Led 31

Bitcurex: Owner ‘Disappears’ After Failing to Return 2,300 BTC

· January 31, 2017 · 8:00 am

Poland’s oldest exchange Bitcurex has mysteriously “disappeared” with users losing access to capital and locking 2,300 bitcoins out of users’ hands.


2,300 BTC Gone Forever

Local news sources report that following problems reaching back to October, the platform has now ceased operation altogether, with staff failing to release clear information.

Only social media pages survive, while it appears that a Polish public prosecutor investigation instigated by the exchange is no nearer returning lost funds.

qykxy1smxvmp7dgy97t5

Bitcurex’s problems began when an attack caused accounts to become unusable for customers. It subsequently transpired that “external interference in automated data collection and processing of information” meant all bitcoins on the platform had gone, Gazeta.pl reports, adding:

One thing is for certain: all the bitcoins in the Bitcurex portfolio have disappeared.

Owners’ Houdini Impression Continues

The exchange’s owners have meanwhile been making a name for themselves for the wrong reasons. Following the initial issues, hardly any official information has surfaced, while users are appealing to each other for leads regarding their identity.

“Anyone got any leads on an owner bitcurex or his next of kin?” one post on Bitcurex’s still live Facebook page read Monday.

Lawyers are also getting involved on the page, offering advice for those affected by the loss of funds.

Similarly, Gazeta postulates that this month’s final disappearance had deliberately fraudulent motives, coming as it did prior to a major uptick in Bitcoin’s price. Evidence for this theory is lacking, however.

Vanbex

The loss of funds marks the final fallout from another of 2016’s exchange casualties. Overall, at least eleven major hacks were recorded last year, underlining the continuing security issues faced by exchanges, as well as trust issues faced by the community, which have been touched on by commentators such as Andreas Antonopoulos.

Bitcoinist reiterates to readers never to leave bitcoins on platforms operated by third-parties, such as exchanges of any sort, which they do not control themselves.

“Not your private keys, not your bitcoin,” should be the mantra of every Bitcoin user. 

It is interesting to note that Bitcurex’s fall from grace was precipitous. Just in July, the company added what it described as a “certified compliance department” to its outfit, ostensibly to ensure stable operations in line with relevant governmental legislation such as AML and KYC requirements.

Launched in 2012 in the Polish city of Lodz, the exchange processed over $50 million worth of BTC transactions in its final six months.

What do you think about the loss of Bitcurex? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Crunchbase

Show comments

Share
Led 30

Czech Republic Moves to Clamp Down on Bitcoin ‘Anonymity’

· January 30, 2017 · 7:30 am

The Czech Republic has opted to clamp down on Bitcoin anonymity as part of a range of regulations, which are expected to continue in the coming years.


Regulation-Free Czech Crypto Ends

From January 2017, the government and European Commission have been underlining the need for exchanges to perform suitable KYC checks on customers. Prior to this, cryptocurrencies were officially unregulated.

“This puts new obligations on exchanges and other service providers with virtual money, local news resource Právní rádce reports. It continues,

These institutions must now determine the identity of their customers. This means that they must get their ID, containing the name and social security number of the client, their gender, citizenship, and address. There is no longer any option for customers of bitcoin exchanges to hide behind false names or nicknames.

Prague is one of the easiest locations in Europe to live on Bitcoin as a day-to-day currency, with at least 80 locations accepting the cryptocurrency for a wide range of everyday goods and services.

Prague

Talk of an increasingly formal regulatory atmosphere is thus already ruffling feathers.

“The whole ecosystem is young, alive, and every day new ideas and combinations of old ones appear within it. I’m afraid that regulation will go over the top and unnecessarily hurt innovation, which in the future may be fundamentally cheapen, simplify and secure the everyday cash transaction,” crypto analyst Dominik Stroukal commented.

Community Worries About Overkill

Pavel Niedoba, CEO of exchange Simplecoin, noted that large transactions moving through exchanges were already routinely reported to authorities as suspicious, but that the numbers of such transactions had increased 30% in 2016.

However, the accounting headaches Bitcoin sales created over the past few years, he acknowledges, as problematic for businesses. Fluctuations in price have meant that every transaction must be accounted for in tax returns, and these varied considerably.

