Bitcoin News — Germany
Hodler’s Digest, September 16-23: Elon Musk Wants Advice on Twitter Crypto Scammers, the US SEC Wants Comments on BTC ETFs
Posted by Molly Jane Zuckerman on
A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange is hacked of almost 6,000 bitcoins, and Elon Musk turns to Dogecoin creator to get rid of Twitter crypto scammers
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked Of Reported 5,966 Bitcoins
As a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers have managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million. Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated this week that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to Japan’s financial regulator, reporting losses of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Turns To Dogecoin Creator To Stop Crypto Scammers
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat "annoying" cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter this week. Musk, directing his tweet at Palmer, asked for help getting rid of scam spammers, to which Palmer replied by sending Musk a short script in direct messages to try to fix the problem.
US SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund, Asks For Further Comments
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested further comments regarding its decision on the listing and trading of VanEck and SolidX’s Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is expected to list on the CBOE BZX Equities Exchange (BZX). In a notice, the SEC asks for additional comments from interested parties addressing the sufficiency of the BZX’s statement in support of the proposal. In particular, the SEC is seeking comments on eighteen key issues, among which are commenters’ views on BZX’s assertions that BTC “is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie exchange-traded products (ETPs).”
New York Attorney General Report: Crypto Exchanges Vulnerable To Manipulation
A new report published by the New York Attorney General’s office states that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks. The findings, part of the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” that consisted in surveying 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, found that an absence of standard methods for auditing virtual assets results in the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to independently auditing digital currency traded on exchanges.
Researchers Explain How Gemini Dollar Transactions Can Be Changed Or Paused
The implementation of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin can be completely changed by a Gemini custodian every 48 hours, according to a study authored by blockchain researcher Alex Lebed and crypto consultant Alexey Akhunov. In the study, the authors review the code of the GUSD’s smart contract in order to demonstrate that the implementation of the Gemini USD can become non-transferrable or frozen at any moment, which is noted in the Gemini dollar’s white paper.
Most Memorable Quotations
“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” — Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba
“Cryptocurrencies are perfect, but are used for bad purposes today, so [one has to be] careful. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are also perfect, they are big, big tools,” — Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, executive chairman of multinational Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
"As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected,” — UK Treasury Committee on cryptocurrency regulation
Laws And Taxes
Ukrainian Parliament Seeks To Tax Cryptocurrency Assets With New Bill
Ukraine’s parliament has proposed a bill that would tax operations with crypto assets with a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as cryptocurrencies and tokens. Starting Jan. 1, 2024 crypto-related profits by businesses would be taxed at 18 percent, which is a basic rate for corporate and personal income tax in Ukraine. According to the lawmakers, the introduction of this tax would make it possible to “draw 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.”
US Lawmakers Send Open Letter To IRS Asking For Crypto Taxation Clarity
U.S. lawmakers have called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance in an open letter this week. The representatives deem that the IRS has had “more than adequate time” to work through complexities after its preliminary rules were issued four years ago, arguing that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers' ability” to meet their obligations.
Financial Task Force Says International AML Standards For Crypto Coming Soon
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is getting closer to the establishment of a global set of anti-money laundering (AML) standards for cryptocurrencies. The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea reportedly said that he expects the coordination of a series of standards that will close “gaps” in global AML standards at an FATF plenary in October. At that time, the FATF will purportedly discuss which existing standards should be adapted to digital currencies, as well as revise the assessment methods of how countries implement those standards.
Binance To Soon Begin Private Beta Testing Of Crypto-Fiat Singapore Exchange
Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted this week. According to CZ, the testing will be launched on September 18, and while no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar.
US PNC Bank To Use RippleNet For Customers’ International Payments
PNC, which is ranked among the top ten U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states, will use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. A particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use Ripple’s blockchain solution xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients. Ripple emphasises that xCurrent will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly, changing their approach to managing both accounts and their working capital.
Ripple Executive Hints Of xRapid Launch Coming Soon
Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai told CNBC this week that Ripple has been making strides toward the launch of its product xRapid, noting that a commercial version of its payment platform could launch "in the next month or so.” The xRapid product is a real-time settlement platform designed to speed up international payments that addresses the issues of minimizing liquidity costs and making cross-border payment transactions faster.
Canadian Coinsquare’s Investment Subsidiary Launches Two Tech-Based ETFs
Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies, while THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology.
