Spain Mulls Tax Breaks for Blockchain and Crypto Firms

Spain Mulls Tax Breaks for Blockchain and Crypto Firms

Proposals to introduce tax exemptions for companies using blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency have been put on the table in Spain. The ruling People’s Party is preparing new legislation that will also offer incentives to entrepreneurs raising funds through ICOs. If lawmakers adopt the amendments, investors will not be required to report crypto assets under certain threshold.

Also read: Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

In Spain’s Interest

Teodoro Garcia Egea, a deputy from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s party who is working on the bill, thinks that it is in Spain’s interest to attract companies using blockchains. He insists “the technology is a driver for business” in industries such as finance, health and education. “We hope to get the legislation ready this year”, the lawmaker told Bloomberg, pointing out that the level of digitalization will be key for Spanish companies.

Spain Mulls Tax Breaks for Blockchain and Crypto Firms

The People’s Party intends to seek experts’ advice to finalize and push through the legislation in parliament. The ruling majority will also study developments in other countries that have advanced further in adopting their legal frameworks. Switzerland was mentioned as an example in that respect. The Alpine country has already become a leader in Europe, after establishing a Crypto Valley in Zug and enacting guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The authors of the bill are considering proposals to entice businessmen to use blockchain for crowd fundraising through ICOs. The draft also introduces tax breaks for small companies specializing in sectors such as 3D printing or data processing. According to Garcia Egea, these incentives will be offered as rebates.

The new legislation may also include a threshold below which entrepreneurs would not be required to report a cryptocurrency investment. Authorities are working on provisions to protect crypto investors. They will be prepared by Spain’s markets and securities regulator. “We want to set up Europe’s safest framework to invest in ICOs” the Spanish deputy said.

Impossible to Explain Without Bitcoin

In a post published on his website in December, Teodoro Garcia Egea attempted to win support for his ideas by educating the public about blockchain technology. He compares it to the institution of the public notary. “A notary is a highly qualified and independent professional, who provides guarantees for security and legality”, the lawmaker notes. In Internet, these characteristics can be attributed to blockchains, he says.

Spain Mulls Tax Breaks for Blockchain and Crypto Firms

The blockchain technology does not replace the notary, but provides reliability, transparency and traceability for contracts between individuals beyond what notaries can do, Garcia Egea writes. Blockchains do not replace the services of legal professionals. From regulatory point of view, the blockchain technology is not a threat but a great opportunity to do a better job, the lawmaker says.

Garcia Egea also points out how difficult it is to explain what exactly blockchain is, what its applications are, and what problems it can solve. “We cannot explain this new set of tools without making a reference to bitcoin” the deputy says. Who would argue with that?

Do you think Spain will follow in the footsteps of Switzerland in regards to regulating bitcoin and the blockchain sector? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings

Nigerians are trading close to $4 million worth of bitcoin a week on 13 local exchanges, despite multiple warnings by authorities against investing in cryptocurrencies. Experts have called on the government to rethink its position and adopt smart regulations, “allowing innovation to move forward”. Regulators need to understand how it works before applying bans, analysts say.

Also read: Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Warnings Have No Effect on Nigerians

Regulators and legislators in Nigeria have taken a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies. The latest manifestation of their attitude came in the form of an investigation into bitcoin trading ordered by the Senate. There have been multiple warnings from other institutions, as well. Last year the Central Bank of Nigeria stated that “virtual currencies” were not legal tender and told banks their dealings with cryptos were at their own risk. The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation has warned Nigerians that they cannot rely on consumer protection when trading cryptocurrencies.

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite WarningsHowever, all those warnings have not changed hearts and minds, as the latest trading data shows. The value of bitcoin has decreased since last year, but interest in the most popular cryptocurrency is yet to wane in Nigeria, Leadership reports. Nigerians have continued to invest, trading weekly up to N1.389 billion worth of bitcoin (>$3.8 million) in February after an average of N1.299 billion (<$3.6 million) recorded at the end of December.

