How Ambiguous Regulations Complicate Crypto Taxation

How Ambiguous Regulations Complicate Crypto Taxation

From America to the United Kingdom and from Russia to Australia, cryptocurrency taxation in major bitcoin strongholds is complicated. Contradictory or non-existent laws, excessive red tape, and maddeningly vague guidelines have conspired to make the tax-paying process more arduous than it need be. Now, a number of advocates are pushing for simplified crypto tax guidelines. Also read: Crypto Charity Airdrop Venezuela Raises $292K – Mostly in BCH Death, Taxes, and Cryptocurrency It was Benjamin Franklin who composed the oft-quoted aphorism that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In the world of cryptocurrency, the inevitability of those affairs is also accompanied by resignation to their being inevitably complicated. As it stands, most cryptocurrency holders have more pressing concerns than bequeathing their digital estate – like trying to work out how much tax they are due on their previous year’s crypto trading. Across North America, there is a growing consensus that bitcoin taxes need to be simplified. Some segments of the cryptoconomy are drowning under excessive red tape – think of the much maligned New York Bitlicense, which has left Bittrex seething and which Andrew Yang has vowed to reform, describing it as having a “chilling effect on the US digital asset market.” In other realms of the cryptosphere, however, not least taxation, the reverse is arguably true, where opaque guidelines have left citizens in the dark. Andrew YangKevin Hobbs is the CEO of Vanbex, a Canadian blockchain services company that specializes in cryptocurrency taxation. He told news.Bitcoin.com: “Tax agencies, like other government agencies, need to provide proper guidance for how to account for cryptocurrency holdings and the trading or transferring of those assets along with a proper explanation for the do’s and don’ts that go along with that.” The Murky Waters of Crypto Taxation Should he achieve the unthinkable and become U.S. president, Andrew Yang has promised a raft of measures to streamline the cryptocurrency industry including a commitment to “Clarify the tax implications of owning, selling, and trading digital assets.” But even if Yang has his way, there will be significant work to be done in simplifying the process for cryptocurrency users across North America and beyond. Government: You owe us money. It’s called taxes. Me: How…

OTC Groups and State-Sanctioned Exchanges Start Trading Venezuela’s Petro

OTC Groups and State-Sanctioned Exchanges Start Trading Venezuela’s Petro

Last February, news.Bitcoin.com first reported on the Venezuelan cryptocurrency the petro (PTR) launched by President Nicolas Maduro. Initially, many media reports assumed the digital currency might be phony or nonexistent. However, recent data from a few exchanges and from Venezuelans trading the asset on social media suggests the nation-state issued cryptocurrency is quite real and that locals are trading PTR regularly for goods and services. Also read: Darknet Users Allege Wall Street Market Exit Scammed, Possibly Snatching $30M Venezuelans Are Swapping the Petro on Exchanges and Social Media Since the death of Hugo Chavez, when President Nicolas Maduro took over in 2013, Venezuela’s economy has spiraled out of control. At the time of writing, Venezuela’s inflation rate is a whopping 1,623,656%, making the nation state’s fiat currency, the bolivar, pretty much worthless. In an attempt to provide a solution, Maduro created the petro (PTR) cryptocurrency which is allegedly backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves. Some Venezuelans believe that eventually the bolivar will be decommissioned and citizens will be forced to use the petro. According to data issued by the government, PTR is supposed to be valued at 246,332 bolivars or $60 per PTR, but this isn’t the case right now. The digital currency also didn’t have a block explorer when the price base was increased by Maduro and most Venezuelans hadn’t seen it being used in the real world. Our last petro report, however, showed the asset has finally seen the light of day and that Venezuelans are able to purchase PTR through the government agency Sunacrip. Moreover, the government has allowed cryptocurrencies like BTC and LTC to be used for payments in order to acquire petros. Sunacrip even created a state-sanctioned crypto remittance platform that supports BTC, LTC, and other cryptocurrencies. There is a block explorer available now that has an extremely glitchy interface, but Sunacrip has insisted that a fully functional petro block explorer will be released on April 30. Amberes exchange. The petro cryptocurrency has been selling between 0.00555-0.007411 BTC on various exchanges. There is also a variety of exchanges Sunacrip has made available to the public so people can buy and trade their PTR at state-sanctioned trading platforms. This includes authorized trading facilities such as Cryptoexca.io, Afx.trade, Amberes, Bancarexchange.io, Cryptiaexchange.com, and Criptolago.com.ve.…

