A guide to the complex crypto regulation framework in the US: Here’s how SEC, CFTC, FinCen and IRS view Bitcoin
Earlier this week, I wrote on social media that it costs significantly less energy to produce cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum. The responses were, “that’s not true, once fiat money is created, no additional energy is required.” Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have an energy problem? People at the FED don't sit around painting Benjamin Franklin all
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This week, a number of companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange revealed their plans to enter the crypto exchange business for the first time. They include one of the most popular budget-managing app operators, an entertainment conglomerate, one of the largest music labels, and a medical corporation. These corporations join other public companies that previously announced their plans to launch crypto exchanges such as SBI Group, Line Corp, and Yahoo! Japan.
Budget-managing app operator Money Forward Inc (TYO: 3994) made two crypto-related announcements this week. Launched in 2012, the company “has grown rapidly to become one of the hottest financial technology startups, with its namesake application now boasting 5.5 million users,” the Japan Times described.
The company announced on Wednesday the establishment of a wholly-owned subsidiary, Money Forward Financial Co. Ltd., adding:
Money Forward Financial Co., Ltd. (‘MF Financial’) will start media related to blockchains and virtual currencies from the summer of 2018 and aim to establish a virtual currency exchange office within 2018.
Money Forward “is known as a pioneer in developing a digital kakeibo (household bookkeeping) app, where users can keep track of financial accounts for banking, credit card, e-wallet and point services,” the news outlet added, noting that “The company’s free app for the Android platform has won the best finance app award on Google Play for three consecutive years since 2013.”
Another announcement made on the same day is the plan to partner with 20 crypto exchanges in Japan and overseas to provide accounting solutions for crypto traders. Citing that it is already cooperating with Bitflyer, Coincheck, and Zaif crypto exchanges, the company says it is now in the process of collaborating with Btcbox, Bitbank, Quoine, and Fisco.
Drecom Co. Ltd. (TYO: 3793) engages in the development and marketing of entertainment content for mobile and PC. The company announced on Wednesday partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation, adding a number of businesses it plans to start including crypto businesses. The amendments will be presented to shareholders at the next annual meeting.
The amendments state that the company plans to enter the “virtual currency exchange” business, particularly the “Planning, operation and management of exchanges relating to virtual currencies.” Furthermore, the company plans to offer cryptocurrency settlement services.
Yamane Medical Corporation
Yamane Medical Corporation (TYO: 2144) operates in the nursing and personal care sector. The company “operates a home care center for elderly people under the Nagoya Residence name in Japan. The company’s care center offers off-site, accommodation, housing services, etc., as well as safety confirmation and lifestyle consultation, on-site day, emergency response, and medical services,” Bloomberg describes.
Local media reported on Friday that the company is planning to submit partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation to add a number of crypto-related businesses. According to Minkabu Press, “system provision and consultation related to virtual currency” will be added as well as a “virtual currency exchange business.”
Adways Inc (TYO: 2489) is a Tokyo-based global mobile app marketing company whose main business includes an ad agency, an ad network and a third party tracking tool.
On Thursday, the company announced the partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation which will be presented at the next annual shareholder meeting. “The company shall make efforts to engage in the following businesses,” the amendments read. Under “virtual currency related business,” the company wrote, “virtual currency exchange business based on funds settlement law.”
This law went into effect in Japan in April last year which legalized cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the country and requires all crypto exchanges to register with the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
Avex Inc (TYO: 7860) is an entertainment conglomerate and one of the largest music labels in Japan. The company was founded by Max Matsuura, Japanese talent manager, record producer, songwriter, and radio personality. Avex manages J-pop talents such as Ayumi Hamasaki and internet sensation Pikotaro. The company has also expanded into other business areas such as anime, video games, and live music events.
On Thursday, Avex published amendments to its Articles of Incorporation to add “virtual currency exchange” as a new business venture. The amendments will be presented at the company’s next meeting of shareholders.
Daiwa Securities Group
One of Japan’s largest securities brokerage firms, Daiwa Securities Group (TYO: 8601), also hinted at the possibility of entering the cryptocurrency space in the future. President and CEO Seiji Nakada told Sankei newspaper this week that, regarding cryptocurrency, “there is enough possibility of becoming a highly useful platform if conditions such as legal maintenance are in place.” While noting that the price movements of cryptocurrencies “are unstable and subject to speculation,” he emphasized:
There will be times when major companies have to enter to improve the environment.
Japan currently has 16 fully licensed crypto exchanges. Another eight exchanges‘ applications are being reviewed by the FSA. Furthermore, the agency revealed recently that about 100 more companies are interested in entering the space including Line Corp and Yahoo! Japan.
Do you think more public companies should launch crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Money Forward, Daiwa, Drecom, Yaname, Adways, and Avex.
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South African Police are investigating an alleged crypto investment fraud in which 28,000 investors are said to have lost over $80 mln
Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, has joined Tracr, the diamond blockchain program being developed by South African gem juggernaut De Beers Group. Signet is part of a growing chorus of industry giants that are part of the Tracr pilot program, which will track each diamond that gets mined on a shared … Continued
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The Japanese tax authority has for the first time revealed the number of high-income taxpayers who declared cryptocurrency profits in the year 2017. Out of the total number of taxpayers with miscellaneous income of 100 million yen or more, excluding public pension, 60% of them reported income from crypto transactions.
