Spend 10 Cryptocurrencies With These Debit Cards

These Cards Will Let You Spend At Least 10 Different Cryptocurrencies

Debit cards linked to crypto wallets have been a useful payment tool for users who want to be able to spend their cryptocurrencies almost anywhere. Offerings in the segment have been changing over time due to various reasons including regulatory challenges in different markets. Fortunately, though, new products and services are also being introduced. Here’s a list of crypto cards that currently support at least 10 cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe

Debit Cards That Can Be Loaded With Multiple Coins

U.K.-based Uquid is the platform that supports the widest variety of cryptocurrencies. Customers can order a BCH card and a BTC card as well as cards that can be toped up with almost 90 altcoins. The Uquid Visa can be had as both a virtual and a plastic card and ordering one is free of charge. It comes with a 0% fee on POS purchases but there’s a €1 monthly fee. The card supports three major fiat currencies: EUR, GBP and USD. The Uquid prepaid card is only available to existing Uquid users and not in all jurisdictions. You’ll have to register and log in to your account to determine whether your country is eligible.

2gether is another option whose Visa card is coupled with a wallet that can hold 30 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), and ethereum (ETH). The platform recently added the stablecoin DAI. Its app is available to residents of the Eurozone countries using iOS or Android devices. Its fiat currency of choice is euro (EUR). Users’ funds are managed by Pecunia Cards, an electronic money institution regulated under EU law and supervised by the Bank of Spain. The issuance fee is €10 but the good news is that there is no monthly fee, ATM withdrawal or transaction fees. There’s also no minimum deposit amount in crypto.

Spend 10 Cryptocurrencies With These Debit Cards

Leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase offers a debit Visa in 19 European countries. The Coinbase card is available to customers in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the U.K. The United States is not among supported countries but the platform intends to add other markets in the future. You can use the card to spend funds from your cryptocurrency wallets on the exchange. It can be topped up with 15 coins including BCH, BTC, ETH, and ETC. It’s issued for a fee of £4.95 or €4.95. There’s no fee on domestic purchase transactions but 0.2% is charged on POS transactions within the European Economic Area (EEA) and the international purchase transaction fee is 3%. There’s 1% fee for domestic and 2% fee for international ATM withdrawals of amounts over £200/€200.

Bitwala assures you that living off bitcoin is now made easy. The Berlin-based payment services provider gives you an opportunity to trade your coins into euros and have the funds on your Bitwala account ready to be spent with a prepaid Mastercard. The platform supports 11 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin cash and is linked to a German bank account provided by Solarisbank. It comes with plenty of other fiat options, including GBP and USD, but it’s not available to U.S. residents. There’s an issuance fee of €8 and a €1 monthly fee. You’ll have to pay a fixed €2.75 on each ATM withdrawal. A 3% commission is charged on purchases made with the Bitwala card.

Wirex has been a popular choice for Europeans in the last couple of years. The U.K.-based company recently launched its new ‘multicurrency travelcard’ in Singapore, entering the huge Asia-Pacific payments market. It already has over 3 million existing users in the countries it operates in. BTC, LTC, ETH, and XRP are among 10 coins you can use to load it, depending on the region. You also have multiple fiat currency options including EUR, GBP and USD. Although the U.S. dollar is among them, United States residents may not order the card. The Visa is issued and delivered free of charge but there’s a monthly maintenance fee of £1 GBP, €1.20 or $1.50. There’s a 1% fee on crypto top-ups in the EEA and the APAC region. European users pay between €2.25 (EEA) and €2.75 (international) for ATM withdrawals but they also enjoy up to 1.5% cashback in BTC on in-store purchases.

Spend 10 Cryptocurrencies With These Debit Cards

All of these cards are currently available in Europe, where there’s been growing criticism from the crypto community that card providers are imposing harsher identification requirements. In certain cases they go beyond the standards introduced by the latest EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) that all EU member states are obliged to transpose in national law. Besides, they sometimes fail to take into account the realities of the modern digital age. For example, how do you provide a proof of address document if you don’t receive a paper bank statement or an electricity bill in the mail? All this is happening in an atmosphere of continuing regulatory uncertainty and mounting calls to adopt pan-European regulations for the crypto space.

But things are even murkier in the U.S. where various regulators have different opinions on how to treat cryptocurrencies. The Treasury Department, for instance, refers to bitcoin as a convertible decentralized virtual currency; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has classified it as a commodity; and the Internal Revenue Service taxes cryptocurrency as property. That’s despite a Supreme Court ruling noting the need for a “broader understanding” of what money is nowadays in the context of crypto. Probably that’s the main reason why card offerings have been shrinking and crypto users in America have been left with very few options. These are also quite limited in comparison with those available in Europe. The Bitpay card, which is one of the few remaining products, supports only two cryptocurrencies.

Do you expect to see more crypto debit cards supporting a wider variety of cryptocurrencies in the near future? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbase, Wirex.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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From FUD to FOMO – China State Newspaper Says Bitcoin Is ‘Successful’

From FUD to FOMO – China State Newspaper Says Bitcoin Is ‘Successful’

A major Chinese daily has published an article about Bitcoin. The publication describes the first cryptocurrency as a successful application of the blockchain technology. It provides its readers with the basics they need to know about Bitcoin and highlights some of its main characteristics.

Also read: Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe

Xinhua Daily: Bitcoin Is One of the Hottest Topics

If there’s one thing that distinguishes democracies from other government regimes, at least at first glance, it’s the speed with which the executive power can bring its new decisions to the attention of the public and ultimately to implementation. In single-party systems such as the People’s Republic, when authority says ‘hop’ – you jump.

It’s been only a couple of weeks since the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, told a Politburo meeting that China has to gain an edge in blockchain development and Bitcoin has already made its way to the pages of a leading state-controlled newspaper. The Xinhua Daily just published an article titled “Bitcoin: The First Successful Application of Blockchain Technology.”

From FUD to FOMO – China State Newspaper Says Bitcoin Is ‘Successful’

The piece starts with an acknowledgment which in this case seems a bit late. “Bitcoin is undoubtedly one of the hottest topics in recent years,” notes the author, Professor Qiang Geng from the School of Business at Nanjing University. Then he goes on to ask a question you’d often hear from Western mainstream media: “Is it the inevitable trend of future currency development, or is it another ‘tulip bulb’ that is frantically hyped?”

Bitcoin is not a tangible currency, professor Geng remarks. It is an open source, peer-to-peer digital currency, produced and operated on the internet. Like gold and silver, it’s different from fiat paper money supported by national laws and sovereign credit. But unlike the precious metals, with their natural attributes, Bitcoin is born in the modern technology era and is the first successful application of blockchain, the scholar writes.

‘Bitcoin Has the Following Characteristics’

What follows is a general but relatively detailed explanation of the basics of Bitcoin and how it actually works. It’s the kind of information you’d like to get the first time you turn to the internet to learn more about cryptocurrency. For example, how bitcoin is stored and sent, how transactions are initiated, processed and verified by the network, how fees are formed and so on.

Attention has been paid to the decentralized nature of the crypto and its limited supply. Some of Bitcoin’s characteristics such as “good anonymity” of transacting parties, the energy intensive process of mining and the significant fluctuations of market prices have been highlighted in a negative context and in comparison with “legal currency.” But that’s nothing too unusual for a government perspective.

From FUD to FOMO – China State Newspaper Says Bitcoin Is ‘Successful’

In any case, if you are a Chinese citizen who still gets their updates mainly from official media and have no access to Google, Youtube and Wikipedia, the description of Bitcoin provided by the Xinhua Daily is one that you could appreciate. It’s certainly better than nothing. However, the most important aspect is that it has been published in the first place, printed on the economic review page of a major Chinese newspaper.

Authorities in Beijing have never been that friendly towards decentralized cryptocurrencies. But it’s a fact that China’s recent preoccupation with blockchain woke up crypto markets and catalyzed the bullish sentiment. The article portraying Bitcoin as a success is in a way another step forward, after Chinese government planners recently removed crypto mining, in which their country is an undisputed leader, from a list of unwanted industries. With blockchain already an element of the party line in China, Bitcoin has just become a line in the party-approved news.

Do you think the publication of an article about Bitcoin in a state-run Chinese newspaper is a positive development for cryptocurrencies? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe

Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe

Traditional financial institutions are still leery about decentralized cryptocurrencies. They are only starting to explore the potential of digital assets. But a new breed of banks specializing in crypto have been working hard to take advantage of this trend and are gaining regulatory recognition around the world.

Also read: How to Start With Bitcoin at No Cost

Swiss Crypto Banks Are Going Global

Switzerland has established itself as a leading crypto-friendly nation and several hundred companies from the industry are currently operating out of the crypto valley centered in the canton of Zug. The country’s financial regulators have been gradually opening towards the nascent sector. Traditional banks have been reluctant to serve entities dealing with cryptocurrencies but competition from new businesses focusing specifically on the crypto market is likely to change that.

Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe
Zug, Switzerland

In August, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) licensed two companies to provide banking services to Swiss-based crypto businesses and also trade securities. Zug-registered Seba Crypto and Zurich-based Sygnum became Switzerland’s first regulated crypto banks. Another entity working with digital assets, Bitcoin Suisse, applied for a banking and securities dealer license this summer. A new venture called Tallyon expects the green light from Finma to become a ‘next generation’ private bank employing blockchain tech and working with cryptocurrencies.

These companies are not restricting themselves to Switzerland only. In late October, Sygnum was granted a capital markets services license in Singapore. According to a report by Swissinfo, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has authorized the crypto bank to provide asset management services in the Southeast Asian city-state. Seba Crypto, which is currently focusing primarily on its upcoming launch in Switzerland, is in talks with the MAS but is yet to apply for a license. It plans to enter a number of other markets including Hong Kong, the U.K., Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Tallyon plans for an Asian expansion too, after its launch in the Alpine country.

In a press release published on its website, Sygnum revealed their first product will be a multi-manager fund which “allocates investments across a portfolio of managers that tap into the global digital asset opportunity using different and uncorrelated investment strategies.” It will be available to institutional and private qualified investors in Switzerland in the future as well, through the company’s banking platform there. In partnership with the largest German stock exchange and Swisscom, Sygnum is also working to launch a new digital asset trading venue.

China’s Tencent Licensed to Operate ‘Virtual Bank’ in Hong Kong

The expansion of the crypto industry in any jurisdiction inevitably creates demand for related banking services. China’s recent focus on blockchain development is likely to have the same effect. Some Chinese companies are already moving to take advantage of the changing environment that creates new business opportunities.

Tencent, the tech and internet giant behind the popular messenger Wechat, has recently received a license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) that will allow it to establish a ‘virtual bank.’ Speaking at the World Blockchain Conference in Wuzhen on Nov. 8, Cai Weige, general manager for blockchain at Tencent, revealed the holding is already gathering a team for the financial platform.

Crypto Banks Gain Regulatory Recognition Across the Globe
Shenzhen, China

According to Chinese media, the forum was devoted to blockchain, digital assets, central bank digital currency, artificial intelligence, and 5G. During his keynote speech at the conference, the high-ranking Tencent representative noted that blockchain and cryptocurrencies receive more attention now that the Hong Kong government has begun to regulate crypto transactions.

The SFC recently established a new regulatory framework that allows crypto exchanges to opt-in to be licensed and regulated, as news.Bitcoin.com reported last week. Trading platforms can now apply for a license if they meet certain requirements, including the implementation of measures to guarantee the safe custody of crypto assets.

While companies like Tencent and the Swiss fintech startups are competing to offer the best banking services to the crypto industry, traditional financial institutions have largely shied away from digital assets. That’s likely to change over time though, with the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. For example, the Basel Committee, which includes banking regulators from the U.S., Europe and Japan, has just agreed to study the capital requirements for crypto assets held by traditional banks. But the steps in that direction are still few and by the time banks get there, the crypto banking sector will probably be occupied by plenty of ‘next generation’ banks.

Do you think dedicated crypto banks can provide better services to the crypto industry than traditional financial institutions? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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How to Start With Bitcoin at No Cost

How to Start With Bitcoin at No Cost

Getting into the Bitcoin world is by default easy and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. All you need to do to get started is to install a cryptocurrency wallet and load it with some digital cash. The growing crypto community, always enthusiastic about accepting new members, has done a lot to make sure you can take these first steps at no expense.

Also read: Crypto-Based Commerce Spikes 65% in 7 Months

Get a Free Crypto Wallet First

To start with Bitcoin you don’t need to be ultra tech savvy but having a basic idea of how cryptocurrency works and what it brings to the world is not a bad idea. There’s a ton of information out there and simple guides such as those prepared by Bitcoin.com will quickly convince you that no matter who you are, Bitcoin is for you. Learning how to buy and sell, send and receive, exchange and protect your cryptos takes little effort and is fun.

