Comedian Bill Maher Doesn’t ‘Get’ Bitcoin; Money, Unlike Crypto, is ‘Generated by Something Real’

Comedian Bill Maher Doesn’t ‘Get’ Bitcoin; Money, Unlike Crypto, is ‘Generated by Something Real’

According to him, Bitcoin’s “power is based solely on enough children believing in it.” Let’s not tell him about USD or fiat money.

Television host Bill Maher is the latest to mock cryptocurrencies. Taking a jab at Dogecoin (DOGE) on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ show, the comedian said, as “Far as I can tell, it’s exactly the same as the other cryptocurrencies because the whole thing is a joke.”

Referring to it as an “Easter bunny cartoon cash,” he then compared it to Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, saying, “Its power is based solely on enough children believing in it.”

But this wasn’t all; he then shared his views on Bitcoin’s environmental impact, which he says involves “more energy than Netflix, Apple, Facebook, and Google combined.” Each transaction, according to him, “uses more electricity than a million Visa transactions and has the same carbon footprint as watching 85,000 hours of YouTube.”

Where are these estimates even coming from? No one knows.

Attacking the power used by Bitcoin mining, Maher cited Microsoft founder Bill Gates, “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind.”

He then goes on to quote a journal that stated that “bitcoin’s growth could single-handedly push global temperatures above the tipping point of 2 degrees celsius.”

Here, Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics, posted a video in rebuttal, saying the paper quoted is not a solid basis for claims against Bitcoin as it has been widely critiqued both by academics and industry practitioners.

According to Maher, however, Bitcoin supporters are “money-hungry opportunist(s), and you’re not allowed to pretend you care about the environment.”

He then tries to explain that “money had to originate from and be generated by something real somewhere, to which cryptocurrency says no it doesn’t.”

“Cars are bad for the environment, but at least they take you somewhere,” added Maher. He then called out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for supporting cryptocurrencies.

“How can Tesla be all-in on saving the planet with electric cars and then participate in destroying it with this completely unnecessary online play-money?” Well, that should tell you something.

But he found support in Warren Buffett, quoting him on Bitcoin having no intrinsic value and that one just hopes for somebody to pay more money for them.

The crux is simple, as Maher said, “I still don’t get it,” despite claiming to have read about cryptos and had them explained to him. But he goes one step further, “neither do you or anyone else.” He also quoted The Black Swan author Nassim Taleb who called bitcoin an “open ponzi scheme.”

Of course, the crypto community took offense at his uninformed takes and shared Maher’s just as ridiculous takes on cell phones, social media, global pandemic, and more. Even a Maher fan tweeted,

“Huge fan Bill but this is terrible research. Don’t you think? Buffett is 100 years old; he doesn’t know tech. The USD is backed by nothing either & they don’t just print 1 trillion bitcoin out of nowhere, devaluing it like USD.”

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Author: AnTy

129 Crypto Startups Raised $2.6 Billion in Q1: CB Insights Report

Venture capitalists are pouring money like crazy into cryptocurrency-related companies, according to CB Insights.

In the first half quarter of 2020, $2.6 billion was raised by 129 startups focused on the blockchain. In just three months, the crypto industry had raised more than they did in all of 2020 when they attracted $2.3 billion in 341 deals.

This jump in fundraising was fueled by several large rounds by the likes of game-maker Dapper Labs Inc., crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com, and crypto lender BlockFi Inc., according to the data analysis company.

This surge in funding is happening due to the ongoing bull rally that has Bitcoin price soaring to an all-time high of $62k and becoming a billion-dollar asset.

With the cryptocurrency market reaching a $2 trillion market capitalization, corporations, hedge funds, high net-worth individuals, institutions, asset managers, pension funds, and insurance companies are all coming in to invest in the crypto space.

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Author: AnTy

‘Nothing has Really Changed’ in the Crypto Market, Despite the Weak Price Action

Money and bullish news continue to flow into the Bitcoin market, with more to “start coming in early next month.”

After yesterday’s drop to $50,300, Bitcoin made its way to $53,800 today, giving hope of the market being bottom.

“It is now time to start looking for a tradable bottom in BTCUSD and the other major cryptocurrency. I plan to keep an eye on the alts too,” tweeted John Bollinger, inventor of Bollinger Bands.

Meanwhile, analyst Mati Greenspan says, “a strong break below 50k could easily pave the way for a move down to 42k, and possibly 36k.”

