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Binance Warned by Japan’s FSA, Criticizes Reporters


Binance Warned by Japan's FSA, Criticizes Reporters


The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has warned leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance that it will face criminal charges if it continues its Japanese operations without a license. Binance’s chief executive officer has described the report as “irresponsible,” stating that the exchange is engaging in “constructive” dialogue” with the FSA.

Also Read: Zhao Dong Recounts How He Lost 9,000 BTC

FSA Warns Binance for Unlicensed Operations

Binance Warned by Japan's FSA, Criticizes ReportersJapan’s financial regulator recently published a document indicating that it has “warned” Binance for operating in Japan despite “not register[ing]” as a virtual currency exchange business with relevant authorities.

Whilst a rough translation of the FSA’s warning appears scant in detail, the Nikkei Asian Review has portrayed a dramatic picture, reporting that “The FSA plans to work with police to file criminal charges if Binance fails to halt its Japan operation.”

The article solely cites “sources close to the agency,” also stating that the FSA “has concluded that investors using the company’s services are in danger of suffering financial losses from something unrelated to market moves such as thefts and fraud.” Bloomberg has similarly cited an anonymous source in its reporting of the matter, stating that the exchange “was warned because it had several staff in Japan and had been expanding without official permission.”

Binance Criticises Nikkei Reporting

Binance Warned by Japan's FSA, Criticizes ReportersThe company’s chief executive officer, Zhao Changpeng, took to Twitter to criticise the Nikkei’s reporting. Mr. Changpeng issued a tweet accusing “Nikkei [of] show[ing] irresponsible journalism,” adding “We are in constructive dialogs with Japan FSA, and have not received any mandates. It does not make sense for JFSA to tell a newspaper before telling us, while we have an active dialog going on with them.”

According to Coinmarketcap, Binance currently boasts the largest trade volume on a single exchange. Despite appearing to experience a 54% drop in website traffic during February when compared to the preceding month, Mr. Changpeng recently claimed that the exchange is onboarding “a couple of million” registered users weekly” – prompting the company’s decision to temporarily limit new customer intake.

Do you think that Binance is likely to fall subject to criminal charges from Japan’s FSA? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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PR: Bitcoin Miner Distributor BlokForge Opens US Retail Location


Bitcoin Miner Distributor BlokForge Opens US Retail Location

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

BlokForge, one the nation’s largest suppliers of cryptocurrency mining hardware, is announcing the grand opening of its 2,000 sq. ft. retail location in Mesa, Arizona. The new store will carry over 20 product SKU’s from the largest brands in the world such as Canaan Creative.

The U.S.-based retail location represents a physical presence and is the first to do so stateside. BlokForge will be offering sales, repair, and consulting, along with classes by the end of the year.

Despite being a relatively new entrant to the mining supply space, BlokForge is unique in that it originated as an import-export company with over 20 years of experience sourcing hardware from overseas manufacturers before segueing into cryptocurrency mining hardware. The U.S. based company has grown quickly, expanding to its current 100,000 sq ft. warehouse. Formerly the site of Sunkist Citrus Growers, it was acquired by BlokForge’s parent company in February of 2015 and redesigned by Arizona architect Debartolo Architects in an effort to preserve the historical significance of the building, while making it fully functional for the growing needs of the supplier.

Founder, Nick J. added, “We chose this building in particular due to Mesa, Arizona’s commitment to bring innovation and startups to their downtown area. Repurposing a building that served this community for nearly 100 years just made sense.”

The company’s rapid pace of growth is a testament to its long-standing experience in sourcing, fulfillment and distribution.

“We have a really strong team with a ton of experience in supply chain logistics. A lot of our competitors sell on online but do not have a physical retail space to call home. Our operation is specialized to support the growing needs of hobbyist and home miners, while robust enough to supply large scale mining operations with large orders. Our strong partnership with our suppliers ensure we have the fastest delivery times out of the U.S.” says Nick. He further added “Our company feels bitcoin and blockchain technology are the future and we are excited to be an integral part in the growth of it.”

