Bitcoin Roundup March 3, 2016


To tax or not to tax? Japan debates how to handle bitcoin- Nikkei Asian Review

Calls are mounting in Japan to exempt bitcoins from consumption tax. Critics argue that taxing bitcoins hurts Japan’s competitiveness. But financial regulators have gone only so far as to propose to give bitcoins pseudo-currency status, not tax-free status.

“Can’t you consider not imposing consumption tax on bitcoins in line with the international trend?” Tsukasa Akimoto, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, asked Finance Minister Taro Aso at a lower house budget committee meeting on Feb. 5. “Japan is not alone” in taxing bitcoins, Aso responded, citing Australia and other countries that tax virtual currencies.

Although Aso defended bitcoin taxation, Japan is clearly bucking the trend. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that bitcoins should be exempt from value added tax, treating the virtual currency as a means of payment similar to other forms of legal tender such as bank notes and coins. Among the Group of Seven major industrialized countries, only Japan taxes bitcoins. 


We Must Regulate Bitcoin. Problem Is, We Don’t Understand It | WIRED

Bitcoin has failed. Bitcoin is the future. Bitcoin cannot be regulated. Bitcoin needs to be regulated. The debate over what will happen to the decentralized virtual currency has reached a cacophonous point, and now lawmakers around the world are wondering whether the time has finally come to regulate this emerging technology.

As I have said before, Bitcoin as a virtual currency presents significant challenges to regulators. But one should not be too hasty to regulate Bitcoin, without fully understanding the implications of blockchain technologies more generally, with regard to their impact on innovation, competition and regulation. 


When The European Parliament Called To Talk About Bitcoin, My First Vacation In Years Had To Wait – Forbes

One of the great things about running a Bitcoin and blockchain company that processes payroll for global workforces is that there is a frequent need for travel. The downside to this type of travel is that wifi is never too far away, even on airplanes, and I end up working all the time. I haven’t taken an actual vacation in over two years, but it’s hard to complain when you love what you do. Nevertheless, I set out to change that.

Several months ago I planned a cruise from Miami to the Bahamas with a friend for my birthday. We spent around $4,000 on non-refundable fees, and you can guess what happened next. My company, Bitwage, is part of Orange Fab, an accelerator run by Orange Silicon Valley, a subsidiary of Orange, the massive French telecommunications company, and we got invited to meet with their executives and other partners in Paris. That trip was paid for, but my long awaited vacation was in harm’s way. 


Report: Bitcoin Wallet Providers Failing to Make Privacy a Priority – CoinDesk

Bitcoin wallet providers haven’t focused on increasing privacy to promote consumer financial independence and safety over the last year, according to the Open Bitcoin Privacy Project’s (OBPP) second edition survey.

As no provider received a score of more than 50 out of 100, the OBPP suggests privacy work has stagnated within the bitcoin wallet industry and that improvements to these services are greatly needed.

While new bitcoin wallet providers have begun adopting hierarchical deterministic (HD) architecture for advanced security, the OBPP contends that many privacy advances from 2014, including Tor support and stealth addresses, were not incorporated by wallet providers in 2015.

The project wrote in its latest analysis: 


Bitcoin is gold 2.0, can transform remittances: Brock Pierce | ET Telecom

Bitcoins could transform the remittances business in the country and the digital currency could gain increasing acceptance in India, given its gold-like attributes, the chairman of the global Bitcoin Foundation told ET.

The Bitcoin Foundation was started in 2012 to standardise, promote and protect the use of Bitcoins. The foundation lobbies, organises conferences and provides technical support for the digital currency.

“I am really surprised bitcoin isn’t more popular in India, given the strong gold culture here. I call it Gold 2.0. It has all the attributes other than the fact that it isn’t tangible, and tangibility is less important in the digital age,” Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, said on the sidelines of the SingularityU India Summit held by INK Talks. 


Japan Debates Its Bitcoin Tax – CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News

While Japan currently ponders deeming bitcoin and virtual currencies as currencies similar to conventional fiat currencies, there is another debate surrounding bitcoin that is being talked among regulators and politicians.

Tsukasa Akimoto, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party — the ruling party in the country — put forth a question toward Finance Minister Taro Aso, asking: “Can’t you consider not imposing consumption tax on bitcoins in line with the international trend?”

Defending Japan’s bitcoin taxation, Aso responded by stating “Japan is not alone [in taxing bitcoins]”. Aso pointed to countries including Australia who tax virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The discussion occurred during a lower house budget committee meeting on February 5. 


Roger Ver, on who gets to decide how Bitcoin moves forward » Brave New Coin

Anarchapulco, the largest and only explicit Anarcho Capitalist conference in the world, was jam-packed with alternative media celebrities, activists and pioneers. Among them Roger Ver, known by some as “Bitcoin Jesus,” who is amonsgt the most outspoken Anarcho Capitalists and Bitcoin advocates.

Ver has been a long time proponent of voluntaryism, the idea that all human interactions should be by mutual consent, or not at all. He doesn’t make exceptions for people wearing uniforms and working in buildings with flags in front. He earned the tittle through his angel investment rounds during the early years of Bitcoin development. 


Bitcoin’s ‘New Normal’ Is Slow and Frustrating | Motherboard

On Monday, bitcoin users were up in arms about their transactions taking a long time to be processed by the network, potentially foreshadowing dark, deeply annoying times for the cryptocurrency.

In the past, network slowdowns were the work of hackers or other malicious actors. But this time, the reason for the frustration appears to be much more unsettling and banal. In the absence of any obvious spam transactions or attackers claiming responsibility, some users complained that the bitcoin network is slowing down simply because people are using it the way it’s meant to be used.

“I think the point is that this is not an attack,” one Reddit user wrote in reply to a poster asking if a “stress test,” another term for a spam attack on the bitcoin network, was behind the slowdown. “This is now normal.” 


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