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Don’t call the coin “Ripple”

Ripple developers are actively trying to change the known name for their coin. They claim that there is a difference between their company and XRP, and people should differentiate between the two notions.

XRP and Ripple

Since several months the company has been trying to impose a distinction between the name of their coin and of the company itself. Communities have been created on Twitter and Github where ideas for a new XRP symbol are tackled, which would denote it as a separate currency.

Though the company is trying to implement the distinction, it will become difficult to convince people to perceive and talk about it otherwise.

No direct connection between XRP and Ripple?

The company stated that they are separate bodies with XRP, highlighting the fact that XRP is open source and anybody can modify its code for individual points.

Even though that is true, the third party commits don’t directly influence the XRP ledger. While other industries may take the XRP ledger and change it for their purposes, the notion of Ripple in its name doesn’t attract many.

The connection between Ripple and XRP still remains strong, regarding that the ledger cannot operate without one of company’s servers, without mentioning that the official Ripple.com website mentions their relation all over the place.

How will Ripple come to a agreement?

Many months or even years might pass until the company will reach a consensus with rest of the world. The fastest way would be though dropping all off their assets, which account 55 million in XRP. That remains highly unlikely as nobody wants to remain out of balance, however, Ripple might intensify their actions, which might trigger new debates.

Japanese Company Offers Crypto Loans

Since June the 1st, Japanese company Abic Corporation announced that they will be offering crypto loans. This becomes the first service in Japan that will offer crypto secured loans collateral to country’s currency, Yen.

The Abic Corporation

The Abic corporation was founded in 1973 in Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Until today they offer loans for diverse markets, including real estate.

The Corporation claims that their Bitcoin secured loan service would be the first to act as collateral for people to receive loans in Yen.

Program benefits and terms

The crypto secured loans would benefit the users in many ways, including avoiding unnecessary taxation in their crypto assets. The users will be able to take crypto backed loans and get access to their funds without needing to actually sell them. Diverse markets could thrive grace to this project, including the acquisition of new virtual currencies.

The loans will be available to everybody – businesses and individuals. The loan period starts from one month and goes up to five years. The company will charge 20% annually for negligence. The customers can take loans starting from 2 million yen ranging up to 1 billion. The annual interest rate account about 3% to 15%.

Abic assured that during the time the customers hold their loans in Bitcoin as collateral, they will still receive any forked coins during that period. The company claims that their aim is to assure a correct division of assets.

Recently, the Japan’s National Tax Agency revealed that about 100 million yen from hundreds of taxpayers were declared as amounts in cryptocurrencies, which is considered as miscellaneous income. Over a longer period of time, taxation for progressive miscellaneous income can reach 55%.

Crypto Lending Becomes Popular

Over the past months, cryptocurrency lending has become very popular, with many companies developing their own technology in order to keep up with the pace of the industry. Salt Lending is a project that empowers the users to take crypto-backed loans. It has already issued over one million deals, and as the interest is growing, new companies start to tap the ground of the so-called crypto-to-cash lending.

What is Crypto-to-Cash lending?

The crypto-to-cash lending is a new business model has been formed in the recent years. It allows the users to lend their virtual coins without selling them. Over the past years, it has been growing in popularity, and now some of the industry’s biggest players have entered the game.

Tech giants enter the scene

A startup company called Nexo has raised $50Million USD to offer digital currency loans on their cash lending platform. Users will be able to take instant credits without credit checks. Their website states that they are to become the first firm to offer instant crypto loans.

Another project is Salt Lending. It is a blockchain project built on the Ethereum network. It has been around for a while now, but it has become much more popular in the last couple of months, accounting as much as over $40 million in issued loans. The borrowers can get their crypto back from the moment the loans are paid back.

Unchained Capital is a company that offers crypto-to-cash loans to individuals and businesses. The funds are issued to the user’s bank accounts, and the loan is paid on a monthly basis. The customers must provide Bitcoin Core in exchange. Loans without a credit check can go up to $1 million, with a 50% loan credit appropriation.

Crypto loans on the height

The crypto-to-cash model becomes popular due to its unique benefits. Often, the loans don’t require credit checks. Another advantage is the ability to take loans without needing to pay back the capital gains. Grace to this, individuals and businesses can save on governmental taxes.

Many startups have already entered the industry, which is bound to stimulate its further growth.

Reddit to Bring Back Cryptocurrency Payments

Reddit has stated the reintroducing of cryptocurrency payments after its recent removal. In an interview with website’s company chief technology officer, Chris Slowe, he was announced that they will reintroduce cryptocurrencies back as a payment method.

