Mt. Gox Rehabilitation Plan Deadline Postponed, Yet Again, for Two Months

It’s been over six years, and Mt. Gox creditors are still not any closer to getting their BTC back.

In the Tokyo District Court’s latest announcement, the rehabilitation plan deadline has been postponed, yet again, from Oct. 15, 2020, to December 15, 2020.

Already this deadline has been changed several times, and yet again, they postponed it to two months later, which brings no relief as this could easily be changed again. According to the order,

“The Rehabilitation Trustee is currently formulating the rehabilitation plan, but as there are matters that require closer examination with regard to the rehabilitation plan, it has become necessary to extend the submission deadline for the rehabilitation plan.”

mt gox rehab plan

The cryptocurrency market continues to await the possible release of 150,000 BTC, currently worth over $1.7 billion, to its former users.

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Author: AnTy

The Price of Bitcoin Lags Behind The Growth of Crypto ATMs, Which Surpassed 11,100 Installs

While the price of cryptocurrencies is taking its sweet time to reach their all-time highs, Bitcoin is holding strong above the important psychological support level of $10,000, currently above $11,300; the same can’t be said of the fundamentals.

The crypto industry continues to grow fast, and the latest metric to reflect this is the crypto ATMs.

For the first time, the number of crypto ATM installations has exceeded 11,100, representing a surge of almost 75% since the beginning of this year, as per Crypto ATM Radar.

In 2020, already more than 4,700 new bitcoin ATMs have been added, more than double of last year’s growth as only about 2200 new crypto ATMs were installed in 2019. The growth of these ATMs has seen almost a parabolic uptrend in 2020.

Bitcoin ATM Installations Growth
Source: CoinATMRadar

The biggest net change in crypto ATM numbers was recorded in September as 973 ATMs were installed this month, which has been growing since May. As a matter of fact, throughout 2020, more than 250 ATMs were installed every month, unlike ever before.

Genesis Coin is the dominant contributor to this growth as it manufactured 35.9% of these ATMs, followed by General Bytes, with its share just under 30%. Other manufacturers account for less than 10% of the number of cryptocurrency machines installed by manufacturer share.

As always, most of these crypto ATMs, 86.6%, are based in North America, with the US representing 78.6%. Europe is another continent with 11.3% of this share, while others account for less than 1%.

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Author: AnTy

Spanish Govt Embarks on Bill to Requires Crypto Investors to Disclose Holdings and Income

The Spanish government has embarked on a bill that may require its citizens to disclose their crypto income or holdings with the country’s tax agency. Reuters, which first reported on this development, noted that the bill in question aims at tracking down tax fraud/evasion amongst Spain’s crypto investors or users.

According to Spain’s government spokeswoman, Maria Jesus Montero, this piece of legislation is currently in progress and set to play a major role in harmonizing crypto tax reporting. If passed into law, crypto holders in Spain will have to disclose their crypto exposures within the rules of holding the burgeoning digital assets.

While the details of the proposed legislation are still scanty, this is not the first time Spanish authorities are making an effort to narrow down on crypto reporting. In 2018, they had embarked on similar efforts with the focus being identification; Montero highlighted that the Spanish government wanted to gain ‘identification of the holders and the balances contributed by these virtual currencies.’

She also touched on the tax issue at the time, although not much practicality on implementation followed later,

“It is stated as mandatory that people and companies inform the Tax Agency about this operation.”

However, the newly proposed legislation presents an opportunity to straighten out the ambiguity in Spain’s crypto tax reporting. Concurrently, tax cheats will be nabbed and taken into account based on an established regulatory framework.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Argentina’s Immigration Office Faces A Ransomware Attack; Hackers Demand $4M In Bitcoin

  • Argentina’s immigration networks paralyzed for hours in a ransomware attack.
  • Hackers double their ransom payment to $4 million after the agency refuses to cooperate.
  • Ransom to be paid in Bitcoins (BTC).

Argentina’s official immigration ministry faces a ransomware attack, paralyzing checkpoints and getting into and out of the country for four hours. A criminal complaint filed by Argentina’s cybercrime agency, Unidad Fiscal Especializada en Ciberdelincuencia, shows that several checkpoints across the country could not function on Aug 27 from 7 AM local time.

