Overstock.com CEO Acquires Stake in Blockchain Land Registry Startup

Overstock.com CEO Acquires Stake in Blockchain Land Registry Startup
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Medici Land Governance

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has acquired a stake in blockchain startup, Medici Land Governance (MLG). Byrne purchased a 43 percent stake in the blockchain land registry in a private transaction.

Blockchain land registries have been getting a lot of traction around the world, as they promise a viable solution to the problem of fragmented paper records and unverifiable claims.

Medici Land Governance, the blockchain-powered property rights subsidiary of Overstock, was founded in 2018 to help people legitimize the ownership of their properties using blockchain and other technologies.

MLG is one of the portfolio companies under Medici Ventures — Overstock’s blockchain tech accelerator wing — which includes other blockchain projects such as tZero and Factom.

“Proper land governance is the crystallization of the rule of law and the foundation of a successful, prosperous and free society,“ Byrne noted in the announcement.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Byrne said he believes secure land titling and property management systems have the potential to eliminate poverty across the world.

“Once individuals in emerging economies have systems in place to help them establish formal ownership of their property, they can more easily access credit and public services necessary to become a true, sustainable member of the global economy,“ he said.

“Blockchain land registry systems are a large step in the goal to democratize capital, and I’m proud to be a member of the team leading that charge.“

Medici Land Governance CEO Dr. Ali El Husseini describes the investment from the Overstock CEO as a „vote of confidence” in the land registry’s “unprecedented mission.”

“Patrick Byrne’s investment comes at a pivotal time as we are coordinating staff, resources and technology at two locations separated by continents with the aid of governmental and global partners, most notably the World Bank,” he remarked. “Teams both in the African nation and the U.S. are implementing the basic infrastructure and formal digital tools to deliver land titles to holders.”

Medici Land Governance recently signed an MOU with the World Bank to create, implement and evaluate pilot programs that ensure secure land tenure for underdeveloped communities. The blockchain startup also inked a deal with the Zambian government to overhaul the current land ownership system in a bid to allow rural landowners to formalize the ownership of their estates and gain access to the financial world.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.


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#299 Bitcoin Mining Supercomputer, Nvidia Nachfrage übersteigt Erwartungen & Luxus Apartments für BTC verkauft

#299 Bitcoin Mining Supercomputer, Nvidia Nachfrage übersteigt Erwartungen & Luxus Apartments für BTC verkauft

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Hey Krypto Fans,

Willkommen zur Bitcoin-Informant Show Nr. 299. Heute geht’s um folgende Themen: Bitcoin Mining mit Supercomputer in Russland, Krypto-Nachfrage übersteigt Erwartungen bei Nvidia & 50 Luxusapartments für Bitcoin verkauft.

1.) Russische Kernwaffenforscher nutzen Supercomputer für Bitcoin Mining – und werden verhaftet
https://www.focus.de/finanzen/boerse/kryptowaehrungen/bitcoin-im-news-ticker-russische-forscher-festgenommen-weil-sie-bitcoin-generieren-wollten_id_8449096.html

2.) Cryptocurrency Mining Demand Exceeded the Expectations of Nvidia in Q4
https://news.bitcoin.com/cryptocurrency-mining-demand-exceeded-expectations-nvidia-q4/

3.) A Pair of British Entrepreneurs Sold 50 Luxury Flats For Bitcoin In Dubai
https://cointelegraph.com/news/a-pair-of-british-entrepreneurs-sold-50-luxury-flats-for-bitcoin-in-dubai

4.) Bitcoin Informant bei iTunes als Podcast
http://ppq6xp.podcaster.de/bitcoin-informant.rss

Preis der Top20 Kryptowährungen am 12.02.2018 um 08:30Uhr
Bitcoin Mining Supercomputer

Sonnige Grüsse

Dennis “Bitcoin-Informant” Koray

Der Beitrag #299 Bitcoin Mining Supercomputer, Nvidia Nachfrage übersteigt Erwartungen & Luxus Apartments für BTC verkauft erschien zuerst auf Bitcoin Informant.


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China Lines Up its KO Punch, Will it Work?

China Lines Up its KO Punch, Will it Work?
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China’s hard-nosed approach to Bitcoin has seen exchanges and ICOs banned, yet this was only a hindrance. Now, in a final roll of the ban dice, China has one more trick up its sleeve. #ANALYSIS


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Singapore Confirms It Will Not ‘Ban’ Cryptocurrency, Has No ‘Risk Concerns’

Singapore Confirms It Will Not ‘Ban’ Cryptocurrency, Has No ‘Risk Concerns’
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Singapore’s deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam provided new commentary on the government’s commitment “not to ban” cryptocurrency as part of its future regulatory plans.

