Category Archives: Europe

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Belarus Platform Claims First to Offer Tokenized Shares

Belarus Platform Claims First to Offer Tokenized Shares

A website based in Belarus has launched a website which is claiming to be the first trading exchange to trade digital currency for assets such as gold and other traditional financial assets. An Estonian exchange, DX Exchange, had actually claimed the same earlier this month.

The site allowing the purchase of tokens, which represent real assets, was the brainchild of investment companies VP Capital and Larnabel Ventures. The website also facilitates the tracking of asset shares purchased both within Belarus and internationally.

Reports indicate a flurry of activity once the site was launched, with over 2,000 applications received. The advantage of being able to purchase assets such as gold and oil globally from the site without recourse to fiat currency clearly had early interest, however, Viktor Prokopenya, VP Capital’s owner, is warning applicants that the platform has strict money laundering checks enforced before users are finally approved.

150 different tokenized securities have been provided, with the intention of expanding this to more than 10, 000 over time. The company ensures new users that its standards are in line with internationally-accepted standards.

Belarus is one of a group of central European nations which is looking to promote itself as a cryptocurrency hub with the country’s Minister of Communications Sergey Popkov promoting emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency as a governmental priority moving forward.

A recent document published by Belarus High-Technologies Park highlighted the country’s push to establish a set of governing rules for operating the cryptocurrency market. The document was termed as “the second stage of cryptocurrency regulation”, which contained details of the approved regulations for activities with digital tokens. It specified requirements for different businesses looking to venture into the world of cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country.

 

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Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for “Peaceful Revolution”

Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for

Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song has pointed the finger towards recent Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) protesters in Paris as an illustration of how big government mismanagement can be overcome by using the right tools, but not by violence.

Song suggests that the missing tool, not yet being utilized by the French in anti-government protests, is cryptocurrency, believing that currencies such as Bitcoin are potentially powerful weapons in staging a “peaceful revolution”. He argued in a recent interview, “If you have government and big business get together, they usually get what they want.”

But according to Song this can be overcome by using the “currency of resistance”, adding that “the biggest thing Bitcoin brings is the decentralization of monetary power”.

Song claims that the way for such groups to gain the voice of resistance, is to take the power away from, banks, corporations, and plutocrats through decentralization: “That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t recognize: Monetary power is the big force in the world.”

The outspoken crypto developer has advice for those gilet jaunes taking to the street with bottles and rocks to protest against the current Macron government: focus on Bitcoin as the first step towards decentralized money; a step toward curbing the dominance of centralized banking.

Bitcoin in the Yellow Vest / Gilet Jaune mouvement #France #YellowVests #Bitcoin #cryptocurrency #revolutionfrancaise #revolution pic.twitter.com/FMP21cSpp6

— Crypto Kether (@R3I3ntI3ss) December 1, 2018

As for the current cryptocurrency bear market, Song maintains that productivity is far more likely than in periods when the market is bullish, suggesting that when the market is surging, developers are distracted by rising Bitcoin prices and focused purely on money instead of creating useful goods and services and working towards innovation.

 

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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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Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

French crypto artist Pascal Boyart‘s Bitcoin competition came to an end yesterday when two diligent participants cracked the code, winning USD 1,000 in BTC.

Boyart set the challenge seven days ago hiding the public keys to the BTC in his mural based on Delacroix’s original “Liberty Leading the People” in honor of yellow vest protesters standing up against government cuts in streets of Paris. The art was located at 156 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted last year that included a QR code connected to his Bitcoin wallet so people could make donations to him. His initiative reportedly earned him USD 1,000 from donors. Boyart Retweeted yesterday that two winners had stepped forward and claimed the Bitcoin after discovering the 12 hidden seed phrases hidden in the mural revealing them the private key:

Deux personnes ont percé le mystère de la fresque «#Giletsjaunes» réalisée par PBOY. Ils ont trouvé la clé privée composée de 12 mots et débloqué 0,2891 #BTC, soit environ 890€ au cours actuel :https://t.co/9yBYDwBkTB

— Cryptonaute (@cryptonaute_fr) January 14, 2019

The answer

The inscriptions that are revealed with black light:

In the fluorescent inscriptions, ATOUT, JPAVFLU, Y29uZHVpcmU=, dHJpb21waGU=, mq+cC6Ax2+8R8LAnEWgQnA ==

The first two words are encoded in Caesar cipher. With respectively a shift of 20 and 19, therefore =union citizen The next two are Base64 encoded= lead triumph

And the last two are encrypted in 128bit AES with unlock key that was communicated to those who had found the fluorescent writings. This key is: 03012009 (Genesis Bitcoin Block Date in EU order).

