305 Venezuelan Municipalities to Collect Tax in Cryptocurrency Petro

305 Venezuelan Municipalities to Collect Tax in Cryptocurrency Petro

Venezuela’s national tax harmonization agreement has been signed by the council representing 305 municipalities. They have agreed to use the country’s cryptocurrency, the petro, as the unit of account for tax payments.

Taxing in Petro

The Bolivarian Council of Mayors signed Venezuela’s National Tax Harmonization Agreement on Sunday, placing the cryptocurrency petro as the unit of account for the payment of taxes and fines in 305 municipalities. The country is comprised of 335 municipalities, incorporated into 23 states and the capital district.

Calling the agreement “historic,” Vice President Delcy Rodríguez stressed that the prohibition of collecting taxes and duties in foreign currency has been established because the unit of account for this tax is now the petro, local news outlet Ultimas Noticias conveyed. She added that for the first time in Venezuela’s history, a municipal tax harmonization was achieved.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro supports the signing, instructing Rodríguez to ensure that the harmonization of all taxes is maintained to avoid double taxation. Rodríguez explained that to achieve this, a single registry of municipal taxpayers will be created and administered by the Bolivarian Council of Mayors. It will function as a digital tool for the consultation, information exchange, and monitoring of companies with branches in different municipalities to verify declaration made in one mayor’s office but paid in another. In the future, it can also be used to cross-check information with the national tax system, she described.

Rodríguez further noted that the tax harmonization agreement also simplifies administrative procedures, such as reducing the reference codes for economic activities, industries, and businesses from 600 to 30. Sharing Rodríguez’s sentiment, Mayor Erika Farias commented:

This tax harmonization agreement, which we have reached after a great debate among the 305 Bolivarian mayors, is an unprecedented event in our country.

During the signing, Mayor José Alejandro Teran highlighted that using the petro as the unit of account for calculating taxes is not only innovative, but it also helps protect against hyperinflation, which he attributes to U.S. sanctions.

What do you think about Venezuela collecting taxes in petro? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Russia Developing AI System to Monitor Cryptocurrency Transactions — Prototype Already in Use

Russia Developing AI System to Monitor Cryptocurrency Transactions — Prototype Already in Use

Russia is reportedly developing a system using artificial intelligence to track and analyze transactions involving cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, dash, and monero. The system prototype has already been created and is currently being tested. This news followed the signing of crypto regulation into law by President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Crypto Monitoring System

The Russian government is planning a new system to track bitcoin transactions, local media RBC reported Monday, citing a letter to Parshin Maxim Viktorovich, Deputy Minister of Russia’s Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. The letter, which it has seen, describes a plan for the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmonitoring) to monitor cryptocurrency transactions.

Rosfinmonitoring is tasked with collecting and analyzing financial transactions to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. According to the letter:

Rosfinmonitoring plans to develop a system for analyzing cryptocurrency transactions using artificial intelligence (AI).

The project, called “Transparent Blockchain,” will “partially remove the anonymity of participants in transactions with cryptocurrencies in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Omni, Dash, and Monero systems,” the letter reportedly notes. The authorities, the Bank of Russia, and financial organizations will be able to use the system to monitor and analyze the movement of cryptocurrencies, identify service providers, and conduct investigations related to their illegal circulation.

The letter also details an “urgent need” for Rosfinmonitoring to monitor crypto transactions to give the government control over the circulation of cryptocurrencies. This is to prevent crypto assets from being used in “illegal schemes,” it adds, giving some examples of “drug trafficking, tax evasion, cybercrimes, contract killings, sale of information from closed databases, [and] financing of extremism.”

Furthermore, Nikita Kulikov, member of the State Duma’s expert council and founder of Pravorobotov Autonomous Non-Profit Organization, noted that Rosfinmonitoring plans to create an AI to “monitor the entire internet in search of illegal actions with crypto assets,” such as signs of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The prototype of this system has already been created and tested in the field of drug trafficking control, the letter details. It was developed by the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, one of the leading Russian research institutes specializing in physics. The Ministry of Internal Affairs became acquainted with this prototype and got interested in its use, the letter elaborates.

So far, the system has been developed without federal funding. However, to take it to the next level and provide it as a governmental service, preliminary data suggests that the project will require 760 million rubles ($10.33 million) from the federal budget: 440 million rubles this year, 230 million rubles next year and 90 million rubles in 2023.

A law regulating cryptocurrencies in Russia has recently been signed by Putin. It provides cryptocurrency with a legal framework but prohibits its use for payments.

What do you think about Russia developing a crypto monitoring system? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Billion Dollar Public Company Microstrategy Moves $250 Million Into BTC, Says Bitcoin ‘Superior to Cash’

Billion Dollar Public Company Microstrategy Moves $250 Million Into BTC, Says Bitcoin 'Superior to Cash'

Nasdaq-listed company Microstrategy Inc. is bullish on bitcoin, saying that it is a “dependable store of value” that is “superior to cash.” The billion-dollar company has purchased $250 million in bitcoin, adopting the cryptocurrency as its primary treasury reserve.

Public Company Now Holds Bitcoin as Cash Reserve

Microstrategy Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR), which describes itself as “the largest independent publicly-traded business intelligence company,” rocked the bitcoin community on Tuesday when it announced the adoption of bitcoin as its primary treasury reserve. The company’s market cap is currently about 1.33 billion.

Microstrategy revealed that it has purchased 21,454 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $250 million, inclusive of fees and expenses. “Our investment in bitcoin is part of our new capital allocation strategy, which seeks to maximize long-term value for our shareholders,” CEO Michael J. Saylor said.

“This investment reflects our belief that bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash,” the CEO acclaimed, adding:

Microstrategy has recognized bitcoin as a legitimate investment asset that can be superior to cash and accordingly has made bitcoin the principal holding in its treasury reserve strategy.

Saylor detailed that his company spent months determining its capital allocation strategy, considering macro factors such as “the economic and public health crisis precipitated by covid-19, unprecedented government financial stimulus measures including quantitative easing adopted around the world, and global political and economic uncertainty.” The company believes these factors and others “may well have a significant depreciating effect on the long-term real value of fiat currencies and many other conventional asset types.”

Billion Dollar Public Company Microstrategy Moves $250 Million Into BTC, Says Bitcoin 'Superior to Cash'
Microstrategy stock price chart on Nasdaq as of Aug. 11. Source: Nasdaq

As the company considered various asset classes, the CEO explained that his company “observed distinctive properties of bitcoin that led it to believe investing in the cryptocurrency would provide not only a reasonable hedge against inflation, but also the prospect of earning a higher return than other investments.” Recently, reports suggest that the Federal Reserve will soon commit to ramping up inflation by keeping interest rates low. Saylor conveyed:

We find the global acceptance, brand recognition, ecosystem vitality, network dominance, architectural resilience, technical utility, and community ethos of bitcoin to be persuasive evidence of its superiority as an asset class for those seeking a long-term store of value.

The CEO added: “Bitcoin is digital gold – harder, stronger, faster, and smarter than any money that has preceded it. We expect its value to accrete with advances in technology, expanding adoption, and the network effect that has fueled the rise of so many category killers in the modern era.”

Mega Bullish News

Microstrategy’s bitcoin adoption news is well received by the crypto community, viewing it as a mega bullish trend that eventually every public company will follow.

The author of The Bitcoin Standard, Saifedean Ammous, wrote: “So it begins: Microstrategy is the first large corporation to hold bitcoin as a cash reserve asset.” Gabor Gurbacs, Director of Digital Assets Strategy at Vaneck and MVIS, shared the sentiment. He tweeted: “This is a big deal and good to see bitcoin used as intended: hard money/savings instrument.”

Many other Twitter users chimed in. One believes that “Eventually every public company will do the same.” Another wrote, “Mass adoption is coming indeed.” A third user commented:

This is insanely bullish. What company is next.

Do you think other companies will follow Microstrategy? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Peru, India, Indonesia, Nigeria Among Countries With Highest Crypto Usage Increase

Peru, India, Indonesia, Nigeria Among Countries With Highest Crypto Usage Increase

Peru, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria are among the countries with the biggest increase in crypto wallet creation based on data from Blockchain.com, which has over 52 million wallets created by users worldwide. Nigeria has been the most trending country in recent months, with a 60% increase since April.

Trending Countries in Crypto Space

Blockchain.com revealed last week the most trending countries based on its web wallet creation. Currently, the total number of unique Blockchain wallets created is more than 52 million.

“In July we saw a number of countries increase their fraction of total Blockchain wallet transactions, most notably Peru, India, and Indonesia,” the company described. Other countries that made the top 10 list of increased transactions are Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Japan, the Philippines, Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Bulgaria.

“Japan is once again in the top 10, while Hong Kong and Morocco haven’t been as active in the past two months,” the firm continued. The top countries with a decrease in Blockchain wallet creation are South Korea, Denmark, Morocco, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Kenya, Moldova, Brazil, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

Peru, India, Indonesia, Nigeria Among Countries With Highest Crypto Usage Increase
List of trending countries by Blockchain.com.