How to Start With Bitcoin at No Cost

What you really need to begin your endeavor into discovering financial freedom is a digital wallet that supports your favorite cryptocurrency. Luckily, there are plenty of free clients available and as long as you find one with good reputation in terms of security, you are all set. For example, you can download and install the Bitcon.com wallet app free of charge and manage your bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) holdings in one wallet. Almost 5 million Bitcoin.com wallets have been created so far.

There are different types of wallets you can use. In general, hardware devices such as Ledger and Keepkey provide safer storage for your digital coins. But the utility of software wallets can’t be denied and they are always a good choice for newbies. Software is usually created for more than one operating system. The Bitcoin.com wallet is available as a mobile application for both Android and iOS. And if you are looking for a desktop app, the Badger Wallet is a good option. You can add it to your browser if you are using Chrome or Firefox.

When setting up a bitcoin wallet, it’s important to follow the instructions of the client’s developers. During the installation process you’ll be asked to write down a mnemonic seed phrase that will help you to restore access to your funds in case something irreversible or irreparable happens to the device you installed it on initially. It’s also smart to set up a pin code to authorize any outgoing transactions. Make sure you record and keep that as well.

Load Your Wallet With Free Coins

Once you’ve installed your wallet you’ll have to load it to start transacting in cryptocurrency. And while there are many options to buy some, acquire it on an exchange or purchase it directly from other bitcoin holders, you can also get it for free. The Bitcoin.com faucet provides you with one such option. All you need to do to receive some bitcoin cash (BCH) is to take three easy steps. First, you have to download and install the Bitcoin.com or the Badger wallet. Then you need to log in with your Google account and finally enter your BCH address to claim your free electronic cash.

How to Start With Bitcoin at No Cost

Another opportunity to receive some cryptocurrency is through a friendly gesture. Many in the crypto community are excited about spreading adoption and if you look around you’ll probably find a friend who will be happy to send you some satoshis just to get you started. Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver recently announced on Facebook he is giving away $5 worth of BCH to any of his friends in the social network who provides a bitcoin cash address.

If you want to hodl your coins, crypto history has shown that $5 of bitcoin can easily become $5,000 in the future. But there are also many things you could do with them right now. For instance, you can send some satoshis to a friend who wants to try crypto. Thanks to the low fees on the BCH network, often less than a U.S. cent per transaction, that will be easy and cheap even with a very small amount. You can also donate some of the bitcoin cash you got for a noble cause like the one supported by the eat BCH charity.

And as crypto commerce is growing once again this year, you can spend your electronic cash in a variety of other ways. The Bitcoin Cash Map app now lists almost 1,800 brick and mortar stores that will let you pay with BCH. Spending bitcoin with retailers that do not directly accept cryptocurrency is another option thanks to gift cards you can purchase with BCH and BTC. Getting a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts card takes just a few easy steps.

Have you tried crypto yet? How did you get into the Bitcoin world? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Crypto-Based Commerce Spikes 65% in 7 Months

Crypto-Based Commerce Spikes 65% in 7 Months, Blockchain Analysis Shows

Commerce fueled by cryptocurrencies has once again started to grow. Data collected by blockchain forensics company Chainalysis shows a significant increase of volume in the first half of the year. The positive change coincided with the remarkable market recovery that followed last year’s prolonged crypto winter.

Also read: Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat

$5.5 Million of Crypto Used in Commerce Daily

After a string of depressing months in 2018, cryptocurrency-based commerce began to rise again in 2019, the study quoted by Bloomberg indicates. According to New York-headquartered Chainalysis, the amount of cryptocurrency sent to 16 merchant service providers such as Bitpay increased by 65% between January and July. During the same period, the price of bitcoin core (BTC) tripled to over $12,000.

Crypto-Based Commerce Spikes 65% in 7 Months

This year’s positive trend contrasts with the findings from last year, when Chainalysis registered a decline in bitcoin-related trade. The company’s 2019 research covers not only commerce based on BTC but also payments in bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC) and the stablecoin tether (USDT). These cryptocurrencies, the report notes, are used to fund everything from online gambling to purchases at pot shops.

According to Kim Grauer, senior economist at Chainalysis, the increase in bitcoin-denominated trade suggests that there is more trust in crypto now. The overall amount of cryptocurrency used in commerce remains small, the publication acknowledges, but yet it grew from around $3 million daily in January to $5.5 million per day on average in July.

The volume is likely to expand further as platforms like Bitpay, which allows merchants to accept payments in BCH and BTC, introduce support for more digital coins in the future. The company, which processes over $1 billion in transactions annually, expects continued growth as new currencies are added including ether (ETH) and ripple (XRP), spokesperson Jan Jahosky told Bloomberg.

Slow Transactions Are a Major Hurdle to Adoption

Various cryptocurrencies differ in many ways and the authors point out that inconvenience related to certain specifics has been a major barrier to the growth of crypto payments. For example, transaction confirmation on the BTC network can take up to an hour, making it hard for people to just walk in a store, buy a cup of coffee and leave, the article notes.

Crypto-Based Commerce Spikes 65% in 7 Months

The characteristic volatility of most digital assets is also a negative factor and many businesses and consumers are still reluctant to deal in crypto for that reason. At the same time, the researchers have found a five-fold increase in the use of tether during the examined period. According to Chainalysis, the stablecoin whose price is pegged to the U.S. dollar accounted for 9% of all commerce during the seven months covered in the study.

In reality, a growing number of merchants accept direct cryptocurrency payments. For instance, the Bitcoin Cash Map application now lists 1,769 locations of brick and mortar stores that let you pay with BCH. And according to a recent report by marketing analysis company Semrush, quoted by La Stampa daily, cryptocurrency is the third-most popular online payment method in Italy. Bitcoin is behind only Paypal and Postepay, while it is more widespread in Italian ecommerce than direct payments with any of the major credit cards.

What do you consider to be the main obstacle for faster growth of crypto payments? Share your opinion on the subject in the comments section below.


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Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

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Holders of the Digital Yuan Will Not Be Paid Interest

Holders of the Digital Yuan Will Not Be Paid Interest

China has been sending mixed signals about its preparedness to issue a national crypto. Despite the new blockchain push, there is still no timeframe for the anticipated launch of the digital yuan and few details have been revealed so far. However, a senior official from China’s central bank pulled the curtain back slightly this week.

Also read: Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat

China’s Semi-Blockchain Based Currency to Start a ‘Horse Race’

Beijing’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) project, which will be similar to Facebook’s Libra as Chinese officials have previously indicated, will only partially employ blockchain technology as it would need a higher transaction capacity to achieve retail adoption. The People’s bank of China (PBOC) will use a two-tier approach with its implementation, first issuing the currency to commercial banks, which will then distribute it to the public.

Mu Changchun, head of the central bank’s digital currency research institute, told a forum in Hong Kong that the launch will start a “horse race” among banks and other financial institutions competing to offer better and more efficient services with the digital yuan. “The front runner will take the whole market,” Mu predicted. Quoted by Reuters, he added that if an institution takes the lead, the technology it uses will be adopted by others.

Holders of the Digital Yuan Will Not Be Paid Interest
People’s Bank of China

The PBOC representative pointed out that as the new digital currency is designed to substitute coins and paper banknotes in circulation, holders of the currency will not receive any interest payments. That means the DCEP system will not affect inflation in the People’s Republic and the monetary policy of its government. At the same time, the project will allow Chinese regulators more oversight over money flows in comparison with the traditional financial system.

The opportunity to exert greater control over financial transactions, including cross border transfers, is one of the main drivers behind the digital yuan project. Beijing’s view, reiterated by Mu Changchun’s statement, is that currencies such as Libra would present a threat to the country’s currency sovereignty and could facilitate illegal flows. The central bank official stressed that other stablecoins would have to abide by China’s existing foreign exchange regulations.

Beijing Aiming to Have the First CBDC

Protecting China’s monetary sovereignty is a motive Mu Changchun emphasized a couple of months ago. During a lecture in September, he remarked that the problem with currencies issued by platforms such as Wechat and Alipay is that a bankruptcy is always a possibility with corporate entities and one could cause users to lose money. He assured that the digital currency minted by the People’s Bank would be just as safe as paper money and revealed that the digital yuan will even function offline.

Holders of the Digital Yuan Will Not Be Paid Interest

A month earlier, the senior official stated that the state-sponsored coin was ready after five years of research and development and that the PBOC will soon roll out the crypto. However, PBOC governor Yi Gang said later that the bank had no timetable for the launch. Nevertheless, China has been gearing up to become the first nation with a central bank issued digital currency (CBDC) and it has to hurry up as according to a report by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), 70% of 63 surveyed central banks are exploring the issue of CBDC.

There has been much talk and pressure recently in the U.S. and the EU to speed up research and development in the same direction. The BIS study published in the beginning of this year concluded that five projects had advanced to the pilot phase. Some banks have since gone further in the development of their systems and it turns out China might not be the first to deploy a digital fiat currency.

According to a report by Izvestia, the central bank of Tunisia has already issued a CBDC based on a Russian blockchain platform called Universa and even made test transactions on Nov. 7. The digital dinar can be used in online mobile payments and Tunisia hopes to implement it in international settlements in the future. By introducing the cryptocurrency, the country’s central bank hopes to save on printing costs for paper notes.

When do you expect the People’s Bank of China to issue its digital yuan? Share your thoughts on CBDCs in the comments section below.


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Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

The post Holders of the Digital Yuan Will Not Be Paid Interest appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat

Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat

Trade wars, sanctions, fear from private and decentralized cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the motive, a number of governments have recently taken the path of creating their own digital money. Turkey has become the latest country to announce plans for the issue of a “blockchain-based” national currency.

Also read: China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Unwanted Industries List

Digital Lira to Be Tested as Ankara Builds Fintech Ecosystem

The project to develop a digital lira has found a place in Recep Erdogan’s Annual Presidential Program, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. According to the recently published document, Turkey is set to launch the coin as soon as it completes the design, development and testing phases. The program explicitly notes that a “blockchain-based digital currency” will be introduced.

Tests with the Turkish crypto are expected to commence as early as 2020 but the leadership in Ankara doesn’t stop there. The wider plan is to adopt a roadmap for the development of а full-fledged fintech ecosystem in the country. As part of these efforts, the presidential program envisages the establishment of a “financial technopark” in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and economic capital.

Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat
Istanbul

The digital lira initiative comes at a time when Turkey is facing mounting economic and financial challenges. Soured relations with the U.S. over Ankara’s rapprochement with Moscow and other independent moves by Erdogan’s administration have even led to a threat from President Trump to “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.”

Over the past few years Turkey was also struggling with high inflation of the paper lira, which has greatly increased the popularity of decentralized cryptocurrencies in the country. A fifth of the Turkish respondents in a study conducted this year stated they owned digital coins. The inflation trend has been reversed in the past months, however, with the rate dropping from over 20% in January to below 9% in October.

Last month, the Central Bank of Turkey cut interest rates to 14% from 16.5% in September and is expected to announce another cut in December. The issue of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) fits in with Ankara’s broader objective to improve and strengthen the country’s economy as well as to build a more stable financial sector with plans for Turkey to become a global financial center. These goals have also been specified in the new presidential program.

States Competing to Issue Digital Currencies

The Turkish government is not the only one working on a digital version of its fiat currency. According to a report published earlier this year by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 70% of 63 surveyed central banks are exploring options to introduce CBDCs. According to another report by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum think tank, as part of which officials from 23 central banks were polled, the first CBDC will be produced within five years, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.

The BIS study was quoted in a letter sent by two congressmen to the Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell in September. The lawmakers, democrat Bill Foster and republican French Hill, urged the Fed to consider creating a national digital currency, noting that 40 countries are already looking into developing CBDCs. Pressure on the U.S. government to put out a digital dollar has been mounting amid fears of possible decline of the greenback as the world’s reserve currency in competition with private and government-issued digital currencies.

Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat

Similar concerns have been expressed in the European Union as well. A recent report by Reuters quoted a draft EU document stating that the European Central Bank should think of introducing a public digital currency to counter Facebook’s project to issue a private coin for users of the social network. The document, prepared by the Finnish presidency for next month’s meeting of EU finance ministers, also urges the Union to develop a common approach and increase regulatory efforts regarding cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has been working on a digital yuan for some time, with the People’s Bank of China recently posting a recruitment notice for six professionals with cryptographic and related experience. A project to issue a Chinese digital currency is part of the recently prioritized blockchain development of the country. A digital yuan would potentially give China an edge in the intensifying competition for global dominance with the U.S. and other major geopolitical players.

Do you expect Turkey to launch a digital version of the lira as early as next year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Turkey Becomes the Latest Nation to Work on Digital Fiat appeared first on Bitcoin News.

