US Charges Two Canadian Nationals Over Alleged $230K Bitcoin Fraud

US Charges Two Canadian Nationals Over Alleged $230K Bitcoin Fraud

Two Indian-origin Canadians are charged in the U.S. with a $230K Bitcoin fraud using a fake Twitter account of HitBTC exchange.

Two Canadians of Indian origin were charged in the United States with a $233,220 Bitcoin (BTC) fraud using a fake HitBTC account on Twitter.

Scammers posed as HitBTC customer service on Twitter

Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, of Surrey, British Columbia, allegedly stole 23.2 Bitcoin from a woman in the U.S. state of Oregon, Indian publication The Week reports on Aug. 23, citing charges filed with the federal court.

According to the report, the defendants used a fraudulent Twitter account named @HitBTCAssist to trick victims into believing they represented customer service from Hong Kong-based crypto exchange HitBTC from October 2017 until August 2018.

Using the fake HitBTC account, the alleged scammers reportedly convinced the woman to pass them her login data to take over her email, HitBTC and Kraken accounts.

Using the information, the defendants transferred over 23 BTC from the victim’s HitBTC account to Karanjit’s Kraken, who in turn sent nearly 11.6 in stolen Bitcoin to Jagroop’s Kraken account, the report notes.

Multiple charges

Now the two alleged criminals are facing various counts, including one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering. 

While Karanjit was reportedly arrested upon arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas in July 2019, Jagroop still remains at large.

Earlier this month, major global crypto mining hardware supplier Bitmain accused a crypto project of falsely using its name to promote a product dubbed Mangocoin and sale a product dubbed “Bitmain Cloud Miner.”

UK Employee Explains Why He Chose a 100% Bitcoin Salary

UK Employee Explains Why He Chose a 100% Bitcoin Salary

“People always ask how I am coping with living on Bitcoin,” a British software developer tells a UK tabloid, “but the truth is that my lifestyle hasn’t really changed.”

“People always ask how I am coping with living on Bitcoin,” a British software developer told The Mirror in an interview this week, “but the truth is that my lifestyle hasn’t really changed.”

The Mirror — a British daily tabloid founded over a century ago — ran its interview with 24-year old Zakk Lakin on Aug. 22. 

An employee at crypto exchange Coin Center, Lakin was given the option to receive part — or all — of his salary paid in cryptocurrency, and he went the full monty.

100% Bitcoin

Lakin noted “buying things with crypto is easier than people think,” given that there are multiple online retailers that accept cryptocurrency and even third-party tools that allow you to settle invoices on platforms such as Amazon.

In the future, he predicts, more and more retailers — from gas stations to eateries — will open up to cryptocurrency, enabling him to spend less in fiat and more in BTC.  

When it comes to his paycheck, he added, under the current crypto market conditions:

“I convert all of my permanent outgoings (such as rent, direct debits etc) to British pounds on payday to avoid any issues around the Bitcoin price movements and then the rest is left for disposable income/savings.”

As The Mirror notes, as an exchange employee, Lakin is spared the platform fees when he sells and trades his holdings for fiat currency.

Aside from running his own Bitcoin node, Lakin said his choice to be paid in Bitcoin was shaped by a sense of the importance of using the cryptocurrency as it was originally intended — as electronic cash. He added:

“On top of it all, the conversations it creates are always worth it for spreading awareness and educating others about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.”

Bitcoin in Albion

As reported, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, memorably claimed in 2018 that Bitcoin had failed as a currency by traditional measures. Volatility loomed large in his criticism, with Carney saying at the time:

“If you had taken out a £1,000 student loan in Bitcoin in last December to pay your sterling living costs for next year, you’d be short about £500 right now. If you’d done the same last September, you’d be ahead by £2,000. That’s quite a lottery.”

This July, Carney argued that people need to acknowledge the issues Facebook is attempting to solve with Libra, regardless of the project’s potential pitfalls. If Libra can conform to regulatory demands, he stated a week later, the stablecoin could have genuine use cases.

Circle Looks to Raise $100M for Its Equity Platform SeedInvest

Circle Looks to Raise $100M for Its Equity Platform SeedInvest

Goldman Sachs-backed crypto startup Circle plans to raise a $100 million VC fund for its equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

Goldman Sachs-backed crypto startup Circle plans to deploy a $100 million venture capital fund for its equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

According to a recent job posting on LinkedIn, Circle is seeking the general partner that will be responsible for raising and managing the fund in partnership with SeedInvest’s senior leadership team.