The company offers to its thousands of customers, the peace-of-mind of a direct U.S. presence, foregoing the need to deal with a foreign intermediary, and the customs paperwork that often comes with it. It also boasts a fully stocked warehouse for fast order fulfillment, and can fulfill orders as small as one machine, or 10,000. The company employs a locally-based, dedicated customer service team with chat and phone support.

The company’s location is no accident. The Arizona Senate passed a bill recently that would allow residents to pay their taxes using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Representative Jeff Weninger who has sponsored similar bills in the past is “sending a signal to everyone in the United States and possibly throughout the world that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.”

BlokForge is currently the largest authorized distribution hub for Canaan Avalon miners in the U.S. The company plans to launch a second retail location soon. For more information on the company or to purchase products online, please visit www.blokforge.com or call 1-888-55-CRYPTO.

For Press and Media Inquiries contact:

Corey Hosford

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Study: 70% of Crypto Exchanges Allow Weak Passwords


Study: 70% of Crypto Exchanges Allow Weak Passwords


Over 70 percent of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to create accounts with weak passwords, a new study reveals. This leaves them exposed to financial theft due to unsafe password practices, the authors say. Less than half of the surveyed trading platforms provide password strength assessment tools.  

Also read:NEM Foundation Stops Tracking Coins Stolen from Coincheck

“12345” and “Password”

Study: 70% of Crypto Exchanges Allow Weak PasswordsSome of the most popular crypto exchanges allow customers to use dangerously weak passwords, a new research has found. 43 percent of the platforms let users create accounts choosing passwords with fewer than 8 characters. 34 percent do not require alphanumeric passwords at all, the study reveals. In many cases testers were able to set up accounts with passwords using simple number combinations like “12345” and even words like “password”.

More than 70 percent of the surveyed exchanges allow you to create weak passwords, according to the annual Cryptocurrency Exchange Password Power Rankings, presented by Dashlane. The digital security company has tested 35 of the leading crypto trading platforms in the world, examining their password and account security.

Researchers also checked if exchanges provide password strength assessment tools, email confirmation or activation, and two-factor authentication (2FA). They found that less than 50 percent of the exchanges provided account holders with tools like meters or a color-coded bars. Unsafe practices leave many customers’ accounts exposed to hacking and financial theft, conclude the authors of the study.

The fact that many exchanges allow their users to create weak passwords should “serve as a wake-up call to the entire industry,” Dashlane CEO Emmanuel Schalit said, quoted in a press release. He also noted that signing up for a cryptocurrency exchange is comparable to signing up for a bank account. “With your bank account, credit cards, bitcoin, and other digital assets potentially stored on the exchange, it’s critical that your account is locked down on the security front,” Schalit stated.

Two-Factor Authentication Is Critical

Study: 70% of Crypto Exchanges Allow Weak PasswordsEach exchange in the survey has been tested on five critical password and account security criteria and ranked according to the points it received. Only 10 platforms have met all five criteria. These are Bitcoin.de, BitMEX, BTCC, Cobinhood, Coinbase, Cryptopia, Gemini, Huobi, itBit, and Paxful.

The study was conducted from March 12 – 19 this year. It is the first attempt by the password manager to rank cryptocurrency exchanges according to their password security procedures. Previously, the company has tested and ranked leading consumer websites in accordance with similar criteria.

Experts advise users to generate unique passwords with no less than 8 characters for each online account they open. Using numbers, case-sensitive letters, and special symbols also improves security. Passwords containing common phrases, places, or names should be avoided. Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) is critical and should not be skipped even when you log in for the first time.

Do your online accounts meet the basic criteria in regards to the security of the passwords you use? Tell us in the comments section below.

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OECD Warns Crypto and Blockchain are Challenging Tax Transparency


OECD Identifies Crypto and Blockchain as Challenging Tax Transparency


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has issued a report to the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. The report examines the accomplishments and aims of the OECD in advancing its efforts to “redefine the international landscape,” identifying new technologies cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology as posing unique challenges to “tax transparency.”

