It may be the single greatest impediment to social justice, equality, hunger, peaceful resolution of conflict, and a host of other problems […] Now, with the advent of virtual assets, technology may provide a solution. And, the single greatest weapon against corruption may be the cell phone. There are 6.8 billion cell phones in the world, almost one for every person on the planet. Technology could simply bypass corruption. Here is our chance to put money directly into the hands of those who need it, without bribery, rake-offs, graft, and shakedowns. Virtual currencies could transform the economic and social landscape. It could mean a massive, and equitable, shift of wealth. Technology could be transformational, without a military take-over, civil war, or political or religious creed.”

“However,” he continued, “economic elites know all this. They will not be idle. This is what I mean by a powerful danger. If the kleptocracy controls technology and the means of distribution, then they simply accumulate more wealth at the expense of their citizens, draining wealth in cryptocurrencies rather than dollars or euros. Virtual assets may be a stranglehold. In other words, technology can be a weapon against the work of the United Nations and others trying to alleviate poverty or violence. Virtual assets become a means of deeper control of wealth and a means of exploitation.”

Virtual Currencies Provide Financial Services To Unbanked Populations

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerThe CFTC commissioner discusses the potential for cryptocurrencies to serve as a means through which the vast populations lacking access to basic financial services can attain greater economic autonomy.

“Traditionally, there has been a need for a trusted intermediary – for example, a bank or other financial institution – to serve as a gatekeeper for transactions and many economic activities. Virtual currencies seek to replace the need for a central authority or intermediary with a decentralized, rules-based and open consensus mechanism,” said Mr. Behnam.

“The so-called ‘unbanked’ could now be on the virtual grid. And, those without computers, some four billion people, could gain an important connection through cell phones. And, the discussion has extended to micro-lending, micro-transactions, greater transparency, and greater financial inclusion,” he added.

What are your thoughts regarding Commissioner Behnam’s speech? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia


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.

The post Virtual Currencies to Become “Part of the Economic Practices” of All Nations – CFTC Commissioner appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Entertainment studios turn to virtual reality to entice movie fans

June 4, 2018 |

Sometime far into the future, Phillip Barrigas is a Colonial Marine on a hostile planet, sent on a doomed rescue mission. Swarms of 7-foot-tall aliens chase him as he flees, firing as he goes, watching his ammunition tick down to zero.

In reality, Barrigas, 24, is a school crossing guard standing…


L.A. Times – Business

IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Report Virtual Currency Earnings

March 24, 2018 |

IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Report Virtual Currency Earnings

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published a document reminding taxpayers that income derived from virtual currency transactions must be reported on income tax returns. The IRS states that taxpayers who fail to report virtual currency earning may be audited or made liable for “penalties and interest.”

Also Read: Bitcoin Adoption Grows in Ugandan Capital City of Kampala 

IRS Reminds U.S Crypto Investors of Tax Obligations

With the U.S tax deadline of April 17 fast approaching, the United States Internal Revenue Service has sought to remind citizens profiting from virtual currency transactions of their looming tax obligations.

The IRS states that “Virtual currency, as generally defined, is a digital representation of value that functions in the same manner as a country’s traditional currency.” The regulator notes that “Because transactions in virtual currencies can be difficult to trace and have an inherently pseudo-anonymous aspect, some taxpayers may be tempted to hide taxable income from the IRS.”

Undisclosed Crypto Income May Incur Penalties

IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Report Virtual Currency EarningsThe IRS states that “income from virtual currency is reportable on […] tax returns,” adding that “Virtual currency transactions are taxable by law just like transactions in any other property”. Should taxpayers fail to accurately report income earned in the form of virtual currency “can be audited for those transactions and, when appropriate, can be liable for penalties and interest”.

The IRS states that in “extreme situations, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution for failing to properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions.” Said criminal charges “could include tax evasion and filing a false tax return”. The IRS added that “Anyone convicted of tax evasion is subject to a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $ 250,000,” and “Anyone convicted of filing a false return is subject to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to $ 250,000.”

Due to its tax status as property, “virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property” in the U.S.

Do you think that the U.S tax regime for cryptocurrencies is fair? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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The post IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Report Virtual Currency Earnings appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Welsh police force is first in UK to use virtual reality to train its officers

February 27, 2018 |

Gwent Police, located in Wales, recently launched a new, immersive virtual reality training system for its officers, becoming the first police force in the United Kingdom to do so.
FOX News

Hawaii’s New Money Transmitters Act Will Require Virtual Currency Licenses

January 31, 2018 |

Hawaii's New Money Transmitters Act Will Require Virtual Currency Licenses

The state of Hawaii is planning to regulate the use of bitcoin and digital currencies that would require licensure to transmit cryptocurrency-based funds. Two bills introduced by a group of partisan Hawaiian lawmakers are focused on digital currencies as a monetary instrument under the state’s Money Transmitters Act.

Also read: Coinbase Exits as Hawaii Requires Bitcoin Companies to Hold Fiat Reserves

New Definitions Applied to the Hawaiian Money Transmission Act

Hawaii's New Money Transmitters Act Will Require Virtual Currency LicensesLast week Hawaiian bureaucrats reviewed a proposed bill, HI SB3082, that aims to tether regulatory policies to digital currency transmitters. The proposed law adds new definitions like “virtual currency exchanges, transfers, and storage.” The bill will apply to anyone credited with virtual currencies, moving them, relinquishing control, and any use tied to a medium of exchange if passed. The laws will recognize bitcoin as a “permissible investment and statutory trust.” Although, if the statutes does pass, anyone who plans to transmit bitcoin and other forms of digital assets must apply for licensure.