“Especially in the early days it was difficult to set up suitable tax processes,” he said. “In 2014, we paid twice more for accounting than in taxes.”

polis

While there is little talk of an overnight change in the country’s Bitcoin scene, tales of woe are already surfacing.

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Finance inspected Prague-based Bitcoin cafe and hackerspace Paralelni Polis, which has refused to submit to new laws requiring all transactions to be sent to a centralized database.

What do you think about the Czech Repulic’s new laws? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, paralelnipolis.cz

Show comments

Share
Led 29

Big Changes in 2017 Will Shape the Future of Cryptocurrencies

· January 29, 2017 · 5:00 am

2017 will be the year where many more substantial changes happen. These changes will affect the future of cryptocurrencies.


Big Changes in 2017

We’ve seen some great developments across the cryptocurrency landscape these past few years. Recent changes have made the cryptocurrency scene even livelier than anticipated.

As reported before, more than 2.3 billion people can now shop on Amazon using Bitcoin. New regulations are being put in place by Europol, Interpol and the Basel Institute to protect Bitcoin exchanges and users.

2017 will be the year where many more substantial changes happen. These changes will affect the future of cryptocurrencies. To help you prepare for this exciting year, here are some of the biggest changes to anticipate.

More Emphasis on Privacy

Bitcoin was never the most private cryptocurrency on the market. The nature of Bitcoin means each Bitcoin address can still be tied to an individual if the address is linked to an account or other identifiable information. When this happens, it is easy to dig up a lot of information about the owner of the Bitcoin address.

Bitcoin Privacy

A recent discussion in Bitcointalk Forum revealed that a payment recipient can find out more about the sender’s spending habits and calculate the amount of Bitcoin the sender actually has just by retracing a single payment. All that is needed is a linked Bitcoin address. This is a problem that has been haunting Bitcoin for a while.

In the future, cryptocurrencies such as Monero will gain more traction due to the way they are set up for maximum privacy. Monero is already enjoying a boost in value due to its immensely private nature. More merchants in the Dark Web are now using Monero to handle their transactions.

Cryptocurrency in Education

It is also interesting to note that cryptocurrencies are beginning to be seen as investment opportunities and legitimate transaction methods beyond their digital boundaries. Universities such as Ohio University and the master of financial economics programs they provide are already hosting classes about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Some colleges are also allowing students to pay for their online MFE degree using bitcoin.

20060417-cutler-hall

The move is a good sign that cryptocurrency is going mainstream. We already have thousands of offline merchants accepting Bitcoin payments today. It won’t be long before major corporations and brands begin to integrate cryptocurrencies into their transaction workflows.

The rapid growth of Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, and other popular currencies has also attracted investors who are buying into cryptocurrencies solely for investment purposes. These investments are yet to make a big impact on the value of cryptocurrencies, but this year’s addition may change that.

Bigger Capacity

One last potential issue that has been looming over the use of cryptocurrencies is capacity. The blockchain issues we had earlier last year already showed how capacity can still be an issue. Fortunately, newer algorithms and better programming loops are being implemented to expand the reach of cryptocurrencies outside its current limitations.

Bitcoinist_cargo_Shipping

All of these changes are very good for the future of cryptocurrency and they will be taking shape in 2017. There are still more steps to complete before cryptocurrencies can truly go mainstream, but we’ll be seeing a lot of progress happening this year.

Will these three areas be the main focus for cryptocurrencies in 2017? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Ohio.edu

Show comments

Share
Led 28

UFC Fight Night Denver: Shevchenko vs. Peña – Bet with Bitcoin

· January 28, 2017 · 7:00 am

Let’s have a look at this week’s UFC fight card and recap the NFL playoff picks from last week to see how we did with our Bitcoin bets. 


Last week, the NFL playoffs came to an end. Now, the Atlanta Falcons will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. To Meryl Streep’s delight there are no NFL games this weekend, but to her disgust, there is a UFC card, and it is stacked. But first, let’s review our last week’s NFL picks…

Last Week’s NFL Picks Recap

The Atlanta Falcons destroyed the Green Bay Packers with a final score of 21-44. The Packers had too many dropped balls and turnovers. In the playoffs, you can not drop that many passes and turnover the ball that much if you want to win.

