The Israel Deception

Is the return of Israel in the 20th century truly a work of God, or is it a result of a cosmic chess move to deceive the elect by the adversary?

Showing posts with label bitcoin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitcoin. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Japanese firms rushing in to try to stake claim to Bitcoin exchange license following crypto-currencies legalization

Like a stock IPO, there is nothing greater to corporations, banks, and financiers than the advent of a new industry they can seek to dominate and monetize.  And with Japan recently legalizing Bitcoin as a viable currency within their economy, the number of entities rushing in to stake a claim to the limited number of Bitcoin exchange licenses is growing.

So far at least 18 companies have filed an application for a Bitcoin exchange license, and this will only grow as the crypto-currency's value escalates, and the number of individuals wanting to own some increases.

Image result for japan bitcoin
Eighteen companies are applying for the new license required to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Japan. 
The licensing scheme, which Japan introduced in April, aims to ensure exchanges operate in full compliance with financial regulation and anti-fraud procedures.
As a result of the applications, some of which come from extant Japanese exchanges such as bitFlyer, ten new players are slated to debut on the market to meet a forecast surge in demand. 
These include SBI Holdings’ SBI Virtual Currencies, GMO Internet, Kabu.com Securities and Money Partners Group, Nikkei reports on Tuesday. 
Japan is witnessing something of a Bitcoin renaissance in 2017. A giant uptick in trading quickly combined with a cementing of regulatory perspective see business deals come thick and fast. - Coin Telegraph
Perhaps one of the few questions remaining regarding Bitcoin is whether the crypto-currency will eventually function primarily as an alternative form of money, or whether it will become dominated through financialization and speculation as most currencies and commodities are today through derivatives and rigged Forex trading.

Monday, May 1, 2017

With bonds crashing speculators take Bitcoin to nearly $1500

On May 1 the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury came out at a conference and joked that Wall Street has him to thank for the rise in bank stocks since the Administration took over the Oval Office back in January.  However, this was soon followed by almost contradictory comments by President Trump when he told reporters that he was very open to breaking up these same banks Secretary Mnuchin had praised earlier.

As a consequence, the 30 year Treasury bond took a precipitous dive as yields spiked in a single move the highest they have in over nine years.


Interestingly, the winner in all of this appears to be the crypto-currencies as both Bitcoin and Ether soared during the same time bonds were crashing, and Bitcoin alone reached a new all-time close to $1500 a coin.
The price of Bitcoin accelerated its recent exponential trend higher, soaring to daily all-time highs over the past few days, rising above $1,300 on Friday, then pushing $1,400 on Monday, and even above $1,500 on the second-largest BTC exchange, and was last trading just above $1,460 on Coinbase amid a buying frenzy attributed to speculative investment across the cryptocurrency sector, coupled with liquidity problem at some exchanges which were having problems processing fiat-based transactions. - Zerohedge


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Move over Bitcoin as SEC may choose to allow Ethereum ETF instead

With the SEC announcing yesterday that it was reopening the case for the Winklevoss twins Bitcoin ETF, another crypto-currency is also vying for the same market regulators approval.

And this one might have a better chance of success than the Father of All digital currencies.

Ethereum is a crypto-currency that has the backing of many large S&P 500 companies, and this provides it a much better foundation for approval as an exchange traded fund according to the SEC.

Image result for ethereum
Then today, in similarly favorable news for holders of Bitcoin's smaller peer, Ethereum, it was revealed that the SEC had quietly begun the process of considering whether to approve an exchange-traded fund for the cryptocurrency ethereum. Recall that ethereum exploded higher at the end of February when it was revealed that a consortium of venerable corporations including JPM, Intel, Microsoft and many others, had created a blockchain alliance based on the ether technology. 
In same ways, whereas bitcoin has been seen as the more venerable, if "renegade" cryptocurrency, ether has developed the reputation of the smaller, better-behaved relative, one which is backed by major banks and corporations, which in the past has distanced itself from bitcoin due to limitations associated with its specific blockchain technology. 
While ether and bitcoin are similar, they are also very different. First of all, none of the big Chinese exchanges lists ether for trading (which means it is only a matter of time before they do) sending it into orbit as the traditional Chinese bubble stampede does. Second, the two biggest ether exchanges are Coinbase and Kraken, both regulated.
Ethereum is backed by almost all household brands who have formed an alliance in support of the platform. Microsoft is a big proponent, with ether’s protocol added to Hyperledger, the open-source cross-industry blockchain development effort headed by the Linux Foundation. 
Whether that makes an ether-based ETF more likely remains to be seen. What we do know is that the backers of the EtherIndex Ether Trust first filed in July 2016, seeking to launch an ETF backed by a cache of ethers on the NYSE Arca exchange, according to Coindesk. NYSE Arca then filed for a proposed rule change clearing the way for the ETF listing in December, according to a notice published in January
Then, in a new notice from the SEC, the agency announced that it has begun considering whether to approve the proposed ETF, opening up a comment period for outsiders. - Zerohedge