China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Unwanted Industries List

China Takes Bitcoin Mining Out of Unwanted Industries List

Inspired by its new fascination with blockchain, China now seems to have changed its mind about cryptocurrency mining. The latest version of a national macroeconomic plan indicates that the government in Beijing has given up intentions to suppress the bitcoin mining industry, in which Chinese companies have become global leaders.

Also read: Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Mining Not to Be ‘Eliminated’

The Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalog, issued by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has lost a reference to crypto mining activities. This is actually good news as a draft released earlier this year had mining among industries that Beijing wanted local administrations to get rid of. “That doesn’t mean mining is legal, but it is less illegal,” a Chinese miner contacted by news.Bitcoin.com remarked confirming the news.

China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Unwanted Industries List

The final version of the document, which was published this week, will enter into force in January 2020. The catalog lists industries that regional authorities are advised to encourage, restrict or eliminate. The initial policy proposal prepared by the central government agency in April reportedly mentioned virtual currency mining in the ‘eliminate’ category.

NDRC, formerly the State Development Planning Commission, is responsible for macroeconomic management. It operates under the State Council, which is China’s main administrative authority controlling the country’s economy. The commission formulates policies for economic and social development and guides restructuring efforts. With around two dozen departments and agencies under its umbrella, it effectively functions as a mini version of the Chinese government.

China’s Dominance in Bitcoin Minting

Cheap electrical energy and suitable climate have turned China into a hotspot for the business of minting digital coins. The People’s Republic is a global leader in bitcoin mining with Chinese pools controlling around 70% of the BTC network’s collective hashrate. The most populous country is home to the world’s largest mining operations and mining hardware manufacturers such as Beijing-based Bitmain.

China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Unwanted Industries List

The Chinese government has treated various crypto-related business activities differently. While cryptocurrency exchanges and coin offering projects were effectively banned from the mainland, authorities have largely turned a blind eye to digital currency mining. What’s more, in regions such as Sichuan, mining farms utilize electricity from state-owned hydropower plants even under contractual arrangements, as news.Bitcoin.com reported during the rainy season this summer. This year’s crypto market recovery made bitcoin mining profitable again and anyone can participate without having to acquire mining equipment thanks to services offered by platforms such as the Bitcoin.com Pool.

China’s role, both in the traditional economy and the crypto space, has been growing for years but the ongoing trade war with the U.S. forced the country to intensify the search for alternative paths of development. A recent Politburo speech by the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, indicated that Beijing has decided to put blockchain in the focus of these efforts. And although China has never been particularly friendly to decentralized cryptocurrencies, it’s developing a digital yuan instead, and crypto markets have reacted positively to the move that many in the industry view as a bullish step.

Do you expect the removal of crypto mining from the list of unwanted industries in China’s macroeconomic plan to have a positive effect on the bitcoin mining industry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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The post China Removes Bitcoin Mining From Unwanted Industries List appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the US Fed

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the Fed

The United States Federal Reserve is looking to employ a Manager, Retail Payments, part of whose responsibilities will be to oversee the research of digital currencies and distributed ledgers. The job ad has been published amid pressure from Capitol Hill to explore the possibilities of issuing a digital dollar.

Also read: Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

Federal Reserve to Hire Retail Payments Manager

Geopolitics is a fast paced, high stake game and no major player can afford to ignore the surprising moves of their opponents. The Chinese leadership is now betting on blockchain while the People’s Bank of China is working on a digital yuan. Calls for a digital greenback, still the world’s main currency, have been issued in the corridors of power in Washington. This is all happening on the backdrop of a raging trade war with Beijing in which global dominance is at stake.

The potential benefit of integrating digital currencies into retail payments has caught the attention of the Federal Reserve. A job opening posted on Nov. 4 shows that the U.S. central bank is now planning to expand research in the field. The Fed’s Board of Governors is seeking to hire a professional who will be in charge for overseeing its Retail Payments Section. Facilitating financial and digital innovation is part of the job description.

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the US Fed

Candidates must bring at least a bachelor’s degree but a master’s or other advanced degree is preferred. They are also expected to have at least seven years of relevant experience. The position is based in Washington, D.C. and the Fed provides support for relocation. Although it’s a regular job, it involves a decent amount of travelling – 25% of the time according to the ad.

The new Manager, Retail Payments will direct the section’s routine activities and will be tasked to lead, develop and execute administrative supervisory duties for its staff. The annual salary for the managerial post will be between $120,600 and $250,700. The federal salary grade is low 28 – high 29.

The job posting further details that the Retail Payments Section oversees the Federal Reserve Banks’ check and automated clearinghouse services and deals with policy and regulatory issues concerning retail payment systems. Its head will be responsible for “Facilitating and contributing to innovations research including digital currencies, stable coins, distributed ledger technologies, and broadly financial/digital innovation in retail payments,” among other duties.

US Dollar’s Primacy in Jeopardy

The job announcement, which indicates the Fed’s interest in digital currencies, comes after recent media reports that America’s central bank is exploring the idea of developing a digital version of the dollar. Furthermore, at the end of September two members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, urging the Fed to look at creating a national digital currency.

New Hire to Head Digital Currency Research at the US Fed

Bill Foster (D-IL), chair of the AI Task Force and Congressional Blockchain Caucus co-chair, and French Hill (R-AR), ranking member on the AI and Fintech Task Force, expressed concerns that “the primacy of the US Dollar could be in long-term jeopardy” in competition from digital fiat currencies and their private sector equivalents. They asked a number of questions about the Fed’s current activities and plans regarding the potential development of a U.S. dollar digital currency.

The two congressmen cited a study by the Bank of International Settlements which found that 40 countries around the world are looking into developing or have already developed a digital currency. Their letter provides examples such as Sweden’s e-krona and Facebook’s Libra project while highlighting expectations that the Chinese central bank is going to launch a digital yuan as early as this year. According to an ad published in October, the People’s Bank of China is looking to hire six professionals with a background in cryptography and other tech disciplines to work on a digital national fiat.

Do you expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to develop a digital dollar? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Enjoy the easiest way to buy bitcoin online with us. Download your free bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely.

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Britain’s Tax Authority Updates Crypto Guidelines

Britain’s Tax Authority Updates Crypto Guidelines

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has updated its guidelines on the taxation of transactions involving crypto assets. The United Kingdom’s tax authority clarifies its stance on cryptocurrencies and explains which taxes apply to specific activities carried out by business entities and private individuals.

Also read: Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year

Taxable Activities Listed

Multiple tax tools now exist to help crypto users and businesses from the industry with tax reporting. But in a field as fluid as the crypto space, regulations change rapidly. On Nov. 1, HMRC published updated policy papers concerning crypto transactions undertaken by companies, other businesses such as sole traders and partnerships, and individuals.

The agency notes that the documents deal with the tax treatment of “exchange tokens,” explicitly mentioning bitcoin. They do not apply to tokens issued in initial coin offerings (ICOs). The taxation of security and utility tokens will be addressed separately in the future. Taking into account the specifics of the fast-changing industry, HMRC says it will look at each case and apply the relevant provisions.

Britain’s Tax Authority Updates Crypto Guidelines

The tax office has listed a number of crypto-related activities that give rise to tax obligations. These include buying, selling and exchanging tokens for other assets, including cryptocurrencies. Crypto mining has been mentioned as a taxable economic activity. Businesses providing goods or services in return for digital coins also owe taxes to the British government.

The guidelines review the applicable taxes as well and corporate entities conducting any of the aforementioned activities are likely to be liable to pay one or more of the following taxes: capital gains tax, corporation tax, income tax, value added tax (VAT), and stamp taxes. National Insurance contributions are also due.

Private individuals will be liable to pay capital gains tax when they sell crypto assets that have been acquired as a personal investment, or income tax and National Insurance contributions on coins they receive from employers, mining or airdrops. Traders may reduce their income tax liability by offsetting losses against future profits. The amount paid for an asset is considered a cost that can be allowed as a deduction. The loss of a private key, however, does not count as a disposal of the assets for capital gains tax purposes. Victims of theft cannot claim a loss either.

Cryptocurrency Not Money

HMRC addresses other important aspects of taxation concerning crypto-related transactions. The authority emphasizes that taxable profits, and losses respectively, should be calculated and reported in British pounds on tax returns filed by companies and individuals. In case a transaction does not involve GBP, an “appropriate exchange rate” must be established in order to convert the transaction to fiat.

Britain’s Tax Authority Updates Crypto Guidelines

The agency does not explain clearly what it would consider an ‘appropriate’ valuation but stresses that a “consistent methodology” should be used. The papers further emphasize that profits from a crypto trade must be calculated in accordance with either the U.K. generally accepted accounting practice (UK GAAP) or in accordance with international accounting standards (IAS).

The requirement to keep records in fiat equivalent has to do with the tax department’s current stance on decentralized cryptocurrencies. “It is important to note that HMRC does not consider any of the current types of cryptoassets to be money or currency. This means that any Corporation Tax legislation which relates solely to money or currency does not apply to exchange tokens or other types of cryptoasset,” the administration points out.

However, the tax regulator remarks that “if an employer ‘pays’ exchange tokens as earnings to an employee, those exchange tokens count as ‘money’s worth’.” In other words, crypto salaries paid in the United Kingdom are subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions on the fiat value of the cryptocurrency used for remuneration.

What’s your opinion about the updated guidelines regarding crypto taxation in the U.K.? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

The post Britain’s Tax Authority Updates Crypto Guidelines appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year

Bad Loans at Big Banks in Britain Jump Over 50% in a Year

Shaken by the never-ending saga around Brexit and the global slowdown, the British economy is now showing signs that point to an upcoming crisis. The U.K.’s biggest banks have been dealing with a growing number of loans companies are struggling to pay off. At the same time, low interest rates on mortgages are limiting opportunities for revenue growth.

Also read: Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Largest Lenders Write Off More Debt Than a Year Ago

The United Kingdom’s largest lenders have been writing off more loans than they were last year, another indication that many businesses are hurting in a deteriorating economic environment. In Q3 of 2019, writedowns on bad debt at four major British banks increased 51% from the same quarter of 2018, the Daily Mail reported quoting corporate figures.

The amount of nonperforming loans that have been written off by RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, and Barclays between July and September reached £1.76 billion (approx. $2.27 billion). During the same period last year it was around £1.17 billion ($1.51 billion), an analysis conducted by U.K.-based financial services company AJ Bell shows.

Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year

The difference of almost £600 billion has been attributed to the worsening economic conditions that are negatively affecting more and more companies operating in the country. One such example is the British global travel group Thomas Cook which collapsed in September.

A total of 4,355 businesses were unable to pay their debts in the third quarter, according to official data from the U.K. government’s Insolvency Service. That’s the highest number in five years recorded by the London-headquartered executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Low Interest Rates to Further Squeeze Bank Revenues

Bad loans are not the only challenge the United Kingdom’s top lenders are currently facing. According to the publication, the banks have also warned they expect their revenues to be negatively affected by the low mortgage rates which are nearing their record lows at the moment.

Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year
Source: Statista

According to a study published by market data provider Statista, interest rates on mortgages in Britain have been continuously declining for the past five years. In June 2019, two-year fixed rate mortgages were at 1.65%, down from 2.60% in the summer of 2014. The two-year variable interest rate has dropped from 2.71% to 1.99. The 10-year fixed rate has decreased from 4.06% in September 2014 to 2.63% this past June.

Credit institutions can hardly raise rates on mortgages right now as the base interest rate set by the Bank of England is only 0.75%. It has remained below 1% ever since the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee cut it in 2009 to 0.5% where it stayed for around seven years. The average variable mortgage rate at the time was 2.5%. The rate was dropped to its lowest ever mark of 0.25% in August 2016.

Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year

Although the cost of borrowing was raised in August 2018 to 0.75%, its highest level since early 2009, serious concerns remain regarding the state of the British economy and its perspectives. After another unsuccessful attempt to leave the European Union, the U.K. is now heading towards its third general election in five years, which is creating more uncertainty for its economy already weakened by the global economic slowdown.

Against this backdrop, things have been developing differently in the nascent crypto banking sector where loans backed with digital assets and cryptocurrency deposits are enjoying growing popularity. Platforms such as Cred offer clients an opportunity to earn up to 10% interest on their holdings in BTC and BCH and borrow using their crypto as collateral. Cred also provides solutions to unbanked business sectors.

Do you think the growing amount of bad loans in Britain is a sign of an upcoming economic crisis? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Statista.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

The post Bad Loans at Big British Banks Jump Over 50% in a Year appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank, a lender operating in the central Henan province, has become the latest Chinese bank to be bailed out by the government this year. The small financial institution, which has around 30 branches only in the Yichuan county, experienced a bank run sparked by rumors that its top management was in trouble with the law and mounting speculations the bank was on the brink of insolvency.

Also read: Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?

