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Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

Thai SEC Issues License To Ethereum-Based Real Estate Project. Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

The firm uses the Ethereum blockchain to allow traders to invest as little as $150 in expensive real estate properties.

The Securities Exchange and Commission of Thailand has a license to an asset-backed token offering service based on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

Fraction, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based fintech firm Fraction Group, has received a license allowing it to list and trade tokens for fractional ownership of physical or digital assets, the firm announced Thursday.

The license was granted through the Thai SEC’s official portal for initial coin offering established back in 2018. The license lays out the foundation for Fraction’s upcoming service for asset digitization and fractionalization, referred to as an initial fraction offering (IFO).


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The firm expects to list the first IFOs for subscriptions in Q1 2022, focusing on tokens for properties in collaboration with local real estate firms. According to the announcement, Fraction is exploring an IFO with an aggregate value of more than $460 million.

“Now you can legally own a part of this villa — maybe 1% of it — rather than having to fork out $5 million to buy the whole thing,” Fraction co-founder and CEO Ekapak Nirapathpongporn said. The minimum amount to participate in an IFO would be around $150, he added.

Fraction co-founder and chief technology officer Shaun Sales said, “While many have been talking about it or trying to do it, our platform is completed, already up and running, and ready to list public assets.”

The industry of tokenized property has remained relatively niche due to the technology’s nascent status and regulatory uncertainty about such offerings. According to estimations by British accountancy network Moore Global, the tokenized real estate market could hit $1.4 trillion in the next five years if just 0.5% of the total global property market were to be tokenized.

Updated: 9-28-2021

Europe Becomes Largest Crypto Economy With Over $1T In Transactions — Chainalysis

DeFi has become a major catalyst for Europe’s crypto economy. Large institutions have also upped their share of transactions significantly.

The region of central, northern and western Europe, or CNWE, has emerged as the world’s most active cryptocurrency block, receiving over $1 trillion worth of digital assets over the past year, according to new research from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

The report, which was released Tuesday, found that the CNWE region accounted for 25% of global crypto activity between July 2020 and June 2021. The region witnessed a sharp uptick in transaction volume across all crypto sub-categories, especially decentralized finance, or DeFi.

Chainalysis describes crypto transactions as anything involving trade, investments and business dealings.

Europe has also become a hotbed for institutional investing, with transactions values in this category growing to $46.3 billion in June 2021 compared with just $1.4 billion in July 2020. Perhaps surprisingly, the United Kingdom is the single largest crypto economy in the region at $170 billion worth of transactions. Nearly half, or 49%, of the value was sent via DeFi protocols.

“The U.K.’s growth is driven mostly by growing institutional investment, based on the large-sized transfers driving most of its transaction volume,” Chainalysis senior content marketing manager Henry Updegrave told Cointelegraph.

A secular bull market for Bitcoin (BTC), the growth of competing smart contract platforms and the arrival of decentralized finance all contributed to crypto’s massive rally during the study period. It comes as no surprise that CNWE’s crypto market activity peaked in May 2021 during the height of the bull market, which was one month removed from Bitcoin hitting $64,000.

Chainalysis’ data corroborates a growing body of evidence showing that large institutional investors have become a driving force within crypto. Wealth managers, family offices and other institutional players have poured billions of dollars into Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) investment products offered by Grayscale, CoinShares, 21Shares and others.

Beyond the advanced economies of Europe, Chainalysis research has documented the growing uptake of crypto in emerging markets. The Chainalylsis 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index named Vietnam, India and Pakistan as the leading countries for adoption based on on-chain value received, retail transactions and peer-to-peer exchange trade volume.


Updated: 10-9-2021

Sri Lanka Appoints Committee To Implement Crypto Mining And Blockchain

The committee plans to propose a suitable framework for Sri Lanka after studying the regulations followed by international markets.

Sri Lanka joins the global crypto adoption drive after setting up a committee for exploring and implementing blockchain and crypto mining technologies.

A letter shared on Oct. 8 by Sri Lanka’s director general of government information, Mohan Samaranayake, shows that the authorities have approved a recent proposal that aims to attract investments in the country’s blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives.

According to Samaranayake, the Sri Lankan authorities have identified the need to develop “an integrated system of digital banking, blockchain and cryptocurrency mining technology” as a means to stay on par with global partners and international markets. He added:

“This committee will be mandated to study the regulations and initiatives of other countries such as Dubai, Malaysia, Philippines, EU and Singapore, etc., and propose a suitable framework for Sri Lanka.”

The proposal was made by Namal Rajapaksa, minister of project coordinating and monitoring, which requires the committee to report its crypto and blockchain-related findings to the Cabinet of Acts, Rules and Regulations.

Out of the eight members in the committee, two members represent international fintech giants including Mastercard’s Sandun Hapugoda and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Sujeewa Mudalige. Members from traditional finance include Colombo Stock Exchange CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka director Dharmasri Kumarathunge.

The remaining four members represent various national authorities including Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT), Department Of Government Information, Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the President’s Council.

Supporting this initiative, the committee will also monitor laws and regulations implemented by other nations to establish rules against Anti-Money Laundering (AML), terror financing and criminal activities.

A recent Cointelegraph report highlighted a 706% surge in Central and Southern Asia and Oceania between July 2020 and June 2021. Based on data shared by Chainalysis, the value of the transactions in the region amounted to 14% ($572.5 billion), with India representing the highest global transaction value.

Back in April, Sri Lanka’s central bank issued a public notice against the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, citing a lack of legal or regulatory recourse. However, just a month after the notice, the central bank shortlisted three banks for developing a proof-of-concept for a shared Know Your Customer facility using blockchain.

Updated: 10-13-2021

Estonian Regulator Wants To Revoke All Crypto Exchange Licenses

About 400 crypto businesses in Estonia still hold licenses after the state revoked nearly 2,000 licenses last year.

Financial regulators in the Baltic country of Estonia want to revoke all crypto exchange licenses in an effort to start the entire regulatory regime anew.

Matis Mäeker, head of the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), has urged the state to “turn the regulation to zero and start licensing all over again,” local state-run news agency Eesti Ekspress reported on Wednesday.

Mäeker claimed that the public is unaware of the risks of the cryptocurrency industry. Formerly the head of the Anti-Money Laundering department at the Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority, the official pointed out a number of related concerns, including illegal crypto activity, such as money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the industry’s vulnerability to hacks, stating:

“These risks are very, very high. We need to react cardinally and very quickly.”

About 400 companies in Estonia now hold a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license, which is more than the total VASP licenses granted in the entire European Union, Mäeker claimed. According to the official, such businesses only use their licenses to “turn over very large sums, while Estonia gets nothing out of it.”

In its current state, the Estonian crypto industry neither creates jobs for citizens nor contributes “anything significant” to the country’s tax authorities, he stated.

Mäeker proposed to introduce stricter capital requirements for the industry, including potentially mandating crypto companies to have at least 350,000 euros ($404,000) either in cash or securities. The existing equity requirement for industry startups reportedly stands at just 12,000 euros ($13,800).

The official also suggested requiring crypto companies to set up more secure IT systems and prohibiting them to accept anything but hard cash for investment instead of options such as refinancing property in order to increase investor protection.

As previously reported, the Estonian FIU started a major crackdown on crypto companies in June 2020, having revoked the licenses of roughly 70% of all VASPs in the country by December last year. According to Estonian Public Broadcasting, the regulator revoked a total of 1,808 VASP licenses in 2020.

Updated: 10-14-2021

Baltic Tech (Estonia) Hub Plans Sweeping Crackdown on Crypto Firms

After riding the initial wave of the digital-currency revolution half a decade ago, Estonia is cracking down on the ballooning industry in a cautionary tale for would-be crypto hubs.

With a key review of its anti-money laundering enforcement policies by the Council of Europe slated for early next year, the government of the Baltic nation is weighing firmer oversight of what’s become a popular European center for digital coin trading and the accompanying infrastructure.

“We will toughen our supervision, we will toughen our approach which concerns the market entry,” said Matis Maeker, the director of Estonia’s Financial Intelligence Unit, in an interview. “We were the first country to regulate them, this was a gateway for them to have a license because no one licensed them.”

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

The FIU is an independent body affiliated to the Finance Ministry and has the right to grant and revoke cryptocurrency licenses as part of its main remit fighting money laundering.

For the euro area and NATO member of 1.3 million it’s an urgent issue. The country is trying to move beyond a sprawling money-laundering scandal in 2018 that saw Danske Bank’s Estonian unit handle 200 billion euros ($232 billion) of suspicious transactions.

Since then, authorities have revoked about 2,000 licenses for crypto exchanges and wallets, and now the Estonian government is considering new legislation to tighten oversight across the board. That includes requirements for audited annual reports, higher capital levels, as well as due diligence thresholds on transaction volumes.

Shitcoins Shuttered

Governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate digital assets. While China has imposed a ban on crypto transactions, bitcoins are designated legal tender in El Salvador.

In Estonia, attitudes soured further in April when the country’s security services investigated a company called The firm — whose ATMs convert clients’ physical banknotes into anonymous digital coins — was designated a security risk and its license, held by a company called Virtual Planet, was revoked by the FIU. At the time, denied wrongdoing and argued that the transactions were not anonymous.

While the crypto companies may be registered in Estonia, their client base is international. The sector’s top customers are in the U.S., Venezuela, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and India, the FIU said earlier this year.

The firms handle transactions equivalent to more than 40% of the Estonian banking sector’s cross-border payments — or more than 20 billion euros, Maeker said in a separate interview with the Eesti Ekspress newspaper.

In a 2020 study, only 10% of crypto-service providers licensed in Estonia had accounts with local banks. About 40% banked with Lithuanian institutions and 20% used U.K. lenders.

According to FIU chief Maeker, had Estonian officials been able to predict the risks associated with crypto companies in 2017, they wouldn’t have allowed such explosive growth.

“Definitely the decision would have been different,” he told Bloomberg. “We are learning, but I also want to make the remark, the entire world is learning.”

Updated: 10-24-2021

Zimbabwe Rules Out Adopting U.S. Dollar As Sole Currency

Zimbabwe’s government has ruled out adopting the U.S dollar as the country’s sole official currency, terming it “suicidal,” the state-run Sunday Mail reported, citing Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.

Ncube said such a move could result in foreign currency deficits and deflation for the African nation.

“We cannot adopt the United States dollar alone as the official currency,” Ncube told lawmakers during a pre-budget consultation meeting, according to the Harare-based newspaper.

“You were there before and there were queues at banks, huge foreign currency deficits and you had deflation. That was because of the U.S dollar,” he said. “It is not a good idea, and it will be suicidal to do so.”

Local companies have experienced delays in accessing foreign currency at the weekly central bank foreign exchange auction, forcing several to source money on the parallel market. That’s led to a wider spread between the official and parallel market rates over the past two months.

The Zimbabwe dollar officially trades at 93.08 per U.S. dollar, but is readily available at 160 to the dollar on the streets of Harare.

Updated: 10-27-2021

Latin America Stands To Benefit Most From Crypto, Says Uphold Exec

Uphold CEO JP Thieriot said that the nature of life in Latin America begs for use cases based on Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin (BTC) adoption has triggered a digital asset revolution in Latin America, and the region could benefit even more if people can exchange cryptocurrencies, fiat money and the upcoming central bank digital currencies (CBDC) on the same infrastructure, said the head of multicurrency investment platform Uphold.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Uphold CEO JP Thieriot underscored that the nature of life in Latin America begs for Bitcoin-based use cases, saying the region will benefit the most as crypto adoption continues to grow.

Venezuela and Colombia are the two most prominent crypto adopters in the region besides El Salvador. However, other nations are closing the gap rather quickly, with El Salvador acting as a catalyst, Thieriot explained. Of Uphold’s 7 million users, 1.4 million originate from Latin America, and the high adoption rate in the region continues to attract global players.

Bitcoin would be embraced first by the unbanked and those who send or receive remittances, he said. However, CBDCs would become more popular than the largest cryptocurrency for merchants. “Many businesses may understandably prefer something stable for transactions, but investment portfolios would be much more benefited by Bitcoin,” he added.

“With the appropriate channels in place to convert between Bitcoin, U.S. dollars and any potential CBDCs, users could really just use whichever form of currency works best for their use case.”

Speaking of CBDCs, Thieriot noted that not every country needs to make its own digital currency, as it would be easy to adopt an existing one. He added that the main goal for Latin American countries should be a functional system where anyone in the region could simply exchange between assets.

As Thieriot mentioned, Latin America has enjoyed significant growth in crypto funding in 2021. Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso became the first crypto unicorn of the region thanks to a $250-million Series C capital raise in May.

Mercado Bitcoin, a Brazilian crypto exchange, also completed a mega-funding round, securing $200 million in SoftBank financing. “That’s fantastic, and we expect many more are coming,” Thieriot commented, adding:

“Seeing as banking the unbanked is one of the main philosophical and practical pillars of cryptocurrency, this could mean offering people, for the first time, access to financial services that rival or surpass anything in the legacy system.“

This means families who are dependent on remittances don’t have to see 10%–20% of their income siphoned off by money transfer companies, Thieriot continued. “This means that literally, anyone can begin building an investment portfolio. It will basically change the standard of living.”


U.K. Chancellor Delivers $103 Billion Of Stimulus To Boost Economy

* Treasury Boosts Forecasts For Both Growth And Inflation
* Bank Of England Says It May Have To Act To Control Prices

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unleashed 75 billion pounds ($103 billion) of giveaways in a budget that defied predictions for fiscal restraint, pinning the path of future spending to predictions for a rapid economic growth.

Sunak slashed taxes for pubs and restaurants, cut duties on alcohol and handed more income to some of the nation’s poorest families in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday. He also earmarked billions of pounds more for infrastructure, education and worker skills, boosting the budget for every government department.

“This was another high spending budget from a government which continues to use most of its available headroom to increase expenditure rather than to cut taxes,” said Mark Littlewood, director general at the free-market research group the Institute of Economic Affairs.

“The chancellor is banking on strong economic growth to sustain the many additional billions of pounds of spending he has pledged.”

Investors boosted bets on BOE tightening on Wednesday and moved to fully pricing in a 15-basis-point hike next week. Before the budget they saw around an 85% chance of such a move.

The Office for Budget Responsibility predicted nominal gross domestic product — the key driver of tax revenue — will be 4.1%, or 110 billion pounds, higher in 2026 than it had forecast in March. That’s a result of faster growth and higher and more persistent inflation. Its estimate for economic scarring a result of the pandemic was revised down to 2%, from 3% in March.

The unexpected largess outlined in plans that stretch to 2027 rely on the biggest upward revision in the outlook for the economy in four decades of forecasting. The measures may add to inflationary pressures that the Bank of England is keen to check, with financial markets anticipating the first post-pandemic rate rise next week.

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“The big upgrade to the government’s revenue forecast also allowed him to spend more while maintaining fiscal discipline. The package of measures is likely to pique the interest of the Bank of England as it mulls the appropriate time to lift rates. A move this year looks a little more likely after the Budget.”

That windfall from the OBR allowed Sunak to boost spending while he cut the outlook for borrowing, helping him to stick to his pledge to bring order to the public finances — something he calls his “sacred duty.”

Spending commitments announced on Wednesday remain far below the massive stimulus unleashed during the pandemic. Nonetheless, the new money came as a surprise from a chancellor who was expected to tighten the purse strings and save more fiscal ammunition for the runup to the next election, which must be held no later than 2024.

Inflation is also growing. The OBR expects price growth to reach 4.4% next year, double the BOE’s target, and warned developments since it made the forecast could leave the rate at the highest in three decades. John Glen, the Treasury’s economic secretary, rejected the idea that the budget would boost inflation.

“It’s a budget that says we have to have sustained growth,” Glen said in an interview on Bloomberg Television with Francine Lacqua. “It means spreading economic activity across the country. We’ve seen growth better than anticipated this year, and that gives us the flexibility to make some of these choices.”

The central bank’s Governor Andrew Bailey has said policy makers will have to act to contain inflationary forces, prompting financial markets to anticipate an interest rate increase either next week or just before Christmas.

The danger is that continued spending will push inflation even higher, boosting the cost of servicing the U.K.’s record debt load and squeezing household finances. Consumer confidence plunged in recent months, reflecting a surge in energy prices and shortages of everything from food to fuel.

The OBR said the prospects for higher inflation and interest rates have already climbed in a “fiscally material” manner since it compiled its forecasts, although not by enough to impact Sunak’s new fiscal rules.

The chancellor vowed that in “normal times” the government will only borrow to invest and that underlying public sector net debt must be falling as a percentage of output. The OBR also said:

The economy has emerged from worst of the pandemic with lighter scars than we initially feared.

Sunak is also using some of his windfall to balance the current budget and get debt falling in three years, but only by the barest of margins.

The Treasury expects borrowing to fall 150 billion pounds over the course of its outlook when compared with March forecasts.

Debt servicing costs will increased by 51.5 billion pounds. Previously announced increases in corporation tax and National Insurance — which take the overall tax burden to the highest since the 1950s — also provided more room to spend.

U.K. government bonds rose during the speech, leading a global rally that lowered interest rates in financial markets. The yield on the benchmark U.K. 10-year gilt fell 11 basis points.

“It’s hard to understate how much revenue the chancellor’s raised over the past couple of months,” said Richard Hughes, chair of the OBR. “The combination of corporate and personal tax rises announced in March, September and in this budget, means that this chancellor’s announcing more tax rises this year than in any single year since Norman Lamont and Ken Clarke’s 1993 budget.”


Updated: 10-31-2021

Latinx Communities Continue To Rise Above Bitcoin Adoption Obstacles

Latinx communities are driving forward adoption, as crypto is proven to meet their diverse needs in a way that traditional finance cannot.