There was also a crucial turnover when Green Bay fumbled the ball in the red zone. There was enough scoring on both sides that the over 60 was no problem for the game total. In the second half, Aaron Rodgers took the matter into his own hands running for first downs rather than passing to his receivers that were dropping passes left and right.

My picks went 1-1 for this game, Green Bay +4.5 was a loss and over 60 points game total was a win.

The Patriots dominated the Steelers most of the game. In the third quarter, the Patriots sealed the deal with 16 unanswered points. All of the under 50 total points bettors were getting nervous, and then it happened. The Steelers got a touchdown and then, of course, the Patriots answered back with a touchdown and then the under was toast. 1-1 on this game too: Patriots -6 win under 50 points total loss

Picks record for the NFL playoffs is 3-3

Fight Night: Donald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal

Masvidal is coming off a first-round knockout of Jake Ellenberger. After three fights in a row going the distance, this was a noticeable change in Masvidal’s tempo. He is known for being a very technical striker preferring to counterstrike and has lost some close decisions perhaps because his opponent was more active. Masvidal has solid take downs and takedown defense but is known for his stand up.

cerrone

In this fight, he will need to put Cerrone under pressure and back him up. After moving to the 170 lbs. division, Cerrone has been on fire. He is on a four win fight streak finishing all fights in the distance. This fight should take place standing and Cerrone needs to put Masvidal under pressure. If Cerrone stays active and initiates the striking exchanges, I have a feeling that it will be a long night for Masvidal. I do not see Masvidal being able to get Cerrone to back up or that he will be able to out point Cerrone on his feet and get a decision.

Pick: Cerrone 1.62 at Cloudbet

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Peña

This fight will likely determine the next opponent to fight Nunes for the title. Shevchenko is a highly decorated striker with multiple kickboxing titles. In this fight, her takedown defense will be put to the test. Against Nunes, she had some problems defending the takedown and was not able to do much until round three when Nunes was tired. When she fought Kaufmann in her UFC debut, she surprised many by taking her down in round one. That fight ended with Kaufmann on top in mount.

julianna-pena

Although Shevchenko has shown takedown defense, I do not think it will be enough to stop Peña from getting her down. Since the main threat from Peña is the takedown, this will also make it harder for Shevchenko to use her kicks. When the main part of the fight is up against the cage and on the ground that is the kind of fight Peña wants.

Although Shevchenko is a decorated striker, we have not seen her put anyone away in her UFC career. Peña has shown that she is one of the strongest wrestlers in the division. She rag dolled the strong Cat Zingano in her last victory at UFC 200. Shevchenko’s lack of ability to get up once taken down makes me think this is going to be a long night for her.

Pick: Peña 2.26 at Cloudbet

This fight card also features 17 year MMA veteran Arlovski against up coming Ngannou as well as Alex-Caceres “Bruce Lee Roy” against Jason Knight.

Moreover, next weekend is the Super Bowl. Be sure to drop by as I go over the game and some of the more interesting prop bets that are offered. Once again, our preferred Bitcoin sports betting portal is Cloudbet, which offers some of the best odds on the market.

[Full disclosure: Cloudbet is an advertiser on Bitcoinist.com]

What are your picks for UFC Fight Night Denver? Let us know in the comments below


Images courtesy of  ufc.com, heavy.com

Show comments

Share
Led 27

Changelly is Integrated into the Official NEM/XEM Wallet

· January 27, 2017 · 3:00 am

1,057 views

January 24, 2017 – Changelly, an instant cryptocurrency exchange, keeps boosting popularity by integrating its tools into new projects. The Changelly exchange widget has been implemented into the Nano Wallet – official wallet of NEM/XEM, a new prospective blockchain technology.

[Note: This is a paid press release]


What’s NEM?

NEM is a new promising p2p blockchain platform fueled with XEM coins. The platform provides fast and secure services for large enterprises. One of the key features on NEM is a low entry barrier for developers, which allows to easily deploy blockchain technologies into daily life. The technology has already been tested by the largest Japanese trust bank.

