Bře 04

Bitcoin Can’t Be Stopped By Politics – Lightning ‘Torch’ Goes From Iran to Israel

The Lightning Network ‘torch’ payment has reached Israel after it was sent by an Iranian in a symbolic gesture of peace between the two nations. The historic occasion proves that Bitcoin is truly an apolitical and borderless money technology.


#LNTrustChain Keeps Growing

As reported previously by Bitcoinist, concerns over censorship didn’t stop the #LNTrutChain, otherwise known as the ‘Lightning Torch,’ from being sent to a user based in Iran.

Ziya Sadr, a Coinex executive, gained support from the community to receive the torch after Peach Inc. senior software engineer Vijay Boyapati claimed political factors prevented him from involving him.

Sadr then passed the Lightning Network (LN) payment to another Iranian and founder of Bushido Labs, Sam Abassi, who took advantage of the opportunity to showcase Bitcoin’s political neutrality and censorship-resistance.

Now, the 229th recipient of the torch becomes the Tel Aviv-based Bitcoin Embassy in Israel, who commented:

We received the #LNTrustChain torch!  The torch went from Iran to @samabbassi, an Iranian living abroad, and then to us in Tel Aviv! We’re very proud to be a part of this historic moment  Reply with your invoices and let’s get this torch on the move again!

Bitcoin is Borderless: Palestine Next?

The so-called ‘Lightning Torch’ involves Bitcoin users passing around a transaction on the Lightning Network, adding funds and sending it forward. The current amount has grown to about 3,730,000 satoshis or about $144 USD.

The initiative, started by Twitter user @Hodlonaut, has gained significant interest since it began its journey in January. It has been relayed by such notable entities as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Fidelity Investments.

Online commentators meanwhile celebrated the occasion praising the apolitical and borderless money technology that is Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin cannot be stopped by sanctions or bureaucrats,” commented Atlantic Financial CEO, Bruce Fenton, on Twitter, adding:

Users drive Bitcoin, not central authorities. The future is here.

User Fontaine also added:

Bitcoin unites us all and that is the best thing about it! Would be great to see @BitcoinemBassy send the torch to a Palestinian

Lightning Network is Growing Rapidly

The milestone comes as Bitcoin’s second-layer Lightning Network has been growing exponentially, particularly in the past few months. Data from monitoring resource 1ML.com shows that overall capacity increased almost 20 percent last month alone, while the number of nodes is nearing 7,000.

The instant and near-zero fee transactions over the Lightning Network also go far beyond simply payments.

Last week, Blockstream had used its Lightning Satellite setup to broadcast the world’s first ‘space meme.’ While other use-cases include everything from online roulettes to a remote chicken feeder. In fact, many new Lighting Applications or ‘LApps’ have started to emerge for such as for online tipping and buying pizza, a payment that can be sent for a fee of less than one cent.

Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported that major US retailer Kroger is now also considering accepting Lightning Network payments after abandoning Visa credit cards due to high merchant fees.

While a long shot, LN has actually been found to be a few seconds slower than the best (centralized) digital payment solutions on the market such as Apple Pay, according to a recent study. What’s more, it is actually “days faster” when it comes to onboarding merchants, according to researcher JP Thor.

Do you want the LN torch to go to Palestine next? Let us know below!!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Čvc 07

Israeli Crypto Exchange Bits of Gold Agrees to Share Customer Info with Tax Authority

Bits of Gold – local Israeli cryptocurrency exchange – has agreed to pass on information to the country’s Tax Authorities on deposits and trading activity.


Israel Tightens the Knot

In what seems to be a step towards tightening up the cryptocurrency trading environment in Israel, the local Tax Authorities have reached an agreement with a local digital exchange Bits of Gold. As reported by local tech-related media outlet Calcalist, the cryptocurrency exchange has agreed to pass on information concerning larger deposits.

Supposedly, the purpose behind the agreement is to prevent acts of tax evasion and money laundering. Apparently, the anonymized and encrypted nature of cryptocurrencies intimidates the regulatory bodies of the country.