Digital assets have recently become more and more prevalent in our daily lives — in the news, popular culture and our personal interactions. In the first quarter of 2021, the number of global daily Bitcoin (BTC) transactions hit 367,536.

Bitcoin alone now accounts for around $20 billion of daily online transactions. Not only this, but those who are familiar with digital assets and cryptocurrencies trust them implicitly — Binance’s “Global Crypto User Index” for 2021 shows a 97% confidence in cryptocurrencies.

Proportionally, members of Latinx communities in the United States have some of the highest rates of crypto adoption, with approximately 31% of Hispanic people owning Bitcoin and the same data stating that 25% of Bitcoin owners are Latinx. There are many reasons behind this impressive rate of adoption, not least of which is the fact that this group has less access to traditional wealth.

In 2016, Latinx families held less than one-sixth the wealth of white families and were several times more likely to support family members not living with them. In 2020, Mexican people living in the United States sent over $40 billion to family members in Mexico, and many of these transfers took place through cryptocurrency.

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin
While Latinx communities seem to be at the forefront of adopting digital assets and using them to improve their daily lives, it is important that those in the cryptocurrency and digital asset industries make efforts to include marginalized groups in their future plans and to integrate with and embrace these communities, to continue on this upward trajectory of adoption and to ensure that everyone is aware of the wide range of benefits digital assets can provide.

Latin American Adoption

It is only a matter of time before digital assets reach full proliferation in Latin America. For example, look at El Salvador’s decision to become the world’s first country to classify Bitcoin as legal tender. Citizens in El Salvador can now receive $30 worth of Bitcoin when they download and register on the government’s cryptocurrency app, Chivo.

Taxes can be paid in Bitcoin, and prices will be displayed in either BTC or U.S. dollars. A major driver of the law is to help people elsewhere in the world who are sending remittances back to El Salvador, as these payments generally suffer from high transaction and commission fees when done through fiat currency.

Argentina is following El Salvador’s lead, with members of Argentina’s National Congress recently submitting a bill that will allow Argentine people to accept their salaries in Bitcoin. Cuba, Paraguay and Uruguay have all indicated that they will officially recognize and regulate cryptocurrency in their countries in the immediate future. Leaders in Argentina, Brazil, Panama and beyond have endorsed El Salvador’s action on social media.

Assisting migrants who are sending remittances to their family and friends in their countries of origin is just one example of how digital assets can empower people. Bill payment services via blockchain technology could also be life-changing for people in marginalized communities.

Payments via blockchain are more secure, faster and often more cost-effective than traditional methods — and do not require access to traditional banking and payment channels. This is particularly significant, as a large number of those in marginalized communities do not have access to a bank account. While they make up only 32% of the U.S. population, Black and Latinx households represent 64% of its unbanked and 47% of its underbanked.

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

Overcoming Barriers To Entry

Those from marginalized communities have shown their tenacity and determination in how they have innovated and used these new technologies to their advantage, overcoming the limitations traditional finance has placed upon them. These groups are among the most familiar with crypto in the United States and are quick to adopt and use the technology.

It is now the role of the crypto industry, governments and organizations to reach out to marginalized communities and cater to them specifically, integrating with their communities and showing them how they can further benefit and change their day-to-day lives for the better. If enterprises and regulating bodies can learn about the cultures and traditions of these communities, they can understand their needs and can accommodate these requirements in a mutually beneficial way.

Two main barriers to digital asset adoption persist: a lack of understanding and concerns about security. To this end, education is key to further digital asset adoption — people need to understand the value of digital assets and how digital assets can serve them and their communities. Given that digital assets are still a relatively new concept, fear and lack of understanding are natural.

It is difficult to comprehend how these new technologies can replace long-standing structures, such as traditional banks, and how this new technology can cater to them more effectively, safely and securely.

Digital assets use blockchain technology, which is generally considered to be one of the most secure options for transactions and payments; however, this may not initially be clear to those unfamiliar with the concept and concerned about the security of their money and payments. With the right understanding and educational initiatives, we can help adopters of cryptocurrencies to choose secure, regulated and licensed digital asset providers, so that they can transact with peace of mind.

Widespread crypto adoption is still in its early days, and many obstacles still exist. Strong government ties to traditional banking in many countries will drive skepticism of digital assets.

Taking a top-down approach, it is imperative that governments and industry leaders reinforce this innovative, hugely beneficial technology. By creating a safe, regulated environment for crypto and facilitating healthy discourse and education on the topic, we can empower and transform citizens’ lives even further.

Updated: 11-1-2021

South African Pension Funds To Be Banned From Crypto Investment, Draft Rules Indicate

“A fund may not invest in crypto-assets directly or indirectly,” according to proposed rule changes in the Government Gazette published Friday.

South African pension funds are to be banned from investing in cryptocurrencies under new draft rules.

* “A fund may not invest in crypto-assets directly or indirectly,” the proposed rule change states in the Government Gazette published Friday.

* This would replace existing legislation that allowed portfolio managers to invest as much as 2.5% of funds in crypto as part of an umbrella “other assets” category.

* The South African government defines a crypto asset as any digital representation of value “not issued by a central bank, but is capable of being traded, transferred or stored electronically by natural and legal persons for the purpose of payment, investment and other forms of utility; applies cryptographic techniques and uses distributed ledger technology.”

* Such a broad definition points toward the ban extending to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and similar tradeable digital assets.

* Financial regulators in South Africa have in recent months indicated there would an acceleration in crypto regulation in response to retail investors being scammed by fraudulent investment firms.

Updated: 11-8-2021

Zimbabwe May Be The Next Country To Embrace Bitcoin As Legal Tender

Zimbabwe is currently engaged in consultations regarding growing interest in crypto and the potential risks.

Zimbabwe has been paying attention to the increasing demand for crypto among its people, which it views as a possible avenue for growth. The country has also been receptive to regulating the entire sector.

Zimbabwe’s government is considering utilizing Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal payments option to meet this growing demand and harness the technology, according to local news.

According to the news, retired Brigadier Colonel Charles Wekwete, the permanent secretary and head of the office of the president and cabinet’s e-government technology unit, confirmed that discussions with businesses are already underway.

According to Wekwete, the disadvantages of the decentralized ecosystem include unregistered cross-border transfers, externalization of money, money laundering, and ill-gotten cash flow into subsequent illicit or unlawful actions.

He also stated that the authorities are attempting to develop regulations to protect consumers and help the country’s financial future. As a result, before making any major policy changes, the government has sought input from different sectors.

Zimbabwe has not yet made any major declarations, according to the official, who added that the country is still in the consultation stage.

The government of Zimbabwe has accepted the digital economy framework as part of National Development Strategy 1, which it refers to as a means for connecting government and business efforts in addressing the developing notion of the digital economy.

More countries are adopting El Salvador’s policy of enabling Bitcoin use and regulation. Despite the flood of criticism from the public and throughout the world, El Salvador’s government remained adamant in its backing for Bitcoin legislation. On Twitter, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele praised the plan’s success, stating that Bitcoin earnings will be used to build 20 schools and a hospital in the country.

Africa is a fantastic testing ground for cryptocurrency, and many businesses are now producing goods and services suited to various countries on the continent — namely to fill the void between African nations and other countries in terms of cross-border payments.

As reported by Cointelegraph, between July 2020 and June 2021, Africa’s cryptocurrency market grew by over 1,200%, according to Chainalysis. High penetration was seen in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Updated: 11-10-2021

Zimbabwe Minister Signals CBDC Interest Amid Bitcoin Adoption Rumors

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa clarified that Zimbabwe is not considering the adoption of cryptocurrencies or Bitcoin.

Zimbabwe’s minister of information publicly dismissed ongoing rumors about the country considering the adoption of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin (BTC). Rather, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa clarified that the government of Zimbabwe is keen to experiment with a central banking digital currency (CBDC).

The rumor about Zimbabwe’s crypto adoption was sparked based on numerous reports quoting Charles Wekwete, permanent secretary of the president’s office, saying that the government was in talks with private sector businesses to help introduce cryptocurrency in the country.

Just one day after the reports, Mutsvangwa took to a cabinet briefing to dismiss the ongoing crypto adoption claims:

“Government would like to assure the nation that it is not considering introducing another currency in the economy as reported in some sections of the media. Our local currency is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZW$) and not cryptocurrency.”

Moreover, the minister clarified that the government of Zimbabwe is following the footsteps of other countries by studying “CBDC as opposed to cryptocurrencies, bitcoins or any form of derivatives.”

It is important to note that CBDCs are digital tokens issued by a government’s central bank. If launched in Zimbabwe, the digital tokens will be pegged with the Zimbabwe dollar and will have the monetary value of the local currency in real-time.

Governments around the world are experimenting with retail and wholesale CBDCs to find cheaper cross-border payment alternatives while increasing their ability to track transactions to deter money laundering and other fraudulent activities.

CBDCs are now being looked at by many governments in Africa as a tool to speed up their financial inclusion initiatives. Most recently, Ghana joined the growing list of African countries that are currently experimenting with CBDC use cases.

As Cointelegraph reported, the CBDC developed by the Bank of Ghana, the e-cedi, will support offline transactions. According to the bank’s head of fintech and innovation, Kwame Oppong, “The e-cedi would be capable of being used in an offline environment through some smart cards.”

The offline transaction feature of Ghana’s CBDC aims to catalyze the technology’s adoption in regions that lack reliable access to electricity and internet connectivity.

Updated: 11-22-2021

Swedish Call To Ban Crypto Mining ‘Completely Misinformed,’ Says Fund Manager

“The claim that Bitcoin miners jeopardize the electricity network is completely misinformed,” says EU-based fund manager Melanion Capital.

A Swedish financial watchdog’s call for a European Union-wide ban on proof-of-work (PoW) crypto mining, mainly known as the method of minting new Bitcoin (BTC), has received backlash from crypto-related fund managers.

Melanion Capital, a Paris-based alternative investment firm known for its Bitcoin ETF, addressed the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s call to ban PoW mining across Europe.

“The claim that Bitcoin miners jeopardize the electricity network is completely misinformed,” noted Melanion, reminding that Bitcoin miners’ business model is prone to collapse when the electricity demand increases as it would also increase energy prices.

The statement points to the authorities that have chosen to welcome miners instead of banning them, such as Texas, adding that Bitcoin miners are complementary for renewable energy power generation, “as they capture wasted energy and provide a baseload for a volatile resource like wind or hydropower.”

Due to its decentralized nature, the Bitcoin mining industry has no lobby to defend its interests and negotiate with governments, Melanion Capital reminded, adding:

“The absence of such a political counterbalance [for Bitcoin miners] should not be taken as an opportunity to implement measures rendering illegal an industry for its lack of defensive powers.”

The environmental footprint of Bitcoin mining was a major conversation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Speaking at a panel, Cointelegraph editor-in-chief Kristina Cornèr said it’s more important to have people in the blockchain space who are ready to think with a new mindset and search for solutions.

After surveying one-third of the global Bitcoin network, the Bitcoin Mining Council estimated that the global mining industry’s sustainable electricity mix grew to 56% in the second quarter of 2021.

Bitcoin miners are also looking for other energy resources, and nuclear is not off the table. Panelists at the Bitcoin & Beyond Virtual Summit reminded the potential of nuclear energy to introduce “enormous amounts of clean, carbon-free” power to the baseload.

Updated: 11-26-2021

New German Government Cites Crypto In Coalition Agreement

The new German coalition is aiming to make the “European financial market supervisory law” fit for crypto assets and businesses.

The new German government has cited crypto in its coalition agreement, advocating for an equal playing field between traditional finance and “innovative business models.”

Three German political parties agreed to a coalition deal this week that will see left-leaning Social Democrats (SDP), the Green Party and the right-friendly Free Democrats take the reins from December this year.

According to a rough translation of the 177-page agreement published on Wednesday, the coalition calls for a new “dynamic in relation to the opportunities and risks from new financial innovations,” such as crypto assets and blockchain businesses:

“We are making European financial market supervisory law fit for digitization and for complex group structures in order to ensure holistic and risk-adequate supervision of new business models.”

“We need joint European supervision for the crypto sector. We oblige crypto asset service providers to consistently identify the beneficial owners,” the agreement adds.

The document states the European Union supervisory authority should “not only take care of the traditional financial sector but also prevent the misuse of crypto values for money laundering and terrorist financing.”

The formation of the coalition reportedly took two months of negotiations following the German federal election on Sept. 26, and it marks the end of Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign as Chancellor, who is retiring and will be replaced by the SDP’s Olaf Scholz.

Crypto Progressing Across The EU

Elsewhere on the continent, the European Council, which guides the EU’s political agenda, adopted two proposals named the “Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets” (MiCA) framework and the “Digital Operational Resilience Act.”

MiCA in particular — initially drafted by the European Commission in September 2020 — aims to create a “regulatory framework for the crypto-assets market that supports innovation and draws on the potential of crypto-assets.”

While it still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament, if enacted, it will subject crypto asset issuers to more stringent requirements, but nonfungible tokens and utility tokens will fall outside the scope of the regulation.

In a comprehensive post from Reddit user u/BelgianPolitics in the r/CryptoCurrency subreddit on Friday, the progressive regulatory proposal was labeled as the “most important one to date for the entire crypto industry.”

The Reddit user’s analysis has almost 900 comments at the time of writing and provides a detailed rundown of the proposed laws in MiCA. The author emphasized the significance of the proposals:

“These rules will have to be followed by every entity operating in the European Union. However, because of the ‘Brussels Effect,’ there is a very good chance these rules will become international standards in the end. While everyone is focused on the US and China, the EU is casually leading the way.”


Updated: 11-29-2021

UK Digital Services Tax Targets Crypto Exchanges

Britain’s crypto exchanges will be levied with a 2% tax that is likely to be passed on to investors, warned CryptoUK.

A recent update to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regulations has introduced a digital services tax that will be levied on cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the United Kingdom.

Crypto exchanges in the U.K. will now have to pay a 2% digital services tax according to a Telegraph report. Britain’s tax authority, HMRC, does not recognize digital assets as financial instruments, and therefore, exchanges are ineligible for financial exemptions.

On Sunday, the authority included cryptocurrency exchanges under the Treasury’s tech tax. The digital services tax on revenue was introduced in April 2020 targeting social media and search giants such as Facebook and Google.

The latest blow to crypto exchanges is a result of the HMRC’s classification of crypto assets, as the regulator explained:

“There are a wide variety of crypto assets, each with different characteristics. It said that because cryptocurrencies do not represent commodities, financial contracts, or money, it is unlikely that crypto-asset exchanges can benefit from the exemption for online financial marketplaces.”

According to CryptoUK, the trade body representing the digital asset sector in Britain, the tax is unfair and is likely to be passed on to investors and traders.

Executive Director Ian Taylor stated that treating cryptocurrencies differently from other financial instruments such as stocks or commodities is detrimental to the crypto sector.

He added that it is another heavy blow to the industry following the arduous licensing system introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for exchanges. Since January, all U.K.-based crypto-asset companies have had to comply with Anti-Money Laundering regulations and register with the FCA.

The regulator imposed a ban on crypto derivatives in January, and in June, the FCA warned consumers against 111 crypto firms that had yet to register with it.

In April, Cointelegraph reported that HMRC was ramping up its efforts to snare crypto tax evaders and introduced explicit demands on details of digital asset holdings on self-assessment forms.

Britain’s tax authorities reportedly demanded several crypto-asset exchanges hand over details on customers from transactions and holdings in August 2019.


Updated: 12-10-2021

South Africa’s Financial Regulator Is Planning Crypto Rules To Protect Vulnerable Population

The regulations will be unveiled in early 2022 as a response to two major scams that defrauded investors of significant sums earlier this year.

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is preparing a regulatory framework for crypto to protect the more vulnerable members of its society.

* The regulator wants to establish rules on how crypto trading should be conducted, according to a Bloomberg report Friday.

* “What we want to be able to do is to intervene when we think that what is provided to potential customers are products that they don’t understand that are potentially highly risky,” FCSA commissioner Unathi Kamlana said.

* The regulations, which will be unveiled early in 2022, are being brought forward in response to two major scams that defrauded investors of significant sums earlier this year.

* In June, the founders of crypto investment firm Africrypt disappeared with around $3.6 billion of bitcoin. This followed the Mirror Trading International (MTI) scam that defrauded investors of some $589 million.

* The FCSA is also aiming for its framework to address how crypto interacts with traditional finance products and balance sheets and the threat they may pose to financial stability.

* Kamlana urged would-be crypto investors to “wait to see” how the Reserve Bank progresses on its work on a central bank digital currency.

Updated: 12-14-2021

German Savings Banks Want To Enable Bitcoin For 50M Clients

According to the plan, 50 million savings bank customers would be able to buy Bitcoin directly from checking accounts.

German savings banks are planning to allow customers to invest in major digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) directly from checking accounts.

Savings banks in German-speaking countries, also known as Sparkassen, are working on a pilot to launch an in-house cryptocurrency wallet and exchange next year, local business magazine Capital reported on Monday.

The pilot project is subject to approval by Sparkasse committees early next year, while the banking association aims to develop related services at the beginning of 2022.

A spokesperson for the German Savings Banks Association confirmed the news to Cointelegraph, stating:

“More and more consumers are interested in crypto-assets. One in ten customers of the German Savings Banks states he/she owns or has owned crypto-assets. Considering their expectations, the Savings Banks Finance Group has to look into crypto-assets, too.”

The representative added that an expert group from the German IT service provider S-Payment is now “exploring ways to provide an option to safely store crypto-assets in a wallet for selected customers.”