Bank Run Highlights Increasing Depositor Anxiety

Hundreds of depositors gathered at Yichuan Bank’s offices this week to retrieve their savings before the feared collapse and found they were unable to withdraw their money. Meanwhile, authorities confirmed on Wednesday they are investigating the former chairman of the bank and its biggest stakeholder, Kang Fengli, for suspected corruption, Reuters reported. Police also arrested a woman, a local resident, for allegedly spreading false information about the bank’s financial state.

In an effort to avoid the bank run, the lender issued a notice assuring depositors of its financial health. The bank also urged them to ignore the rumors and tried to dissuade them from withdrawing their funds. Security at bank branches was heightened. Bank employees stacked wads of large denomination yuan bills before clients’ eyes and reporters’ cameras to calm the situation and prove Yichuan had enough cash to continue to operate normally.

Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Despite the small size of Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank, the commotion around the events did not go unnoticed by financial authorities on the regional and national level. The increasing depositor anxiety, exacerbated by the noticeable economic slowdown in the country and the brewing liquidity crisis in China’s banking sector, had to be addressed with a decisive intervention by the state to prevent the spread of dangerous uncertainty.

The online edition of the local Communist Party newspaper reported that the Yichuan bank has received 30 billion yuan (over $4.26 billion) in the form of urgent funding from the Henan Province Rural Credit Cooperatives Union. Another 5 billion yuan were provided by the local branch of the People’s Bank of China and 1.5 billion yuan came from the Henan Rural Commercial Bank, Yichuan News detailed on Wednesday. It also revealed that the Party committee of Yichuan county held a special meeting to resolve the situation.

‘Small’ Crisis Elicits Strong Reaction From the State

Yichuan Bank has only around 62 billion yuan in assets (approximately $8.9 billion), according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, data from the China Chengxin International Rating Agency shows that the lender accounted for 71% of deposits and 82% of loans in its county, as of September 2018. Clearly a small bank with local significance, yet the vigorous actions of the Chinese authorities betray their strong concerns the case may lead to loss of confidence in bank deposits beyond the region.

Whether the government’s aggressive measures will be sufficient to calm down farmers and savers in Henan province remains to be seen. What’s worrying, though, is that this is not the first time a Chinese bank has needed a bailout recently. At least three other regional lenders had to be saved by Beijing earlier this year.

Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run

Baoshang Bank, based in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, collapsed in May and was seized by the People’s Bank of China. A couple of months later Bank of Jinzhou, which operates in the Liaoning province, was bailed out by three state-controlled asset managers. Then in August, Heng Feng Bank failed and was nationalized.

A list published by Zerohedge contains almost 20 small to medium-sized Chinese banks that have been late with their annual reports. The latest available data from Barclays Research shows they controlled almost 4.5 trillion yuan ($650 billion) in assets in 2017. Heng Feng, which is the largest financial institution in the list, had over 1.4 trillion yuan in assets, Bank of Jinzhou is second with 723 billion, and Baoshang Bank is fourth with 576 billion in assets.

The news of the bank run at Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping put blockchain development in the focus of government efforts during a Politburo meeting. And while crypto markets reacted positively to his bullish speech, the People’s Republic doesn’t seem to be planning to invest in developing crypto banking, for example, only a digital version of its fiat yuan.

Do you think the Chinese government can cope with the growing banking crisis? Share your opinion on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Enjoy the easiest way to buy bitcoin online with us. Download your free bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely.

The post Another Chinese Lender Bailed Out After Bank Run appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

Why Central Banks Are Not Exactly Part of Democracies

Through their policies, central banks exert tremendous influence over the socio-economic conditions in a country and its business environment. Their decisions are so powerful that it’s obvious they are part of the government. But most people would be surprised to find out that central banks are almost never part of the due democratic process.

Also read: Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Bankers Oversee Bankers in the US

Modern democratic societies are in a crisis for various reasons, and one of them is that very few things depend on the will of the populace. When’s the last time anyone asked you if you agree to see your savings depleted due to low interest rates or has anyone ever acquired your permission to bail out bankrupted financial institutions with your money? These are actually some of the main reasons why decentralized cryptocurrencies allowing peer-to-peer transactions were invented.

On paper at least, there is a mechanism in representative democracies that supposedly takes into account your interests. You vote for a political representative who must consider your point of view in the decision-making process at the highest levels. But while you may have some success with elected officials and institutions, that’s almost impossible with central banks due to their independence.

Take the U.S. Federal Reserve, for example, arguably the most important of all central banks in a dollar-dominated world. The Fed was created by a group of bankers and politicians who drafted the plan for its establishment outside of Washington which was later approved by the Congress. The Federal Reserve System is a network of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks which is governed by a board of seven members appointed by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. But there’s a catch: the elected head of state can appoint only one member to the Board of Governors every two years with a 14-year term, while the 12 branches are effectively controlled by commercial banks.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

Each regional reserve bank is in reality a corporation and every U.S. chartered bank is required to keep 6% of its capital with its regional reserve bank. For that it receives an amount of shares at a fixed price of $100 per share and these cannot be sold or traded. Their holders, commercial banks, control about two thirds of the voting power in the regional federal reserve banks’ boards. The bigger the bank, the larger its share in the regional Fed, which is supposed to oversee its activities and operations.

The Federal Reserve System was structured like this to ensure the central bank’s independence from Washington. But in a representative democracy, that also makes it independent from the electorate, from the taxpayers. The people are left with one option to have any influence over their central bank – to buy as many shares as possible of the largest commercial banks in their region. The Fed itself has been accused of exerting political influence and absorbing influence from Wall Street. Raising or cutting interest rates at the “right time” can tip the scales in an economy and affect the voters’ perception of its current state. The instruments the Federal Reserve has at its disposal can stimulate economic recovery or create a false impression of one by inflating bubbles, or even slow down an ongoing recovery. To use them it doesn’t need political capital, unlike an elected institution, and it won’t pay a political price at the next elections.

Informal Group Determines Banking Policies in the EU

If you thought the situation in Europe was radically different, you were wrong. The European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary policy in the Eurozone and along with the central banks of the countries in the common currency area forms what’s known as the Eurosystem. But while the Frankfurt-based ECB is formally entrusted with serious regulatory powers, including the adjustment of key interest rates, many would be surprised to learn that its decisions are often dictated by an informal forum that has been heavily criticized for its non-transparency. In reality, political control over the euro and the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU is exercised by the Eurogroup.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

The term Eurogroup refers to the meetings of the finance ministers of the Eurozone countries. It draws its legality from two short articles in Protocol 14 of the Consolidated Treaties of the European Union, added not too long ago with the Treaty of Lisbon. The first one starts with “The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall meet informally.” They are to “discuss questions related to the specific responsibilities they share with regard to the single currency.” The discussions take place with the participation of the European Commission and the European Central Bank. But that’s not all. High-ranking officials from the International Monetary Fund, like its Managing Director Christine Lagarde and President-elect of the ECB, are sometimes invited to these meetings. In other words, the so called European troika, of which the IMF is also a member, is well represented.

The largely informal nature of the Eurogroup has attracted a serious amount of criticism within the European Union mainly for the absence of democratic oversight of its proceedings. Critics have pointed out that the Eurogroup does not publish minutes from its meetings and documents revealing its agenda. Some have spoken about the lack of accountability towards the European Parliament, which remains the only democratically elected EU institution, as well as the dominant position of the Troika and countries like Germany in the format. Participants in the meetings have indicated that the decisions taken by the Eurogroup are often simply rubber-stamped by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), the group that gathers the economics and finance ministers of all 28 member states, before being directly implemented by the European Central Bank.

Do you think central banks should be more accountable to the citizens and the elected institutions of a country? Share your opinion on the subject in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

Why Central Banks Are Not Exactly Part of Democracies

Through their policies, central banks exert tremendous influence over the socio-economic conditions in a country and its business environment. Their decisions are so powerful that it’s obvious they are part of the government. But most people would be surprised to find out that central banks are almost never part of the due democratic process.

Also read: Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Bankers Oversee Bankers in the US

Modern democratic societies are in a crisis for various reasons, and one of them is that very few things depend on the will of the populace. When’s the last time anyone asked you if you agree to see your savings depleted due to low interest rates or has anyone ever acquired your permission to bail out bankrupted financial institutions with your money? These are actually some of the main reasons why decentralized cryptocurrencies allowing peer-to-peer transactions were invented.

On paper at least, there is a mechanism in representative democracies that supposedly takes into account your interests. You vote for a political representative who must consider your point of view in the decision-making process at the highest levels. But while you may have some success with elected officials and institutions, that’s almost impossible with central banks due to their independence.

Take the U.S. Federal Reserve, for example, arguably the most important of all central banks in a dollar-dominated world. The Fed was created by a group of bankers and politicians who drafted the plan for its establishment outside of Washington which was later approved by the Congress. The Federal Reserve System is a network of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks which is governed by a board of seven members appointed by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. But there’s a catch: the elected head of state can appoint only one member to the Board of Governors every two years with a 14-year term, while the 12 branches are effectively controlled by commercial banks.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

Each regional reserve bank is in reality a corporation and every U.S. chartered bank is required to keep 6% of its capital with its regional reserve bank. For that it receives an amount of shares at a fixed price of $100 per share and these cannot be sold or traded. Their holders, commercial banks, control about two thirds of the voting power in the regional federal reserve banks’ boards. The bigger the bank, the larger its share in the regional Fed, which is supposed to oversee its activities and operations.

The Federal Reserve System was structured like this to ensure the central bank’s independence from Washington. But in a representative democracy, that also makes it independent from the electorate, from the taxpayers. The people are left with one option to have any influence over their central bank – to buy as many shares as possible of the largest commercial banks in their region. The Fed itself has been accused of exerting political influence and absorbing influence from Wall Street. Raising or cutting interest rates at the “right time” can tip the scales in an economy and affect the voters’ perception of its current state. The instruments the Federal Reserve has at its disposal can stimulate economic recovery or create a false impression of one by inflating bubbles, or even slow down an ongoing recovery. To use them it doesn’t need political capital, unlike an elected institution, and it won’t pay a political price at the next elections.

Informal Group Determines Banking Policies in the EU

If you thought the situation in Europe was radically different, you were wrong. The European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary policy in the Eurozone and along with the central banks of the countries in the common currency area forms what’s known as the Eurosystem. But while the Frankfurt-based ECB is formally entrusted with serious regulatory powers, including the adjustment of key interest rates, many would be surprised to learn that its decisions are often dictated by an informal forum that has been heavily criticized for its non-transparency. In reality, political control over the euro and the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU is exercised by the Eurogroup.

Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies

The term Eurogroup refers to the meetings of the finance ministers of the Eurozone countries. It draws its legality from two short articles in Protocol 14 of the Consolidated Treaties of the European Union, added not too long ago with the Treaty of Lisbon. The first one starts with “The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall meet informally.” They are to “discuss questions related to the specific responsibilities they share with regard to the single currency.” The discussions take place with the participation of the European Commission and the European Central Bank. But that’s not all. High-ranking officials from the International Monetary Fund, like its Managing Director Christine Lagarde and President-elect of the ECB, are sometimes invited to these meetings. In other words, the so called European troika, of which the IMF is also a member, is well represented.

The largely informal nature of the Eurogroup has attracted a serious amount of criticism within the European Union mainly for the absence of democratic oversight of its proceedings. Critics have pointed out that the Eurogroup does not publish minutes from its meetings and documents revealing its agenda. Some have spoken about the lack of accountability towards the European Parliament, which remains the only democratically elected EU institution, as well as the dominant position of the Troika and countries like Germany in the format. Participants in the meetings have indicated that the decisions taken by the Eurogroup are often simply rubber-stamped by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), the group that gathers the economics and finance ministers of all 28 member states, before being directly implemented by the European Central Bank.

Do you think central banks should be more accountable to the citizens and the elected institutions of a country? Share your opinion on the subject in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Why Central Banks Are Not Designed for Democracies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?

Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?

Blockchain development has kind of become an element of the party line in the world’s largest officially communist state. The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, recently told a Politburo meeting that the People’s Republic has to gain an edge in the emerging field. Some say Xi’s statement brought back the smiles of crypto investors and was the main reason for the recent market spike. But is it really that simple?

Also read: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

President Xi Urges Quick Development of Blockchain

In his remarks to the participants in a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, the Chinese president “underscored the important role of blockchain technology in the new round of technological innovation and industrial transformation, urging more efforts to quicken development in the sector.” That’s a direct quote from a report by the state-run news agency Xinhua, which covered the meeting that took place this past Thursday.

Xi acknowledged that the application of blockchain technology has been extended to multiple sectors of the economy, including digital finance, Internet of Things, smart manufacturing, supply chain management, and digital asset trading. He also pointed out that the world’s major powers are stepping up efforts in planning blockchain technology development. China’s blockchain sector has a sound foundation, the leader noted, emphasizing the need to expedite the development of blockchain technology and innovation-driven industrial development.

Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?
Xi Jinping

China must gain an edge in this field, the statesman said, in its theories and in its industries, he elaborated. But to achieve that, more efforts should be made in order to strengthen the basic research conducted in the most populous country and to boost innovation in one of the oldest nations. The accomplishment of that goal lies in the advancement of “coordinated key-task tackling” and the acceleration of “breakthroughs in key technologies.” These should provide “safe and controllable technological support for blockchain development and its application,” Xi added.

The People’s Republic has to increase its influence and rule-making power in the global arena and its president believes this could happen through stepping up research on the standardization of blockchain and its deep integration with other information technologies, the digital economy, and the real economy in general. Submitting a number of demands for the implementation of blockchain in multiple spheres of the Chinese society, government and economy, Xi finally stressed how essential it is to make sure that the technology plays a bigger role in building China’s strength in the cyberspace and ultimately advancing the country’s economic and social development.

China’s Influence in the World Grows

China is now an important geopolitical factor and any comments made by its head of state do matter. Beijing holds $1.11 trillion of U.S. debt as of May this year, while the U.S. dollar is still the world’s reserve currency facilitating global trade. Some analysts believe China will be the next leading superpower, economically at least, and if it succeeds in overtaking the American economy, its national fiat, the renminbi could become the new global reserve currency. To achieve that, however, Beijing needs to address a number of issues. First of all, many, especially in the United States, would point out that the RMB is artificially undervalued to help bolster Chinese exports.

Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?

Then China has its own set of economic and financial problems, not very different from the West’s. The country’s banking system is currently facing debt and liquidity issues affecting dozens of small lenders, with the first bank collapse caused by these problems recorded earlier this year. The People’s Bank of China is pushing hard for its version of quantitative easing, trying to convince commercial banks to seek recapitalization through the perpetual-bond market. A “digital yuan” has been in the making, with the PBoC recently hiring six crypto experts to work on its development, but make no mistake – this yuan will be just as fiat as the paper one or the greenback.

China’s importance has been growing in the crypto space as well. Some of the industry’s most prominent platforms, leading crypto exchange Binance for example, have their roots in the People’s Republic. Unfortunately, the government in Beijing is not a supporter of decentralized currencies and has effectively banned crypto trading platforms and coin offering projects from the mainland. Blockchain without Bitcoin, however, is merely a smart way to build databases. China’s new focus on the technology, as an end in itself, will hardly bring any long term good to permissionless cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, Xinhua’s report about Xi’s endorsement of blockchain was quickly followed by a sudden spike of prices across crypto markets. Call it a coincidence if you wish, but many think it wasn’t.

China is also a pronounced leader in bitcoin mining, thanks to cheap and abundant electrical energy and suitable climatic conditions in some of its regions. Chinese mining pools control over 70% of the BTC network’s hashrate. The Asian country manufactures the bulk of the mining equipment sold today with Beijing-based Bitmain being the leading producer of specialized hardware. China hasn’t yet implemented an official ban on cryptocurrencies and has been turning a blind eye to mining, but what if one day Politburo decides permissionless currencies are not good for the Chinese people and pulls the plug on Chinese miners because they consume a lot of electricity?

Is China’s New Fascination With Blockchain Really Good for Bitcoin?

House sparrows were once declared public enemy number one in the People’s Republic. Killing as many of them as possible was set as a priority during the Four Pests Campaign in the ‘50s and ‘60s. A single bird can steal four pounds of grain per year from the hungry Chinese workers and peasants, the communist government estimated. However, once the sparrow population was severely depleted, grasshoppers swarmed the countryside in the absence of their natural predator. Taking out an element deeply integrated into the ecosystem ultimately caused more people to starve in what became known as the Great Chinese Famine.

Do you think China will eventually embrace decentralized cryptocurrencies now that it’s clearly focusing on blockchain development? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


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Bank of Lithuania Issues Guidelines on Security Token Offerings

Bank of Lithuania Issues Guidelines on Security Token Offerings

Recognizing that businesses are seeking alternative ways to raise capital other than bank lending, the Bank of Lithuania has issued new guidelines on security token offerings. The goal is to clarify applicable rules without introducing more regulations.

Also read: Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Guidelines Aiming to Avoid More Regulations

The central bank of the small Baltic nation of Lithuania has recently noted that the focus in the crypto space is shifting from initial coin offerings (ICOs) to security token offerings (STOs). Explaining the differences between the two, the Bank of Lithuania issued recommendations on capital raising through STOs.

Bank of Lithuania Issues Guidelines on Security Token Offerings

Lietuvos Bankas is among the first financial regulators to issue guidelines on STOs. In an announcement published on its website, the bank emphasized that the new guidelines provide greater regulatory clarity while aiming at higher investor protection. Times have changed and as Bank of Lithuania Board Member Marius Jurgilas put it:

The current focus on security token offerings is taking over the waning interest in ICOs. Businesses are interested in this particular way of raising capital as an alternative to bank lending.

The guidelines provide the bank’s position regarding STOs rather than create new regulatory arrangements, Jurgilas pointed out. “In a strict regulatory environment, such as the securities market, it becomes crucial to set rules in order to avoid any miscommunication, misunderstandings and their consequences,” he said.

Adopting a regulatory approach that treats tokens as a financial instrument, the Bank of Lithuania has concentrated on classifying tokens, some of which have features of securities or other financial instruments. It also plans to assess specific cases separately, provide recommendations related to the issue of security tokens, and clarify applicable legal regulations.

Companies Alerted About the Rules to Comply With

Lithuania is one of the three Baltic nations that have adopted a generally positive approach to the industry dealing with cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, the country’s central bank updated its position on decentralized digital currencies and tokens issued in coin offerings, opening the way for crypto payments in the country.

At the same time, the government in Vilnius is preparing to transpose the latest EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive into national law. In its recent press release, Lietuvos Bankas stressed that companies planning to use the STO method to issue tokens categorized as transferable securities or other financial instruments will have to comply with applicable EU and Lithuanian legislation regulating capital raising activities.

Bank of Lithuania Issues Guidelines on Security Token Offerings

“In case market participants are not sure whether their offered tokens are subject to regulation, we stand ready to provide them with consultation on this matter,” Jurgilas remarked. To fulfill its commitment in that respect, the bank has already initiated two public consultations. While drafting its guidelines, the regulator took into account some of the suggestions it received.

The Bank of Lithuania claims it has taken a “technology-neutral regulatory approach,” which means that if a certain product has features of a financial instrument, such as securities, it will apply relevant regulation and supervision regardless of the technology used in its creation. But given the unique nature of this type of product, it promises to review each case individually. Substance over form will be the guiding principle.

The bank explained that STOs “are the new way of raising capital where an entity seeking to raise its funds does not issue shares, bonds or any other traditional financial instruments. Instead, it issues tokens recorded on a public or private ledger which entitle the bearer to a variety of rights similar to the rights granted to shareholders or owners of bonds or other financial instruments.” The central bank also noted that the issuance of these tokens is conducted through distributed ledger technology.

What do you make of the Bank of Lithuania issuing guidelines on security token offerings? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Tax Form to Report Revenues From Cryptocurrency Trading Issued in Poland

Tax Form to Report Revenues From Cryptocurrency Trading Issued in Poland

Authorities in Poland have clarified the taxation of revenues received from cryptocurrency exchange transactions. The Ministry of Finance has recently published a 2019 tax form that has a dedicated section where taxpayers are expected to declare separately proceeds from crypto trading.

Also read: Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Polish Taxpayers to Declare Crypto-Related Income

Ministerstwo Finansów unveiled this month the new PIT-38 (personal income tax) form which will simplify the reporting and settlement of taxes related to cryptocurrencies. The form will be used by private individuals residing in Poland. The country’s finance ministry claims it will make crypto taxation easier and more transparent.

Tax Form to Report Revenues From Cryptocurrency Trading Issued in Poland

The updated form allows Polish taxpayers to enter proceeds from the sale of virtual currencies and provide data about the costs of acquiring digital coins and tokens. Investment costs from consecutive years can be added until they are fully deducted. However, no deduction should be claimed from other sources of income such as the sale of shares.

To properly report their profit from cryptocurrency trading, Poles need to obtain and provide financial statements from the digital asset exchanges they have used to purchase and sell the coins, Polish news outlet Kryptowaluty detailed.

Efforts to Regulate Crypto Taxation in Poland

The executive power in Warsaw has been taking steps to regulate the taxation of proceeds received from cryptocurrency trading since last year. The framework that has been developed and implemented since the beginning of 2019 covers personal as well as corporate income tax.

In the first case, profits from digital asset trading should be taxed as income from cash capital. If the trading is private, the revenue is classified as income from property rights and taxed according to the regular progressive scale with rates between 18% and 32%. If the profit comes from a business activity, the income may be subject to a 19% flat rate.

Tax Form to Report Revenues From Cryptocurrency Trading Issued in Poland

Revenues from trading conducted by corporate entities are regarded as capital gains. The base rate paid by larger companies is again 19%. Smaller corporate taxpayers enjoy a preferential rate which was 15% in 2018.

Since January 2019, however, entities reporting revenues of up to €1.2 million within a tax year and startups established this year will pay only 9% income tax if they meet certain conditions. The “small taxpayer” threshold will be increased to €2 million in January 2020.

The new tax regime for crypto trading does not concern entities registered and operating as providers of cryptocurrency exchange services. That includes crypto-to-crypto trading platforms as well as those exchanging decentralized digital money such as bitcoin cash (BCH) with traditional fiat currency like the Polish zloty.

What’s your opinion about the tax rates for crypto trading income in Poland? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Mario Draghi Leaves ECB Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Preparing for a change at the top, the European Central Bank has decided to keep interest rates on hold and at their all-time lows. Mario Draghi, who had his last monetary policy meeting as president of the ECB, is leaving after an eight-year term during which key rates were never raised. At the subsequent press conference, Draghi defended the bank’s monetary policy which has received a serious amount of criticism from various corners of Europe.

Also read: Belarusian Bank Gets the Go-Ahead to Service Crypto Investors

‘Super Mario’ Defends Controversial Negative Rate Policy

Europe’s central bank announced Thursday that the benchmark borrowing rate remains at 0% and the main deposit rate, the one banks face when leaving money at the ECB, stays at -0.5%. The record low was approved in September when the financial institution also decided to restart its stimulus program. In November, the bank will begin purchasing 20 billion euros’ worth of bonds a month and the quantitative easing is an open-ended commitment. Within the previous asset purchase program, which ended in December 2018, ECB spent over €2.6 trillion. The bank first started buying bonds in early 2015.

Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

ECB expects key interest rates to remain at their present or even lower levels until inflation in the common currency area moves closer to 2%. Despite all efforts in that direction, the indicator has persistently remained well below the target, reaching a record low of 0% in the spring of 2016. But “Super Mario,” whose fans believe he has saved Europe’s monetary union and avoided deflation, defended the bank’s current monetary policy. Improvements in the economy, he told journalists after the meeting, have more than offset the side effects of negative rates.

Draghi also revealed that today’s decision has been approved unanimously, in contrast with last month’s policy change, when several governors opposed the restarting of the bond-buying program. The outgoing head of the ECB insisted that was not a problem. All central banks have disagreements when monetary policy issues are discussed which is part of the ongoing debate, he noted to the media in Frankfurt.

Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

However, ECB’s loose monetary policy has been criticized by leading financial institutions. “They’ve already turned on the money tap to the limit,” Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing recently stated, stressing that very few economists believe cheaper money would have any positive effect. A couple of months ago, the head of another large European bank, ING CEO Ralph Hamers, warned of the risks lurking behind central bank money printing. Injecting more cheap money won’t bolster weak confidence, Hamers told reporters, adding that he doesn’t think QE is the right recipe as there is no shortage of money. During his Q&A session today, Mario Draghi also addressed the IMF’s concerns about long-term negative rates, emphasizing that the ECB is keeping an eye on these risks.

Germany Drags the Eurozone Toward Stagnation

“From all viewpoints,” an economic downturn is the main risk, Draghi warned. And there are mounting signs that Germany, where QE has been challenged in courts as a form of central bank financing of government and negative interest rates have been blamed for depleting savings, is on the doorstep of a crisis. Its industry is suffering from uncertainty surrounding global trade and Brexit. In October, for the first time in six years, German companies cut more jobs than they created, the Guardian reported. The prolonged decline in German output and exports means the Federal Republic is heading into recession, dragging the whole Eurozone toward stagnation.

Mario Draghi Leaves European Central Bank Without Ever Raising Interest Rates

Mario Draghi has been calling on European governments to spend more money in order to stimulate the economy and avoid the crisis. In that, he has been joined by his successor, Christine Lagarde, who until last month was managing the International Monetary Fund and will assume the office of President of the European Central Bank on November 1.

