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Bitcoin news roundup January 15, 2017

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

New court filing shows Coinbase is ready to fight the IRS

The IRS’ attempt to obtain Coinbase’s user records was contested by Jeffrey Berns Esq. The IRS and DOJ wanted to stop Mr. Berns from interfering in the summons, arguing he had no legal basis as reported by Deep Dot Web. According to documents brought by CoinDesk, Coinbase is trying to participate in the legal battle, to be heard since this is “an extraordinarily broad ‘John Doe’ summons”. The bitcoin startup is trying to get involved alongside Mr. Berns’ efforts.

Julian Assange used bitcoin’s blockchain to prove he is alive

Recently, a lot of people theorized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was dead, as evidence such as a few cryptic tweets backed up the theory. During a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, Mr. Assange said the theories were “a little bit silly” and in order to prove his live Twitch stream wasn’t pre-recorded, he read out the – at the time – most recent bitcoin block hash. Since the bitcoin block hash is produced with the power of a global network of computers, it would be nearly impossible to guess the string of letters and numbers it is made in that exact moment. Not only did he show the world he was alive, he subtly gave bitcoin a little bit of publicity in the midst. During the talk, he said: “Thinking about real-time proof-of-life, intellectually the most interesting one is to take the most recent block in the bitcoin blockchain.”

World affairs:

There are over 11,000 ATMs in Europe where one can cash out from bitcoin

Back in October 2016, a Polish tech development company Halcash partnered with bitcoin wallet provider Holytransaction in order to launch a service that allows users to convert bitcoins into euros so they can be withdrawn from an ATM that’s associated with their network. Holytransaction Trade, has been around for a while. Recently Bitcoin.com revealed that the network has over 7,000 ATMs in Spain and 4,500 in Poland. Users can also get a prepaid virtual Visa card, or use the app to make purchases online in any store that accepts Visa.

Israeli Tax Authorities want to categorize bitcoin as property

According to a statement published by Israel’s Tax Authority (ITA) this week, the government is to apply capital gains tax to bitcoin sales, as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are to be seen as property. This means both a business tax and a value-added tax (VAT) would be attached to bitcoin transactions. The move doesn’t come as a surprise, as Israel had, back in 2013, announced it wanted to tax bitcoin transactions.

Nigeria warned the public against bitcoin investments, as popular Ponzi-scheme made a comeback

MMM Nigeria, a multi-marketing Ponzi scheme, has recently started to make a comeback as it allowed its customers to use bitcoin for transactions. The group’s letter to subscribers reads “In a month, not only 30 percent will be added to your initial amount, but, it can increase itself due to Bitcoin price growth”.

This forced Nigeria’s capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue a public notice in which it advised the public against bitcoin and other virtual currency investments. SEC has also reminded the public these investments will not be covered by any type of consumer protection, so if the scheme goes bust, Nigerian investors will simply lose their money.


Bitcoin at $827 after China’s Central Bank announced spot checks on its major exchanges

On January 11th, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s Central Bank, announced it would be conducting spot checks on the country’s leading bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai: BTCC, Huobi and OKCoin. The goal is to look at a range of possible rule violations that may include market manipulation and money laundering. Since China is the biggest bitcoin market there is, the cryptocurrency’s value fell by as much as 15% this week, down to $790. This is the second time this year PBOC dealt a damaging blow to bitcoin, as it had already warned investors last week that bitcoin was volatile. This may, in fact, be happening because the bank fears bitcoin. At the time of press, the cryptocurrency is still recovering, as one bitcoin is worth $827 on Bitstamp.

Zcash has fallen below $50, as it gains stability

When Zcash – the anonymous bitcoin – was first launched, the craze began. It was a novelty in the cryptocurrency world that had a lot to offer, and at first one Zec was even worth more than $2 million. As more Zec’s were introduced into the market, it fell to $4,000, and from that point on it kept on falling. At the time of press, one Zec was trading at $43, as for the past month the currency has declined by only 8%, showing it may finally be stabilizing.

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