A corresponding pilot project should start first with individual savings banks, with each of 370 Sparkassen independently deciding whether or not to introduce crypto trading. According to Capital’s sources, a number of the banks have already expressed significant interest in the crypto platform.

Sparkassen is a group of commercial savings banks, each operating independently in German-speaking countries, joined in a decentralized structure. With around 50 million customers, the savings banks reportedly hold 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in total assets.

S-Payment did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Germany has emerged as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly countries, with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority issuing a crypto custody business license for Coinbase’s German arm earlier this year. German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse has also listed more than 20 crypto exchange-traded products on its digital exchange, Xetra.

Updated: 12-15-2021

These Are The Countries With The Clearest Crypto Tax Policies

Liechtenstein scored highest in a global ranking by PwC that rated how comprehensive tax guidance is for cryptocurrencies in each country.

Australia and Malta placed joint second, followed by Germany, which jumped from 20th last year due in part to the nation’s draft decree on income tax treatment of digital assets, according to the PwC report. The U.S. came 14th.

Jurisdictions were awarded a score derived from 19 assessment criteria to determine the comprehensiveness of their tax guidance. The report also noted that many countries were struggling to keep up with developments such as decentralized finance, DeFi, and non-fungible tokens, NFTs.

This “is a fast-moving sector and there are important areas with gaps in guidance issued,” said Peter Brewin, a tax partner at PwC Hong Kong. “In particular, guidance is lacking for common DeFi transactions, NFTs and how to even start assessing the taxation of Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs).”


Updated: 12-27-2021

With Rappers, Race Cars And Raves, Saudi Arabia Learns How To Party

Four-day music festival featured top international performers such as David Guetta.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—This conservative Islamic kingdom is rapidly trying to ease its staid social norms, allowing women to drive and travel freely in recent years, opening doors to tourists and tolerating music blaring from modern coffee shops.

Now: Dance parties in the desert.

A four-day music festival earlier this month is emblematic of how Saudis are learning to have fun in ways that are common in much of the world but long forbidden here. The festival—called Soundstorm and organized by a Saudi company called MDLBeast (pronounced Middle Beast)—featured 200 performances, including from big-name DJs such as David Guetta.

Held north of the capital Riyadh in a vast desert, the electronic-music event drew tens of thousands of people, most of them young Saudi men and women. Many mixed traditional national dress with LED sunglasses, marshmallow helmets, and the face paint common at rave parties, embellished with crystals and glitter.

“I can’t believe this is happening in Riyadh,” said Noura Mohammad, 28 years old, who attended Soundstorm with her twin sister, Ohoud, wearing matching white coats and pink bandannas over their niqabs, a traditional face covering. The sisters said they discovered electronic music through American movies but never expected to be able to dance openly in their home country.

“My sister and I love to dance,” Ms. Mohammad said.

Dancing and the mingling of sexes was once forbidden here. Now, the Saudi government is betting that events like Soundstorm will give the country’s large population of young people—about 70% of the population is under 35—an outlet for entertainment they are used to seeing in other parts of the world but not here.

The government aims to double household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the kingdom by 2030, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to diversify and modernize the oil-dependent economy.

Since Prince Mohammed, the country’s de facto leader, rose to power in 2015 after his father became king, the kingdom has hosted pop concerts with Mariah Carey and Enrique Iglesias, spectacles like Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group and major sporting events, including the inaugural Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this month.

It is part of a new social contract Prince Mohammed is spearheading, giving young Saudis more social freedoms such as going to the movies, dancing and dressing less traditionally, while at the same time cracking down on political freedoms like critical speech.

Authorities in recent years have detained hundreds of businessmen, senior officials and members of the royal family for various reasons, including allegations of corruption, that critics said was an attempt by the crown prince to consolidate power.

Activists say even the social changes don’t really address deeper issues such as premarital and same-sex relationships, which are still considered criminal acts under the kingdom’s Islamic law.

The loosening of social strictures is taking place amid the backdrop of restrictions in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has recently seen a surge in Covid-19 cases, registering 524 cases Monday, nearly five times as many as the same day the week before.

The kingdom hasn’t implemented any new restrictions in light of the rise, visitors are required to show proof of double vaccination and from February booster shots will be mandatory after eight months of a second dose. Face masks are no longer required in outdoor public spaces but social distancing measures are enforced.

Some global celebrities have chosen to boycott events held in Saudi Arabia over its human-rights record. In 2019, rapper Nicki Minaj caused a stir when she canceled her headlining concert at the Jeddah World Fest music festival after receiving complaints from various human-rights groups criticizing her scheduled appearance.

Others have flagged their concerns. Ahead of the first Formula One race in the kingdom, champion driver Lewis Hamilton said he was uncomfortable racing in Saudi Arabia due to its human-rights record and hoped F1 would apply pressure to drive change.

But for many Saudis, the shift has felt transformational. The kingdom has announced a number of mega projects with the goal of positioning itself as a regional hub for entertainment, sports and art. Qiddiya, a 227 square-mile city located 28 miles outside of the capital Riyadh, will include a Formula One racing track, a Six Flags theme park, a water park, and sports facilities including football stadiums.

The government also announced in October that it plans to convert an offshore oil rig into a luxury extreme sports amusement park. The kingdom, which until not long ago only allowed religious tourism, recently opened up to international visitors by launching its first tourist visa in late 2019.

Saudi Seasons is an initiative announced two years ago that aims to highlight the kingdom’s different regions through an array of cultural and entertainment activities.

One of the biggest seasons, Riyadh Season, is currently taking place in the capital city’s region over a period of five months and will host over 7,500 events covering everything from music and culture to sports and food. The season has so far welcomed over 6 million visitors— mostly local—since it began in October.

With festivals like Soundstorm, Riyadh appears to be aiming to make the kingdom an attractive tourist destination in the region to foreigners, who often flock to neighboring Dubai, Beirut and Tel Aviv, all of which are popular for their thriving party culture and tolerance—be it to the consumption of alcohol or gender mixing.

The U.A.E., of which Dubai is a part, recently decriminalized cohabitation for unmarried couples, consumption of alcohol without a license and carrying products containing marijuana. The consumption of alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia.

Organizers of Soundstorm heavily promoted the event this year, held for the second time after its first edition in late 2019, even putting up massive billboards in Dubai.

The hope is to develop a Saudi concert scene virtually from scratch, said MDLBeast Chief Executive Ramadan Alhartani, who noted that this year’s event was much bigger in scale. Soundstorm’s lineup was studded with global DJs such as Tiesto, Chainsmokers, Bob Moses and Nina Kraviz, and by many popular regional musicians and pop stars.

“We’re here to amplify music culture by defining the next generation of live entertainment performers,” Mr. Alhartani said.

Before 2016, Saudi Arabia had practically no entertainment industry. There were no movie theaters and music concerts were banned or accessible to male audiences only.

“I encourage my 18-year-old son all the time to go out and attend the concerts,” said Dana Abdullah, 42, a jewelry designer from Jeddah. “I want him to have the experiences I couldn’t have at his age.”

The sudden change in some social norms has come with its own set of challenges.

Many young Saudis are still only mixing for the first time and some lines of social boundaries remain blurred. The majority of attendees at the festival were men, which made many of the women behave more reservedly.

“Although as much as this reminds me of festivals abroad, I am still very aware that I am in Saudi,” said Zahra Sultan, 29, a graphic designer who attended Soundstorm with her cousin.

“I don’t feel 100% comfortable dancing around freely just yet,” she said.

Updated: 1-10-2022

German Neobank N26 To Launch Crypto Trading Later This Year

N26’s co-founder says rushing for a global expansion has caused N26 to drop behind in crypto and equities trading.

German neobank N26, one of the biggest European fintech companies and has a $9-billion valuation, is finally ready to tackle crypto and equities trading after striving for a global expansion.

Despite being an early player in the financial technology boom across Europe, the Berlin-based online bank N26’s global ambitions induced a setback in its diversification of services, N26 co-founder and co-CEO Max Tayenthal said in a Financial Times interview.

After exiting two critical fintech markets — the United States and the United Kingdom — N26 plans to “sharpen its focus on its European business” by introducing new products and services to its 7 million customers.

According to Tayenthal, who admitted that the online bank needs to expand its product universe, N26 aims to launch a crypto trading business in 2022 followed by an equities brokerage instead of “putting flags in new markets.”

The N26 mobile app currently doesn’t offer crypto functionality, and features of the upcoming product related to crypto trading are yet to be revealed.

Cointelegraph has reached out to N26 for more information. An N26 spokesperson confirmed that the digital bank plans to start a crypto trading business with a partner “sometime this year” as a first step of bringing several key products.

N26 announced its exit from the U.S. market in November when it teased additional financial products and services for its European customers. “N26 will focus its strategy on broadening its digital banking experience into new verticals to include investment products in the coming year,” the announcement said.

The company was hit with several restrictions from German watchdog the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, or BaFin, in May 2021 partly due to its lacking Anti-Money Laundering controls.

BaFin decreed that N26, which accepted an average of 170,000 new clients per month last year, cannot onboard more than 50,000 customers per month.

Describing the BaFin-enforced new customer cap as a massive restriction for the growth investor-funded fintech, Tayenthal said he expects the condition to have been lifted by late summer 2022.

“Compliance is and will remain our core priority at N26,” a spokesperson told Cointelegraph, adding that the team takes the responsibility of being a licensed bank very seriously as N26 continues to invest in improving standards as it grows.


UAE Regulators Pave Way For Crypto And Blockchain Adoption, Says Legal Expert

Legal expert Kokila Alagh shared insights regarding crypto and blockchain regulations in the United Arab Emirates.

While many countries are inclined to simply ban the use of Bitcoin (BTC) and digital assets, regulators in the United Arab Emirates are taking a different approach.

The country has been consistently enacting its vision of becoming a blockchain capital by providing frameworks to guide crypto businesses on how to operate in accordance with the laws.

Jurisdictions in the country are divided between the mainland, where the regulator is the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), and free zones — i.e., geographically specified areas within the UAE with relaxed taxation and regulatory regimes.

Such free zones include the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), which is regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), which falls under regulatory remit of the SCA.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Kokila Alagh, founder and CEO of Karm Legal Consultants, shared a brief overview of the regulatory situation in the country. According to Alagh, the SCA, the mainland regulator, provides certainty and opportunities for crypto and blockchain businesses:

“The regulations provided certainty and have opened new opportunities in the UAE, which makes SCA a progressive regulator in the global landscape, as they haven’t ignored this vital growing sector and are continuously working on developing the frameworks to adjust as per these emerging sectors like DLT, blockchain.”

The FSRA, ADGM’s financial services regulator, was the first to introduce digital asset regulations in the country back in 2018. Alagh said that ADGM was also one of the first regulators globally to introduce digital securities regulations and guidance on digital assets, adding that ADGM is “one of the top-most jurisdictions for established blockchain companies.”

Alagh also discussed regulations in the DIFC. According to Alagh, the DFSA, DIFC’s regulator, “is one of the first regulators from a major financial free zone to bring regulations in regard to security tokens.”

Current DFSA regulations cover the tokenization of securities through blockchain and distributed ledger technology, including the tokenization of shares, derivatives, bonds, debentures, certificates or units of a fund. However, consultation papers for stablecoins, fungible cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens are still in the process of being drafted.

Lastly, Alagh noted DMCC. The free zone issued special licenses, such as the DLT technology service provider license and proprietary trading in crypto commodities license. It also has a crypto-dedicated center called Crypto Oasis, where more than 130 blockchain companies have registered.

Alagh said that “the DMCC is one of the most advanced regulators in this space and has spearheaded the development of the crypto ecosystem in the UAE. The DMCC is a crypto-friendly regulator and provides companies with a friendly framework for setting up a business.”

Meanwhile, crypto exchange Binance has set out to collaborate with the UAE government to assist crypto exchanges and businesses to get their licenses in Dubai. The firm signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority as they launched a crypto hub.

Updated: 1-11-2022

Morocco Is Number One For Bitcoin Trading In North Africa

The Kingdom of Morocco is the leader for Bitcoin trading across North Africa in 2021— despite its illegal status.

Estimates from Triple A, a Singaporean cryptocurrency provider and aggregator, state that 0.9 million people, or roughly 2.4% of Morocco’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.

That puts the kingdom as the top country in North Africa and in the top 50 holders of cryptocurrency population percentage, just ahead of Portugal.

Data from Useful Tulips — a platform that tracks peer-to-peer BTC trading across the globe — confirms the trend. The Kingdom of the West, as it’s known locally, has been the runaway North African leader for BTC trades in the past year, pipped by only Saudi Arabia when weighing up the entire Middle East and North Africa region.

Unfortunately for crypto enthusiasts, there has been no change in crypto laws in recent years. According to Morocco’s Foreign Exchange Office, it will not support a “hidden payment system that is not backed by any financial institution.” While the law came into being in 2017, the ban has not stymied adoption and as the data shows, Moroccan crypto enthusiasts continue to circumvent the ruling.

Nearby, the Egyptian pound is gaining on the Moroccan Dirham for BTC trades. On the 30 day period, UsefulTulips shows that Egypt is $20,000 short of catching Morocco. It remains illegal to trade BTC and crypto in Egypt, but even if a tiny percentage of its 102 million population and $360 billion GDP engage in the “illicit” activity, it will move the needle.

To bolster Morocco’s orange-tinted future, Harmattan Energy is set to build one of Africa’s largest wind farms. The purpose of the 900MW behemoth wind site set in Dakhla, the Sahara region, is to “power blockchain computing.” As Bitcoin mining and trading is currently outlawed the group cannot openly purport Bitcoin mining.

Nonetheless, as Cointelegraph reported on the project’s call to tender in 2018, selling at least 20% of its electricity output back to the Moroccan government could be a workable solution. First results are expected from Harmattan at the end of quarter one this year.

Elsewhere, in April 2020, Binance added support for crypto purchases using the Moroccan dirham via a third-party platform, Simplex. It works the same way that Naira purchases for BTC work in Nigeria. It’s not quite as easy to buy BTC on Binance as it is in the nearby UAE, which has a direct fiat on-ramp, but it’s a promising start.

Time will tell whether Moroccan lawmakers backtrack on banning Bitcoin. As it stands, Morocco will continue to lead the charge in North Africa even though it remains an underground activity.

Updated: 1-28-2022

How Another Marcos Could Win Power In The Philippines

Millions of people took to the streets in the Philippines to force President Ferdinand Marcos from office in 1986 after a two decade reign in which thousands were killed under martial law, the economy contracted and government coffers were plundered — infamously symbolized by his wife Imelda’s extravagant shoe collection.

Lately, however, the family has seen a resurgence in popularity, much of it driven by social media. Scion Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been the front-runner to succeed another strongman, Rodrigo Duterte, as president in this year’s May 9 election. Yet the Marcos candidacy has also reopened some old wounds — and he could still be disqualified.

1. Who Is Bongbong Marcos?

Bongbong, 64, is the only son of the former first couple. While in his 20s he was already governor in their home province of Ilocos Norte, about 440 kilometers (273 miles) north of Manila. He fled to the U.S. with the family after his father was ousted. The Marcoses returned to the Philippines in 1991, two years after the patriarch’s death. Bongbong won a congressional seat a year later, then became governor again. He lost his first attempt for a position elected nationwide — a 1995 race for the Senate — but won a seat in 2010. With his term ending, he ran in 2016 for vice president, narrowly lost to Leni Robredo, then unsuccessfully protested the results. His resume has also caused a stir: His Senate profile initially stated that he had an Oxford degree in philosophy, politics and economics. Critics said he had a special diploma that fell short of an actual degree. In October, the University of Oxford waded in, saying that Marcos didn’t complete his degree. The website has been amended.

2. How Did They Get So Popular?

Family members have been in politics and government for decades in their home province, which includes a village named Ferdinand in a municipality called Marcos. Their power didn’t initially translate nationally after their return; along with Bongbong’s Senate loss, Imelda failed in two presidential bids. But in a country where dynastic politics is common and embraced, the Marcoses rebuilt their political capital by forging alliances with other politicians including Duterte, who allowed a hero’s burial for the late dictator. This influence now is bolstered by social media like Facebook and YouTube, where posts rewriting history about the Marcos dictatorship, painting it as a golden era, have spread widely, boosting Bongbong’s campaign. He has denied any connection to the posts. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa last year called disinformation on social media an “atom bomb” for public discourse in the Philippines.

3. What About The Past?

Thousands were killed or disappeared and many more were tortured or suffered other human rights violations under martial law. The government in 2013 allocated 10 billion pesos ($195 million) from Swiss bank deposits recovered from the Marcoses as compensation. Some victims, not wanting to see another Marcos as president, filed petitions trying to disqualify Bongbong, citing his conviction for failure to file tax returns in the 1980s as grounds. They were dismissed by divisions of the Commission on Elections, but appeals are pending. (If the commission were to disqualify him, he could still run while he appeals to the Supreme Court.) Bongbong has dodged questions about his father’s regime, telling television interviewers on Jan. 24: “We will no longer go back to 35-year-old issues,” he said.

4. What’s His Strategy?

He has teamed up with Duterte’s daughter Sara, who’s running separately for the vice presidency, aiming to benefit from her father’s continued popularity. (The constitution bans Duterte from seeking a second term.) In the Senate, Bongbong helped pass bills mostly pertaining to local governments. If he becomes president, Bongbong has promised “unifying leadership” and to prioritize pandemic recovery and the economy. He also has pledged to aid the farm sector, de-congest Manila’s roads, push renewables and continue fighting a long-running communist insurgency. He said he plans to negotiate a resolution to territorial disputes with China while fostering ties with the U.S. and Russia. There is some concern that public efforts to hold the Marcoses accountable and to recover ill-gotten wealth will stop if Bongbong wins. In the 2019 documentary “The Kingmaker,” Imelda Marcos is quoted saying becoming president is her son’s “destiny.”

