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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 9th to 15th February 2019

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

European Union

EU Parliament Member Praises EU Stance on Crypto: A member of the EU Parliament has spoken in favour of the EU’s stance on cryptocurrencies. Eva Kaili, a member of the legislative body spoke out in favour of the supposedly progressive stance adopted by the Union.

Speaking at an event organized by Ripple in London, Kaili said that blockchain’s disruptive behaviour was now being acknowledged by many EU member states. Kaili has long been a cryptocurrency advocate in the parliament which has certain legislative powers in the Union.

United Kingdom

Think Tank to Study Impact of Crypto on Economic Institutions: A UK-based think tank, Institute of Decentralized Economics (IDE) has said that it will study the impact of cryptocurrencies on the conventional economic institutions like banks and regulators.

The new initiative is being backed by fintech startup Sweetbridge and it will explore new potentials of autonomous systems and find real applications to promote. Once the understanding is better, IDE will recommend the right policies to the government.

High School Wins Position in Barclays Blockchain Competition: Blockchain enthusiasts from a London-based high school have claimed the third position in a local hackathon organized by the Barclays Bank and startup Clearmatics.

The prize was won by teenagers from Bedford who were up against much more experienced computer scientists and programmers.

Spain

Central Bank Warns Citizens Against Using Cryptocurrencies: The Central Bank of Spain Banco de Espana has warned citizens against using cryptocurrencies citing a number of issues according to a blog post on its official website.

The post stresses that cryptocurrencies are “unregulated assets” and do not have a deposit guarantee fund which the government promises in every fiat deposit. It also points to the issue of cryptocurrencies not being a legal tender and thus users will have difficulties in buying/selling goods through it as the buyer will have no guarantee of the money.

While Spain does have some progressive regulations for crypto, the overall market penetration is still low because of uncertainty and the central bank’s constant warnings.

Russia

Cargo Shipper to Use Blockchain for Port Logistics: Russian cargo company Baltika has announced that it is working on a new blockchain-based solution for improving and immuting the port logistics in the country.

According to a post in the local daily Morvesti, the company has inked a deal with Iconic, a blockchain company based in Moscow. The new system will store all information related to shipping and port operations on the blockchain and help improve efficiencies and streamline the company.

Miners Concerned Over Russian Internet Shutdown: The Russian cryptocurrency mining community is concerned about government’s plans to shut down the internet for a little while before April 1. 

The planned shutdown is happening because a new digital doctrine is being implemented by the Russian government, one that involves the Russian internet working on its own. To check this, the government needs to shut it down for a while. The crypto community feels threatened because so much of what they do is online and it might cause unprecedented problems.

Luxembourg

Blockchain Framework Bill Passed by Parliament: The Luxembourg parliament has passed a new law that will facilitate the uses of blockchain technology in financial services and other industries.

While the top regulator in the country has issued warnings against cryptocurrency projects like in the country before, the overall attitude is now looking quite positive for the industry.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 2-8 February 2019

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

United Kingdom

FCA Gives Go Ahead to London Firm for Contracts For Difference: United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has given go-ahead to B2C2 OTC Ltd, a London based firm, to give its customers Contracts For Difference (CFD) based on cryptocurrency. CFDs are a financial instrument that allows traders to predict price fluctuations to profit from the rise and fall of value. CFDs are offered in BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and XRP.

DOVU, another London based crypto startup, has teamed up with London rail service provider Go-Ahead to offer commuters the chance to earn crypto as they travel. Travelers can earn by sharing their travel data and shifting their mode of transport to a more public one.

Belgium

SWIFT Announces Foray into Blockchain: SWIFT, the international financial transaction organization based in Belgium has announced the launch of blockchain technology based gateway to note and transmit transactional information to members. The tech is still a proof of concept that is being developed with the help of blockchain software company, R3.

Isle of Man

Government Working for Infrastructure of Crypto Sector: Authorities in the Isle of Man have set up an office that will help in developing adequate regulatory infrastructure for blockchain technology. In addition to the office, a sandbox is also introduced for organizations to test their blockchain platforms.

Switzerland

Stock Exchange to Use Blockchain Tech for Digital Exchange: Swiss stock exchange, SIX, will be using blockchain technology in its upcoming digital trading platform, SDX. The largest stock exchange in the country, it expects the decentralized ledger technology-based platform to be launched in the first quarter of the year. The exchange officials expect the new platform to outperform traditional services by 2029.