Also Read: Monthly Web Traffic for Major Bitcoin Exchanges Falls by Half

OECD Discusses International Tax Agenda

The report asserts that the OECD, with assistance from the G20, has made “enormous strides” in implementing the OECD’s international “tax agenda.” The organization claims that its policies have resulted in a transition of the “global financial system” from “opacity and incongruity to transparency and coherence.”

Among the primary policy objectives sought by the institutions has been greater “tax transparency,” with the report stating that “tax transparency has been at the heart of the OECD’s role in the international tax area.

Despite boasting of numerous accomplishments with regards to fostering greater taxation transparency, the report identifies the increasing “digitalization of the economy” as giving rise to a number of significant challenges to the the OECD’s international policy objectives.

Cryptocurrencies Identified as Threat to Tax Transparency

The OECD states that “technologies like blockchain give rise to both new, secure methods of record-keeping while also facilitating “crypto-currencies” – which are described as “pos[ing] risks to the gains made on tax transparency in the last decade.”

Whilst the report states that “Some work is already underway to better understand and address these developments,” the OECD asserts that “further work is required to ensure that governments can harness the opportunities these changes bring while ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of the tax system.”

The report states that “The Forum on Tax Administration, working with the Inclusive Framework, will develop practical tools and cooperation in the area of tax administration and will also examine the tax consequences of new technologies (e.g., crypto-currencies and blockchain distributed ledger technology),” with an update on the forum’s findings expected to be delivered in 2019.

What is your reaction to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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20% of University Students Use Financial Aid to Buy Cryptocurrency


20% of University Students Use Financial Aid to Buy Cryptocurrency


During March 16th through till March 20th of this year, The Student Loan Report teamed with Pollfish to survey 1,000 current university students with related loan debt, asking one question: Have you ever used student loan money to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? The results surprised even the pollster.

Also read: Bitcoiners Demand More Crypto CFDs and Spread-Betting in the UK

University Students Buy Crypto with Financial Aid

Founder of the Student Loan Report, Drew Cloud, explained, “Younger Americans are certainly the most enthusiastic about cryptocurrency; they are the most active investors and want to get involved in the space in any way possible. However, I truly thought the percentage would be lower. As a college student, your budget is thin and that extra money could be used on rent, groceries, or books,” he told the Boston Globe.

The survey “found that 21.2 percent of current college students with student loan debt have used financial aid money to fund a cryptocurrency investment,” the study found. Over four days students with debt were asked one question about buying cryptocurrency with loan money, and over one-fifth responded in the affirmative.

The Student Loan Report asserted, “Student loan borrowers would be able to pull off such a maneuver because they are given their remaining student loan funds to be used on ‘living expenses.’ Sometimes, student debtors borrow more than they end up needing for that semester of classes. Once the borrower’s college or university’s financial aid office uses the necessary financial aid to pay for courses, they send a refund check to the borrower.”

College borrowers’ spending of the money isn’t tracked officially, allowing whatever is leftover to be spent in the manner preferred by the debtor. Another contributing factor is student loan debt payments usually do not occur until after graduation, and typically six months after.

Savvy or Stupid?

“Cryptocurrency was the hottest investment of 2017,” Mr. Cloud detailed, “especially for young Americans, so it is easy to understand why many college borrowers would think it was a savvy way to spend their refund checks. Some might have even figured that they would be able to quickly pay off their student debt because not long ago every single virtual currency was experiencing seemingly unstoppable growth.”

20% of University Students Use Financial Aid to Buy Cryptocurrency

Noticeably missing from the survey are data regarding how much the average university student spent of their financial aid on cryptocurrency. It also would’ve been interesting to find out which cryptocurrency students favored.

“Could they have used spent, or even saved, this money more prudently?,” Mr. Cloud mused. “Absolutely. ​A perfect example would be stowing that money away in a high-yield savings account that they could later use to chip away at their student debt. But there is always the chance that there is another period of explosive growth for virtual currency, and these borrowers will be laughing all the way to the bank. Or, they could just as easily lose all of that financial aid money that they just invested in Bitcoin.”