Sunday, April 23, 2017

International law firm seeks to define Bitcoin as property rather than as a currency

A month ago, an international law firm that specializes in blockchain technologies and crypto-currencies submitted a white paper in which they advocated that Bitcoin should be officially recognized as property and protected by the property laws of sovereign countries.

Using a California legal precedent on property as their foundation for U.S. determination, the firm believes Bitcoin transactions should be conducted the same as one would do with property, where contractual agreements between two parties utilize permissions and escrow while allowing the Bitcoin owner to retain ownership until the terms of the contract are complete.

Image result for bitcoin is property

Image use courtesy of Michael Carney/pondodaily
As Bitcoin is adopted by more users every day, the need to determine how it can integrate into mainstream society becomes even more pressing. One major question continues to be how traditional laws apply to Bitcoin and its use. 
Many of those determinations could have major implications for Bitcoin and its holders, and few will play a bigger role in the United States than property laws, which could ultimately govern ownership over the digital currency. 
A new white paper, “Treatment of Bitcoin Under U.S. Property Law,” seeks to analyze how the worlds of digital currency and property law should intersect. The report was assembled by Perkins Coie, an international law firm that specializes in blockchain technology and digital currency and has been active in the space since 2013. While detailed and clearly well-researched, the paper’s foremost conclusion is straightforward and transparent. 
“We conclude that property interests should exist in bitcoin under such law, and that multiple sources of persuasive authority provide additional support for that conclusion,” the paper’s authors, J. Dax Hansen and Joshua L. Boehm, wrote. 
The paper begins with an overview of Bitcoin’s technological attributes and what those mean for how property law can apply to it. Using California state law as a benchmark and Bitcoin transactions as an example, the authors make their case. 
“Parties may ... enter into contractual arrangements in which one party entrusts partial or complete control of such private key(s) to a third party while still maintaining formal title to the bitcoin value represented in applicable [unspent transaction outputs],” the paper reads. “These kinds of contractual arrangements are commonplace in custodial, trust, and escrow settings, which have generated well-developed legal principles that should generally translate to bitcoin custodial contexts.” 
The paper dissects academic articles from some of the country’s foremost law professors, who also, for the most part, support the idea that intangible property rights should apply to Bitcoin: 
“Property law scholars who have encountered the bitcoin ownership issues in the context of broader, more theoretical undertakings have reached (or assumed) the same general conclusion ... that is, interests in bitcoin should be protected by property law.” - Bitcoin Magazine
Perhaps the most important question in this concept of labeling Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies as property in the eyes of the legal system is that it would have a profound effect on Bitcoin exchanges who have in the past simply mixed all customer accounts and currencies into a 'pool' rather than keeping them segregated and untouchable without the permission of the account holder.  In fact, it was this re-hypothication scheme that led to the insolvenciea of exchanges like MT. Gox, who used financial and security regulations rather than property law to end up selling more Bitcoins to customers than they had available in their own account.

The United States court system has already made initial rulings that label Bitcoin as property, mostly for taxation purposes rather than for legal protections.  But until the world comes to a consensus on what exactly Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies function as... property, securities, currency, etc... then for the most part crypto-currencies will remain on the fringe and in the realm of a select few who recognize their potential and application.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Billionaire investor announces he has put 10% of his money into Bitcoin and Ethereum

A former hedge fund manager and partner over at Goldman Sachs announced on April 19 at a forum at Harvard University that he has put 10% of his net worth into Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Billionaire Mike Novogratz also stated that he considers his investment into crypto-currencies as the 'best investment of his life', and considers that these and other forms of blockchain based currencies will be the future of money and finance.

Image result for bitcoin investment
Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz is betting big on digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ether. 
"Ten percent of my net worth is in this space," Novogratz said at a forum held at the Harvard Business School Club of New York Wednesday. He declined to say exactly how wealthy he is, but he's a former hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group and a Goldman Sachs partner who made the Forbes billionaire list in 2008. 
It's the "best investment of my life," Novogratz said. - CNN Money

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MIT Professor believes Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies could save financial system

The original idea and concept of Bitcoin was to create a de-centralized form of currency that could not be manipulated, devalued, or financialized by governments or central banks who throughout history have used the power to print money as the means to accumulate wealth and power at the highest levels.  And indeed, the very nature of the world's most current fiat monetary construct has done just that as less than 20 individuals hold more wealth than half the world's population.