Israel Tightens the Knot

Standard AML or a Targeted Approach?

It’s important to note that, as per the current Israeli anti-money laundering laws, all deposits which exceed NIS 50,000 (roughly around $15,000), should be reported to the Israel Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA). Holders of such accounts are requested to verify the legitimacy of these proceeds, which seems like a regular practice, accepted in a broad range of countries.

The new agreement, however, requires Bits of Gold, which harbors more than 50,000 registered users, to pass on such information to the authorities. The cryptocurrency exchange has to report on transactions which have exceeded $50,000 throughout the last 12 months.

It is worth noting that the country’s Tax Authorities conducted an audit of the same cryptocurrency exchange, according to the local media. A person familiar with the matter has supposedly revealed that the audit was not, in fact, targeting the company itself, but rather, it went after information on large-scale clients.

In January last year, Israel’s Tax Authority issued tax guidelines which deemed cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as assets. As such, profits from trading them is subjected to 25% tax while cryptocurrency exchanges are also required to pay 17% VAT.

Do you think Israel’s move is justified? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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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

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Úno 05

Simplex Offers Bitcoin Exchanges Risk-Free Credit Card Purchase Solution

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Buy Bitcoin

Buying Bitcoin for the first time remains a major struggle for novice digital currency users. Even though there are plenty of exchange platforms to choose from, as well as peer-to-peer solutions such as LocalBitcoins, people want more convenient options. Simplex is a new startup that wants to facilitate the purchase of Bitcoin through credit cards.

Also read: NXT Announces Version 1.7.4!

Simplex Unifies Bitcoin And Credit Cards

For quite some time now, a lot of people around the world have been looking to buy Bitcoin with their credit card in a convenient way. But there is a valid reason so few Bitcoin exchanges are dealing with credit card payments, as there is a high fraud rate. Funds can be charged back from a credit card payment, but Bitcoin transactions can not, which puts the exchanges at a severe disadvantage.

Simplex, an Israeli Bitcoin startup, may have solved the problem, though. Their service will give Bitcoin exchanges access to an API that makes accepting credit card payments risk-free for them. Not only will this help Bitcoin in gaining higher adoption rates, but it would also further bridge the gap between traditional finance and digital currency.

Up until this point, buying Bitcoin from an exchange usually means consumers have to send a wire transfer. Depending on the region where they live, these transfers can be anywhere from instant to taking five business days to complete. Needless to say, this is far from a perfect solution, although it offers the best financial protection for Bitcoin exchanges.

At the same time, various banks around the world have begun to block transfers made to either buy or sell Bitcoin. These restrictions are hurting the digital currency ecosystem in the long run, as consumers get the idea Bitcoin is unobtainable except by a select few. Plus, not every country has their own exchange, making international wire transfers harder and more expensive.

The main goal of Simplex is to provide convenient and frictionless purchasing methods for Bitcoin. By removing some of the restrictions associated with wire transfers, the purchase should complete almost instantaneously. Every partner will have their payments processed by Simplex, removing any risks associated with this payment provider for the exchange or broker.

Former PayPal Employees At The Helm

It hardly comes as a surprise to hear former PayPal employees are venturing into the world of Bitcoin and digital currencies. Both Netanel Kabala and Erez Shapira have worked many years for the traditional payment processor, and their knowledge will be of great value to the service offered by Simplex.

Speaking of which, the company has allegedly processed over US$3.5m in transactions since going in open beta twelve months ago. That success has attracted attention from investors, including Bitmain and Cumberland, and the recently successful funding round will help the company launch in full over the next few months.

What are your thoughts on the service offered by Simplex? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Finextra

Images courtesy of Simplex, Shutterstock

The post Simplex Offers Bitcoin Exchanges Risk-Free Credit Card Purchase Solution appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Simplex Offers Bitcoin Exchanges Risk-Free Credit Card Purchase Solution

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