What do think about using loans to buy crypto? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Pixabay, Student Loan Report, Pollfish. 

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PR: World’s First Blockchain Gaming Platform Chimaera Launches Much Anticipated Public Presale


Blockchain Gaming Platform Chimaera

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

World’s First Blockchain Gaming Platform Launches Much Anticipated Public Presale
Join the Virtual-Gaming-World Revolution Before It’s Too Late

Malta, March 23, 2018 – The world’s first blockchain gaming platform, Chimaera, is thrilled to announce the launch of their public presale. Coming hot off the heels of their private pre-sale, which raised an estimated $1.5 million USD or 155 Bitcoin, the Chimaera team is excited to hit the ground running with the start of their public pre-sale on March 23 8:00 a.m. GMT.

Individuals interested in their public pre-sale are encouraged to visit the Chimaera website here, or get in touch through Telegram, Reddit, Facebook or Twitter.

The Chimaera team is eager to build on the hype of their private and public pre-sale with the launch of their Airdrop Campaign. Don’t miss out on some free CHI before the pre-sale! In addition to the Airdrop Campaign, check out the Chimaera referral program, which provides participants with a five percent token return pending successful completion.

Beyond the team’s excitement for the public pre-sale, Chimaera is encouraging gamers to imagine the impossible: decentralised virtual worlds at your fingertips. In other words, if you can imagine it, Chimaera can help make it happen.

“Our years of experience have resulted in some of the most innovative technologies in cryptocurrency that ensure safe trading and near infinite scalability,” said Chimaera founder, Andrew Colosimo. “We are confident that Chimaera will continue to reshape gaming as we know it around the world.”

The Chimaera blockchain exists to manage increasingly complex game worlds, as well as securing and simplifying the ownership, sharing, and trading of virtual assets. The Chimaera platform democratises game development and deployment, allowing developers to achieve their vision quickly and with significantly reduced costs.

Chimaera provides a wealth of tools and a state-of-the-art infrastructure for game developers to build their own blockchain-based games. In addition, developers can fully leverage the Chimaera technology to issue their own game currency that can be traded for ‘CHI’ (the reserve currency and “fuel” in the Chimaera ecosystem) or other Chimaera game coins and assets.

“This is just the beginning for Chimaera and we’re eager to see where we go in transforming the virtual gaming world,” said Colosimo.

The Chimaera landscape consists of multiple parts. The Chimaera blockchain acts as a decentralised gaming backend that is scalable, secure, and reliable. The Chimaera platform is a continuously evolving environment, including the addition of new game genres and decentralized autonomous universes. Gamers can benefit from massive immersive game worlds with thriving economies, fair gameplay, fair item acquisition and true ownership of in-game assets and items, and the ability to trade in a trustless fashion. The project is brought to you by the creators of the world’s first blockchain games, Chronokings and Huntercoin.

For more information
Linda Peng / PR Manager
Vanbex Group

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This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Zhao Dong Recounts How He Lost 9,000 BTC


Zhao Dong Recounts Story of 9000 BTC Liquidation

Markets and Prices

Famed Chinese OTC bitcoin trader, Zhao Dong, recently shared the story of how he first entered the bitcoin markets, the losses he incurred, and his views on speculation in the cryptocurrency markets.

Also Read: Snowden on Bitcoin: Blasts Public Ledger and Core Developers

Zhao Dong’s Rocky Start in the Cryptocurrency Markets

Zhao Dong Recounts Story of 9,000 BTC LiquidationZhao Dong, the founder of DFUND, has, in recent years, risen to prominence as one of China’s largest OTC traders. However, early in his trading career, Mr. Dong would incur losses that drove him to contemplate suicide.