This is why gold and silver are and were so important in the past because left to their own devices, they provided individuals, communities, and even nations a stable and often un-inflationary form of money that not only grew productivity, but kept a check on corrupt governments until they seized the power to either 'clip', or replace gold and silver outright.

But in the 21st century the world is rushing headlong into a new paradigm of digital money, and at stake is the age old battle over who controls the ability to 'print' that money.  And according to a Professor at MIT, the advent of Bitcoin or some other decentralized crypto-currency could be the answer to both improving and perhaps even saving the financial system.

Image result for bitcoin can save the financial system
Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, says some form of digital currency could fundamentally improve the financial system.
“How do you feel about the way that our existing financial system operates?” Johnson asked the audience at the Business of Blockchain conference, an event organized by MIT Technology Review. “I myself have a lot of concerns. The system we have is not robust—it almost collapsed in the fall of 2008 in the United States, the most sophisticated financial market in the world.” 
In theory, a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin might make the financial system more stable by providing a way to monitor and trace transactions. Indeed, it may be no coincidence that the paper outlining the concept for Bitcoin was released in 2008, during the financial meltdown. The open-source code for the currency was released several months later, in 2009. Bitcoin was invented by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity remains a subject of great speculation. 
Cryptocurrencies might also remove many of the hurdles that make it harder for poorer people to use the financial system, even in advanced countries, Johnson said: “It is absolutely shameful and really embarrassing that so many people in the United States—one of the richest counties in the history of the world—do not participate in the formal financial system." - Technology Review
In reality a completely Bitcoin based financial system would not be feasible as the 21 million total bitcoins ever to be mined would not fully support both a government and consumer's needs for over 200 countries.  However, a combination of an international trade currency, which would be designated for use by banks and governments only, coupled with a crypto-currency like Bitcoin for use by consumers and businesses that would not be allowed to be traded in financial markets, could solve many of the inefficiencies and corruptions that inevitably spawn over time from the use of a singular form of money.

As former President Calvin Coolidge once said, "The business of America is business", but what he really should have meant was that the government has no place in interfering with business and free markets.  And in a free market, money is determined to be what consumers and producers agree for it to be, and without interference from corrupt men and women who control the means of its production.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wall Street financialization of Bitcoin continues as CME seeking to allow derivative trading

The CME Group is in the process of finalizing a patent for a Bitcoin derivative contract that would allow Bitcoin miners to hedge their production of Bitcoin currency.

In a new report on April 17, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is planning to allow for derivative trading of Bitcoin futures on the nation's largest commodity exchange, and continue Wall Street's financialization of the crypto-currency.

Derivatives giant CME Group is looking to patent a way for bitcoin miners to hedge against operational risks. 
As detailed in a patent application published last week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the proposed system would receive data from the bitcoin network as a means of keeping contracts up to date - monitoring metrics like network difficulty and price.
CME previously launched a pair of bitcoin price indexes last year. 
The filing is notable as bitcoin mining, the process by which new transactions are added to the bitcoin blockchain, is a kind of commodities production. Miners expend energy and manpower in exchange for newly minted bitcoins. - Coindesk
The largest problem with this of course is that derivatives and futures contracts for both commodities and currencies are allowed to be bought and sold by banks and other entities who have no skin in the game.  And it is this type of trading that has led to the suppression of gold and silver since their prices are determined by benchmark auctions in London, and paper futures contracts at the Comex.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cyber hacker group going after Bitcoin wallets to break their encryption and steal currencies

Over the past right years there have been a number of cyber hackers who have either sought to provide whistleblowers a way to disseminate information, or even worse, to hack into any number of monetary and banking systems in order to steal large sums of money.

In the sovereign world the biggest case of cyber-theft came when hackers broke into the SWIFT system and stole nearly $100 million from the Indonesian government.

But a new cyber group is going after a different type of game, and the now stated goal of the aptly named, Large Bitcoin Collider, is to blitz the encryption of digital Bitcoin wallets to break their 'impenetrable security' in order to steal any digital currency kept in those wallets.

