Category Archives: Buenos Aires

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Binance CEO Displays Christmas Optimism

Binance CEO Displays Christmas Optimism

The CEO of Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, has continued with his optimistic slant for the company as the new year approaches.

Terming 2018 as the “year of correction”, Changpeng Zhao is maintaining that current prices are a real boon for investors and this fact along with the increasing volume of DLT applications being produced by developers will push the adoption of cryptocurrencies even further forward in 2019.

Zhao sees worldwide regulation of blockchain cryptocurrency space as a positive claiming that this has been long overdue. He maintains the correct legislation will have the effect of promoting and encouraging the industry rather than slowing down growth.

The company has led from the front ending the year with some major projects., particularly since the launch of its labs program. Binance Labs, the venture wing of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, supports new blockchain startups and cryptocurrency projects through technical assistance and direct investment. Binance describes the project as an initiative to incubate, invest, and empower blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, projects, and communities.

The initiative to support early-stage blockchain projects has already yielded results, with right projects emerging from the program.

Zhang has also revealed that Binance Labs will launch new incubator programs in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Singapore, and Hong Kong from March 2019, offering the same 10-week course. Regarding the inclusion of Buenos Aires and Lagos, Zhang commented:

“Those two emerging markets have native blockchain and crypto use cases. So we hope to find teams solving local problems like payments, the instability of local currencies, or remittance problems.”

Even today at this late stage of the year, Christmas has been put on hold although clearly represented with Zhang announcing that the Binance Charity Foundation, the exchange’s philanthropic arm, had launched a blockchain powered charity project to support youth in Malta. This project will support terminally ill patients and disadvantaged children in Malta and Gozo.

 

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Binance Labs Incubator Hatches Eight New Blockchain Projects

Binance Labs Incubator Hatches Eight New Blockchain Projects

The Binance initiative to support early-stage blockchain projects has yielded results, with 8 projects emerging from the programme.

Binance Labs, the venture wing of the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance supports new blockchain startups and cryptocurrency projects through technical assistance and direct investment. Binance describes the project as an initiative to incubate, invest, and empower blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, projects, and communities.

From 500 applicants, Binance narrowed the projects down to eight, each of which received USD 500,000 in funding. The programme reports that seven projects have shipped working products and signed on users, while three of those teams have paying customers as well. The eight projects will participate in the San Francisco incubator this year.

The projects selected include SafePal, Torus, Nym and market prediction startup Deaux. Earlier this year, Binance Labs reportedly invested millions of dollars into the decentralized digital content ecosystem Contentos, a platform aiming to offer transparency and monetization of content without third-party censorship or removal of content.

The Lab’s programme is part of Binance’s commitment made earlier this year to launch a USD 1 billion “social impact fund” to aid blockchain and cryptocurrency startups. The initial concept was to contribute over USD 1 billion via 10 installments of USD 100 million each, creating both funds for further investment into blockchain related funds, and direct funding of individual projects.

The first project chosen for the funding scheme was a blockchain ride-hailing initiative co-founded by Chen Weixing, CEO of app developer Funcity. Ella Zhang, head of the exchange’s incubator programme at Binance Labs commented about the breadth of its initiative:

“We believe it’s a disruptive social experiment. Binance Labs hopes to work with more aspirational projects to explore blockchain applications and together move forward the growth of the industry,”

Zhang has also revealed that Binance Labs will launch new incubator programmes in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Singapore, and Hong Kong from March 2019, offering the same 10-week programmes. Regarding the inclusion of Buenos Aires and Lagos into the programme Zhang commented:

“Those two emerging markets have native blockchain and crypto use cases. So we hope to find teams solving local problems like payments, the instability of local currencies, or remittance problems.”

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G20 Declaration Confirms Crypto Regulations, Acknowledges Bank of England

G20 Declaration Confirms Crypto Regulations, Acknowledges Bank of England

The G20 has confirmed that cryptocurrency regulations are to be implemented, as published in a Leaders’ Declaration on 1 December. The declaration also closes by thanking Bank of England governor Mark Carney for his work as chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB).