5. Who Else Is Running?

Vice President Robredo, the opposition leader who defeated Bongbong in 2016, has been a distant second to the dictator’s son. Also among the contenders are Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, boxer-turned-Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Ping Lacson and labor rights activist Leody de Guzman. Duterte is supporting his daughter but hasn’t named his favorite for president. Whoever gets the most votes wins; there’s no runoff.

6. What’s Happening With The Marcos Fortune?

The Marcoses amassed between $5 billion to $10 billion from the government through their cronies, associates and dummies, but only $3.4 billion has been recovered as of the end of 2020, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which was set up to identify and retrieve the assets. For this, the dictator Marcos holds the Guinness world record for the “greatest robbery of a government.” Most of the recovered wealth was remitted to the national treasury and used for agriculture programs. The commission is still selling or privatizing some $1.1 billion worth including land, shares of stocks and jewelry. It’s also going after another $2.5 billion from the Marcos fortune, some of which was concealed in various foreign banks, including in Switzerland, as well as in the form of vacation homes and fine art.


Updated: 2-2-2022

South African Regulator Issues Warning On FTX, Bybit

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority said the crypto exchanges are not authorized to trade in derivatives.

South Africa’s financial watchdog issued a notice warning consumers to be “cautious and vigilant” when dealing with crypto exchanges FTX and Bybit.

* The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said Tuesday that FTX is not authorized to trade in contracts for difference (CFDs), which are instruments that allow traders to speculate on the short-term movement of an asset’s price.

* “It has come to the attention of the FSCA that FTX might be offering the South African public, access to its online platform to trade in amongst others, derivatives instruments,” the FSCA said.

* “FTX is not authorised to give any financial advice or render any intermediary services in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (FAIS Act) in South Africa,” the regulator said.

* Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX, tweeted that the company had reached out to to initiate a dialogue with the FSCA and was not aware of any prior attempted communication from the regulator.

* The FSCA also issued a notice to the same effect regarding crypto exchange Bybit.

* “Bybit has been in correspondence with the FSCA and will continue to engage in productive dialogues with the intent to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all those involved,” a Bybit spokesperson told CoinDesk.

* Following a pair of major scams involving crypto companies in South Africa last year, the FSCA announced plans in December to prepare a regulatory framework on how crypto trading should be conducted. The framework is set to be unveiled early this year.

Updated: 2-10-2022

Bitcoin Business In France: Regulation, Education And Cash Buy Frustration

Cointelegraph sat down with the only Bitcoin business in France that allows Bitcoin cash buys, Bitcoin-lyon.

Jimmy Chambrade and Aurore Galves Orjol, co-founders of Bitcoin-lyon, first heard about Bitcoin (BTC) in 2014. Around that time, their close friend and now business partner, Emmanuel, mined Bitcoin using application-specific integrated circuits.

However, it took three years and a face-melting bull run before the pair could set aside the time to engage with the technology.

Fast forward to 2017, and Chambrade and Galves Orjol had just returned from an around-the-world trip. Although ready to return to the world of work, they would rather avoid the traditional “nine-to-five” fiat lifestyle, or the “métro, boulot, dodo” (subway, work, sleep) routine as it’s known in France.

They began investigating Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space, attending crypto meetups and testing out the tech. Their research and curiosity led to the creation of Crypto Lyon. As their first foray into the world of crypto, Crypto Lyon is a catch-all community for crypto enthusiasts in France’s third-most populous city.

They’re Not “Lyon” About Bitcoin

On a deeper level, though, something about Bitcoin twigged during their encounters with fellow crypto enthusiasts — the pair was hooked. It could have been the philosophy behind Bitcoin, but the privacy, self-sovereignty and pseudonymous elements were also compelling, particularly for Chambrade. Either way, it soon became clear that working in Bitcoin was a fait accompli.

Galves Orjol Noted That Before Committing To Bitcoin:

“It’s important to get to grips with the entire crypto ecosystem. We examined the world of crypto through the eyes of individuals and later an association. We developed and deployed smart contracts, hosted events for traders, and mixed with developers and analysts. Ultimately, though, the path led to Bitcoin.”

They met and engaged with a host of crypto-curious and crypto-obsessed individuals in France before opening the bureau for Bitcoin-lyon in 2019.

Initially, Bitcoin-lyon was a space for customers in Lyon to buy over-the-counter Bitcoin. However, “being profitable purely through the sale of Bitcoin on margin was tricky.

Competing with the likes of Coinbase, Kraken and Binance was not enough,” Galves Orjol explained. The business soon developed a budding consulting operation, particularly useful for francophones new to Bitcoin.

Galves Orjol details that a lot of their dealings with the consultancy space revolve around the “blockchain not Bitcoin” confusion, a term and trend first coined by OG Bitcoiner Parker Lewis. In essence, entrepreneurs are often drawn to “blockchain,” the technology that’s now ironically world-renowned thanks to Bitcoin.

But because Bitcoin receives bad press, entrepreneurs are put off building on Bitcoin and are thus pulled away from the real revolution.

“The lion’s share of our working day is speaking to clients about blockchain technologies, and more often than not, they realize that the killer app is the Bitcoin blockchain. Often, their big project doesn’t need a blockchain, it needs Bitcoin!”

The Crypto Lyon association lives on as Bitcoin-lyon grows into a one-stop shop for all things Bitcoin. Whether Lyonnais wish to buy, sell, learn about or integrate Bitcoin payments into their businesses, the team working at Bitcoin-lyon is on hand to provide Bitcoin educational and consultative tools.

Bitcoin-lyon also takes advantage of a considerable unique selling point: It is the only Bitcoin vendor in France that accepts cash for crypto.

Regulation, Regulation, Regulation

An exceptional case among the Bitcoin vendors in France, customers of Bitcoin-lyon can swap their euro bills for Bitcoin.

Galves Orjol and Chambrade were granted the license “by jumping through each and every hoop established by the AMF [L’autorité des marchés financiers],” France’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) organization.

Indeed, French regulatory laws concerning Bitcoin are harsher than Zinedine Zidane when he’s all riled up. Know Your Customer (KYC) is required from amounts of just 1 euro. In practice, it means that an 18-year-old with 50 euros in their pocket thanks to a generous birthday gift must disclose their name, address and contact details to buy a petite amount of Bitcoin.

A mere 100 miles away, in neighboring Switzerland, customers can buy 900 euros of Bitcoin a day — no questions asked.

Chambrade laments France’s overbearing rules for crypto, “Regulations are killing us. In 10 years’ time, there will not be a Bitcoin vendor left in the country.”

To make matters worse, compliance and AML requirements dictate that transactions must be traced. The combination of traceability and regulation stymies the ease of doing Bitcoin business:

“Compliance is expensive for Bitcoiner companies in France, whereas nearby in Switzerland, the rules are far more relaxed. Sometimes, we are not able to accept customers’ money here in France because we are very careful with AML and KYC laws. Yet we know that when we finish speaking with what could have been our customer, they can drive for one hour to buy Bitcoin without the same restrictions in Geneva.”

The situation is exacerbated by the French government’s treatment of Bitcoin businesses. Whereas “blockchain-focused” projects receive wild investments and incentives, Bitcoin-related projects in France are hamstrung by regulation.

The country’s widely lauded “La French Tech” startup scene has still not accredited a Bitcoin startup despite the relative success of companies such as StackinSat.

The well-known French crypto unicorn Ledger is an exception, but it started out as a hardware company in Paris. Chambrade explained:

“Ledger hit a critical mass for revenue and customers in hardware before it turned to software and retail avenues. Plus, hardware and R&D is a well-funded area of industry in France.”

Speculation vs. Accumulation

As Bitcoin-lyon is the only physical retail outlet for Bitcoin in France, its clientele reflects the growing trends and demographics of Bitcoin buyers in the region. Broadly speaking, there are two clearcut groups of buyers: those in it for the technology (accumulators) and those in it to get rich (speculators).

There are those “who want to buy it now and sell it once it does a 4x,” Chambrade explained, and there are “those that have a real need for Bitcoin.”

Worth noting is that while French crypto regulations are strict, French tax laws are tighter still. A whopping 30% tax is imposed on all crypto sales for any profit over 300 euros. It pales in comparison to the United Kingdom’s 14,000-euro tax-free limit. Over in Switzerland, it’s a different ballpark: There is zero tax on personal crypto gains.

Notwithstanding, the rise of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) has enticed a growing number of speculators into the space. The “get-rich-quick” crowd often calls for appointments at Bitcoin-lyon to shill their next big NFT, assuming that Bitcoin is somehow required in their plan.

Similarly, the flavor-of-the-month altcoin, “whether it’s Solana (SOL), Cardano (ADA) or Dogecoin (DOGE) that’s mooning; it often leads to phone calls from potential clients who just want to buy the next big thing.”

Often, investors are simply impatient to part with their money. Galves Orjol sighed, “People don’t even understand what they are trying to buy.”

Chambrade is frank with these kinds of requests. First, he sets up a consultation to explain Bitcoin. He patiently illustrates the properties and history of Bitcoin, underlining the risks associated with any kind of crypto investment.

Following the consultation, if the customers are still keen to buy NFTs or altcoins, Chambrade helps them to set up a wallet to receive Bitcoin and shows them how to swap for Ether (ETH), Solana or otherwise.

Bitcoiners In Lyon

Galves Orjol noted that the prosaic “crypto bro” demographic has been improving over the years. Currently, their customers are about 70% male, 30% female. The stand-out age group is 35- to 55-year-olds. They tend to have some disposable income and a desire to understand the technology and represent one basket among the “accumulators.”

Common convincing arguments to orange pill this demographic are the rising prices in France (inflation sits at around 5%–6%) as well as wealth diversification strategies. Plus, these people have worked and lived through the 2007–2008 financial crisis in which banks’ predatory lending and malpractice crippled the global economy. In this context, Bitcoin is the life raft.

At the graying end of the demographic spectrum, there are internet-phobic, savvy pensioner customers. This group is keen to protect its wealth in “digital gold.” While the older generations may struggle to set up a Bitcoin wallet, “they understand money on a deeper level than younger people,” said Chambrade.

For example, the over-60s have lived through two periods in history where the French franc (the former national currency) lost purchasing power, so they understand what a devaluing currency means for wealth preservation.

The current macroeconomic background is enough to convince them that a currency with a fixed supply is a good hedge. Plus, they’ve seen money die, such as when the euro took over as the national and, indeed, Europe-wide currency in 1999.

Remittance Is A Beret Good Idea

Finally, there is the remittance camp of Bitcoiner customers: immigrants, expats or francophone diasporas who want to send money abroad cheaply and simply.

At the foot of the Alps, Lyon is an economic engine and metropole with high employment rates. It’s an increasingly attractive destination for jobseekers traveling from the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), as well as France’s former colonies, from Haiti to Djibouti.

Chambrade illustrates the situation, telling the story of the Algerian truck driver who transports and sells construction materials in Algiers. The trucker keeps Bitcoin “in his pocket” as opposed to bags of cash because it’s safer. If he were to transact with cash, he’d have to keep thousands of Algerian dinars on his person, which just isn’t worth the risk.

He said, “Although Bitcoin is still illegal in certain Maghreb countries, as long as you’re not winding up the authorities and, provided the sums aren’t astronomical, you can use Bitcoin without a hitch.”

Moreover, Bitcoin is an outlet that sidesteps the “monopoly money” risk. Sadly present in many African countries, but most well-known to Venezuela, currencies become monopoly money when hyperinflation takes over. Traders are forced to use stacks and stacks of cash to do business as the money devalues faster than ink can dry on the freshly printed notes.

Finally, for those without banking services, Bitcoin enables a certain level of financial freedom. And with the rise of the lightning network on Bitcoin, transactions from a fraction of a penny and up can be sent instantly and globally at a negligible cost. Customers can come in, set up a wallet, and easily send Satoshis to family members based in Africa or in developing countries around the world.

At home in Lyon, the footprint for merchants accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Lightning payments services is swelling. Bitcoin-lyon’s payment solution for merchants and e-commerce retailers has opened up the Bitcoin economy in the city.

Currently, there’s a barber, a few bars, a Lyonnais-style restaurant known locally as a “bouchon,” a T-shirt seller and an IT store. While the bull market ebbs and flows, the rendezvous list for new businesses is expanding every week.


Updated: 2-17-2022

UAE To Issue Crypto Licenses In Bid To Become Industry Hub

The Middle Eastern country is gearing up to become a global crypto hub.

The United Arab Emirates is preparing to issue federal licenses for virtual assets service providers by the end of this quarter in a bid to attract crypto companies to the country, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing a government official.

* The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is in the final stage of setting up a framework allowing VASPs to set up shop in the country, the official said.

* Having considered the approaches of the U.S., U.K. and Singapore, the UAE will take a hybrid approach: The SCA and central bank will be responsible for regulation, with regional financial centers determining their day-to-day procedures on licenses, according to Bloomberg.

* The government also wants to create a favorable environment for crypto mining, the report said.

* The government of Dubai, one of the seven constituent emirates, said in December it will create a favorable regulated zone for crypto service providers in the Dubai World Trade Center, a skyscraper in the city. The next day, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, signed a cooperation agreement with the trade center.

* Abu Dhabi Global Market, an international finance hub and free-trade zone, issued its first crypto exchange license, to Matrix, in May 2020. In November 2021, three exchanges headquartered at the center were fully operational while another three were in the process of launching, the finance hub’s regulation chief told local news site The National.

* The Dubai Multi Commodities Center, the largest free-trade zone in the UAE set up a regulatory framework for crypto firms in March 2021. It has already licensed 22 companies, Bloomberg reported.

UAE Reportedly Plans To Issue Federal Crypto License For VASPs

The crypto license legislation might be the first nationwide crypto-focused regulation. However, various free zones in the country had introduced crypto regulations as early as 2018.

The United Arab Emirates is reportedly planning to issue a federal crypto license for virtual asset service providers by the end of the first quarter.

The UAE Securities and Commodities Authority is reportedly in the final stages of finalizing legislation that would allow digital asset firms to set base in the country, reported Bloomberg. A national crypto licensing legislation would help the UAE with its goal to become a leading crypto-friendly jurisdiction.

The regulators reportedly considered the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force guidelines and ongoing crypto policies in the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore for framing its crypto license legislation.

The new crypto license would reportedly take a hybrid approach where the chief regulatory body would handle regulations in consultation with the central bank, while local financial institutions can develop their own native license guidelines.

Apart from the crypto license, the UAE government is also planning on building and regulating the crypto mining industry.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, UAE regulators have been working toward formulating laws that would pave way for crypto and blockchain adoption. The newly reported crypto licensing and mining legislation could be one step closer to that.

Earlier in December 2021, the government declared the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as a comprehensive zone and a regulator for cryptocurrencies.

Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, is eyeing the UAE market, as it signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding with the DWTC in December. The partnership will see Binance help make DWTC a crypto hub in the region and also assist crypto exchanges and service providers to get access to UAE markets.

While the legal framework for a crypto license is expected to be introduced by the end of the first quarter, the UAE has numerous free zones with relaxed taxation and regulatory regimes.

These free zones were among the first to introduce tokenized security regulations and digital asset regulations. Abu Dhabi Global Markets, which is regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, was the first to introduce digital asset regulations in 2018.


Updated: 2-21-2022

Germany Tipped Into Second Recession by Virus, Bundesbank Says

* Economic Output May Fall ‘Noticeably’ In The First Quarter
* Robust Demand Should Underpin Strong Rebound In The Spring

Germany may have fallen into its second recession since the pandemic erupted as the omicron variant brought record infections that dragged down activity, according to the Bundesbank.

Output in Europe’s largest economy may decline “noticeably” in the first quarter, having already shrunk by 0.7% in the final three months of 2021, the central bank said Monday in its monthly report.

“In contrast to previous waves of the pandemic, it’s not just the services sector that’s hit by restrictions and adapted behavior,” the Bundesbank said. Pandemic-related absence by workers will “markedly” hit activity in other areas too.

The recovery may be rapid, however. A business survey published earlier Monday showed private-sector activity growing at the fastest pace in six months in February as manufacturers reported a further easing of supply bottlenecks.

Due to “very good” demand, the economy should rebound strongly in the spring as long as supply-chain pressures ease further and the pandemic continues to recede, according to the Bundesbank report.

Germany is moving past the peak of its latest virus outbreak, which has proved less lethal than previous waves. The government has agreed to gradually loosen restrictions on public life, meaning the economic damage may be short-lived.

The Bundesbank’s assessment of the current quarter contrasts with economists polled this month by Bloomberg, who see output gaining 0.4% from the previous three months.



Updated: 3-1-2022

Samson Mow Leaves Blockstream, Plans To Focus On ‘Nation-State Bitcoin Adoption’

“Now is a pivotal point in Bitcoin’s evolution — we’re on the verge of mass adoption, and I think that I can make it happen faster,” said Samson Mow.

Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow has announced he will be leaving the blockchain firm after five years.

In a Tuesday Twitter thread, Mow said he would continue to be a “#BlockstreamSpy” following his departure from the Canada-based firm where he had worked since April 2017. He said he would stay on as CEO of game development company Pixelmatic, a position in which more “attention is being demanded,” but planned to focus on “nation-state Bitcoin adoption” in the future.