Once deciphered, the code is + horizon yellow = “banker usury lie people fight hope union citizen lead triumph horizon yellow”.

 

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Bulgaria to Investigate Crypto Trading Companies

Bulgarian

The Bulgarian government has announced plans to investigate the operations of crypto-selling entities operating within the country, according to local news outlet Novinite.

While normally, the objective of such investigation is to locate any fraudulent activities, the objective of the current inspection will involve assuring that these companies are complying with tax and social security regulation of the country. The government is taking this step after following the common notion that cryptocurrencies are used for revenue concealment and tax evasion across the world.

The Bulgarian National Revenue Agency (NRA) will be the responsible body looking into the operations of these companies which will mostly involve cryptocurrency exchanges and P2P trading websites. The agency has already assigned “control actions” or checks to nine platforms.

The NRA will use the information from the audit of these companies to see whether or not the users involved in trading on these exchanges have filed for the income obtained on these platforms. In Bulgarian jurisdiction, the sale of cryptocurrency investments is supposed to be declared in annual tax returns with the overall profit taxed up to 10% under the existing Corporate Income Tax Act.

While the tax rate is considerably lower than other European countries and even USA itself, the agency may have reason to believe that some individuals or companies could be using these platforms to hide their income from the authorities.

Cryptocurrency taxation is a heavily debated-topic around the world with Bulgaria being no exception. However, given the lower tax rate, the government feels that it is justified in pursuing cases against any possible offenders in the sector.

 

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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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ATMs Still Gaining Popularity Globally with 5 Daily Installations

ATMs Still Gaining Popularity Globally with 5 Daily Installations

The installation of cryptocurrency ATMs continues around the world as it has done throughout 2017, despite the crypto market downturn.

Newly-published figures indicate that new installations have taken the number of extant machines around the globe past the 4,000 total. This illustrates the degree to which users are increasingly needing a convenient way to access their crypto assets.

According to industry statistics aggregator Coin ATM Radar the current installment rate is now 4.9 a day. The new data breaks down the spread of crypto ATMs, suggesting that actual locations have changed little with the majority of the machines still being located in North America, followed by Europe with roughly a third of the North American total which currently has 72% of the global total actively in use.

Hong Kong represents Asia’s biggest market for crypto ATMs, accounting for 0.8% of the world’s active ATMs. In Europe, Austrians and the UK public are the most prominent users of machines on that continent. Lagging behind is Oceania, which includes major crypto user Australia, South America. The African continent has only 0.2% of the global usage, despite an increased interest in cryptocurrencies in 2018.

In the US, the country showing the biggest increase in installations in 2018 with 1,259 new active ATMs, California (473) and Illinois (250) have the largest number of machines in the country. The figures show that Bitcoin is supported by 99.9% of the world’s 4,167 machines.

The token break down shows a  59.5% support for Litecoin (LTC), 49.3% support for Ethereum (ETH) and 33.9% support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Dash (DASH) is supported by 17.9% of ATMs, while Monero (XMR), Dogecoin (DOGE) and ZCash (ZEC) are each supported by 3% or less.

 

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European Banking Authority Urges “Appropriate EU-Level Response” to Crypto Regulation

European

In its latest sitting, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has recommended more research into cryptocurrencies so that proper, unhurried set of regulations can be made. It said that it needs to execute several actions in this aspect.

The EBA seems to willing to take the time to develop a proper framework and not stifle the industry. The report aptly focuses on “applicability and suitability of European Union law to crypto-assets”.