The Newalker ransomware attack affected operations across the Argentine immigration networks forcing the federal government agency to shut down their systems. This was to prevent any more data from being compromised by hackers. The complaint reads,

“Being approximately 7 a.m. of the day indicated in the paragraph above, the Directorate of Technology and Communications under the Directorate General Information Systems and Technologies of this Organization received numerous calls from various checkpoints requesting technical support.”

This presents the first case of an Argentine federal agency facing a ransomware attack.

Attackers Demand $4 million in BTC as Ransom

The hackers left a note on the encrypted files providing a method for the immigration office to pay up a ransom to get the files decrypted. According to images shared by Bleeping Computer, the hackers dictated a payment of $2 million ransom in Bitcoins to their dark web crypto wallet.

The ransom note left by Argentina’s Immigration Office hackers (Source: Bleeping Computer)

However, the immigration ministry official has stood their ground, refusing to negotiate with the hackers. A government source said,

“they will not negotiate with hackers, and neither they are too concerned with getting that data back.”

Following the expiration of the first deadline, the encrypted data note automatically updated the ransom amount to double the price – about 355.871 BTC (~$4 million). No expiration date has been set on the second ransom payment.

Increasing cases of ransomware attacks?

As mentioned above, the hacking of federal agencies is rare. However, corporations and municipal governments suffer from ransomware attackers frequently. At the end of 2019, an Argentinian data firm, San Luis, faced a ransomware attack after 7,500 GB of data was encrypted with the hackers asking anywhere from $37,000 to $370,000 to decrypt the files.

In July this year, Argentina’s largest telco company, Telecom SA, was targeted by a ransomware attack with hackers demanding a $7.5 million payout in privacy-focused cryptocurrency, Monero (XMR). The data was withheld for three days before the company was able to bring back up operations for its customers.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bison Trails, Coinbase Custody Colab to Add Solana (SOL) Staking as Institutional Demand Grows

Bison Trails and Coinbase Custody are further scaling their collaboration by introducing staking on Solana (SOL) blockchain. According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, this initiative will enable Coinbase clients to leverage enterprise-grade validators within the Bison Trails ecosystem.

The two entities have been working together and have recently introduced staking on Polkadot as well. This latest milestone, therefore, comes as a significant boost in the ongoing partnership between Coinbase Custody and Bison Trails. Interestingly, both firms are based in New York, with former being regulated by NYDFS while the latter operates as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service Company.

Following this development, Coinbase Custody will feature among the pioneer digital asset cold storage providers to offer to stake on Solana. Combined with the Bison Trails infrastructure, Coinbase Custody is set to give its users an option to stake Solana tokens while their digital assets are stored offline and safe. The press release reads,

“Customers of both Coinbase Custody and Bison Trails will be able to select their Bison Trails validator via the Coinbase interface. This will make it simple to participate in securing Solana and Polkadot in just a few clicks.”

While the press release does not specify a speculated reward range, it highlights that staking SOL tokens at the moment increases the time-frame of becoming active before inflation adjustments are triggered for users to start earning rewards.

Bison Trails CEO, Joe Lallouz, has touted this advancement, noting the underlying value proposition in user experience,

“It’s a seamless integration and a phenomenal user experience. We look forward to working with the Coinbase Custody team to continue to add support for more protocols in the near future.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

The Herd is Coming: Software Startup Snappa Converts its Cash Reserves into Bitcoin

It has started!

MicroStrategy invested $250 million, and then Tahini’s converted all of their cash reserves into Bitcoin. Now, the graphic software startup, Snappa, is replacing 40% of its cash reserves with the largest digital asset.

In the official company blog, the co-founder of Snappa, Christopher Gimmer, who is a finance major with a minor in economics, shared that they decided to diversify in bitcoin because of the fear of inflation.

The massive amounts of quantitative easing along with fiscal stimulus, that he expects the governments to keep doing more of, will result in currency debasement and a loss of purchasing power.