Up to 13 cryptocurrency exchanges are currently operating in Nigeria. Trading on local platforms scored a weekly record high of almost 1.95 Nigerian Naira worth of bitcoin in mid-December, as reported. The amount is equal to $5.4 million USD under current exchange rates.

Innovation First, Then Regulation

Nigerians are investing in other cryptocurrencies, as well, and the total has reached $4.7 million weekly, according to Emeka Okoye, software developer and chief architect at Cymantiks Nigeria. He urged government institutions to rethink their approach to regulation. The expert said criticism would only fuel further speculation and encourage the use of cryptos by criminals. Okoye advised Nigerian regulators to adopt “smart regulation”, rather than outright ban:

It is an attitude of allowing innovation to move forward and let regulation follow. It is about the consumers and not about the players.

If authorities ban cryptocurrencies, they would be outlawing a tech tool, the analyst explained. Then “outlaws will use these tools, and you have no control – people will have to live with the consequences” Okoye warned. He also said that regulators need to understand the situation properly before applying any bans.

Nigerians Trade $4 Million in Bitcoin Weekly, despite Warnings“Do they understand how it works? I can build a crypto exchange that is not domiciled in Nigeria and they cannot regulate it. I also have a foreign card and they cannot control what I do with it?” the expert pointed out.

Emeka Okoye thinks that cryptocurrency will not entirely replace fiat money but will complement it by providing for easier and more convenient transfers of wealth. In his opinion, the current trend of speculation, which is driving the value of cryptocurrency, is a distraction from its real value.

Do you think Nigerian authorities will listen to experts and change their policy towards bitcoin and the crypto sector in general? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Academics Claim “Crypto-Colonialism” Rampant in Puerto Rico

Academics Claim "Crypto-Colonialism" Rampant in Puerto Rico

An opinion piece authored by academics representing Anglia Ruskin University and Trinity College Dublin have alleged that cryptocurrency mining operations are placing strains on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. The article argues that Puerto Rico has not fully recovered from the damage reaped by Hurricane Maria, and that the island is ill-equipped to cope with the wave of “crypto-colonialism” that has recently beset the island.

Also Read: CFTC Offers $100,000 Bounty to Crypto Pump-and-Dump Whistleblowers

Puerto Rico Ravaged by Hurricane Maria

Academics Claim "Crypto-Colonialism" Rampant in Puerto RicoAn article has claimed that migrating cryptocurrency miners are placing strains on Puerto Rico’s recovering infrastructure. The opinion piece is authored by lecturer in accounting and finance at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, Larisa Yarovaya, and professor of international finance and commodities at Trinity College Dublin, Brian Lucey.

The article states that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017 has left Puerto Rico “desperately” in need of “investment to rebuild the island’s infrastructure,” and compounded severe pre-existing financial difficulties faced by the territory. It is said financial difficulties, the authors argue, that has lead to “local authorities […] cautiously welcoming the arrival of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs on the island.”

The authors conclude that Puerto Rico’s “Resources and infrastructure, post-Hurricane Maria, are too stretched to support cryptocurrency mining on the island” – pointing to recent power outages that left as many as 175,000 businesses and households without power for many hours, on top of the 400,000 Puerto Ricans who have remained without power for nearly five months since the hurricane/

“Crypto-Colonialism” Besets Puerto Rico

Academics Claim "Crypto-Colonialism" Rampant in Puerto RicoThe article argues that the cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are seeking to invest in projects that will augment their own wealth, rather than the wealth of local citizens.

The authors point to “the wealthy crypto expats[‘] want to use the blockchain system for decentralized elections and […] citizenship ID,” expressing “doubt” that the “locals who are fighting poverty will be enthused by [these] ideas.” Said initiatives are described as resembling disaster capitalism – the opportunistic exploitation of state wounded by disaster in order to realize a political project.