Brazil’s Largest Brokerage To Launch Bitcoin, Ethereum Exchange
The largest brokerage in Brazil, Grupo XP, will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future called XDEX with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.
Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships
Crypto Exchange Huobi Joins Russian Bank Innovation Fund
Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation. Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation draft law, which passed in a first reading in May, are tentatively set to be passed in October. One of the main goals of the partnership with Huobi and the VEB Innovation Fund is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.
Switzerland And Israel Agree To Share Blockchain Regulation Experience
Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share their experience on regulating the blockchain industry.Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Joerg Gasser have recently visited Israel to officially request access to the local markets for Swiss banks.As Gasser told Reuters, by the end of 2018 he plans to prepare a report on blockchain regulation for the Israeli officials that would outline general recommendations.
R3, Dutch Digital Security Company Partner For Blockchain-Based IDs
Blockchain consortium R3 has deployed a digital ID application developed by Dutch digital security company Gemalto on the latest version of the Corda Platform. The parties now expect to conduct several pilots of the application — called the Trust ID Network — that will reportedly be launched later this year. The application enables digital service providers to operate “fully verified and secured” user personal data by creating a Digital ID, allowing consumers to register within various banking, e-commerce, and e-government services while avoiding repeated due diligence procedures.
Poland’s Largest Bank Partners With Coinfirm To Launch Blockchain Solution
Poland’s largest bank , PKO Bank Polski, will launch a blockchain solution for its customer documents via a partnership with UK-based Coinfirm “in the coming days,” the parties confirmed this week. As part of a drive to enhance security of customer data, PKO Bank Polski will use Coinfirm’s Trudatum to provide blockchain-issued paperwork to its some five million account holders.
Chinese Blockchain Fund To Raise Almost $13 Million For Japanese Stablecoin
Yao Yongjie, whose $1.5 billion Grandshores Blockchain Fund has the backing of well-known Chinese Bitcoin investor Li Xiaolai and the local government of the city of Hangzhou, is seeking to create up to three new stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) pegged to various fiat currencies. The first reported stablecoin project would involve the Japanese yen, and a second company Yao chairs, Hong Kong-based Grandshores Technology, aims to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) in financing for the cryptocurrency.
Winners And Losers
The crypto markets have experienced a comeback this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,756 and Ethereum at $245. Total market cap is now around $228 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Carebit, Bob’s Repair, and the Ultimate Secure Cash. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Protean, Abulaba, and Bitmark.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD Of The Week
Bitcoin Core Updates Fixes Vulnerability That Could “Take Down The Network”
Bitcoin Core has released an update following the recent detection of a vulnerability in the software: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released with a fix for a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability.The vulnerability could reportedly cause a crash of older versions of Bitcoin Core if they attempted processing a block transaction that tries to spend the same amount twice. According to Casaba Security co-founder Jason Glassberg, the recent vulnerability found on Bitcoin Core software could “take down the network.” He explained that the network crash “does not appear” to target users’ wallets, but would rather “affect transactions in the sense that they cannot be completed.”
China’s Central Bank Warns Public Of Risks With ICOs, Crypto Trading
The People’s Bank of China has issued a new public notice this week “reminding” investors of the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. Today’s notice ,released from the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai, censures the “unauthorized” and “illegal” ICO financing model for posing a “serious disruption” to the “economic, financial and social order.”
German Finance Minister Doubts Whether Crypto Could Ever Replace Fiat
Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz doubted publicly this week that cryptocurrencies can currently replace traditional fiat currencies. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, "and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation,” noting that cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities.
Reuters: Brazilians Antitrust Regulator To Inspect Six Major Banks Over Crypto Trade
Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), is reportedly inspecting six major national banks for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space, according to Reuters. The probe, which was initiated n the request of the Brazilian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (ABCB) following several complaints, will determine whether the country’s largest banks closed the accounts of brokerages trading in Bitcoin.
Malware Reportedly Stolen From NSA Contributes To Skyrocketing Cryptojacking
Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, according to a report from the Cyber Threat Alliance. Eternal Blue, which was reportedly stolen and then used for the infamous cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, has been used by hackers to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year.
Prediction Of The Week
Bitcoin To See 30 Percent Rally By End Of 2018, Says Mike Novogratz
Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted this week on Twitter that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.
The New York Times visits Massena — a region formerly filled with American corporations offering unions jobs — that now has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. However, as the Time notes, the “abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River,” has brought in the cryptocurrency mining companies, bringing mixed reactions from the area’s residents.