Image result for bitcoin wallets can be hacked
A group called the "Large Bitcoin Collider" claims it can smash open bitcoin wallets by using a so-called brute force attack, which directs mass amounts of computer power at individual wallets in order to guess their private keys. 
The project, which has been underway for months, relies on a distributed network of computers (similar to bitcoin itself), and invites anyone to participate—those who do could potentially share in the proceeds of the wallets cracked open. 
A "trophy list" on the home page of Collider (an apparent reference to the Hadron Collider) suggests the group has successfully opened over a dozen wallets, though only three had any bitcoin in them. It's unclear if the group is motivated by financial gain or the cryptographic challenge of smashing wallets—the answer is probably both based on the site's webpage and outside observers. - Fortune
On the surface this hacker group appears to be less interested in money, and more interested in causing havok for individuals who believe their Bitcoin is secure in an online wallet.  And since anything online can eventually be hacked by someone with enough time, tools, and skill, the answer to this is to take your Bitcoin wallet offline, and keep your currency stored in a more secure 'Paper wallet'.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Russia potentially changing stance on legality of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies

For the most part, Russia has been vehemently against Bitcoin and any other crypto-currencies, primarily because of their unregulated nature.  And even without the use of decentralized digital money within their borders, the Eurasian power constantly deals with other types of monetary problems that fall under the umbrella of 'money laundering' and other illicit activities.

But on April 11 this may slowly be changing as a Deputy Finance Minster for the government provided a ray of hope for the crypto-currency community as he announced that Bitcoin and other forms of digital money could actually become legalized as early as next year.

Cryptocurrencies may be recognized in Russia by 2018, according to Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev. 
Moiseev says monitoring cryptocurrencies could be an instrumental tool against money laundering, and Bitcoin and other digital currencies could be recognized by next year as the central bank works with the government to develop rules against illegal transfers. 
The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain,” Moiseev said in an interview, as cited Bloomberg. “If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations.” 
Last year the idea of a national cryptocurrency had been considered by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, which would see the banning of all other virtual currencies in Russia. The idea had not been discussed by the Kremlin, however, according to Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov at the time. 
Russian officials had been opposing all virtual currencies, arguing their cross-border nature, transaction anonymity and lack of a supervisory body makes them the perfect vehicle for illegal transactions. - Russia Today
Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have experienced a wild ride over the past year, with some nations such as India outright banning it completely as the government seeks to bring about their own version of a cashless society, while over in Japan the government has come to fully embrace its use by its citizens and businesses.

Friday, April 7, 2017

As we get closer to tax day in the U.S., the IRS is paying close attention to Bitcoin traders paying their due

Tax day in the U.S. this year is April 18, and ironically it is on a Tuesday rather than Monday because of the recognition of 'Emancipation Day' on the 17th.  However this emancipation is tied to Lincoln's proclamation freeing the slaves back in 1863 rather than every American's emancipation from having to pay income tax or the myriad of other onerous government obligations.

Which brings us to the newest tax that must be paid by individuals who have conducted either commerce, or trade in the crypto-currency known as Bitcoin.  In a ruling by a Federal district court back in 2014, Bitcoin was deemed to be a security rather than money, and as such is to be taxed the same way one does with property.  Ie... if you made a profit from the difference when you bought and sold Bitcoin, you are required to pay taxes on those profits, and record it in your tax return.

Image result for taxes on bitcoin

Image use courtesy of Michael Carney/pondodaily
When you file your taxes this year, your accountant might ask if you own any bitcoin.
The popular digital currency recently hit an all-time high of $1,327 per coin, and while there arguably still hasn’t been a “killer app” (a mainstream purpose for a layperson to use bitcoin), its main use right now is as a speculative investment—and it has been a good investment. 
And if you’ve bought something using bitcoin, or sold something for bitcoin, or traded bitcoin for fiat currency, you should consider making that clear on your taxes.
Believe it or not, the IRS posted official language on digital currency back in 2014; it considers bitcoin to be property. “For federal tax purposes,” the IRS says in no uncertain terms, “virtual currency is treated as property. General tax principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.” 
If you’ve bought bitcoin simply to hold it as a speculative investment, you don’t need to disclose anything. But as with stocks, income from the sale of bitcoin would be taxed as capital gains, based on the value of bitcoin at the time you sold it. The same goes for if you receive bitcoin as payment, the IRS says: “A taxpayer who receives virtual currency as payment for goods or services must, in computing gross income, include the fair market value of the virtual currency, measured in US dollars.” - Yahoo Finance
It is this recognition of Bitcoin as a security rather than as money that will make it more difficult to use Bitcoin in its original intention as a medium of exchange for goods and services.  Because in every single transaction you make, whether through the paying with or in the receiving of the crypto-currency, you have to keep a record of every transaction, and at the current market value of Bitcoin in U.S. dollars at the time of the transaction.

