Germany’s 2nd Largest Stock Exchange Launches Crypto Trading App

The Bison app, which was developed by Boerse Stuttgart, will be available to cryptocurrency traders in the fall. Germany is taking the lead among retail exchanges tapping into the cryptocurrency base. Sowa Labs, a fintech subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart, Germany’s second largest stock exchange for retail derivatives, has launched Bison, a mobile app for trading cryptocurrencies. Bison will support

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Opinion: We are at the End of another Cryptocurrency Downward Trend

Since the beginning of 2018, the price of Bitcoin has been one of the most popularly discussed topics within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The reason for this is not far-fetched as there has been a huge slump in price and a downward pressure that defeats the expectations of many. An Influx of Speculators Besides the underlying

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Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Startups Are Making Progress

Week in Review

Golem has lumbered in from the wilderness now with its first beta release, the Brass Golem, bringing the notion of Airbnb for computers to life on Ethereum. Also in Ethereum news, Ether Capital seeks to be a steadying and calming force in the Ethereum technology and ICO space.

Samsung has now confirmed that it is manufacturing ASIC chips for Halong Mining, while the ASIC-resistant hashing algorithm that is part of Ravencoin has peeked its head above the clouds with a new white paper and detailed roadmap.

In regulatory news, the EU has formally launched blockchain initiatives with 22 member countries joined in cooperation to develop education and regulation for the industry.

Featured stories by Amy Castor, Colin Harper, Nick Marinoff and Justin O’Connell

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Golem, the “Airbnb for Computers,” Launches on Ethereum Mainnet in Beta

On November 11, 2016, Golem raised 820,000 ether — worth $8 million at the time — in 29 minutes. Golem was one of Ethereum’s earliest ICOs, and this week their beta, known as Brass Golem, went live on the Ethereum mainnet.

Initially advertised as an “Airbnb for computers,” the Golem idea is to create a global market for your idle computing power. You can rent out your unused computing power and be paid for it in cryptocurrency. Ultimately, the goal for Golem is to make just about anything that requires heavy computer lifting, such as CGI rendering, scientific calculation, machine learning and more — both affordable and accessible.

Samsung Is Building ASIC Chips for Halong Mining

It’s now confirmed that Samsung has been producing high-capacity memory chips for GPUs for years. The company has now confirmed that it is providing ASIC chips to mine bitcoin, ether and assorted cryptocurrencies for hardware manufacturer Halong Mining. Its partnership with Halong is expected to bring heavy competition to the ASIC industry, primarily to China’s Bitmain, which, up to this point, has largely dominated the chip-development arena.

Cryptocurrency Project Ravencoin Gets Back to P2P Asset Transfer Basics

Officially launched at the beginning of 2018, Ravencoin (RVN) has a stated aim “to implement a use-case-specific blockchain, designed to efficiently handle one specific function: the transfer of assets from one party to another.”

According to founder Tron Black, RVN bears several resemblances to Bitcoin, with many of its advantages being extended to assets. In the future, he says Ravencoin will also bear features similar to Ethereum’s ERC20 and ERC721 contracts. The company’s road map shows that they are on Phase 2 of 6, but no dates are associated with deliverables.

Taking Ether Public: An Interview with Ether Capital CEO Michael Conn

Ether Capital is positioning itself to be the first Ethereum-focused publicly traded company. Having already raised $45 million through a private placement, the Toronto-based firm is now close to finalizing the reverse takeover (RTO) of a Vancouver shell company by mid-April.

“We want to create accretive value by building a true business, rather than acting as a venture capital firm that makes 10–15 investments and is pleased if two or three appreciate in value,” said CEO Michael Conn in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “We are really looking to be a meaningful alternative to both ICOs and venture capital. We are not precluding ourselves from collaborating with VCs or private investors in any of our investments, but ultimately [we] need to see how a business fits in to our broader vision of interoperability.”