The partner will be expected to develop and drive an investment thesis, targeting Seed Invest’s network of 250,000 investors to maximize returns, the job posting notes. The new position will also require to run day-to-day operations of the fund, including major fundraising initiatives, sourcing investment opportunities, as well as managing and expanding the investment team.

Founded in 2012, New York-based SeedInvest has funded more than 150 startups to date, and was ranked the 4th fastest-growing financial services company in the United States on the 500 List by Inc. Magazine. In March 2019, SeedInvest was acquired by Circle, which enabled the SeedInvest to expand its offerings to support cryptocurrencies and issuing tokenized securities.

Earlier this year, SeedInvest was approved to offer secondary shares trading by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Recently, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire argued that Bitcoin (BTC) is a safe investment, claiming that people who want to control their capital buy Bitcoin.

Winklevoss Twins on Bitcoin: ‘Wall Street Has Been Asleep at the Wheel’

Winklevoss Twins on Bitcoin: ‘Wall Street Has Been Asleep at the Wheel’

The Winklevoss twins — Bitcoin bulls and founders of the Gemini crypto exchange — say its retail investors who are still largely reaping the benefits of the crypto market.

The Winklevoss twins — Bitcoin (BTC) bulls and founders of the Gemini crypto exchange — say its retail investors who are still largely reaping the benefits of the crypto market.

In an interview with CNN Business on Aug. 22, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss gave their perspective on Bitcoin as an investment, industry risks and the traditional financial sector’s approach to the new asset class.

Buying a piece of the new internet of money

While many still regard Bitcoin as too risky a bet for the average investor, Tyler argued that on the contrary, the retail sector remains one step ahead of financial institutions when it comes to crypto. He argued that:

“Unlike the internet, which you couldn’t buy a piece of, you can actually buy a piece of this new internet of money. It’s still a retail-driven market, from day one […] and a lot of people have done really well. Wall Street has been asleep at the wheel.”

Of all traditional investments, Cameron added, Bitcoin is most similar to gold — a new store of value for the digital era. And while it may be volatile, it’s the future, he said, underscoring: “We had to invest because we were afraid of missing out, we couldn’t miss out on this future.”

Over-hyped risks

While the twins were, as ever, keen to demonstrate their readiness to liaise with regulators — “compliance is the DNA of our business” (Cameron) — they nonetheless called out a degree of alarmism that continues to cloud perceptions of the risks associated with crypto.

Facebook’s Libra, Tyler argued, hasn’t even been launched — no one’s using it for anything illicit — and yet there’s a regulatory din surrounding it already.

And while Bitcoin may have been used by bad actors — think Silk Road and the Kremlin’s Internet Research Agency during the 2016 U.S. elections —  many of those are now in jail, he emphasized. 

“Smart criminals,” Tyler noted, “aren’t using Bitcoin, because it’s actually very traceable” — with ever more sophisticated blockchain forensics tools being developed. 

The bottom line: “more criminals have used the dollar than anything else.”

As recently reported, the Winklevoss Twins have revealed they are open to partnering with archrival Mark Zuckerberg on Libra, with the caveat that they still need to learn more about the full details of the project.

Crypto Taxation Around the Globe — What Do Regulations Look Like?

Crypto Taxation Around the Globe — What Do Regulations Look Like?

Here’s how today’s crypto taxation laws look like across the globe, from the U.S. to South Korea, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and Malta…

Upon its inception, Bitcoin was envisioned as a borderless currency that could be used by its owners without being affected by the regulatory impositions of any centralized agency or government body. And while this idea in itself is quite grand, the fact of the matter is that today’s crypto owners (across the globe) are subject to varying tax restrictions on their digital holdings by local regulatory bodies.

Also, over the course of the past few months, a number of tax agencies around the globe, (such as the United States Internal Revenue Service) have been in the process of creating new guidance frameworks for overseeing their respective crypto industries. For example, Japanese tax authorities have been sifting through data obtained from various local exchanges so as to nab evaders and cheats, while the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently operating a number of investigations regarding tax-avoidance ploys that involve large volumes of digital currencies.