The report summarized its decision, noting that crypto-related activities do not normally constitute as regulated services under the EU scope, with customer risks existing without being addressed. It recommends that the European Commission analyzes and determines an “appropriate EU-level response”.

With different member states having a variety of stances and acceptance of cryptocurrencies, the EBA intends to firstly develop a smoother and uniform reporting system in which all countries can work without hitches. It stated, “The EBA will keep under review the need for any further actions within the scope of its statutory competence and stands ready to support the European Commission in relation to any further analysis of issues arising in relation to crypto-assets.”

With the EBA seriously considering the impact of cryptocurrencies to the financial system and how to ensure a smooth integration, the EU first must ensure that the polar opposite views of officials are addressed. The efforts of EBA are at odds with the opinions of officials such as European Central Bank policymaker Ardo Hansson calling cryptocurrency fantasies and predicting that people in the future will look back and see them as “a complete load of nonsense“.

 

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Ukraine National Bank Blames Over-Regulation for Stifled Crypto Growth

Ukraine National Bank Says Over-Regulation Preventing Crypto Growth

A National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) official has called for a hands-off approach to cryptocurrency regulation in the Central European nation, claiming that over-regulation is stunting industry growth.

Mikhail Vidyaking, the head of Strategies and Reforms Department at NBU has charged that laws need to be sensibly implemented with an aim to promote the growth of the cryptocurrency industry. Clear definition, according to him, is another problem, with numerous regulators overseeing the industry without any real guidelines.

Vidyaking feels that Ukraine’s banks will be far more likely to come on board with cryptocurrency services with clear guidance and less regulation coming from Kiev. These views follow the central government’s announcement that Ukraine will fully legitimize cryptocurrencies in two stages within the next three years with full regulation for providers and custodial platforms by 2021.

It appears that the government in Kiev is beginning to heed the calls from the industry, including such bodies as the National Cybersecurity Coordination in Kiev, where concerns for the future of Ukraine’s crypto industry have been aired.

The main regulatory body in Ukraine is the FSC who is responsible for assessing and minimizing risk in the country’s national financial sector. The council comprises of the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, the Minister of Finance, heads of the National Securities and Stock Market Commission and the National Commission for State Regulation of Financial Services Markets and Managing Director of the Deposit Guarantee Fund.

Ukraine’s current crypto trade stands at USD 775 million a year; any review of legislation in favor of cryptocurrency users is certain to give the industry its long-awaited stability.

 

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Malta Still on Course for “Bitcoin Island”

Malta Still on Course for _Bitcoin Island_

The Maltese government has refuted criticism by the country’s opposition Nationalist Party (PN) leader’s comments that the government has been silenced by the fall in cryptocurrency markets over the past year.

PN leader Adrian Delia recently spoke out against the government suggesting that the current market had caused both silence and inaction following prime minister Muscat’s calls to create a blockchain island and make Malta a beacon for global cryptocurrency.

The Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation has hit back suggesting that numerous measures had been taken in the cryptocurrency sector and hinted at even more protection for cryptocurrencies moving forward.

The government also maintained that over the past weeks, a Cyber Security Steering Committee had been launched to make the public aware of fraudulent activity while continuing to promote new technologies such as new industries such as that of AI, e-sports, video-gaming and politics on space.

The Parliamentary Secretariat, the body responsible for the cryptocurrency sector, has maintained the focus is on creating an enabling environment for all stakeholders in the market to thrive.

Both Binance and OKEx signed agreements with the Maltese Stock Exchange (MSX) to create regulated security token exchange platforms in 2018, illustrating the popularity of Malta as a European blockchain and crypto hub. At the end of 2018, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri announced at Delta Summit 2018 that Malta wants to be leading the cryptocurrency race, not the last one in.

With three highly significant bills at their second reading in the Maltese Parliament, Malta is pushing towards being the first country to bring into law every regulation necessary to fully support the cryptocurrency industry. The current proposed legislation, the Malta Digital Innovation Bill, the Virtual Financial Assets Bill, and the Innovation Technological Arrangements Services Bill are major steps along that route.

 

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