Do you agree with the authors’ argument that Puerto Rico may be experiencing “crypto-colonialism” in the wake of Hurricane Maria? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Revenues of Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea Up 88-Fold

Revenues of Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea Up 88-Fold

According to recent data collected by the South Korean government, the accumulated commission income of the country’s 30 cryptocurrency exchanges last year was 87.5 times that of the previous year. The vast increase in income and crypto transactions was largely contributed by the newcomer exchange backed by Kakao Corp.

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Crypto Exchanges Made 700 Billion Won

Revenues of Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea Up 88-FoldThe commission revenues of South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges collectively increased approximately 87.5 times last year compared to the previous year, local media reported.

The data, published on Sunday, “was collected with the help of the government, [and] was estimated based on sales of commissions and the local price of bitcoin released by each operator,” Yonhap wrote, further elaborating:

According to the data released by Rep. Park Kwang-on of the ruling Democratic Party, accumulated commission-related sales of some 30 cryptocurrency exchange operators are presumed to have reached 700 billion won [~USD$658 million] as of the end of last year, compared with an estimated amount of 8 billion won as of the end of 2016.

Park added that, based on the same method of calculation, the estimated commission income for cryptocurrency exchanges in 2015 was 3.2 billion won, Kyeonggi Daily noted.

Korea’s Top Crypto Exchanges

South Korea has four major cryptocurrency exchanges: Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit.

Revenues of Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea Up 88-FoldAccording to Representative Park, Upbit is now the largest crypto exchange in the country with a market share of 52.9%, based on data over 6 days of last week. The Kakao-backed cryptocurrency exchange is estimated to have collected 194.3 billion won in commission sales last year. “The analysis also reflected the fact that the number of virtual currency transactions has doubled since last October when Upbit began operations,” Kyeonggi Daily added.

During the same time period, Bithumb had approximately 32.7% of the market share, while Coinone had 8.3% and Korbit had 6.2%. The estimated sales of the three exchanges were 317.7 billion won, 78.1 billion won, and 67 billion won respectively, the publication conveyed.

According to Coinmarketcap, Upbit is currently the third largest cryptocurrency exchange globally. Its 24-hour trading volume is USD $1.3 billion at the time of this writing, while Bithumb’s volume is approximately $1.1 billion.

Taxation Coming Soon

The Korean regulators are currently working on how to tax cryptocurrency exchanges as well as crypto trading.

In answering the people’s petition regarding unfair cryptocurrency regulations, Hong Nam-ki, Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OPC), confirmed that the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance is working on cryptocurrency taxation.

“Tax should be paid if income exists,” he asserted, adding that various ministries are examining other countries’ approaches to taxing cryptocurrencies. “So, I think that it would be possible to get some information on the virtual currency taxation system soon,” he emphasized.

How much do you think South Korean exchanges will grow this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

The government of Malta has come up with an idea that businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies may find interesting. A new policy document seeks to set up a special agency which will “certify” blockchain platforms and “verify” crypto transactions. It is supposed to “bring peace of mind” to companies using these technologies to cut out central authorities and banks. Valletta also proposes legislation that will define the roles of intermediaries and regulate initial coin offerings.

Also read: Gibraltar Launches Regulation to Protect Cryptocurrency Value and Reputation

Government Will Provide “Legal Certainty and Trust”

The new Malta Digital Innovation Authority will certify blockchain platforms used by companies in the country. It will also be responsible for “verifying” cryptocurrency transactions by checking if the logged information is genuine. The government hopes to bring some peace of mind to businesses using distributed ledgers for cross-border payments.

Authorities in Valletta are recognizing that companies utilize blockchains to cut out central authorities. However, they acknowledge that the technology allows for cheaper and more efficient money transfers. Worried that those platforms are not currently certified in any way, the government has decided to provide some “legal certainty and trust”. Officials believe companies will benefit from the work of the new authority, while also cutting out intermediaries such as banks.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy Silvio Schembri presented the new policy document at a press conference with various stakeholders, the Maltese Independent reported. He called the event a “historic moment” and provided further details on how authorities plan to implement regulations concerning the cryptocurrency sector in successive stages.