The IRS has stated recently that they are now planning to single out individuals who buy, sell, or use Bitcoin, and look closely to see if they are or have been recording their use of the crypto-currency on their tax returns.  And unfortunately this scrutiny will cause many who were considering buying some Bitcoin for commercial or investment purposes to think again as the government makes it nearly more trouble than its worth.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bitcoin finally to function as a currency as Japanese retailers rush to allow the digital money as payment

In the opinion of the staff here at The Daily Economist, a large number of Bitcoin advocates over the past few years have sold out the original mission of the crypto-currency as being primarily a form of decentralized money that individuals and entities could use as a medium of exchange for goods and services and instead have welcomed its financialization by both Wall Street type markets, and third party conduits.  By this we mean that Bitcoin has been seen and purchased more as a speculative investment versus used as a form of money.

But with the Japanese government suddenly buying into the crypto-currency last week, and setting forth a regulatory framework to allow it to function as a medium of exchange within their nation's borders, Japanese retailers on April 5 are now rushing in to get on board to accept Bitcoin in their online and brick and mortar stores.

Image result for bitcoin is money
A few days after Japan recognized bitcoin as a legal method of payment, two of the country’s biggest retailers have sealed cooperation agreements with bitcoin exchanges to begin accepting the digital currency. 
The two leading retail groups, Bic Camera and Recruit Lifestyle, have announced trials of a bitcoin payment option, according to Japanese daily Nikkei. 
Bic Camera, a consumer chain selling electronics, has partnered with the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange bitFlyer. The retailer will test the digital currency in two outlets. 
Consumers will be able to pay up to 100,000 yen ($900) using bitcoin, getting reward points at the same rate as for cash payments. 
Recruit Lifestyle, the retail branch of human resources conglomerate Recruit Holdings, is cooperating with another Tokyo bitcoin exchange operator Coincheck to include bitcoin payment option into its AirRegi application. 
The step will enable over 260,000 outlets across the country to start accepting bitcoin. Coincheck will process payments made by consumers using the app, converting bitcoins into yen and transferring the funds to the store. 
Japan is poised to become one of the leading cryptocurrency markets. Nearly 4,500 Japanese stores are currently accepting bitcoin while over 700,000 outlets actively use other modes of digital payments. - Russia Today

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mexico working on legislation to legitimize Bitcoin as a digital asset and open it up for pension funds

Last week we showed how two Eastern governments were planning to deal with the question of Bitcoin, with one banning it outright and the other looking to integrate it into their monetary system.  Now on March 23 we have a third sovereign government debating the merits of Bitcoin, only in this case the discussion is on how to define the crypto-currency, and then facilitate its use in their financial system that could include acting as an asset holding for pension funds.

The first draft of this financial technology law was presented by the Secretary of Credit and Public Finance of Mexico, Jose Antonio Meade, in the 80th Mexican Banking Association Convention, held in Acapulco on March 23. In accordance with this law, the central bank will define the regulation that applies to digital assets such as Bitcoin. 
This new regulation is part of the National Policy for Financial Inclusion presented by the President of Mexico on June 21, 2016. One of the axes of the policy focuses on the utilization of technological innovations to provide financial services. The government is recognizing how the technological advances have transformed the manner in which people in several industries operate, including the financial sector. It is an official priority of the state to foster the application of technological innovations to reduce the cost of financial services and widen its use among the population. 
BC: What does the bill say about Bitcoin? 
SC: The central bank will define what a ‘digital asset’ is by following basically two criteria. The first criteria is the widespread adoption by the public (high market cap) and the second is the protocols, rules, and mechanisms that allow generation, identification, division and control the replication of such units of account. 
Basically, we are talking about a currency that uses a consensus mechanism and blockchain approved by the Bank of Mexico. 
Persons (including miners) with digital assets, who do not perform operations on behalf of others, are not required to obtain authorization from regulators and can use digital assets in their daily commerce. 
The most important criteria [for a digital asset] will be that the underlying technology is sound and there is widespread adoption by the public or industry. 
The government’s goals are to transit to a digital economy, reduce or eliminate the use of physical cash, make the taxation process more efficient and transparent, create a mechanism to automate regulation/auditing and supervision tasks, expand the coverage of high quality and affordable financial services and more. - Bitcoin News

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Japan in process of setting framework to make use of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies legal

In late March Japan's Accounting Standards Board began investigating and formulating the regulatory framework on how to integrate Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies into their monetary system.