Meanwhile, this year’s Swiss Venture Capital Report has shown that in the last year, a record number of venture capital investments were made in Swiss blockchain startups. According to the report, in 2018, nearly USD 1.25 billion of funds were backed by VCs. The majority of the backing was done in Zug, Switzerland’s crypto valley.

Russia

Bank Head Says Crypto Mining is Counterfeiting: The head of the second largest bank in Russia, VTB has said that crypto mining is equivalent to counterfeiting. According to the executive, “A person who is mining [cryptocurrencies] is similar to someone who is printing money”. He believes that there will be a very niche market for cryptos in the coming future.

Cryptos may be subjected to different views, but the Russian education board, Rosobrnadzor, is taking advantage of the technology behind them. Rosobrnadzor will be implementing the technology for its Unified State Exam, the only form of testing for school completion and preliminaries for universities.

Portugal

Bank Completes Transaction Using Blockchain: Portuguese bank, Banco Best, has successfully completed an end to end transaction with the global investment bank, Credit Suisse using blockchain. Every stage of the transaction was made possible through the use of a specialized blockchain based platform, FundsDLT.

Italy

Government Close to Defining Cryptocurrency Legislation: The Italian authorities have come a little closer to clearly defining blockchain technology based cryptocurrency through a new legislation. The Italian parliament passed the bill that specifies terms and their meanings for distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

Lichtenstein

Fund Manager Gets Backing from UAE: A cryptocurrency fund manager in the tiny country of Lichtenstein has received backing from a Dubai royalty. The special interest by the Arab Sheikh is due to the fact that even in the slump of crypto market, the fund manager invested more than USD 1 million and managed to make a decent profit.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 19 to 25 January 2019

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

United Kingdom

Hampshire Resident Arrested for IOTA Fraud: A Hampshire resident has been arrested for alleged defrauding of USD 11.4 million worth of IOTA. By offering what seemed genuine IOTA support, the unnamed 36-year-old was able to create passwords and access 85 wallets of IOTA holders. He was arrested by the UK’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is contemplating stepping into the blockchain sector. Yet, unlike other exchanges that are looking into using the technology to speed up its operations, LSE is actually selling the technology to other exchanges. The exchange has signed a deal with Hong Kong-based fintech ATOM Group to offer its Millennium Exchange matching engine for its crypto exchange, AXX Digital.

Romania

Government Amends Tax Laws: The Romanian authorities have amended its tax laws to bring the crypto income of its residents under “income from other sources” and included a 10% tax. According to the new amendment, only yearly gains of about USD 150 and above from cryptos will be taxed. Romania joins a number of European countries that have altered their laws in order to accommodate crypto gains into the tax net.

Switzerland

Bank Suggests Bitcoin Must Change Proof of Work: The Bank for International Settlements, a Swiss banking organization, has claimed that Bitcoin must change its current Proof of Work system as the increasing energy requirements would make the largest cryptocurrency infeasible for miners to even record a transaction in the future.

The organization further suggested that a sort of institutionalization should also be implemented for other consensus options. This has been met with sarcasm around the crypto community, as the reward block falling to zero would only increase the value of Bitcoin and concept of institutionalization means centralization, something Bitcoin is against.

Spain

Port Authority Joins IBM Shipping Project: Spain’s Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) becomes the latest port to join TradeLens, a blockchain platform designed to reduce paperwork and bring efficiencies to the port logistics sector. The platform is a collaboration of IBM and shipping giant Maersk.

On dry land, Spanish automobile company SEAT announced it was joining a team of blockchain operators on the Alastaria system. The company is developing its own supply chain tracking system and teaming with more than 70 companies in Alastaria, where it gains access to a network of resources from other members.

Netherlands

Dutch Government Recommends Stopping Anonymous Trading: The Dutch authorities have made recommendations to stop anonymous trading of cryptocurrencies in the country. The proposed law will see all exchanges applying for licenses to operate. The proposal comes from financial regulators, the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) and their central bank,  De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Germany

SAP Launches Blockchain Tracing and Tracking: German software company SAP has said it has successfully launched a blockchain tracing and tracking system for healthcare medication. The system is said to monitor and authenticate pharma products from production to sellers.

Sweden

Swede Handed $1 Million Tax Bill: A Swede has just been handed a USD 1 million tax bill by the government on account for his crypto trading. The taxpayer claims the taxation is illogical and in error since the staggering bill is about 300% of what he actually profited.