As such, “in order to hedge this risk, we’ve chosen to adopt Bitcoin as a primary reserve asset on our balance sheet.”

Like a true Bitcoiner, Gimmer emphasizes the scarcity of the digital asset, which, unlike fiat, will get more scarce over time. He also sees BTC hitting $100k by the end of 2021 as “fairly realistic,” thanks to its fundamentals and the state of the macro-economy.

As the Canadain-based startup continues to scale and generate free cash flow, they had to choose the option to put the money in, and obviously, they went with the “good money.”

Also, with only 1.7% of gold’s market cap, he is “confident” that bitcoin will continue to outperform the precious metal as well in the coming years and decades.

“After falling down the rabbit hole and spending hundreds of hours studying the underlying protocol and all the game theory behind it, we began steadily accumulating bitcoin beginning in March of this year,” said Gimmer.

“This position now makes up a significant percentage of our company’s overall cash reserves.”

So, the small-scale companies have already started taking the bitcoin route just like the countries facing problems with their fiat currency; Venezuela, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, and Turkey, have been the first ones to adopt BTC.

As Marty Bent said, “The herd is coming.”

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Author: AnTy

BitMEX Exchange Set To Shut Down Operations For Ontario, Canada-Based Customers

Quick Look:

  • BitMEX offers notice to Ontario-based users to close their positions on the platform.
  • The Edge Island-based exchange aims to follow regulations and KYC requirements.

BitMEX, one of the largest Bitcoin futures exchange, will shut down its services to the Canadian province, Ontario, to users starting September 1st, 2020. In a blog post published on the BitMEX website, the exchange will restrict any new users, new orders, or an increase in existing orders from Ontario residents.

Any existing open position by users from the Canadian province, past the 1st of Sept., should be closed by the 4th of January 2021 00:00:00 EST to comply with the exchange’s Terms and Service. According to a spokesperson from the exchange, any open positions by Ontario residents past this date will be forcefully closed by the exchange.

These drastic changes will only apply to Ontario based users with BitMEX exchange still operating in other Canadian provinces.

According to the statement, the latest move is in line with a “mandate” by the state’s financial regulatory commission, Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). The exchange is leaning towards the regulators’ side to formulate products in line with the regulatory standards set in place.

Since the QuadrigaCX scandal, the OSC has taken a more forceful approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and digital asset service providers. In a statement released in January this year, the OSC clarified its position on digital assets as securities claiming some exchanges are bound by securities law. It reads,

“We note that some Platforms are merely providing their users with a contractual right or claim to an underlying crypto asset, rather than immediately delivering the crypto asset to its users.

In such cases, after considering all of the facts and circumstances, we have concluded that these Platforms are generally subject to securities legislation.”

The high leverage derivative exchange has come under criticism in the past for its products and margin trading. Consequentially, the exchange, owned by 100x Group, will now implement mandatory KYC by Feb of 2021 as well as stopping its services across several states in the past few years including, Hong Kong, China, North Korea, Seychelles, Japan, Bermuda, Quebec in Canada, and Iran among others.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin Self-Custody Provider Casa Now Allows Users to Buy BTC via Apple Pay

  • Bitcoin self custody service provider, Casa now allows its customers to buy and hold their own bitcoin.
  • Selling BTC is not supported yet.

According to the official announcement, Casa now allows buying bitcoin with Apple Pay, which gets deposited instantly into the Casa App — straight to the multisig storage. The digital asset here is the real bitcoin and not the IOUs from an exchange. The Colorado-based bitcoin security service provider said,

“With this update: purchasing bitcoin is fast, safe, simple, and direct. You can grow your investment without the risks that come with using a centralized exchange.”

Traditionally, bitcoin investors have to register with the exchange, deposit funds for trading, and then move their digital asset to the wallet. But Casa wants to make the bitcoin journey of new users simpler and faster, said chief executive Nick Neuman. He said,

“With the dollar declining in value and a new era of potential inflation on the horizon, consumers are naturally looking for a safe asset class that’s outside the turbulence of the existing financial system.”