An interview published by Weixin states that Zhao Dong first entered the cryptocurrency markets with approximately 10 million yuan (roughly $1.58 million USD). He “followed the bull market quickly,” shortly leading Zhao Dong to open heavily leveraged positions. As a consequence, Zhao Dong found himself 60 million yuan (nearly $9.5 million USD) in debt to friends for whom he was informally managing the money of – after losing 9,000 bitcoin in a single day during February 2014. Despite questioning his will to live, Zhao Dong decided to persevere.

Zhao Dong Loses Over $23.5 Million in 2014

Zhao Dong Recounts Story of 9,000 BTC LiquidationDuring 2014, Zhao Dong states that he lost “nearly 150 million yuan” (almost $23.7 million USD) due to his decision to open “one of the largest [bitcoin] mines in [China]” immediately preceding the onset of 2014’s cryptocurrency bear season.

Zhao Dong states that his mining operations were based in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and Shenzen. As consequence of tumbling BTC prices, significant establishment costs, and mounting repayments to creditors, Zhao Dong states that the “bitcoins dug in every day [could]n’t afford even the electricity bills.”

In 2015, Zhao Dong states that he was forced to liquidate his mining operations – which saw him receive only 3 million yuan (474,000 USD) for hardware that initially cost him 50 million yuan ($8 million USD)

Zhao Dong Discourages Retail Bitcoin Speculation

Zhao Dong Recounts Story of 9,000 BTC LiquidationDespite his reputation as an OTC trader, Zhao Dong rejects the notion that he is a professional speculator. Zhao Dong states that he “doesn’t do technical analysis. I’m not a speculator. In fact, I’ve always been a small profit maker and I’m not a speculator.” Looking back on his experiences, Mr. Dong emphasizes risk management as the most important thing for traders to observe, before citing attributing a quote to Mark Zuckerberg – “not risking is the biggest risk. But adventure plus risk control is perfect.”

Zhao Dong seeks to discourage retail traders from entering the cryptocurrency markets, stating “Honestly, if you are not a professional speculator, then I suggest that you do not want to invest in speculation. For most of the speculation, losing money is almost inevitable. It’s like going to a casino.”

In spite of up-and-down experiences with bitcoin, Zhao Dong describes BTC as comprising “far more than just a technology,” adding that bitcoin “will have a profound impact on human history […] Bitcoin is the first time in human history to use technical means to ensure that private property is sacred and inviolable.”

Do you speculate, or hodl? Share your preferred trading style in the comments section below!

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Monthly Web Traffic for Major Bitcoin Exchanges Falls by Half


Monthly Web Traffic for Major Bitcoin Exchanges Falls by Half

Markets and Prices

The disappointing price performances of the cryptocurrency markets in January and February have apparently driven many bitcoin traders to avoid checking on their exchange accounts. Estimations of the total number of visits to the trading venues based on web traffic show a sharp decline month over month.     

Also Read: University Student Gang ”Breaking Bad” Jailed For Dealing $1M+ in Drugs for Bitcoin

Exchange Traffic Takes a Nosedive

Monthly Web Traffic for Major Bitcoin Exchanges Falls by HalfThe total number of visits at the websites of major bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges has crashed in February. Generally speaking, looking across over a dozen top exchanges, web traffic seems to have peaked in December 2017 or January 2018 and fallen off by half in February, reaching a similar or lower number of visits to that of November 2017 for each website.

According to market intelligence tool Similarweb, the total number of visits at Coinbase was down 49% in February, from 123.5 million to 63.1 million, after reaching 169.5 million in December 2017. Kraken saw a decline of 56%, from 31.7 million in January to 13.8 million in February. Binance experienced a drop of 54%, from a peak of 191.5 million to just 87.3 million. Bitfinex was down 48% in February with just 18.3 million visits, compared with 35.4 million in January and 59.3 million in December 2017.

BTC Transactions Down

Monthly Web Traffic for Major Bitcoin Exchanges Falls by HalfThe obvious factor that could have caused this sharp fall in the number of visits to bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges is the weak price performance of all major cryptocurrencies in the first two months of 2018. In addition to that, the massive price rally of 2017 probably brought in a record number of new investors to the ecosystem in December, setting a very high bar that the following months failed to measure up.