22 European Nations Come Together with Blockchain Partnership

The European Union has been active this year in exploring blockchain technology and assessing potential regulation and growth. On April 10, 2018, 22 European countries joined forces to cooperate on blockchain regulation and education. The European Blockchain Partnership “will be a vehicle for cooperation amongst Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields and prepare for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of the public and private sectors,” states the European Commission press release.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Kenya’s Central Bank Warns Against Cryptocurrency

As the regulatory debate continues mainly between government agencies and cryptocurrency protagonists, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), through its Governor, Patrick Njoroge joins in the campaign towards slowing down the propagation of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. A Recurrent Warning Njoroge told legislators on Thursday that he had sent a circular to all banks warning them … Continued

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Blockchain Integration Will Improve Corporate Efficiency and Transparency

The implications of using distributed ledger technology to track the lifecycle of products and services are staggering. Businesses are already increasing the efficiency, security, and transparency of their brands by integrating Blockchain technology into their existing production and shipping processes. Before Blockchain Supply management has always been one of the most important logistical hurdles for

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Russian Court Bans Telegram, Founder Pavel Durov Defiant

Russian Court Bans Telegram, Pavel Durov Defiant

Russian security services ordered Telegram to hand over access to encrypted user messages, but the messaging application (app) refused. Founder Pavel Durov didn’t bother to send lawyers to Moscow’s Tagansky court, and the court dutifully ruled against his company, taking less than 20 minutes in decreeing an immediate ban.

Also read: CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles Weaves Stolen Bitcoin Into Script, LL Cool J Is on the Case

Russian Court Bans Telegram

Dmitri S. Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, stressed, “There is a certain legislation that demands certain data to be passed to certain services of the Russian Federation.” Judge Yulia Smolina agreed, ruling, “The ban on access to information will be in force until the [Federal Security Service’s] demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages,” TASS reported.

Russian Court Bans Telegram, Pavel Durov Defiant

Roskomnadzor, a censuring media body responsible for attempting to ban everything from Github to pornography to white nationalist websites, evidently made the most vigorous appeal in urging the court to shutter Telegram. Last month, the company appealed before the Supreme Court over Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) 800,000 ruble fine. The FSB ordered Telegram to decrypt messages in accordance with relatively recent anti-terrorism laws. “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties,” a Telegram blog post insisted.

The only comment made at press time by Pavel Durov, regarding 13 April’s decision, came in a post to his personal Telegram channel, and it seemed every bit defiant as the 33 year old, “The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money. At any given moment, a government can crash their stocks by threatening to block revenue streams from its markets and thus force these companies to do strange things (remember how last year Apple moved Icloud servers to China). At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales. Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.” Mr. Durov is a native Russian, but bailed in 2014 after his first enterprise, a social networking site called Vkontakte (VK), he claimed, was taken over by Putin in retaliation to Mr. Durov’s then-refusal to hand over user information as well.

Russian Court Bans Telegram, Pavel Durov Defiant
Pavel Durov

Legal Setback for a Company Thriving

Though Telegram has formal appeal rights, the court ruled with a sense of urgency, allowing the Roskomnadzor to take immediate action against the company. An irony not lost on officials is that they too use Telegram for communication purposes, and that includes President Putin’s own press office. Rumors are that it will move to Viber. 

Russian Court Bans Telegram, Pavel Durov Defiant

Telegram’s lawyer, Pavel Chikov, warned, “[Russia has] demonstrated again and again that the court system is devoted to serving the interests of the authorities. They no longer even care about basic external appearances.” Though both Facebook and Google have butted heads with Russian authorities, Telegram is only the second universal platform to be formally banned (Linkedin was the first).

Other than legal woes, the company has been on something of a growth spurt of late. It recently celebrated 200 million users, and is presently raising billions in what is being called the biggest initial coin offering so far.