Russia

Economist Stands by Claims of Government Buying Bitcoin: Heavily criticized for his statements on Russia’s plans for investing USD 10 billion in Bitcoin to bypass U.S. economic sanctions, the claimant,  economist Vladislav Ginko still insists this be true. He has made other claims in the past that are still to come true and are a bit stretching on reality, such as Bitcoin achieving USD 2 million valuation in the previous year.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12th to 18th January 2019

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

Denmark

Tax Agency to Get Data From Exchanges: Denmark’s tax agency will now have access to traders’ data from local crypto exchanges. This move has been adopted to audit tax payments from 3 exchanges, spanning back to 2016.

This development may be related to the recent reports from the Finnish authorities alerting their Danish counterparts of trades executed on Finnish exchanges by entities that originate from Denmark.

Switzerland

Expert Believes Stablecoins Are the Next Big Thing: Co-founder of Bitcoin Association Switzerland, Luzius Meisser, has said that stablecoins are the next big thing in the cryptocurrency sector. He opinionated while speaking at Crypto Finance Conference which was held in St Moritz.

He said, “Stablecoins are a precondition to enable average companies to bring their equity onto the blockchain, because if they issue bonds or shares they want to do so against US dollars, euros or Swiss francs, because those are the currencies they calculate in, not Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH).”

Russia

Government Denies Rumours That Bitcoin Is Being Purchased at State Level: Russian authorities have denied a buildup of rumors that the country was seeking investment in bitcoins as a way of circumnavigating economic sanctions imposed by the US government.

The news surfaced when a Russian economist, Vladislav Ginko, tweeted that the Russian authorities would be investing USD 10 billion from its 470 billion reserves in the cryptocurrency. “All over the world, a cryptocurrency is considered as a high-risk asset and a similar model, naturally, would not suit anyone.” said a Russian official in denial of any such activity.

Spain

Spain Energy Sector Is Rapidly Becoming One of the Most Blockchain Friendly Industrial Sectors in Europe: Iberdrola, an energy giant in the country, announced it will be using blockchain to track renewable energy delivery across the country. It has successfully completed a trial, providing energy from two wind farms and a conventional fossil fuel plant to send power to its biggest shareholder, a bank. Iberdrola seeks to bring increased transparency and cost reduction in its operations through blockchain.

Repsol is another giant in the energy sector in Spain that has been using blockchain and recently claimed EUR 40,000 worth of savings in a year. The company used the technology to bring improvements in the safety and quality certifications, allowing for the elimination of errors and faults. Normally, these would result in a reworking of the tests, causing an increase in unwanted expenses.

France

Yellow Vests Announce Bank Run:  Gilet Jaunes aka The Yellow Vests have been making headlines for their protest against the financial quagmire the country seemed to be getting into. In their latest attempt to pressurize the government, they asked people to participate in a “bank run”.

The run is a situation when people withdraw their money from banks in a single, massive move to put financial pressure on the authorities. The Yellow Vests suggested people convert their cash into cryptocurrencies so that they can continue to make payments and purchases, without the involvement of banks.

Bulgaria

Revenue Authority to Investigate Crypto Trading Firms: National Revenue Authority, the tax arm of the Bulgarian government, has announced that it plans to investigate the workings of crypto selling firms in the country. The investigations are being planned in a move to ensure that these trading platforms are in compliance with taxation laws with no evasions.

The authority has also set a nominal 10% tax on its citizens for gains made through cryptocurrencies. While the taxation is very low as compared to other countries, the law still does not take into account the volatility of cryptocurrencies.

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Denmark Tax Agency to Collect Info from Crypto Exchanges

Denmark

Traders’ data will now be collected by the Denmark tax agency from local cryptocurrency exchanges to audit their tax payments according to local news outlets.

On Monday, the Skattestyrelsen declared that for the first time in history, it has received access to data of the cryptocurrency traders. The access was approved by the Danish Tax Council. The agency can now potentially collect information such as the Central Person Registration (CPR) number, trades, names, and addresses. Three crypto exchanges will provide this data spanning from 2016 to 2018; the names of these exchanges have not been revealed yet.

Skattestyrelsen maintained in its application to the Tax council that it aims to obtain information regarding virtual currency transactions of unaccounted for companies and taxpayers. Recently, Danish authorities received information from Finland’s tax authorities that some Danish traders were active on an anonymous Finnish exchange. This news led to the abovementioned move by the agency.

The personal tax director at Skattestyrelsen, Karin Bergen, expressed his views in the announcement that there is a huge market which needs to be looked into by the agency.

The agency claimed previously that during the span of 2015-2017 the crypto trade of nearly 100 million Danish krone (DKK worth USD 15.35 million) was done by 2,700 Danish citizens on the Finland-based Bitcoin exchange.

