South Korea mulls crypto tax, lifting ICO ban

The South Korean government is looking at imposing a tax on cryptocurrencies, and regulation for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The Korea Times reported that Finance minister nominee Hong Nam-ki, during his confirmation hearing, had issued a prepared statement enumerating the taxation plan, which will take into account practices elsewhere in the world.

Hong said, “A task force consisting of experts from relevant government agencies including the National Tax Service and the private sector will be formed to examine overseas examples and hammer out the taxation plan.” Currently, according to him, there was “no internationally agreed regulatory framework” for cryptocurrencies, which he called “a new phenomenon.”

He also expressed concerns of “such lingering problems as the market overheating and investor protection. Therefore, we need to be careful in building the regulatory framework.”

Hong said that ICOs, which were prohibited in the country in September 2017, will be considered for regulation instead, with other markets to be monitored before a decision is made.

“We will determine our policy orientations on ICOs with relevant agencies after reviewing the results of the financial regulator’s market survey and getting feedback from experts,” Hong said. The survey had local blockchain companies providing their input on the matter.

Hong had made similar statements in support of allowing ICOs, as chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The country’s National Assembly is also recommending the lifting of the ban, after which regulations could be legislated.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in the country have enjoyed preferential tax rates, being classified like venture companies, but the government indicated last October that higher rates were coming for such firms.

Hong said, “We will do our utmost to nurture blockchain technology as nine out of the 10 business types classified as blockchain-related businesses by Statistics Korea excluding the crypto exchanges can be still acknowledged as venture companies.”

The exchanges, however, have recently benefited from the government’s clarification that banks need not worry of legal issues when dealing with cryptocurrency-related businesses, as long as the usual anti-money laundering/know-your customer (AML/KYC) requirements were met.

South Korea is a member of the G20 forum, that recently issued a joint declaration calling for regulation of cryptocurrencies in line with standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), of which the country is also a member.

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Police arrest 3 Bulgarians in $5M crypto theft case

Authorities in Bulgaria arrested three suspects who were believed to have stolen cryptocurrencies worth $5 million, Reuters reported.

According to the interior ministry and prosecutors’ office, the three appeared to have good knowledge of cryptocurrency trading, which they used along with “innovative methods” as well as “specialized software” in their operations.

Two of the three suspects were taken into police custody “by order of the Specialized Criminal Court,” while the third paid “cash guarantee” amounting to BGN50,000 ($28,900).

During the arrest, police found cryptocurrencies worth $3 million, computers used to conduct the theft, flash drives, and many notebooks listing accounts of people real and fictitious used for the operation. Police seized a car worth about BGN60,000 ($34,700) from the location.

Over the years, Bulgarian officials have seized numerous cryptocurrencies all related to criminal activities. The $3 million worth of cryptocurrencies taken by Bulgarian officials could be added to the country’s growing stash of cryptocurrency. Last year, authorities managed to collect over 213,000 BTC. Experts believe Bulgaria is sitting on one of the world’s most massive crypto stash valued at over $800 million at today’s prices.

According to a report by CipherTrace, a U.S.-based cyber security firm, theft of cryptocurrencies through hacking of exchanges and trading platforms soared to $927 million in the first nine months of the year. These new figures are up nearly 250 percent from the level seen in 2017.

Earlier this year, Japanese exchange Coincheck had over $530 million worth of crypto stolen. Bitgrail, another exchange in Italy, lost $195 million. The frequency, severity, and amount of cryptocurrency being stolen is only increasing.

On Nov. 14, a 21-year-old man was arrested by the U.S. federal agents for allegedly stealing $1 million of cryptocurrency from a Silicon Valley executive. The young man is believed to have hacked the executive’s phone. The 21-year-old, who used a SIM-swapping scheme to steal the cryptocurrencies, victimized six others, resulting in his arrest. He is now facing 21 counts of felony charges.

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BTCC’s Bobby Lee: The essence of Bitcoin is that now information is money

In the seven and a half years that Bobby Lee, a co-founder of BTCC, has been studying blockchain and cryptocurrencies, he’s learned that what happens in the industry is something that “no one has control over.” This keeps him from making predictions on the upcoming Bitcoin Cash (BCH) upgrade.

Lee noted that before the hard fork that led to Bitcoin’s rebirth in BCH in August 2017, “I was begging people not to fork it at the time. But it still forked. So that actually proves the fact that Bitcoin is quite decentralized, that no one can force it: no governments, not even people, regular people or miners, or there’s no decentralization in it to force it one way or the other.”