What distinguishes the two, at least on first glance, is their attitude towards decentralized digital money. While in May Draghi insisted that “Bitcoins or anything like that are not really currencies,” Lagarde views cryptocurrencies, where opportunities for saving are available, as disruptors that are having an impact on incumbents, or the commercial banks. In the current environment, she believes that:

Central banks and supervisors need to ensure the safety of the financial sector, but also to be open to the opportunities provided by change.

“In the case of new technologies – including digital currencies – that means being alert to risks in terms of financial stability, privacy or criminal activities, and ensuring appropriate regulation is in place to steer technology towards the public good. But it also means recognizing the wider social benefits from innovation and allowing them space to develop,” Lagarde said in a statement to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in September.

Do you expect to see a change in the ECB policy toward cryptocurrencies under its new president? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, ECB.


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Belarusian Bank Gets the Go-Ahead to Service Crypto Investors

Belarusian Bank to Service Crypto Investors

A bank in Belarus has effectively gotten the green light to process transfers related to digital assets. DFS, an affiliated company of Belveb Banking Holding’s member VEB Technologies, was recently registered as a resident of the High Technologies Park. The country’s special economic zone has already become home to many crypto businesses.

Also read: Bittrex International Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

Crypto Investment Platform to Pay Dividends to Bank Accounts

DFS LLC is the operator of Finstore.by, a platform for token sales and trading. Belveb Bank will provide its clients with regular banking services, the Belarusian news outlet Dev.by reported. Corporate entities and private individuals will be able to purchase tokens from various coin offering projects that Finstore hosts.

The first such sale begins on Nov. 1, 2019 and will be conducted on behalf of Belwest, a shoe manufacturer and supplier founded by the German concern Salamander. Finstore will offer 63,000 of its digital tokens and sell them for euros, Russian and Belarussian rubles. The platform plans to issue its own token next month which will be used to facilitate future deals.

Belarusian Bank Gets the Go-Ahead to Service Crypto Investors

Investors buying the coins from this and other offerings will enjoy a fixed income from their investments, much like with bank deposits, at least before interest rates in Europe entered subzero territory. They will also be able to withdraw their dividends to a regular checking account or a bank card account.

Belarus legalized crypto-related activities with a presidential decree signed by Alexander Lukashenko in late 2017. Decree №8 “On the Development of the Digital Economy” came into force on March 28, 2018 to regulate crypto exchange services, initial coin offerings, mining operations, and smart contracts. A five-year tax holiday and other incentives were introduced for HTP-registered crypto entities.

The decree provides legal definitions to key terms used in the crypto space. For example, ‘cryptocurrency’ has been described as “bitcoin, other digital sign (token) used in international circulation as a universal means of exchange.” To improve the decree’s implementation, Minsk adopted new accounting standards for the industry and later expanded the applicable regulatory framework.

HTP Registers 129 New Businesses Including Crypto Companies

Finstore is designed for buying and selling digital tokens representing securities – not exactly cryptocurrencies. But it is not the only digital asset trading platform operating out of Belarus. At least two other full-fledged crypto exchanges provide services to traders and investors under the preferential terms of their registration with the Belarus High-Tech Park.

Belarusian Bank Gets the Go-Ahead to Service Crypto Investors

Currency.com, for instance, facilitates the purchases and sales of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) with a choice of fiat currencies, including the euro, the U.S. dollar, the Russian and the Belarusian ruble. Another Belarus-regulated platform supporting trading pairs with BCH is Iexchange.

The number of crypto and blockchain businesses applying for HTP residency is constantly growing. According to the park’s website, 684 entities are currently registered in the special economic zone. Earlier this month, its supervisory board accepted another 129 new members, including crypto companies like Belveb’s affiliate DFS.

Do you think we are going to see more traditional banks involved in the crypto industry? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

The New York court reviewing Telegram’s contested coin offering in the U.S. has postponed a scheduled hearing on the case till February. The defendants, Telegram Group and its subsidiary TON Issuer, have been banned from distributing and selling the tokens. Investors who don’t want to wait for the launch of the blockchain project can receive 77% of their money back if they form a majority.

Also read: Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

‘Positive Step’ Gives Telegram Time to Prepare Defense

In a move that Telegram described as a positive step, the District Court of the Southern District of New York has postponed а hearing on the lawsuit against its token sale filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 11. The regulator believes the coin called ‘gram’ (GRM) is in fact a security, not currency and insists the messenger has attempted to conduct an unregistered offering in the United States.

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Telegram already rejected the commission’s interpretation of its ICO and filed its own petition with the court, proposing to postpone the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the public sale of its native crypto until next spring to allow for the resolution of all legal issues surrounding the project. A restrictive order obtained by the SEC was supposed to be reviewed during a hearing planned for October 24. Now the court has rescheduled it for Feb. 18-19, 2020.

In a new correspondence with investors, the messaging platform seeks to reassure gram buyers noting that it views the postponement of the hearing as a positive development that will ultimately lead to resolving the matter through the United States court system. The company believes the new date will allow its team of advisers to better prepare and present Telegram’s position to the court.

Late Move by the SEC May Lead to Fewer Gram Tokens

The new deadline for the TON launch proposed by Telegram is April 30, 2020. The blockchain network was initially scheduled to go live by the end of October. Investors who have purchased rights to the gram tokens were offered to vote on the proposal to postpone the launch. If a majority of participants in either of the two fundraising rounds held so far rejects it, the company will compensate these investors with 77% of their money and issue a smaller number of GRM coins.

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Telegram, the company founded by Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, sold the rights to 2.9 billion coins to 171 investors worldwide for $1.7 billion in two private sales in early 2018. That total amount includes a billion tokens bought by 39 U.S. residents for $424.5 million. The platform, which enjoys great popularity in the crypto community for its encrypted messaging service, accused the U.S. SEC of acting in the last moment and claimed it had been trying to get feedback from the regulator in the past 18 months.

When issued, gram tokens will be used to pay for various services provided by applications built on the new blockchain. The nodes of the Telegram Open Network, or “validators,” will be paid a commission in grams called “gas” for the processing of transactions and smart contracts. They will deposit their stakes in GRM coins which will determine the voting power needed to approve or reject proposed changes to the protocol. Grams will also be available for external use and will be traded on digital asset exchanges like any other cryptocurrency.

Do you think Telegram will manage to convince the U.S. court that gram is a currency, not security? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


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Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is discontinuing operations in 31 countries, including Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The trading platform has justified its decision on the basis of the regulatory uncertainty in these jurisdictions. Some of the nations in the list are going through political turmoil and socio-economic challenges.

Also read: Russia Blocks 2 Crypto News Websites

Zimbabwe and Venezuela Among Restricted Nations

Bittrex International, the global trading platform managed by the Seattle-based digital asset exchange, has informed clients residing in the affected countries that they will no longer be able to use its services. The main reason for the decision lies in the unstable regulatory environment there, the company explained in an announcement published on its website this Friday.

“All trading and account access for these impacted customers will be halted on Tuesday, October 29 date at 19:00 UTC/21:00 CEST,” Bittrex detailed. Users have been asked to withdraw their coins and tokens from the platform before the deadline. To do so, they’ll have to log into their Bittrex International account, click “Holdings,” search for the wallet, and click the withdrawal button.

Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

The exchange warns traders they won’t be able to withdraw their balance if it’s below a certain threshold. “The minimum withdrawal for all coins must be greater than 3 times the fee,” the company notes and provides an example: “Your balance in BTC must be .00150001 or greater as the fee is .0005.” Users can find additional withdrawal instructions in the FAQ section of the platform’s website.

Bittrex’s decision to halt exchange operations mostly concerns customers in developing countries. Many of these markets are in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including crisis-hit Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Pakistan. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the only European jurisdiction on the list. Crypto traders in economically battered Venezuela are also among those that will not be able to use its exchange services in the future.

Crypto Exchanges Under Pressure from Governments

The move affecting its international trading platform comes after Bittrex delisted dozens of coins and tokens this summer that were available previously to U.S.-based traders. Although the exchange explains that a major criterion it considers in such cases is the lack of interest in a project, regulatory pressure in the United States may have also played a role.

Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

Evolving regulatory standards and other compliance issues have been listed among the key factors in its official token removal policy, which the company takes into account when determining whether to delist a coin or remove a market. For example, in April this year the New York State Department of Financial Services ordered Bittrex to cease operations after rejecting its application for a Bitlicense.

International sanctions have also influenced the business decisions of companies in the crypto space. Towards the end of last year, reports came out that users of leading digital asset exchange Binance had been cut off in certain countries. Iran, Belarus, Serbia, Bosnia, Myanmar, and other restricted jurisdictions were affected. Some of those are on the sanctions lists of the UN Security Council and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

What’s your opinion about Bittrex’s decision to withdraw from 31 countries? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Traditional Law and Finance Can Adapt to Bitcoin, These Examples Show

Traditional Law and Finance Can Adapt to Bitcoin, These Examples Show

Bitcoin brought about solutions to persistent problems that stood in the way of previous attempts to invent digital money, such as the risk of double spending. Some of its features, however, like the characteristic irreversibility of blockchain transactions, have created certain challenges for the traditional legal and financial systems. At times they may seem incompatible with cryptocurrencies, but that’s not always the case.

Also read: Telegram Offers to Postpone Launch of the TON Network

Legacy Legal Systems Facing Distributed Ledgers

Matthias Lehmann, director of the Institute for International Private and Comparative Law at the University of Bonn, explores some of the challenges decentralized digital currencies pose to the current legal systems and proposes solutions in a recently published article. But Instead of focusing on transfers resulting from fraud, like the media often does, the German professor turns attention to “less reported” but equally possible transactions.

Lehmann highlights two groups of problems – ‘endogenous,’ associated with faulty transfers where the sender commits a mistake or lacks legal capacity to make the transfer, and ‘exogenous’ problems, when a need for correction may arise because of events taking place outside of the blockchain. The latter category includes insolvency proceedings, for example, or succession of crypto assets. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) was designed to prohibit double spending, but it cannot reverse faulty transfers and does not allow for a transfer of title outside the blockchain, the scholar notes.

Traditional Law and Finance Can Adapt to Bitcoin, These Examples Show

These are common problems and they are pretty standard in private law, the legal expert remarks. But imposing the ordinary rules of private law is not an option in the case of cryptocurrencies. That’s because of the irreversibility of blockchain transactions, on the one hand, and the difficulties in establishing the governing law, on the other. Instead of advocating the easy way out by rejecting what doesn’t fit into existing presumptions, Professor Lehmann suggests a workaround.

To fulfil its corrective function under such circumstances, private law may resort to implementing the concept of ‘obligation to make a transfer.’ The author further elaborates: “For instance, a person who has received a certain amount of Bitcoin by error could be obliged to send back the same amount. A transfer obligation may also be the remedy of choice to effectuate the rights of an insolvency administrator or the heir of an estate.” Other existing laws can be applied to permissionless networks too, like the law of torts in the case of a coerced transfer and the law of restitution to return crypto assets sent by mistake.

Matthias Lehmann thinks the validity of a blockchain transfer should not be assessed using the ordinary concepts of property law and insists that when a correction is needed, transfer obligations will do the job. Thus an “overly assertive role of the law that would make the DLT inefficient and ultimately unviable” can be avoided. The proposed solution corrects the results of a transaction “only to the extent necessary, using the forms and procedures of the DLT” and “dispenses with the need for identifying one national law governing the blockchain by distributing the applicable rules among the various affected legal systems.”

Daily Fixing Formula Proposed for Bitcoin

Decentralized digital currencies are also criticized by the establishment for their volatility which, according to the apologists of the fiat system, makes them inappropriate for a number of applications that require a stable unit of account. The rapid and sometimes significant change in market prices makes it hard to accurately gauge the value of items priced in cryptocurrency, they claim for instance, despite the existence of products and services that already bridge the gap between young, free crypto markets and traditional markets dominated by centrally managed fiat systems.

Traditional Law and Finance Can Adapt to Bitcoin, These Examples Show

One of the characteristics of the crypto space that distinguishes it from the traditional financial world is that bitcoin doesn’t have a fixed exchange rate against other currencies such as those determined by central banks for fiat currencies. However, a reference figure like that is sometimes needed, for example, in court cases involving financial relations or when estimating someone’s tax obligations for holdings in a currency different from the national fiat.

The Russian Association of Cryptoindustry and Blockchain and the Russian Bar Association have recently proposed a solution. The two organizations came up with a formula to set an ‘official,’ so to speak, exchange rate for a particular cryptocurrency. Price data acquired from several digital asset exchanges every 30 seconds will be used to calculate a daily weighted average and the result will be published once every 24 hours. Taking that value as a benchmark, reference exchange rates against the U.S. dollar and the Russian ruble can also be determined and used in accounting.