The first step will be to set up the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. A bill will set out the regime for the registration of service providers and the certification of technology arrangements, Schembri explained. On stage 2, another draft will formalize the framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A third law will impose regulation on services directly related to cryptocurrencies. Intermediaries like brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset managers, and investment advisors will be subjected to its provisions.

Malta Strives to Be a Hub of Innovation

Silvio Schembri stressed that promoting policies which favor the development of Malta as a hub for new technologies, including in the public sector, will be among the main goals. The aim is to foster innovation by creating a successful ecosystem, he added. That will be achieved through the “utilization of cutting edge technology in useful business cases and the adherence to best practices”. The lawmaker also noted that the Digital Innovation Authority would protect Malta’s reputation taking into account its international commitments under anti-money laundering directives.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto CompaniesDuring the press conference, officials mentioned several applications of distributed ledger technology. In larger companies, internal DTL platforms can be used to maintain payroll systems and record movement of goods and invoices. Businesses can also take advantage of public platforms that share consensus mechanisms such as bitcoin and ethereum. Regulated financial institutions can utilize DTLs to offer services to their clients.

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy said the government would consult with all stakeholders before finalizing its policies, including relevant authorities like the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and the police. Local and international representatives of the industry will also be involved in the process. Silvio Schembri added that the public is free to provide feedback in the next three weeks. After that, the bills will be introduced in the Parliament of Malta.

Do you think policies outlined by Maltese authorities will attract more crypto businesses to the island nation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Communities in two countries, which share a border, history and perspectives, have expressed similar views about the future of the cryptocurrency sector. A new association in Croatia hopes to lay the foundations of self-regulation in the industry. In neighboring Slovenia, entrepreneurs and government officials have promised to work together to “educate the public” on the benefits of the blockchain technology.

Also read: Crypto Exchanges Launch P2P Platforms from Latvia and Bulgaria

Croatian Crypto Companies to Advise Regulators

Businesses and enthusiasts in Croatia have united their efforts to help authorities take informed decisions about the cryptocurrency sector. A new umbrella organization will be bringing suggestions and important matters to the attention of policy makers in Zagreb, Bitfalls reported this week. The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association will be advising regulators on anything from buying and selling cryptocurrencies, to crypto payments and salary payouts in bitcoin.

UBIK [“Udruga za Blockchain i Kriptovalute”] intends to create “a focused and strong community of people involved with the blockchain technology and the domain of cryptocurrency in Croatia”, but also in the region. Providing relevant information, education and knowledge about the crypto economy is among its priorities. The Croatian crypto association plans to help authorities and its members with legal, financial, and technological support in the development of the regulatory framework and realizing strategic blockchain projects.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Interest in bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology has grown significantly in Croatia in the past year that saw skyrocketing prices on crypto markets. The local community has expanded with new companies working with blockchain technologies and more businesses accepting crypto payments.

A comprehensive regulatory policy is yet to be adopted by Croatian authorities. During a discussion on digital currencies back in 2013 the Croatian National Bank reportedly stated that bitcoin was not illegal in the country. More recently, in 2017, HNB noted that cryptos were neither legal means of payment, nor electronic money under current law in Croatia. The country has appealed for common EU decisions in regards to cryptocurrencies.

Government and Businesses to Educate Slovenians about Blockchain

More positive signals came this month from Croatia’s neighbor Slovenia, another former Yugoslav republic and current member of the EU. Government officials and blockchain companies promised to work together to “educate the public on the benefits and the opportunities that the innovative technology brings”. They met to set up an open dialogue between authorities and entrepreneurs, necessary to clarify and address the challenges. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar also took part in the meeting hosted by Viberate, a startup developing a decentralized live music marketplace.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia“We have called for regulation that would assist blockchain projects with existing financial limitations and allow us easier recruitment processes. The government has agreed that it will provide us with more favorable conditions in due time”, Insurepal, one of the participating companies, said in a blog post. It expressed hope that similar public discussions will help Slovenia become one of the most advanced countries in the field of blockchain.