Interview with Cheddar

Media outlet Cheddar interviewed Reddit CTO Chris Slowe on May 3rd. In the interview, he explained the reasons behind removing cryptocurrency payments in the past and mentioned that they will be adding the payment method back on the website soon.

The BTC payment was previously removed due to large transaction fees, and the “Coinbase change”. After that, only PayPal payments remained available. However, the company is now reintroducing crypto payments, which will allow the users to pay for its premium membership, Reddit Gold, with BTC and other cryptocurrencies.

Slowe stated that Coinbase was their main payment processing source, so they decided to reintegrate the platform’s interface. Soon Reddit will bring back the cryptocurrencies offered by Coinbase, and some of the first to be implemented will be Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

Bullish markets

Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian has stated in another interview that most of their work in the next couple of years will consist of building the infrastructure around their software and blockchain. He commented that the markets would be bullish this year, predicting $20,000 for Bitcoin and $15 000 for ETH by the end of this year.

Coincheck Records Profit in Spite of January Hack

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck has already recorded profit since revealing the hack for 58 billion yen worth of NEM (approx. $530 million) just a couple months earlier.

Currently, the exchange has made more than 62 billion yen in sales with an operating profit of 53.7 billion yen. Its total net profit has reached 6.3 billion yen ($58 million).

Monex enters the game

Coincheck is a subsidiary of one of the biggest Japanese brokerage companies, Monex Group. The company acquired Coincheck after the hack, at the price of about $34 million. The moment was highly suitable for the firm, as under other circumstances the price might have been a couple digits longer.

Monex has released Coincheck’s revenues, which include earnings from 13 handled cryptocurrencies.

In addition, Monex has announced that their own in-house blockchain application will be launched soon.

Profit came prior to hack

Most of the profit was still made before the hack in January. As the exchange was hit, it couldn’t operate fully during the February and March period. They still issued about 500 million yen ($4.5 million) in this time.

Victims hit with tax

The exchange repaid about 260 thousand of their customers. However, as the victims received their funds back, they were hit with taxes. Now, the National Tax Agency has added a new rule in their FAQ. It cites that getting compensation equals to selling a virtual currency and is treated as miscellaneous income, which is not exempted to taxation.

80% of Bitcoins are Mined

On April 28th the blockchain technology has reached a relevant milestone by mining 17 millions of Bitcoins and Bitcoin Cash. This makes up roughly 80% of the whole mineable Bitcoin amount.

The mining goes on

There are 4 million coins still left to be mined. While the figure isn’t high, compared to the mined 17 million, the remaining coins will be more difficult to process. This is due to the fact that the reward per each mined block is halved after every four years. At this time the Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash networks are producing 12.5 coins per mined block. The next halving point will take place in two years, by May 29th, 2020.

Another moment is the increasing difficulty per each mined block. After every 2016 blocks, the mining difficulty amplifies, which leads to a higher power required to find the next blocks.

Future vision

From 21 million possible existing coins, 17 million were mined in less than 10 years. It might seem like it won’t take that long for the next 4 million, however, the current calculations predict that the last Bitcoin block would be mined by 2140.

The predictions will coincide if the current mining pattern continues to be used. However, there are a lot of factors that could throttle or speed up the process.

Not far, but a great result

As for the current period, there have been times when the Bitcoin was mined too fast or too slow. Currently, Bitcoin Cash has more coins in circulation and there are more processed blocks compared to Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash is still mined at only 14% of Bitcoin’s difficulty. The figure might change dramatically in the next couple of years.

Even though there is still a long way towards the last mined Bitcoin, 80% marks a significant milestone for the blockchain technology.

Wikileaks Account Suspended by Coinbase

The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has suspended the Wikileaks online store account for infringing their Terms of Service.

Infamous website Wikileaks announced on April 20th that Coinbase has closed their account without any notice. The exchange sent them a letter, highlighting that they should “implement regulatory compliance mechanisms”.

Wikileaks’ shop is selling various merchandise, mainly accessories such as phone cases, mugs and some of their branded clothing.

The closing of their account’s means that Wikileaks won’t be able to collect any more payments through the service.

In answer to that, Wikileaks announced on Twitter that they “will call for a global blockade of the exchange, as they are an unfit member of the crypto community”.

A Coinbase representative refrained from giving any detail, noting that they “don’t comment on individual accounts”.

The move became ironical, as Wikileaks attracted many users into Bitcoin trading in 2010. In that period, PayPal, Visa, and banks rejected partnerships with Wikileaks. Its existence was supported by crypto donations and their activity on the exchanges. Now, Coinbase is walking in the steps of traditional payment methods by stopping their support of Wikileaks.

