Bitcoin Weekly Recap 3-4-2016
Japanese Lawmaker Seeks Bitcoin Consumption Tax Exemption
Even as Japan is in the midst of moving toward regulation of the digital currency industry, one Japanese lawmaker is urging the country’s Diet to exclude Bitcoin from the nation’s consumption tax. Last month, Tuskasa Akimoto asked the nation’s Finance Minister, Taro Aso, whether the ruling party could give consideration to an exemption for Bitcoin purchases.
Minister Aso reportedly justified such taxation by noting that there are other countries already levying taxes on consumer transactions involving the cryptocurrency. Japan’s consumption tax is currently set at 8%. Many industry advocates believe that digital currencies should be free from such taxation during this nascent stage of development to encourage innovation. That would be similar to the hands-off, tax-free approach some governments maintained for internet commerce.
British Central Bank Deputy: Electronic Sterling Would Endanger Banks
While some in the corporate world simply dismiss digital currencies like Bitcoin outright, others are starting to take it very seriously indeed. There has even been talk that England’s central bank might respond to the rising interest in Bitcoin by issuing its own cryptocurrency. According to Ben Broadbent, a deputy governor for the Bank of England, such a venture would be a risky undertaking that could imperil the economy and threaten banks.
One of his chief concerns focuses on the way in which any attempt by the central bank to incentivize broader access to its balance sheet could cause savers to move their money to the Bank of England and away from smaller lenders. That would diminish those banks’ ability to make needed loans, which could have a negative effect on economic activity by limiting both investment and growth.
BidorBuy Accepting Bitcoin
Bidorbuy is the largest online platform for Africa’s buyers and sellers, and has often been referred to as the continent’s own version of eBay. Each month, the site’s marketplace receives more than a million visitors, providing an invaluable economic service for a part of the world that tends to rely on mobile devices for many consumer transactions. Now, that marketplace offers consumers the option to use Bitcoin for their transactions, alongside the more widespread options like PayPal and credit cards.
The addition is a welcome one for consumers, as many Africans lack access to more traditional financial services like bank accounts and cards. More importantly, the ability to pay with Bitcoin will not be hindered by seller preferences, since Bidorbuy is responsible for all conversions to the seller’s local currency. That should incentivize sellers to begin accepting Bitcoin, even though the company is not mandating that they do so.
HashFast Bankruptcy Recovery Claims Could Be Helped by Court Ruling
During bankruptcy-related proceedings in the Northern District of California’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Judge Dennis Montali declared Bitcoin to be “intangible personal property.” The ruling was made as part of a case against HashFast Technologies, the collapsed Bitcoin mining firm that now faces bankruptcy claims totaling more than $40 million.
That ruling is important due not only to its impact on the case at hand, but also in light of the current difference of opinion within government circles as to exactly how cryptocurrency should be viewed. The decision to consider Bitcoin as property is more in line with the IRS assertion that the cryptocurrency is property than with other official views that consider it either a commodity or a currency.
Coinbase Launches Product to Enable Bitcoin Purchases with Debit Card
Coinbase this week announced the introduction of beta testing for a new product that will make it easier for Bitcoin users to purchase their digital currency using debit cards. The company is initially releasing the feature to one percent of its customers, and has plans to achieve full release in the months to come. The feature enables Coinbase users to add their debit cards through the company app or on its website payment method page.
NH: No Tax Payments Using Bitcoin
New Hampshire - the state with the proud motto of “Live Free or Die”- has reportedly decided that its citizens’ liberty does not include the freedom to use Bitcoin as a payment method for their taxes. The state’s House of Representatives recently rejected House Bill 552, which would have required the State Treasurer to create a plan that would have the state government accept Bitcoin as a payment option for fees and taxes. The reasons cited for the bill’s failure included the Treasury Department’s unfamiliarity with Bitcoin operations, which officials believe could result increased costs.