After Ripple (XRP) saw an unprecedented amount of growth this week, the question arose: what is it really called — Ripple or XRP? While Ripple Labs Inc. notes that the tokens are different than its open-source network, the token did used to be referred to as “ripples (XRP).”
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- Tags: AML, Banks, Bitcoin Core, Blockchain, Canada, China, Cryptocurrency Exchange, ETF, Germany, Government, Japan, PNC, Poland, Ripple, Russia, SEC, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA
Posted by Veronika Rinecker on
Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz does doubts that traditional fiat currencies can currently be replaced by cryptocurrencies.
"I would doubt today, whether it has a perspective as a currency model, " said Scholz at a “citizens dialogue” at the German-Dutch Army Corps in Münster. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, "and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation."
Scholz said that the necessary computer processes for the mass implementation of cryptocurrencies are so expensive and energy-intensive that it could not work, but that he did not want to speak for the future “20 to 30 years.”
According to Scholz, cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities. He added that “...we do not believe that they already have an economically significant importance today.”
European legislators have met in several capacities in the past several weeks in order to discuss their concerns over cryptocurrencies and the potential remedies to problems associated with digital assets.
On September 4, members of the European Parliament met to discuss regulations for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which while being a “very interesting and promising vehicle instruments” for raising capital, require more regulatory oversight in the view of many European legislators.
At a recent meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council in Vienna, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis claimed that crypto needs further regulation. While noting that crypto is “here to stay,” Dombrovsksis stressed that the European Union (E.U.) will focus on the development of crypto asset classification and regulatory mapping.
Prior to the aforementioned meeting, a report by Belgian think tank Bruegel urged European regulators to adopt uniform regulations on cryptocurrencies at the E.U.-level. The report notes that while regulations are left to national entities, there is an opportunity for “regulatory arbitrage” for crypto businesses.
Posted by Veronika Rinecker on
The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management has introduced blockchain-based coursework certificates for its students.
The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (FS) in Germany will now offer students the ability to prove their qualifications using blockchain technology, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported September 17.
As part of a pilot program, graduates of one of FS’ courses on blockchain technology will be able to prove their successful completion of the course with a certification stored on a blockchain itself.
For the pilot project, FS is working with Consensys, one of the leading software companies in the blockchain field. Consensys has developed a decentralized app (DApp) for so-called self-sovereign identities, wherein certificates are not necessarily published on a blockchain, but only copied to the computers of numerous network participants.
The copies can be encrypted so that the owner of a particular node in the respective network can decide on a case-by-case basis which certificates he or she makes visible to other network participants. Thus, the blockchain actually makes credentials physically portable for the students.
"We are doing pioneer work here. <...> Our students find it a privilege to be involved in new technology at an early stage. It's a bit like the programming of the first public Internet sites in the mid-'90s."
Professor Philipp Sandner, Head of the FS Blockchain Center, added:
"With the blockchain you can store personal data, such as a CV or identity card, as in a picture book. With our project we show how easy and comfortable that can be for the user. "
This makes the FS the first educational institution in Germany to offer its students blockchain-based certificates. The new technology is also being used in Switzerland at the University of Basel. At the end of April, the Center for Innovative Finance (CIF) introduced course certificates registered on the Ethereum blockchain.
Posted by Bitcoin.com PR on
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The post PR: EasyVisual Blasts Advertising Market with New Channel for Brand Promotion appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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Posted by Stephen O'Neal on
Crypto-friendly destinations for you next vacation.
Backed with continuing adoption, crypto holidays have become a reality. At this point, flights and hotels all around the world can be booked with Bitcoin (BTC). Still, some cities are more ready to accept your BTC — and major altcoins — than others, depending on the local infrastructure and crypto-related policies.
However, as Gili Gershonok, a crypto nomad who deliberately chooses not to have a bank account, told Cointelegraph, ignoring fiat money while travelling becomes more difficult, as all of the crypto prepaid cards she heavily relied on were canceled in early 2018.
“I feel like more and more barriers are being set against folks who dare to have a lifestyle that's off the financial grid… The process of going crypto-to-cash is getting more complicated, especially for those who prefer to keep their privacy and avoid high fees — both highly prioritized values across the crypto community.”
All of that being said, Gershonok reassured that traveling with BTC is still possible, drawing a parallel between crypto and casual tourists:
“I don't think there's a huge difference in the financial behaviors of [the two]. In Prague, I mostly keep to cash, which I can easily withdraw out of one of many crypto ATMs across the city. I try to find crypto payment options for online transactions and as the cliché goes, for everything else — there's plastic.”