These developments clearly point to the fact that crypto is a matter of concern for a number of tax departments around the world — primarily because they provide people with an avenue for commerce that expands beyond today’s existing financial systems. So, here are  some crypto-centric economic frameworks that are being used by countries across the globe.

Attitude toward taxing crypto around the world

United States

Per the IRS, digital currencies are classified as property that is liable to taxation according to its annual value appreciation or depreciation. Additionally, the U.S. government does not currently recognize crypto assets as being legitimate forms of money — thereby eliminating any provisions for currency conversion-based tax incentives.

Crypto holders within the U.S. are liable to be taxed on their digital assets that have appreciated in value over the span of a single financial year. Not only that, even cryptocurrencies acquired via mining or other trade activities are subject to tax. In regard to the matter, owners are required to declare the fair market worth of their coins (at the time of their purchase) using published exchange rates to determine their taxable value. 

This taxation process is quite cumbersome and has resulted in many people making use of cryptocurrency accounting programs that are designed to automatically generate the required records with price conversions in the form of an auditable, tax-friendly report.

Germany

Most members of the European Union make use of radically different financial policies and tax codes to govern their respective crypto sectors. They can be either beneficial or harmful for local investors. For example, in Germany, Bitcoin (BTC) is not subject to any capital gains tax — thereby allowing investors to avoid paying significant levies on their holdings if the value of their BTC appreciates. 

However, the kicker here is that the crypto needs to be held by the owner for a period of at least 12 months. Also, crypto business owners are required to pay a levy on any gains that are derived from their personal Bitcoin-related possessions (i.e., via corporate income taxes).

In addition, it must be acknowledged that EU citizens currently have the right to move around the region and take up residence anywhere across Germany to favor their commercial pursuits. However, tax residency in Germany is subject to a number of factors including:

  • Whether the applicant has a private residence in Germany or not.
  • Whether that person has physically stayed in Germany for more than 6 months at a stretch.
  • Whether, in matters related to dual citizenships, the individuals tax status in Germany is determined by “the contracting state in which the employee has a centre of vital (personal and economic) interests.”

Last but not least, per rule 23 EStG, German crypto enthusiasts can trade their tokens in a completely tax-free manner — provided that their capital gains do not exceed a total of 600 euros per year.

Switzerland

One of the world’s most crypto-friendly jurisdictions in the world, Switzerland currently houses the headquarters for the Ethereum Foundation as well as the Libra Association. When studied closely, the country’s tax treatment of cryptocurrencies is quite interesting. For starters, any income acquired through mining has to be declared as self-employment income, while income gained through professional trading is subject to business tax.

  • Individuals receiving their wages in crypto need to declare their assets for income tax purposes.
  • If an investor qualifies as somebody who trades solely from his/her personal account, their cryptocurrency gains are treated as tax-exempt capital gains.
  • Switzerland makes use of a canton tax structure, wherein different regions levy different taxes on a person’s cryptocurrency holdings.

Australia

The Australian Taxation Office recently released a guidance framework that clearly expounds its stance toward the digital asset industry — especially Bitcoin and certain other premier cryptocurrencies. The ATO classifies BTC, Ether (ETH), etc. as being “forms of property” that are taxable. 

On this very subject, a spokesperson for the regulatory body was quoted as saying: “Any financial gains made from the selling of bitcoin will generally be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) and must be reported to the ATO.”

Additionally, the ATO views BTC-based transactions as being “barter arrangements” that are not subject to goods and services tax. However, deals involving the the flagship crypto asset are still subject to capital gains tax. The spokesperson mentioned this matter, saying:

“Our view is that bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes. Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.”

Japan

There are a number of Asian countries that have taken crypto adoption quite seriously. For example, Japan — a nation where it is legal for people to facilitate their everyday payments using crypto — digital currencies are treated as commodities that are subject to income tax, capital gains tax and corporate tax. 

While the filing process is slowly becoming streamlined — with taxes ranging between 15% and 55% — many people still find the process quite cumbersome because they are required to pay levy’s on their asset/conversion gains. Also, owing to the fact that BTC/yen is one of the most popular trading pairs in the world, it seems as though Japan’s existing tax framework will allow the Asian powerhouse to draw in large streams of revenue from its crypto industry. 