The firm’s data science team highlighted Nigeria as the most trending country since April, coinciding with Google search data which pointed to Nigeria as the country with the most relative interest in bitcoin. Blockchain.com provides a Bitcoin block explorer service, a cryptocurrency wallet, and an exchange supporting bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ethereum. The team revealed:

Nigeria has been the most trending country in recent months. It has increased by 60% its usage of Blockchain.com web wallet since April 2020.

Last month, Nigerian media reported that the Ministry of Justice had tabled before the National Assembly the bills that will provide the legal framework for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, citing the country’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami. “The expected bills will prepare Nigeria for emerging realities relating to digital cash, bitcoin and e-currency,” Malami was quoted as saying.

News.Bitcoin.com recently reported that Nigeria led sub-Saharan Africa in peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin trading but the country is still laden with crypto scams.

Meanwhile, India ranked second on Blockchain’s list of increased wallet creation but the country still does not have crypto regulation and there are reports of the government considering a ban on cryptocurrencies.

Local lawyer Mohammed Danish explained that the “Supreme court judgment has helped big time in increasing the curiosity around crypto.” He added: “Even in legal fraternity I see lot of people taking huge interest. But this curiosity is of course limited to a certain age group.” Policy 4.0 CEO Tanvi Ratna commented on Blockchain’s data:

Despite the uncertain regulatory climate, India ranks second in a global survey of rise in crypto usage for July vs June.

What do you think about the crypto adoption growth in these countries? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Paytm Freezes Indian Bank Accounts Suspected of Cryptocurrency Trading: Report

Paytm Freezes Indian Bank Accounts Suspected of Cryptocurrency Trading: Report

India’s largest mobile commerce platform Paytm has reportedly been freezing the bank accounts of users suspected of crypto trading, even though cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, is legal in India. The country still does not have a legal framework for cryptocurrencies but the government says that a crypto bill is “awaiting approval.”

Banks Still Block Accounts Over Crypto Activities

Paytm Payments Bank, which describes itself as India’s “largest digital bank with over 58 million account holders,” has reportedly been blocking customers’ accounts suspected of trading cryptocurrencies. Paytm is India’s largest mobile commerce platform with about 450 million registered users. The brand is owned by One97 Communications Ltd., founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Local Indian news outlet Coin Crunch reported Monday:

Many users are reporting Paytm is freezing bank accounts of Paytm payments bank account holders with suspicion of crypto trading.

The publication explained that Paytm offers INR wallet and INR banking services. “So P2P or spot, users can use this bank account to receive money or to send fiat to deposit in exchanges. And those bank accounts are being frozen.”

Paytm would not be the only bank to have a problem with cryptocurrency trading. Last month, Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private-sector bank, reportedly called customers asking whether they used the accounts for cryptocurrency trading. The bank also warned that it will block accounts used for this purpose. Some customers said they were also asked to sign a declaration form confirming that they “do no deal in any type of virtual currency transactions” through their accounts at the bank.

Paytm Freezes Indian Bank Accounts Suspected of Cryptocurrency Trading: Report

Before the supreme court quashed the central bank’s circular in March, banks were closing accounts suspected of being used for crypto trading. The circular by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prohibited banks from providing service to entities dealing in crypto. After the RBI ban was lifted, several banks reportedly still refused to work with crypto businesses, including exchanges, claiming to be waiting for further instructions from the central bank.

The RBI has said several times that cryptocurrency is not banned in India. It confirmed in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application specifically that there is no ban on crypto exchanges, businesses, or traders in the country. Coin Crunch noted:

Crypto trading is not illegal. Banks are not restricted. However banks can act in their own interest, so users are advised to take caution.

Adding to the confusion is the draft bill that seeks to ban cryptocurrencies which the Indian government has had since early last year. It was drafted by an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) headed by former Finance and Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who has since resigned.

While no decision has been made regarding how cryptocurrencies are to be treated in India, the Indian crypto industry believes that the government will re-examine the bill given that much has changed since it was submitted. Nonetheless, there have been reports of various ministries discussing a ban on crypto, but several exchange executives have told news.Bitcoin.com that a full ban is unlikely. Replying to an RTI application, the government revealed that the crypto bill is “awaiting approval.”

What do you think about Paytm blocking bank accounts? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Federal Reserve’s Expected Inflation Ramp-Up Drives Institutional Investors to Hedge With Bitcoin

Federal Reserve's Expected Inflation Ramp-Up Drives Institutional Investors to Hedge With Bitcoin

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to ramp up inflation by keeping interest rates low. As the U.S. dollar falls sharply and gold’s price soars, institutional investors are moving their money into alternative investments, including bitcoin.

Fed Policies Drive Demand for Bitcoin

The Federal Reserve is completing a year-long policy review and “is expected to make a major commitment to ramping up inflation soon,” CNBC reported last week. Investors have been making heavy bets accordingly as evidenced by record-high gold prices, the falling U.S. dollar, and increased demand for Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

The Fed is expected not to raise interest rates until inflation and unemployment targets are hit. Supporting the Fed’s policies, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Charles L. Evans said he would like to keep rates where they are until inflation gets up around 2.5%, the publication conveyed. However, it could take years for the Fed to hit its targets since inflation is currently closer to 1% and the unemployment rate is higher than it has been since the Great Depression.

“We believe that the Fed publicly would welcome inflation in a range of 2% up to 4% as a long-overdue offset to inflation running below 2% for so long in the past,” explained Ed Yardeni, head of Yardeni Research. He calls this approach “wildly bullish” for alternative asset classes.

Some institutional investors are shifting their strategies to reflect the new environment. Citing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell saying “we’re not thinking about raising interest rates and we’re not even thinking about thinking about raising interest rates,” the CEO of Nasdaq-listed Microstrategy Inc. (ticker symbol MSTR), Michael Saylor, said during the company’s Q2 2020 earnings call:

If you have large dollar values and you’re hoping for any kind of return on them, that’s faded. Gold, silver, and bitcoin are showing strength.

“The dollar, the DXY index is weakening. Faith in fiat currency across the market is fading and we’ve seen that in rallies in most asset classes during Q2,” he noted. “Accordingly, it wouldn’t be prudent to continue to hold a large portion of USD as our treasury strategy, and that’s prompted us to rethink this.”

Microstrategy CFO Phong Le told investors:

We will seek to invest up to another $250 million over the next 12 months in one or more alternative investments or assets which may include stocks, bonds, commodities such as gold, digital assets such as bitcoin, or other asset types.

“Publicly traded companies are starting to diversify their cash holdings into bitcoin,” commented Marty Bent, Editor in Chief of Marty’s Bent, a daily newsletter about Bitcoin. “Boardrooms across the country will begin to ask, ‘Should we be diversifying into bitcoin too?’ Hyperbitcoinization can happen faster than you can imagine. Be prepared.”

Meanwhile, some experts doubt the effectiveness of the Fed’s policies. Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, remarked:

Just manipulating interest rates doesn’t mean you get to some finger-in-the-air inflation rate that you choose.

Regarding the Fed’s plan to crank up inflation amid record-high unemployment while the economic recovery is in jeopardy, he was quoted as saying: “It doesn’t make any economic sense whatsoever. The consumer is very fragile right now. The last thing we should be shooting for is a higher cost of living.”

What do you think about investors hedging Fed policies with bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Wirex Launching in US After Receiving State Money Transmission License

Wirex Launching in US After Receiving State Money Transmission License

Wirex has received its first money transmission license in the U.S., where the company is now gearing up to launch its “next-gen cryptocurrency platform linked to a spending card.”

US Expansion

Wirex announced Friday that it has received its first U.S. money transmission license and is now preparing to launch its services in the country. The license, issued by the state of Georgia’s Department of Banking and Finance on July 30, allows the company to conduct a cryptocurrency exchange business in the state.

The announcement came after Wirex revealed that it would be launching its “next-gen cryptocurrency platform linked to a spending card in the U.S.” The U.K.-based company confirmed, “We’re planning to launch our services in the US in the coming months.”

The company says that it already serves 3 million customers across 130 countries and its card can be used at over 54 million locations Visa is accepted. Wirex is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority with a license to issue cards in Europe.

Wirex currently supports 19 cryptocurrencies and traditional currency wallets: USD, SGD, AUD, JPY, HKD, EUR, GBP, CZK, MXN, CAD, CHF, BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, WXT, DAI, NANO and XLM. It also offers Cryptoback, a crypto rewards program that automatically gives customers up to 1.5% back in bitcoin for every purchase made in-store.

Last month, Wirex became the first cryptocurrency-native platform to secure a Mastercard principal membership. The company explained that this enables Wirex to “issue payment cards directly, offering even more convenience, reduced costs and faster transactions on a platform that is striving to make all currencies equal.”

What do you think about Wirex’s U.S. expansion? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Nasdaq-Listed Company Sued for Backing $2 Billion Loans With 83 Tons of Fake Gold

Nasdaq-Listed Company Sued for Backing $2 Billion Loans With 83 Tons of Fake Gold

The Nasdaq-listed company that allegedly used 83 tons of fake gold bars as collateral to secure loans worth about $2 billion from multiple financial institutions in China is now in default and facing several class-action lawsuits.

$2 Billion Fake Gold Scheme Unravels

The gold industry was recently shaken when it was discovered that a U.S. publicly-traded company was allegedly using 83 tons of fake gold bars to secure loans worth $2 billion in China. Kingold Jewelry Inc. is based in Wuhan, China, but it is listed on Nasdaq in the U.S. under the ticker symbol KGJI.