Gershonok advises those who want to try traveling fiat-free for themselves to start with their current location, and keep security in mind:
“Go crypto for a week in your hometown and see what questions and challenges you come across. It would also be advisable to consider some security scenarios, like, what you would do if your phone, laptop, luggage are lost or stolen — and have contingencies in place.”
As the end of the summer nears, here are some of the most crypto-friendly destinations that might be worth trying.
Prague, Czech Republic
Home to SatoshiLabs, the manufacturer of the Trezor hardware wallet, Prague hosts the most BTC-accepting venues in the world, as per Coinmap data. There, Bitcoin can be used for renting apartments, paying for food and drinks in various bars and restaurants, or even visiting a crypto-friendly cinema. Gershonok confirms that Prague is one of the most comfortable cities for virtual currencies, naming it her personal favorite:
“Businesses with crypto POS and ATMs are not everything [there]. Prague also has a really well-informed, well-connected and active crypto community. I feel like there's more people here who casually know about cryptocurrencies and blockchain basics than in other places I've visited.”
At state level, the Czech Republic leans toward a liberal approach to cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the local central bank declared that virtual currencies don’t represent a threat to the conventional banking system via an announcement dubbed “Don’t be afraid of Bitcoin.” In it, the watchdog argued that fiat currencies are still most suitable for commerce, and the traditional monetary system can’t be marginalized by cryptocurrencies because of crypto’s volatility.
However, by the end of 2017, the Finance Ministry introduced an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law partly restricting BTC. The bill requires local crypto exchanges to reveal the identity of customers so that they will no longer be able to “hide behind fake names or nicknames.”
While Ljubljana does not necessarily come to mind when thinking of most crypto-advanced cities, the capital of Slovenia hosts a ‘Bitcoin city’, aptly named BTC city, inside itself — a complex with 500 retail stores spread across 475,000 square meters. A special cryptocurrency transaction system called Elipay is set to be integrated into BTC City after a testing round. Nevertheless, a number of cafes, a water park, sneaker shops, etc., have already begun accepting cryptocurrencies. The prime minister of Slovenia, Dr. Miro Cerar, has reportedly visited and encouraged the concept of BTC City, which also hosts the nation’s largest mining rig. Additionally, there are about 20 BTC-accepting venues in Ljubljana’s city center, according to Coinmap.
There’s no clear regulation for cryptocurrencies in Slovenia at the moment. In 2017, however, the Slovenian Financial Stability Board issued a warning to Slovenians, advising them to be cautious when investing in ICOs and digital currencies, as there are no laws policing those areas.
Nevertheless, local government is clearly interested in blockchain. In October 2017, the government of Slovenia announced its plans to position the country as the leading destination of blockchain technology in the European Union, while also studying the potential applications of the technology in public administration.
In April 2018, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) teamed up with Barbados-based blockchain startup Bitt Inc. to facilitate “the implementation of more efficient payment processes for tourism-related products and services.” Essentially, CTO wants to explore how cryptocurrencies can improve the local tourist industry, which is one of the main sources of income in the Caribbean, especially after large U.S. banks started to withdraw capital from the region due to the 'de-risking' policy. Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general, told local media:
“The Caribbean aims to fully examine the advantages offered by new financial technology… In particular, blockchain financial services have the potential to advance the objectives of specific programs and activities within the tourism sector. The CTO has a responsibility on behalf of our members to fully explore those possibilities.”
While the actual outcome of that collaboration is still intangible, if the Caribbean continues to move in that direction, local beaches might attract an array of crypto entrepreneurs willing to spend their savings there.
Caribbean countries are approaching crypto adoption at the state level as well. In March, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) announced a national cryptocurrency called the Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar (DXCD), which is planned to be introduced alongside fiat money in eight Eastern Caribbean countries. Donaldson Romeo, premier of Montserrat, declared earlier this year:
“The decision to move closer to a cashless society is in keeping with our overall development strategy, and also that of the ECCB.”
Amsterdam is one of the pioneering cities in terms of virtual currencies. It famously houses the Bitcoin Embassy, a community hub nearby the local sex museum where crypto enthusiasts gather to attend and organize workshops or do social networking in the local cafe. Additionally, there are about 40 more BTC-friendly venues, including a bike rental, among others. The annual Bitfilm festival dedicated to all things crypto has also been hosted there.
