Bitcoin Weekly Recap 10-14-2016
Japan Considering Sales Tax Exemption for Bitcoin
Japan’s Financial Services Agency and Ministry of Finance are reportedly considering an exemption for Bitcoin and other digital currencies that would mean that those currencies would no longer be subject to the country’s national sales tax that is currently set at 8%. The proposed move is being hailed by exchanges and others in the industry, as it would help to reduce administrative costs, reduce buyer costs, and perhaps help to encourage innovation and growth in what is still a very young industry.
Bitcoin acceptance has been increasing in the country in recent months, with roughly 2,500 of the nation’s stores now accepting the currency. That’s about four times as many stores as last year at this time, and there are already plans to expand on that growth. An exemption from the sales tax would put Japan back on equal footing with the other six members of the so-called Group of Seven. At the present time, Japan’s government is the only one in that group to levy a tax on purchases made with digital currencies like Bitcoin.
SEC Delays Winklevoss ETF Decision
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week decided that it needed additional feedback from the public before it can render a decision on the Winklevoss Twins’ proposed Bitcoin ETF. If approved, the Winklevoss exchange-traded fund will be the first Bitcoin-exclusive ETF listed on the BATS Global Exchange. In delaying the request, the SEC cited concerns about Bitcoin stability, and requested more information about how the trust holdings will be valued. It also wants reassurances that there would be no conflict of interest between the trust custodian and the brothers’ Gemini exchange.
McAfee’s MGT Reports Initial Mining Rewards
In June, John McAfee led MGT Capital Investments Inc into the Bitcoin mining industry. Phase One of that operation has reportedly come to a conclusion, and the company announced its initial results. Thus far, the new mining operation has reportedly mined a total of more than 90 Bitcoins, which have a current market value of more than $50,000 at today’s exchange rate. The effort is now entering what MGT is referring to as Phase Two, which will reportedly see the company attempting to achieve total mining power of 5 PetaHash before the beginning of 2017 – with an ultimate goal of doubling that sometime in the first quarter of next year.
U.S. Secretary of State Indicates that Bitcoin is On Department’s Radar
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently indicated that the State Department may be taking Bitcoin more seriously than it ever has, and may even be considering an effort to train its embassy foreign services officers so that they are more aware of the technology. His remarks came at a Silicon Valley gathering where experts and others were discussing digitization, cybersecurity, and other technological issues of global interest.
After Kerry acknowledged that there are now digital officers in American embassies around the globe, he was asked whether we had reached the point where those personnel needed to be trained to discuss things like Bitcoin and the dark net, and whether the Department would push for training that could provide more awareness about Bitcoin. Kerry replied, “Yes. That’s the curriculum we’ve put together. I mean, I haven’t asked – there’s a lot of uncertainty with Bitcoin or whatever…”