Following the fake gold news, the Chinese jeweler informed Nasdaq in a filing that it had received default notices of approximately RMB 10 billion ($1.44 billion) from seven Chinese lenders. These loans were backed by the gold bars found to be gilded copper alloy. The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) has also terminated Kingold’s membership and Chinese authorities have launched a fraud investigation into the company.

Furthermore, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Kingold as the company’s stock price plummeted 24.11% on June 29 following the fake gold reports. One class-action lawsuit was filed by The Rosen Law Firm with the U.S. court for the Eastern District of New York for violations of federal securities laws. It names Kingold, its chairman Jia Zhihong, and former CFO Bin Liu as the defendants, claiming that they operated the company fraudulently and deceived investors.

Nasdaq-Listed Company Sued for Backing $2 Billion Loans With 83 Tons of Fake Gold
Kingold Jewelry’s stock price chart on Nasdaq as of Aug. 7 showing a steep decline around the time the media reported the company using fake gold bars to secure about $2 billion in loans.

Law firms Pomerantz and Bronstein, Gewirtz and Grossman also filed a class-action lawsuit against Kingold, its CEO, and former CFO. The complaint alleges that between March 15, 2018, and June 28, the company made materially false or misleading statements about its operations, specifically about using “fake gold as collateral to fraudulently secure loans.” It also failed to disclose material consequences that “the company would face creditor lawsuits and be delisted from the Shanghai Gold Exchange,” law firm Pomerantz described.

In a July filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kingold declared that its Wuhan operations “have been significantly impacted by the disclosed loan defaults, related loan disputes, various legal proceedings and the resulting freezing of bank accounts.” Furthermore, the company’s jewelry production was halted between January and early April due to the covid-19 outbreak and Wuhan’s lockdown.

To help small investors in China recoup investment losses from large companies, the Chinese supreme court last week green-lighted a historic class-action lawsuit system for retail investors. The system will be a “convenient and low-cost claim channel” for small and medium volume investors and form a strong deterrent to financial criminals, the supreme court reportedly said in a statement.

China’s market regulators are investigating Kingold Jewelry over the fake gold allegation, calling for stricter risk management. “A number of banking, insurance and trust institutions were involved in the Wuhan Kingold Jewelry fake gold incident,” the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said. “Other than the problems associated with the company itself, the incident also revealed that the internal controls and risk management of some financial institutions were empty shells.”

What do you think about Kingold using fake gold as collateral? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Germany Begins Closing Down All Unlicensed Bitcoin ATMs

Germany Begins Closing Down All Unlicensed Bitcoin ATMs

Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the country’s top financial regulator responsible for regulating crypto service providers, has begun actively closing down unauthorized bitcoin ATMs, a BaFin spokesperson has confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com.

All Unauthorized Bitcoin ATMs to Shut Down

German financial regulator BaFin has begun actively closing down all unlicensed bitcoin ATMs in the country. This followed Germany’s new regulation that went into effect in January, requiring crypto service providers to obtain authorization from BaFin. A spokesperson for BaFin told news.Bitcoin.com:

Currently, BaFin is taking action to shut down all bitcoin ATMs which are set up and operated without authorisation … The ATMs are literally shut down, so they are no longer operating.

“Operating bitcoin ATMs requires an authorisation to provide financial services (proprietary trading),” the spokesperson explained. However, he noted that BaFin does not specifically collect information about bitcoin ATMs “since operating bitcoin ATMs is not an authorisation requirement specified.”

Nonetheless, the regulator has identified a number of unauthorized bitcoin ATMs operating in Germany. While the spokesperson did not disclose the number “Due to the ongoing process,” at least one company — Shitcoins Club — received an order from BaFin in February to cease operating all of its bitcoin ATMs in the country, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

While appearing to comply with BaFin’s mandate by posting a notice to reflect the order on its website, Shitcoins Club resumed its ATM operation soon after. Several local journalists visited various Shitcoins Club’ bitcoin ATM locations and found the machines were still in operation.

Local news outlet Bitcoin Kurier went to a Shitcoins Club branch where there is a bitcoin ATM and found the place closed with a BaFin notice on the window and an official seal on the door bearing Wednesday’s date.

According to the publication, while the machines operate under the brand Shitcoins Club, the owner is no longer the Berlin-based KKT UG. Instead, Estonia-licensed “Virtual Planet OÜ” now owns the business and the management has also changed. BaFin’s notice states that Shitcoins Club can object to the order in writing within one month, the publication conveyed. Shitcoins Club indicates on its website that about 20 bitcoin ATMs were last active in Germany, supporting BTC, ETH, LTC, and DASH. The company’s bitcoin ATMs are still in operation in Poland, Spain, Romania, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Estonia.

Another local bitcoin ATM operator, Coin Fellows, also ceased operations across Germany at the end of July, the news outlet further reported, adding that the Coin Fellows network consisted of about 40 bitcoin ATMs, located mostly in southern Germany. Other bitcoin ATM operators in Germany have said that BaFin’s requirements are too strict for small businesses, asserting that they are more tailored to banks and large financial institutions.

Meanwhile, the number of bitcoin ATMs has been growing worldwide, approaching 9,000 machines, according to the cryptocurrency ATM tracking website Coinatmradar. In the U.S., the authorities have also been cracking down on unauthorized bitcoin ATMs. A $25 million bitcoin ATM operation was recently taken down and 17 machines in California were seized.

What do you think about BaFin’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.

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New York Regulator Fast-Tracks 10 Cryptocurrencies

New York Regulator Fast-Tracks 10 Cryptocurrencies

The New York State Department of Financial Services has created a Greenlist of pre-approved cryptocurrencies for custody service and listing. Meanwhile, crypto-friendly SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, also known as Crypto Mom, has been confirmed for another term at the commission.

NY Regulator’s Cryptocurrency Greenlist

The New York State Department of financial services (DFS), the Bitlicense regulator, has published a Greenlist comprising 10 cryptocurrencies for custody and eight cryptocurrencies for listing. “Any licensed entity may use coins on the Greenlist for their approved purpose(s),” the regulator explained.

The 10 cryptocurrencies are binance USD (BUSD), bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum classic (ETC), ethereum (ETH), gemini dollar (GUSD), litecoin (LTC), pax gold (PAXG), paxos standard (PAX), and ripple (XRP). The same cryptocurrencies are pre-approved for listing, except for ETC and XRP. “If a licensed entity decides to use a coin on the Greenlist, it must inform DFS prior to beginning its use,” the regulator noted.

New York Regulator Fast-tracks 10 Cryptocurrencies
The DFS’ current Greenlist of approved cryptocurrencies for custody and listing.

The Greenlist follows guidance proposed by the DFS in December last year, which includes proposals for coin adoption or listing options that the regulator wanted to make available to crypto entities.

The DFS will maintain an updated list of all cryptocurrencies permitted for crypto companies’ business activities without its prior approval, “as long as such listed coins had not been subject to any material modification, division, or change after their listing on the DFS webpage (the ‘Greenlist’),” the regulator emphasized.

Crypto companies can create a “coin-listing or adoption policy” tailored to their specific business model and risk profile. If approved by the DFS, the company would be able to “self-certify the listing or adoption of new coins in addition to those on the Greenlist, without any further approval from DFS.” The guidance regarding the adoption or listing of cryptocurrencies can be found here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Hester Peirce, the crypto-friendly commissioner often known as Crypto Mom, for another term at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Peirce has been pushing for the approval of bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In February, she announced her “Token Safe Harbor Proposal,” which she described as “a proposal to fill the gap between regulation and decentralization.”

What do you think about the DFS’ crypto Greenlist? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Goldman Sachs Cryptocurrency: Possible Collaboration With JPMorgan and Facebook

Goldman Sachs Cryptocurrency: Possible Collaboration With JPMorgan and Facebook

Goldman Sachs is considering creating its own cryptocurrency. Having recently appointed a new head of digital assets, the company indicated a possible collaboration with other companies, including JPMorgan and Facebook. JPMorgan has created the JPM coin and Facebook has proposed the Libra cryptocurrency project.

Goldman Sachs’ Cryptocurrency Plan

Global investment bank Goldman Sachs has recently appointed a new head of digital assets, Mathew McDermott, a managing director who ran the investment bank’s internal funding operations. He has now revealed that Goldman is exploring creating its own cryptocurrency, CNBC reported on Thursday, quoting the new digital assets chief as saying:

We are exploring the commercial viability of creating our own fiat digital token.

However, McDermott added that “it’s early days as we continue to work through the potential use cases.” He is expanding his team at Goldman Sachs, reportedly hiring Oli Harris, JPMorgan Chase’s head of digital assets strategy. Harris was involved in JP Morgan’s cryptocurrency, the JPM coin, and was also a vice president in charge of Quorum, the ethereum-based blockchain platform that underpins the JPM coin. The coin, pegged to the U.S. dollar, enables the instantaneous transfer of payments between institutional clients, JPMorgan explained on its website.