The crypto asset briefly fell below its average price over the 50 days as well, which has been a support level so far this year, now having a $953 billion market cap. According to Miller Tabak + Co.’s chief market strategist, Matt Maley, a “lower-low below that level would scare a lot of momentum players.”

Cautious Crypto

Source: Bloomberg

The pullback in Bitcoin and altcoins’ prices came amidst a wider retreat in other assets like tech stocks. A general Bitcoin downtrend is being “exacerbated by the move to value in general across asset classes” and away from areas like technology, said Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia Pacific with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore.

After an earlier wave of institutional adoption and stimulus-infused optimism among retail traders, the largest cryptocurrency fell for the fifth straight day, recording the longest losing streak since December.

Poll results have been showing that people have been planning to spend their stimulus checks in the markets. But given that markets fail to see the effects, unlike the last time, the speculation is growing that Americans will be spending them in the real economy.

Bullishness Continues Flowing In

While the traditional market analysts are back at calling it a downtrend again and seeing a limited upside with the likes of BIS’s Benoit Coeure reiterating that Bitcoin is not a currency, the crypto market says nothing has changed.

“The color and information we see from the street is largely from the institutional part of the market, and nothing has really changed in their view on the impact of stimulus on longer-term inflation and the role of digital assets as a hedge to that,” said Matt Long, head of distribution and prime brokerage at digital-asset platform OSL in Hong Kong.

The bullish news hasn’t stopped coming in at all either. For starters, USDC supply has increased more than $1 billion in the past week, its market cap reaching past $10.6 billion. As for USDT, it added $6 billion in the past month, its market cap climbing to $41.6 billion.

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Source: Twitter

Sovereign wealth funds and even the government are looking at Bitcoin, according to the NYDIG CEO.

Moreover, the New Zealand retirement fund, KiwiSaver, has reportedly invested 5% of its assets into Bitcoin. The pension fund, with NZ$350 million (US $244 million) in assets at the end of December, reportedly started investing in Oct. last year.

“If you are happy to invest in gold, you can’t really discount bitcoin,” said the fund’s chief investment officer, James Grigor.

Mike Novogratz, founder of crypto firm Galaxy Digital further believes wealthy baby boomers will be the next generation to jump into cryptocurrencies.

“It could be as much as a trillion dollars comes over the next year from that giant group of wealth,” said Novogratz in an interview at Reuters Digital Assets Week. He expects the money to “start coming in early next month.”

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Author: AnTy

NFT Buyers and Sellers Could be Liable to “Unknown” Capital Gains Tax in the United States

U.S. citizens making money off the booming non-fungible token (NFT) market may be unaware of liable taxes from selling the NFTs. Beeple’s record-breaking $69.3 million NFT sales could attract tens of millions in taxes.

As the U.S. tax season fast approaches, investors who buy and sell NFTs using crypto could be liable to a painful surprise capital gains taxes, an expert explained on CNBC this Thursday. The taxable amount from proceeds made from the booming NFT to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could skyrocket past 30% – hurting the huge profits made from the NFT craze.

The “disposition of assets” curse

Despite making unbelievable profits in NFTs, most buyers and sellers remain in the dark over what they should pay in taxes, Shehan Chandrasekera, head of a tax strategy at crypto portfolio and taxes tracker, CoinTracker, said in the CBNC interview.

According to an IRS principle named, “disposition of assets” under its guidance on cryptocurrency taxes affects buying assets such as NFTs using cryptocurrencies. At the core, NFT buyers using highly valued crypto to buy NFTs involves a potential high capital gains tax, Shehan further explained.

“If you exchange virtual currency held as a capital asset for other property, including for goods or another virtual currency, you will recognize a capital gain or loss,” a statement from the IRS crypto guidelines states.

For example, if you bought ETH, the most commonly used crypto in the NFT marketplace, at $100 and the value appreciates to $1,800, buying an NFT token worth 1 ETH will attract a capital gains tax. According to the IRS laws, the ether used to buy the NFT is considered a capital asset and not a currency – as most investors think.

In this case, the NFT buyer will be charged a capital gains tax on the $1,700 increase in ETH value. The investor may also face state crypto taxes, which are applied differently in every state.

According to IRS laws, buying NFTs using appreciated crypto is only part of the taxable events in this growing market. If you ‘flip’ or sell the NFTs at a higher price, which is one of the reasons the NFT market is blossoming, you are liable to a capital gains tax on any gains made and possible income tax in some states.