Declaring Crypto Income
The Japanese National Tax Agency announced on Friday the number of people with 100 million yen (~US$914,000) or more miscellaneous income that includes income from cryptocurrency transactions, according to local media. Nikkei elaborated:
It is the first time that the agency announced the result of the counting of virtual currency related declarations.
The tax agency revealed that 21.98 million people filed income tax for the year 2017. Last year, “The number of taxpayers with miscellaneous incomes of 100 million yen and over from sources other than public pensions jumped from the previous year’s 238 to 549,” according to Jiji Press. Of these 549 people, more than 60% or 331 of them “gained income from cryptocurrency transactions,” the news outlet conveyed.
The “total income [reported for all taxpayers] was 41.4988 trillion yen [~$379 billion] (up 3.4% from the previous year),” the Sankei Shimbun detailed, noting that the “declared tax payments amounted to 3.0207 trillion yen [~$28 billion] (a 4.6% increase), which was the highest in 10 years.”
According to Nikkei, tax reporting of crypto transactions is challenging because each crypto exchange reports transaction data differently. According to industry stakeholders, some exchanges do not separate purchase and sale transactions and “there may be upper limits on the number of transaction records that can be acquired,” the publication added.
55% Tax Possible
The National Tax Agency released guidance on how cryptocurrency profits are taxed in December last year. “In Japan, profits from cryptocurrency trading are categorized as miscellaneous income,” Jiji Press explained. The Japan Times described:
If you earn ¥200,000 [~$1,828] or more from cryptocurrency trading, you must pay tax.
There are seven tax brackets based on taxable income. Those earning 1.95 million yen (~$17,823) or less are taxed at 5 percent, the news outlet described, adding that the highest tax rate is 45 percent for taxpayers who earn more than 40 million yen (~$365,600). However, the publication pointed out that “your income is also subject to a residential tax of 10 percent. Together, the maximum tax rate is 55 percent.”
What do you think of how Japan taxes crypto transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the National Tax Agency.
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There’s a new Point-of-Sale (PoS) service the Bitcoin Cash community has been talking about called, Bchpls.io, an app that enables any brick n’ mortar merchant to accept BCH with just two devices by providing a customer screen, and a cashier view. Bchpls is currently in open beta which means the public can test the software at their own discretion, so news.Bitcoin.com decided to test the program’s feature services.
Giving the New PoS System Bchpls.io a Test Run
This week we decided to test out a new PoS system specifically designed for merchants who want to accept Bitcoin Cash (BCH) at any physical location. The application called Bchpls.io is free, and there are no servers needed as all it takes is an internet connection and two devices (cashier & customer). Merchants can accept the funds into any wallet of their choice and set up the name of their business on the invoice. Funds are sent to a one-time-only address as a new address is used for each sale so incoming revenue is kept private.
Setting Up a Store Name and Fiat Currency Pair for Pricing
When entering the website users are greeted with a purple-orange themed page that asks the user to sign up. After hitting the register tab the merchant enters a valid email address and sets a strong password to set up their account. The next screen asks the merchant to add the store name and the fiat currency they wish to use to calculate BCH invoices. Following this step the user has to tether a Bitcoin Cash wallet to the store account and Bchpls uses the Xpub (extended public keys) to generate a receiving address on the cashier side.
Tethering a Wallet to Bchpls.io With Extended Public Keys
Using the Bitcoin.com Wallet simply create a new wallet with the store’s name and go to the section called “wallet information.” The next screen will reveal the BCH wallet’s Xpub keys, after scrolling down to the bottom. Tap the Xpub section and the Bitcoin.com Wallet will automatically copy and paste the extended public keys. Paste this text into the Bchpls page where it says ‘derivation path,” and hit next.
After that, the merchant is all set, and a page is created which shows information for an access key, cashier screen, and the customer screen. Both screens provide a URL with a QR code created on the invoice page. Unfortunately, there is no address section yet available to copy and paste, as the invoice only supplies a QR code that needs to be scanned.
After the merchant set-up is complete the account holder simply registers a sale on the platform which calculates a new invoice every time. Merchants can also cancel the invoice as well before it is paid just in case there happened to be an error during the process.
The Softwares’ Roadmap and Monetization Plans
The Bchpls developer explains in the future they plan to monetize by adding custom features or the “ability to operate more than one PoS session at the same time.” Down the line, Bchpls plans to add products management, custom designs, receipts, multiple PoS, and a merchant directory.
Currently, the beta program is not open source nor does it offer a client-side (trustless) option but the developer says he will provide these things soon.
“This is not available on Github at the moment — It is currently a hosted service — The site does not store any private keys or BCH on your behalf,” explains the Bchpls developer. “You provide your Xpub (public key), then any orders made will be made directly to addresses generated from your Xpub.”
Note that this is not an e-commerce payment gateway solution, it is a POS system for a brick-and-mortar setup. It is also not a solution for people who want automatic settlement into Fiat. It only settles in BCH directly into your wallet — The client-side-only implementation will be open sourced once it is ready.
Bchpls is yet another application that helps promote Bitcoin Cash infrastructure and adoption and most BCH proponents seem to like the platform. Some individuals will likely wait for a more reliable release and others will also wait for a client-side open source version. All in all, Bchpls was extremely easy to set up and any brick-and-mortar business could start using it at their shop.
What do you think about Bchpls.io? Let us know your thoughts about this PoS system in the comment section below.
Images via Shutterstock, BCHPLS.io, and Jamie Redman.
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