In a series of fourteen statements published Monday, Feb. 5 in response to questions posed by members of parliament Tuesday, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, deputy prime minister and minister in charge of regulatory body the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), confirmed a broadly hands-off policy regarding cryptocurrencies going forward.

“...(MAS) has been closely studying these developments and the potential risks they pose. As of now, there is no strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading here,” the deputy PM said.

“But we will be subjecting those involved as intermediaries to our anti-money laundering regulations. And we will keep highlighting to Singaporeans that they could lose their shirts when they invest money in cryptocurrencies.”

Like Japan, Singapore has highlighted itself as a permissive environment for both cryptocurrency and Blockchain innovation over the past few years.

In stark contrast to China and Indonesia, the city-state has favored Blockchain in particular as part of its bid to become a global hub for the technology.

Addressing the disparity between Singapore and its neighbors, Shanmugaratnam noted that volumes involved were comparatively small and exposure to the financial system correspondingly insignificant.

For now, the nature and scale of cryptocurrency trading in Singapore does not pose risks to the safety and integrity of our financial system,” he continued.

“…Further, connections between cryptocurrency trading and Singapore’s financial system are also not significant at present. Singapore’s banking system does not have any signficant (sic) exposure to global and local entities dealing in cryptocurrencies. We hence do not have broader, systemic risk concerns with regard to cryptocurrencies.”

Last month, MAS managing director Ravi Menon sounded similarly bullish on crypto’s future when he went on record to mainstream media to say he hoped assets and their underlying technology would survive a major crash.


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Bitcoin Growing While You Sleep: A New Platform Introduces Automated Crypto Trading

Bitcoin Growing While You Sleep: A New Platform Introduces Automated Crypto Trading
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Investing in cryptocurrency takes time, effort and one mistake can cost you a lot. Kryll.io, a new product, is aiming to become a game changer. The platform, starting its token sales in February, offers intuitive ways to create and execute trading strategies automatically.  

The crypto market has remarkable growth and the pressure is high. Held by Cryptense, a full-stack Blockchain company, Kryll.io was founded by crypto-enthusiasts who experienced all the roadblocks and risks of crypto trading on their own skin. The team members say they’ve been in the picture since the early days of Blockchain. According to Kryll’s website, startup’s co-founder Philippe Longère (CTO & head of Cryptense R&D) has already developed a few bots to execute trading strategies automatically.

Intuitive platform for defining strategies

Analyzing relevant data, preparing the right strategy and executing it around the clock within moving markets is not easy. ‘The discipline of steel and cool head needed to take the right decision at the right time,’ the company said in their white paper. “Trading is also a very technical domain where your area of expertise needs to span from an ability to perform technical analyses to machine learning and semantics analyses.”

The platform is aiming to support exchanges around the globe. The architecture of Kryll encompasses several servers in Europe, Asia and North America, enabling the execution of strategies.

The list of ten first exchanges supported by Kryll includes Bittrex, Coinbase, Cryptopia, HitBTC, Bitstamp and many others.

Earning by sharing

Kryll is trying to make lives of crypto traders easier with a ‘What You See Is What You Trade’ (WYSIWYTTM) interface. The technology allows design trading strategies and tests them. Once the strategy proves it works, users can set their tools to live-trade on their behalf 24/7. The project’s app makes their life easier.

In Blockchain era it’s all about sharing. On Kryll’s platform users can also rent-out their winning strategies to help fellow traders and, of course, receive some income for their generosity. The marketplace will also feature a chat section related to every strategy, where people would be able to receive advice from other users. Strategies on the marketplace will be rated by users.

Kryll founders are also planning to organize competitions, where people will develop the best strategy in a limited time. Winners will be rewarded with Krylls, the system’s internal tokens.

Designing the flows

The Kryll’s system has five main families of blocks for building a strategy:

The first one is called ‘Market Trends,’ providing trends analysis, such as price fluctuation, technical data analysis and prognosis based on machine learning.

The second type of blocks, ‘Trading Actions,’ allow to buy, sell and hold your assets, or stop the trading activity if needed. The third one is ‘Signals,’ a qualified Telegram channels or social network analysis from professional traders.

The ‘Operators’ blocks are organizing data feeds and signal interactions, for example, when BTC is receiving positive feedback on Twitter. Finally, ‘Notifications’ blocks keeps users informed of a strategy’s status by text messages, emails or smart notifications.