A self-proclaimed “Bitcoin maximalist,” Lee nonetheless concedes that both BCH and BTC can co-exist. “The best analogy is, it’s like religion. If you look at the world’s religions, there’s many, many religions. I don’t claim to be an expert here, but I think several of them trace back to the same roots.” He considers Bitcoin BCH and BTC as “legitimate children of Bitcoin.”

The primary value of cryptocurrencies, as he sees it, is that money is no longer about specific pieces of paper or lines of credit issued through a governing body. “Very few people realize that the essence of Bitcoin is that now information is money. So it’s not about something physically you hold, it’s not about having ownership under my title, under my name, for example, real estate. Even the car I buy, for example, is owned under my name, and the government enforces it. There’s a matching of my name and the asset—the real estate or the car… With Bitcoin, the ownership is actually proven not through physical means and not through title registration, by identity. But that should only be because you have information, you have the knowledge of the private key. So people don’t get that, and that’s fine because not everyone’s a computer scientist, not everyone’s an economist. So I hope to spread that message, that that’s the essence of Bitcoin, because now people can own Bitcoin by having that information.”

Blockchain’s part in history, according to Lee, “goes back to the fundamental rights as a human being, goes back to the word ‘freedom.’”

“Essentially, we’re not slaves, we’re not enslaved in society. Now how does slavery and freedom matter to Bitcoin? Well, if you think about it, the governments have enacted so much control over the money, essentially, people who have now made money are enslaved to the governments, because the spending restrictions, who they can transfer it to, how much they can receive, and also the value of the money, is also completely and arbitrarily controlled by the central banks through inflation, and so on and so forth,” he said.  “Right now, we’re seeing that the value is highly volatile, so there’s a downside to it right now, because we’re in the early days. We’re barely in the tenth year of Bitcoin, but give it another 10 years, give it 50 years. I think it will be very important to the people of the world.”

It may be just the beginning, but we could already see a big change from just five years ago. Lee said, “I remember distinctly in 2011, even as recently as 2013, saying the word ‘Bitcoin’ into a crowd, no one would understand what you’re talking about. The idea of a ‘bit’ coin, a digital coin, that was just unheard of. So now, through years of pushing it in the media, finally the world knows about Bitcoin. They also know about the word ‘blockchain,’ they also know about the word ‘tokens,’ and so on.”

If you’re interested in helping the growth of merchant adoption of Bitcoin BCH, join the bComm Association, an industry group that intends to be the focal point for miners, merchants, exchanges, developers and members of the BCH community. Developers and merchants of the Bitcoin BCH community will also be on hand for the first CoinGeek Week happening in London in November. Members of bComm Association can avail CoinGeek Week tickets at discounted prices. To purchase tickets or learn more about CoinGeek Week Conference, visit the official website here.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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“Certificates of deposit” come to crypto

A group of cryptocurrency developers have introduced a new concept to the crypto community. It’s called the “Open Savings Initiative,” (OSI) and allows users to save their crypto in a time-locked account. Currently, it’s available only for Bitcoin BCH and Bitcoin Core (BTC) and is “like a certificate of deposit that you can add more money to anytime, but doesn’t require a bank.”

Users are able to assign any amount of time to their accounts to keep their assets locked up. Only after the expiration of that time can the accounts be accessed, ensuring that those who would be tempted to go out and buy something like a new Ferrari or a house in Hollywood Hills are forced to think twice before doing so.

OSI also has an offline version that enables the user to generate addresses even when the account is disconnected from the Internet. This capability, referred to as a “cold wallet,” provides an extra layer of security. According to the developers, “We coded up this application in the hope that ALL the wallets in the Bitcoin Cash / Bitcoin Core ecosystems adopt this feature, either by leveraging our code or implementing it themselves.”

OSI doesn’t store any personal user data. If the private key is lost, so is access. Private keys cannot be shared, as the key is changed each time the account is accessed.

The platform works by using the Op_Code “OP_checklocktimeverify.” This queues the system to build a pay-to-script hash address (P2SH), a form of standardized code that enables transactions to an address that begins with the number “3” instead of a public key, which normally begins with “1.”