Coinbase’s Political Action Committee Shuts Down Without Ever Raising a Cent

Coinbase’s Political Action Committee Shuts Down Without Ever Raising a Cent

Coinbase is moving to shut down its political action committee (PAC) without ever raising a cent. The San Francisco-based crypto exchange filed a Termination Report for its PAC on April 3, 2019, according to publicly available documents on the Federal Election Commission’s website (FEC). The move means that the exchange wants to shut down its PAC, though it was not immediately clear if the committee had actually been shut down. A Coinbase spokesperson confirmed that the exchange had filed to shut down its PAC, but could not say if the FEC has granted the request yet. PACs are typically formed to raise funds on behalf of specific candidates for public office or business and ideological interests. However, the Coinbase PAC did not raise any funds, nor did it back any candidates during its 10-month lifespan, public filings show. Personnel change The exchange first launched its PAC in June 2018, and it was run by former chief policy officer Mike Lempres, who left the exchange last year to join venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Brian Brooks, who joined Coinbase as chief legal officer in September, was the likely candidate to have taken over the PAC following Lempres’ departure. According to the FEC’s website, a committee can file to terminate its operations if “it no longer receives (or intends to receive) contributions,” or if “it no longer makes (or intends to make) expenditures.” That said, a committee is required to continue regularly filing disclosure reports until the FEC accepts the termination report, the site explained, adding: “Committees shouldn’t stop filing just because they checked the ‘Termination Report’ box on their regular campaign finance disclosure form. Committees must file regularly scheduled reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that it has granted their request to terminate.” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong at Consensus image via Coinbase/YT 

Unconfirmed: Mt. Gox Automatically Filing Creditors for Repayment

Unconfirmed: Mt. Gox Automatically Filing Creditors for Repayment

Users who held bitcoin (BTC) on the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange and filed certain self-admission rehabilitation claims could reportedly receive some of their funds back, an unconfirmed email posted to Reddit on April 22 suggests. Addressed to all Mt. Gox users, the message reportedly says: “The creditors who objected to your self-approved rehabilitation claim withdrew their objections. As a result, the approval of your self-approved rehabilitation claim has become effective, and you no longer need to file an application for claim assessment.” The email screenshot was shared on Reddit by DerEwige, who accompanied the post with a screenshot of the alleged email written in both Japanese and English. DerEwige interpreted the email to mean that even Mt. Gox users who failed to fill out a rehabilitation claim after losing their bitcoin have had a claim automatically made in their name, which has now been approved. The Reddit user added that they were unsure about when any compensation would be paid, and exactly how much bitcoin affected users would receive. Cointelegraph has been unable to verify the veracity of this email. Two Mt. Gox creditors we spoke to said they have received no such message from the exchange. According to users in the MtGoxCreditors Telegram channel, self-admission claims that were not claimed in bankruptcy or civil rehabilitation were no longer objected to if the users were able to identify themselves. The Mt. Gox hack in 2011 was the biggest bitcoin hack the world has seen, with 850,000 BTC (worth about $460 million at the time) stolen. The embattled exchange subsequently collapsed three years later, with 24,000 creditors out of pocket. In April, Mt. Gox’s trustee announced that all creditors who filed rehabilitation claims had received a decision, but warned the timing and method of repayment had not been determined.

Bittrex: ‘North Korean’ Accounts Flagged by NYDFS Were South Korean

Bittrex: ‘North Korean’ Accounts Flagged by NYDFS Were South Korean

Crypto exchange Bittrex said Monday that New York regulators erred in identifying two of its users as North Korean. In a statement issued Monday, Bittrex said it had reviewed two accounts that were flagged as belonging to residents of the sanctioned country by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), which recently rejected the exchange’s application for a BitLicense. It turned out that the same two users had already been investigated by the exchange in October 2017, Bittrex said, adding: “South Korean residents mistakenly selected North Korea in our country dropdown menu, but we determined through country identification, physical and IP address that ALL were from South Korea.” In an op-ed published in CoinDesk Thursday, Shirin Emami, the executive deputy superintendent for banking at NYDFS, stated that when the agency’s examiners sampled Bittrex accounts earlier this year, they identified two based in North Korea. “More may exist,” she wrote. “At least one North Korean account was active into 2017,” along with two accounts in another sanctioned country, Iran, that were active during this year’s examination. In a rebuttal issued the same day, Bittrex denied having any accounts in either country this year. But Monday’s statement represented the first time the company explained why NYDFS might have thought two of the accounts in question were North Korean. Sanctions compliance is one of several issues NYDFS cited for denying a license to Bittrex, along with broader anti-money-laundering (AML) practices and the exchange’s coin listing process. A Bittrex spokesperson said the company had “nothing to add” regarding the alleged Iranian accounts. An NYDFS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. North Korea/South Korea image via Shutterstock.