Moreover, referring to the research done by the National Tax Board, it was claimed that nearly 450,000 local citizens want to invest in crypto. However, only half of them know about the taxation rules. Therefore, a probe into the matter was deemed necessary.

 

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

The European Union

EU Banking Authority Says Cryptocurrencies Require Research before Regulations are Imposed: European Banking Authority (EBA), the EU bank regulation branch, has said that more cryptocurrencies warrant more research before an organization-wide regulation can be introduced. The authority admitted that there is a risk to investors since there is no proper customer protection under the EU law as yet. However, it said that a hurried set of regulations may do more harm than good.

Many EU states already have different rules and stances on cryptocurrencies within their jurisdiction. For an effective EU wide regulation, all countries’ regulations must be studied so that a uniform and smooth system can be created.

Malta

Government Denies Crypto Slowdown Has Caused Government to Slow Down Development in the Sector: The government of Malta has denied claims by the opposition that last year’s crypto market crash has caused the government to fall silent and slow down its activity in the sector. The Parliamentary Secretariat, Maltese body responsible for the crypto industry in the country, hit back strongly, saying that with already a number of cryptocurrency protections in place, it has still not lost steam and more are being planned.

Malta is one of the most crypto friendly countries in Europe and the small island nation has used it to become a center of interest. Malta hopes to become the first country in the world that will have a complete regulation system in place for cryptocurrencies.

France

Graffiti Artist Uses Bitcoin for Latest Work: Graffiti artist, Pascal Boyart, is famous for hiding messages in his artwork. He has, once again, used Bitcoin in his latest work. This time, the French artist has embedded clues to a prize of BTC 0.28492509 in “La liberté guidant le peuple 2019”.

Boyart has made the public key available and says that anyone who can crack the puzzle in his painting will be able to gain access to the private keys, and therefore, get their hands on the Bitcoin stored within it.

The artist loves to incorporate cryptocurrencies in his works. Recently, he organized an exhibition in Paris, where he told artists to hide the Bitcoin symbol in their creations and surprise visitors.

Tobacco Retailers Offering Bitcoin Vouchers: While Boyart plays with Bitcoin in his art, tobacconists in France are now offering the world’s leading cryptocurrency as gift vouchers to customers. The vouchers are being offered by fintech company KeplerK and allow buyers to claim bitcoins. Co-founder Adil Zakhar said that people in France face difficulties in getting their hands on Bitcoin. Using the trust developed between tobacconists and customers, he hopes to help people buy digital currencies.

The firm is facing a backlash from authorities, though. The authorities have warned people not to buy the gift cards since the company does not have regulatory approval from both French and EU authorities.

Italy

Italian Government Forms Crypto Task Force: Italian authorities have announced that the government has brought on 30 experts to form a blockchain task force. The vision of such a board was conceived in September last year in order to “know, deepen, and address the issue of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchain, as well as increase public and private investments in this direction.”

The task force has major blockchain leaders of the country whose task is to examine practical and real-life uses of the technology in both private and public sector.

Ukraine

An Official from Central Bank Says Bitcoin Should be Allowed to Grow: An official from the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has said that authorities should allow breathing room for cryptocurrencies. According to him, the country is trying to over-regulate the industry and that will lead to its growth being stifled.

The official, Mikhail Vidyaking, Head of Strategies and Reforms Department at NBU says that laws need to be sensibly made. Too many regulators, each without a clear guideline, is also harming the industry, he said.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 22-28 December 2018

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

United Kingdom

Tax Collection Service Publishes Guidelines for Private Cryptocurrency Holders: The UK Tax Service has published a new set of guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions for private holders following a prolonged consultation process. The new guideline titled Cryptoassets for Individuals will help private investors who buy/sell and even get paid in cryptocurrencies in the country.

After months of speculation, the detailed guideline covers every aspect of the taxable crypto income that the citizens need to report to the government. The latest information is endorsed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC). Cryptocurrency traders will be required to file for Capital Gains Taxes or Income taxes depending on the amount of transactions involved. If employees receive money in cryptocurrencies, they will also be required to pay for national social security contributions known as National Insurance (NI).

Samsung Seeking Trademark for Cryptocurrency Wallet: World’s biggest smartphone manufacturer Samsung maybe seeking a new trademark in the country for a cryptocurrency wallet according to a last week’s filing in the UK Intellectual Property Office.

In the Classes and Terms section of the new trademark application, Samsung cites:

“Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet; Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchain technology; Computer application software for smartphones, namely, software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via 3rd party’s application software.”