The new digital assets head said that it is crucial to build “consensus with other banks, institutional investors and regulators,” the publication noted. He believes that “The technology will only take off when it gains a critical mass of users across the world of finance” and “industry consortiums are the best way forward.”

McDermott further explained that he “spends a lot of time talking to other companies, including JPMorgan and Facebook.” The social media giant has proposed a cryptocurrency project called Libra, which recently updated its plans to better comply with regulatory requirements. According to CNBC, he indicated:

One Goldman project involves collaboration with JPMorgan, potentially regarding how the two banks’ nascent technology efforts could work together.

“In the next five to 10 years, you could see a financial system where all assets and liabilities are native to a blockchain, with all transactions natively happening on chain,” the new digital assets head opined.

He believes that “Since the boom days of bitcoin a few years ago, interest has shifted from retail and rich investors to large institutions,” the publication conveyed. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in interest across some of our institutional clients who are exploring how they can participate in this space … It definitely feels like there is a resurgence of interest in cryptocurrencies,” McDermott was quoted as saying.

Goldman Sachs has not been pro-cryptocurrency in the past. In May, the investment bank told its clients that “cryptocurrencies including bitcoin are not an asset class.”

What do you think about Goldman Sachs’ cryptocurrency plan? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Crypto Adoption Soars in Slovenia: Over 1,000 Locations Accept Cryptocurrencies

Over 1,000 Locations in Slovenia Now Accept Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency adoption is growing rapidly in Slovenia. More than 1,000 locations in the country now accept cryptocurrency payments, including cafes, restaurants, dentists, hair salons, and hotels.

Cryptocurrency Adoption Soars in Slovenia

The number of locations accepting cryptocurrencies through the Gocrypto payment system has surpassed 1,000, Gocrypto announced last week. These locations include cafés, restaurants, taxis, mechanics, dentists, hair salons, hotels, and sports facilities. Among them are major retailers, such as the Tuš supermarkets, Slovenia’s biggest electronic seller Big Bang, Atlantis Water Park, and Burger King Slovenia.

Noting that “you can just use your crypto wallet when getting around your daily life,” Gocrypto remarked:

Slovenia [is] taking the global lead as the country with the highest number of physical locations accepting cryptocurrencies.

According to its website, Gocrypto is currently present in 15 countries and more than 150,000 products can be bought using its system. The countries are Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, the U.K., and Venezuela. In some countries, the system is operated by Gocrypto’s partner Xpay.

At the time of this writing, the Gocrypto website is showing 1,416 merchants using its system, only 95 of which are online stores.

Crypto Adoption Soars in Slovenia: Over 1,000 Locations Accept Cryptocurrencies
Gocrypto’s map showing where merchants accepting cryptocurrencies are located. You can search for stores by country and category.

The Gocrypto system consists of one or more point-of-sale (POS) terminals connected to the Gocrypto payment network. Customers can use bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, the euro token, and Gocrypto’s native token GOC to pay for goods and services. Merchants receive payments in their local currency. Currently, Gocrypto is compatible with the Elly wallet app and the Bitcoin.com Wallet.

The first version of Gocrypto, Elipay, was tested at BTC City Ljubljana, one of Europe’s biggest shopping centers, which has about 21 million visitors a year.

Merchants accepting cryptocurrencies can also be found on websites such as Acceptbitcoin.cash and Green Pages. In addition, map.Bitcoin.com currently shows about 500 merchants accepting bitcoin cash in Slovenia.

What do you think about crypto adoption in Slovenia? Let us know in the comments section below.

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German Authorities Confiscate $30 Million in Bitcoin From Pirate Movie Site

German Authorities Confiscate Bitcoin Worth $30 Million From Pirated Movie Site Operator

German authorities, with the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have confiscated about $30 million in bitcoin from an operator of a pirate movie website. An unspecified amount of bitcoin cash was also seized.

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash Seized

The German state of Saxony’s media service announced Monday the confiscation of “bitcoins with a total value of 25 million euros [$30 million].” The seizure was in connection with a case involving the website movie2k.to, a user-contributed video directory for movies and television programs that allowed users to download pirated content.

The Dresden General Prosecutor’s Office, the Saxony State Criminal Police Office, and the Leipzig tax division have been investigating two main operators of this pirate movie portal and a real estate entrepreneur from Berlin connected with the case. All accused are German nationals. The site operators allegedly distributed over 880,000 pirated films and TV shows via the movie2k.to platform. They also operated an illegal streaming service between Autumn 2008 and May 2013, the announcement details.

One of the operators was the site’s programmer. He and the real estate entrepreneur have been in police custody since November last year on the suspicion of commercial money laundering. The authorities say they have “fully admitted” to the crime and are now assisting law enforcement agencies in investigations against the second operator.

The programmer used the income from advertising and “subscription traps” to “buy large amounts of bitcoins” since mid-2012, the announcement adds. Subscription traps refer to when users signed up for a service but then found it nearly impossible to cancel.

“The programmer received over 22,000 bitcoins from this,” the authorities explained, noting that he mainly used the cryptocurrency to acquire real estate properties between Autumn 2013 and mid-2016. The real estate entrepreneur allegedly invested and managed the programmer’s earnings from the movie2k.to website. The pirate site shut down in 2013 over copyright infringement concerns and was replaced by movie4k.to. At today’s rate of $11,640, the programmer’s BTC would be worth $256 million.

With the help of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office and the U.S. FBI, the authorities uncovered and seized bitcoin and bitcoin cash belong to the programmer. “The seized bitcoins were voluntarily released by the programmer during his interrogation by the public prosecutor for damage reparation,” the announcement concludes without specifying the number of coins seized.

What do you think about the German authorities confiscating bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Square’s Cash App Bitcoin Revenue Surges 600% to $875 Million in Q2, Profit Up 711%

Square Inc. has reported a significant bitcoin revenue increase in the second quarter. Its Cash App generated $875 million in revenue, a 600% increase from the previous year. In addition, Square’s bitcoin gross profit jumped 711%.

Square Cash App’s Bitcoin Revenue

Square released its performance report for Q2 2020 on Tuesday. The company’s net revenue, including bitcoin revenue, was $1.92 billion, an increase of 64% year over year. Its gross profit, including from its bitcoin business, rose 28% year over year to $597 million. Cash App, Square’s popular payment service, achieved gross profit of $281 million, up 167% from last year.

“Customers increasingly used Cash App as a way to send and spend money,” Square wrote. “In June, Cash App had more than 30 million monthly transacting active customers, with more than 7 million spending on Cash Card.” Noting that “Bitcoin revenue and gross profit benefited from an increase in bitcoin actives and growth in customer demand,” Square’s report details:

Cash App generated $875 million of bitcoin revenue and $17 million of bitcoin gross profit during the second quarter of 2020, up 600% and 711% year over year, respectively.

The high bitcoin revenue is partly due to the accounting method Square uses. The report explains: “Bitcoin revenue is the total sale amount of bitcoin to customers. Bitcoin costs are the total amount of bitcoin that we purchase. We purchase bitcoin to facilitate the buying of bitcoin conducted by Cash App customers.” Excluding bitcoin, Cash App’s revenue for Q2 2020 was $325 million, up 140% year over year. In the second quarter last year, the app generated bitcoin revenue of $125 million.

Analyst Kevin Rooke pointed out in a tweet that Square’s second-quarter bitcoin revenue was “almost 3x the volume of Q1 2020, and 25x more than Q1 2018 when bitcoin buying went live on the Cash App.”

Square's Cash App Bitcoin Revenue Surges 600% to $875 Million in Q2, Profit Up 711%

Square further explained that Cash App benefited from disbursements of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. President Donald Trump signed this stimulus package into law in March. Square revealed that a portion of its customers “direct deposited these payments into their Cash App accounts.”

“In the second quarter of 2020, we saw year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter increases in volume per active customer across our Cash App ecosystem, including peer-to-peer payments, Instant Deposit, Cash Card, bitcoin investing, and stock brokerage,” Square wrote, adding:

We believe this uplift was partly driven by government stimulus programs.

Headquartered in San-Francisco, Square Inc. is listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol SQ. The company has offices in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, the U.K., and Ireland. Square CEO Jack Dorsey is also the CEO of Twitter. Recently, the social network platform suffered a major breach that enabled the hacker to tweet from many high-profile accounts about a bitcoin giveaway scam.

What do you think about Square’s bitcoin revenue? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin P2P Trading Soars in India as New Exchange Launches

Bitcoin P2P Trading Volume Soars in India as New Exchange Launches

Bitcoin P2P trading volume in India has been growing rapidly, hitting record highs over the past weeks. Meanwhile, a new P2P trading platform has launched in India as the crypto industry awaits the government’s decision on a cryptocurrency law.

P2P Trading Volume Soars in India

Peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin trading in India has been hitting all-time highs over the past weeks. The growth accelerated after the country’s supreme court quashed the circular by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in March that banned banks from providing services to crypto exchanges.

According to Usefultulips.com, which combines data from two prominent P2P bitcoin marketplaces, Paxful and Localbitcoins, P2P bitcoin trading volume in India has consistently hit all-time highs since early June. For the week ending on Aug. 1, the trading volume was $4.40 million, an increase from $3.78 million. The site calculates the USD equivalent using bitcoin’s price derived from Cryptocompare’s Crypto Coin Aggregated Index.

