Daily Archives: April 13, 2019

Celeb Waqar Zaka Calls His New Crypto Idea a Solution to Pakistan’s Debt Dilemma

waqar zaka, pakistan

Pakistani television show host, social media star and a self-proclaimed crypto king, Waqar Zaka, has announced that he plans to use skills acquired as an engineering graduate to launch ‘Tehreek-i-Tech’- the country’s first own cryptocurrency project.

Zaka plans to see these ambitious plans come to fruition with support from his old alma mater the National University of Science & Technology and other universities.

His objective? “ I have come to realize that technology is the only way to pay back the debts of Pakistan,” maintains Zaka rather optimistically. His plan is to collect a gargantuan USD 4 billion in only six months, promising that if he is unsuccessful he will quit TV for good.

Waqar Zaka is a Pakistani VJ-turned-television host. Waqar began his career by releasing the song “Nahi Parha Meine Poora Saal”. He then became a VJ. He hosted a reality show Living on the Edge. Waqar then created and hosted reality shows XPOSED, King of Street Magic, Desi Kudiyan and The Cricket Challenge aired on ARY Musik.

He made the announcement on a show on Samma TV, commenting “I have a realization that the only way to pay Pakistan’s debts is through the use of technology.” adding “If Prime Minister Imran Khan launches Pakistan’s own cryptocurrency, our country will be able to get foreign investment from around the world to pay our debts,”

Another inspiration for Zaka is changing the thinking of religious clerics in Pakistan, encouraging them to authorize a “Fatwa” (a ruling on a point of Islamic law) to enable secular or religious educational institutions known as madrassas to make Science and IT compulsory subjects.

Zaka also sees the ‘Tehreek-i-Tech’ project as a fix for Pakistan’s Space Programme. Zaka has happily used his celebrity status and huge fan base to share the message and educate people on cryptocurrencies. ”It was very difficult to make them understand how cryptocurrency can work and can eliminate money laundering for example.” he argues.

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New York Start-Up Raises $14.1 Million for Blockchain-Based Settlements in Retail Market

US-based startup raises USD 14.1M for blockchain-based settlements in the retail market

In a press release dated 11 April, New York-based Blockchain start-up Flexa has announced that it has raised USD 14.1M to develop a payments network for retailers. Flexa has raised this amount in a private token sale which involves 1kx, investment firms Nima Capital and Access Ventures. Hedge fund Pantera Capital was also a part of the token sale, among others. The company aims to create and develop a payments network for retailers that would significantly drop costs, fraudulence and other overhead costs by means of Blockchain based payments and settlements.

Flexa co-founder and CEO Tyler Spalding said,

“The anti-fraud and cost benefits of global cryptocurrency payments are enormous, but there are many barriers to mainstream adoption for merchants and consumers alike. Flexa is going to change that.”

Flexa has also revealed that it is planning to release an app wherein customers can perform tasks and conduct transactions with the cryptocurrencies that they own.  However, Spalding refused to specify which merchants will accept Bitcoin through this app. A few video tests show users buying coffee from Starbucks in it.

Flexa’s token, which is known as Flexacoin is an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token. Developers and businesses will stake value on Flexa’s network using Flexacoin, for merchant payment processing. Spalding stated that the merchants would not be required to hold or spend Flexacoins. Flexa co-founder Trevor Filter said that the details regarding such governance and participation are still under development.

This becomes evident to the fact that Blockchain based settlements are being widely implemented in the retail industry. It serves as a step for the technology to be adopted in the wholesale sector and beyond, which remains vital for the wider adoption of Bitcoin globally.

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Research: Blockchain in Finance Still Problematic For Operability, Integration with Enterprise Systems

Research: Blockchain in Finance Still Problematic For Operability, Integrating with Enterprise

New research from China points to several problems blockchain still faces in the finance sector, including data privacy compatibility, operability, and its integration within enterprise systems.

The conductor of this research, Wei Kai is head of blockchain research at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). Wei shared his most recent findings at a 2019 meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce Banking Commission.