Do you think Telegram will be impacted by the ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Place Your Bets! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction

Place Your Bets! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction

Wagers really don’t settle matters, but they are a lot of fun and force advocates to have some skin in the game. In the ongoing debate about scaling, network fees, congestion and mempools, the Lightning Network is Bitcoin Core’s answer. Some in the ecosystem have doubted its efficacy. A bet was placed. If a payment failed, as opponents assured it would, the Core advocate would have to wear a bitcoin cash (BCH) t-shirt. If it succeeded, the BCH advocate would wear a Blockstream t-shirt from their Lightning store. 

Also read: Coinsecure India Down After $3 Million in Bitcoin Missing

A Bet in the Bitcoin World Can Be Outrageous or Just Plain Fun

Whatever else anyone thinks about bitcoiners, the ecosystem does have its share of characters. One of the most visible is presidential candidate, software magnate, rebel John McAfee. Using mathematical gymnastics and various theories, Mr. McAfee arrived at the price of $500,000 for one bitcoin core (BTC) by 2020. His Twitter followers were blown away, and so Mr. McAfee goaded them into betting. When challenged further, on 17 July 2017, Mr. McAfee tweeted, “if not, I will eat my dick on national television.” Even after the price dropped, he reportedly doubled down, insisting BTC would reach $1,000,000 in that time. There are people monitoring the price to see if it’s on pace. One snarky columnist even suggested wines to pair with Mr. McAfee’s proposal.

Thankfully, not everyone in the space bets their reproductive organs. In fact, sometimes it just comes down to a t-shirt and bragging rights. Felix Weis isn’t some bitcoin core believing noob. He’s a well-regarded software engineer, researcher, and developer with a deep knowledge of computer science and cryptography. He’s also a world traveler who once trekked all over the globe for a year and a half, famously documenting his use of bitcoin in the process. He’s regularly tapped to explain ongoings and developments in the bitcoin core world. No slouch, he.

Place Your Bet! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction
Good sport and man of his word, Felix Weis (left)

He’s also an advocate for scaling the bitcoin core network using such layers as the Lightning Network. In theory, smaller transactions happen in sidechains instead of on the main Bitcoin blockchain. Those transacting with one another would settle at an agreed time. Side chains as such would be governed by nodes, and fees might encourage more nodes to be run, in theory resulting in more decentralization. Faster times, lower fees, less congestion are its promises.  

The problem, according to opponents, is many fold. So far, adoption of the Segwit, the enabling technology, and Lightning Network has been slow. It’s also thought to be unreliable. In addition, opponents are often happy to point out alternatives such as bitcoin cash already exist, do not need yet another software solution (no matter how elegant), and can scale just fine.

Place Your Bet! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction

A Simple Demonstration

Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com (owner of news.Bitcoin.com), is perhaps the best known advocate for bitcoin cash, an oft-proposed counter to the Segwit-based solutions like the Lightning Network. Mr. Ver has a habit of challenging those who talk a good game to put their money where their mouth is, and he loves to bet. His most recent wager happened with Felix Weis while Mr. Ver was in Hong Kong, attending the latest Bloomberg conference. The two met up at Genesis Block, an over the counter trading floor for digital currencies.

The proposal was for Mr. Weis to diligently prove to Mr. Ver his concerns were misplaced, and to do so on the spot by purchasing small items from the Blockstream store (in this case, stickers). The entire transaction would entail a tad under $9. The store serves as a testing model for bitcoin core supporters, and it comes with a giant warning about the possibility of losing funds.

Place Your Bet! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction

Mr. Ver is provided the necessary wallet address while, and to keep things square, Mr. Weis manipulates the transaction. In a video Weis clicks here, clicks there. Mr. Ver asks Mr. Weis to make sure all the necessary parameters are met, including enough of a transaction amount to matter. Clicks, clicks. While they wait, Mr. Ver asks congregants, “Do you happen to know offhand how much money is tied up in the Lightning Network worldwide? Just about 12 bitcoins for the entire world,” he claims. “Alright,” Mr. Weis alerts, “there you have it,” as his smartphone is shown to the camera. Everything seems in order. Suddenly, a message reads pending. “Uh oh,” Mr. Ver ribs, smiling. “Pending! Looks like a BCH shirt is coming for Felix here!” The smartphone screen goes deep maroon, purplish-ish, announcing fail. Mr. Ver chuckles, shakes Mr. Weis’ hand, explaining how he really does hope it works one day, but that it will always work better on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.  