Do you think traditional legal and financial systems can adapt to incorporate cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Russia Blocks 2 Crypto News Websites

Russia Blocks 2 Crypto News Websites

Russian authorities have restricted access to a couple of cryptocurrency news outlets. The formal reasons for the censorship move are different in each case but the end result is the same. In both, regulators have acted on the basis of a law that empowers them to block online sources of information that have been banned in the Russian Federation.

Also read: Telegram Offers to Postpone Launch of the TON Network

Moscow Restricts Access to Cointelegraph and Coinspot

The restrictive measures have been imposed against Cointelegraph, a global information source about the latest developments in the crypto space, and Coinspot, a Russian language portal spreading news and other useful information about decentralized digital currencies, fintech trends and financial innovations. Both have been blocked for readers in Russia, starting from October 16.

The formal reason in the case with Cointelegraph is a request from Russia’s Federal Tax Service filed on Dec. 25, 2017. The outlet explained that although Cointelegraph was blacklisted almost two years ago, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) technically implemented the ban only this week. It remains unclear why it took the watchdog so long to act.

Russia Blocks 2 Crypto News Websites
Roskomnadzor

Cointelegraph quoted the developer of a Russian anticensorship browser extension who, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the block, noting that the website’s URL has been added to the blacklist file Roskomnadzor emails to internet service providers. However, it seems not all of them have updated their databases at this point as the website is still available to some users in the country.

The other affected news outlet, Coinspot, has been blocked at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of Danilovsky District in Volgograd region, Forklog reported. According to an August 22 ruling by the Central District Court of Volgograd, only a single article detailing how to find a blockchain casino had to be taken down. However, most Russian internet providers have restricted access to the whole site.

In both cases, Roskomnadzor’s decisions are based on the Law “On information, information technology and information protection,” which went into force in July, 2006. Its provisions are typically used to justify the blocking of websites containing information the dissemination of which in the Russian Federation has been prohibited for various reasons.

Sarkis Darbinyan, lead legal expert at Roskomsvoboda, confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com his organization is aware of these developments. The NGO, which is fighting internet censorship in the country, is currently trying to gather more details about the blocking of the websites.

Government Internet Censorship Intensifies

The Russian telecom regulator has in the past taken actions against other web portals related to cryptocurrencies, usually on request from other government institutions and the judiciary. For example, the supervisory service blocked the online exchanger Buybit.net in April of this year. But there have been also cases where such attempts have failed.

Russia Blocks 2 Crypto News Websites

In May, Roskomnadzor had to take a similar platform, removing Bestchange.ru from its blacklist after prosecutors gave up efforts to block the website citing pending legislation expected to regulate digital assets. In March 2018, the Saint Petersburg City Court struck down a ban on 40 websites offering information and services related to cryptocurrencies, and in April, the Supreme Court overturned a decision to block the Bitcoininfo.ru portal.

Despite these positive developments, the government has been tightening the noose on the Russian segment of the internet. In March, Roskomnadzor demanded that 10 VPN service providers connect to the Federal State Information System, the register that keeps information about all websites that have been banned in Russia.

Later, in April, the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, adopted a law designed to channel Russian internet traffic through routing points controlled by authorities in Moscow and effectively isolate the Russian internet space (Runet) from the rest of the web in the future. It grants Roskomnadzor powers to go after internet providers that refuse to participate in Russia’s version of the Great Firewall.

Do you think Russian authorities will try to block other crypto news websites? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


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Telegram Offers to Postpone Launch of the TON Network

Telegram Offers to Postpone the Launch of the TON Network

Telegram, which was surprised with a last minute restraining order on the sale of its tokens in the U.S., is now ready to delay the launch of the TON network until the spring of next year. The company has informed the New York court reviewing the case that it can suspend all operations with grams until the legal issues around the coin offering are resolved.

Also read: 104 Addresses Hold 70% of Tether, Research Reveals

Messenger to Halt Operations With Grams

Lawyers representing Telegram Group and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ton Issuer Inc., have filed documents containing their clients’ proposal to the District Court for the Southern District of New York, Tass reported. The entities behind the Telegram Open Network (TON) have also expressed disagreement with some of the demands put forward by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On October 11, the regulator announced that it had obtained a temporary restraining order for Telegram’s ICO. The court will conduct a hearing on the case on October 24. Due to the legal proceedings, the company now offers to effectively freeze the blockchain project. Before the SEC filed its lawsuit, TON was scheduled to launch by the end of this month.

Telegram Offers to Postpone Launch of the TON Network

The court has already satisfied some of the SEC’s demands regarding Telegram’s plans. The regulator claims the messaging platform held an unregistered offering of TON’s native GRM tokens. In two private sales between January and March 2018, Telegram sold the rights to 2.9 billion coins to 171 investors worldwide for $1.7 billion. The total includes a billion tokens bought by 39 U.S. residents for $424.5 million.

Telegram is now proposing to halt the sale and transfer of its cryptocurrency for a period of five months to give the court enough time to resolve the legal issues. In the recent filing, it also declared its commitment to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission 30 days before it starts any operations with the gram tokens.

SEC Rejects Proposal

Telegram’s petition to the district court notes that over the past 18 months the company has voluntarily cooperated with the commission and requested its feedback regarding the launch of TON and gram. Its developers even introduced changes to the blockchain platform to address some of the concerns expressed by the SEC.

The lawyers disagree with the regulator’s opinion that gram is a security and insist the token has to be regarded as a currency. The Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm, which represents the messenger, has asked the court to relieve Telegram of the obligation to meet a number of demands and respond to new requests for additional information from the SEC.

However, in its own petition to the court, the commission argues that a postponement of the launch would not be enough. The regulator claims that such arrangement would allow Telegram to continue to commit offenses. If the court does not establish the appropriate prohibitions for the duration of the proceedings, future violations related to the distribution of gram are guaranteed, the SEC insists.

Telegram Offers to Postpone Launch of the TON Network

Investors Asked to Vote on April 30 Deadline

Reaching out to the participants in the two fundraising rounds held last year, Telegram has updated investors on the situation around the TON project and its disagreement with the SEC’s arguments. In recent correspondence with investors, the company asked them to share their position on the proposed extension of the deadline for the network.

In case the majority agrees, the messenger plans to proceed with a new launch date before April 30, 2020, using the time to make additional investments and further develop the blockchain platform. However, if either of the two groups of investors disagrees with the delayed start, they will be partially compensated and fewer gram tokens will be issued at launch.

Do you think the majority of TON investors will agree with the newly proposed deadline for the launch of Telegram’s blockchain? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


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104 Addresses Hold 70% of Tether, Research Reveals

104 Addresses Hold 70% of Tether, Research Reveals

The ownership of tether (USDT) turns out to be quite concentrated. According to a recent report, a few addresses control the bulk of the stablecoin, which is widely used by bitcoin traders. The finding comes on top of fresh accusations of creating a bubble levied in a lawsuit against tether’s operators. That adds to the persistent critique that the coin isn’t backed one-to-one with U.S. dollars as previously claimed.

Also read: Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

$2.8 Billion of USDT Held by a Handful

Just 104 tether addresses hold 70% of the stablecoin’s circulating supply, according to an investigation conducted by blockchain intelligence company Intotheblock. Considering tether’s supply and its $1-dollar price, the fiat equivalent is over $2.8 billion. Such a small number of addresses controlling that large of share could be a cause of concern.

The researchers have also confirmed tether’s high and fast turnover. In the last seven days alone, Intotheblock tweeted on Tuesday, the total volume of large transactions worth over $100,000 amounted to a staggering $2.4 billion. Besides, the average period a USDT token is held is only 17.8 days, the company pointed out.

High wealth concentration is a phenomenon observed with decentralized cryptocurrencies as well. A tweet from Glassnode, another onchain data provider, highlighted an ongoing trend: the number of bitcoin core whale addresses is growing. Those holding over 1,000 BTC have increased by 500 in a year, reaching a high of almost 2,100.

Various studies have noted the wealth disparity in the crypto space with one recent piece of research claiming that around 2% of BTC addresses control approximately 80% percent of the cryptocurrency. And a report published earlier this year by digital asset market analysis firm Delphi Digital stated that only 7,500 ETH wallets hold 80% of ethereum’s circulating supply.

Tether’s Volume Exceeds BTC’s by a Margin

Tether and the entities associated with it, the issuer Tether Limited and crypto exchange Bitfinex, have been attacked by the crypto community for various reasons. One of them has to do with doubts that each token is backed with $1 USD. Adding oil to the fire recently, Tether’s cofounder William Quigley stated controversially in an interview with Bloomberg that “Whether or not Tether was backed by the dollar actually wouldn’t matter if everybody agreed to take Tether and to value them at a dollar themselves.”

104 Addresses Hold 70% of Tether, Research Reveals

Earlier this year, Bitfinex was accused by the New York Attorney General of using Tether’s funds to cover up $850 million missing since the middle of 2018. And in the beginning of October, a class action lawsuit against the operators of Tether and Bitfinex was filed in New York accusing them of managing a scheme to defraud investors, manipulate markets, and conceal illicit proceeds. As news.Botcoin.com reported, the lawsuit claims Tether created “the largest bubble in human history” and caused damages for over a trillion dollars.

Regardless of one’s attitude towards tether and despite the controversies around it, the coin’s importance in cryptocurrency trade has grown tremendously. A quick look at markets.Bitcoin.com shows that its 24-hour volume, $19.35 billion at the time of writing, exceeds that of bitcoin core (BTC), $15.74 billion, the crypto with the largest capitalization. Tether’s circulating supply is currently over 4.1 billion USDT.

What’s your opinion about the wealth concentration observed with tether and in the crypto space in general? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

A poll conducted among university students in China indicates that many of them see a bright future for cryptocurrencies in their country. A quarter of the respondents said they would seek employment in the industry that deals with digital assets and related technologies. Approximately one in 12 students already owns digital coins.

Also read: Ukraine in a Rush to Legalize Cryptocurrencies Under Zelensky

17% of Polled Students Have Had Investments in Crypto

China has a mixed attitude towards cryptocurrencies in general. On the one hand, the government in Beijing effectively expelled coin offering projects and major exchanges out of the mainland. On the other, the crypto mining industry is allowed to thrive in certain regions in the country with cheap, abundant energy in optimal climatic conditions. Plans for a digital yuan are also moving forward with the People’s Bank of China recently hiring six crypto experts.

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

Unlike authorities, however, the Chinese people have been embracing decentralized currencies with much less hesitation and for obvious reasons – not only the utility they bring but also their censorship resistance. The poll confirms that the young and tech savvy have predominantly positive expectations about the future of the crypto space and are the most eager adopters. Over 8% of Chinese students currently own some cryptocurrency, while another 9% had previously invested in digital assets.

The survey has been conducted by Panews among attendants of 131 colleges and universities in 26 Chinese provinces, the crypto news outlet 8btc reported this weekend. The majority of the respondents, over 77%, are undergraduates, with the rest being graduate students. Most of them are specializing in the fields of economics, management, and engineering but there are also some who study literature, for example.

27% of Future Graduates Want to Work in the Crypto Industry

It’s worth noting that almost 27% of the students in the survey indicated they would seek employment in the growing blockchain industry in the future. Media remains the main source of information about the crypto space and nearly 40% of the students describe media reports as influential. Despite that, close to a quarter of the participants admit they don’t know anything about blockchain. 22% acknowledge that the coverage in mainstream media is mostly negative, while 17% claim they hear more positive news.

Survey: Chinese Students Want Crypto Jobs, 8% Own Cryptocurrencies

The authors of the study point out that crypto-related educational courses are still rare in Chinese higher education institutions. At the same time, the level of awareness about cryptocurrencies is relatively high, with 67% of those polled stating they know bitcoin. Around 15% admitted they hadn’t heard anything about the digital currencies ethereum, neo, and Facebook’s Libra project. Just seven of the respondents knew all entries in a list of 11 crypto terms like “mining,” “stablecoin,” and “hash value.”

Although the People’s Republic approaches cryptocurrencies with caution and has already tried to limit their spread in Chinese society and economy, Beijing has not turned a blind eye to the development of decentralized coins. For instance, the country’s Center for Information and Industry Development publishes regular crypto rankings evaluating various projects in the space based on their own logic. If you want to learn how the global market evaluates cryptocurrencies, you can always check their current price and cap at markets.Bitcoin.com.

Do you think the young generations in China will tip the scales in favor of cryptocurrencies? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram, the most popular messenger in the crypto community, is facing challenges surrounding the launch of its TON blockchain. Following an intervention by the U.S. securities regulator, a court hearing on the sale of the native gram tokens is scheduled to take place a week before the network was expected to go live.

Also read: More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

NY Court to Review SEC Complaint Against TON

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week it had obtained a temporary restraining order for Telegram’s allegedly unregistered coin offering. According to the lawsuit filed by the SEC, the Court for the Southern District of New York will review the case against the messenger’s ICO on October 24.

