According to Coin ATM Radar, the world now has more than 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs in operation. According to reports, more than 60% of these machines – 621 – are at sites around the United States, with Canada coming in second in total Bitcoin ATM placement. The ATMs provide Bitcoin enthusiasts with easier access to Bitcoin transactions, and are viewed as an important tool for increasing awareness of the digital currency.
The Austrian capital of Vienna is now home to what is being referred to as the world’s first Bitcoin bank. The newly-opened “Bitcoin Bank” is owned and managed by blockchain firm Bit Trust, and has opened for business in one of the more popular Vienna shopping areas on Mariahilfer Strasse. The bank was launched to help simplify the buying and selling process for Bitcoin enthusiasts in the area.
It’s been a stressful few days for China’s Bitcoin enthusiasts, as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) seems to have expanded its investigation of the country’s Bitcoin exchanges. After last month’s meetings with the three largest domestic exchanges saw those companies implement new fees and other policy changes, the PBOC this week turned its attention to nine of the smaller Bitcoin platforms. In a meeting with those exchanges on Wednesday, the central bank reportedly focused on the need for greater anti-money-laundering efforts.
Venezuela’s Bitcoin community has felt the pressure in recent weeks, as the nation’s law enforcement agencies have intensified their crackdown on Bitcoin mining. Raids, detentions, and public announcements have contributed to a general sense of unease for Venezuelans, as nearly a dozen people have been detained as authorities confiscated Bitcoin mining equipment from a number of different sites. Now, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the country, Surbitcoin, has announced that it has temporarily suspended its operations.
When the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Central Bank issued new regulatory guidelines for digital payments last month, many observers took note of an apparent ban on “virtual currency” usage by companies that were subject to the new regulations. In a new statement, the central bank has now provided new clarity on the subject by announcing that the new rules do not apply to Bitcoin or other digital currencies.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a new notice this week, warning digital currency users and traders about the risks faced by anyone engaged in cryptocurrency transactions. The central bank reminded Indians that it has not yet authorized any of those digital currency activities, nor provided licenses to any cryptocurrency companies.
A communications analyst formerly employed by the Fed was sentenced on Friday for secretly installing Bitcoin mining software on a central bank server. That former employee, Nicholas Berthaume, pled guilty to the charges last October, after initially trying to mask his activities by deleting the program. The court sentenced him to a twelve-month period of probation and fined him $5,000.
San Francisco blockchain tech provider BitFury Group and Hong Kong FinTech firm Credit China Fintech Holdings Limited this week announced the launch of a joint effort in the Chinese market. The deal represents BitFury Group’s first major foray into China, and will see Credit China Fintech invest $30 million to establish the venture and purchase shares of BitFury.
Reports from Venezuela indicate that the nation’s federal police took four Bitcoin miners into custody today after arresting them in Charallave. The news, reported by Bitcoin news site Criptonoticias, revealed that the suspects were all charged with cyber fraud and electricity theft. Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC) director Douglas Rico posted a statement to Instagram that accused the foursome of negatively impacting “the consumption and the stability” of Charallave’s electricity services.
LA-based GameCredits recently told DCEBrief about its upcoming Get the Gun tournament, which is scheduled to begin at 9:00 PM GMT on January 27, 2017 – with a second tournament to be held on the following day beginning at 12:00 pm GMT. The staggered times are designed to ensure that players throughout the world have the best opportunity to participate in one of the tourney events. The tournament will be accompanied by a Prize Pool that is being jointly-sponsored by Datcroft Games and GameCredits Inc.
In statements posted on their websites Sunday night, Chinese Bitcoin exchanges BTCC, OKCoin, and Huobi announced that they will impose new trading fees to “curb speculation and prevent price volatility.” The announcement of the new 0.2 percent charge on each transaction comes in the wake of recent meetings between the exchanges and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The new policy is scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday.
In Though voters in the state of Washington used a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in 2012, a bill recently introduced in the state Senate would add new restrictions on businesses that sell and distribute those products. That bill, SB 5264, would alter the rules on those sales by prohibiting those businesses from using digital currencies for their transactions. The bill would require that:
In remarks to Reuters, BTCC Chief Executive Bobby Lee has claimed that recent Chinese media reports were wrong when they suggested that the country’s central bank had determined that the exchange was “engaged in illegal operations and financing activities.” That report from the China News Service relied on reporting from the state-run Beijing Youth Daily, which also claimed that two of the other large Chinese exchanges – OKCoin and Huobi – were also found to be engaged in similar illegal activities.
In a press release on Tuesday, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced that it has granted Coinbase, Inc. the virtual currency and money transmitter license needed to continue its operations in New York. The company had announced that it applied for the state’s “BitLicense” in August, 2015, and has been operating in New York under the terms of a safe harbor provision while it waited for formal approval.
Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong published an online post on Medium this weekend to explain his company’s position on the ongoing battle with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over the tax agency’s effort to access information about Coinbase customers. He also took the opportunity to offer another option that would negate the need for the John Doe Summons by issuing all Coinbase customers a 1099-B at the end of each year.
In a statement released this week, the Israel Tax Authority (ITA) announced that it has decided to treat digital currencies like Bitcoin as assets rather than as foreign currencies for the purpose of taxation. That announcement has come more than three years after Israel’s government first began talking about the possibility of taxing profits from Bitcoin trading.
London-based p2p marketplace Cashaa recently announced that the company is preparing to launch its services in India and Nigeria next week. The launch is formally scheduled for January 18, and will see the company bring its unique zero-fee cash transfer services to cash senders and recipients in those two important countries. According to information provided by Cashaa, the service’s testing period resulted in more than 10,000 trader sign-ups, and transfers of some $2 million made using the company’s blockchain-powered platform.
The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada states that financial crimes committed by organized crime groups are costing Canadians around $5 billion a year. They further state that every one of these groups in Canada participates in some form of financial crime. Using the internet, they can actively and successfully reroute money to foreign countries, or try to legitimize it (launder it) through the stock market, online gambling sites, and anywhere else that presents an opportunity.
Many government officials are pointing a finger at digital currencies such as bitcoin as a haven for money launderers, even though it has an open, permanent, immutable ledger of every transaction that has ever occurred.
In the wake of several days of dramatic action in the Bitcoin markets, China’s central bank issued a strong warning to the nation’s investors as it urged them to adopt a rational approach with respect to digital currency investments. According to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the fluctuations in Bitcoin’s prices have been abnormal of late, and that abnormality should cause investors to be more cautious in their decision-making process.
Hyperinflation has destroyed the economic prosperity of Venezuelans. The oil-rich nation is now home to some of the highest crime rates in the world, and the banknotes required to conduct everyday life there are reminiscent of Germany’s Weimar Republic. Venezuela’s government has proven itself inept by printing money and spending themselves to oblivion, and by making everyday trade more difficult in their attempts to curtail the resulting hyperinflation. We heard from Leon about the challenges his family are facing in Venezuela, and how his discovery of Bitcoin has given him new hope for his family’s future.