”With everything happening at light speed in El Salvador, and more and more countries interested in adopting #Bitcoin, I found my time each day just no longer enough anymore,” said Mow. “So with @Blockstream in a very good place and well capitalized after a successful B round, it was the right time to move on. It also feels like now is a pivotal point in #Bitcoin’s evolution — we’re on the verge of mass adoption, and I think that I can make it happen faster.”

Mow has been involved in plans to build a Bitcoin City in El Salvador. The project aims to use geothermal energy from the country’s Conchagua volcano to power Bitcoin (BTC) mining in the innovative city, which will be built at the foot of the mountain. According to the Pixelmatic CEO, a $1 million BTC price could help make the Latin American nation “the financial center of the world.”

The now-former Blockstream chief strategy officer added he would continue to “support and advocate” for Blockstream’s sidechain-based settlement network, Liquid, as “It has an important role to play in the reformation of the legacy financial system.” He previously worked as the chief operating officer of BTCC, the crypto exchange behind one of the largest mining pools in the world at the time, and as the director of production and executive producer at Ubisoft.

An advocate of Bitcoin for many years, Mow also recently made the Cointelegraph Top 100 for his work at Pixelmatic, Blockstream, the El Salvador project and more.

Updated: 3-10-2022

South Africa Posts Largest Current-Account Surplus On Record

* Surplus Widened To 3.7% of GDP In 2021, From 2% In 2020
* Annual Trade Surplus Jumped To Record 448 Billion Rand In 2021

South Africa reported its largest current-account surplus on record last year as import demand was suppressed by the economy recovering from the impact of the coronavirus and the value of gold exports rose to the highest since at least 1960.

The balance on the current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, widened to a surplus of 3.7% of gross domestic product, or 227 billion rand ($15 billion), from a revised 2% in 2020, the South African Reserve Bank said in a report on Thursday. The ratio of the surplus to GDP is the highest since 1987.

The current-account surplus shrank more than expected in the fourth quarter to an annualized surplus of 1.9% of GDP, or 120 billion rand, from a revised 3.5% in the previous quarter. That’s less than the 2.5% median estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey

The quarterly surplus was the sixth in succession, the longest streak since 2001.

Key Insights

* The record annual surplus may boost the rand, which has strengthened 5.9% against the dollar this year. That’s as investors look for less risky emerging-market assets after the war erupted in Ukraine and sanctions were imposed on Russia.

* The rally in export commodity prices, stemming from supply shocks caused by the conflict, could help boost the surplus this year. Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said Wednesday in a statement it will also “provide added support to the local mining sector and a possible windfall to revenue collections.”

* The positive annual balance was largely driven by a trade surplus that jumped to a record 448 billion rand, from a revised 289 billion rand in 2020. On a quarterly basis, the surplus narrowed as the value of merchandise imports increased more than exports, which surged to an all-time high, the central bank said.

* The deficit on the services account, under which income from tourism falls, increased 47% to 66.2 billion rand in 2021. That’s as several countries shuttered international borders for business and leisure travelers at various stages during the year in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.

* The shortfall on the nation’s primary-income account, which reflects outflows due to dividends and interest payments to foreign shareholders, widened to 118 billion rand in 2021 from 92.6 billion rand.

* The central bank’s quarterly projection model in January showed it forecast a surplus of 3.8% to GDP for 2021 and 0.4% for 2022.

Updated: 3-18-2022

Honduran President Xiomara Castro To Announce Bitcoin As Legal Tender

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

Bitcoin to be announced as official legal tender in Honduras, one year after El Salvador adopted Bitcoin, sources say.

While the move would mark the second sovereign state to adopt Bitcoin, Honduran President Xiomara Castro is said to have commented, “we are still early.”

“We must not allow El Salvador to be the only country escaping dollar hegemony,” Castro is said to have said. “Honduras has the right to move toward the First World.”

Castro will make an announcement on Monday morning by “putting on the lasers,” one source said.

Updated: 3-21-2022

Malaysian Comms Official Calls On The State To Legalize Crypto And NFTs

Malaysia’s finance minister previously warned that crypto payments were illegal, as they did not meet the universal characteristics of money.

The Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is reportedly backing the adoption of cryptocurrencies, with the deputy minister calling the government to legalize crypto.

Deputy communications and multimedia minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin has urged Malaysia’s regulators to legalize certain use cases of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFT), local news agency Harian Metro reported on Monday.

Zahidi pointed out that such measures would significantly support young people, as the cryptocurrency industry has been growing increasingly popular among the younger generation. He also said that the KKMM is exploring ways to increase the participation of young people in the industry.

The deputy minister noted that the decision on crypto regulation is up to Malaysia’s financial regulators including the central bank and the Securities Commission Malaysia.

However, the ministry is willing to bring this issue up because the crypto industry is the “business and financial program of the future, especially for young people now,” Zahidi said, adding:

“We hope the government can try to legalize this matter so that we can expand the participation of young people in cryptocurrencies and help them in terms of energy consumption and so on.”

According to some sources, Zahidi proposed not just legalizing certain cryptocurrency transactions in Malaysia but rather adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The KKMM officials did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.

Some reports also suggest that Honduras is another country that is preparing to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender, following in the steps of El Salvador, which enforced its Bitcoin Law in September 2021. “We must not allow El Salvador to be the only country escaping dollar hegemony,” Honduran president Xiomara Castro reportedly said.

In early March, Malaysia’s finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz reiterated that payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) were illegal in the country, as cryptocurrencies did not meet the universal characteristics of money.

“In general, digital assets are not a good store of value and a medium of exchange. This is due to the fact that digital assets are vulnerable to volatile price fluctuations due to speculative investments, the risk of theft due to cyber threats and lack of scalability,” he said.

The minister added that Bank Negara Malaysia was working on potentially introducing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and blockchain-related developments to respond to the growing trend in the digital asset industry.


Updated: 3-24-2022

Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Responds To Proposal To Legalize Bitcoin

Similar to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia has not banned crypto trading but the government doesn’t want to adopt crypto for payments.

An official at the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia reportedly opposed the idea of adopting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method following recent crypto-friendly proposals by the deputy communications minister.

Malaysia has no plans to recognize BTC as legal tender, deputy finance minister Mohd Shahar Abdullah said in a parliamentary meeting on Thursday, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not suitable for use as a payment instrument due to various limitations,” Mohd Shahar declared, citing risks like volatility and potential cyber threats.

Instead of adopting cryptocurrency for payments, Malaysia will continue to focus on the potential development of the central bank digital currency (CBDC), the official added, stating:

“The growing technology and payment landscape have prompted Bank Negara Malaysia to actively assess the potential of CBDC.”

The Ministry of Finance of Malaysia did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request to comment. This article will be updated pending new information.

Mohd Shahar’s remarks came shortly after Malaysia’s deputy communications and multimedia minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin called on local regulators and lawmakers to legalize certain use cases of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) on Monday.

The official stressed that such measures would significantly support young people as crypto and NFTs have been growing “massively” popular among the younger generation.

Some sources also suggested that Zahidi proposed not just legalizing certain cryptocurrency transactions in Malaysia but rather adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender.

Despite not being willing to adopt cryptocurrency as a means of payment, Malaysian regulators have apparently not restricted the trading of cryptocurrencies so far, following in the steps of many other countries like Indonesia.

In recent years, local authorities like the Securities Commission of Malaysia were issuing approvals to cryptocurrency exchanges, while some of the world’s biggest crypto trading companies were also expanding to the country.


Updated: 3-30-2022

‘Nothing Is Growing As Fast As Cryptocurrency’: Kyrgyz MP Wants National Crypto

Kyrgyzstan has regulated the crypto exchanges and the mining industry, however, there are no laws governing the circulation of cryptocurrencies in the country.


Kyrgyz Member of Parliament (MP) Karim Khanjeza called for the legalization of cryptocurrency in the country during a parliamentary committee meeting on law and order and combating corruption.

During his speech, MP Khanjeza advocated for developing a legal framework for the crypto market and suggested amendments to the draft law to incorporate virtual assets. He said, “nothing is growing as fast as cryptocurrency.”

He added that their country is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing crypto popularity and suggested launching their own national cryptocurrency. He said the government should focus on developing a sovereign national digital currency overlooked by the National Bank, reported a local daily.

He also advocated for building a crypto hub in the nation by onboarding highly qualified specialists in this field, a strategy followed by the likes of the United Arab Emirates to become a regional hub for the growing crypto market.

The Central Asian nation has positioned itself as one of the crypto-friendly nations with significant progress in regulating the market. Bitcoin is considered a commodity and allowed to mine and transact under commodity laws.

In August 2021, the government introduced a national crypto framework for crypto exchanges, giving them legal status in the country. However, there are no laws to regulate the circulation of cryptocurrencies and there is only the draft law “on the turnover of cryptocurrencies,” suggested by the National Bank.

The Kyrgyz government started working towards regulating the crypto mining industry as early as 2020, however, the growing energy crisis aided by illegal crypto mining led to several crackdowns last year. Most of the pro-crypto mining nations, including Kazakhstan and Iran, had faced similar energy crises due to illegal crypto mining.

Updated: 4-4-2022

UK Aims To Become Global Crypto Hub, Exchequer Says

Among the initial steps will be legislation to recognize stablecoins as legitimate vehicles for payments.

The U.K. government on Monday announced a series of initiatives toward its goal of making the country a global center for crypto technology and investments.

“The measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a press release.

One of the first steps will be to bring stablecoins into the U.K. payments system, according to Sunak’s statement and to comments made by John Glen, a minister of state at the Treasury, at the Global Finance Summit.

“This will enable consumers to use stablecoin payment services with confidence,” Glen said. “The government will introduce this legislation as part of an ambition to deliver a world-leading regulatory regime for stablecoins.”

In 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial regulator, published a report on crypto that said that crypto firms with digital assets for cross-border payments could be subject to payments services regulations but that the tokens themselves wouldn’t be regulated.


Meanwhile, the Treasury is looking to engage closely with the public on changes it wants to make to the tax system. “We don’t think the tax code will need major surgery to make it work more easily for crypto,” Glen said.

“The U.K. is also playing a leading role in negotiations on the new tax reporting framework to enhance tax transparency and consumer confidence while enabling a level playing field in tax reporting globally,” he added.

Additionally, the U.K. Treasury will aim to resolve specific issues like the treatment of decentralized finance loans and staking. Plus, it will amend the investment manager exemption to remove any stipulations that discourage U.K. fund managers from including crypto assets in their portfolios.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) haven’t escaped U.K. regulator scrutiny. The Treasury asked the Law Commission, an independent body tasked with making sure laws in England and Wales are fair, to consider the legal status of DAOs.

A DAO is a blockchain-based organization or company that is usually governed by a native crypto token, with anyone holding the tokens able to vote on important company decisions.

The Crypto Regime

In addition to the stablecoin legislation, the Treasury is marching on with broader plans to set up a “world-leading regime … [facilitating] safe and sustainable and I hope, rapid innovation,” Glen said.

The government will form a industry group called the “Crypto Asset Engagement Group” to help guide the next steps in regulation. The chairman of that group will be at the ministerial level, and the group will include senior representatives from the FCA, Bank of England and businesses, Glen said. It will meet up to eight times a year.

There are also plans for legislation establishing a financial market infrastructure, or “sandbox,” that will enable firms to test distributed ledger technology.

Meanwhile, the FCA will hold a two-day “CryptoSprint” in May, where it will seek views from the industry on issues related to developing crypto regulations.


As icing on the cake, Glen said, the U.K. government has asked The Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token (NFT) that will be issued during the summer as “an emblem of the forward-looking approach we are determined to take.”

UK Government Plans To Create An NFT

The non-fungible token will represent the government’s commitment to crypto technology and investment.

The U.K. government said it plans to issue a non-fungible token (NFT) to signal its commitment to a “forward-looking approach” on cryptocurrency technology and investment.

* Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak asked the Royal Mint, the producer of British coins, to make an NFT in coming months, John Glen, minister and economic secretary to the Treasury, said at the Innovate Finance Global Summit on Monday.

* This will be an “emblem of the forward-looking approach we are determined to take,” Glen said.

* The announcement also included the government’s vision for stablecoins and distributed ledger technologies as part of its strategy for the U.K. financial services industry.

Updated: 4-7-2022

The Philippines’ Top Payment Provider Adds Crypto To Its Mobile App

With the new feature, PayMaya intends to make it simpler for Filipinos to learn about and use cryptocurrencies.

Philippines-based major fintech company PayMaya has reportedly launched a new cryptocurrency feature on its app, following in the footsteps of PayPal, Venmo and others.

According to TechInAsia, PayMaya users will be able to trade, purchase and spend digital assets using their accounts. This is also part of PayMaya’s aim to offer a comprehensive crypto package for anybody interested in entering the market.

With the new feature, PayMaya intends to make it simpler for Filipinos to learn about and use cryptocurrencies, as per the report. Furthermore, it will eliminate the necessity for users to register with cryptocurrency exchanges, create a crypto wallet and go through other KYC hoops.

PayMaya is the Philippines’ largest provider of digital payments. It’s also a virtual money issuer (EMI) and virtual asset services provider (VASP), licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines’ central bank. The PayMaya app has over 40 million registered users.

Shailesh Baidwan, The President Of Paymaya, Commented On The Growing Popularity Of Cryptocurrency Among Filipinos Saying:

“With the PayMaya e-wallet already a part of their everyday life for daily purchases and transactions, our customers now want to be able to buy and earn crypto smartly and seamlessly. That is why we are making it an integrated feature in our e-wallet app.”

PayMaya users with upgraded accounts can directly trade their Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) for Philippine pesos. Other cryptocurrencies available for trading on the site include Cardano (ADA), Chainlink (LINK), UNISWAP (UNI), Solana (SOL), Quant (QNT), Polkadot (DOT) and Polygon (MATIC), with more coins to be added soon.

ASEAN countries, or members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have experienced a growing interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in recent years. The Philippines, in particular, has been at the forefront of embracing digital assets and has even taken steps to regulate the industry.

The Philippine Department of Finance made it clear that it wants a piece of the profits generated by playing Axie Infinity and other play-to-earn games amid the colossal success of the crypto-powered game Axie Infinity in the country.


Updated: 4-8-2022

Sunak’s Wife To Pay U.K. Taxes As Pressure Mounts On Chancellor

* Finance Minister Acknowledges He Held Green Card While In Post
* Sunak’s Popularity Plummets Amid Perception He’s Out Of Touch

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

Rishi Sunak’s wife said she’ll pay U.K. taxes on her global earnings, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his family seek to stem a slew of negative headlines that have severely damaged his standing within the ruling Conservatives and the British public.

Akshata Murthy, a millionaire who it was revealed this week holds non-domicile status and hasn’t been paying U.K. tax on overseas earnings, said that while her arrangements are “entirely legal,” she will no longer take advantage of the rules allowing her to avoid paying British taxes on income earned abroad.

“I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family,” she said in a statement. “I will now pay U.K. tax on an arising basis on all my worldwide income, including dividends and capital gains, wherever in the world that income arises. I do this because I want to, not because the rules require me to.”

The chancellor and his family are trying to repair the damage to his reputation after a series of stories about his wealthy lifestyle fed into the growing perception that he’s out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Britons.

Murthy’s statement came soon after Sunak acknowledged holding a U.S. green card while already in his current role as the U.K.’s finance minister. Alongside his wife’s non-dom status, the revelation added to the perception that family isn’t committed to living in Britain for the long-term.

Green Card

Murthy stressed that “India remains the country of my birth, citizenship, parents’ home and place of domicile.” But she added: “I love the U.K. too. In my time here I have invested in British businesses and supported British causes. My daughters are British. They are growing up in in the U.K. I am so proud to be here.”

Sunak had the green card when he lived and worked in the U.S. prior to entering politics, and he returned it on his first trip to the country as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 2021, his spokeswoman said. Holding a green card grants the owner the status of a permanent resident of the U.S., and means they have to file U.S. tax returns, even when not living there.

In a further sign that the U.K. media’s attention is firmly on the chancellor’s personal affairs, the Independent late Friday reported that trusts in the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands, set up to manage Murthy’s interests, listed Sunak as a beneficiary as recently as 2020.

The paper cited people familiar with the matter and evidence it has seen. The chancellor’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Speaking before Murthy’s statement and the Independent latest report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to defend Sunak during a televised press conference on Friday alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aimed at presenting a united front on Ukraine.

Johnson’s Backing

Sunak “has done absolutely everything he was required to do,” Johnson said when asked whether the chancellor should have given up the green card sooner. The premier also said he had been unaware of Murthy’s tax status, but reiterated his view that politicians’ families shouldn’t be under scrutiny.

The chancellor’s spokeswoman said Sunak followed all laws and paid full taxes where required for the duration he held the green card. She said he used the green card for travel purposes and he filed U.S. tax returns as a non-resident.

Still, the issue will add to the perception that Sunak’s background and lifestyle is out of touch with that of regular Britons. The major risk for Johnson is that voters view his government’s policies in the same light.

The revelations also rekindle the memory of the words of former Tory Prime Minister Theresa May, who in 2016 said: “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.”

The opposition Labour Party questioned why Sunak had held the green card for so long — he became a Member of Parliament in 2015 — why he ultimately gave it up, and whether he gained any tax advantages during the process.

Tax Scrutiny

“The arrangements revealed this week are not open” to the general public, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said in a statement, referring to Murthy’s non-domicile tax status, typically used by very wealthy individuals. Sunak’s green card “begs further questions,” he said.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said the chancellor should resign.

Members of Sunak’s own Conservative Party were already angry at him about the non-domicile saga, with one privately calling his wife’s tax status a disgrace that must be fixed. There’s growing speculation among MPs that Sunak may be removed from his post in a future Cabinet shake-up.