Bitcoin P2P Trading Soars in India as New Exchange Launches
P2P trading volume in INR (USD equivalent) by Usefultulips.com.

P2P bitcoin marketplace Paxful has been growing its operation in India where it has seen a significant increase in trading volume. For the week ending Aug. 1, a total of 226 BTC were traded on Paxful, which amounted to about 193 million rupees ($2.57 million), according to Coin.dance. The P2P trading volume in INR has been hitting record highs multiple weeks in a row on the platform. Paxful CEO Ray Youssef commented on the growth of P2P trading in India: “The Indian market holds great potential and importance for the future of the crypto-economy. People in India are betting big on bitcoin presenting an opportunity for greater financial returns.”

On competing P2P bitcoin trading marketplace Localbitcoins, 161 BTC were traded in the same week, amounting to about 136 million rupees. While the trading volume on Paxful has been rising, it has been declining on Localbitcoins.

Bitcoin P2P Trading Soars in India as New Exchange Launches

A new P2P exchange has just launched in India. Global cryptocurrency exchange Okex launched a new P2P platform in the country on Wednesday, “allowing Indian users to buy cryptocurrencies with Indian rupees (INR) with zero transaction fees,” the company announced. “The Okex P2P trading platform now offers bitcoin and USDT pairs for INR, with more coins becoming available soon.”

To celebrate the launch, the platform is giving away 30,000 USDT from Aug. 5 to Aug. 14. Other than INR, the Okex P2P trading platform also supports VND and CNY. Recently, the company jointly published a report with Coinpaprika stating that the global market share of crypto transactions in the Indian market is expected to “increase significantly in 2020-2022.”

Other global cryptocurrency exchanges have also been expanding their presence in India. Binance, which acquired local crypto exchange Wazirx last year, launched INR support on its P2P platform in April. Users can directly buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, BNB, USDT, and BUSD with zero transaction fees, the exchange’s website details. Kucoin also has a P2P trading desk with zero fiat trading fees. The company says its P2P Fiat Trade platform supports 11 fiat currencies, including INR, and seven cryptocurrencies.

The crypto sector in India has been growing significantly amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. The Indian government has been deliberating on a cryptocurrency bill submitted by an inter-ministerial committee headed by former Finance and Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg. While there has not been a formal announcement from the government, there have been reports that the government may be going ahead with the proposal to ban cryptocurrency. However, crypto exchange CEOs have told news.Bitcoin.com that they believe a full ban is unlikely since much has transpired since the bill was submitted to the government early last year.

Without commenting on the ban rumor, a Paxful spokesperson told news.Bitcoin.com: “We are open to an opportunity to talk to the regulators and help showcase the various benefits that we’ve learned through the years that cryptocurrencies provide.”

What do you think about P2P bitcoin trading volumes hitting record highs in India? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bitfinex Offers $400 Million in Rewards to Get Back 120,000 Stolen Bitcoins

Bitfinex Offers $400 Million Reward to Whistleblowers and Hacker Who Stole Its 120,000 Bitcoins

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is offering rewards of up to $400 million to the hackers who stole almost 120,000 bitcoins from its platform in 2016 as well as anyone putting it in touch with the hackers.

Up to $400 Million Reward for the Recovery of Stolen Bitcoins

Bitfinex announced on Tuesday that it is offering up to $400 million in rewards for the recovery of almost 120,000 bitcoins that were stolen from its platform in August 2016. Not only is the exchange offering a reward to any persons connecting it with the hackers responsible for that unauthorized transfer, but it is also offering a reward to the hackers themselves for the return of the stolen coins.

“Today’s announcement of a reward is our latest effort to recover these stolen funds,” Bitfinex wrote, elaborating:

Those who put Bitfinex in contact with the hacker will receive 5% of the total property recovered (or equivalent funds or assets at current market values), and the hackers will receive 25% of the total property recovered (or equivalent funds or assets at current market values).

The exchange added, “Any payments made to those connecting Bitfinex with the hackers and the hackers themselves will be classified as costs of recovery of the stolen property.”

The security breach happened on Aug. 2, 2016. “As a result, 2072 unauthorised transactions were broadcast on the Bitcoin network, involving 119,755 bitcoins in aggregate,” the exchange explained. “We have learned valuable lessons from this painful episode, addressing the security issues and vulnerabilities associated with the theft.” U.S. authorities recovered 27.66270285 bitcoins in February last year from the hack which were converted to U.S. dollars and paid to Recovery Right Token (RTT) holders.

The $400 million reward estimate is based on the current price of bitcoin if all stolen coins are fully recovered. “The bitcoins stolen minus recoveries in 2019 are worth $1.344 billion today, with 30 percent of that amount equal to $403,288,427,” Bitfinex detailed.

The exchange further noted:

In order to confirm the identity of the hackers, we will request that 1 satoshi is sent from the wallet address responsible for the hack to a wallet address specified by Bitfinex.

After the breach, Bitfinex repaid all affected users in its native BFX token, with each token representing $1 of the loss. Moreover, the exchange began offering monthly redemption on Sept. 1, 2016. The last BFX token was redeemed at the beginning of April 2017, Bitfinex said, claiming that “More than 52 million BFX tokens were converted to shares of Ifinex Inc. at 1:1 tokens to shares.”

Recently, some BTC from the 2016 Bitfinex hack began to move. In May, news.Bitcoin.com reported that 28.4 bitcoins from the hack were transferred to an unknown address. In June, the hackers further transferred almost 500 BTC, and last month around 2,500 stolen bitcoins were transferred.

Do you think Bitfinex will ever get its stolen bitcoins back? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin ATM Locations Reaching 9,000 Worldwide

Bitcoin ATM Locations Reaching 9,000 Worldwide

The number of bitcoin ATM locations has been rising steadily. Almost 9,000 bitcoin ATMs have been installed worldwide. The U.S. leads as the country with the largest number of bitcoin ATMs, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom.

Nearly 9,000 Bitcoin ATMs

There are currently 8,947 cryptocurrency ATMs and 211,239 non-ATM locations you can buy or sell cryptocurrencies at across 71 countries, according to cryptocurrency ATM tracking website Coinatmradar. In July, the number of crypto ATMs rose from 8,490 to 8,919, the site revealed Monday. While there were 544 new bitcoin ATMs, 115 machines were shut down during the month, leaving a net growth of 429 machines.

The U.S. continues to lead in the number of bitcoin ATMs (BTMs). At the time of this writing, there are 6,879 machines in the U.S., most of which are located in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta. Canada comes second with 816 bitcoin ATM locations, most of which are located in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. According to Coinatmradar, other countries with more than 50 bitcoin ATM locations include the U.K., Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Italy.

Bitcoin ATM Locations Reaching 9,000 Worldwide
Coinatmradar’s map of bitcoin ATM locations worldwide which you can use to locate a crypto ATM near you that supports your chosen cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, dash, and litecoin. Source: Coinatmradar.com

There are currently 43 producers and 554 operators. The company which has manufactured the most bitcoin ATMs is Genesis Coin with 3,101 machines at the end of July, an increase of 157 machines during the month. The second-largest manufacturer is General Bytes with 2,661 machines, 103 of which were added in July. Coinsource also added 56 bitcoin ATM machines last month.

The bitcoin ATM operator with the most machines is Bitcoin Depot, which has 791 machines, 46 of which were added in July. The second-largest operator is Rockitcoin with 436 machines, followed by ATM Coiners, Coincloud, Coinflip, and Coinsource.

Bitcoin ATMs were the focus of a recent crackdown by the U.S. government when a $25 million operation was taken down and 17 machines seized in California. The owner was running the operation without complying with proper AML requirements, the Department of Justice said.

In June, news.Bitcoin.com reported that U.S. regulators had been targeting bitcoin ATMs. According to blockchain analytics firm Ciphertrace, 88% of funds that U.S.-based BTMs sent to exchanges in 2019 were sent offshore and users on average sent more funds to high-risk exchanges than low-risk exchanges.

What do you think about the growing number of bitcoin ATMs? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Government Official Updates Progress of India’s Cryptocurrency Law

Government Official Updates Progress of India’s Cryptocurrency Law

A government official has reportedly confirmed that a “note” regarding the legal framework for cryptocurrency in India has been forwarded to related ministries for inter-ministerial discussions. It would then be presented to the cabinet for approval.

Status of Indian Crypto Bill

India’s cryptocurrency bill is back in the limelight on Tuesday after Moneycontrol reported on a “note” that seeks to “ban trade in cryptocurrency,” citing an unnamed government official. On the condition of anonymity, the official told the publication that the Indian government has been holding consultations with the law ministry, the ministry of information and technology, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on a framework for a law that will “formally end trading in cryptocurrency in India.”

“We have forwarded a note to related ministries for inter-ministerial discussions … We are working on it,” he told the news outlet, elaborating:

After inter-ministerial consultations, it (the note) would be presented to the cabinet for approval. Once Parliament resumes for the session, we are hoping to get it ratified.

“There was a view in the government that banning it through a law would be more binding. It will clearly define the illegality of the trade,” the government official noted.

