Blockchain News 11 January 2018

Ex-Financial Regulator: I wish I would have invested in Bitcoin when I told everyone to be careful

Former financial regulator Bart Chilton wishes he had invested in bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies back when he was telling everyone to be careful.

Chilton says it’s still the “Wild West” outside the regulated futures market, but added the massive price fluctuations have since “mellowed out.”

Japan’s Fisco announces launch of cryptocurrency fund

Japanese investment research firm and bitcoin exchange operator Fisco has announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency fund.

Coming after the firm issued a bitcoin bond last year, the new crypto fund will invest more than 300 million yen ($2.66 million) in bitcoin and other digital currencies, according to Nikkei.

The fund claims to be the first of its kind in Japan.

Arizona lawmakers introduce bill to allow citizens to pay taxes with Bitcoin

A new bill submitted to the Arizona Senate would, if approved, allow people to pay their state tax liabilities using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Public records show that the bill – sponsored by state Senator Warren Petersen and co-sponsored by three other lawmakers – was submitted for consideration on Jan. 9. It has since been referred to the Arizona Senate Rules Committee for further deliberation.

According to the text, the measure would allow for the use of “a payment gateway, such as bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, using peer-to-peer systems” in order to pay “tax and any interest and penalties” owed to the state government.

Arizona lawmakers have moved to approve bills related to the tech in the past. Last spring, the legislature finalized a bill that recognizes blockchain signatures and smart contracts as valid under state law. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the measure into law last March.

U.S. Marshals service plans to auction 3,813 bitcoins

The U.S. Marshals Service will auction off 3,813 bitcoins seized in connection with federal, civic and administrative cases. The coins are worth almost $54 million at current prices.

The auction by the Department of Justice agency will take place during a six-hour period on Jan. 22. The bitcoins will be offered for sale in 11 blocks, the largest of which will contain 813 bitcoins. Participants are required to make a deposit of $200,000, the agency said in a statement Thursday.

US Senate to hold meeting discussing cryptocurrencies

The U.S. Senate’s financial services panel will hold a hearing next month with the country’s top markets regulators to discuss bitcoin amid rising concerns over the risks cryptocurrencies pose to the financial system, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The Senate Banking Committee will take testimony from Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton in early February, the source said.

Russia amends cryptocurrency bill: Only approved exchanges allowed

Russia’s Ministry of Finance will make an addition to the cryptocurrency legalization bill, which will allow trading such assets only on certain “official” exchanges.
Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told RNS.

The list of official exchanges has not yet been approved, it is still being “discussed”.

Moiseev assured that the ministry does not want to limit the transfer of existing crypto currency, but expect to put “some kind of framework”.

“Who has crypto-currencies, the nothing will be. But the purchase and sale will somehow be standardized. The general idea is that it will be necessary to buy and sell assets on official exchanges and this will be declared, legalized.”
Alexey Moiseyev – Deputy Minister of Finance

The Ministry of Finance presented the draft regulation of the Crypto-currency in December 2017, the document will be submitted to the State Duma in February 2018. The Ministry believes that crypto-currencies should be considered property, not money, and mining – fall under the definition of business activities with special taxes.

Blockchain News 11 January 2018

Arkansas gets first Bitcoin ATM

In Arkansas’ tallest building sits the first bitcoin machine in the state.

The machine has drawn attention since November when it was placed in the Corner Store and More on the ground floor of the 40-story Simmons Tower in downtown Little Rock.

“I’ve gotten lots of foot traffic with it,” said store manager Connie Davis.

The machine is owned by Freedom Coin Inc., which has an office near the Simmons Tower.

Chris Sweeney, co-founder and chief executive officer of Freedom Coin Inc., and K.C. Surrett, president and chief financial officer, said they plan to install 10-15 more machines in Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and other metropolitan areas of Arkansas.

“I think the popular consensus is that futures trading stabilized the price,” Sweeney said.

“It’s as legitimate as our U.S. currency,” said Duszota, a local Arkansas man, a Bitcoin ATM customer who was interviewed at the scene.

South Korea: No plans to ban cryptocurrency

This week, several mainstream media outlets reported that the South Korean government is planning to ban cryptocurrency trading. That is certainly not the case, as the bill would need to pass congress first before it can be taken into effect.

As it has done since December 13 of 2017, the South Korea Ministry is merely preparing a bill that would close down certain cryptocurrency exchanges. It is not planning to ban cryptocurrency trading in the short-term.

If the South Korean government intended to ban cryptocurrency trading, it would have done so on December 13, instead of releasing various regulatory frameworks that included a ban on foreigners trading cryptocurrencies.

CCN revealed the four major regulatory frameworks the South Korean government is expected to implement by January 20:

– Prevent unaccredited investors from dealing with losses through highly volatile cryptocurrencies.
– Prevent strictly regulated cryptocurrency exchanges from operating as speculative platforms for unaccredited investors.
– Request banks and exchanges to ensure underaged investors and foreigners cannot open trading accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges.
– Temporarily suspend institutional investors and retail investors from investing in cryptocurrencies.

The South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance emphasized that it does not agree with the proposal of the Ministry of Justice.
“We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential cryptocurrency exchange ban,” MSF said.

Evidently, the cryptocurrency trading ban proposal has not been finalized or even agreed upon by the South Korea Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

Blockchain News 11 January 2018