The web traffic data also seems to corroborate the assumption that the similar sharp drop in the number of bitcoin transactions is due to less usage and adoption rather than just exchange batching hiding the total figure. As we reported at the time, by late February we saw just under 200,000 bitcoin transactions a day on average compared with almost half a million bitcoin transactions sent daily in mid December 2017. On the plus side, the less crowded market has finally been able to bring the fee costs down.

Do you think bitcoin exchanges will see an increase in web traffic during March? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

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Chinese Exchange Bitasia Now Supports 0-Confirmation BCH Transactions


Chinese Exchange Bitasia Supports 0-Confirmation BCH Transactions


Earlier this week the Chinese exchange Bitasia announced it started accepting zero-confirmation transactions for bitcoin cash (BCH) for instant trading. The trading platform is one of the first exchanges to enable zero-confirmation transactions so traders can use the platform as quickly as possible.

Also read: Québec Premier: We’re Not Really Interested in Bitcoin Mining

Chinese Exchange Bitasia Adds Zero-Confirmation Support for BCH Deposits

Chinese Exchange Bitasia Supports 0-Confirmation BCH TransactionsThe Chinese exchange Bitasia is a trading platform that allows traders to swap a variety of cryptocurrencies including ETH, LTC, ETC, BTC, BCH, and more. This week the exchange detailed that after some contemplation the trading platform will support zero-confirmation transactions for the bitcoin cash network. A zero-confirmation transaction means that exchanges, merchants, and other businesses are willing to accept a digital currency before the first network confirmation. The general sentiment within the BTC community is that at least one confirmation is needed to prevent double spends.

However, a while ago the developers Gavin Andresen and Tom Harding created specific patches that prevents fraud from happening when zero-confirmation transactions take place. However, the bitcoin core (BTC) developers have removed those patches from the core codebase. Now bitcoin cash developers and the community, in general, believe that zero-confirmation transactions are completely safe and have started testing zero-confirms on the main network over the past few weeks.

Other BCH Businesses Testing and Challenging Zero-Confirm Skeptics

For instance, the Mini-POS device developers have implemented zero-confirmation transactions. Another example is the company Cryptonize.it who offered a challenge to someone who was willing to try a double spend on a $1,000 transaction. A person tried to double spend the BCH but failed and lost $2,000 trying to exploit the transaction.

The First Exchange to Implement Zero-Confirm Support

Now Bitasia is one of the first cryptocurrency trading platforms to add zero-confirmation support to the exchange.

“After careful consideration, Bitasia will support the BCH zero confirmation (0-confirmation) arrival and instant trading,” explains the Chinese exchange.

Bitasia focuses on security and value user experience — For other currencies that use the Segwit mechanism, our current policy remains unchanged and the Segwit plan has not been launched.

Chinese Exchange Bitasia Supports 0-Confirmation BCH Transactions

Bitcoin cash supporters were thrilled to hear about Bitasia supporting zero-confirmation BCH transactions. However, a new website called “Doublespend.cash,” has recently published a list of all the double spends attempts against zero-confirmation BCH transactions. Bitcoin cash supporters are very skeptical of that website’s data as most of the transactions have a fee set lower than the network relay minimum requirement. The reason for this is because transactions under 1 satoshi per byte are typically never propagated throughout the BCH clients. Due to this reasoning, most BCH proponents see the Doublespend.cash website as an attempt to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

What do you think about Bitasia adding zero-confirmation support for BCH traders? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, and Bitasia.

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0 to 50% – Time to Pay Crypto Taxes in the European “Union”


0 to 50% – Time to Pay Crypto Taxes in the European “Union”


With the increasing popularity of bitcoin and the like, this year’s tax campaign in Europe comes with many questions on how to report and pay crypto taxes. Despite the obvious hesitation on the part of many governments to comprehensively regulate/legalize the sector, cryptocurrency incomes and profits “enjoy” special attention. Different decisions on the matter pose different challenges to citizens of individual member-states.

