Category Archives: British Virgin Islands

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Live At The Kasbah: Richard Branston Hosts Marrakesh Blockchain Summit

British business entrepreneur and founder of Virgin is now to host a major blockchain summit at his home in Marrakesh, writes Forbes.

The summit is normally held at Branston’s personal offshore home on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. However, it was devastated by last year’s Category Five storms which tore through the island, destroying numerous private residences.

In view of this, an alternative location needed to be found for the high-profile conference, which was responsible for the forming of the Blockchain Alliance which now includes 36 government agencies and the Global Blockchain Business Council, with members from 35 countries.

This year, the founder of the annual event, investor Bill Tai, announced that the event would be held at Branston’s Kasbah Tamadot in Marrakesh, Morocco, with eminent guests Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Kenya cabinet secretary Joseph Mucheru, along with 30 speakers. Building blockchain in Africa is reported to be the central focus of this year’s conference.

Tai commented:

“The whole continent is a bit of an unknown to a lot of folks because they just don’t get much exposure to it, I think getting a lot of people together that are knowledgeable, with reach, and high profile, that collectively can form a view about what are the opportunities at hand can both serve philanthropic and commercial interests.”

Blockchain in Africa is developing slowly but surely. Ghana-based Bitland and Kenya-based Land Layby are working to use blockchain to create formally-recognized infrastructures for proving land ownership, and the technology is increasingly being used in logistics to track goods from growth to table. Many small businesses are getting much-needed support from NGOs and private companies integrating blockchain projects into a range of sectors across the continent.

Tai has his own project in mind which he says he is due to announce, called Barking Dog. The project is reportedly designed to help governments without land titling in place to use blockchain to assure citizens and governments of their rights to land and, once established, to tokenize the assets.

The World Economic Forum estimates that 90% of Africa’s land is “completely” undocumented and Tia maintains blockchain could become a major factor in effecting the necessary changes to the status quo.

 

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Image Courtesy: Pixabay

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Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Demands User Tax Information

Prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform Bitfinex has given users until 24 May to confirm their tax status in order to continue using the platform’s services.

BVI legal requirements

According to a message account holders found when they logged into their Bitfinex accounts, as a company operating in the British Virgin Island (BVI), local laws now require that the tax information is collected. The details collected then may potentially be shared with the government of the users home country, should BVI law require it.

The message reads: “Pursuant to BVI law, we are required to obtain self-certifications from our customers in order to ascertain each customer’s tax residence… [we]may then exchange that information with the tax authorities of the customer’s country of residence, consistent with British Virgin Islands law, the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Common Reporting Standard (CRS).”

Centralization of exchanges

While it is crucial to provide legal regulations and safety for those trading cryptocurrencies, many have interpreted this as a step too far, particularly for those advocating the decentralized nature of blockchain trading. Similar criticism fell on peer-2-peer platform Localbitcoins, that announced earlier this month identification documents would be necessary if partaking in significant trading activity.

Unsurprisingly, backlash immediately ensued from the cryptocurrency community, with users taking to Twitter to rally Bitfinex account holders to withdraw their funds. One such user includes crypto personality Whale Panda, who wrote: “Bitfinex is now requiring users to give their tax information so that it can send it to BVI which will exchange it with your country’s tax authorities. We strongly disavow.”

Bitfinex is now requiring users to give their tax information so that it can send it to BVI which will exchange it with your country’s tax authorities.

We strongly disavow.

If you also disagree with this decision, peacefully protest it by withdrawing your money from Bitfinex pic.twitter.com/VkYchg3sqg

— Whalepool (@whalepool) May 17, 2018

Bitcoinist have reported that Bitfinex responded to the criticism by admitted that they were “deliberately targeting” specific users account details, although it is unclear the specifications with which those targeted are being held to.

 

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