However, if you buy Bitcoin or Ethereum and directly purchase NFTs, you will not be charged any taxes. Additionally, foreign buyers and sellers are not charged any capital gains by the IRS. It’s also worth noting that the IRS just extended the filing date for 2020 taxes to May 17th.

Beeple could pay millions in taxes

Since the turn of the year, the NFT craze has been growing rapidly as celebrities such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk, and a list of athletes sell artistic projects through blockchains. NFT stats website, nonfungible.com, shows nearly $200 million worth of NFT art was created and sold over the past week.

Beeple’s $69 million sales of an NFT art piece labeled “Everyday: The First 5,000 Days” and sold at Christie’s auction house could see tens of millions in taxes taken from the proceeds. The buyer of the NFT, a collage of collectibles, is Singapore’s Metakovan, could be liable to pay over $10 million in taxes if they were American.

However, Beeple, who sold the art piece, will “owe federal and state ordinary income taxes on the proceeds,” with experts estimating the taxes could rise to tens of millions.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Just 270 Addresses Responsible for Majority of Money Laundering in Crypto: Chainalysis

Just 270 Addresses Responsible for Majority of Money Laundering in Crypto: Chainalysis

The United States, Russia, and China receive the highest volume of digital currency from illicit addresses.

Just 270 deposit addresses are being used for the majority, 55% of all of the cryptocurrency value sent from illicit addresses in 2020, as per the latest research of Chainalysis. These addresses collectively received $1.3 billion worth of illicit crypto, while just 24 received over $500 million worth of it.

Additionally, 1,867 deposit addresses received 75% of all cryptocurrency value sent from illicit addresses in 2020. This level of concentration is greater than in 2019, showing that a small group of crypto services is being used by criminals to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

Money laundering actually makes up a huge portion of the illicit funds that travel to service deposit addresses, as per the report. A smaller but significant portion of illicit funds also goes to deposit addresses that do a high volume of legitimate transactions and flies under the radar.

Cryptocurrency sent from illicit addresses facilitating money laundering tends to wind up at just a few services, mostly five including mainstream “risky” exchanges, mixers, gambling platforms, ever since 2017.

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The report also found that the United States, Russia, and China received the highest volume of digital currency from illicit addresses, reflecting their high shares of crypto trading volumes.

Scams followed by stolen funds make up the largest crime type in the US while Russia receives a “disproportionately large share” of darknet market funds, which according to Chainalysis, is because of Hydra. As for China, ransomware and stolen funds are the dominating crime types that the country receives funds from.

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Author: AnTy

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

CNBC Mad Money Host, Jim Cramer, Calls Companies Not Owning any Bitcoin ‘Irresponsible’

According to the “Mad Money” host, every treasurer should be calling for putting a portion of their cash in Bitcoin.

It’s “almost irresponsible” for companies not to own Bitcoin, says Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin.

Just this week, Tesla announced that they had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin (around 7.7%), and this endorsement from the major US has released a flurry of speculation regarding which company would be the next to join in.

While some don’t feel the same way, much like JPMorgan strategists who see it “unlikely” that more mainstream corporations would follow Tesla in BTC allocation, others expect the herd is coming.

“As far as a way to be able to have a pastiche of things to do with your cash, I’m all for it.” said the former hedge fund manager on Tuesday.

“I think it’s almost irresponsible not to include it. Every treasurer should be going to boards of directors and saying should we put a small portion of our cash in Bitcoin.”

Hedge against Fiat Currency

Cramer shared that he personally owns Bitcoin — “I own bitcoin. I’ve owned it for some time” — and called it “an alternative to a cash position, where you make absolutely nothing.”

Last year in December, Cramer tweeted that he was thinking of buying some BTC, and shortly after, in an interview with TheStreet, he decided to buy some under $18k but didn’t mention just how much exactly.

“Bitcoin is exciting,” he said on Tuesday, adding that he believes in the validity of the cryptocurrency while arguing that it could be used as a hedge against inflation or an equity portfolio.

“It seems to be an interesting way to hedge against the rest of the environment, nice hedge against fiat currency.”

A Trip to Higher Levels

Though Cramer noted that there are a lot of buyers and promoters of the leading digital currency, which is not the case for the seller at this time,

“you have to have some kind of hedge on it. Because if you take it and it goes down, I think that you’re gonna end up saying why did I use bitcoin when I could actually transact in dollars.”

The price of Bitcoin, which shot past a record high of $48,000 following the Tesla announcement, for now, is keeping around $46,500.

Calling Bitcoin a “little inflated,” he pointed out that “there’s plenty of people who say it could go to $100,000.”