Building upon legislation that legalized the use of crypto-currencies as far back as 2016, Japan is the largest economy to date to fully accept de-centralized digital currency, albeit with a demand for stringent regulatory oversight to ensure proper taxation, money laundering avoidance, and to protect against the potential of another Mt. Gox incident within Bitcoin exchanges.

Image result for bitcoin yen
New legislation authorizing digital currency as a legal payment method has come into force in Japan. 
The text of the law was released by Japan’s Financial Services Agency on March, 24.
Earlier this week, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan said that it would begin work on the creation of a framework to help understand how digital currency would be dealt with in the accounting sector. The process is expected to take six months, according to Nikkei.  
Big business is especially concerned; since the country has failed to provide guidelines regarding the accounting process when dealing with cryptocurrencies. 
“There is a risk that companies that hold virtual currency could turn out to have distorted valuations or that huge losses surface suddenly,” Chikako Suzuki, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, told Nikkei Asian Review.
Around $1.7 billion of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and others, was in circulation across Japan two years ago. The 2020 projection is set to be at $9 billion, according to a Fuji Chimera Research Institute study. 
The set of measures, that now has come into force, was drafted as far back as 2015 and passed in 2016 after a year of negotiations. Uncertainty over the legal status of virtual currency was stirred after a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal and the collapse of the Tokyo-based Mt.Gox Bitcoin exchange. - Russia Today

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bitcoin outlawed and users could be considered to be money launderers in India according to central bank

There was a huge hit on March 28 for Bitcoin proponents as a nation with nearly 20% of the world's population has officially declared the crypto-currency to be an outlaw form of money, and that users of Bitcoin could be considered to be money launderers.

In a statement made by the Indian government in collaboration with comments made recently by their central bank, use of any virtual currency other than the Rupee is to be considered unathorized and users to be assumed as money launderers upon investigation.

The government today said use of virtual currencies like Bitcoins is not authorised by RBI and could result in breach of anti-money laundering provisions. 
The RBI has already cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currency, including Bitcoin, about the potential financial, legal and security risks arising from the usage. 
"The absence of counter parties in usage of virtual currencies including Bitcoins, for illicit and illegal activities in anonymous/pseudonymous systems could subject the users to unintentional breaches of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism laws," Minister of State for Finance, Arjun Ram Meghwal, said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. 
He further said that the creation of virtual currencies like Bitcoins as a medium of payments is not authorised by any central bank or monetary authority. - Economic Times of India
Over the past several months the Modi government has enacted several monetary policies meant to go after tax evaders, buyers of gold and other hard assets, as well as force individuals into the banking system where he hopes to one day soon bring about a cashless society.  And of course the threat of alternative currencies like Bitcoin go absolutely against his and the Indian central bank's monetary agendas.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SEC shoots down second financial product to try to put Bitcoin on Wall Street

On March 29 the SEC rejected the second Exchange Traded Product (ETP) in the past 30 days to try to take Bitcoin to Wall Street and financialize the crypto-currency.

Citing the primary fact that Bitcoin is an unregulated currency as the reason for the rejection, in the end for Bitcoin purists the last thing they want is for the currency to become blemished through financialization and being destroyed by derivative trading.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday denied for the second time this month a request to bring to market a first-of-its-kind product tracking bitcoin, the digital currency. 
The SEC announced in a filing its decision denying Intercontinental Exchange Inc's NYSE Arca exchange the ability to list and trade the SolidX Bitcoin Trust, an exchange-traded product (ETP) that would trade like a stock and track the digital asset's price. 
Previously, the regulatory agency said it had concerns with a similar proposal by investors Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss. 
"The Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated," the SEC said in its filing, echoing language from its decision earlier this month on the application by CBOE's Bats exchange to list The Bitcoin ETF proposed by the Winklevoss brothers. On Friday, Bats asked the SEC to review its decision not to allow that fund to trade. - CNBC

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

As future of Bitcoin continues to be up in the air, investors looking towards other crypto-currencies for less risk

While the future of Bitcoin is still up in the air due to the fight between two conflicting paths on how it should be managed and processed, speculators who have been at the core of recent price moves are now seeking alternative crypto-currencies that may provide less risk.

At the current time Bitcoin is not likely to implode if either of the two camps (Segwit and Bitcoin Unlimited) are successful in overtaking the other in their goals to improve upon the original and outdated blockchain setup, but the outcome will effect confidence in what is still a fringe and slowly maturing alternative form of money.  And as such many of the individuals and institutions who currently are in Bitcoin are appearing not to be afraid to take their profits and invest in other burgeoning crypto-currencies that at this time are less expensive.

