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Exchanges Roundup: Tether, Bitfinex Drop Noble Bank, Bitmex Hires COO


Exchanges Roundup: Tether/Bitfinex Drops Noble Bank, Bitmex Hires COO

In recent news pertaining to cryptocurrency exchanges, Noble Bank is looking to sell after reportedly losing Bitfinex and Tether as clients, Bitmex has announced the former compliance head of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited as its new chief operating officer, and Huobi’s director of research into blockchain applications has discussed the company’s goals for its upcoming transfer of operations onto its public ledger.

Also Read: Chrome Extensions Will Soon Protect Against Miners and Hackers

Noble Bank to Sell Amid Loss of Clients Tether and Bitfinex

Exchanges Roundup: Tether/Bitfinex Drops Noble Bank, Bitmex Hires COONoble Bank International, a Puerto Rican financial services firm known for servicing Tether and Bitfinex, is reportedly looking to sell.

Informed by “a person with direct knowledge of the situation,” Bloomberg reports that “The bank has lost many of its customers, including Bitfinex and Tether, and is no longer profitable […] The company could sell itself for a price between $5 million and $10 million, based largely on the value of its Puerto Rican license to operate as an international financial entity.”

Bitmex Hires Former Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited Compliance Head

Bitmex has hired Angelina Kwan as the exchange’s new chief operating officer. Mrs. Kwan is the former managing director and head of regulatory compliance for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, and has also spent eight years working for the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Exchanges Roundup: Tether/Bitfinex Drops Noble Bank, Bitmex Hires COOMrs. Kwan stated: “In addition to being a true market leader among trading platforms, Bitmex shares my value of gender inclusion, particularly in STEM fields. Cryptocurrency markets present an exciting new opportunity for women to get involved in the intersection of finance and technology, two fields in which they are chronically under-represented. Bitmex has made its commitment to meritocracy clear, and is sending the message that women with deep backgrounds in finance and business can execute at the highest level within cryptocurrency companies.”

Arthur Hayes, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Bitmex welcomed Mrs. Kwan to the company, stating: “I believe Angelina’s decision to join us is a signal that the global markets are shifting focus to the rapidly-expanding domain of crypto-coins. Angelina’s vast experience in regulation, trading platforms, business development, restructuring, and investor and stakeholder relations will be pivotal as we continue the push towards mainstream cryptocurrency adoption and broaden our community.”

Huobi Readies to Transfer Operations to Public Blockchain

Exchanges Roundup: Tether/Bitfinex Drops Noble Bank, Bitmex Hires COOThe second largest cryptocurrency exchange according to Coinmarketcap’s adjusted volume rankings, Huobi, is preparing to migrate its operations to the company’s public blockchain.

In a recent interview, the director of Huobi Research of Blockchain Application, Hubery Yuan, stated: “We want it to become the world’s top public chain in terms of technolog[ical] sophistication. And a highly competent public chain coupled with strong operations, ecosystem, and communities can bring out great synergy.”

Voting to appoint the head of Huobi’s operational transfer project is currently underway.

Do you think that more cryptocurrencies will seek to conduct their operations on the blockchain? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Wave of Mobile Tax Hikes Squeeze Africa’s Poor to Indulge Governments


Wave of Mobile Money Tax Hikes Squeeze Africa’s Poor to Spoil Governments

A smart robber fleeces you with a pen and a handshake. From Zimbabwe to Kenya, Uganda to Benin, African governments are on a tax-raising spree, looking for easy money, ostensibly to help fund successive revenue shortfalls and budget deficits. Often, the money ends up being misappropriated by corrupt public officials. The best weapon in government hands is now your mobile phone – the closest thing most citizens in the continent have to a functional bank account.

Also read: Banks, Money Mules And Front Companies Aid Terrorists in Conflict Zones Launder Money

Milking the Poor: African Governments Enforce a Raft of New Taxes on Mobile Money

Faced with the informalization of the economy and a record increase of mobile money transactions, as citizens pull their own weight against unemployment and financial exclusion, taxmen in Africa have pitched up on the last frontier, punishing the poor who are often denied cash rewards for their labor.

Wave of Mobile Money Tax Hikes Squeeze Africa’s Poor to Spoil Governments

In Zimbabwe, finance minister Mthuli Ncube this week increased taxes on mobile money transfers to 2% on each dollar from the previous flat 5% on the amount transferred, joining an expanding list of African governments intent on squeezing every dollar from impoverished citizens.

The new tax looks like a reduction. It is not. It is a rise in all costs for every transaction. For every dollar spent, Zimbabweans now have to pay 2 cents. In the past, they paid only 5 cents for every transaction, including those exceeding $1. With 96% of transactions in Zimbabwe done electronically, the new tax means that citizens, already battling severe cash shortages, will have to pay more each time they buy bread or fuel or transfer money to a relative, by mobile or bank. The latest increase doesn’t account for the 15% VAT levied on goods and services, and a slew of taxes already charged by mobile carriers and banks, such as balance enquiry.