This is not the first time the media has reported that the Indian government is planning to ban cryptocurrency, and it is also not the first time such a note has been discussed. In June, the Economic Times reported that “India is looking to introduce a law to ban cryptocurrencies” based on a note that “has been moved (by the finance ministry) for inter-ministerial consultation.”

However, crypto exchange executives told news.Bitcoin.com that a blanket ban is unlikely considering much has developed since the crypto bill was submitted to the finance ministry early last year. The bill was drafted by the inter-ministerial committee headed by former Finance and Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who has now retired from government. He recently said that cryptocurrencies can be regulated as commodities.

In addition, a recent DEA’s reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application suggested that the government is not entirely happy with the existing bill. Lawyer Mohammed Danish of Crypto Kanoon explained that “If the govt. decides to pass a law banning crypto, this law can be challenged by crypto business, traders, or enthusiasts based on various rights available to them under the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency industry in India has been growing substantially ever since the supreme court quashed the circular by the central bank that banned banks from providing services to crypto businesses. Local crypto exchanges have been reporting as much as 10x trading volume growth and a significant increase in the number of signups.

Do you think India will ban crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Over 90% of ETH’s Supply Now in Profit

Over 90% of ETH's Supply Now in Profit

More than 90% of ETH’s circulating supply is now in profit. The last time this level was observed was in early 2018 when the price of the cryptocurrency was $925.

Research and analytics firm Glassnode reported Monday that the percentage of ETH’s supply in profit has reached a level not seen since early 2018. The firm tweeted:

Over 90% of the circulating ETH supply is now in a state of profit, i.e. the current price is higher compared to the price at the time the coins last moved.

“Last time this we saw this level was in Feb 2018 when the ETH price was at $925,” the firm continued. The price of ETH has been surging significantly over the past weeks, rising about 47% since July 23. At the time of this writing, the price of ETH stands at $390.63, having breached the $400 mark.

Over 90% of ETH's Supply Now in Profit
Chart showing ETH’s supply percentage in profit. Source: Glassnode

Anthony Sassano, co-founder of Ethhub.io, believes that “At this stage of the cycle I’d say that it’s very bullish,” he tweeted, emphasizing that “Over 90% of the current supply of ETH is now considered ‘in the money’ aka in profit.”

Over 90% of ETH's Supply Now in Profit
Chart showing addresses holding ETH in and out of the money at the price of $390.81. Source: Intotheblock.com

The Spartan Group’s co-founder, Kelvin Koh, commented: “The strong move in ethereum has to do with the upcoming ETH 2.0 launch which is a major catalyst. Every phase of ETH 2.0 over the next 2-3 years brings Ethereum closer to its final state and will be catalysts for ETH.”

Furthermore, news.Bitcoin.com recently reported that the total value locked within the decentralized finance (defi) ecosystem had surpassed $4.22 billion. The value is currently at $4.32 billion. A very large portion of defi applications, tokens, and platforms are hosted on the Ethereum network; defi’s massive growth has contributed to the significant rise in the price of ETH.

What do you think about 90% of ETH’s supply being in profit? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Government-Owned Swiss Bank Launching Crypto Trading and Custody Services

Government-Owned Swiss Bank Launching Crypto Trading and Custody Services

Basler Kantonalbank (BKB), Switzerland’s eighth-largest bank, is getting into crypto through its subsidiary, Bank Cler. Owned by the Swiss Canton of Basel-City, BKB has total assets of approximately $49 billion.

Swiss Canton Bank Launching Crypto Services

Local Swiss government-owned commercial bank BKB will be offering cryptocurrency services through Bank Cler, the bank told Citywire Switzerland Monday. Founded in 1899, Basler Kantonalbank, also called Basel Cantonal Bank, offers retail, corporate and private banking services. It has total assets of approximately $49 billion.

Bank Cler said that its crypto push is in response to demand among its younger clientele, who wish to invest in crypto assets. Bank Cler’s spokesperson, Natalie Waltmann, told the news outlet:

We will launch an offering for the trading and custody of digital assets next year.

The bank has hired Alain Kunz to lead its digital asset business. His Linkedin page shows that he is the CEO of fintech company Polarlab and founder of Tokensuisse.

S&P Global Ratings gave BKB a “stable” outlook in December last year, which reflected on the bank’s owner and grantor, the Swiss Canton of Basel-City. “We expect BKB to remain the eighth-largest bank in Switzerland, with total assets of CHF45 billion [$49 billion] as of June 30, 2019 … consolidating its subsidiary Bank Cler, which had total assets of CHF18 billion at the same date,” S&P Global’s analysts wrote.

BKB and Bank Cler hold separate banking licenses in Switzerland. Waltmann further told the news outlet that BKB is also interested in cryptocurrencies. Other banks in Switzerland that have announced their cryptocurrency services include Seba, which launched a range of crypto services in November last year, Sygnum, Julius Baer, and Falcon. Maerki Baumann announced in June the launch of its trading and custody services, supporting bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and XRP initially.

What do you think about Bank Cler launching crypto services? Let us know in the comments section below.

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China Never Banned Bitcoin as Commodity, Beijing Arbitration Commission Explains

Beijing Arbitration Commission Clarifies Bitcoin’s Activities as Commodities Were Never Banned in China

The Beijing Arbitration Commission has published an article clarifying that bitcoin’s use as a commodity has never been banned in China. It explains that the Chinese authorities’ attitude toward controlling bitcoin revolves around three areas.

China Recognizes Bitcoin as Commodity

The Beijing Arbitration Commission published an article on the legal nature of bitcoin in China on Thursday. The Beijing-based independent, non-profit organization offers services in arbitration, mediation, and other dispute resolution mechanisms.

The article was authored by economist Wang Jin, an arbitrator for the commission. “There are still differences in the understanding of the legal nature of bitcoin under the current regulatory system” in China, as evidenced by a wide range of legal disputes involving bitcoin, he began.

Wang described that China’s current “bitcoin control policies” are mainly based on two announcements. The first was the “Notice on Preventing Bitcoin Risks,” issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and several other ministries on Dec. 3, 2013. The second was the “Announcement on Preventing Financing Risks of Token Issuance,” issued on Sept. 4, 2017, by seven ministries, including the PBOC. He explained that they reflect China’s “current attitude towards bitcoin control,” which revolves around three aspects.

The first is that bitcoin is not legal tender. The second is that “Bitcoin is a virtual commodity.” Wang emphasized that China does not recognize bitcoin as “virtual currency,” but it does “as a virtual commodity.”

The third aspect is that some bitcoin-related activities are prohibited by the state, such as “Token financing trading platforms shall not engage in the exchange business between legal currency, tokens, and virtual currencies.” Another example is that financial and non-bank payment institutions “shall not directly or indirectly provide products or services such as account opening, registration, trading, clearing, and settlement for token issuance financing.” However, insurance businesses “may include tokens and ‘virtual currency’ into the scope of insurance liability,” Wang noted. The economist concluded:

In summary, the state does not prohibit bitcoin’s activities as virtual commodities.

He clarified that the prohibition was for bitcoin’s use as legal tender and some specific activities, such as those mentioned above.

What do you think about China’s attitude toward bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.

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India Proposes Amnesty for Citizens Holding Unreported Gold

India Proposes Amnesty for Citizens Holding Unreported Gold

The Indian Ministry of Finance has reportedly proposed an amnesty program for citizens holding unreported gold. The government plans to ask people to declare all their gold stashes to tax authorities and pay levies. The proposition has been made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Gold Amnesty Program Proposed

India’s Ministry of Finance is considering “an amnesty program for residents with illicit stash of gold,” Bloomberg reported Thursday, noting that the proposal is part of “an effort to crack down on tax evasion” and reduce India’s “dependence on imports.” Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the publication detailed:

Under the proposition made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government plans to ask people with unaccounted holdings of the metal to declare it to tax authorities and pay levies.

The proposal is at an early stage and the authorities are currently seeking feedback from concerned officials, the news outlet added.

The Indian government discussed a similar program last year aimed at uncovering lakhs of crores of black money in the form of undeclared gold. However, the tax office denied any plans for amnesty at the time. In addition, the country’s top court has ruled that Indians cannot claim absolute amnesty since such programs could penalize honest taxpayers.

The media reported in October last year that the government was planning to ask people to pay tax on the entire value of gold that had been acquired without a receipt, and the tax rate would be around 30%. “The idea of the scheme is good but its effective implementation is difficult,” an analyst told IANS publication at the time. “It would be hard to push people to declare if they have lost almost a third of the value.” Moreover, many people have accumulated gold over time, including by inheritance without a receipt or purchase record.

Some people also fear that after declaring, tax officials may harass them further. This happened after the last two income declaration schemes (IDS) when hundreds of thousands of SMS messages were sent by tax officials seeking more information, such as income sources, from cash depositors during the time of demonetization.

In addition, Prime Minister Modi unveiled three programs in 2015 in an effort to tap about 25,000 tons of gold held by Indian households and institutions. However, the programs failed to generate interest, Bloomberg conveyed, adding that people did not want to part with their gold and some feared being penalized by tax authorities.

Gold hit record highs last week as investors seek safe-haven assets due to rising concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, the weak U.S. dollar, and low-interest rates. A global “liquidity pump” will further keep the price of gold and bitcoin rising, says billionaire investor Michael Novogratz. Goldman Sachs also warned that the dollar could lose its status as the world’s reserve currency, increasing its 12-month gold forecast to $2,300 an ounce.