With the Casa app, one can buy up to $250 per day, with a $20 minimum order size, and up to $1,500 per year. The company plans to increase these limits over time.

The Casa app charges a flat processing fee of $0.30 per transaction, plus 2.9% of the total amount purchased. It further includes a mining fee as BTC purchase is sent straight to the Casa wallet.

The purchase feature is launched in their iOS app only and soon will be coming to the Android app too.

The company also clarified the feature as a 100% opt-in, so if one decides not to buy bitcoin, all the existing KYC-free features are preserved. In case you are buying BTC, know-your-customer requirements include no documents and no photo ID scans but card information, full name, email, phone number, and address.

All the information is collected and verified through Apple Pay and processed by their purchase partner Wyre.

“Minimal info collected,” says the company adding, KYC data is also “never stored on Casa’s servers.”

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Author: AnTy

Russia’s State Owned Bank, Sberbank, Mulls Over Issuing A Ruble Pegged Stablecoin

Russia’s largest state-owned bank Sberbank is mulling over the idea of issuing their stablecoin reported a local daily. Many believe the decision was prompted by the recent signing of a new cryptocurrency law by President Putin. The director of transaction business Sergey Popov confirmed the same and said that if everything goes as planned, the latest stablecoin could be pegged one to one against Russian Rubel. Popov said:

“Probably, we can issue based on the law that has been adopted, a token that we can peg to the ruble, such a corresponding stablecoin, which can become the basis, an instrument for settlements for some other digital financial assets.”

The reports suggest that the new stablecoin could be used to buy digital assets, and will be issued, under this new law, by the end of July. As per the new law,

“digital rights are understood as digital rights, including monetary claims, the possibility of exercising rights under equity securities, the right to participate in the capital of a non-public JSC, and the right to demand the transfer of equity securities.”

It is also important to note that the new law prohibits the use of digital assets as a means of payment, and the new law is expected to come to force by January 1st, 2021. However, crypto-to-crypto transactions buying and selling, as well as loans in crypto, are entirely legal.

Sberbank Has Been Waiting Since 2018 For a Cryptocurrency Law

The DFA law was implemented in 2018 when the government was pondering over categorizing crypto assets with the findings as treasure and regulate it the way they have regulated treasure hunts. However, the government went back and forth many times before arriving at the final version signed by President Putin.

Sberbank has been in waiting since 2018, given the bank has been involved in crypto-related initiatives in the country. In May this year, the Sberbank invested around $100 million for 5000 blockchain-enabled ATMs, which can also mine cryptocurrencies. Back in November 2019, the largest bank in Russia developed a blockchain solution for repurchase agreements.

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Author: James W

Philippines Central Bank Governor Confirms Interest in Launching A Digital Currency

  • Philippines joins the race to launch their digitized fiat, CBDC.
  • Fiat not going away soon, central bank governor says.
  • China and Japan are also focusing on CBDC.

The central bank of the Philippines, otherwise known as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), expresses its interest in launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

In a story first covered on Bloomberg, the governor of BSP, Benjamin Diokno, stated the country had formed a research committee on the possible launch of digital currency. The article further states that the research team is set to release its findings in the coming month.

The committee, which was formed earlier this year, started its research on the policy implications and potential feasibility that digital currencies bring to the Philippines economy. Speaking in a virtual conference, Diokno said:

“We have to first look at the findings of the group before making a decision.”

This is the first time the country is publicly declaring its interest in developing its digital currency.

Fiat Demand not Going Away Soon

The launch of digital currencies is widely considered as an end to the demand for fiat currencies, rising the skepticism on CBDCs across regulators and financial authorities globally.

Diokno, however, said the need for fiat in the Philippines would remain stable despite an introduction of the CBDC, further stating the importance of the underlying blockchain technology.

Diokno said:

“Cryptocurrency for us has always been beyond the asset itself but more on the blockchain technology that underpins it.”

Philippines will be joining a select group of countries researching and developing their CBDC’s, including its neighbors, China, and Japan. Japan announced it would accelerate its digital yen development with a new CBDC department earlier in the month, and the former is already carrying out testing on the digital yuan.

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Author: Lujan Odera