Also read: Excessive Crypto Regulation Not Optimal, EU Banking Authority Says

Different Approaches

There is no uniform approach towards cryptocurrencies in any region and Europe is no exception when it comes to taxation. The recently held G20 summit proves no global consensus on the status of cryptocurrencies, and each jurisdiction is expected to take its own decisions in the short run. In the absence of pan-European guidelines on how to treat crypto-related incomes and profits, some member-states follow a decision by the Court of Justice of the EU. In a 2015 ruling on the application of value added tax (VAT) to cryptocurrencies, the Luxembourg-based institution set a precedent. It basically drew a parallel between “virtual currencies” and fiat money, when digital coins are used for payments.

0 to 50% – Time to Pay Crypto Taxes in the European “Union”In accordance with that decision, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance recently announced that bitcoin should not be subject to VAT, when exchanged with fiat. The tax is applicable only when goods and services are paid for in cryptocurrency. According to German authorities, exchanges can enjoy tax breaks when they trade cryptos, and crypto mining should not be taxed. Trading cryptocurrencies by individuals, however, is subject to standard capital gains tax. Profits of less than €600 and gains from long term holdings (over one year) are exempted.

Several other governments have adopted similar rules. Estonia subjected digital currencies to capital gains tax and VAT. Authorities in Tallinn view cryptos as both means of payment and investments. Slovenia does not tax capital gains of individual investors trading cryptocurrencies, as they are not considered part of their income. Crypto incomes, however, for both individuals and businesses, should be reported and taxed. Applicable rates depend on the annual income and vary from 16% for less than €8,000 to 50% for incomes over €70,000 a year.

Tax authorities in Denmark have announced that crypto companies will be taxed as any other business. According to the Financial Services Authority, private individuals trading cryptocurrencies will not be required to pay taxes. The agency called for adopting legislation that regulates cryptos and their taxation. Spain is mulling tax breaks for businesses using blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. The exact scope of the exemptions is yet to be determined, but the ruling People’s Party has introduced a bill to offer incentives for small companies in the crypto sector.

Waiting for Brussels’ Decision

0 to 50% – Time to Pay Crypto Taxes in the European “Union”A number of EU countries are still waiting for a common, European approach towards cryptocurrency taxation. The government in Belgium, which is home to many EU institutions, has not issued an official stance on the matter. Nevertheless, recent reports suggest that tax authorities are going after Belgian citizens trading cryptocurrencies on foreign exchanges. Anyone speculating on crypto markets is expected to pay 33% tax on their gains, despite the fact that cryptocurrencies are not regulated. Belgians should declare them as “other income” on their tax returns, the Special Tax Inspectorate said at the end of last year.

Bulgaria is another member-state expecting guidance from Brussels. The National Revenue Service has issued a clarification notice saying 10% capital gains tax is applicable to profits from buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Their legal status, however, is yet to be determined by the Bulgarian parliament. It remains unclear how bitcoin incomes and purchases with cryptocurrency will be taxed.

Other EU member-states are losing patience. Dutch finance minister recently described the current regulatory framework as “insufficiently equipped”, as news.Bitcoin.comreported. Wopke Hoekstra spoke of the “inherently cross-border” nature of cryptocurrencies and called for “coordinated international approach”. The government in the Netherlands insists on adopting new European regulations by the end of next year, including amendments to the anti-money laundering directive, which also deals with tax evasion.

The European Neighborhood

While EU regulators are still struggling to grasp the crypto phenomenon, other countries in Europe have taken advantage of their non-aligned status. Belarus, for example, is fighting political and economic isolation by embracing crypto. A decree, signed by President Lukashenko, introduces tax breaks and other incentives for crypto-related activities until 2023. It enters into force in less than a week, on March 28. Whether this crypto-friendly policy will fill government coffers at the end of the day remains to be seen.

How are crypto incomes and profits taxed in your country? Tell us in the comments section below.

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