In addition to the three main issues listed above, Wei noted that more problems would arise in the future from uncoordinated regulatory approach between jurisdictions globally. The issue of how to control investment is prevalent also.

Overall, however, his outlook was positive on the future possibilities for blockchain, saying it may well still transform the banking industry. Its ability to benefit other industries, including medicine, transportation, and government, was also addressed.

The CAICT is a research center that operates under the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Last year, the blockchain research department published a whitepaper to ”promote the deep integration of Blockchain technology and the real economy.”

 

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Tim Draper Insists Bitcoin Will Hit $250,000

Tim Draper Insists Bitcoin Will Hit 0,000

Crypto billionaire and venture capitalist Tim Draper has refused to back down from his past prediction that Bitcoin would one day achieve a value of USD 250,000.

During a Youtube interview with crypto influencer @cryptoWendyO, he did, however, extend his prediction’s deadline by a year, from his initial date of 2022 to 2023. Speculators may probably take some positive vibes from this mere one year delay, given that the market has been struggling to put forward a recovery since hitting 2018 lows of USD 3,000.

Throughout the interview, Draper maintained a bullish outlook for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, believing that people will continue to use Bitcoin as a method of payment and peer-to-peer value transfer, as originally intended:

“I think eventually they’ll spend it when they feel like the value has come to a pretty good place. But, USD 250,000 per Bitcoin in 2022 is what I predicted. It might be 2023, but it’s in that range. And that’s only a 5% market share of all the currency in the world. So, I can see why people who are real believers are holding on.”

He also retained his views of Bitcoin as a store of value, believing that it would even one day outpace gold as the world’s choice of storing value. He says that gold “is so gone” despite many people still holding on to it:

“What would you use gold for when you can store value with Bitcoin? It’s nonsense. But I’m sure a lot of people still do it, and they think of the gold standard as the good coin. But I look at it and I say, ‘What? You’re comparing Bitcoin to gold?’ It’s like 10 generations from when we used gold to transfer value.”

 

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IMF, World Bank Launch Private Quasi-Crypto ”Learning Coin”

IMF, World Bank Launch Quasi-Crypto ''Learning Coin''

A joint private blockchain project from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank is being launched to help educate institutions and gain a better understanding of both blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

A quasi-cryptocurrency dubbed ”Learning Coin” will also be used during the project, although it is stressed that the token will have zero monetary value and will be inaccessible outside of the IMF and World Bank.

In a statement, the IMF noted that the rapidly evolving technologies in the cryptocurrency space had forced the institution to admit a ”growing knowledge gap.” The Learning Coin project is an effort to bridge that gap, for legislators and policymakers to gain a better understanding.

The project will offer knowledgable insights via a website, blog posts and videos, all looking to investigate the principles of distributed ledger technologies. Reaching educational milestones on the private platforms will earn the employees Learning Coin tokens as a reward; while they will not be able to exchange them for currency, it is suggested the developers will be able to exchange them for some form of reward.

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US Congress to IRS: Ambiguous Tax Treatment, a Serious Problem to Taxpayers

US Congress to IRS: Ambiguous Tax Treatment, A Serious Problem to Taxpayers

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner Charles Rettig received a request from members of the Congress on the blockchain committee chaired by Congressman Tom Emmer; to provide clarity about filing crypto-related taxes before tax day.

A bipartisan letter drafted by Congressman Emmer along with 20 others in the committee expressed their concerns in the form of questions about the ambiguous tax treatment of emerging exchange of value. Issues such as acceptable methods for calculating the cost basis of virtual currencies, the acceptable methods of cost basis assignment and lot relief for virtual currencies, and tax treatment of forks especially with regard to the 2017 hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain.

In the press release, it was stated that rather than provide clarity, “the 2014 guidance by the IRS failed to address fundamental tax questions,” and further spawned more request for clarity, meanwhile, the IRS only tightened its processes and made it more difficult for taxpayers by increasing “enforcement activities against taxpayers who “misreport” their cryptocurrency transactions.”