Cryptense S.A.S, a Blockchain company behind the Kryll project, is based in the European technology park of Sophia Antipolis in the south of France. In December 2017, Cryptense has raised 200,000 Euros from private investors before the token sale.

Trading in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple exploded last year. Toward the end of 2017, the daily trading volume in the crypto markets equaled that of the NYSE. According to CoinMarketCap, by the end of December daily trading volume in cryptocurrency had peaked above 50 bln.


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How Financial Instruments Help to Avoid Big Crypto Tax Bills?: Expert Take

How Financial Instruments Help to Avoid Big Crypto Tax Bills?: Expert Take
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In our Expert Takes, opinion leaders from inside and outside the crypto industry express their views, share their experience and give professional advice. Expert Takes cover everything from Blockchain technology and ICO funding to taxation, regulation, and cryptocurrency adoption by different sectors of the economy.

If you would like to contribute an Expert Take, please email your ideas to a.mcqueen@cointelegraph.com.

With the cryptocurrency economy now worth more than $500 bln, the IRS is waking up to massive tax revenues at stake. The IRS’s summons to Coinbase for their customer data is an early warning shot.  A wide-scale and coordinated IRS/ DOJ enforcement campaign is surely coming.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but simply hoping the IRS won’t find out who owes what is a dangerous game.  Is there any hope for those that want to legally plan around cryptocurrency taxes, while hedging their substantial gains? There might be, but the wild card is how the IRS will approach these transactions.

With the recent emergence of futures and options trading, it should become more commonplace for parties to design tailored cryptocurrency loans, swaps, forward contracts and more.  An explosion in cryptocurrency financial product innovation is coming. Whether this innovation is a blessing or a curse may depend on your perspective. What you can count on, though, is that the IRS will be lurking.

Lend me a Bitcoin

What if I lend out my Bitcoin, either as a hedge, or to raise cash for other investments?  Do I need to pay tax on the cash I receive?  It’s a good question, and a lot of tax dollars are now at stake in some Bitcoin loans. The catch is that the IRS must agree that what took place is actually a loan. Simply calling it a loan is unfortunately not enough.

Indeed, proper documentation and execution are essential. And even so, there can still be complications. For example, the IRS might say that the Bitcoin borrowed needs to be the same Bitcoin returned at the end of the loan term. Indeed, if I lend someone a painting, and they give me back a different painting, the IRS would probably say this was no loan at all. Rather the IRS could tax me as though I sold the first painting.

It might sound silly for the IRS to take such a technical position on Bitcoin loans. Most everyone treats one Bitcoin as fungible with any other Bitcoin. And what would returning “the same Bitcoin” even mean?

But with so much tax dollars at stake, some amount of posturing is to be expected from the IRS, and no argument is too technical for the taxman. The IRS has a variety of legal tools to attack a loan and claim it’s actually a sale.

Prepaid forward contracts too?

Another approach might involve a prepaid forward contract. The IRS has said that these transactions can work for publicly traded stocks if designed properly. In other words, they can allow parties to receive cash without triggering the tax.

How do prepaid forwards work? Someone holding appreciated stock receives a fixed amount of cash up front (often 70-90 percent of the value of the shares). In exchange, the stockholder might agree to deliver a variable number of shares at a forward date (or an equivalent amount in cash), such as five years in the future. The idea is that title will transfer years later, so there’s no current tax now.

So why not prepaid forward contracts for Bitcoin? Again, expect some pushback from the IRS.  How much pushback may depend on how the forward contract is documented. The more similar a Bitcoin forward is to a stock transaction the IRS has approved in the past, the better the chance it has to survive IRS scrutiny.

But past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, especially in an IRS audit. Indeed, the IRS has attacked prepaid forwards that it considers abusive, such as where the shares were lent out over the course of the deal.

As with loans, much may depend on how closely a Bitcoin forward contract tracks deals the IRS has already blessed. While the IRS is used to seeing prepaid forwards on IBM stock, they may be quick to poke holes in the cryptocurrency versions.  So again, plan carefully.

The future of futures

The emergence of futures and options trading in Bitcoin is a potential game-changer for these transactions.  While they may not change the IRS’s mind about how to tax any particular financial instruments, they do offer market participants many more options.

Only a year ago, finding a counterparty to take the opposite side in a Bitcoin loan or prepaid forward contract was no easy feat.  Now, institutional investors should be stepping in, not to mention cryptocurrency hedge funds.  A futures market offers bigger players a foothold and can allow them to reduce risk when taking the long or short side in a particular trade.