It also means easy revenue for the government. So far this year, cashless transactions have reached 1.7 billion, said the finance minister, compared to just 50 million four years earlier. That’s the equivalent of $64 billion moved via mobile phones and other electronic means by the end of June, according to data from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. If the 2% on every dollar is applied, state coffers will get a boost of $1.28 billion.

“There is need to expand the tax collection base and ensure that the tax collection points are aligned with electronic mobile payment transactions and the real time gross settlement system,” Ncube said, in a statement on October 1.

Unholy Alliance

Zimbabwe joins several other African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Benin and Rwanda, in either raising taxes on mobile transfers or internet access, ostensibly to fix perennial revenue shortfalls and runaway budget deficits.

Wave of Mobile Money Tax Hikes Squeeze Africa’s Poor to Spoil Governments
M-Pesamill in Kenya

Kenya recently increased electronic transfer excise duties by cellular phone providers, banks and money transfer agencies from 12% to 20% per transaction, meaning it will now cost Kenyans more to send money across platforms like mobile money service provider Mpesa or to request bank statements. The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, which is facing a budget deficit of $5.62 billion, also announced that “telephone and internet data services shall be charged excise duty at a rate of 15% of their excisable value,” from 10% previously.

With about $448 million budget deficit, Rwanda has lined up a new bill that is expected to effect a significant increase in cashless tax. In Uganda, citizens have been slapped with tax increases of between 1% and 5% on items like mobile money transfers, and even social interactions on platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp. The Ugandan authorities hope to collect up to $4.4 billion each year from these sort of taxes and others. Social media and internet taxes have also been introduced in Zambia and Benin.

Tax Increases Line Pockets of Corrupt Leaders, Never Social Services

Beyond the jargon of monetary policies, it must be clear to African citizens how this sizeable tax was arrived upon and who it is going to benefit. In many African countries, including Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, Sani Abacha’s Nigeria and Eduardo Dos Santos’s Angola, such unabashed tax assaults have not improved social services but ended up in pockets of state actors and in the service of misanthropic government activities.

In Angola, the son of former president Dos Santos has been arrested for allegedly stealing $500 million from state coffers. Abacha is thought to have laundered over $4.3 billion, while Sese Seko is a close competitor. The Zimbabwe government boasts the serial feat of robbing citizens’ life savings, first by taking the Zimbabwean dollar out of circulation in 2009, and now, by redenominating money deposited in US dollars to a nameless, unstable local currency that keeps falling.

Wave of Mobile Money Tax Hikes Squeeze Africa’s Poor to Spoil Governments

In spite of the country’s domestic debt incredulously increasing to $9.5 billion from $259 million in 2012, there is no indication that runaway government expenditure is going where it is needed most: the improvement of social services.

More than 40 citizens recently died of cholera, and thousands are living without access to safe drinking water. Government officials in the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa still feel safer in foreign hospitals while the bulk of citizens have to make do with poorly resourced hospitals.

Cryptocurrency to Neutralize Tax Hikes and Curb Illicit Flows

Cyptocurrencies like bitcoin cash (BCH) are seen as key to helping African countries fight corruption, illicit transfer smuggling and high transfer or remittance costs.

A report by Enrique and Eduardo Aldaz Carrol published on the Brookings Institution website revealed that: “Cryptocurrency and blockchain could help prevent fraud and corruption, reduce the costs of enforcement thanks to easily accessible information and faster crosschecks, and help supervise implementation and monitor efficiency and effectiveness of spending, increasing development impact”.

Do you think governments in Africa are stifling development by raising taxes on mobile money? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Mpesa

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Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading BCHers Together


Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading BCHers Together

Later this month, the London Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Speaker Series II will take place at Huckletree Shoreditch. It’s one of the final times representatives from Coingeek and Bitcoin.com, among other BCH enthusiasts, will meet prior to the November 15th hard fork. Though not overtly about forks, it is a chance for the public to hear thoughts from important developers and marketers about the future of decentralized digital currency.

Also read: Colombia Crypto Exchange Asks New President for Banking Help

Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II in London at the End of This Month

Mark Hebblewhite, Head of Marketing at Coingeek.com, Gabriel Cardona, Senior BCH Developer at Bitcoin.com and Founder of Bitbox, Alex Agut & Rafael Seibane, Founders of Hand Cash, and Alejandro De La Torre, VP Business and Operations of BTC.com, are part of the lineup set for Thursday, October 25th, 6pm to 9pm, in London for the second Bitcoin Cash Speakers Series.

Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading BCHers Together

According to organizers at Cryptartica and Coingeek, supported by partners Bitcoin Cash Association (BCA) and Bitcoin.com, the event is “a follow-up to the first Speaker Series event. The series aims to cover the recent BCH ecosystem development and to nurture the local BCH community in London.”

Cryptartica, a co-organizer, bills itself as “early adopters of” Bitcoin Cash, and a “first Bitcoin Cash store.” They’re a “platform in which independent designers can earn cryptocurrency by turning their unique ideas into high-quality and customization products.” BCH shirts, mugs, posters, and assorted swag can all be found on their site. Coingeek, the other principal organizer, is part of the Ayre Group, and it has a news site, a Citizenship Investment Program, a BCH Mining Pool, and it routinely organizes well-attended BCH-related conferences around the world.

Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading BCHers Together

A Comprehensive Evening

“The first part of the evening,” organizers explain, “will focus on BCH adoption. Mark from Coingeek and Gabriel from Bitbox will discuss about how their companies/projects help spread BCH adoption.” Gabriel Cardona’s Bitbox claims to solve BCH developer redundancies, making it theoretically easier to build applications, and has over 40,000 downloads through more than 100 countries. He’s also traveling the world explaining Wormhole, a BCH way to tokenize on-chain.  

The event also includes Brew Dog, “the first major brewery to accept cryptocurrency, will also speak about their experience in adopting BCH. On the second half, the focus will shift towards wallets. Alex and Rafa, founders of Handcash, will speak about their journey towards creating a user-friendly wallet.” Early this year, “Nchain Group announced they had ‘closed a deal’ that gives the company a large stake in the Handcash platform. According to Nchain, the deal was facilitated through the company’s investment arm Nchain Reaction. News.Bitcoin.com reported on Handcash this past February when the team launched its bitcoin cash beta client for Android phones. The Handcash app allows users to transact with BCH using NFC technology and the platform was created by two developers from Spain, Alejandro Pascual Agut and Rafael Jiménez Seibane,” news.Bitcoin.com detailed.

Bitcoin Cash Speaker Series II Brings Leading BCHers Together

Lastly, “Alejandro from BTC.com will then close the event,” organizers explained. BTC.com is best known for its block explorer, mining pool, and a mobile and web wallet. Last week, these pages outlined a new teaming between BTC.com and Bitpay. “BTC.com has announced its wallet will enable Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 70 (BIP-70) for payment transactions, which is especially helpful between customers and merchants, becoming an industry standard of sorts. The wallet has more than one million users, and with BIP-70 they will be able to buy products from popular processing platform Bitpay, which has a $1 billion merchant market,” we documented.

Will you be attending? Let us know in the comments below. 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 

At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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CFTC Chair Explains Why US Has Regulated Bitcoin Futures but Not Bitcoin ETFs


CFTC Chair Explains Why the US Has Bitcoin Futures but Not Bitcoin ETFs

The chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has explained why bitcoin futures have been approved in the U.S. but bitcoin ETFs have not. He also shared his thoughts on the future of cryptocurrencies and how they can potentially solve currency-related problems in as much as two-thirds of the world’s countries.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Bitcoin Futures vs Bitcoin ETFs

CFTC Chair Explains Why the US Has Bitcoin Futures but Not Bitcoin ETFs
CFTC Chair Chris Giancarlo.

CFTC Chair Chris Giancarlo discussed on Monday why there are bitcoin futures trading on regulated exchanges in the U.S. but not bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). While bitcoin is a commodity, bitcoin ETFs are securities under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In an interview with CNBC, Giancarlo explained the disparity.

“We are old agencies, our statutes are written in the 1930s,” he began, adding that the two agencies are trying to work with statutes that were written when there were no innovations that exist today. He then elaborated:

More broadly, the SEC, their oversight is over capital formation markets with a big retail focus. Ours, at the CFTC, our focus is on risk transfer markets and we are always focused on derivatives and a lot of that is institutional trading. So we are focused on institutional investments, they are focused on retail.

He further pointed out that the CFTC and the SEC have “different orientations, different histories, so we do come at these things from different perspectives.”

CFTC’s Regulatory Focus

CFTC Chair Explains Why the US Has Bitcoin Futures but Not Bitcoin ETFsSharing the regulatory focus of his agency, Giancarlo detailed, “We are very focused on the fraud and manipulation aspects of cryptocurrency markets right now.”

He then referred to the recent landmark ruling involving My Big Coin. “Last week, we just won a big victory in the federal court in Boston, certifying our authority to prosecute fraud and manipulation in the crypto space,” he described, adding that “We have been very active at it.”

Noting that his agency is balancing between regulation and innovations, the chairman claimed:

It’s the United States that’s gone forward with the very first bitcoin derivatives, with bitcoin futures trading on the CME and also bitcoin options and bitcoin clearing – we are ahead of the world in that. There is no question that the United States is leading in a number of areas.