NEM-logo

Over the last year, the capitalization of XEM has risen more than 2000%. NEM is currently creating its next generation update, the Catapult technology, together with a Japanese startup named Tech Bureau, which raised 6.2 mln USD of investments.

Instant exchange option

Changelly provides a great feature to send bitcoins and a wide range of altcoins directly to the NEM/XEM Nano Wallet. By using a special interface tab with Changelly widget, a user may send Bitcoins to the provided address. They are instantly converted into XEM and top up a user’s account. VISA/Mastercard direct payments are available, as well.

Quotes Jeff McDonald (Head of NEM marketing) stated:

With this feature, a user may instantly buy any amount of XEM without jumping into the tricky and complicated interface of other trading platforms.

chang

“We are glad to provide instant exchange option for such reputable company on the blockchain market,” adds  CEO Konstantin Gladych.

About Changelly

Being presented about 2 years on the market, Changelly provides instant and safe cryptocurrency transactions without amount restrictions. The service has about 100 thousand active users, which make up to 1000 transactions daily.

Changelly offers an instant exchange API and widgets with crypto and fiat payment options. They can be integrated into crypto wallets, merchant websites, ICO platforms and other crypto businesses. Changelly has already partnered with DECENT, FreeWallet, CoinMarketCap, NAVCoin, WINGS and other platforms.

Contacts: Maret Avik, brand manager Email: marketing@changelly.com

Official website: https://changelly.com


Images courtesy of Changelly, Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Led 26

Venezuela Arrests 4 Bitcoin Miners as Trading Highs Continue

· January 26, 2017 · 6:00 am

1,094 views

Venezuela has arrested a group of Bitcoin miners for allegedly “affecting stability” of the country’s electricity supply.


Thirsty Work Causes Problems for Miners

As reported in local news resource Criptonoticias, four people running 300 machines to mine bitcoins are now in custody in Charallave, Miranda province.

The Venezuelan Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Corps said that the operation, which also involved the selling of bitcoins on the country’s border, was having a negative impact on the national grid.

conasgnb2

“The modus operandi of these citizens was as follows: through the Internet they had more than 300 miners Antminers to obtain Bitcoins, which they later monetized using a commercial website,” Corps director Douglas Rico commented.

They then went on to market them on the Colombian Venezuelan border in Cúcuta, affecting the consumption and stability of electricity services in the area.

Mining Becomes Gray Area

Facing crumbling finances and a currency shake-up, it is no surprise that the demand for bitcoins and the authorities’ urge to protect resources is resulting in clashes. Despite there being no explicit laws against Bitcoin mining in Venezuela, it appears that even a relatively modest setup can be enough to overstep the mark.

Images from the offenders’ Instagram account show them to be using Bitmain Antminers which “appear to be of the S4 model, while others appear to be SP31 / 35 of the deceased company Spondoolies Tech (sic),” Criptonoticias continues.

1414588500_antminer-05

It is reported that a previous arrest of Bitcoin mining personnel in March 2016 resulted in a three-month detention followed by release.

While Trading Breaks New Records

Strangely, it is not everywhere that Bitcoin usage is being singled out by law enforcement, despite the ongoing economic chaos in the area.

As Bitcoinist reported in December, one online travel agent has even opted to abandon Venezuela’s fiat currency, the Bolivar, altogether and accept only Bitcoin for payment. The company, Destinia, stated it “had decided to operate exclusively in Bitcoins in order to further facilitate reservations by local travelers.”

Trading volumes meanwhile also continue to strengthen in the face of factors affecting Bitcoin such as China. Data from Coin Dance based on Localbitcoins shows the week ending January 21 was one of the biggest on record for Venezuela, volumes advancing again following fervent activity around the new year period. 

coin-dance-localbitcoins-vef-volume-4

The trend is being broadly repeated across other South American markets, with Chile and Brazil also climbing throughout January.

What do you think about the authorities’ arrests of Bitcoin miners in Venezuela? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin.dance, cryptomining.net, g4svenezuela.wordpress.com

Show comments

Share
Led 25

PBOC to ‘Continue Focus’ on Exchanges as Volumes Plummet

· January 25, 2017 · 7:00 am

Bitcoin’s price dropped slightly after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) published a summary of its findings after inspecting major Chinese exchanges.