Lastly, the Japanese government recently announced its decision to create a new tracking system that will allow the National Tax Agency to obtain data from transaction intermediaries, such as digital currency exchanges, altcoin trading portals, etc. Not only that, new regulations will be enforced by the end of the year, making the crypto owners — who earn over 10 million yen (about $88,700) in profits — subject to certain niche taxes.

South Korea

As things stand, the South Korean government is seeking to derive financial benefit by taxing both its digital currency market as well as its Initial Coin Offering industry. In this regard, Han Seung-hee — commissioner of Korea’s National Tax Service — recently told media that he was planning to tax the use of Bitcoin after the digital asset’s local trading volume skyrocketed not long ago. He also said that he is looking at a number of different ways in which to foster BTC’s relationship with the nation’s existing capital gains tax, value-added tax and gift tax structures. Han said:

“Gains and losses (gains or losses recognized on the basis of relative relationships with foreign currencies or foreign currency) arising from the use of bitcoin, as a general rule, except for cases arising in association with acts that cause various incomes such as business income, are classified as miscellaneous income.”

Malta

One of the most popular crypto havens in the world, Malta’s existing economic setup is designed in such a way that it does not tax digital assets. However, any money made through activities related to day trading is considered to be business income and is thus subject to regular taxation. 

In terms of setting up one’s business, citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland are allowed to freely move and facilitate their commercial activities across the country. However, in order for other interested individuals to take advantage of Malta’s lax crypto regulations, they will have to either buy property worth (at least) 275,000 euros (roughly $300,000) or pay rent of up to 9,600 euros (about $10,600) per year to the local government.

Singapore

Singapore has been a trailblazer when it comes to crypto taxation — with the government only taxing profits that are acquired via trading activities associated with one’s digital currency holdings. Businesses or even individuals who have been in possession of their cryptos for extended periods of time (including long-term investment) are not taxed by the local regulator. 

Additionally, corporate tax residency (in Singapore) only comes into the picture if a business is actually running from within the nation’s borders. Similarly, individuals are considered tax residents, if and only if, they have spent a total of 183 days or more within the country.

Belarus

During Q1 2018, the Belarusian government passed a law that was designed to legalize crypto activities across the nation as well as make digital currencies exempt from a host of existing tax schemes. Similarly, under the aforementioned law, even cryptocurrency mining and investment-related activities are exempt from taxes until the end of 2023.

Canada

Canadian laws tax cryptocurrencies in pretty much the same way as they treat any other investment commodity —  i.e., 50% of all acquired gains are tax deductible and are automatically added to an individual’s annual income (for that financial year). 

Also, day traders who indulge in high transaction volume activities may be considered to be business entities by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), as a result of which they might have to file their taxes using different forms. Lastly, the law requires investors to keep an accurate tab of their crypto-trading activities for purposes related to capital gains tax — and failing to do so might make them liable to certain penalties and financial impositions by the CRA. 

4 Reasons Why Ethereum Classic Is Soaring — Up 40% This Week

4 Reasons Why Ethereum Classic Is Soaring — Up 40% This Week

Ethereum Classic price is soaring this week on bullish news including North Block Capital investment group joining ETC’s newly-launched developer support program.

Ethereum Classic (ETC) price has surged 40% this week on several bullish news stories, according to data from Coin360

Over the past seven days, ETC price has climbed from around $5.50 to roughly $7.30 by press time. It now sits in the number sixteen spot by market capitalization between Chainlink (LINK) and DASH.

Ethereum Classic 7-day price chart

Ethereum Classic 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Here are some news stories that have likely turned traders bullish, at least for the time being. 

Atlantis Fork next month

The Ethereum Classic so-called Atlantis Fork is scheduled for next month. It is expected to occur on Sept. 13, after members and developers came to an agreement that the hard fork will happen at block 8,772,000. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the Atlantis hard fork is meant to improve security while taking into account the community’s concerns. 

It is also considered to be a no-rush update that will ensure the compatibility of ETC with Ethereum, making it easier to collaborate with sibling blockchains. The team also intends to improve the functionality and stability of ETC, which is especially relevant, as the network had experienced a 51% attack last January. 

North Block Capital joins ETC Labs Studio Program

Yesterday, London-based token investment group North Block Capital also joined the Studio Program of blockchain developers organization Ethereum Classic Labs (ETC Labs).