Safety first

The meetings were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 November and 4 December 2018. Here, the members have brought the topic of crypto-assets to the table and have firmly stated in the declaration that they “will regulate crypto-assets for anti-money laundering” purposes, as well as counter the funding of terrorism “in line with FATF standards”, with other considerations open to suggestion.

This brings a close to his ongoing relationship with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, one that has been extraordinarily formative for the nascent industry as well as the G20, to whom he has provided guidance and counsel to on the matter. Nevertheless, his work has laid the foundations from which positive leaning regulations can be formalized.

The Carney effect

The acknowledgment in the declaration to the Bank of England bears significance as Carney steps down from his role as of late November.

In February, the governor espoused cynical views on the success of cryptos and their broader applications; though over time, he has become a rational component of the discourse, discussing the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and also soothing the concerns of institutions and governments, saying that digital currencies bore “no risk” to the global financial system.

Carney’s ongoing influence on the development and creation of regulations for crypto-assets for the G20 will be one to follow closely. Previously, the G20 called upon the FSB to produce a report on its crypto-asset work, which it did in July and in doing so, claimed to have developed a method to monitor the “financial stability implications of crypto-assets”.

In a letter written to G20 leaders around the time he was parting ways with the FSB, Carney reflected on the study that found “no significant risks”, though he goes on to acknowledge the growth of risk should cryptocurrency usage become more wide-spread or “linkages to the rest of the financial system grew”. He also comments on the serious issues that the crypto-assets such as “consumer and investor protection, money laundering, and terrorist financing”.

Forward thinking

Within the G20’s declaration titled ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development’, non-bank financial institutions are given a positive nod in a statement that eludes a typically balanced approach to disruptive technologies in the financial sector, writing:

“We look forward to continued progress on achieving resilient non-bank financial intermediation. We will step up efforts to ensure that the potential benefits of technology in the financial sector can be realized while risks are mitigated.”

At the Buenos Ares summit, the leaders also revealed aspirations to implement taxation for cryptocurrencies stating: “We will seek solutions for the international taxation issue accompanying the digitization of the economy and will continue to collaborate.”

The legacy left by Carney and the ongoing work of the FSB, G20 and other involved entities to regulate the crypto-space appears to be coming to fruition, which could prove transformative for the blockchain industry overall.

 

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G20 Calls for Universal Crypto Taxation Rules

G20 Calls for Universal Crypto Taxation Rules

Cryptocurrency and taxation have found their way among the main headlines coming out of the latest 2018 G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, alongside further commitments to fight climate change.

The G20 has now announced the desire for universal cryptocurrency taxation legislation to cover all jurisdictions within its remit with the body planning to regard itself as a “huge IT company” going forward. New laws governing the taxation of cryptocurrencies would also include further regulation as promised earlier in the year.

The current problem, which will clearly need to be overcome by some lateral and innovative thinking, is the role of international law in matters of taxation, as current ones do not allow most countries to tax companies without physical bases in that specific country. In the new declaration to commit to a cross-border crypto tax system, the G20 stated:

“We will seek solutions for the international taxation issue accompanying the digitization of the economy and will continue to collaborate.”

Previous G20 meets had already raised the topic; in its July report, the body’s Financial Stability Board (FSB) noted that previous analysis of crypto-asset markets, which included initial coin offerings (ICOs), had brought forth awareness surrounding significant challenges such as rapid market development, lack of transparency (with regard to identity and location of token issuers), as well as governing laws for white papers and gaps in data.

There continues to be some consensus from within the group representing the 20 nations about the value of innovation, although this may be limited to the respect currently being shown for the current impact of DLT and AI in the fintech space and elsewhere. The G20 has asked for further investigations to be launched in cryptocurrencies when Japan takes over the helm as chair in 2020.

Regarding cryptocurrency, the G20 repeatedly cite taking actions which are “balanced between preserving the benefits of innovation and containing various risks, especially those for consumer and investor protection and market integrity” but again AML legislation will be a focus with Japan as the next chair.