PBoC: ‘Continued Focus’ on Exchange Activities

“According to the initial inspection and the problems found, the inspection group decided to continue to focus on payment and settlement, anti-money laundering, foreign exchange management, information and financial security and other aspects of further inspection,” the translated statement reads.

Investigators suggested that investors should pay attention to Bitcoin platform transactions, such as legal compliance, market volatility, financial security and other risks, careful participation in Bitcoin investment activities.

The Bitcoin price had remained largely unfazed as new Chinese exchange fees caused trading volumes to crash by over 90% in 24 hours.

Following reported criticism by a regulatory inspectorate last week, major Chinese exchanges BTCC, Okcoin and Huobi all implemented a 0.2% trading fee Monday to “curb manipulation and extreme volatility,” as BTCC described it.

The move hit China’s giant automated trading market, which had previously enjoyed zero-fee transactions.

Figures now show that for all three exchanges, trading has decreased in volume by roughly 90%.

Far from causing panic, many are suggesting the move will remove volatility from Bitcoin’s price for good, given that China’s toll-free environment had previously comprised up to 98% of trading.

While mainstream media attempted to spread its oft-quoted doom and gloom, BTCC COO Samson Mow said the publicity was simply “good for Bitcoin.”

Former Bitcoin Foundation Director Jon Matonis added that Chinese exchanges had effectively “taken one for the team,” however, echoing comments by a local Bitcoin hedge fund owner that they were “cutting off their aim to stay alive.”

Japan Overtakes China

Commentators on social media continued the positive speculation, citing “organic growth” and less manipulation making Bitcoin more appealing for wary investors in the long term.

These could potentially include instruments such as Bitcoin ETFs, the first of which has spent three years awaiting US regulatory approval and is still considered by analysts to have slim chances of slipping through the net.

Meanwhile, statistics are providing interesting reading in terms of how the Bitcoin trading landscape could look in the future. As Bitcoinist reported previously, Japan’s exchange scene had reached the number two spot prior to the Chinese drop, and volumes in the country are now topping global charts, beating even the US.

What do you think about the People’s Bank of China’s latest announcement and the impact of lower Chinese trading volumes? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Led 24

2.3 Billion People Can Now Use Bitcoin on Amazon

· January 24, 2017 · 7:00 am

Almost 2.3 Billion people can now shop on Amazon without a computer or a bank account following Purse.io’s Android app launch. 


Shopping with Bitcoin on Amazon Now Available to 2.3 Billion

Following the launch of its iOS app, Purse.io has now released the Android version for its platform, enabling billions to shop on Amazon with Bitcoin on the most popular smartphone operating system with over 1.4 billion users globally.

1111

With both operating systems supported, the number of people globally that can now use this service is now around 2.3 billion and expected to reach 2.8 billion by 2020, according to Statista. 

Purse announced:

We’re excited to formally announce the arrival of our official Purse Android app! We released our iOS app back in November […]. So, of course had to spread the love to the largest and most widely used mobile operating system in the world, Android.

Although the online retail giant does not accept Bitcoin directly, Purse.io matches buyers with gift card holders creating an extremely powerful use-case: online shopping. Furthermore, it enables those who don’t have a bank account or credit card to use the Amazon e-commerce platform, even if they don’t have a computer. The service also lets merchants register their Purse account and sell directly on the platform.

Needless to say, all items from Amazon that are purchased on Purse.io are cheaper than the ones listed on Amazon itself. Not only because of Bitcoin’s smaller transaction fees but also because it provides a gift card/bitcoin exchange market as well as significant discounts

How does Purse.io work?

Sellers can create a free or paid account on Purse.io and list their items for sale. Once a purchase takes place, Purse.io will act as an escrow until the transaction is complete. The Purse system allows merchants and buyers (depending on the payment system) to save a lot on transaction and conversion fees.