Israeli University Sues Professor for Zero-Knowledge Proofs Technology

Israeli University Sues Professor for Zero-Knowledge Proofs Technology

A leading Israeli university is suing one of its own senior staff members for allegedly creating a zero-knowledge proofs technology company based on the intellectual property the professor developed while working for the institution. Also Read: Will Belarus Be the First Country With Nuclear-Powered Bitcoin Mining? The Technion Wants a Piece of Starkware The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, a research university established in 1912, has filed a lawsuit in the Haifa District Court against computer science lecturer Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson, claiming that he acted in violation of the institution’s intellectual property regulations. Ben-Sasson is the co-founder and Chief Scientist of the blockchain technology startup Starkware and the Technion now demands from the court the transfer of 50% of all his shares in the company. The Israeli national flag next to that of the TechnionThe university claims that the professor tried to keep it in the dark about the establishment of the company and that he did not ask for the Technion’s approval for the commercialization of the intellectual property that belongs to the institution. Ben-Sasson’s defense denies these accusations, saying that Starkware did not use or intend to use an invention belonging to the Technion and that the university therefore has no right to his shares. However, they have offered to give the Technion a certain share of ownership in the company, dependent upon reaching a compromise agreement in the near future. Zero-Knowledge Proofs Technology Worth Millions Starkware promises to improve the scalability and privacy of blockchains using STARK technology, providing zero-knowledge cryptographic proofs that are “post-quantum secure” with no need for a trusted setup. Besides Ben-Sasson, the company’s other co-founders are Prof. Alessandro Chiesa (UC Berkeley), Uri Kolodny, and Michael Riabzev (Ben-Sasson’s doctoral student at the Technion). The Computer Science Faculty building in the TechnionIn May 2018, Starkware had announced it had completed a $6 million seed funding round with participation from Vitalik Buterin, Zcash Co., Arthur Breitman (Tezos), Da Hongfei (NEO), Bitmain, Elad Gil, Fred Ehrsam, Linda Xie, Pantera, Naval Ravikant, Metastable, Floodgate, Polychain and others. By October it closed a $30 million equity round, led by Paradigm with investors such as Intel Capital, Sequoia, Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures. In…

Bittrex: ‘North Korean’ Accounts Flagged by NYDFS Were Actually South Korean

Bittrex: ‘North Korean’ Accounts Flagged by NYDFS Were Actually South Korean

Crypto exchange Bittrex said Monday that New York regulators erred in identifying two of its users as North Korean. In a statement issued Monday, Bittrex said it had reviewed two accounts that were flagged as belonging to residents of the sanctioned country by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), which recently rejected the exchange’s application for a BitLicense. It turned out that the same two users had already been investigated by the exchange in October 2017, Bittrex said, adding: “South Korean residents mistakenly selected North Korea in our country dropdown menu, but we determined through country identification, physical and IP address that ALL were from South Korea.” In an op-ed published in CoinDesk Thursday, Shirin Emami, the executive deputy superintendent for banking at NYDFS, stated that when the agency’s examiners sampled Bittrex accounts earlier this year, they identified two based in North Korea. “More may exist,” she wrote. “At least one North Korean account was active into 2017,” along with two accounts in another sanctioned country, Iran, that were active during this year’s examination. In a rebuttal issued the same day, Bittrex denied having any accounts in either country this year. But Monday’s statement represented the first time the company explained why NYDFS might have thought two of the accounts in question were North Korean. Sanctions compliance is one of several issues NYDFS cited for denying a license to Bittrex, along with broader anti-money-laundering (AML) practices and the exchange’s coin listing process. A Bittrex spokesperson said the company had “nothing to add” regarding the alleged Iranian accounts. An NYDFS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. North Korea/South Korea image via Shutterstock.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano, TRON: Price Analysis April 22

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano, TRON: Price Analysis April 22

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Legendary tennis player Serena Williams disclosed that she has invested in cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase through her investment business Serena Ventures. South Korean investors are using low crypto prices to buy more. Their average investment has increased by about 64% compared to 2017, according to a survey by Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation. It is interesting to note that the most common crypto investors are in their 50s, followed by the 30–40 age group. This shows that crypto has touched one and all.   Fundstrat Global Advisors founder Tom Lee expects a bull market to start in Bitcoin. His assumption is based on the reading of the Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI), that is at levels not seen in this bear phase. The BMI reading has skyrocketed to 89, which is way above the previous high of 67. However, such elevated levels have previously resulted in a correction, averaging about 25%. Therefore, Lee expects a drop in Bitcoin but remains bullish as he expects the price to turn around and reach new highs once again. Unlike previous occasions, he has not committed to a specific time frame for a new high. What does our analysis say? Let’s find out. BTC/USD Bitcoin (BTC) is trading close to the overhead resistance of $5,404.82. A breakout of this level can push the price towards the next overhead resistance zone of $5,674.84–$5,900. We anticipate a stiff resistance at $5,900, hence, traders can book profits on 50% of their remaining long positions above $5,600 and keep the stop loss on the rest at $4,800. Both the moving averages are trending up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone, which confirms that the bulls are in command. Contrary to our expectation, if the BTC/USD pair reverses direction from either of the overhead resistances, it can again correct to $4,914.11. This is a strong support. The pair remains positive as long as the price sustains above this. But if the bears sink the digital currency below…