ETC Labs shared the news in the official blog on Aug. 22. Together the companies will reportedly co-create various comprehensive token sale initiatives for North Block Capital’s clients and partners. 

ETC Labs announced the new Studio Program on Aug. 8. The organization is apparently aiming to support new projects and crowdsales based on the ETC blockchain through this initiative. ETC Labs also stated that it will offer both technical and marketing expertise. 

Terry Culver, the CEO of Ethereum Classic Labs, remarked that ETC’s Core group development team will be supporting North Block Capital, which he regards as a leader in blockchain initiatives. He said:

“North Block Capital has an impressive history of driving innovative projects forward and leading the advancement of blockchain companies […] We are excited to partner with them and support their projects with our Core dev team and be at the forefront of fostering blockchain companies and technology. It is a great fit for ETC Labs and the Studio program allows us to quickly address the technical needs of their projects.”

Expansion into Asia

Additionally, ETC Labs will reportedly help North Block Capital conduct token sales and marketing initiatives in the Asian market. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Blockstack PBC CEO and co-founder Muneeb Al recently commented on the appeal of entering the Asian market, saying that “Asian countries have arguably the most significant penetration for both crypto users and developers.”

ETC Summit in October

The annual Ethereum Classic ETC Summit event is scheduled for Oct. 3-4 in Vancouver, Canad. It is not unusual for cryptocurrencies to rise in price in the run-up to an industry event or conference. ETC price, in particular, is no different and has shown to rise in previous years prior to this event. 

The conference will cover a range of topics spanning development, IoT, cross-chain interoperability, market dynamics, smart contracts, social issues surrounding blockchains and more.

Bitmain Valuation to Hit $12B With New 600K Chip Order, Source Says

Bitmain Valuation to Hit $12B With New 600K Chip Order, Source Says

A source close to the mining chip manufacturer involved in the deal confirmed an order for 600,000 7nm units.

Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Bitmain will increase its capacity by 50% in the next six months on the back of a giant hardware order, a source close to the deal has said.

Bitmain eyes 50% capacity increase

As reported by Chinese social media network WeChat on Aug. 23, Bitmain, which has seen a dramatic reversal of fortunes in 2019, will now buy 600,000 mining chips.

According to a source close to the Taiwanese chip manufacturer processing the order, the chips will be of the most recent 7nm variety, the hash rate of which will be 50 tera hashes per second. 

“Based on this calculation, after half a year, Bitmain’s total network computing power will skyrocket by about 50%,” the publication notes, adding Bitmain’s valuation will subsequently top $12 billion.

Mining operators trickle into the black

In July, the company and competitor Canaan Creative sold 5,000 application-specific integrated circuit mining rigs, or ASICs, to German operator Northern Bitcoin.

As Cointelegraph reported, the increase in Bitcoin mining profitability this year has improved the prospects for operators like Bitmain. In late 2018, pressure was visible, with the company closing down operations and firing staff in some countries.

The impact of the previous Bitcoin bear market lingers on, Bitmain reporting losses of $625 million for January and February. 

Renewed plans to conduct an initial public offerings — or IPO — in the United States could meanwhile come to fruition before the beginning of 2020.

Bitcoin Price Stays Over $10K as Trader Warns Ethereum Chart Is ‘Ugly’

Bitcoin Price Stays Over $10K as Trader Warns Ethereum Chart Is ‘Ugly’

The previously delicate barrier turned to firmer support on Friday, with BTC price rising above $10,200.

Bitcoin (BTC) price was consolidating $10,000 support on Aug. 23 after successfully shunning four figures during the day’s trading.

Market visualization

Market visualization. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin delivers firm bounce off $10K

Data from Coin360 show a newly strengthened Bitcoin managing to stay above the $10,000 marker, which it had crossed four times over the course of the week. 

Currently in the upper end of a $300 trading corridor, BTC/USD circled $10,200 at press time, as analysts considered the opportunities ahead for fresh gains and less bearish volatility. 

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

“The trend toward stability, an essential ingredient in a median of exchange, is accelerating Bitcoin’s advancement as a digital form of gold,” Bloomberg quoted its own Intelligence analyst, Mike McGlone, as saying on Thursday.