The wave of damaging revelations for Sunak — who was previously touted as the front-runner to succeed Johnson — has also seen some of the chancellor’s allies accusing the premier’s staff of briefing against him.

“If there are such briefings, they’re certainly not coming from us in Number 10,” Johnson said at the press conference. “Rishi is doing an outstanding job.”

Changing Fortunes

Those comments highlight the dramatic change in fortunes for the country’s two most powerful politicians. Johnson himself was just weeks ago — prior to the war in Ukraine — battling to save his career over allegations of rule-breaking parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.

The pressure is now on Sunak, who in the early months of his tenure was the country’s most popular Conservative politician. He’s faced intense criticism in recent weeks from politicians of all stripes — as well as from economists and consumer groups — for failing to protect ordinary Britons sufficiently from a growing cost of living squeeze.

On Wednesday, a YouGov poll gave him a popularity score of minus 29, with 57% of respondents having an unfavorable opinion of him compared with just 28% who see him in a positive light. Sunak has also tumbled to 29th from 11th in a league table of Tory ministers attending cabinet compiled by the ConservativeHome website.

It’s a table he topped for much of 2020.

Why Is Rishi Sunak’s Wife Akshata Murty Caught Up In A Scandal About Taxes?

Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty has been caught up in a row about her tax status in the UK, with the Chancellor saying she is the victim of smears from Labour.

Ms Murty, the fashion-designer daughter of a billionaire, who married Mr Sunak in 2009, is thought to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

What is the row all about?The Independent first revealed that Ms Murty had non-dom status, which typically applies to someone who was born overseas and spends much of their time in the UK but still considers another country to be their permanent residence or “domicile”.

It means she does not pay UK tax on foreign income or gains but does pay an annual charge of £30,000 to keep that status.

While the set up is legal, critics have said the use of the scheme looks bad at a time when the Chancellor has increased the tax burden on the British public and while the cost of living soars.

What do we know about Ms Murty’s finances?Some reports suggest Ms Murty is richer than the Queen.

She is reported to hold a 0.91% stake in Infosys, an IT business founded by her father, and has received £11.6 million in dividends from the Indian firm in the past year.

The non-dom status means she would not have to pay UK tax at a rate of 39.35% on dividends. India sets the rate for non-residents at 20%, but this can fall to 10% for those who are eligible to benefit from the UK’s tax treaty with India.

Public records show Infosys has received more than £50 million in UK public sector contracts since 2015.

What has Ms Murty said?A spokeswoman for the Chancellor’s wife said Ms Murty’s Indian citizenship is key.

She said: “Akshata Murty is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and parent’s home.

“India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously. So, according to British law, Ms Murty is treated as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes.

“She has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income.”

Citizenship of an individual living in the UK is irrelevant when it comes to non-dom status as it is possible for a UK citizen, or someone born in the UK, to claim they are a non-dom.

But is it as simple as that?Tax experts suggest it is not and that while a person cannot decide if they are non-domicile, they can choose whether they are non-domiciled for tax purposes.

Professor Richard Murphy, the Sheffield University academic who co-founded the Tax Justice Network, said Ms Murty was likely correctly non-domiciled for tax purposes when she first came to the UK but questioned whether that was still the case now.

Status is not given automatically because an individual must apply for the exemption in their tax status when filling out their UK tax return.

Is it a smear?In an interview with The Sun, Mr Sunak said his wife was the victim of smears and pointed the finger at the Labour Party.

Allies of the Chancellor also suggested the information may have been leaked by No 10, but Downing Street denied this.

Mr Sunak said it was “unpleasant” to read attacks on his wife, “especially when she hasn’t done anything wrong”.

“She hasn’t broken any rules. She’s followed the letter of the law,” Mr Sunak told The Sun.

But what does the ministerial code say?The ministerial code says outside interests must be reported to the Permanent Secretary of their department. It is understood Mr Sunak did report his wife’s status to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury was also aware.

The ministerial code says the register of interests “should also cover interests of the minister’s spouse or partner and close family which might be thought to give rise to a conflict”.

What happens now?Some have suggested the saga has highlighted how the rules need to be reformed.

Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said non-dom rules are outdated.

The chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee told Sky News: “If there are bigger, more fundamental questions about the existence of the non-dom status, that is something for us as a country – perhaps and indeed Parliament – to debate.

“In my view, they are out of date. They do need to be reviewed.”

UK Regulator’s Temporary Crypto Registration List Drops To 5 Firms

CEX.I0, Copper Technologies, GlobalBlock, Revolut and Moneybrain remain on the temporary registration list.

Just five crypto companies remain on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) temporary registration (TRR) list, meaning they’re still able to trade while their applications are being considered by the U.K. financial services regulator.

* CEX.I0, Copper Technologies, GlobalBlock, Revolut and Moneybrain, are on the TRR according to an updated document on the FCA website on Thursday.

* The FCA set up the TRR to allow digital asset companies whose applications for full authorization had yet to be ruled on to continue to operate.

* Being on the list does not mean the FCA has assessed them as “fit and proper,” it said on its website.

* By March 30 a dozen firms occupied the TRR, and the deadline for most firms to remain on the list was April 1. The FCA extended that deadline for “a small number of firms.”

* “This is necessary where a firm may be pursuing an appeal or may have particular winding-down circumstances,” it said at the time.

* ITI Digital Limited, a crypto asset trading company received approval on Thursday, bringing the total number of fully registered crypto firms to 34. That was the first approval since Feb. 25.

The regulator said Thursday it would be hiring 80 employees to help crack down on any problem firms across its remit.

Updated: 4-14-2022

Startup Betting On Crypto Appeal In Islamic World Raises Funds

Fasset, a digital-asset gateway, is planning a major expansion in some areas of the Islamic world, as it seeks to boost the adoption of cryptocurrencies in places where it is still viewed with suspicion.

The company closed a $22 million Series A funding round led by Liberty City Ventures and Fatima Gobi Ventures, it said in a statement, adding that regional family offices from the Middle East and South Asia also participated. The money will go toward product development and market expansion, the company said.

“We have been working with some of the most prolific and well known Islamic finance jurists and thought-leaders to educate the masses on how Muslims can interact with this emerging asset class in a Sharia compliant manner,” said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, who’s also a former adviser to the UAE Prime Minister’s Office.

Some corners of the Islamic world have shown skepticism about cryptocurrencies. Indonesia’s National Ulema Council declared it forbidden in November, even though the government has been supportive of crypto assets, allowing it to be traded alongside commodity futures as an investment option and pushing to set up a crypto-focused exchange by the end of the year.

A different narrative appears to be taking hold in some jurisdictions. Places such as Dubai have been wooing digital asset firms, and the strategy has been working. Bybit just moved its headquarters to Dubai from Singapore.

Fasset said it plans to launch services in Indonesia and Pakistan soon. In Indonesia, the firm said it’s set to be granted an approval to operate as a full service crypto exchange next month, while it’s ready to offer digital asset services in Pakistan. The company plans to double its headcount by the end of the year.

“We have seen multiple use cases come to the fore such as ‘zakat’ payments on crypto being championed by Islamic charities in Europe,” Mohammad said in an email interview, referring to an Islamic levy. “We will continue to see this trend as adoption and awareness increase.”

Still, not every country in the Islamic world looks as promising for crypto at the moment.

“Different jurisdictions are adopting distinct approaches,” said Jaime Baeza, CEO of Miami-based crypto hedge fund ANB Investments. “Countries such as the UAE or Bahrain, with their pro-crypto approach, clearly recognize the value of the industry and are pushing to position themselves as global leaders. Alternatively, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have a more restrictive view.”

But, as ways that crypto and decentralized finance can be used in real life increase, they may become more tempting. Financial inclusion has been a narrative in digital assets for years, with proponents saying the innovations will help lift people out of poverty, gain economic security and participate in the global financial system. Indonesia and Pakistan are among countries with millions of “unbanked” people.

“Fasset is all about bringing multi-faceted digital asset use cases that connect home markets to their diaspora,” Mohammad said. “Digital asset-driven remittance corridors can unleash a new wave of socioeconomic prosperity.”


Updated: 4-18-2022

France’s Crypto Industry Fights Institutional Caution

A Web 3 summit in Paris has vaunted the country’s strengths and talent pool, but crypto advocates must battle for acceptance from skeptical financiers.

To visit Paris Blockchain Week is to see the contradictions faced by those attempting to grow France’s crypto sector.

Modish purple-and-pink lighting rigs shine alongside the ornate painted ceilings of the city’s former stock exchange as attendees in hoodies slump on beanbags next to 17th century tapestries originally intended for the king’s palace at Versailles.

Web 3 seems to be having just as hard a time fitting into France’s cautious political and financial institutions – though some are optimistic that is about to change.

The mood at the Paris summit was buoyed right from the get-go when Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao reconfirmed his commitment to invest 100 million euros ($108 million) in the country, including a partnership with local incubator Station F.

That announcement was a “good signal,” French lawmaker Pierre Person told CoinDesk, saying that the country could soon become a local hub for what he calls the “Google of crypto.”

But Person, about to leave his five-year term at France’s National Assembly, also warns there’s a long way for the country to go if it’s going to avoid missing out on the next round of digital innovation as it largely did with Web 2.

His greatest ire is for EU lawmakers in Brussels, who he said are in the middle of an “act of folly” in passing controversial regulations to prevent crypto money laundering and license stablecoins. If they don’t get it right, the next six months could prove “fatal for the internet” in Europe, he said.

But Person also sees a conservatism in the traditional financial sector, which he reckons simply uses the lack of regulation as an excuse to not bother doing any due diligence on a sector which he is convinced will transform society.

“The banks say ‘we don’t want to open a bank account for a startup which does brokerage or crypto-fiat conversions because we don’t have the rules or the framework,’” he told CoinDesk in an interview.

“That’s totally false,” he said. “They just don’t want to trouble themselves to figure out how Coinanalysis or Scorechain work,” citing two companies that can allow users to spot financial and regulatory crypto risks.

Banks like BNP Paribas or Société Générale “just don’t want to adapt themselves … but these young people won’t wait” for them to do so, he warned.

That skepticism about the conventional financial sector is shared by Viktor Fischer, managing partner at the Rockaway’s Blockchain Fund.

He has around $123 million to splurge on the sector, of which half goes into Europe, but he acknowledges there is a major task in educating easily frightened investors.

“I could never speak about bitcoin” while seeking financial support, he told CoinDesk in an interview. “Often when I was fundraising, if I used the word bitcoin in the meeting, it was over.”

Unlike U.S. pension and endowment funds, Europeans aren’t ready to dedicate a portion of their assets to the technologies that are perceived as a higher risk, which he blames on their mindset.

“If you’re pessimistic, you sound smart; if you’re optimistic, you make money,” he said, citing an oft-quoted dictum of the startup world. “Europeans are very good at being pessimistic.”


The complaint that Web 3 is undermined by a negative reputation was heard repeatedly in Paris.

“We’re still debunking many of these myths … [such as] that this stuff was just a giant Ponzi scheme,” Nicolas Cary, co-founder and vice-chair of, said during an on-stage interview, shortly before calling on “every single person in this room … to help five other people get into crypto.”

Yet the sector, once dominated by full-time specialists, is starting to change, with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) offering a wider appeal to Paris Blockchain Week, the summit’s co-host Michael Amar told CoinDesk.

“To be honest, if you’re not in tech or law or finance, it’s hard to really get into the crypto space,” he said. “With NFTs, you’re talking emotions, marketing, branding: everyone.”

He believes that France’s talent pool and existing economy, with strengths in the arts and high-end companies like Louis Vuitton and Kering, make it well-placed to capitalize.

“We have amazing engineers … they’re much more entrepreneurial: They take more risk,” he said. “NFT is really good for luxury; we have an amazing luxury ecosystem.”

But he acknowledges that there have been problems for French companies finding the funding that could let them exit their startup phase – and, as it stands, 70,000 French innovators have fled the country for Silicon Valley.

But a clutch of as many as 20 unicorn successes alongside deals that “might be a bit cheaper than the U.S.” was now starting to tempt financiers back, he said.

Sometimes that financing comes from an unlikely source – not private sector banking or venture capital giants, but the French state.

Bpifrance, an investment bank mainly funded by taxpayers’ money, “took its time” to decide to invest in the world of blockchain, Pascal Gauthier of French crypto hardware specialist Ledger previously told CoinDesk.

But now they need no convincing, Bpifrance’s Managing Director for Investment and Development Yoann Caujolle said in an interview.

“Technology is in our DNA,” he said, citing hundreds of millions of euros invested last year into tech startups, and 1 billion into other tech funds. “If we decided to expand [in Web 3 investment] it’s because top management is totally convinced.”

“We were probably one of the first institutional investors to invest in the theme” of Web 3 technology, he said, saying Bpifrance was “maybe a bit more agile” than classic banks or sovereign funds.

Investing in decentralized architectures has its own set of logistical questions, like how to divest from something that isn’t even a legal entity – but the attractive returns and range of real-world applications mean it’s worth it, he said.

“We don’t invest in bitcoin: We invest in projects and products with a business model that uses this decentralized technology,” he said. “We are past the time where people say it’s a pure scam.”

He cites investments in Lightning-focused bitcoin startup Acinq and Arianee, an Ethereum-based project for tracking the provenance of luxury brands, such as high-end watches and handbags, using blockchain-based watermarks, but to offer new after-sales services if watches or handbags change hands.

And he is, in his own words, “chauvinistic” about what France can achieve in this space.

“We have all the pieces of the jigsaw that are on the table,” he said, citing capital, talent and pro-innovation regulations. “There’s an alignment of planets which we’ve never had.”

Updated: 4-21-2022

German Banking Giant Commerzbank Applies For Crypto License

A spokesperson for Commerzbank confirmed to local media that it applied for the license with BaFin earlier this year as a first for a major bank in Germany.

One of the largest banking institutions in Germany has confirmed that it applied for a local crypto license earlier this year, marking the first time a major bank has made a move toward cryptocurrencies in the country.

A spokesperson from Commerzbank confirmed to local media outlet Börsen-Zeitung on April 14 that it “applied for the crypto custody license in the first quarter of 2022.” If approved, it would be authorized to offer exchange services along with custody and protection of crypto-assets.

Commerzbank serves over 18 million customers and over 70,000 institutional clients, and the cryptocurrency offering will reportedly target its institutional client base.

Since January 1, 2020, any business wishing to offer cryptocurrency services in Germany must first seek approval from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, also known as BaFin.

Currently, only four companies have approval, but BaFin states it has over 25 applications pending from firms wishing to operate crypto custody businesses.

Coinbase Germany was the first to be approved by the regulator in June 2021, and the Berlin-based financial technology firm Upvest was most recently approved for a license in March.

Commerzbank has seen involvement in blockchain projects as far back as 2018 and carried out some of the first transactions on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) security lending platform with other major banks the following year.

More recently, in August 2021, the firm partnered to develop blockchain-based digital marketplaces for existing asset classes such as art and real estate.

Germany introduced a raft of reforms, regulations and further adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in 2021.

German investors are also keen on adopting crypto. A March report by KuCoin revealed that 44% of Germans are “motivated to invest in cryptocurrencies” and “37% of German crypto investors have been trading cryptocurrencies for over a year.”

Updated: 4-23-2022

The New HM Treasury Regulations: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

With the U.K. never having been particularly crypto-friendly, could new regulations and Her Majesty’s Treasury’s recent announcements be a game changer?

As the 2021-2022 United Kingdom tax year finished on April 5, 2022, Her Majesty’s Treasury announced they were paving the way for the U.K. to become a global crypto asset technology hub.

This could mean that the previously not particularly crypto-friendly U.K. is changing its strategy and trying its hand at making crypto investments more attractive. But what are the potential scenarios at play?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a financial regulatory body in the U.K., in its “Cryptoasset consumer research 2021” report, shows that approximately 2.3. million adult U.K. citizens held crypto in 2021, a 21% rise year-over-year. It seems natural that with rising interest and potential crypto mass adoption, HM Treasury would revisit its crypto regulations.

This is especially true when considering that more and more private investment within the U.K. is located in crypto assets: Out of the 17.3 million adults who own some sort of investment product, 2.3 million are invested in crypto (according to the FCA’s “Financial Lives” survey).

What Did HM Treasury Say?

HM Treasury Packed Quite A Lot Into This Announcement But, In Brief, Stated:

1) Stablecoins Are To Be Regulated And Recognized As A Form Of Payment;

2) Legislation Will Be Enacted For A Financial Market Infrastructure Sandbox To Help Businesses Innovate;

3) The Economic Secretary Will Establish A Crypto Engagement Group With Key Figures From Regulatory Authorities To Advise The Government;

4) There Will Be A Review Of U.K. Crypto Tax Legislation To Encourage Further Development Of The Crypto Market (In Particular, A Review Of Defi Loan Taxation);

5) The Royal Mint Has Been Commissioned To Create An NFT This Summer;

6) There Will Be Proactive Exploration Of Distributed Ledger Technology For U.K. Financial Markets;

7) The FCA Will Hold A Two-Day “Cryptosprint” Event In May To Seek Further Insight And Views From Key Industry Stakeholders.

It’s not exactly clear how these measures may affect investors, crypto exchanges, and other crypto businesses just yet. But let me walk you through some of my predictions and speculations…

The Good

Stablecoins: The announcement that stablecoins may be recognized as a form of payment is huge news. In order for stablecoins to operate as a means of payment, they would need to be viewed as legal tender.

Whilst pegged to fiat currency, stablecoins are still an asset. Thus, it stands to reason that stablecoins would need to undergo a reclassification of sorts.