Crypto Charity Airdrop Venezuela Raises $292K – Mostly in BCH

Crypto Charity Airdrop Venezuela Raises $292K – Mostly in BCH

According to the founder of Airdrop Venezuela, the charity that aims to donate US$1 million worth of cryptocurrencies to Venezuelans, the nonprofit has registered 60,000 beneficiaries and raised $292,000 in donations so far. Moreover, bitcoin cash (BCH) has led the pack as far as the most donations are concerned with roughly 670 BCH ($194,900) gifted to date. Also read: Darknet Users Allege Wall Street Market Exit Scammed, Possibly Snatching $30M Airdrop Venezuela Gathers 60,000 Beneficiaries and Close to $300K in Digital Donations During the end of 2018, a cryptocurrency fundraiser was initiated to help citizens of the crisis-stricken South American nation of Venezuela. The charitable effort, dubbed Airdrop Venezuela, was created by the digital currency startup Airtm, a nonprofit that aims to raise $1 million in digital assets for Venezuelans. The leader of the campaign, economics professor Steve Hanke, announced during an interview on April 21 that the project has more than 60,000 registered beneficiaries and has raised $292,000 since the launch. The humanitarian aid campaign hopes to onboard Venezuelans into the world of cryptocurrencies. The Airdrop Venezuela project started on Nov. 27, 2018, and has continued to raise money for Venezuelans in need for the last few months. Hanke explained this past weekend that the main reason for the venture is to provide citizens with economic freedom. “There’s really no particular political motivation. It’s just to help people to give them some purchasing power — The money comes from private donations,” Hanke explained during his interview. The economist added: [Airdrop Venezuela] will be a demonstration of how relief agencies all around the world can easily deliver aid and relief to people in need. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Donations Capture the Lead by a Landslide The beneficiaries of the fundraiser will be a total of 100,000 ID-authenticated Venezuelans and the funds donated, no matter which cryptocurrencies they are, can be quickly converted to dollars. Since the crowdfunding started, donors have been able to send bitcoin cash, airtm, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin core, zcash, dash, dai, komodo, and a few other coins. During his discussion, Hanke said the method used to fundraise eliminates inefficient donation schemes like “driving a pickup truck around filled with cash that you’re giving away or filled with medicine or clothing or food.” Hanke…

5 Major Indian Laws That Apply to Cryptocurrency

5 Major Indian Laws That Apply to Cryptocurrency

India has a number of laws that currently apply to cryptocurrency. A new Cambridge University report explains some of these laws. News.Bitcoin.com talked to one of the authors of the report to uncover more details. Meanwhile, the Indian government is currently finalizing regulations specific to crypto assets. Also read: Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case at Government’s Request Laws Applicable to Cryptocurrency Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance has recently released its new Global Cryptoasset Regulatory Landscape Study, sponsored by Japan’s Nomura Research Institute. India is among the countries covered in the report which outlines a number of existing laws applicable to cryptocurrency and token sales. While the Indian government is working on drafting the legal framework specifically for cryptocurrency, several existing laws apply to crypto assets in addition to the infamous RBI circular that prohibits all regulated entities from providing services to crypto businesses. For cryptocurrencies that are deemed securities, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act 1956 may apply. However, the report states that “Currently, there is regulatory uncertainty regarding applicability” of this law to tokens but some “may fall within its remit if, inter alia, they are issued by an identifiable issuer and backed by the underlying assets of the issuer.” It further details: Some tokens may also fall within the purview of collective investment schemes which are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Companies Act and Payment Systems For all token types, “the regulations under the Companies Act, 2013 and rules thereunder would be triggered, along with other RBI regulations,” the report reads. News.Bitcoin.com talked to Hatim Hussain, one of the authors of the report, who explained on Sunday how each Indian law applies to crypto assets. Regarding the Companies Act, he elaborated, “These are primarily the Companies (Acceptance of Deposits) Rules, 2014 (Deposits Rules) which specify when the receipt of money, by way of deposit or loan or in any other form, by a company would be termed a deposit, and also provides certain exemptions from its applicability.” Payment tokens may also be subject to the Payments and Settlements Systems Act 2007 (PSSA). The Cambridge report claims that there is nothing in this act “to exclude virtual currency, since only the term payment is referred to, as opposed…