Image result for crypto currencies
It's been a volatile period for bitcoin investors, as holders of the crypto currency prepare for a potential 'fork' in the blockchain. 
From Friday morning until Monday afternoon, bitcoin was trading under the $1,000 level, and even fell beneath $900 on Saturday. This is significant as, barring the weekend of March 18 and 19, bitcoin has traded above $1,000 since early February and hit a fresh all-time high of around $1,325 on March 10. 
Bitcoin faces a scaling issue, where the number of bitcoin transactions that can happen on the blockchain at any one time is limited. This is creating a backlog of transactions that are needed to be processed and slowing down the system. 
As a result, investors are hedging their bets or selling out of bitcoin, waiting to see whether or not the fork will happen, and if so, which blockchain will be favored by the market. 
Data from Bitfinex indicates around 49 million more coins have been sold than bought, or roughly 5 percent of total coins traded, in the last 30 days. Through March, the number of long bitcoin positions held by investors has decreased from 26,858 to above 23,142, while the number of short positions has increased from 9,820 to 14,731. 
Meanwhile, the market cap of blockchain assets other than bitcoin, such as ether, dash and monero, has more than doubled since March 10 from $3.5 billion to more than $7 billion, according to Chris Burniske, blockchain products lead analyst at ARK Invest. 
"At the same time, bitcoin's market cap has gone from $19 billion to $16 billion. Hence, bitcoin's market cap has lost $3 billion in value while the combined market cap of all other blockchain assets has added more than $3 billion," he told CNBC via email. 
"Given these market indicators, it would appear investors are diversifying their blockchain asset holdings, positioning themselves for a generally rising tide in this emerging asset class." - CNBC

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bitcoin may not have a 'central bank', but it does have small groups seeking control over monetary policies

In the ongoing battle between two groups over control of the future of Bitcoin, a more important question needs to be raised regarding the true 'decentralization' of the crypto-currency.  And that is, if a small oligarchy of individuals (programmers) have control over the blockchain platform that runs Bitcoin, then does this same group have the power any time they see fit to institute monetary policies similar to the way the Federal Reserve does for the dollar?

Right now there are two opposing factions fighting over what is being termed as the 'Bitcoin Fork', and each have differing agendas for the future of Bitcoin.  One of the groups is known as Segregated Witness (Segwit), and is interested primarily in expanding the blocks that facilitate Bitcoin transactions and casually speeding up network functionality.  And while this group seeks dominion over the process, another group that calls themselves Bitcoin Unlimited has a much more aggressive agenda as they want to perform a complete overhaul of the current Bitcoin network.

And because of this inability to come to a consensus between the two factions, Bitcoin has the real possibility of splitting into two unique crypto-currencies running under the same umbrella.


But for holders and users of Bitcoin, just the fact that a small group of programmers can have control over the technology and institute changes as they see fit should bring about a note of caution since this means that anything, including the number of total coins mined, could be changed dependent upon the desires of the winning faction.  And in the end the ability to determine 'monetary policy' for Bitcoin means that there is a centralized body that has the power to dictate the direction and future of the crypto-currency.

Right now Bitcoin also acts as a corporation of sorts, with Bitcoin miners acting as a 'Board of Directors' and able to participate in voting for and against future policies.
Vogel explains that the ability to vote for changes to Bitcoin is essentially proportional to the computing power that each miner contributes to the Bitcoin network. This explains the fact that Bitcoin is based on Proof of Work (PoW). Vogel also notes that there is no preset voting period, so miners can vote for changes to Bitcoin at any time. In theory, this is a very elegant and unique way of handling the evolution of Bitcoin, although it does mean that the interests of miners guide the direction of Bitcoin. 
This explains why statements credited to top miners within the industry regarding Bitcoin scaling usually have a significant impact on both Bitcoin price and its general behavior. - Coin Telegraph
In the end, Bitcoin is not as decentralized as many believe, with decisions able to be made by the most powerful 'miners', and carried out by programmers who are not always in consensus on how the future of Bitcoin is to be determined.  And this also means that if either of these factions are one day co-opted by a government, a Wall Street entity, or some other group that doesn't believe in the ideals laid forth by Satoshi in the creation of the crypto-currency, then Bitcoin can very easily lose its fundamental benefits and morph into just another fiat currency no different than the dollar, the euro, or the yen.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Legislator in India's ruling party asks finance ministry to investigate whether Bitcoin is a Ponzi Scheme

In the land that doesn't really appear to care at all about the wants, desires, and needs of their people when it comes to money, on March 24 a member of India's ruling political party sent a request to the Minister of Finance to investigate whether Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme in the wake of its volatile price nature, and the potential rise of its by citizens within their economy.