The companies, which took part in the meeting, also announced the establishment of the Blockchain Alliance CEE. It will focus their efforts on improving visibility and raising the reputation of the sector through unified communication.

The current government in Ljubljana has a positive attitude towards the crypto industry. Speaking at the Digital Slovenia 2020 conference last year Prime Minister Cerar acknowledged the progress made by local businesses and said his country could become a leader in blockchain-development in the European Union. Slovenia is also among countries that do not tax individuals on capital gains from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Do you think positive developments in Southeast Europe in regards to crypto regulation will influence decisions in the EU? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Two Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto Mining

Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto Mining

The governors of two Russian regions have indicated their readiness to accommodate large crypto mining facilities. Two of the westernmost subjects of the Federation – Kaliningrad and Leningrad – are willing to welcome miners and want to get involved in “bitcoin production”. Local authorities have expressed intentions to take mining out of garages and scale it up to industrial level. They are now pressing Moscow for regulations.   

Also Read: Russia Ready for Migrant Bitcoin Miners Influx

One Huge Mining Farm

Many are interested in cryptocurrencies in Kaliningrad Oblast, its governor Anton Alihanov said on the sidelines of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi. In the future, the region may become one huge mining farm, he told RIA Novosti.

“We have a lot of people that show interest [in crypto mining]. But doing everything right is pretty complicated and you don’t want to set the house on fire,” Alihanov said. “That’s why we have a ‘mining hotel’, where guys know how to set up the cooling systems, so that nothing gets burned”, the official added, demonstrating technical knowledge of the subject.

If you are a miner, you’ve come to the right place. We can become one huge mining farm.

Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto MiningAlihanov also noted that Kaliningrad Oblast has developed a booming greenhouse sector producing tons of strawberries. Greenhouses need heating during colder months and mining hardware produces a lot of heat. Mining farms can actually be built close to the strawberry fields to heat the greenhouses.

Still wary of buying cryptocurrencies, the governor admitted he had some “rich experience” with stock trading in the past. “Stocks, bonds, futures – these are very risky things. I don’t have funds that I am ready to part with at any moment. For now I keep my distance,” Anton Alihanov said. He added, however, that when crypto markets become more stable, he may have a second thought.

Miners to Use a Decommissioned NPP

Other local officials have also announced intentions to conduct mining business in their regions. Authorities in Leningrad Oblast, bordering the federal city of Saint Petersburg, plan to create a tech park for cryptocurrency miners. It will be built on the premises of the nuclear power plant in Sosnovy Bor, governor Alexandr Drozdenko revealed. The Leningrad Atomic Electro-Station (LAES, or LNPP) will be decommissioned in 2020-2021.

Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto MiningA new power plant will replace the RBMK units at LAES, which now produces about 50% of the region’s electricity. LAES-2 will be equipped with the safer, “post-Fukushima” WWER-1200 reactors. LAES is the largest electricity generating facility in Russia’s northwest.

The economic department of the Leningrad administration and Rosatom have already approved the project to mine cryptos at LAES, Drozdenko told RIA Novosti. “What we need for mining is cheap electrical energy, cooling system and reliable transmission grid. We have all that at the Leningrad NPP,” he said.

Russians are mining in their garages. We want to do it on an industrial scale.

According to the governor, two outstanding issues postpone the realization of the project. “First – we have to wait until the old equipment is removed [after the decommissioning]. Secondly, we need some regulatory framework that would allow us to mine, to produce bitcoin,” Alexandr Drozdenko explained. He added that “serious negotiations” on regulation are underway between his administration and the federal government.