In March, a Dutch court categorized Bitcoin as a “transferable value” after the court ruled in favor of a plaintiff who was owed 0.591 BTC.
In May, the government issued a report which considered cryptocurrency to be broadly “low risk” in relation to financial stability. However, soon after, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) questioned whether entities dealing in cryptocurrency had conformed to licensing laws, due to the high risks being involved.
Coinmap shows that there are around 80 crypto-friendly businesses in Tokyo, one of the largest amounts on the planet. For instance, popular conveyor-belt sushi restaurant Numazuko accepts cryptocurrencies, as well as Hackers Bar which hosts live programming sessions, not to count a number of crypto ATMs.
Such openness in regard to cryptocurrencies comes as no surprise considering that Bitcoin and altcoins can be used as a legally-accepted means of payment in Japan. Local watchdogs regulate the industry via thorough AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance checks, while the Japan’s self-regulatory crypto exchange body makes sure to cooperate with the state.
Bitcoin’s popularity in Germany’s capital was highlighted by The Guardian in 2013, back when mainstream culture was dismissing the digital currency as solely a crypto-anarchic tool. In Berlin, Bitcoin can be used not only to drink and eat at local bars and restaurants (more than 50 within the city center area accept crypto), but for more sophisticated things as well — for instance, the European School of Management and Technology located in Berlin has been accepting BTC as a means of payment since December 2016.
Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Germany, but they have been recognized as ‘private money’ by the German Finance Ministry since 2013. Interestingly, according to the German Income Tax Act, if investors hold their assets (cryptos) for more than one year, their coins become fully tax exempt, making Germany extra attractive to hodlers.
While Zug may be not as well equipped for usual BTC-financed tourist activities as other cities on the list, it nonetheless represents a historical city for crypto enthusiasts. Proudly championing the title of “Crypto Valley,” Zug is home to numerous blockchain startups. Cryptocurrencies can be used for municipal-related activities, such as paying rent or even registering a company.
In Switzerland, “cryptocurrencies are neither money nor a foreign currency, nor a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes.” Its unclear legal status, however, does not prevent the government from experimenting with blockchain, like using the technology for municipal voting, for instance.
As soon as you get to Malta, head over to the Bitcoin & Auto Trader located in Qormi to claim your obligatory Lambo with your crypto savings — granted, assuming that you’ve got enough coins, obviously. After that, you can drive to a crypto-friendly sushi restaurant to celebrate the new purchase. While the local infrastructure for BTC use is still somewhat immature, the situation might change soon after more positive regulations are introduced — and there are reasons to suspect they are coming.
In March, the largest crypto exchange in the world, Binance, announced it was moving its headquarters to Malta. In response, Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, revealed the island’s plan to become the “global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses.”
On July 4, the local government passed three laws that allow companies to issue new cryptocurrencies and trade the existing ones. Most importantly, on that day, Malta became the first country in the world to provide a coherent regulatory framework in the field of blockchain. This week, it continued its path to become the ‘blockchain island,’ as the University of Malta announced a €300,000 blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) scholarship fund in conjunction with the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA).
San Francisco, U.S.
San Francisco boasts around 120 crypto-friendly venues, being an internationally-recognized hub for crypto evangelists. There’s the famous Crypto Castle, a mecca for crypto traders dreaming to multiply their investments and join the ranks of crypto millionaires, as well as numerous BTC-accepting businesses. In fact, San Francisco is so advanced in terms of crypto that even a local federal court accepts bail bonds paid in BTC.
Cryptocurrencies are still in an unclear regulatory zone in the U.S., despite being watched by various regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), who define digital currencies depending on their purview. Nevertheless, the U.S. has been crafting a blueprint for crypto regulations, granting the rights to trade BTC futures and issuing a special trading license in New York.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires has been unofficially named the capital of Bitcoin in Latin America. It boasts a surprising amount of crypto businesses — around 140, as per Coinmap — being up in the top three along San Francisco and Prague. According to a local crypto-related media outlet, Buenos Aires has a Bitcoin publishing house and a taxi service among businesses accepting BTC. Moreover, individual professionals like photographers, professors, designers, technicians and psychologists have reportedly been accepting crypto for their services there.
The governor of Argentina’s central bank was responsible for proposing the July 2018 deadline for regulatory proposals at the G20 summit in March — however, the date has been postponed until at least October.
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- Tags: Argentina, Bitcoin Adoption, Bitcoin Regulation, Cryptocurrencies, Germany, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Switzerland