Image result for government control bitcoin
Kirit Somaiya, a Member of Parliament of the ruling BJP in India, has raised concerns about Bitcoin being a Ponzi scheme. The rapid rise of Bitcoin has attracted attention in India, coming as it does during the government’s experiment with demonetization. 
Dr. Somaiya has written to the Finance Ministry, the Reserve Bank of India and the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) on the increasing use of an unregulated currency in India. The finance minister is expected to officially reply shortly.
Speaking in the Parliament, Kirit Somaiya said: 
“The use of Bitcoin, a hypothetical currency, is increasing at a rapid speed in India as well as in the world. Experts have expressed concern that Bitcoin is a pyramid Ponzi-type scheme. This issue should be taken very seriously and there is urgent need to have a study on the development of Bitcoin in India. There is no regulator. As it is functioning like currency and seems like Ponzi scheme, RBI and SEBI as well as Finance Ministry to take appropriate step to save the people from another big Ponzi fraud.” - Coin Telegraph
India has embarked over the past few months on a policy towards creating a cashless society, and banning the use of cash in many transactions.  And the advent of a decentralized currency like Bitcoin is an anathema to Prime Minister Modi's agenda to try to control every aspect of the nation's spending through the implementation of a digital monetary system.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bitcoin goes Wall Street as an exchange brings margin trading into crypto-currency investing

Despite the recent no-go for a Bitcoin ETF on Wall Street, the financialization of the crypto-currency continues as Coinbase, a popular Bitcoin exchange, is now introducing margin trading for investors of the digital money.

GDAX, the cryptocurrency exchange run by Coinbase, has added margin trading to the platform. 
Eligible traders can now trade up to 3X leveraged orders on Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin order books. 
If you’re unfamiliar with trading and exchanges, margin trading is when you borrow money from your broker to buy or sell more stock than you can afford. It’s essentially a short-term loan. By buying or selling on margin, traders can increase their leverage and buying power, potentially generating profits beyond what their own cash balance would have supported. 
This feature is mainly geared toward institutional investors. That’s because Coinbase has launched the feature attempting to fit within the boundaries of the Commodity Exchange Act. - Tech Crunch
In just the past week sovereign controls by both the Chinese and U.S. governments have wiped out one of Bitcoin's primary functions as privacy is no longer applicable for those who buy or sell Bitcoin in many exchanges.  And now with this new derivative trading scheme available from another exchange, the crypto-currency may soon become extremely leveraged beyond its mined production limit of 16 million Bitcoins.

This has always been the biggest fear for Bitcoin purists... that a government or financial market would co-opt digital currencies and make their underlying potential null and void as a 'decentralized form of money'.  And it has always been the actions of third party conduits, such as with crypto-currency exchanges, that have placed digital forms of money like Bitcoin in jeopardy of simply becoming another leveraged asset that Wall Street can profit off of to the detriment of the holders.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The empire strikes back as IRS expands hunt for Bitcoin users who don't report capital gains taxes

Sovereign governments around the world have instituted a number of different programs and processes to deal with the rise of crypto-currencies, and the use of ones like Bitcoin to function outside their controlled monetary systems.  In China for example, new guidelines were put in place for Bitcoin exchanges that now require identity checks and monitoring of all transactions.

But the U.S. has chosen a different path, and it stems from a ruling in 2014 by the U.S. district court of jurisdiction in Southern New York where judges determined that Bitcoin was an security rather than a currency, and as such was to be treated like an investment requiring the filing of capital gains taxes on the holder's tax returns.

And while little actual investigation or pursuit of individuals failing to file their Bitcoin profits with the IRS has taken place over the past two to three years, that appears to be changing now with the government's monitoring of exchanges like Coinbase and their ramping up of their intention to go after individuals who do not report their Bitcoin capital gains profits on their annual tax returns.

Image result for bitcoin government
The Internal Revenue Service revealed new details about its investigation into tax evasion related to bitcoin, filing court documents that suggest only a tiny percentage of virtual currency owners are reporting profits or losses in their annual returns. 
The new documents, filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, come in the midst of a closely-watched legal fight between the IRS and Coinbase, a popular service for buying and selling bitcoins that hosts over a million customer accounts. 
The dispute began last year when the IRS issued a sweeping summons for Coinbase to turn over a vast amount of customer data, including every customer account as well as detailed transaction records. 
Coinbase claimed the IRS demands are illegally broad and refused to comply, which in turn led the IRS to file a federal lawsuit last week to enforce the summons. - Fortune