Regardless of where one stands on the scaling debate, clearly these two fellows understand the importance of civility and good-natured ribbing.

What do you think of such wagers? Do they prove anything? Let us know in the comments section below.


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These Countries Won’t Tax Your Bitcoins Too Much

These Countries Won’t Tax Your Bitcoins Too Much

A growing number of governments can’t resists the temptation to get their hands on some of the bitcoins their citizens are making. Several states, however, think that leaving some breathing space for crypto users and entrepreneurs is a better idea in the long run. Crypto-friendly tax regimes can still be found around the world.

Also read: Tax Paying Americans Owe $25 Billion in Cryptocurrency

Tax Exemptions Offered Here:

Germany, Europe’s economic locomotive, has been quite careful with crypto taxation. Last month the Federal Ministry of Finance issued a notice which treats bitcoin as a currency. The Bundesrepublik is not going to tax cryptos when exchanged with euros. Purchases with bitcoin are subject to VAT, just like any other. No tax will be imposed, however, on long-term investments in cryptocurrency. If a trader sells a bitcoin more than a year after its purchase, the profit is exempt from taxation. The same applies to yearly profits of less than €600.

These Countries Won’t Tax Your Bitcoins Too MuchCapital gains of individual investors trading cryptocurrencies are not taxed in Slovenia. Its residents are not required to report them in their income tax returns. However, private individuals who receive their income in cryptocurrency, are obliged to declare the digital money and pay regular income tax. The country uses a progressive scale and rates vary from 16% on incomes of less than €8,000 a year to 50% on incomes exceeding €70,000.

Tax authorities in Denmark have said that fintech companies should pay taxes just like any other business. On the other hand, individual investors trading cryptos do not owe any tax on their gains.

Belarus has created a friendly environment for crypto investors, both corporate and private. Activities like mining, issuing, and trading coins were legalized in March. A presidential decree introduced tax exemptions for crypto incomes and revenues for a period of five years.

These Countries Won’t Tax Your Bitcoins Too Much

Gains from cryptocurrency transactions are still tax free in South Korea. The Finance Ministry and the tax authorities in Seoul are working on a legislation that is likely to change the situation. The new tax bill should be adopted in the first half of this year, according to officials. No concrete time frame has been set.

Buying bitcoin will save you taxes in Singapore. Digital coins are not considered commodities there and are not recognized as currencies. In the absence of special requirements, gains from crypto investments of private individuals are not taxed. Companies trading cryptocurrencies, however, are expected to pay taxes on their profits.

Incoherent Rules Govern Crypto Taxation

These Countries Won’t Tax Your Bitcoins Too MuchMany jurisdictions have yet to update their tax laws to encompass cryptocurrencies. Rules governing taxation are often incoherent and very different even in countries that are part of a common space. In the European Union, for instance, tax rates in member-states vary between 0 and 50%.

The Eurasian Economic Union is another example, with Belarus exempting crypto transactions from taxation, while Russia is collecting 13% tax on crypto incomes and 24% corporate tax on profits.

The situation in the US is also complicated. Several states have taken steps to become crypto-friendly jurisdictions. Wyoming passed a bill exempting cryptocurrencies from property taxation. Two other states want to legalize bitcoin as a payment option for tax purposes. Arizona has promised to become the first US state to start accepting taxes in cryptocurrency. Georgia may also allow its residents to pay taxes in bitcoin.

What taxes on crypto incomes and profits do you have to pay in your country? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Nobel Laureate Economist Robert Shiller Calls Bitcoin ‘Sort Of A Bubble’

Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, called bitcoin a “sort of bubble,” which is not to say it will burst. Shiller, the 2013 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in “Trendspotting In Asset Markets,” made his comments on an interview for CNBC. Shiller made his remarks shortly after bitcoin recorded a

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