However, the most ingenious feature in Purse.io is its Amazon alternative. Purse.io matches shoppers buyers with gift card holders. Since gift cards are usually unredeemable, this creates an alternative for those that don’t want to use their gift cards.

purse instant

Then, the shopper can select a product he wants from Amazon, create a wishlist for it on Purse.io and name his discount or accept the one available. Gift card holders will then take the order and use the gift card to purchase the item. The gift card holder receives Bitcoin for the card he could not redeem previously and the buyer receives the item, creating a win-win environment.

This means that if you have extra gift cards you don’t want, you can also take advantage of the Purse.io system to exchange them for Bitcoin at a discount.

Bitcoin & Amazon

Despite third-party services like Purse.io, Amazon still does not accept Bitcoin as a payment method. There are a few evident motives as to why Amazon has yet to integrate Bitcoin into its e-commerce platform, including volatility and the lack of refund options for Bitcoin. 

However, online retailers like Overstock.com and Newegg.com have demonstrated that Bitcoin can be used as a viable payment system, while OpenBazaar has even built a decentralized e-commerce platform that accepts only Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment.

Some speculate that Amazon already has deals in place with major credit card companies, an advantage it would lose over smaller online retailers if they start dealing with Bitcoin. Another theory is that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos does not like Bitcoin due to his political views on the unregulated and anonymous nature of Bitcoin.

In 2014, Amazon stated that it would not accept Bitcoin due to the lack of interest from customers, which it still could in the future if Bitcoin’s user-base grows. But if the e-commerce giant, which comprises about 15% of total U.S. consumer online sales, according to the company’s statements and the Department of Commerce, begins to accept it, then we can safely say that Bitcoin has finally become mainstream.

Will Purse.io push adoption forward? Will Amazon ever add Bitcoin to its list of accepted payment systems? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of ShutterStock, amazon.com, Purse.io, Statista

Show comments

Share
Led 23

Tallinn to Host First Major Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Conference

· January 23, 2017 · 6:11 am

On March 9, 2017, Tallinn will host the conference dedicated to the blockchain application in business and management – Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn. 


Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn

On March, 9 the event management company “Smile-Expo” is holding the first large blockchain conference in Estonia. Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference is a net of Blockchain events taking place in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev and Prague.

tn_4_14816968336474_image_1

The event will focus on Estonian and foreign projects implementing Blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Experts will share their experience of implementing Blockchain in governmental institutions (Govtech), banking system, trading, media, healthcare and other spheres.

Attendees will discuss all the aspects of creating innovative IT products – from the emergence of idea to entering the market.

The main participants are IT developers, entrepreneurs, investors, software and equipment manufacturers. The speakers are managers of the well-known companies and representatives of governmental authorities.

Participants include Kaspar Korjus, Managing Director of the world’s first international identification platform, whose name is on the first place in Forbes fintech rating.

The event’s curator Pavel Likhomanov said:

Becoming interested in blockchain in 2015, we haven’t even supposed how comprehensive it would be in a year. After conferences in Moscow, Kiev and Prague, we have found a lot of partners and permanent speakers. Many of them will come with us in Tallinn.

Others speakers will include Karolina Marzantowicz, IBM leading engineer (Poland), Jon Matonis, researcher of electronic currency and founder of Bitcoin Foundation, and Lasha Antadze, developer of blockchain-based electronic auctions on public property lease and sale.

Visitors will be able to attend the exhibition zone, where companies present their products such as software and hardware for the Bitcoin industry.

Details and registration on the website: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Tallinn.


Images courtesy of lonelyplanet, tallinn.blockchainconf.world

Show comments

Share
Led 22

Bitcoin is Being Increasingly Regulated Across the Globe

· January 22, 2017 · 4:00 am

Countries are reiterating tax specifications as Bitcoin becomes increasingly regulated around the globe amid rising price and popularity. 


Bitcoin Taken Seriously, Increasingly Regulated

Starting the year in the $1,000 USD range, Bitcoin has had an eventful month and January isn’t even over yet! So far, we’ve seen many countries take a new stance on Bitcoin in regard to regulations and taxes.

Although this may cause some commotion in the short-term, as seen with the Public Bank of China inspections, which led to a crash in the price, it’s actually great news for Bitcoin. It means countries are taking Bitcoin seriously (as they should), allowing it to intermingle with their traditional economies, rather than considering national bans.