Once stablecoins are no longer subject to capital gains tax, spending crypto could become a lot more widespread and we could see the adoption of crypto as a means of payment in mainstream industries. This one is a game changer of note.

DeFi tax: Earlier this year, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the U.K.’s tax agency, released guidance on the tax treatment of a variety of DeFi investments. To say it was poorly received would be an understatement.

Among many other harsh tax laws, DeFi loans would mostly be treated as disposals and profits subject to capital gains tax, for both lenders and borrowers.

The announcement of the review of crypto tax in general is great news — but as DeFi loans have been specifically mentioned, investors might hope that HMRC could change their onerous stance in this specific area.

Foreign investors: There’s some potential good news for foreign investors in there too. If the Investment Manager Exemption, which lets non-U.K. resident investors appoint U.K.-based investment managers without creating a risk of U.K. taxation, is extended to include crypto assets, this could encourage a flurry of investment in the U.K. crypto market, a welcome post-Brexit boon.

FCA: For the wider industry, the FCA CryptoSprint event and crypto engagement group could be great news. Under the current FCA regulation for crypto operations, many companies failed to meet the required Anti-Money Laundering standards. A more coherent approach to create regulation across the board could encourage many crypto exchanges to bring back U.K. support.

The Bad

If you’re a bit more skeptical when it comes to what the government says versus what it actually does, here’s the other side of the coin.

DeFi tax U-turn: The review of crypto taxation could just be another means to find more ways to tax smaller investors. HMRC released its DeFi guidance back in February, which states that tax must be paid on transfers to and from liquidity pools, DeFi loans, and even loan collateral.

Considering how recent this guidance is, it’s difficult to say whether HMRC is fully prepared to assist with a better-fitting DeFi tax policy.

More regulation: Cryptocurrency being in the spotlight could potentially lead to more regulation. Even with insight from key industry stakeholders, the government doesn’t have to take on board these views when establishing new regulations.

We can all hope for a more coherent approach to crypto regulation that benefits investors by allowing for greater consumer choice and protection — whether that actually manifests is another matter entirely.

The Ugly

Britcoin? The announcement doesn’t mention specific stablecoins. With an increased interest from governments around the world in developing Central Bank Digital Currencies, this announcement could potentially only refer to a government-approved “Britcoin” and have very little impact on the wider crypto market. Whilst CBDCs may “sound” like crypto, they’re not.

The differences are many, but an important one to note is that crypto is taxed as an asset. CBDCs are merely digital, potentially blockchain-based fiat currency.

The announcement of The Royal Mint NFT commission vaguely positioned as “an emblem of the forward looking approach we are determined to take” reinforces a notion that the Boris Johnson government isn’t interested in encouraging growth in the wider cryptocurrency market so much as it’s interested in cashing in and getting “Britcoin” off the ground. This is merely speculation, of course.

PR Halo?

Brexit, COVID-19, Ukraine, and the cost of living. No. 10 Downing Street needs a win, and hitching a ride on the crypto wagon could be a route to favor. Yet, crypto enthusiasts may agree that the U.K. has not been particularly crypto-friendly to date. Will this newfound interest stick, and will the positive headlines yield positive results?


Updated: 4-7-2022

Samson Mow Introduces New Nation-State Adoption For Crypto In Bitcoin 2022

Bitcoin is already legal tender in Roatán, Honduras and Madeira, Portugal. Now a Mexican Senator wants to make it so in her country as well.

Speaking at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Samson Mow, former chief strategy officer of Blockstream, named three new jurisdictions that would be adopting or proposing to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

As told by Mow, the first is that of the Caribbean island Roatán, which is part of Honduras. Honduras Prospera Inc. is the organizer and promoter of the jurisdiction. The entity’s president, Joel Bomgar, told the audience:

“Bitcoin within Prospera operates as legal tender. That means no capital gains tax on BTC, you can transact freely using BTC, and you can pay taxes and fees to the jurisdiction in BTC.”

In addition, Bomgar announced that starting Thursday, the Prospera jurisdiction will enable municipalities in Honduras and corporate entities outside of the United States to float Bitcoin bonds within Prospera.

Furthermore, accredited investors, meaning U.S. residents who qualify for a high-net-worth or income threshold, can also directly invest in Honduras Prospera Inc. and receive securitized equity tokens.

The next jurisdiction to make Bitcoin legal tender is that of Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal. Miguel Albuquerque, president of the regional government of Madeira, said that “Individuals in Maderia are not subject to capital gains taxes when buying and selling Bitcoin,” while also touting the region’s 5% corporate tax rate in its free trade zone as one of the lowest in Europe.

Finally, Mexican Senator Indira Kempis floated the possibility of legislating Bitcoin as legal tender with the Mexican president, in-line with earlier claims, commenting:

“In Mexico, 67 million people are not included in our financial system. Bitcoin is the solution to this problem. Through financial inclusion and financial education, the people can have a better quality of life.”


Updated: 4-15-2022

Nepal Running Low On Foreign Exchange, Discourages Imports

Kathmandu, Nepal is running low on foreign currency reserves needed to import medicines, oil products, cars and a range of other items, and will run out in seven months if things don’t improve, a central bank official said Friday.

The central bank has increased interest rates, hoping it will discourage people from buying imports and help extend the foreign reserves, said Gunakar Bhatta, spokesperson of Nepal Rastriya Bank, the central bank.

“We are concerned about the sustainability of our foreign exchange reserves,” Bhatta said.

But he said there already are signs that the situation is getting better with the slowing of the pandemic. More tourists have begun to arrive and increasing numbers of Nepalese are going abroad to earn foreign currency and send it back home, he said.

“Compared to previous years, the foreign exchange reserve level has come down, but we can manage it because the number of migrant workers that are going abroad has increased,” Bhatta said.

Nepal’s main sources of foreign currency are tourism, remittances from overseas workers and foreign aid.

Normally, hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists visit Nepal every year. However, the number declined sharply due to restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourists are trickling back, with hundreds of climbers already applying to climb the world’s highest peaks and thousands more trekking on mountain trails.

Nepal has few exports and imports almost everything from abroad. Motor vehicles and oil products account for one fourth of the imports, Bhatta said.

The finance ministry said earlier this week that the government is working to reduce imports of gold and luxury goods, but did not provide details.

Montenegro Makes Vitalik A Citizen, Part Of Plans To Promote It As A Blockchain Hub

The small southeast European nation is beginning to sift through the murky waters of blockchain regulation by granting the Ethereum co-founder citizenship.

The Montenegrin government has begun fulfilling its pledge to become a hub for blockchain innovation by reportedly making Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin its newest citizen.

Montenegrin news outlet RTCB reported that Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić recommended Buterin receive the privilege to help the southeastern European nation promote its efforts to become a blockchain innovation hub.

There does not appear to be an official announcement, however, this photo was reportedly shared by the Minister of Finance and Social Welfare Milojko Spajić when Buterin received his passport.

Montenegro hosted the Ethereum (ETH) co-founder on April 7 at the Future Now! panel discussion hosted by Minister Spajić. There, panelists Buterin, Ethereum researcher Vlad Zamfir, University of Memphis professor of law Boris Mamlyk and Minister Spajić spoke on the legality of the blockchain identity, smart contracts in government and other topics.

In an April 4 meeting, Prime Minister Krivokapić, Buterin and several other government officials also discussed Montenegro’s options in terms of the blockchain industry, as reported by local news outlet Mina. One important aspect brought up was how to regulate crypto for its citizens.

Minister Spajić stated that he wishes his country to be strict on criminals in the industry, but feels fairness would stimulate growth and “reduce the gray economy in all areas.” He added:

“Montenegro strives to become a center of innovation in blockchain technology with an emphasis on all the advantages of a legitimate industry that will bring attractive regulations.”

Montenegro’s government is now starting to dig into the complicated regulatory entanglements that come from integrating blockchain technology into its various systems.

During the Future Now! event, the panelists focused on the issue of how people can legally create a community using blockchain, verify their identity and stay protected against identity theft.

Mamlyk suggested that decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) could issue DAO tokens for people to prove their identity as members while protecting their privacy. However, Buterin said, “there is no magic one-line principle” that can deal with bad actors.

When asked about whether Montenegro should allow companies to register as DAOs, Buterin referred to Wyoming, which recognizes DAOs as legal entities. He said that such an application of decentralized governance is a “good first step” and may be “a good place to start” for Montenegro.


Updated: 4-19-2022

Is Germany Really The Most Crypto-Friendly Jurisdiction? Maybe Not; Bitcoin Gains

BTC is continuing its recovery from a five-week low on Monday.

No, Germany Isn’t the World’s Most Crypto-Friendly Country.

What’s the first thing you associate “EU” with when it comes to business? Devastatingly high taxes and a fierce bureaucracy.

So it’s of some surprise when Germany recently took top spot away from Singapore as the world’s most crypto-friendly jurisdiction, according to a ranking by CoinCub.

The rationale? No taxation on crypto if you sell it after a year of holding. If you sell it (over 600 euros, or $648) prior to that one-year point, you are taxed under the usual capital gains regime.

To be sure, this is a very good thing for long-term HODLERs. If you are long bitcoin and want to stack sats, this tax regime will treat you very well.

However, this doesn’t work very well for decentralized finance (DeFi). Decentralized exchanges, yield farming, liquidity mining, all of this relies on rapid trades and transactions. It’s what underpins this fancy new machine, which has over $100 billion in value currently locked in.

So a DeFi trader in Germany is going to have a nasty tax bill come tax time. Figuring out the tax liability is difficult, when the average month of a DeFi trader is a complex and intricate web. Crypto derivatives trading – which pumps through hundreds of billions of dollars a day in volume – is also subject to the usual capital gains tax, too. Germany’s crypto friendliness quickly slips away if you look at it under this rubric.

Crypto has naturally gravitated to hubs like Singapore because of the lack of capital gains tax. Singapore is an island city with no natural resources, so in order to jump-start its development as a hub it created a tax-friendly regime to encourage trade.

With no capital gains tax there’s no need to worry about the length of holding when experimenting with new protocols. You’re just able to trade.

Granted, Singapore has made some moves that would be considered “anti-crypto,” but this still doesn’t mean the country should be considered crypto unfriendly.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) discourages crypto trading by the general public because it knows that if enough people get rekt after leveraging their retirement savings, they will complain to politicians who will ask for more oversight and control – this oversight and control just isn’t in the DNA of a financial hub like Singapore.

But despite this discouragement, the lack of capital gains tax still exists and anyone that wants to trade can go right ahead. Singapore also discourages other behavior like drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, and accompanies both with hefty vice taxes. No such vice tax exists for crypto.

Updated: 4-21-2022

Bahamas To Allow Citizens To Pay Taxes With Digital Assets

Residents will also be able to access digital assets with the sand dollar, the country’s official digital currency.

The Bahamas government will allow Bahamians to pay taxes using digital assets, according to a white paper that outlines the nation’s digital asset strategy until 2026.

* The government will also start enabling Bahamians’ access to digital assets using the Bahamas sand dollar, a central bank-issued digital currency that was launched in 2020.

* “We have a vision to transform the Bahamas into the leading digital asset hub in the Caribbean,” Prime Minister Philip Davis said.

* The release of the white paper comes one week before the Crypto Bahamas conference that will be hosted by cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Guests will include former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and National Football League quarterback Tom Brady.

* FTX moved its headquarters to the Bahamas last September, with CEO Sam Bankman-Fried attributing the the move to a “progressive and forward-thinking crypto bill” that would regulate the industry in the country.

A Dozen Bitcoin ATMs Installed At The Largest EU Electronics Retailer

Following a successful Bitcoin ATM pilot by Europe’s largest electronics retailer, 12 new Bitcoin ATMs are coming to Austria’s MediaMarkt stores.

Austrians have “sufficient funds” for more Bitcoin ATMs — that’s the verdict that MediaMarkt, a German electronics retailer, reached following a successful Bitcoin ATM pilot in Austria.

MediaMarkt has rolled out Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs in 12 branches across the country, including Seiersberg and Klagenfurt. Confinity and its spinoff ATM company, Kurant, manage over 200 Bitcoin ATMs in Austria, Germany, Spain and Greece.

Kurant’s Head of Marketing & Sales, Europe, Thomas Sperneder told Cointelegraph:

“MediaMarkt stores across the country have been equipped with Bitcoin vending machines. In total, these are now present in twelve markets and enable the simple and secure purchase of cryptocurrencies.”

A successful pilot project featuring a lone Bitcoin ATM in a MediaMarkt shop proved that “Bitcoin ATMs in shops offer an opportunity to attract new customers.” Sperneder explained to Cointelegraph that the “purchase of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies was associated with digital-savvy people,” but ATMs offer an alternative:

“In order to get hold of Bitcoin easily and safely, stationary vending machines open up a low-threshold alternative for the purchase of cryptocurrencies.”

As Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer, MediaMarkt operates in 13 countries, with over 850 stores and revenue exceeding 21 billion euros ($23 billion) in 2021. MediaMarkt partnered with Coinfinity, an Austrian Bitcoin company, to manage the pilot and subsequent rollout of the ATMs.

Bitcoin ATMs (automated teller machines), sometimes jokingly referred to as BTMs (Bitcoin teller machines), offer Bitcoin enthusiasts a means to cash out their BTC or deposit fiat. By simply scanning a wallet address, they can receive satoshis (the smallest denomination of BTC) or cash.

The news of more Bitcoin ATMs coming to Austria is welcome, considering that the growth in Bitcoin ATMs around the world has slowed in 2022.

The United Kingdom recently clamped down on non-registered ATMs as its Financial Conduct Authority takes a tougher stance on Bitcoin ATMs due to a lack of regulatory structure.

For BitBase, a Spanish Bitcoin ATM provider seeking to operate in Portugal, the group has established physical outlets in Lisbon, but regulators have stalled official openings. In light of the EU’s “attack” on noncustodial wallets, the future of Bitcoin and crypto in the EU is uncertain.

For Sperneder, hosting Bitcoin ATMs in stores because it allows retailers to “participate financially in the stationary sale of cryptocurrencies.” Given that Austria will add 12 more Bitcoin ATMs to its total of over 110, the rollout of Bitcoin ATMs in Europe may just be getting started.

Updated; 4-22-2022

Panamanian Legislative Assembly’s Committee Approves Bill Regulating Crypto

The legislation must now go through two more rounds of debate before making it to the president’s desk.

The Panamanian Legislative Assembly’s economic affairs committee approved a bill on Thursday regulating the use of cryptocurrencies in the Central American country.

* The bill seeks to “give legal stability to crypto assets in Panama” and “develop the crypto industry in the country to attract more investments and generate more employment,” Congressman Gabriel Silva said. It also looks to have blockchain technology be adopted by the Panamanian government “to increase transparency and efficiency in procedures,” he said.

* After receiving the committee’s approval, the bill now must be discussed by the full Assembly during a second debate – where it can receive further modifications – and then be reviewed at a third and final session. Following the legislative process, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo can veto or sign the law.

* The original text, which was presented by Silva, was modified, Silva tweeted on Thursday, without specifying what was changed. “For me, it can be improved,” he noted in his tweet.

Updated: 4-24-2022

The Central African Republic Has Passed A Bill To Make Bitcoin Legal

The Central African Republic has unanimously adopted a bill to make bitcoin legal tender in the country. The announcement was first reported by Forbes Monaco.

As per the reports, the Central African Parliament bill was approved on April 21, 2022.

BREAKING: 🇨🇫 The Central African Republic has unanimously passed a bill to make #Bitcoin legal tender in the country.

The Central African Republic is the first country in Africa to take the initiative to make bitcoin a legal tender. In what is considered to be the first initiative, the country put forward the decision in the country’s plan for development and economic recovery.

The First African Nation To Adopt Bitcoin

The digital economy, post services, and telecommunications minister, Gourna Zacko, and the finance minister, Calixte Nganongo, started the initiative and prepared the draft for the bitcoin law.

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

The framework for bitcoin adoption and cryptocurrency regulation in the Central African Republic was submitted by the ministers.

The presented bill has been studied and approved by the Council of Ministers to be studied further by the joint commission.

The proposed bitcoin law stresses the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as legal tender and legal modes of payment in the country through proper rules and regulations. The country envisions better development and economic performance with the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Ultimate Resource On Various Countries Adopting Bitcoin

As the adoption and popularity of cryptocurrencies increase, it has been marked as an important asset class for various investors to add to their portfolios.

The adoption of bitcoin as legal tender will transform the country’s infrastructure, which will allow the nation to implement blockchain technology in various sectors.

Countries Flock To Legalize Crypto

The global crypto adoption and the growing popularity have made governments and educated countries realize the true potential of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology. Following El Salvador, recently an autonomous region in Portugal, Madeira and a special economic zone in Honduras have approved bitcoin as a legal tender, providing a safer and regulated framework for its people.