The application was developed by Ransom Christofferson and Prestige IT. Yeoman’s Capital provided guidance and funding for the project came, in part, from Ricardo Jimenezh, a technology investor and senior product manager at

Christofferson states, “Thanks to the “nlocktime” parameter and scripts such as ‘OP_checklocktimeverify’ being introduced into Bitcoin and continued on Bitcoin Cash, there is now a straightforward way of securely locking up funds on the blockchain without a custodian, which can only be spent at a future date.”

According to the OSI website, Open Savings Initiative lets you set aside cryptocurrency that can only be spent after a certain date. It’s like a certificate of deposit that you can add more money to anytime, but doesn’t require a bank.

“If you intend to give cryptocurrency to someone else, you can use Open Savings Initiative to create the crypto equivalent of writing a cheque for a future date. Unlike traditional cheques, the crypto cheque can’t bounce, can’t be cancelled, and is guaranteed to have the funds.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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UK Treasury slams ‘Wild West’ crypto trade, calls for regulation

Members of the UK Parliament are looking to increase regulations for the cryptocurrency industry, in order to tame the “Wild West situation,” according to a Treasury committee report.

“Crypto-assets have been embedded in certain pockets of society and industry, and it is highly likely that they are here to stay. The UK Government and financial services regulators appear to be deciding whether they will allow the current ‘Wild West’ situation to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation. The current ambiguity surrounding the Government’s and the regulators’ positions is clearly not sustainable,” the committee said.

Under the proposal, regulatory power would be given to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and would involve amendment of the existing Regulated Activities Order.

The committee report used the term ‘crypto-asset’ rather than ‘cryptocurrency,’ on the suggestion of the Bank of England’s (BoE) Martin Etheridge, who was quoted as saying, “[Cryptocurrencies] are not acting as a medium of exchange; they are not particularly good as a store of value, given the volatility; and they are certainly not being used as a unit of account.”

The BoE, in its statements to the committee, also noted that scalability and transaction costs remained a challenge, without distinguishing between the performance of the many cryptocurrencies available.

“Measured against the U.S. dollar, [BTC] is ten times more volatile than sterling, and other cryptocurrencies are even more volatile,” the BoE said.

Based on such input, the Treasury committee said, “The slow, costly and energy-intensive verification process for transactions is not unique to Bitcoin, but a fundamental feature of crypto-assets based on public, decentralised blockchains. This may ultimately limit the extent to which crypto-assets and blockchain can replace conventional money and payments systems.”

Among other risks cited in the use of cryptocurrencies were the hacking of exchanges, loss of passwords, price manipulation, use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, and “implications for financial stability” with the growth of the industry.

The report, while critical of cryptocurrencies, did acknowledge the potential use of blockchain. “The Committee recognizes that blockchain technology may have the potential to solve problems caused by a lack of trust in data integrity and may be a more efficient method of managing certain types of data in the long term, offering higher levels of security than centralised databases,” it said.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Kraken, Okex, Huobi and major Asian crypto funds go to Blockchain Life 2018

The list of speakers of the key forum on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, ICO and mining – Blockchain Life 2018 – was replenished by owners and top managers of the biggest Chinese cryptocurrency funds and international exchanges. The forum will be held on November 7-8 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Among the speakers: Maximilian Marenbach (Kraken Exchange), Wu Xing (Huobi Exchange), Aldrich Victorino (Okex Exchange), Charles Cai (Dalian Wanda Group), Jason Hu (World Blockchain Organization) and others. The full list of speakers is available here:

At the moment, the main activity in the world of investments in crypto projects is observed in Asian countries. Thus, the forum participants will be able to learn all the trends of 2018 firsthand, and the ICO projects of Eastern European will have a unique opportunity to attract funding within the Pitch-section, without participating in expensive Road shows around the world.

Given the international composition of the participants, Blockchain Life 2018 organizes the legendary AfterParty in the biggest Chinese restaurant in Europe. In a favorite format for the forum participants “all inclusive”: elite alcohol, European and Chinese cuisine, comfortable conditions for networking and enchanting show program. By the way, last year AfterParty special guest was the famous russian boy band “Ivanushki International”.

On September 1st, applications for the International Blockchain Life Awards will be opened, which will determine the best companies in their field. Learn more about the Award on the conference website.

Despite the global scale of the event, tickets with the opportunity to attend reports are still available from $41.

Buy a ticket to a key global event in the industry, there is very little time before the next rise in price

Organizers: – the output of projects on exchanges,  – rating agency

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