Do you think Indians will declare their undocumented gold? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Putin Signs Law Giving Cryptocurrency Legal Status in Russia

Putin Signs Law Giving Cryptocurrency Legal Status in Russia

Russia’s bill to regulate cryptocurrencies has been signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. The new law gives legal status to cryptocurrency but prohibits its use as a means of payment.

Russian Crypto Bill Signed Into Law

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law Friday the bill that regulates digital financial asset (DFA) transactions, Russian media RIA Novosti reported. It was approved by the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, on July 22 and by the Federation Council on July 24. The law will come into force on Jan. 1, 2021.

The law gives a definition to digital currency, stating that it “is recognized as an aggregate of electronic data capable of being accepted as the payment means, not being the monetary unit of the Russian Federation or a foreign state, and as investments,” Russian news agency TASS described. “The digital currency cannot be used at the same time to pay for any goods and services.”

Meanwhile, the law sets forth that digital financial assets “are digital rights comprising money claims, ability to exercise rights under negotiable securities, rights to participate in equity of a non-public stock company and right to claim transfer of negotiable securities set in a resolution on the DFA issue,” TASS noted. These assets can be sold, purchased, exchanged, and pledged. However, they cannot be used as a means of payment.

Russian banks and exchanges can become exchange operators of digital financial assets provided that they register with the central bank, the Bank of Russia. The publication elaborated:

The central bank is vested with the authority to maintain the register of information systems and the register of operators of digital financial assets exchange and supervise the business of information system operators.

Individuals and legal entities in Russia will only be able to challenge cryptocurrency transactions in court if they have declared these transactions and their possession of cryptocurrency, RIA Novosti detailed.

A number of cryptocurrency-related terms were excluded in the final bill after the second reading, such as “token” and “mining.” Anatoly Aksakov, head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, told the news outlet that more detailed cryptocurrency regulation will be in another bill, which may be adopted in the autumn session. The bill that Putin signed into law is posted on the Russian government’s official internet-portal of legal information and can be found here.

What do you think about Russia’s crypto law? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Major Chinese Banks Bar Customers From Buying Gold, Precious Metals

Major Chinese Banks Bar Customers From Buying Gold, Precious Metals

Major Chinese banks have taken measures to prevent customers from buying gold, platinum, palladium, and other precious metal-related products through them. The Shanghai Gold Exchange also says it may take necessary measures to curb gold trading to “protect investors.”

Chinese Banks and Regulators to ‘Cool Gold Rush’

Chinese regulators and major banks are taking measures to curb the trading of gold and other precious metals by investors in order “to cool [the] gold rush,” Reuters reported Wednesday. Gold prices hit record highs this week as investors look for safe-haven assets amid worries of rising coronavirus cases, the sinking U.S. dollar, low-interest rates, and increasing tension between the U.S. and China.

Starting Friday, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s biggest lender, has barred customers from opening new trading positions for platinum, palladium and index products linked to precious metals. For ICBC, precious metals include gold, silver, palladium, platinum. Transactions can be made in various currencies, including the RMB and U.S. dollars. A reporter called the bank to inquire about the reason for this prohibition. The bank’s customer service said it was for the safety and protection of customers due to heavy price fluctuations of these assets recently and “the need to control risks.”

Two other Big Four Chinese banks have made a similar move. Agricultural Bank of China said it recently suspended new gold-related businesses. Meanwhile, Bank of China (BOC) said it has halted new account openings for platinum and palladium trading.

Major Chinese Banks Bar Customers From Buying Gold, Precious Metals

The Shanghai Gold Exchange is also seeing high levels of gold and silver holdings. The exchange said this week that it would take risk-control measures to protect investors if warranted. Moreover, the Shanghai Futures Exchange, where gold and silver futures contracts are traded, has urged “its members to strengthen risk-management efforts and invest rationally,” the news outlet conveyed.

Chinese investors also actively trade gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The assets under management of Huaan Gold ETF, Asia’s biggest gold ETF, has increased more than 68% to over 11.8 billion yuan ($1.69 billion) since the end of last year.

Frank Hao, a Shanghai-based analyst with Hywin Wealth Management, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Gold remains a niche investment in China due to limited investment channels … Investors mainly rely on purchasing paper gold products at commercial banks as a way to counteract risks.”

Chinese regulators are wary of the risks associated with speculating in commodity prices after some 6,000 clients of the state-owned Bank of China tried to buy on a dip in crude prices in April, using a crude oil futures product known as Yuan You Bao. However, the values kept plunging well past zero, catching investors off-guard.

Bank of China settled Yuan You Bao at minus $37.63 per barrel and later agreed to settle with more than half of its customers facing losses, taking about a 7 billion yuan hit. Most banks soon halted sales of the products after the catastrophic losses at Bank of China. Sources told Caixin publication that more than 100,000 Chinese retail investors flooded into the market though paper crude products and never expected prices to fall below zero.

With the price of gold reaching all-time highs this week, people are speculating that $2,000 is not far away. Goldman Sachs recently revised its 12-month gold forecast to $2,300 an ounce. Some others are predicting even higher prices for gold. Despite regulatory efforts to clamp down gold trading, Hao believes:

If the gold price rises past $2,000, some more hot money will certainly flow into the market, and some investors will divert their stock investments to gold.

Recently, the gold market was shaken when it was discovered that about 83 tons of fake gold bars had been used as collateral for loans worth 20 billion yuan from 14 financial institutions in China.

What do you think about Chinese banks stopping customers from buying gold? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Chinese Police Take Down $6 Billion Plustoken Ponzi, Arrest 109 People

Chinese Police Take Down $6 Billion Plustoken International Ponzi, 109 People Arrested

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested 109 people in connection with the Plustoken Ponzi scheme. Twenty-seven of them are allegedly the scheme’s masterminds and 82 are key members. The Plustoken scammers have swindled funds worth about $5.7 billion from more than 2 million investors.

Plustoken Scammers Arrested

Under the command of China’s Ministry of Public Security, the country’s principal police and security authority, Chinese police have taken down Plustoken, a major multinational pyramid scheme using cryptocurrencies, local news outlet CLS reported on Thursday.

The Plustoken scheme has lured in more than 2 million investors who joined on over 3,000 levels. It has swindled funds worth more than 40 billion yuan (approximately $5.7 billion) from the victims.

The police have arrested all 27 alleged masterminds and 82 key members of the scheme. “The arrest completely destroyed this huge multinational MLM organization network entrenched at home and abroad,” the publication noted.

“Based in China, Plustoken presented itself as a cryptocurrency wallet that would reward users with high rates of return if they purchased the wallet’s associated PLUS cryptocurrency tokens with bitcoin or ethereum,” Chainalysis described. The scammers claimed those returns would be generated by exchange profit, mining income, and referral benefits. In addition, the token would be listed on several exchanges.

In June, six people connected to the scam were arrested. However, “the stolen funds have continued to move through wallets and be cashed out through independent OTC brokers operating mostly on the Huobi platform, showing that one or more of the scammers are still at large,” according to the blockchain analytics firm.

Over time, the Plustoken scammers have moved a large number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH, prompting concerns that they may cash out enough of their ill-gotten gains to move the market prices of bitcoin and ether. For example, they moved 789,534 ETH in June, 13,000 BTC to bitcoin mixers in March and almost 12,000 BTC in February.

What do you think about the police taking down the Plustoken scam? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Indian Government Confirms Crypto Bill Is ‘Awaiting Approval’

Indian Government Confirms Crypto Bill Is 'Awaiting Approval'

The Indian government has confirmed in a Right to Information (RTI) reply that the inter-ministerial committee’s cryptocurrency bill is “awaiting approval of the government.” The bill is currently being examined by various ministries.

Indian Government’s Confirmation

The government of India has been sitting on a cryptocurrency draft bill since it was submitted to the finance ministry early last year. Entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019,” the document was drafted by an inter-ministerial committee headed by former Finance and Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg.

While no formal announcement regarding the progress of the bill has been made, some media reports suggest that consultation has begun on this bill. To establish the veracity of this news, lawyer Mohammed Danish, co-founder of Crypto Kanoon, filed an RTI application with the Department of Economic Affairs.

In its short reply dated July 13, the Department of economic affairs wrote: “The government has set up inter-ministerial committee (IMC) for examining the issues of cryptocurrencies under the chairmanship of Secretary (EA).” The letter continues:

The report of the IMC on VCs [virtual currencies] has since been submitted by its members, but is awaiting approval of the government. The report and bill now be examined by the government through inter-ministerial consultation by moving a cabinet note in due course.

Danish explained to Coinpedia publication on Wednesday that “The present bill contemplates a blanket ban on everything related to cryptocurrencies.” He added that the IMC proposal “prescribes punishments for every activity from mining, holding, advertising, promoting, buying, selling to providing exchange services … If this bill is converted into law in the present form, then no sector can survive.”

However, he highlighted that the DEA used the word “government” in its RTI reply to refer to the Ministry of Finance, and not “Parliament” or “Cabinet Secretariat.” This “means that this crypto bill does not conform to the satisfaction of the finance ministry,” the Crypto Kanoon co-founder opined.