It was the opinion of the committee that an appropriate tax filing procedure should be in order and one long overdue since the IRS released its preliminary guidance on the subject – about five years ago.

Congressman Emmer said:

“Guidance is long overdue and essential to proper reporting of these emerging assets. The bipartisan support this letter has received should send a clear message to the IRS that clear guidelines for reporting virtual currency are necessary.”

Earlier this year, it would appear that as the tax year end closes in, cryptocurrency users were on edge as to how to report their crypto earnings. In the UK, tax filing seems a step-ahead as it published a comprehensive guide (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines) detailing how crypto-related transactions for individuals are to be treated during tax reporting. Meanwhile, in the US, the IRS had only so far declared cryptocurrency taxation policies as a core campaign in 2019.

On a broader perspective, the overall attempt by the US to provide an ambient environment for the emerging asset industry continues at a rather progressive pace. Recently, a bill designed to exclude cryptocurrencies from being identified as securities was reintroduced for consideration.

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Two Men Charged as Dubious OneCoin Hits Singapore

Two Men Charged as Dubious OneCoin Hits Singapore

OneCoin, a cryptocurrency listed as fraudulent in the US, has become the subject of a court case in Singapore with two men currently held under arrest for promoting a multi-level marketing scheme.

The men currently being held are facing charges for incorporating a company called One Concept Pte Ltd in violation of Singapore’s Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have listed OneCoin and One Concept Pte Ltd on the Investor Alert List (IAL).

A news release over the arrests stated: “the fact that a company is listed on the IAL does not necessarily mean that it has breached any of MAS’ regulations. However, investors should bear in mind that these entities have had a past record of being wrongly perceived by others as being licensed by the MAS when they are not.”

New Zealand is another country which has issued a warning regarding OneCoin in the past. In this case was revealed by the Commercial Affairs Department that the scheme involved the purchasing of educational courses and promotional tokens which could be used to mine OneCoins, a Bulgarian created token with features similar to Bitcoin.

The Singapore Police Force has warned the public about the risks of being involved in any One Concept Pte Ltd marketing schemes and OneCoin itself. If convicted the two men face a maximum jail term of up to five years or a stiff fine which could be as much as USD 200,000.

Singapore has a limited history of cryptocurrency-related crime. The last major case involved a claim of some BTC 3,085 due to a trade reversal by Quoine exchange in 2017 when market maker B2C2 sued Quoine for the unauthorized reversal of 7 trade orders amounting to BTC 3,092, placed by the plaintiff on the defendant’s exchange platform.

 

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IMF Online Pollsters Call Crypto Most Popular Payment by 2024

IMF Online Pollsters Call Crypto Most Popular Payment by 2024

A poll running on the IMF website asking the question asking “How do you think you will be paying for lunch in 5 years?” now has almost 26,000 responses.

The response is clear, hedging towards crypto with 56% of respondents going for the flagship crypto with only 9% and 7% respectively suggesting payments in 2024 will be made with cash and bankcard.

Of course, IMF’s poll is limited to lunch, but clearly could well be extended to online and in-store purchases. However, eating out on crypto is not as difficult as one might think, which is probably reflected by the respondents’ views.

Asia is ahead of the game with Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchange and the world’s 6th largest digital currency, who installed cryptocurrency-accepting kiosks across the country, at restaurants, cafes, stores, and malls in 2018.

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz has warned that cryptocurrencies need to be adopted by retailers in order to join reserve currencies around the world. The Bakkt project has for the latter part of 2018 been touted as the platform to finally make way for mainstream institutional investors to get into the cryptocurrency game and could see the beginning of Starbucks crypto coffee and bagels.

Currently, CoinMap identifies over 14,600 establishments that accept Bitcoin across the world, but these are not simply eateries such as restaurants and cafés. Scandinavia may be the place to dine on Bitcoin though. Denmark is keen and now registers 1500 restaurants which will happily take clients BTC for a tasty meal. Further south in Holland, Arnhem, once called the “world’s most Bitcoin-friendly city”, is now seeing BTC less used for such payments.

 

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