Sentiment had waned earlier after Bitcoin appeared to be heading broadly lower. Analysts voiced concern about support, arguing a further loss could trigger dives to as low as $7,000.

“In the short term, I’m a little bit cautious,” CNBC’s active Bitcoin bug Brian Kelly told the network on Friday. He added that at future lower levels, the buying opportunity for BTC accumulators was unparalleled.

“When people start saying ‘Is Bitcoin dead again?’ — that’s when I get real bullish,” he added.

Altcoins rally but Ether worries loom large

A Bitcoin breakdown was also still on cards for regular commentator Josh Rager, but for the short term, it was top altcoin Ether (ETH) which presented more worries.

Heading a troubled altcoin market, ETH had circled multi-year lows against BTC before rising above 0.019 on Thursday. For Rager, however, the general trend is down, and he advised not to buy under current conditions.

“If BTC breaks down to $8ks, ETH will follow with a break under $150,” he summarized in a fresh update.

“ETH chart is ugly,” he added.

ETH/BTC briefly outperformed BTC/USD in daily progress Friday, rising 3.7% to $192 against the latter’s 2.8% gains. 

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Other altcoins in the top twenty meanwhile delivered even stronger performances, such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on 5.35% and EOS (EOS) on 6.8% daily gains. 

The overall cryptocurrency market cap also staged a recovery versus Thursday, rising to $266 billion. Bitcoin’s share dipped slightly to 68.4%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

BitPay Blocks $100K Bitcoin Donation to Amazon Rainforest Fire Charity

BitPay Blocks $100K Bitcoin Donation to Amazon Rainforest Fire Charity

The payment processor is in hot water once again after its internal procedures contradict its own support staff.

Controversial cryptocurrency payments processor BitPay is facing another PR nightmare after the company rejected a $100,000 donation to an Amazon rainforest charity.

BitPay leads Amazon Watch to compliance dead end

According to a social media complaint by Amazon Watch, an organization which seeks to support the Amazon rainforest’s ecology and indigenous peoples, the payment failed to pass BitPay’s internal checks. 

The would-be donor was trying to contribute due to the ongoing wildfires in the Amazon, the charity suggests, but could not complete the payment in Bitcoin (BTC).

Officials attempted to contact BitPay, but had received no response, they said. 

“We want to reach out to this person to resolve this issue, but have no way to do so. We need your help, ASAP. Thank you,” they appealed on Twitter.

The reason for the block is allegedly that Amazon Watch’s maximum payment limit was set at below $100,000. After BitPay advised staff to change it, however, they said that doing so was impossible automatically, and that they must submit separate documentation.

Developer: Ditch BitPay, go open source

The episode further fuels the dubious reputation BitPay has built in recent years. Drama has included promoting altcoin Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as a more attractive alternative to Bitcoin itself, along with support for other disruptive ideas and technical issues which saw the company lose several significant clients. 

Few Bitcoin wallets are compatible with BitPay’s invoices, adding to the headache for users.

Sensing the irony of a third party placing artificial limits on the open and decentralized Bitcoin network, software engineer Alex Kaul appealed to Amazon Watch to ditch BitPay for an open source alternative. 

Recommending BTCPay, Kaul’s advice was welcomed by the charity, which promised to consider the switch. Last year, a similar situation caused United States travel agent CheapAir to embrace BTCPay, while venting scorn at both BitPay and fellow operator Coinbase.

Libra Members Consider Quitting Project Due to Gov’t Pressure: Report

Libra Members Consider Quitting Project Due to Gov’t Pressure: Report

At least three of Facebook’s early backers for its planned Libra stablecoin launch are considering withdrawing their support in light of the fierce regulatory pushback.

At least three of Facebook’s early backers for its planned Libra stablecoin launch are considering withdrawing their support in light of the fierce regulatory pushback.

A report from the Financial Times on Aug. 23 alleges that two founding partners of Facebook’s Libra Association have held discussions about what their “right next steps” should be. 

One further — again unnamed — backer is purportedly concerned that their public support for Libra will draw unwanted regulatory scrutiny of their own, independent businesses.

Blame games

As previously reported, the Libra Association is the newly-established, independent governance consortium for Libra. It counts 28 founding members — including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber and Spotify — each of which was required to invest $10 million to join.