In addition, he emphasized that it is “unclear and quite pre-mature” to predict what the Ministry of Finance will do, including whether substantial changes will be made to the bill to reject the idea of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Nonetheless, “it seems that the Ministry of Finance does not want to proceed with this crypto bill for parliamentary clearance in the present form,” Danish believes, elaborating:

If the govt. decides to pass a law banning crypto, this law can be challenged by crypto business, traders, or enthusiasts based on various rights available to them under the Constitution.

Specifically, Danish pointed out that “They can challenge this law before the supreme court under Article 32 and before high courts under Article 226 of the Constitution.”

Do you think the Indian government will ban crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Crypto Exchange Operator Diginex to List on Nasdaq in September

Crypto Exchange Operator Diginex Set to Debut on Nasdaq in September

Crypto startup Diginex has launched a cryptocurrency exchange ahead of its Nasdaq listing which has already been approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The new exchange is based in Singapore where Diginex has applied for a license.

Diginex Set to List on Nasdaq

A cryptocurrency exchange operator, Diginex, is set to list on the Nasdaq exchange in September, Diginex CEO Richard Byworth confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday. The listing is expected to be made through a $300 million reverse merger with the acquisition of 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp., a Nasdaq-listed company. Citing Byworth, the publication conveyed:

The deal has already received SEC approval … the effective listing date should be in mid- to late September.

Diginex said on Thursday that it has launched a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore where it has applied for a license, even though much of its business is in Hong Kong. The new platform, Equos.io, offers cryptocurrency spot trading and complex derivatives products.

Singapore has recently tightened its oversight of the crypto industry. The country’s new payments rules require cryptocurrency companies to be licensed. Reuters detailed that over 150 cryptocurrency companies that were previously operating in Singapore, including Diginex, have had to apply for licenses by July 28. The strict regulation aims to comply with the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This week, Japanese crypto exchange Liquid delisted 29 cryptocurrencies in order to comply with Singapore’s new crypto requirements, as news.Bitcoin.com recently reported.

Hong Kong has an opt-in licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges but does not allow the trading of derivatives products. Its top markets regulator said cryptocurrency futures contracts may be illegal, Byworth explained, adding that “Singapore was a bit more flexible in the way that they were thinking about things.”

What do you think about Diginex’s Nasdaq listing? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Major Investment Bank Oppenheimer Bullish on Bitcoin, Highlights Instead of Gold

Major Investment Bank Oppenheimer Bullish on Bitcoin, Highlights Instead of Gold

U.S. investment bank Oppenheimer’s analyst says gold is “extended” and has “run up a bit,” bringing attention to bitcoin instead. He sees the cryptocurrency reversing its downtrend from the $20K peak, benefiting from the dollar’s weakness.

Oppenheimer Analyst on Bitcoin vs Gold

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, a major American investment bank and financial services company, “highlighted” bitcoin this week on CNBC’s program Trading Nation entitled “Gold vs. Bitcoin.”

He explained: “We’ve been recommending gold as a way to play the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet … It’s actually the high momentum commodity, it ranks highest above all commodities out there in terms of momentum.” While pointing out that gold is “extended” and has “run up a bit,” the analyst affirmed, “We do recommend sticking with it.” Nonetheless, he added:

I think it’s worthwhile to highlight bitcoin instead which isn’t as extended … Bitcoin is reversing its downtrend dating back to its 2017 peak. If you are a long-term holder, this is the type of action you’d like to see.

Bitcoin is currently trading at about $10,970, having risen 17% this week and 54% this year. Its price is still well below its December 2017 peak of nearly $20,000. Wald noted that the cryptocurrency’s recent breakout is setting up for more gains ahead and bitcoin’s long-term trendline suggests it has plenty of room to run. Meanwhile, the price of gold has hit record highs this week, rallying 8% this month and 28% this year.

Both gold and bitcoin are benefiting from the weakness of the U.S. dollar, Wald continued. Michael Binger, president of Gradient Investments, concurred with Wald about the dollar but he favors gold over bitcoin.

Binger opined: “Between the two I would really lean on the gold side here. When you think about it, it is really a Goldilocks environment for gold investors right now. I mean, you have a weak U.S. dollar, you have negative real interest rates. All of this is based on the prospect of rising inflation.” While agreeing with the Oppenheimer analyst that bitcoin is a momentum play, Binger still believes that it is not a “valid currency yet.”

What do you think about the Oppenheimer analyst’s view? Let us know in the comments section below.

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‘Huge Demand in India’ Spurs Zebpay to Launch OTC Bitcoin Trading Desk

'Huge Demand in India' Spurs Zebpay to Launch OTC Bitcoin Trading Desk

Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay is launching an OTC bitcoin trading desk. The exchange has shared the details with news.Bitcoin.com, stating that “There is huge demand” among bitcoin traders and arbitrageurs in India for OTC desk services.

Zebpay Sees Huge Demand for OTC Crypto Trading in India

Zebpay’s OTC desk offers “deeper liquidity and private, more personalized service to institutions and individuals with large orders that might be hard to fill on an open exchange,” the exchange’s OTC page details. Customers can trade BTC against INR with a minimum order size of 5 BTC. Registration for the new service began on Saturday but the official launch date is set for Aug. 3.

Nirmal Ranga, Vice President of Trade at Zebpay, has shared some details with news.Bitcoin.com about his platform’s upcoming service. “OTC constituted 90% of our total business until 2018, when the Reserve Bank of India notice came into the picture,” he described, adding:

There is huge demand among traders and arbitrageurs in India for OTC desk services, and the recent supreme court decision reversing the ban has caught the attention of large investors and institutions eager to explore this new asset class.

In March, the Indian supreme court quashed the circular issued by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which banned banks from providing services to crypto businesses, including exchanges. Zebpay exited India shortly after the ban but returned earlier this year with new management.

The new OTC service is aimed at “traders, arbitrageurs, HNIs, long-term investors, asset managers, and institutions that want to buy/sell bitcoin in bulk,” Ranga further shared. “It will give them the opportunity to trade large quantities without being affected by the skewing of prices these quantities might entail on open order books on any platform.”

“Our OTC liquidity will come largely through active participants on the platform,” Ranga clarified. “We have existing long-term relationships with a few liquidity providers, through which we provide maximum liquidity with minimal or negative slippage.” The executive elaborated:

We plan on launching with the BTC/INR pair and making that our singular focus in the near future. However we will assess the market demand for other asset classes and accordingly consider launching USDT/INR and ETH/INR.

What do you think about Zebpay launching an OTC desk? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Novogratz: Global ‘Liquidity Pump’ Will Keep Bitcoin Rising, Price to Hit $20K This Year

Novogratz: Global 'Liquidity Pump' Will Keep Bitcoin Rising, Price to Hit $20K This Year

Billionaire investor Michael Novogratz said global “liquidity pump” from stimulus packages will keep driving bitcoin’s price higher. He expects the price of bitcoin to reach $20,000 this year, fueled by retail investors shifting to the cryptocurrency.

Mike Novogratz’s Bitcoin Prediction

Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz said on Tuesday that bitcoin and gold have more room to grow and will continue to rise due to global “liquidity pump,” afforded by governments’ stimulus packages, coupled with an influx of retail investors.

“The liquidity story isn’t going to go away. We’re going to get a big stimulus,” the billionaire investor told CNBC, adding that “it doesn’t look like the Federal Reserve is going to raise rates.” After the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid stimulus package which President Donald Trump signed into law in March, Republicans and Democrats have both proposed further stimulus packages. The Democrats proposed the $3 trillion HEROES Act while the Republicans introduced the $1 trillion HEALS Act on Monday.

Furthermore, “Bitcoin still has a lot of retail interest in it,” Novogratz described, adding that he sees stock investors shifting back to gold and bitcoin.

Novogratz expects bitcoin’s price to be at $14,000 in the next three months, emphasizing that it could easily reach $20,000 by the end of the year. His year-end price prediction agrees with several others, including a comprehensive analysis by Crypto Research Report.

Bitcoin is currently trading at about $11,258, up approximately 17% since last week and 54% since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the price of gold hit an all-time high on Monday, climbing more than 7% since the beginning of the month.

Novogratz said most of his investments have been in bitcoin, gold, and silver. Noting that an estimated 20% of his net worth is in bitcoin, he added: “I want it to go a lot higher.” As for gold, he said it is more of a 5% position for him.

The billionaire investor further emphasized that he is starting to see institutional investors move into bitcoin. However, unlike gold investing, they face a learning curve when trying to invest in cryptocurrency. “Bitcoin is still hard to buy. If it was easier to buy, it would be a lot higher,” he previously said. “Gold has been around for 3,000 years, it’s pretty easy to buy,” Novogratz opined. “There’s an adoption game in bitcoin that you don’t have in gold. But I like them both.”

Others have also reported seeing increased institutional demand for cryptocurrency, particularly bitcoin. Grayscale Investments said that in the second quarter, 84% of its almost $1 billion inflow into crypto investment products were from institutional investors. Moreover, famed hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones recently confirmed that he has almost 2% of his assets in bitcoin.

What do you think about Novogratz’s prediction? Let us know in the comments section below.

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