However, he also emphasized that there are other areas of innovation which he believes the US should “take a little bit more of a thoughtful and intelligent approach [to], just as the US Congress did 20 years ago in the early days of the internet.”

CFTC Chair Believes Crypto Is Here to Stay

In response to a question about where he sees the future of cryptocurrencies two years from now, the chairman replied:

I personally think that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

CFTC Chair Explains Why the US Has Bitcoin Futures but Not Bitcoin ETFsWhile acknowledging that “there is a future for them [cryptocurrencies],” he clarified, “I’m not sure they will ever come to rival the dollar or other hard currencies but there is a whole section of the world that really is hungry for functional currencies that they can’t find in their local currencies.”

For the time horizon of about ten years, Giancarlo noted that “there are 140 countries in the world, every one of them has a currency. Probably two-thirds of them are not worth the polymer of the paper they are written on. Those parts of the world rely on hard currencies. Bitcoin may solve some of the problems, whether it’s bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.”

What do you think of Giancarlo’s remarks on crypto and his explanations? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Pixabay.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Ripple (XRP) Price Declines 8% While the Crypto Market Loses $9 Billion


Subsequent to the release of a major partnership with $80 billion banking giant Banco Santander, the price of Ripple (XRP) has declined by more than 8 percent. In the past 24 hours, the valuation of the cryptocurrency market dropped by around $9 billion, as Bitcoin dropped below the $6,500 mark for the first time in

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Market Analysis Report (01 Oct 2018)


MVIS-CryptoCompare Index | Crypto Exchange Huobi Launches Its Own Social Media Platform, Huobi Chat | StellarX: The First Free to Use Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Digital Asset Marketplace Interface Launched | India’s Central Bank Denies ‘Formal Creation’ of Blockchain Unit

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South Korea Rejects Crypto Exchanges as Venture Firms, Taxes to Double


In a blow to the industry, the government of South Korea has stuck with its legislative proposal to exclude the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry from being certified as venture firms. First proposed by South Korea’s Ministry for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Startups in August, the revision to the law called for Korea’s domestic

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Regulation for Legitimacy: South Korea Nears ICO Legalization


Min Byung-Doo, a member of the country’s governing Democratic party and the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, has strongly encouraged the government to legalize initial coin offering (ICO) and impose better crypto-related regulatory frameworks to legitimize the local market. “Regulation is not bad. Regulation is necessary, it is the only way to legitimize the

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$2.5 Million: Binance Invests in Aussie Crypto Payments Startup to Push Adoption


Australian cryptocurrency payments startup Travelbybit has seen a cash injection of $2.5 million from a high-profile investor in Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Crypto unicorn Binance is investing AUD $3.48 million (approx. USD$2.5 million) in TravelbyBit to further expansion of the latter’s network of cryptocurrency payment terminals following a successful implementation in Brisbane earlier

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Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Passes


Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Passes

This week cryptocurrency enthusiasts were pleased to hear that the infamous imageboard 4chan now accepts four different digital assets for its website pass. The $20 annual pass allows users to bypass captcha verifications when posting on 4chan and now users can purchase passes with BCH, BTC, ETH, and LTC.

Also read: Meet Cash-ID: The Open Protocol That Uses Bitcoin Cash Keys for Identity

4chan Accepts Four Cryptocurrencies for Captcha Passes

Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for PassesThe notorious forum 4chan is an interesting place on the web where people discuss topics like video games, anime, politics, and of course dank memes. Some would say that 4Chan is basically a meme and shitposting factory filled with lots of online humor, styled in a puke green text color.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts this week have noticed the popular website now accepts four cryptocurrencies using the Coinbase Commerce platform. Users can purchase a $20 4chan Pass using either bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), or litecoin (LTC).

Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Passes
4chan uses Coinbase Commerce to accept digital currencies.

Crypto Fans Are No Strangers to 4chan’s Social Engagement

Because 4chan users can basically post anonymously, the platform uses the captcha system to combat script bots from spreading spam all over the forum. Without a 4chan pass, posting and replying to forum threads is constantly interrupted by captcha requests.

Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Passes

A 4chan pass allows users to bypass typing captcha verifications when using the discussion boards for an entire year. 4chan passes were originally a community idea that helps to support funding the censorship-free forum.

“Passes cost $20 per year, which is about $1.67 per month—or less than a single 20 oz bottle of soda,” the 4chan administrators explain.

Cryptocurrency supporters on Reddit and Twitter appreciate the fact that the internet’s infamous shitposting discussion board is opening up to accepting various digital currencies. Moreover, a good portion of Bitcoin fans are supporters of dank memes, Rickrolling, doge, and Pepe the frog.

What do you think about 4chan accepting cryptocurrencies for passes? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.

Images via Pixabay, and 4chan’s discussion/image board. 

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