Michael Novogratz of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital is one such bull who sees the prices of Bitcoin going to $100,000 by the end of this year. He is also of the same opinion as Cramer and sees “every company in America do the same thing.”

“Young people are buying into the future, and they see cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and other cryptos – as their currencies.”

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Author: AnTy

DeFi Money Market DAO Shutting Down; DMG Token Falls off a Cliff

DeFi Money Market DAO Shutting Down; DMG Token Falls off a Cliff

DeFi Money Market DAO, DMM is ceasing its operations following the regulatory inquiries.

The team announced late on Friday that “DMM regrets the necessity of this action,” but mToken minting will no longer be available, effective immediately. The redemption of mToken, however, will be available for an indefinite time period. But the interest rate on mTokens will drop to 0% around Feb 10, 2021.

“Capital and interest are currently available to fund the redemption of all outstanding mTokens plus accrued interest,” noted the team. As such, mTokens holders are advised to redeem them as soon as possible.

The governance token of the project DMG also lost more than 84% of its value and is currently trading around $0.104 ever since the news of shut down broke out. For DMG tokens’ redemption as well, an additional fund of available assets is rolled out, details of which will be shared soon.

“Sad to see what happened with DMG today,” tweeted derivatives exchange FTX, which is keeping the DMG market open to let people trade if they want, though leverage will be reined in. Since its drop to $0.045, DMG has been up 28%.

“We don’t know of any nefarious things that happened but will investigate given the unusual price pattern,” added FTX.

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Author: AnTy

Philippines’ Central Bank Issues New Guidelines to Curtail Money Laundering Among VASPs

Philippines’ Central Bank Issues New Guidelines to Curtail Money Laundering Among Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)

Local Philippines news source, the Philippine Daily Enquirer, has reported this week that the country’s central bank now requires Crypto financial service firms to be fully licensed with the BSP.

This is according to a released document from the BSP, which was issued January 25th, that stipulated that VASPs will need to have a ‘certificate of authority’ to continue operating within the Philippines. In addition to this certification, VASPs would also need to remain in regulatory alignment with central banks, and their existing rules for financial service providers broadly, such as those rules regarding liquidity and operational risk, IT, consumer protections, and anti-money laundering.

Of course, the BSP’s announcement and regulatory requirements would be compulsory to VASPs with a minimum capital size of 50 million (Philippine) Pesos – or $1m – if they provide crypto custodial services, or 10 million pesos ($208k).

While this would place crypto companies in a bind of ensuring they are in complete regulatory alignment, the central bank’s governor stated that this was all in order to strike a balance between regulatory security and “an environment that encourages financial innovation while safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system.”

Along with ensuring regulatory adherence, the BSP has also stated that VASPs seeking to qualify as certified will need to undertake their customer due diligence. Additionally, these companies will need to treat crypto transactions in the same manner as cross-border transactions; meaning that participant data for transactions of 50,000 pesos ($1,000) or greater must be retained.

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Author: James Fox

Gen X Investors Overtake Millennials in Crypto Adoption: Wirex & Stellar Report

Nearly 75% of consumers view digital assets and stablecoins as an alternative to traditional money transfer services. High fees, slower transaction times, and hectic cross-border transfers are some of the reasons leading consumers to digital asset payment systems, joint research from Wirex and Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) states.

The research report titled ‘The Future of Money: Cryptocurrency Adoption in 2021‘surveyed 3,834 respondents from the two companies’ database in the past three weeks. Over 81% of the respondents hailed from Europe and 17% from the Asia Pacific region, 83% of them aged above 35 years.

The research focuses on the adoption rates of crypto across different genders, age groups, and regions and how digital currencies solve problems in the real world.

Older People are Rapidly Accepting Cryptocurrencies

The older generations are gradually accepting cryptocurrencies as a global payment system in cross border transfers, the report states. The appetite for crypto solutions in traditional payment systems is clearly there across all ages. Surprisingly, 30.2% of the respondents aged 45-54 stated they have used (are using) crypto, the largest group in the study.

Furthermore, older women are more likely to use crypto and blockchain-powered payment systems, the report shows. Slightly above a quarter (26.1%) of women respondents aged 55-64 years invested in cryptocurrency, while only 14.3% of men in the same age bracket invested in crypto.

Cryptocurrency is a Global Payment System

According to the research, the younger generation is rapidly moving towards digital assets seamlessly to transact across borders. With nearly 57% of respondents aged 18-24 years having sent money internationally, there is still room for growth as the “digitally-conscious” generation look for seamless ways to transact value across the globe.

