Cryptocurrency experts, including Overstock CEO, Patrick Byrne, believe that there is no need for bitcoin to trigger price explosion in the upcoming period. At the same time, they opine that price explosion could come from other digital coins. Their comments assumed significance since eight out of the top ten virtual assets had gained more than the leading asset price in the 7-day period. Bitcoin is the second least gainer among the top ten suggesting the shift towards other cryptos.
Without specifying any digital currency, CEO said that he sees mass adoption of virtual assets. During a recent interview, he expressed his skepticisms towards the existing financial system and pointed out countries such as Overstock Venezuela that are facing a severe financial crisis in the recent past. Though his company started accepting bitcoin since 2014, he is not sure whether bitcoin could fill the void on the possible collapse of the financial system. He left it to the situation to dictate whether it is going to be bitcoin or any other virtual asset.
A cryptocurrency trader, Craig Cobb, thinks that since the price of bitcoin remain stable and trade in $6,800 - $6,100 range, he does not believe anything could change unless it breaks out the range. Therefore, the price explosion could come from any other digital coins. For instance, Stellar's supporters think that it is not only technologically advanced but also better suited for big-scale usage. Blockchain CEO, Peter Smith, said in a blog post
"(Stellar) token, XLM, enables quick, low cost, worldwide transactions, even when millions of people are using it at once."
As far as bitcoin is concerned, there is no doubt that it enjoyed the most sustained stability period in its history. As a result, it was able to address the price volatility issue, and critics took advantage to paint it as unsuitable for mainstream payment. There is also a general consensus that there is unlikely to be any change in the trend at least in the near-term except any major events driving it otherwise. According to Finder Cryptocurrency Predictions survey for November, bitcoin could experience steady growth despite ambiguity in the upcoming months.
Finder.com CEO, Jon Ostler, said that its panelists think external forces will drive the market in the upcoming month, especially in respect of bitcoin. It is obvious that some decisions are expected on Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), whether positive or negative. Ostler also believes that bitcoin could witness steady uptick over the year 2019 and sees the price reaching $16,732 before the year 2019 ends. In short, the price increase in bitcoin depends largely on the outcome of the SEC rather than the mass adoption, which is expected from other virtual assets.
Very often, taxing gains from cryptocurrencies lead to confusion among investors around the globe. For its part, the governments are also trying their best to remove the uncertainty on treating the gains from virtual assets. As a result, the percentage of tax varied from the regular capital gains tax. Given this background, France has adopted an amendment to its 2019 budget bill that reduces capital gains tax on bitcoin from 36.2 percent to 30 percent. The move could be interpreted in several ways.
For instance, the reduction in tax rate could be taken as a move to encourage bitcoin and other digital coins. However, the government is transparent in its thinking, i.e., to bring the transactions in respect of cryptocurrencies on par with any other non-real estate assets. Incidentally, this segment has attracted a flat tax rate of 30 percent only. The finance commission has adopted the budget amendment in the Parliament's lower house. However, it is not enough to become a full-fledged law.
For the final version of the bill, it must be approved by a more full Parliament and only then it will become a law. If things go as planned, then the new tax rate will come into effect in January 2019. In any case, the move assumed significance since, at one point in time, taxes in France has hit 45 percent for gains from cryptocurrencies. However, this has been reduced by the Council of State by bringing it on par with the capital gains of movable property.
There was a considerable reduction in tax rate. At the same time, earnings from the mining of digital currencies were exempted since it is taxed as non-commercial profits. Also, such income is treated as income from professional activity, which comes under industrial and commercial benefits. The country's president, Emmanuel Macron, is doing all that he can to transform the country into a business haven and that included virtual currencies.
For instance, he has unveiled the "Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation" (PACTE) early this year with the objective of making it easy for enterprises to operate in the country. This included legal framework for fundraising exercises with the help of token sales, which is emerging rapidly. This was followed by guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICOs) in September. At that time, France finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, indicated that the regulations would allow Authority des Marches Financiers (AMF) to approve the ICOS.
The financial regulator was also empowered to permit enterprises to float ICOs in the country. However, it has placed restrictions, i.e., only if "those projects provide specific guarantees for investors." This meant that those raising money through tokens would have to provide complete disclosure to the AMF. The government was keen that investors should be provided with whatever disclosures available so that they make informed decisions.
Before this, the regulator has raised concern on the absence of regulation in respect of digital token sales. The AMF felt that there existed an inherent risk thus increasing the possibility of incurring losses by investors. Similarly, the regulator was concerned about using the virtual asset for illegal purposes like terror funding and money laundering.