Although we doubt that Bitcoin will be chosen as the official currency by any country in the near future, 2017 may hold great things for Bitcoin. Below are just some of the countries, who have recently reiterated their stance or are starting to consider regulating virtual currencies.

Poland

In Poland, Bitcoin miners were subject to a 23% VAT when selling the cryptocurrency. This is because mining was considered a service and the act of selling Bitcoin was subject to a fee for this service.

Even recently, in November 2016, a case in the city of Poznan led the Finance Minister to rule that the sale of bitcoins is an act subject to VAT as a supply of services.

poland

However, a recent case in January where a company issued foreign customers invoices in U.S dollars to be paid in Bitcoin led the country to revisit the subject. The Minister of Finance decided that the action selling bitcoins, for which the taxpayer occasionally received as compensation for services rendered, does not constitute an economic activity. Thus, Bitcoin is not subject to VAT.

The Minister pointed out that the sale of virtual currency would be taxed only if the company conducted professional activity in this field (eg. currency, banking services) and charged a commission fee for doing so.

The decision was based on the ruling of the European Court of Justice in October 2015, which stated that bitcoin transactions are exempt from the consumption tax since Bitcoin is used as a means of payment and not as a commodity.

Israel

The Israeli Tax Authority, however, has taken a different stance on the subject and has classified Bitcoin as taxable asset, and not as a currency or payment system.

A new document issued by the Israel Tax Authority on January 12th states that Bitcoin, Litecoin and other virtual currencies are considered neither as currencies or financial securities and are instead taxable assets that are subject to capital gains tax and value added tax (VAT).

israel

Individuals will be required to pay the capital gains tax of 25% every time they sell a cryptocurrency. Companies and individuals that are trading, marketing or mining bitcoin will be taxed as a business and must charge their clients a 17% VAT. Companies that accept Bitcoin payments, will need to classify the exchange as barter, which will lead to extra paperwork for the company.

The document was issued in response to the repeated questions from cryptocurrency users in the country. Although the new tax laws will make the life of cryptocurrency users harder, the regulatory landscape has at least emerged from the uncertain gray area.

China

Although no new regulations have yet been issued by the country, the latest developments suggest they will soon be.

Following the inspections carried out by the People’s Bank of China to domestic exchanges, these have halted margin trading services, which has led some to believe that new regulations are on the horizon.

Trading fees may also be applied to exchanges in China, as seen in the warning posted on BTCC’s official website.

China Bitcoin Core attack

Currently, citizens in China are free to hold and trade bitcoins, although financial firms cannot. The regulatory framework issued by China in 2013 sees Bitcoin, not as a currency, but as a virtual commodity. 

The sale and importation of commodities are subject to a 17% VAT in the country.

Russia

Russia, which has always had a difficult relation with the cryptocurrency has surprised many on this subject by stating that no further action will be taken by the government to prohibit the use of Bitcoin.

Russians_paywithBTC_articlecover_Bitcoinist

Instead, the Bank of Russia will try to attain a better knowledge of Bitcoin and build a regulatory framework around it. Bank of Russia’s Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova stated:

It became clear that it is not straightforward to address Bitcoin with existing financial regulation. Regulators and financial agencies agree to not prohibit the use of Bitcoin. Instead, we want to gain a better understanding of Bitcoin, and build a regulatory framework we have gathered the necessary knowledge.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, where crypto-themed Ponzi schemes like OneCoin and Swisscoin are highly popular, warnings have been issued by two separate authorities, the Securities and exchange commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Bitcoinist_Central Bank of Nigeria

Although no new regulations have been issued, both notices warn users and financial institutions regarding the legal status of cryptocurrencies, which are not seen as legal tender, stating that financial institutions should deal with cryptocurrencies at their own risk.

Both notices mention OneCoin as a cryptocurrency, which demonstrates the lack of knowledge some countries still face when dealing with Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

For more about how Bitcoin is regulated (or unregulated) in other countries, go here.

What’s your take on the recent regulatory developments in the world of Bitcoin? Are they a step in the right direction? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of shutterstock

Show comments

Share