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International transfer fees remain the major issue that is pushing respondents to crypto. Despite the respondents adjusting, most complained about the international transfer fees were still too high. Over 40% of the respondents believe that paying 1% fees is still too high, with the number understandably increasing as the fees increased.

Consumers are open to switching to alternative transfer channels so long as the costs and fees drop significantly, the report states. This is a problem that crypto could solve. The authors of the report wrote that 74% of the respondents agree to digital assets as the solution to slow and expensive traditional money transfer systems.

Over 83% of the respondents stated they owned at least one cryptocurrency or stablecoin, with Europeans leading the way at 84.5% while 74.7% of the APAC region respondents owning digital assets. Fewer female respondents hold digital assets than male respondents (70.3% vs. 85.6%), with 65.7% of women who hold digital assets aged over 45 years.

A Haven for Users?

Despite the positive sentiments derived from the report and 86.1% of the respondents claiming that they “feel safe” with crypto payments, the authors still believe there’s more to be done in the industry. Unsurprisingly, younger generations feel most safe using crypto (90.6%) while older generations, those at 65+ years, feel less safe (80.7%) due to digital payments’ tech-savvy nature.

However, the survey showed some shortcomings as it focuses on the customers of Wirex and Stellar, who already have interacted with cryptocurrencies. The authors concluded that crypto converts’ views will definitely differ from those who are yet to use blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies in global money payment systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Michael Saylor Offers Elon Musk his ‘Playbook’ to Convert Tesla’s Billions into Trillions

Bitcoin isn’t the world’s second-richest person’s “safe word” and is “almost as bs as fiat money,” it’s just all about DOGE.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk took over the crypto Twitter on Sunday when he tweeted that Bitcoin is his safe word.

This has been in contrast to his tweet earlier this year when he said “Bitcoin is *not* my safe word.” Over a year before that in 2019, he had said, “Cryptocurrency is my safe word.”

Musk’s Tweet has always been vague, after all, he’s here for the memes.

His weekend shenanigans soon gave way to “Just kidding, who needs a safe word anyway!?” this time as well.

“Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money,” came his Tweet soon after.

Bitcoin fanboy, Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, the first public company to replace cash with Bitcoin in their balance sheet as a reserve asset, jumped in and encouraged the billionaire to make a similar decision and “do your shareholders a $100 billion favor.”

“Other firms on the S&P 500 would follow your lead & in time it would grow to become a $1 trillion favor,” Saylor added in his tweet on Sunday.

This made Musk inquire if “such large transactions (are) even possible.”

Here, Saylor took over and explained how he has purchased more than $1.3 billion in Bitcoin in the past few months and “would be happy to share my playbook with you offline – from one rocket scientist to another,” said the Bitcoin proponent.

Crypto derivatives exchanges FTX CEO Sam Bankman Fried also chimed in and recommended his OTC desk and “you can even use TSLA stock as collateral to buy it,” he said.

The price of Bitcoin surged more than 230% this year, having broken above the 2017 peak of $20,000 and now venturing on its price discovery that sees the digital asset making a new all-time high every other day.

In the early hours of Monday or late on Sunday, BTC price BTC -4.90% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 22 909,7304
-1,122.58 -4.90
Volume 46.98 b Change -1,122.58 Open $22 909,7304 Circulating 18.58 m Market Cap 425.6 b
1 h Crypto Exchange EXMO Hacked; BTC, ETH, XRP, ZEC, USDT, and ETC Stolen By Attacker
actually made yet another all-time high to about $24,300.

Today, the market is actually in risk-off mode with Bitcoin falling to $22,400 and TSLA shares also going down 6.3% in pre-market on its debut on the S&P 500 index.

“If Elon Musk/Tesla decided to also allocate part of its treasury holdings to BTC like Microstrategy did, it will embolden other tech companies around the world to do the same,” said one of the partners of the Crypto fund The Spartan Group.

The share price of Musk’s TSLA actually has been on a bull run itself, wilder than Bitcoin’s. Up a whopping 708% YTD and up 862% from March lows, TSLA made a new all-time high at 695 on Friday. These gains added $140 billion to Musk’s $167 billion net worth, making him the second richest person in the world.

Musk ended his crypto session with the tweet “One word: Doge” and changed his Twitter bio to “Former CEO of Dogecoin.”

DOGE jumped over 25% on this, trading above $0.005.

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Author: AnTy