Mobile security developers have new challenges as Santa Clara law officers bust ' SIM swapping' phone fraud. Highly-skilled hackers have taken to snitching large caches of cryptocurrencies and other valuable assets from mobile phones using the latest technique of " SIM Swapping " report the advanced REACT Task Force working in Californian state investing mobile fraud. One recent victim lost as much as $100,000 after his mobile number was hijacked.
REACT Supervisor Samy Tarazi shared that the Santa Clara County Sheriff office was instituted to handle cybercrimes, given that California is a tech cradle. Lately, the focus of the organization is on SIM swapping crimes, the officer said, since the number of such incidents reported has consistently increased. The primary targets of such crimes are Californian businessmen either living in the region or running their businesses in this area.
Tarazi believes that these crimes are the handiwork of a handful of cybercriminals, "a few dozens at the most."
The profile of such SIM swapping criminals is interesting as well. The average age is between 19-22 years, and their modus operandi is: "someone who buys a 99 cent SIM card off eBay, plugs it into a cheap burner phone, makes a call and steals millions of dollars. That's pretty remarkable." Value of such cryptocurrency robberies has sometimes exceeded $100,000, the law enforcement team shared. The victim, in this case, was Christian Ferri, and he was the founder President of BlockStar a local area cryptocurrency firm.
In early July 2018, criminals were successful in breaking through Ferri's mobile service provider, T-Mobile database and deactivate the victim's SIM card at the time when the latter was traveling across Europe. Next, a new SIM card was activated for the same number on a device held by the hacker. This allowed them to complete a critical process - reset the Gmail account password. Once they had access to the victim's Google Drive, they succeeded in using the credentials stored to access different services used by Ferris including a crypto exchange.
Since their focus was only on stealing cryptocoins, they exploited only that data and did not misuse any of the other critical information to acquire other assets of the victim.
The officials point out that most of the targets of SIM swapping based crypto coins-robberies are typically crypto influencers and are vocal on multiple platforms encouraging the use and adoption of cryptocurrencies. The social media accounts of such personalities are highly coveted and are also called as "OG account" and have a resale value of thousands of dollars.
The criminals used the weak software layer at the mobile carriers' end to complete these heists. In the case of T-Mobile, a website bug allowed hackers to view the personal account of a customer when they used a phone number of the target along with a simple internal tool used on T-Mobile's platform (which they could access via open internet). The glitch-access allowed them to reach out to access the PIN used by the victim on their mobile phone.
Though the governments across the world are yet to come out with concrete regulations on cryptocurrencies, the pressure is being built on the establishment slowly and steadily. This is also quite evident when South Korean lawyers have sought the legal framework from the government so that it would support not only the distributed ledger technology-based (DLT) digital coins but also protect investors' interests. Currently, there is no clarity from the government side though they are not ready to ignore the emerging sector altogether.
It is not a frequent practice that the Korean Lawyers Bar Association seeks government intervention in creating specific laws for a particular technology or business interest groups. Therefore, their latest call is a rare phenomenon and a public campaign for cryptocurrency segment, which is gaining traction across the globe. Significantly, the country is known for its high-tech innovation and is regarded as home to digital coin exchanges like Bithumb and Coinbit. However, the establishment is facing the wrath from its own experts for ignoring the DLT.
It is not just South Korea but every other country in the world is cautious about the digital currency segment though there has been enough support for blockchain technology. The DLT is hailed as the most disruptive one in a decade, i.e., after the launch of iPhone ten years ago. Interestingly, the emerging technology is not only used in virtual assets but also in other areas like supply chain management. In short, the technology is enabling decentralized environment relative to the centralized nature.
The call given by the South Korean lawyers assume significance since the bar association president, Kim Hyun, said that the government should do away from any negative perceptions on the cryptocurrencies. He also urged the government to remove the hesitation and wanted the establishment to come out with bills that should support the creation of the blockchain industry. At the same time, he has urged to take preventive steps for any side effects concerning the virtual assets.
On its part, the government indicated that it would take a decision on any regulation about DLT only after a complete study of the emerging sector. The establishment disclosed that both government and financial regulators are currently engaged in studying the blockchain technology, and they will analyze the pros and cons of encouraging the sector. The government wants the study to be completed before coming out with its course of action.
The feature of the DLT is that it should record transactions of cryptocurrencies in such a way that protects deposits from any fraud. However, there are several incidents of hacking in the current year alone wherein more than $1 billion worth of virtual assets were stolen by cybercriminals. Since bitcoin enjoys the highest price, it is preferred by hackers too.
Currently, there is lack of clarity on the treatment of cryptocurrencies. For instance, the United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) believe that most of the virtual assets fall under the category of securities. Similarly, though Japan is encouraging the emerging technology, it is also tightening its screws after witnessing more than $0.5 billion stolen from a cryptocurrency exchange.
11/09/2018 / 16:04:25 Source: coinnounce