In an interview with the Financial Times, one partner noted that:

“I think it’s going to be difficult for partners who want to be seen as in compliance [with their own regulators] to be out there supporting [Libra].” 

Another backer criticized the social media giant for its ill-conceived strategy, saying that:

“Some of those conversations [about regulation] should have taken place before the launch, to understand how regulators would think about this, so there wasn’t so much pushback.”

The tension reportedly goes both ways. One partner admitted that Facebook is itself becoming “tired of being the only people putting their neck out.”

Both Facebook and the Libra Association have reportedly declined to comment.

Regulators swoop in

As reported this week, the European Commission’s antitrust regulators —  have become the latest to join the rounds of regulatory probes into Libra since the project’s unveiling this June.

The regulatory backlash governments, regulators and central bankers worldwide reached such a fever pitch that by late July, Facebook was prompted to warn its investors that the stablecoin may never be released.

During a hearing at the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee earlier that month, lawmakers had asked Facebook how they could be expected to trust a firm whose collection, storage and misuse of customer data had landed it a $5 billion penalty.

The furore has not, nonetheless, quite prevented new potential members from pursuing their interest — including Monex Group Inc — owner of the hacked Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck — Taiwanese digital currency trading platform Maicoin, and even Zckerberg’s arch-rivals, the Winklevoss Twins.

Binance: Funds ‘SAFU’ After Amazon Web Services Error Stops Withdrawals

Binance: Funds ‘SAFU’ After Amazon Web Services Error Stops Withdrawals

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao says he is confident no cryptocurrency has gone missing due to technical problems on Friday.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has confirmed user funds are not at risk after a reported technical problem began affecting withdrawals. 

According to CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, the situation was being resolved on Aug. 23, while funds security was not compromised. 

“Funds are #safu,” he wrote on Twitter, employing a now well-known catchphrase he had previously inadvertently created while confirming there was no danger to cryptocurrency holdings.

“Funds are SAFU” after AWS error busts withdrawals

The issue, he explained, centered on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Problems with caching were producing error messages for a portion of Binance traders, with withdrawals also impacted. 

“AWS is having an issue, mostly with caching services, affecting some users globally. We are working with them and monitoring the situation closely,” CZ wrote, adding:

“It’s causing some 500 error messages on APIs and affecting some withdrawal processing.”

Binance shrugs off alleged KYC data leak

Binance had just recovered from a publicity scare which involved a self-proclaimed hacker alleging he had access to users’ Know Your Customer, or KYC, data. 

Prior to that, a hack saw funds worth $41 million leave the platform due to a security issue —  something which sparked a weeklong maintenance shutdown and payouts to affected users. 

This week, Binance announced it was working on a new cryptocurrency project, Venus, as an answer to Facebook’s controversial Libra digital currency.

Bitcoin More Efficient for Paying Taxes in Canada, Says Local Exchange

Bitcoin More Efficient for Paying Taxes in Canada, Says Local Exchange

Bitcoin is more efficient for paying taxes than bank cards, according to Coinberry exchange co-founder Evan Kuhn.

Evan Kuhn, the co-founder of Toronto-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinberry, has claimed Bitcoin (BTC) is more efficient for paying taxes than bank cards.

As real estate news outlet Mansion Global reported on Aug. 22, Kuhn said his company takes much lower fees than the ones that card institutions impose on their clients, adding: 

“A credit card company charges a 3% fee. […] Our fee is .5%, so that’s a lot more beneficial for the municipalities.”

Bitcoin transaction fees six times lower than credit cards

Coinberry acts as an intermediary because local municipalities are not authorized to hold or accept cryptocurrencies due to their volatility. The company accepts the cryptocurrency, instantly converts it to Canadian dollars, and then transfers the funds to the municipalities.

Bitcoin tax payments in Toronto

Richmond Hill, a city near Toronto, began accepting Bitcoin for property tax in July — less than six months after Innisfil launched a similar initiative a similar initiative on a trial basis.

According to Mansion Global, then Toronto councillor Norm Kelly suggested that the city should think about accepting such payments for taxes in Jan. 2018. While the possibility was considered, the proposal has not come to fruition. Toronto communications adviser Ashley Hammill was quoted as saying:

“In order for it to be considered again in the future, another motion would need to be put forward by a council member.”