As is frequently in the case regarding the G20, it is a matter of getting all members on the same page, particularly given the current political friction between some of the member states. Europe and the UK are interested in developing such a program that they feel could combat money laundering and fraud, particularly in the case of larger organizations, but Japanese news agency Jiji has indicated that the USA and China are far more reticent to endorse such a move.

 

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Argentinian Economy Nosedive Attracts Crypto Investors as Peso Falls

Argentina is not quite undergoing the pain of Venezuela but it’s beginning to feel the economic pressure, driving numerous investors to Bitcoin as a safe haven for their pesos.

The Argentinian economy has shrunk by 4% during the second quarter, with President Mauricio Macri’s government announcing that it expects the economy to shrink further by 2.4% this year. One of the causes of the slump has been attributed to a drought that occurred early in 2018 which severely damaged soybean and corn production.

Fausto Spotorno, Director of the Buenos Aires-based Center for Economic Studies observed that the downturn was due to crop failure, saying: “That really hurt growth in the quarter… The second quarter is when we harvest soybeans and corn, so there was a big drop in agricultural production.”

As a result, peso’s value has fallen. This has affected the morale of both investors and savers, consequently opening them up to the Bitcoin market. Economist and mathematician D.H. Taylor writes:

“Argentinians are moving in large numbers out of their peso and into a more stable currency, BTC. The numbers being witnessed by the markets in BTC are surging from Argentina,” adding that “The stability being offered by the digital currency is far greater than the peso and Argentinians are moving in quickly.”

The Argentinian government is now looking at Bitcoin with real intent as the economy begins to falter and efforts by the Central Bank have made absolutely no impact. As a result, it’s been reported that the Central bank may even be considering investing their currency reserves into Bitcoin and US dollars to gain some stability in case of a further need to devaluate the peso.

In May of this year, a massive peso selloff forced the government to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), receiving a $50 billion bailout and contributions towards a public works fund as inflation continues to rise.

Meanwhile, the demand for BTC is rising with 12 ATMs scheduled for the capital Buenos Aries and plans to saturate the country with more machines, and more merchants are now accepting payments in Bitcoin.

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“Bitcoineta” Road Trip Hits Argentinian Highways With Bitcoin Story

Two Argentinian non-profit organizations, Bitcoin Argentina and Bitcoin Americana, are touring rural Argentina spreading knowledge about Bitcoin among local communities, Cointelegraph reports.

Local news outlet Infobae has reported that they’ve decided to coin the name “Bitcoineta” for the project by blending together Bitcoin with ‘camioneta’, the Spanish word for van, their mode of travel for their huge road trip which will take them across the nation.

The Bitmobile has been rigged out for the long road trip, complete with a movie projector, in which the team hopes to reach each village and town in the country across Argentina’s 1 million square miles, disseminating Bitcoin and showing education films about cryptocurrency along the way. Founder of the project, Gabriel Kurman says that he wants to show people how to “take advantage” of cryptocurrencies.

The van set out from Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires on 1 June, reaching the town of Chasomus, with a population of 30,000, some 120 kilometers away, to give a short lecture on blockchain and cryptocurrencies for the locals. Once leaving Buenos Aires province Bitcoineta will visit the regions of La Pampa, Santa Fe, and Cordoba. The team has said that it plans to extend their educational road trip to other parts of Latin America sometime in the future.

The visibility and profile of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Argentina are on the rise. It plans to become the world’s biggest player with pre-agreements to install 4,000 Bitcoin ATMs around the country as part of a new government plan to install 30,000 machines in the future. The South American country is currently home to more than 10 cryptocurrency exchanges. In May, one of the country’s banks, Banco Masventas, announced it would enable clients to use Bitcoin for international payments.

Bitcoin has been greeted in Argentina with enthusiasm partly because countries with histories of inflation and devaluation of their currencies see the digital currency as one that can conserve the value of user investments and savings. After President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s tightening of currency controls debased the Argentine peso (ARS) in 2012, Bitcoin has gained increasing popularity.

 

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