The exchange has stated that their merchant services are currently undergoing a change. They shall not support custodial merchant processing solutions, which will be substituted with a free, non-custodial solution.

Andreas Antonopoulos, writer of best-selling books Mastering Bitcoin and Mastering Ethereum, among others, commented that this action wouldn’t have any substantial effect, as there are many other crypto exchanges around to support websites like Wikileaks.

EU Strengthens Crypto Regulations

An agreement within European Parliament aims to introduce stricter regulations for cryptocurrency owners.

A scrutiny that tackled terrorism financing and money laundering was issued on April 19th. According to the EU press release, it resulted in 574 positive, 13 negative votes, and 60 abstentions.

The new regulations will pursue to end the anonymity on crypto exchanges and platforms. Wallet users will have to go through rigorous identity verification procedures, which will be required by the wallet providers in order to increase security and transparency.  Service providers like wallets, crypto debit cards, trading platforms, and exchanges will have to be approved by the local authorities in order to become compliant with the new laws.

European representatives commented that the new legislation is a measure against potential terrorist attacks. The co-reporter, Krisjanis Karins, stated that the regulations would help reduce the threats posed to citizens by revealing more information behind firms and tightening the rules for cryptocurrencies.

Another co-reporter, Judith Sargentini, added that “billions of euros are lost due to money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism, which are the money to fund the infrastructure”.

Virtual currencies aren’t the only ones that fall under the new restrictions.  The threshold for prepaid cards will be reduced from €250 to €150.

EU states will have 18 months to transpose the new regulations. This will take place three days after the new Anti-Money Laundering Directive will be published in the European Union’s Official Journal.

Many members of the European Union have already applied internal regulations. Several governments have come to decisions to legalize cryptocurrencies in order to tax the gains. At the moment, the tax rates in Europe vary from 0 to 50 percent.

Yahoo! Japan to Open a Crypto Exchange

Yahoo! Japan has announced its own crypto exchange that is to be launched in the fall of 2018.

Following the recent suspension of more crypto exchanges within Japan, Yahoo! took several measures to ensure a successful start. They negotiated with Bitrag, an exchange that is licensed by the Financial Services Agency. Yahoo! Japan also acquired a 40% stake from the Bitrag.

In March, Bitrag has denied any cooperation related to Yahoo! Japan’s investment plans, but as of April 13th, Bitrag has confirmed the acceptance of a Z Corporations investment, which is a subsidiary of Yahoo! Japan.

The exchange has been operating since May 2017 but has suspended their activity after only three months of trading. In December 2017, Bitrag received its license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency, which allowed them to trade Bitcoin. However, Bitrag has since not given any statement about resuming their service.

The Financial Services Agency has tightened the regulations for entering the crypto space. After the hacks on crypto exchanges in the recent months, it will be harder for companies to receive FSA approval.

Since 1996, Yahoo! Japan has been working to keep their top position in the country’s Internet industry. Unlike in the west, Yahoo! is still one of the most used search engines in Japan. It is also one of the market leaders in the e-commerce branch, along with Japan’s number one, Rakuten.  Their entering in the crypto space might impose new headlines in the corporative competition.

 

These Countries Have Crypto-friendly Taxation Policies

Most governments are harsh on crypto investors, imposing limitations and high taxes for those who own or actively trade cryptocurrencies. However, there are still some that give their crypto community more freedom by loosening the taxation policies.

Jurisdictions around the world are still working on implementing stricter laws concerning crypto taxation. In the US, several states are focused on becoming more crypto-friendly. Georgia and Arizona might become among the first states to accept tax payments in Bitcoin.

The EU is pretty inconsistent when it comes to cryptocurrency policies. The crypto taxation is 0% in some countries, while in others it reaches as much as 50%. Belarus still exempts cryptocurrencies, while Lithuania is already on the move to impose new laws, while Russia collects 13% tax from the citizens’ crypto incomes. You don’t owe any taxes for trading in cryptocurrencies if you are an individual investor in Denmark. However, fintech companies aren’t exempted from taxation. Germany has approved some laws regarding the crypto taxation, since Bitcoin was confirmed as a currency by the Federal Ministry of Finance. Purchasing Bitcoin touches Germany’s VAT policy, but long-term investments are exempt from taxation.

South Korea has been a crypto investors’ paradise for several years now, but things might change in the near future. The country is not taxing crypto gains at the moment of press, but it is currently in the process of adopting new laws regarding cryptocurrency investments. It is still unclear whether these new laws will make it easier or harder to trade and own Bitcoin in South Korea.

Other crypto-friendly environments include Singapore, Canada, and Belarus.

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