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Bitcoin Bounces Off Top of Recent Price Range

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Parents Should Be Aware Of Their Children’s Crypto Tax Liabilities

Miami Mayor Says City Employees Should Be Able To Take Their Salaries In Bitcoin

Bitcoiners Get Last Laugh As IBM’s “Blockchain Not Bitcoin” Effort Goes Belly-up

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Analyst Says Bitcoin Price Sell-Off May Occur As Chinese New Year Approaches

Why The Crypto World Needs To Build An Amazon Of Its Own

Tor Project’s Crypto Donations Increased 23% In 2020

Social Trading Platform eToro Ended 2020 With $600M In Revenue

Bitcoin Billionaire Set To Run For California Governor

GameStop Investing Craze ‘Proof of Concept’ For Bitcoin Success

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Harvard, Yale, Brown Endowments Have Been Buying Bitcoin For At Least A Year

Bitcoin Return To $40,000 In Doubt As Flows To Key Fund Slow

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Regulate Cryptocurrencies? Not Yet

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To Understand Bitcoin, Just Think of It As A Faith-Based Asset

Cryptos Won’t Work As Actual Currencies, UBS Economist Says

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Access Denied: Banks Seem Prone To Cryptophobia Despite Growing Adoption

Pro Traders Buy The Dip As Bulls Address A Trifecta Of FUD News Announcements

Andreas Antonopoulos And Others Debunk Bitcoin Double-Spend FUD

New Bitcoin Investors Explain Why They’re Buying At Record Prices

When Crypto And Traditional Investors Forget Fundamentals, The Market Is Broken

First Hyperledger-based Cryptocurrency Explodes 486% Overnight On Bittrex BTC Listing

Bitcoin Steady As Analysts Say Getting Back To $40,000 Is Key

Coinbase, MEVP Invest In Crypto-Asset Startup Rain

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UBS (A Totally Corrupt And Criminal Bank) Warns Clients Crypto Prices Can Actually Go To Zero

Bitcoin Swings Undermine CFO Case For Converting Cash To Crypto

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Bitcoin Slides Under $35K Despite Biden Unveiling $1.9 Trillion Stimulus

Bitcoin Refuses To ‘Die’ As BTC Price Hits $40K Just Three Days After Crash

Ex-Ripple CTO Can’t Remember Password To Access $240M In Bitcoin

Financial Advisers Are Betting On Bitcoin As A Hedge

ECB President Christine Lagarde (French Convict) Says, Bitcoin Enables “Funny Business.”

German Police Shut Down Darknet Marketplace That Traded Bitcoin

Bitcoin Miner That’s Risen 1,400% Says More Regulation Is Needed

Bitcoin Rebounds While Leaving Everyone In Dark On True Worth

UK Treasury Calls For Feedback On Approach To Cryptocurrency And Stablecoin Regulation

What Crypto Users Need Know About Changes At The SEC

Where Does This 28% Bitcoin Price Drop Rank In History? Not Even In The Top 5

Seven Times That US Regulators Stepped Into Crypto In 2020

Retail Has Arrived As Paypal Clears $242M In Crypto Sales Nearly Double The Previous Record

Bitcoin’s Slide Dents Price Momentum That Dwarfed Everything

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The Case For And Against Investing In Bitcoin

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Mega-Bullish News For Bitcoin As Elon Musk Says, “Pay Me In Bitcoin” And Biden Says, “Ignore Budget Deficits”!

Bitcoin Price Briefly Surpasses Market Cap Of Tencent

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Tesla’s Crypto-Friendly CEO Is Now The Richest Man In The World

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Bitcoin’s Bulls Should Fear Its Other Scarcity Problem

Ether Follows Bitcoin To Record High Amid Dizzying Crypto Rally

Retail Investors Are Largely Uninvolved As Bitcoin Price Chases $40K

Bitcoin Breaches $34,000 As Rally Extends Into New Year

Social Media Interest In Bitcoin Hits All-Time High

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FinCEN Wants US Citizens To Disclose Offshore Crypto Holdings of $10K+

Governments Will Start To Hodl Bitcoin In 2021

Crypto-Linked Stocks Extend Rally That Produced 400% Gains

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Bitcoin Looks To Gain Traction In Payments

BTC Market Cap Now Over Half A Trillion Dollars. Major Weekly Candle Closed!!

Elon Musk And Satoshi Nakamoto Making Millionaires At Record Pace

Binance Enables SegWit Support For Bitcoin Deposits As Adoption Grows

Santoshi Nakamoto Delivers $24.5K Christmas Gift With Another New All-Time High

Bitcoin’s Rally Has Already Outlasted 2017’s Epic Run

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Samsung Integrates Bitcoin Wallets And Exchange Into Galaxy Phones

HTC Smartphone Will Run A Full Bitcoin Node (#GotBitcoin?)

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

Bitcoin Miners Are Heating Homes Free of Charge

Bitcoin Miners Will Someday Be Incorporated Into Household Appliances

Musk Inquires About Moving ‘Large Transactions’ To Bitcoin

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Megan Thee Stallion Gives Away $1 Million In Bitcoin

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Bitcoin Tops $22,000 And Strategists Say Rally Has Further To Go

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Andreas M. Antonopoulos And Simon Dixon Say Don’t Buy Bitcoin!

Famous Former Bitcoin Critics Who Conceded In 2020

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10 Predictions For 2021: China, Bitcoin, Taxes, Stablecoins And More

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$1,200 US Stimulus Check Is Now Worth Almost $4,000 If Invested In Bitcoin

German Bank Launches Crypto Fund Covering Portfolio Of Digital Assets

World Governments Agree On Importance Of Crypto Regulation At G-7 Meeting

Why Some Investors Get Bitcoin So Wrong, And What That Says About Its Strengths

It’s Not About Data Ownership, It’s About Data Control, EFF Director Says

‘It Will Send BTC’ — On-Chain Analyst Says Bitcoin Hodlers Are Only Getting Stronger

Bitcoin Arrives On Wall Street: S&P Dow Jones Launching Crypto Indexes In 2021

Audio Streaming Giant Spotify Is Looking Into Crypto Payments

BlackRock (Assets Under Management $7.4 Trillion) CEO: Bitcoin Has Caught Our Attention

Bitcoin Moves $500K Around The Globe Every Second, Says Samson Mow

Pomp Talks Shark Tank’s Kevin O’leary Into Buying ‘A Little More’ Bitcoin

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Biden Should Integrate Bitcoin Into Us Financial System, Says Niall Ferguson

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Guggenheim Fund ($295 Billion Assets Under Management) Reserves Right To Put Up To 10% In Bitcoin Trust!

Exchanges Outdo Auctions For Governments Cashing In Criminal Crypto, Says Exec

Coinbase CEO: Trump Administration May ‘Rush Out’ Burdensome Crypto Wallet Rules

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WordPress Content Can Now Be Timestamped On Ethereum

PayPal To Offer Crypto Payments Starting In 2021 (A-Z) (#GotBitcoin?)

As Bitcoin Approaches $13,000 It Breaks Correlation With Equities

Crypto M&A Surges Past 2019 Total As Rest of World Eclipses U.S. (#GotBitcoin?)

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Bitcoin Drops To $10,446.83 As CFTC Charges BitMex With Illegally Operating Derivatives Exchange

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Bennie Overton’s Story About Our Corrupt U.S. Judicial, Global Financial Monetary System And Bitcoin

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Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Will Invest 1% Of Net Worth In Bitcoin Says, “Gold Is Dangerous”

State-by-state Licensing For Crypto And Payments Firms In The Us Just Got Much Easier (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin (BTC) Ranks As World 6Th Largest Currency

Pomp Claims He Convinced Jim Cramer To Buy Bitcoin

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Mastercard Releases Platform Enabling Central Banks To Test Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

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Right-Winger Tucker Carlson Causes Grayscale Investments To Pull Bitcoin Ads

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Cross Chain Is Here: NEO, ONT, Cosmos And NEAR Launch Interoperability Protocols (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Trading Products Enter The Mainstream With A Number Of Inherent Advantages (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Goes Mainstream With TV, Newspaper Ads (#GotBitcoin?)

A Guarded Generation: How Millennials View Money And Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Backed Social Media Brings More Choice For Users

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Walmart Adds Crypto Cashback Through Shopping Loyalty Platform StormX (#GotBitcoin?)

Congressman Tom Emmer To Lead First-Ever Crypto Town Hall (#GotBitcoin?)

Why It’s Time To Pay Attention To Mexico’s Booming Crypto Market (#GotBitcoin?)

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Bitcoin Community Highlights Double-Standard Applied Deutsche Bank Epstein Scandal

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An Israeli Blockchain Startup Claims It’s Invented An ‘Undo’ Button For BTC Transactions

After Years of Resistance, BitPay Adopts SegWit For Cheaper Bitcoin Transactions

US Appeals Court Allows Warrantless Search of Blockchain, Exchange Data

Central Bank Rate Cuts Mean ‘World Has Gone Zimbabwe’

This Researcher Says Bitcoin’s Elliptic Curve Could Have A Secret Backdoor

China Discovers 4% Of Its Reserves Or 83 Tons Of It’s Gold Bars Are Fake (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Legg Mason Star Bill Miller And Bloomberg Are Optimistic About Bitcoin’s Future

Yield Chasers Are Yield Farming In Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Australia Post Office Now Lets Customers Buy Bitcoin At Over 3,500 Outlets

Anomaly On Bitcoin Sidechain Results In Brief Security Lapse

SEC And DOJ Charges Lobbying Kingpin Jack Abramoff And Associate For Money Laundering

Veteran Commodities Trader Chris Hehmeyer Goes All In On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Activists Document Police Misconduct Using Decentralized Protocol (#GotBitcoin?)

Supposedly, PayPal, Venmo To Roll Out Crypto Buying And Selling (#GotBitcoin?)

Industry Leaders Launch PayID, The Universal ID For Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Quant Fund Debuts With $23M In Assets, $2.3B In Trades (#GotBitcoin?)

The Queens Politician Who Wants To Give New Yorkers Their Own Crypto

Why Does The SEC Want To Run Bitcoin And Ethereum Nodes?

Trump Orders Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin To Destroy Bitcoin Just Like They Destroyed The Traditional Economy

US Drug Agency Failed To Properly Supervise Agent Who Stole $700,000 In Bitcoin In 2015

Layer 2 Will Make Bitcoin As Easy To Use As The Dollar, Says Kraken CEO

Bootstrapping Mobile Mesh Networks With Bitcoin Lightning

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BitPay’s Prepaid Mastercard Launches In US to Make Crypto Accessible (#GotBitcoin?)

Germany’s Deutsche Borse Exchange To List New Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Product

‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ Movie To Tell Winklevoss Bros’ Crypto Story

US Pentagon Created A War Game To Fight The Establishment With BTC (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Provides Banking Services To Crypto Exchanges Coinbase And Gemini (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Advocates Cry Foul As US Fed Buying ETFs For The First Time

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3 Reasons For The Bitcoin Price ‘Halving Dump’ From $10K To $8.1K

Bitcoin Outlives And Outlasts Naysayers And First Website That Declared It Dead Back In 2010

Hedge Fund Pioneer Turns Bullish On Bitcoin Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Monetary Inflation

Antonopoulos: Chainalysis Is Helping World’s Worst Dictators & Regimes (#GotBitcoin?)

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Iran Ditches The Rial Amid Hyperinflation As Localbitcoins Seem To Trade Near $35K

Buffett ‘Killed His Reputation’ by Being Stupid About BTC, Says Max Keiser (#GotBitcoin?)

Meltem Demirors: “Bitcoin Is Not A F*Cking Systemic Hedge If You Hold Your Bitcoin At A Financial Institution”

Blockfolio Quietly Patches Years-Old Security Hole That Exposed Source Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Won As Store of Value In Coronavirus Crisis — Hedge Fund CEO

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Zoom Develops A Cryptocurrency Paywall To Reward Creators Video Conferencing Sessions (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Startup And Major Bitcoin Cash Partner To Shut Down After 6-Year Run

Open Interest In CME Bitcoin Futures Rises 70% As Institutions Return To Market

Square’s Users Can Route Stimulus Payments To BTC-Friendly Cash App

$1.1 Billion BTC Transaction For Only $0.68 Demonstrates Bitcoin’s Advantage Over Banks

Bitcoin Could Become Like ‘Prison Cigarettes’ Amid Deepening Financial Crisis

Bitcoin Holds Value As US Debt Reaches An Unfathomable $24 Trillion

How To Get Money (Crypto-currency) To People In An Emergency, Fast

US Intelligence To Study What Would Happen If U.S. Dollar Lost Its Status As World’s Reserve Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miner Manufacturers Mark Down Prices Ahead of Halving

Privacy-Oriented Browsers Gain Traction (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Breakthrough’ As Lightning Uses Web’s Forgotten Payment Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Starts Quarter With Price Down Just 10% YTD vs U.S. Stock’s Worst Quarter Since 2008

Bitcoin Enthusiasts, Liberal Lawmakers Cheer A Fed-Backed Digital Dollar

Crypto-Friendly Bank Revolut Launches In The US (#GotBitcoin?)

The CFTC Just Defined What ‘Actual Delivery’ of Crypto Should Look Like (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto CEO Compares US Dollar To Onecoin Scam As Fed Keeps Printing (#GotBitcoin?)

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Bitcoin, Not Governments Will Save the World After Crisis, Tim Draper Says

Crypto Analyst Accused of Photoshopping Trade Screenshots (#GotBitcoin?)

QE4 Begins: Fed Cuts Rates, Buys $700B In Bonds; Bitcoin Rallies 7.7%

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Fatburger And Others Feed $30 Million Into Ethereum For New Bond Offering (#GotBitcoin?)

Pornhub Will Integrate PumaPay Recurring Subscription Crypto Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Intel SGX Vulnerability Discovered, Cryptocurrency Keys Threatened

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Countries That First Outlawed Crypto But Then Embraced It (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Maintains Gains As Global Equities Slide, US Yield Hits Record Lows

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

India Supreme Court Lifts RBI Ban On Banks Servicing Crypto Firms (#GotBitcoin?)

Analyst Claims 98% of Mining Rigs Fail to Verify Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain Storage Offers Security, Data Transparency And immutability. Get Over it!

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Coinbase Wallet Now Allows To Send Crypto Through Usernames (#GotBitcoin)

New ‘Simpsons’ Episode Features Jim Parsons Giving A Crypto Explainer For The Masses (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-currency Founder Met With Warren Buffett For Charity Lunch (#GotBitcoin?)

Witches Love Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Potential To Benefit The African And African-American Community

Coinbase Becomes Direct Visa Card Issuer With Principal Membership

Bitcoin Achieves Major Milestone With Half A Billion Transactions Confirmed

Jill Carlson, Meltem Demirors Back $3.3M Round For Non-Custodial Settlement Protocol Arwen

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Top Graphics Cards That Will Turn A Crypto Mining Profit (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Usage Among Merchants Is Up, According To Data From Coinbase And BitPay

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Billionaire Investor Tim Draper: If You’re a Millennial, Buy Bitcoin

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2020 And Beyond: Bitcoin’s Potential Protocol (Privacy And Scalability) Upgrades (#GotBitcoin?)

US Deficit Will Be At Least 6 Times Bitcoin Market Cap — Every Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Central Banks Warm To Issuing Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet The Crypto Angel Investor Running For Congress In Nevada (#GotBitcoin?)

Introducing BTCPay Vault – Use Any Hardware Wallet With BTCPay And Its Full Node (#GotBitcoin?)

How Not To Lose Your Coins In 2020: Alternative Recovery Methods (#GotBitcoin?)

H.R.5635 – Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 ($200.00 Limit) 116th Congress (2019-2020)

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Former Regulator Known As ‘Crypto Dad’ To Launch Digital-Dollar Think Tank (#GotBitcoin?)

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A Blockchain-Secured Home Security Camera Won Innovation Awards At CES 2020 Las Vegas

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Google Suspends MetaMask From Its Play App Store, Citing “Deceptive Services”

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Coinbase CEO Armstrong Wins Patent For Tech Allowing Users To Email Bitcoin

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At A Refugee Camp In Iraq, A 16-Year-Old Syrian Is Teaching Crypto Basics

Bitclub Scheme Busted In The US, Promising High Returns From Mining

Bitcoin Advertised On French National TV

Germany: New Proposed Law Would Legalize Banks Holding Bitcoin

How To Earn And Spend Bitcoin On Black Friday 2019

The Ultimate List of Bitcoin Developments And Accomplishments

Charities Put A Bitcoin Twist On Giving Tuesday

Family Offices Finally Accept The Benefits of Investing In Bitcoin

An Army Of Bitcoin Devs Is Battle-Testing Upgrades To Privacy And Scaling

Bitcoin ‘Carry Trade’ Can Net Annual Gains With Little Risk, Says PlanB

Max Keiser: Bitcoin’s ‘Self-Settlement’ Is A Revolution Against Dollar

Blockchain Can And Will Replace The IRS

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Jack Dorsey: You Can Buy A Fraction Of Berkshire Stock Or ‘Stack Sats’

Bitcoin Price Skyrockets $500 In Minutes As Bakkt BTC Contracts Hit Highs

Bitcoin’s Irreversibility Challenges International Private Law: Legal Scholar

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Unicef To Accept Donations In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Prosecutor Asked To “Shut Down Bitcoin” And Is Now Face Of Crypto VC Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain To Zurich

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Tim Draper Bets On Unstoppable Domain’s .Crypto Domain Registry To Replace Wallet Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Developer Amir Taaki, “We Can Crash National Economies” (#GotBitcoin?)

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SEC Enters Settlement Talks With Alleged Fraudulent Firm Veritaseum (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream’s Samson Mow: Bitcoin’s Block Size Already ‘Too Big’

Attorneys Seek Bank Of Ireland Execs’ Testimony Against OneCoin Scammer (#GotBitcoin?)

OpenLibra Plans To Launch Permissionless Fork Of Facebook’s Stablecoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Tiny $217 Options Trade On Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Wall Street’s Death Knell (#GotBitcoin?)

Class Action Accuses Tether And Bitfinex Of Market Manipulation (#GotBitcoin?)

Sharia Goldbugs: How ISIS Created A Currency For World Domination (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Eyes Demand As Hong Kong Protestors Announce Bank Run (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Securely Transfer Crypto To Your Heirs

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto News From The Spanish-Speaking World (#GotBitcoin?)

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‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

The Original Sins Of Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

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[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

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You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

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$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

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A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

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Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

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Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

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Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)

E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)

US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)

21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)

Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)

Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)

Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)

How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

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