With cheap energy, developed electrical infrastructure and cool climate, Russia has what it takes to accommodate local cryptocurrency miners and welcome foreign investors. Authorities in regions with great potential to develop the sector are impatient and expect new regulations from Moscow as soon as possible.

Do you think the government in Moscow will listen to regional authorities and adopt legislation with incentives for crypto miners? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

U.S. states with positive attitudes have advanced towards bitcoin legalization – a process that a growing number of elected officials consider inevitable, if not desirable. Numerous crypto-friendly bills have been introduced, and some of them have received approval in committees and houses of state legislatures. One wouldn’t necessarily think of states like Arizona, Tennessee, and Wyoming as the backbone of a great nation’s economy. How about… pioneers of its future development?

Also read: US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto

Bitcoin Doesn’t Stink – Arizona Will Take It

For some time now legislators in the Grand Canyon State have been thinking how to facilitate residents receiving incomes and profits in cryptocurrency. If bitcoin is good for ordinary citizens and businesses, it should be good enough for the state coffers, local lawmakers have decided. Last week Arizona got closer to accepting cryptos as legal tender for taxation purposes.

Several bills recognizing coins as currencies have been making their way in the State Legislature, as reported. Two of them, SB1091 and SB1145, were aimed at regulating tax payments with digital currency. The SB1091 draft, sponsored by four Republican lawmakers, was endorsed by the Senate on February 8, with a 16 – 13 vote, after passing the Finance Committee in January. If the bill is adopted by the House, Arizona will become the first U.S. state to accept taxes in cryptocurrency in just a couple of years. The new law states:

A taxpayer may pay their income tax liability using a payment gateway, such as bitcoin, litecoin or any other recognized cryptocurrency, using electronic peer-to-peer systems.

It then clarifies that the Department of Revenue “shall convert cryptocurrency payments to United States Dollars at the prevailing rate after receipt and shall credit the taxpayer’s account with the converted dollar amount actually received, less any fees or costs incurred for conversion”. A similar bill was voted down in New Hampshire two years ago with concerns that the state would have to bear responsibility for converting the cryptos on volatile markets. Its sponsor, NH State Representative Eric Schleien (R), explained that there would be no cost and no risk to the state, as conversion would be automatic.

Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

Another draft law, HB2601, is expected to regulate crowdfunding through initial coin offerings in Arizona. Its first reading in the House of Representatives is scheduled for June 2, 2018, and the second reading should take place on July 2. It is sponsored by Representative Jeff Weninger (R) who is also among the authors of the tax amendments. Recently, he told Fox that state legislators want to “send a signal to everyone in the United States that Arizona is going to be the place to be for digital currency technology”.

Others Have Taken the Same Road

Tennessee is another state that may soon legalize cryptocurrencies and crypto payments. A proposal to do that has come with a bill that would officially recognize cryptocurrency financial transactions and smart contracts in the state. It would also protect ownership rights of information secured on blockchain networks.

We are not just competing with other states in this space, we are competing with the whole world.

That’s what Tennessee House Representative Jason Powell (D) said after a presentation on blockchain technology last month. The Nashville lawmaker also called for adopting a “meaningful legislation” in the Volunteer State, as reported by The Tennessean. “It is really important to say that Tennessee is supportive of this technology and we want to be a leader in this innovation”, Powell added. Local authorities have already indicated that money transmitter licenses will not be required to trade cryptocurrencies in the state.

Wyoming may also become a crypto-friendly jurisdiction and is already taking steps to Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.improve its attractiveness for startups from the sector. Several drafts have been introduced in the state legislature. Respective committees have passed two of them and they are now ready for the House of Representatives.

According to bill 0070, “a person who develops, sells or facilitates the exchange of an open blockchain token is not subject to specified securities laws”, if the token can be exchanged for goods and services. The legislation exempts exchanges from regulations applicable to brokers and dealers. Exemptions for cryptocurrency traders and transactions are also included in a draft to amend the Money Transmitter Act (0019).