Telegram’s anticipated initial coin offering (ICO) was conducted privately last year raising $1.7 billion from the sale of 2.9 billion tokens. The commission says investors based in the United States have purchased GRM tokens worth approximately a quarter of that amount, or around $425 million. Two entities, Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. were mentioned in the complaint.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Secondary sales have been held before the coin’s upcoming public release date, which the SEC views as illegal fundraising through an unregistered offering of digital tokens. In one of them, early investor Gram Asia offered to sell its rights to grams on the Japanese exchange Liquid this summer at $4 a token. Private investors paid $1.33 a piece in the second token offering round last spring.

Gram is the native token of the Telegram Open Network (TON), a blockchain that will facilitate smart contracts and decentralized applications. It also aims to provide the users of the instant messenger, over 300 million according to some estimates, with a new digital payment system. Each one of them will get a TON wallet.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

The gram token will be used to pay for services provided by the applications built on the platform. These will include decentralized data storage, TON-based domain names registration, and privacy-oriented features and systems designed to bypass censorship. Grams will be available for external use as well and will be traded on digital assets exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

SEC Lawsuit Likely to Postpone Gram Launch Date

The legal uncertainty accumulated since the SEC announcement has thrown a shadow over the project’s future. In correspondence to investors, TON developers explained they were surprised and disappointed by the regulator’s sudden crackdown, which came after Telegram tried for over a year to acquire the SEC’s position on the offering.

The team is now considering different ways to address the commission’s move and the options include a delayed start. Another possible scenario is to launch a cropped version of the project by the end of the month, as already promised to TON investors. Yakov Barinsky, head of the Russian crypto investment company Hash CIB, commented via Russian media outlet Tass:

My estimate is that TON will be launched with some kind of limited functions and, possibly, the Gram [token] will be blocked. In other words, the protocol will not let the holders transfer Gram between their accounts.

Barinsky emphasized that legal risks will be a key factor determining the launch date. In the press release dated October 11, Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stressed that “We have repeatedly stated that issuers cannot avoid the federal securities laws just by labeling their product a cryptocurrency or a digital token.”

The messaging service has been accused of seeking to obtain the benefits of a public offering without complying with established disclosure responsibilities. Some of its features allow users to communicate privately and regulators fear they won’t be able to know who has invested in gram or trace their future transactions.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram owes its popularity among crypto enthusiasts to the encrypted messaging service it offers. The app was launched in 2013 by the Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, now Telegram CEO, and his elder brother, programmer and mathematician Nikolai Durov. They are also the founders of Vkontakte (VK), which is the most popular Russian social network.

Pavel was dismissed as VK chief executive in 2014 after he reportedly refused to share users’ information with Russian law enforcement. He has since left the country and sold his Vkontakte stake. Moscow imposed a ban on Telegram and tried to restrict access to the app for similar reasons. Durov’s company rejected a request to hand over its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

What do you think will happen with Telegram’s TON blockchain and the gram token? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram, the most popular messenger in the crypto community, is facing challenges surrounding the launch of its TON blockchain. Following an intervention by the U.S. securities regulator, a court hearing on the sale of the native gram tokens is scheduled to take place a week before the network was expected to go live.

Also read: More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

NY Court to Review SEC Complaint Against TON

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week it had obtained a temporary restraining order for Telegram’s allegedly unregistered coin offering. According to the lawsuit filed by the SEC, the Court for the Southern District of New York will review the case against the messenger’s ICO on October 24.

Telegram’s anticipated initial coin offering (ICO) was conducted privately last year raising $1.7 billion from the sale of 2.9 billion tokens. The commission says investors based in the United States have purchased GRM tokens worth approximately a quarter of that amount, or around $425 million. Two entities, Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. were mentioned in the complaint.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Secondary sales have been held before the coin’s upcoming public release date, which the SEC views as illegal fundraising through an unregistered offering of digital tokens. In one of them, early investor Gram Asia offered to sell its rights to grams on the Japanese exchange Liquid this summer at $4 a token. Private investors paid $1.33 a piece in the second token offering round last spring.

Gram is the native token of the Telegram Open Network (TON), a blockchain that will facilitate smart contracts and decentralized applications. It also aims to provide the users of the instant messenger, over 300 million according to some estimates, with a new digital payment system. Each one of them will get a TON wallet.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

The gram token will be used to pay for services provided by the applications built on the platform. These will include decentralized data storage, TON-based domain names registration, and privacy-oriented features and systems designed to bypass censorship. Grams will be available for external use as well and will be traded on digital assets exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

SEC Lawsuit Likely to Postpone Gram Launch Date

The legal uncertainty accumulated since the SEC announcement has thrown a shadow over the project’s future. In correspondence to investors, TON developers explained they were surprised and disappointed by the regulator’s sudden crackdown, which came after Telegram tried for over a year to acquire the SEC’s position on the offering.

The team is now considering different ways to address the commission’s move and the options include a delayed start. Another possible scenario is to launch a cropped version of the project by the end of the month, as already promised to TON investors. Yakov Barinsky, head of the Russian crypto investment company Hash CIB, commented via Russian media outlet Tass:

My estimate is that TON will be launched with some kind of limited functions and, possibly, the Gram [token] will be blocked. In other words, the protocol will not let the holders transfer Gram between their accounts.

Barinsky emphasized that legal risks will be a key factor determining the launch date. In the press release dated October 11, Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stressed that “We have repeatedly stated that issuers cannot avoid the federal securities laws just by labeling their product a cryptocurrency or a digital token.”

The messaging service has been accused of seeking to obtain the benefits of a public offering without complying with established disclosure responsibilities. Some of its features allow users to communicate privately and regulators fear they won’t be able to know who has invested in gram or trace their future transactions.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram owes its popularity among crypto enthusiasts to the encrypted messaging service it offers. The app was launched in 2013 by the Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, now Telegram CEO, and his elder brother, programmer and mathematician Nikolai Durov. They are also the founders of Vkontakte (VK), which is the most popular Russian social network.

Pavel was dismissed as VK chief executive in 2014 after he reportedly refused to share users’ information with Russian law enforcement. He has since left the country and sold his Vkontakte stake. Moscow imposed a ban on Telegram and tried to restrict access to the app for similar reasons. Durov’s company rejected a request to hand over its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

What do you think will happen with Telegram’s TON blockchain and the gram token? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale appeared first on Bitcoin News.

More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

Regulatory barriers are a major concern for businesses working with decentralized assets. Not all governments, however, are putting obstacles in front of crypto companies. In fact the number taking a crypto-friendly stance is in fact increasing.

Also read: Ukraine in a Rush to Legalize Cryptocurrencies Under Zelensky

Executives View Regulations as the Biggest Threat

Government regulations are a determining factor for the business climate crypto companies operate in. A recently published survey conducted among executives from the industry shows that the slow advance in that respect is a major concern. Over half of the respondents, 53% of CEOs polled by venture capital firm Digital Currency Group, singled out the regulatory environment as the main “enemy.” Other threats include a possible economic downturn and cybersecurity risks.

More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

A quarter of the questioned managers admitted that compliance was the greatest challenge they faced last year, while a third stated that the lack of regulatory progress this year surprised them the most. Rules constricting the growth of cryptocurrencies are a much bigger concern to the industry than hacking attacks, for example. The situation can deteriorate even further with policymakers calling for increased oversight in the sector.

Existing regulations in many countries are quite inadequate as they don’t reflect the specifics of crypto-related economic activities, and where new ones are introduced they are often rather hostile. But there are a few notable exceptions, mostly in Europe, like Switzerland, Estonia, Belarus, Malta, and Gibraltar. Authorities in these jurisdictions have taken the lead to establish favorable regulatory frameworks that attract more crypto companies.

Three Countries Make Positive Steps

The number of governments with positive attitudes towards cryptocurrencies and entities working with digital assets is growing, and the crypto community has seen some promising developments over the last few months. These include the adoption of new legislation creating more business-friendly conditions for crypto companies as well presenting a favorable interpretation of tax rules that can save investors money.

Liechtenstein, which is considered by many to be an integral part of the expanding Swiss Crypto Valley, recently adopted a law that aims to clarify the regulatory environment for crypto businesses and attract more of them to the German-speaking principality. The “Token Act,” approved unanimously by its parliament, turns Liechtenstein into a secure location for service providers operating with digital coins and tokenized securities. The tiny Alpine nation hopes to become a major European fintech hub. Several dozen companies from the industry, including entities dealing with cryptocurrencies, are already based or represented in the country.

More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

Regulatory uncertainty can put off businesses and individual investors. But two clarifications issued by Portugal’s tax authority position the country as a crypto tax haven in Europe. In its latest statement on the matter, the regulator said that transactions related to mining, the miner’s reward and its exchange to fiat, should be exempted from VAT. The agency has previously announced that although cryptocurrencies can generate taxable income, gains on their sale or appreciation received by private individuals are not subject to taxation.

Ukraine, which recently elected a younger and more tech-savvy generation of politicians to power, is also embracing cryptocurrencies. There is now a general consensus between government institutions, business circles, and civil society on the need to legalize decentralized digital assets and regulate related economic activities. Several new bills designed to accomplish that goal have been proposed or are currently being finalized. They should provide answers to questions concerning the legal status of cryptocurrencies and taxation in the industry.

If you need a really good example of a crypto-friendly nation, look to Slovenia. Authorities there have a very relaxed policy towards digital currencies. It’s legal in Slovenia to own and trade coins, and capital gains of individual crypto investors are not taxed. Government support has allowed for a thriving crypto industry to develop. One of its members, Eligma, is the startup behind the crypto payment processing platform Elipay which allows in-shop purchases with bitcoin cash (BCH) and other major cryptocurrencies. Mainly thanks to its services, the country now has the most BCH-accepting physical locations in the world, as news.Bitcoin.com reported, numbering over 400.

Do you think more governments will soon follow in the footsteps of these crypto-friendly nations? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Android Tool Lets You Check Crypto Payment Apps for Double-Spends

Android Tool Lets You Check Crypto Payment Apps for Double-Spends

The risk of double-spending has traditionally been a major obstacle to creating and fully using digital money. A flaw of this kind would be detrimental to the credibility of any system claiming to provide universal solutions to the financial needs of our era. Whoever created Bitcoin elegantly solved the difficult task, but a growing ecosystem of related products and services comes with new threats and resurrects the challenge. It isn’t Bitcoin’s fault, but the danger is nevertheless present and a solution is needed.

Also read: Ukraine in a Rush to Legalize Cryptocurrencies Under Zelensky

Paynoway Tests Cryptocurrency Payment Applications

Developers have been working to protect you from some of the risks associated with products that expand the usability and utility of decentralized cryptocurrencies. The creators of a mobile application called Paynoway insist “double-spending is no longer a theoretical possibility but a practical reality.” They are offering software that allows you to verify transactions made through third party apps.

Most of the end-user applications widely available today leave their users vulnerable to being defrauded via double-spend attacks, the developers point out. “Paynoway is a tool that you can use to test the applications that you, or your business, depend on to accept on-chain cryptocurrency payments,” the team behind the app explains.

Android Tool Lets You Check Crypto Payment Apps for Double-Spends

The tool has been developed specifically for Android-based devices and is currently available for free download in the Google Play store. The version that can be installed right now is the app’s initial release. According to the description, the application is still in development but users have been invited to try it and provide feedback.

In its Github repository, Paynoway is described as a mobile app for testing payment systems against double-spend attacks. The program allows users to provide the details of a cryptocurrency transaction and check if it involves double-spending.

Paynoway produces reports about the tested transactions listed with their IDs as well as resolutions corresponding to each individual transfer of digital funds. The type of a transaction is determined as a “payment” or a “double-spend,” and its status is marked as “confirmed” or “invalid” respectively.

Understanding Double-Spends With Crypto

Double-spending in the context of Bitcoin may occur when a user attempts to make more than one transaction with the same amount of money. And since this involves digital files that are generally easier to duplicate, someone may be tempted to try and pay more than once with the same bitcoin.

Android Tool Lets You Check Crypto Payment Apps for Double-Spends

In peer-to-peer transfers, a user can attempt to broadcast two transactions, both of which will go into the unconfirmed transactions pool. But when these transactions are taken out and put into the blockchain they are checked for their validity and the second one won’t get confirmed.

When both transactions are validated simultaneously, two branches of the blockchain occur and a race between them begins. The first transaction to be confirmed in a block wins over the other. The more confirmations a transaction receives, the safer it is to consider complete.

Crypto payment applications provide businesses and individual users with much needed faster transfers which may involve accepting transactions with fewer or even zero confirmations. However, it’s not always guaranteed that a wallet, for example, will be able to detect both the original payment and a double-spend. And that’s where apps such as Paynoway can be useful.

Do you think we are going to see more applications like Paynoway in the future? Tell us in the comments section below.


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