Whether the IRS likes it or not, cryptocurrency financial instruments are here to stay. But, as with ICO’s, buyer beware is on order. Some innovations will create tremendous value, and allow parties to hedge effectively. Financial instruments can also help investors obtain targeted exposure to certain assets, which can’t be reached any other way.

But with financial innovation comes risks, and it goes without saying that leverage can magnify those risks. If designed properly, financial instruments might offer a way for early adopters to lock in profits now and defer tax until later. Yet thoughtful planning is crucial, and the IRS is going to initially approach these transactions with skepticism (and, likely, some serious confusion). We should expect some interesting conversations.  

Dashiell C. Shapiro is Partner at Wood LLP

Disclaimer. The views and interpretations in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cointelegraph.


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The Tax Man is Finally Catching Up On the Crypto Market

The Tax Man is Finally Catching Up On the Crypto Market
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When Bitcoin was still deeply buried underground in the world of unknown technology and the dark web, it was hardly seen as a threat, or even legitimate by those in power. However, it soon proved many in the mainstream wrong as it’s popularity and price skyrocketed.

Both of these factors have caused regulators and governmental institutions to sit up and take notice. But more than that, they have been forced to take action in response. Regulators are indeed catching up to Bitcoin, as more and more hard-nosed approaches begin to make the news. It now looks as if the taxation authorities of some countries are also starting to get to grips with this fast moving, and mostly anonymous, monetary system/growing asset.

Just like death and taxes

It is hardly confusing as to why the tax man would want to come knocking on the Bitcoin community’s door. The power of this digital currency, along with others, has handed huge amounts of growth and prosperity to investors, prosperity that has up til now, been largely kept off the grid.

The amount of money, growth, and returns on investment mean that there is room for governments to stake their claim, but their methods in doing so are far more difficult in the grey area of crypto earnings. In normal circumstances, banks and other centralised financial institutions are obliged to disclose finances to taxation authorities. However, the same cannot be said for Bitcoin. There is currently no obligation on exchanges to disclose user information. In fact, it is unconstitutional in most settings, as the USA’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found out when they requested data and were turned down by the courts.

Additionally, Blockchain offers a transparent window into wallet addresses and transactions, but with anonymous IDs, these are no good to anyone trying to track down the owners of funds and their respective growth. This is also why there is a widely held fear of money laundering in the Bitcoin world.

How do they do it — from US to Australia

Given the difficulty in pegging down Bitcoin assets, different nations are trying different methods to try and claim tax from profits made by Bitcoin investors. The IRS, for example, has tried asking people nicely to declare their tax, and only 802 listened. The reset merely scoffed and remained in the shadows.

In Australia, the government has deemed that cryptocurrencies are “a form of property”, and therefore: „Any financial gains made from the selling of Bitcoin will generally be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) and must be reported to the Australian Tax Office,“ a spokesperson from the tax office said.

While this is still a grey area, there has been a warning issued. The Australian Tax Office has warned it will be looking out for tell-tale signs of crypto tax dodgers living beyond their means:

„The Australian Tax Office is here to help those that are genuinely trying to meet their tax obligations. However, where people attempt to deliberately avoid these obligations, we will take strong action.“

This includes using „a range of existing powers“ which are used to address „unexplained wealth and conspicuous consumption that may arise through profits derived from cryptocurrency investment“.

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) said in December last year that it would be exploring ways in which to track cryptocurrency trades in the hopes of addressing tax avoidance. In the meantime, it is looking to provide its own guidance for citizens on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies, its first foray into controlling the gains made. As Asheer Jaywant Ram, senior lecturer in the School of Accountancy at the University of the Witwatersrand, puts it:

“I think there is enough interest and enough scope for SARS to be looking into this space, but now the question becomes, are they really going to accept taxpayers declaring their gains as capital gains tax or are they going to just say it is all revenue in nature?”

Income or capital?

This is a key question that a lot of nations will have to put to the sword as, should it be taxed as income, as opposed to capital, it will be at a higher rate. Proving that it was indeed a long-term investment, and thus subject to gains tax, is far more difficult in the fast moving ecosystem that is Bitcoin. Ram adds:

“Those sorts of debates on the nature of Bitcoin – I think those are coming – and I think it would be very interesting to actually see the outcome of those debates”

It is the very nature of cryptocurrencies that as they emerge more in the mainstream, they will be subjected to more scrutiny and regulations. While Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are a disruptive force, scaring longstanding institutions such as banks, it is doubtful that they will be able to avoid tax forever. It would be more pertinent for a resolution to be met between tax authorities and crypto investors, lest there be bigger issues down the line.


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