The company is reportedly planning to launch a cold storage-based wallet on Samsung S10. It has also filed for various other patents in European Union Trademark offices as well.

France

Parliament Refuses to Ease Taxation for Cryptocurrency Owners: The French lower house has initially rejected proposed amendments to the 2019 Finance bill that would have eased cryptocurrency taxation in the country according to local business daily.

All in all, four amendment proposals relating to cryptocurrencies were rejected by the lawmakers including one involving differentiating between regular and occasional cryptocurrency transactions and a proposed increase in minimum taxable amount for cryptocurrencies.

France’s whirlwind affair with cryptocurrencies and blockchain continued in 2018 with the president Emmanuel Macron looking to promote the new sector while certain regulatory and tax-related roadblocks continued to hamper the development.

Germany

Stuttgart Stock Exchange Lists Support for Popular Cryptocurrencies: Borse Stuttgart, one of the top stock exchanges operating in the country has now announced support for popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.

A new trading app for this purpose will also be launched named the Bison app which is developed by Sowa Labs, a subsidiary of the stock exchange. Bison App confirmed trading of these popular cryptocurrencies and also announced that more cryptocurrencies will be added later on.

Malta/Italy

Governments of Malta and Italy Issue Joint Statements Against Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Exchange: Maltese and Italian governments have jointly warned their citizens regarding an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange operating in their jurisdictions. The exchange named OriginalCrypto first came to the attention of the Italian authorities when they believed it may not have the required license to operate in the area.

Malta remains one of the most progressive countries when it comes to cryptocurrencies but even it has a basic robust framework and regulatory process that the exchanges and other companies must fulfill. The parent company of the exchange SolutionsCM Ltd has come under increased scrutiny from both governments and it is believed that charges may be filed against it in the near future.

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Europe: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 14-20 December 2018

Europe

Europe

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

United Kingdom

Crypto Regulations Proposed by Revenue and Customs Department: A comprehensive set of regulations have been proposed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC) in the UK. The new regulations have been published on its website and addresses many facets of the cryptocurrency scene in the country.

The new regulations details for taxes, hard forks, losses and more in the industry. The move comes after it was reportedly decided by the government to gradually integrate into the national monetary fabric.

France

Regulator to Tighten Controls on Unauthorized Crypto Firms: Four cryptocurrency related websites have been banned in the country after the action was taken against them by Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), a body responsible for regulation of markets in the European country.

Since September this year, more than 20 new investment websites have been blocked by the AMF. The AMF also came out and said that high returns always pose significant risks despite what advertisers show you.

Many new cryptocurrency projects have also been outlined by the French government as pending approval and the authorities have asked the public to be careful about the overall sector.

But, the French parliament has rejected the idea of a new cryptocurrency taxation policy in the country for the fourth time in a row this year. A compromise may be needed in the French parliament to make cryptocurrencies easy to blend in with the economy.

Italy

Regulator Suspends Suspicious Cryptocurrency-related Setups: An Italian regulator has closed the lid on two cryptocurrency related platforms by publishing cease and desist letters on its journal. The Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) is the chief regulator of the Italian Securities Market and has suspended the activities of Bitsurge Token and Green Energy Certificates by 90 days.

According to the Italian regulator, both of these setups were offering unregistered securities and unrealistic benefits for investors via an online presence. Two resolutions Resolution no. 20741 and Resolution no. 20740  were passed for this purpose.

Abkhazia

Russian-occupied part of Georgia Abkhazia Limits to Mining Companies Due to Electricity Shortage: Abkhazia, a Russian-annexed part of Georgia is considering limiting power quota for the burgeoning cryptocurrency mining industry in the region after a shortfall for the winter was expected this year.

Cryptocurrency miners made way to Abkhazia due to its cheap hydel energy output from a nearby dam in the Republic of Georgia. Infrastructure was also a non-issue because of the presence of a large number of abandoned Soviet-era manufacturing units. However, due to the arrival of so many miners and particularly harsh winters ahead, the government is looking to limit the quota of power for the mining companies.

Switzerland

Report Recommends Flexible Revisions to Blockchain Regulations: A new report by a government-sponsored study group has stated that flexible changes are needed in the cryptocurrency regulation act to increase oversight in the sector. The report cites Anti Money Laundering (AML) moves and under the AML act to safeguard the investors and their money.

However, the report didn’t recommend a new law for governing cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups in the country and argued that existing regulations can be amended for that purpose. The whole point is to create a flexible approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups without regulating the whole industry.

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