Kansas and New Hampshire are two other states that have passed legislation with crypto-related exempts in their money transmitter regulations. In Texas companies are not licensed when offering custodial exchange services to in-state customers, and Montana has no applicable money transmission laws. Authorities in Nevada have promised to create favorable conditions for startups working with blockchain technologies. Most other states have yet to adopt their regulatory frameworks.

Do you think that positive moves towards legalization in individual states will speed up adoption of cryptocurrencies on federal level in the U.S.? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin’s Correlation With Wall Street Continues to Prove Itself

It is extremely clear that there is a high level of correlation between bitcoin and the stock market on Wall Street. According to a new report “On a 90-day basis, the correlation between the daily percent returns of the cryptocurrency and the S&P 500 is 33 percent, the highest since the cryptocurrency started gaining public attention in January 2016.” The previous high of the last two years was only at around 19%, which is much lower.

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The long run shows a negative 1% correlation, which means that these industries are highly correlated. The correlation factor has been increasing substantially, which means that many investors have possibly switched investments between crypto and the stock market. Towards the end of December, bitcoin managed to surge above $19,000, leading it to the highest the price had been since the coins inception. After the announcement of futures contracts from CME and its competitor CBOE, bitcoin managed to drop substantially, which many see as a fraudulent drop in the price, controlled by a select few individuals.

The issue with this lies in the fact that many got into the crypto industry only so that they could find an alternative to the stock market. If bitcoin is following that same price action, it essentially defeats the purpose of investing in bitcoin instead of stocks. As the stock market took its most recent dip, bitcoin also dipped below $6,000. This price action scared many investors, which led to quite a large selloff across both industries. As the industry on cryptocurrency is still relatively in its infant stages, many investors are hoping that this tight correlation will slow down slightly, so both markets can continue to grow independently of one another. Only time will tell what happens to the industry on crypto.

Trending Now: Bitcoin Price & Blockchain Technology Have Investors Hungry For Opportunity

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Bitcoin (BTC) Hits Key Level Of $10,000 As Recovery Continues

On Thursday Bitcoin (BTC) rose above the key psychological price level of $10,000 after having plunged to a low of $6,000 a week ago. The appreciation of the virtual currency is believed to be driven by various statements from regulators which have alleviated fears that there will be a heavy-handed crackdown on digital coins. Having hit the key level analysts expect new buyers to troop into the market raising the prospect that the current price has more headroom.

“For most of December and all of January investors were focused on a regulatory crackdown, mostly in Asia. That all changed when CFTC Commissioner Giancarlo spoke at the Senate Banking Committee and changed the regulatory tone,” Brian Kelly, the head of BKCM and a CNBC contributor said.

New buyers

When Bitcoin first hit the $10,000 mark in November last, leading U.S. virtual currency exchange, Coinbase, saw an increase of approximately 300,000 users around that time. These new users were credited for causing the price of the virtual currency to nearly double in the ensuing weeks.

The appreciation in price of the most popular virtual currency in the world coincides with a decision by Coinbase to disable the addition of new credit cards by customers as a method of payment in the United States. The cryptocurrency startup however revealed that debit cards would not be affected by the move.

Credit card losses

According to Coinbase the decision was driven by the fact that it was impossible to guarantee a smooth and successful experience for customers buying virtual currencies using credit cards. Some credit card firms have banned the purchase of digital coins use their products.

While the change does not currently apply to customers of Coinbase in Singapore, Australia, Canada, European Union and the United Kingdom, Coinbase is currently evaluating the situation with a view to making a decision. The ban does not also affect those who have already linked a credit card to their account on Coinbase. However their credit card issuer has to allow it in order to continue making purchases.

In the recent past some banks have announced that they will not allow their customers to buy virtual currencies using credit cards issued in their name. It is understood that banks are worried about credit card losses due to the volatile nature of cryptos.

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