Hawaii’s Virtual Currency Transmission Requirements

Last year Coinbase left the state of Hawaii due to the state’s proposed laws which would require licensed virtual currency transmitters to hold USD reserves. The recently submitted SB3082 has changed this requirement for specific qualified trading platforms. Applicants who want to apply for virtual currency transmission will be required to reveal a lot of information like the applicant’s name and principal address, prior criminal convictions, a description of the business activities, sample of the virtual currency instruments or products, and the name and address of the clearing banks involved. Further, for each virtual currency sale, exchanges must provide its customers with some form of a receipt.

“Each licensee who receives money or monetary value for transmission and the licensee’s authorized delegates shall provide a receipt to the customer that clearly states the amount of money or equivalent value presented for transmission and the total of the fees charged by the licensee,” explains the proposed bill.

Hawaii's New Money Transmitters Act Will Require Virtual Currency Licenses

Hawaii’s SB3082: “These Currencies Are Not Backed”

One notable section describes virtual currencies as based upon computational cryptography and derive their value “solely from the market’s perception of their value.” Hawaii’s SB3082 states:

[Virtual Currencies] can experience great swings — These currencies are not backed by any physical commodity, such as gold or silver; not backed by the United States or any other national government; not legal tender for debts; and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any government.

The bill further details that consumers can lose all their cryptocurrencies through many attack vectors. “Computer failure; malicious software attack; an attack, closure, or disappearance of a virtual currency exchange company; lack of security; loss of your private key; or a sudden or dramatic change in value” are just a few examples explains the SB3082 text. The bill further notes:

Some virtual currency users have been unable to access their legitimate virtual currency account because of heavy traffic by other users or a prevalence of criminal activity in virtual currency use — To protect yourself, become educated as to the potential risks before deciding whether you want to transact in virtual currency.

Hawaiian officials will have a public hearing on SB3082 on February 2, 2018, at 9 am. The newly reformed money transmission act passed its first reading on January 26.

What do you think about the new virtual currency definitions that aim to be applied to Hawaii’s money transmission act? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Hawaii’s Senate, and state logo.


Want to purchase Bitcoin Cash (BCH) with a credit card? Check out Bitcoin.com’s “Learn how to buy Bitcoin Cash with a credit card” Guide here.

The post Hawaii’s New Money Transmitters Act Will Require Virtual Currency Licenses appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Virtual Reality Chat Room Stunned as Robot Has Seizure

January 20, 2018 |

It was business as usual in the virtual reality chat room until the robot had a seizure. The Verge reports the unnerving incident happened Wednesday on VRChat, where users in the forms of avatars can interact with each other. According to the Daily Dot , “Morty, Sonic, Knuckles, a dude in…
Newser

Japanese ‘Virtual Currency Girls’ Spreading Cryptocurrency Knowledge

January 7, 2018 |

Japanese 'Virtual Currency Girls' Spreading Cryptocurrency Knowledge

Japanese female idols have teamed up to form the ‘Virtual Currency Girls’ group to promote the knowledge of cryptocurrencies through entertainment. Each of its 8 members represents a cryptocurrency: bitcoin cash, bitcoin, ether, neo, nem, ripple, mona, and cardano.

Also read: Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token Sales

‘Virtual Currency Girls’ Idol Group

The Japanese idol agency called Cinderella Academy has created a female idol group called “Virtual Currency Girls,” consisting of members chosen from an already-established idol group with a zodiac constellation theme created by the same agency.

Japanese 'Virtual Currency Girls' Spreading Cryptocurrency Knowledge
‘Virtual Currency Girls’ idol group.

Each of the group’s 8 members represents a cryptocurrency that is popular in the Japanese market. According to local publications, 18-year-old Naruse Lara who represents bitcoin cash (BCH) is the leader of the group. Representing bitcoin (BTC) is 16-year-old Hinano Shirahama. 22-year-old Suzuka Minami is neo (NEO). 17-year-olds Kanako Matsuzawa and Koharu Kamikawa are cardano (ADA) and nem (XEM) respectively. 15-year-old Hinata Kozuki is ripple (XRP). Ether (ETH) and monacoin (MONA) are represented by Ami Amo and Momo Aisu respectively; the two did not disclose their ages.

Japanese 'Virtual Currency Girls' Spreading Cryptocurrency Knowledge
Members of the ‘Virtual Currency Girls’ group.

Idols Promoting Cryptocurrencies

The Japanese idol phenomenon began in the early 1970s. Today it is a multi-million dollar industry in Japan and South Korea. Talent agencies hold auditions for boys and girls with little or no prior experience in the entertainment industry. The youngsters are trained and marketed as idols or aspiring stars/starlets to be role models and adored for their sweetness and innocence. They sing, dance, perform in plays, and appear in television commercials, among other public-facing work.

Japanese 'Virtual Currency Girls' Spreading Cryptocurrency KnowledgeAccording to the announcement by Cinderella Academy, the group intends “to promote [through] entertainment that virtual currency is not a tool for speculation but a technology that creates a wonderful future.”

They cited concerns over initial coin offering (ICO) fraud and financial damages through speculation, adding that “If you leave as it is, there will be a massive crash somewhere, and the number of people who make a big loss will increase.”

The group accepts cryptocurrencies for tickets to their live performances as well as merchandise sales. Leader Naruse Lara commented:

[Virtual Currency Girls] is a unit that carefully selects future currencies from a number of virtual currencies and spreads correct knowledge through entertainment.

What do you think of this ‘Virtual Currency Girls’ idol group? Do you think they will effectively spread knowledge of cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cinderella Academy, and Virtual Currency Girls group.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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