Overstock will be the first major firm to pay state taxes in Bitcoin

On Thursday, the internet merchant Overstock declared it would pay part of its Ohio state business tax using the famed digital money. The move comes following the country last fall introduced that a first-of-its-kind payment gateway known as OhioCrypto, which lets businesses remit taxes utilizing cryptocurrency.

In a meeting with Fortune, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel reported the Bitcoin tax group program is directed at providing advantage to companies, and branding the nation for a pioneer in the adoption of blockchain technology.

Mandel added that many taxpayers choose to utilize charge cards, which obliges them to pay a 2.5% service charge, but Bitcoin payments will incur a charge of just 1 percent –and none whatsoever for early filers such as Overstock.

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For the time being, the Ohio Bitcoin initiative covers just 23 kinds of company taxes that the state collects, such as those for gas and tobacco. And in the instance of Overstock, it’s electing to cover no more than the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), which applies to companies with over $150,000 in receipts.

In 2020, Mandel states, Ohio can also expand the application to other sorts of taxes and also to individual tax filers. He added that he anticipates OhioCrypto will also offer you the choice to pay with a range of cryptocurrencies aside from Bitcoin.

Concerning amassing the Bitcoin, Ohio is for now not utilizing its cryptocurrency wallet but is relying upon Atlanta-based service supplier, BitPay, that will obtain the Bitcoin obligations and remit them into the country in U.S. bucks.

Mandel says that an Ohio car dealer was the primary company to cover in Bitcoin, but Overstock is the first firm with a nationwide presence which has declared it will do this.

CEO and creator Patrick M. Byrne in a declaration explained,

“We’ve long believed that considerate political adoption of emerging technologies for example cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation on these technologies) is the perfect approach to guarantee the U.S. doesn’t lose our place in the forefront of their ever-advancing worldwide market,”

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Byrne is an outspoken cryptocurrency enthusiast, also Overstock has offered clients the choice to pay in Bitcoin. In 2017, the business also made it feasible to cover in heaps of different forms of electronic currencies.

While the amount of companies paying Ohio in Bitcoin is very likely to be modest initially, Mandel says that he thinks the program will increase in coming years, and expand into other nations. He added that he expects that the U.S. Treasury will follow Ohio’s case and permit folks to pay national taxation with cryptocurrency.

UK Regulators investigate 18 crypto firms for Fraud and Illegal Operations

More than a dozen companies in the cryptocurrency industry are under analysis from UK’s financial regulator, reports the Financial Times.

According to the firm book, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed on Sunday that 18 companies were being investigated over their participation in promoting cryptocurrencies. Additionally, warnings and alarms were sent to some other dozen or so companies over suspicion they were participating in cryptocurrency investment scams.

On the other hand, the FCA has declined to identify the companies which are in the spotlight to avoid prejudicing the continuing investigations. Additionally, this is to prevent impacting the business operations of these firms involved negatively prior to a definite conclusion was reached.

Also Read: White Hat Hackers earned $878,000 from Crypto Bug Bounties in 2018 says report

Late last month, CCN reported that the FCA had opened inquiries to 67 companies that were involved in cryptocurrency dealings. The most recent data from the FCA indicates that queries on 49 companies were shut, with 39 of these companies being slapped with customer alerts.

In addition, ten of those companies had their probes closed following the FCA failed to find enough proof required to progress the instances since the companies had received warnings telling them they had authorization so as to continue operations.

Since CCN reported last month, part of the reason behind the gain in the number of probes came following the FCA was bombarded with complaints in the wake of decreasing cryptocurrency prices that had probably exposed fraud in the industry. At the moment, the manager of the strategy and rivalry in the FCA, Christopher Woolard was quoted as stating that the financial regulator had been concerned that unsophisticated investors were sold products that were complicated and did not pass the”smell test”

We are worried that retail buyers are being marketed complicated, volatile and frequently leveraged derivatives merchandise based on trade tokens with inherent market integrity problems.

Also Read: Vitalik Buterin hits Bitcoin SV and calls it a ‘Dumpster Fire’

Crypto Crash Eased Stress on Regulators

While the recession in cryptocurrency costs has led to more complaints into the FCA and thus increased strain, UK’s Ministry of Finance officials had another take a month noting that the bearish conditions had eased stress to take radical actions.

Afterward, the financial services deputy manager in the UK Ministry of Finance, Gillian Dorner, contended that the recession in the cryptocurrency marketplace had purchased the time and this could Help in coming with constructive policies Instead of hasty conclusions:

We wish to spend some opportunity to check at this in a little more depth and also make sure we have a proportionate approach.


Hacker steals 200BTC from Bitcoin Electrum Wallet

This is not the first time something like this has happened, but this sure is a huge amount!

An anonymous hacker (or even consortium of hackers) have stolen almost $1 million value of Bitcoin (BTC), reports tech media outlet ZDNet. Per the report, the Electrum Wallet, a favorite open-minded project based in mid-June 2011, has been broken at a “smart attack

The assault, that has since been supported by the staff behind the enterprise, supposedly consisted of a fictitious message appearing on consumers’ official Electrum-based software, which empowers users to go to a website.

In case the link given has been clicked, then it would lead sufferers into some seeming Electrum-branded GitHub repository, that comprised a malicious variant of Electrum which would steal customers’ Bitcoin holdings.

This particular attack allegedly started on December 21st but has been lately ended (perhaps only briefly ) from GitHub admins, who purged the malicious download documents. But how did the strike work?

Well, as clarified by ZDNet, the hacker supposedly added heaps of”malicious servers” into the Electrum system, so when a user plans to generate a trade, the hacker-backed server answers with an error message which asks users to see the fictitious GitHub. After downloading, the program would ask for users to enter 2FA code, which has been sent to the attacker, then subsequently allowing BTC to be snatched.

Also Read: Bitcoin Exchange Huobi announces Post-Christmas layoffs

Electrum admins have supposedly since disallowed the concept from being largely legible, therefore this moderate of assault is probably breathing its final breaths. Still, the simple fact of the matter is that ultimately, the hackers netted 200+ BTC, roughly valued at ~$740,000 in the time of composing. Other reports show that the assault garnered 250+ BTC to get hackers, but these amounts have not been verified.

Not The Initial Attack On Electrum

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the favorite wallet alternative was assaulted by bad actors. Earlier this season, in early-May, the Bleeping Computer reported the Electrum group had seen an undercover individual/group make a copycat of the flagship product, naming it”Electrum Pro”

The program, that closely resembled its bonafide counterpart, was subjected as a vector of attack which malicious people may exploit, stealing Bitcoin personal keys in the procedure.

At a post-mortem of the assault (of types ), that went for upwards of 2 weeks, it was clarified that there were several glaring red flags. Electrum Pro allegedly used Electrum’s logo and brand without consent, while also buying the rights to get the Electrum.com domain name, which was near-identical into the valid group’s .org domain.

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After evaluation, it was also shown that in Guru’s code, especially lines 223-248 of all electrumpro_keystore.py, a method has been incorporated that enabled attackers to upload customers’ keys for nefarious purposes. While the Electrum Professional strike has been dismantled, both above instances reveal the hackers are still poised to assault on the cryptosphere, despite a bear market.

Tipped by Rajeesh Nair, Tech Blogger from India

Bitcoin Exchange Huobi announces Post-Christmas layoffs

Chinese mining giant Bitmain Technology and cryptocurrency exchange operator Huobi Group have announced plans to lay off employees but for various reasons, per reports about the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Bitmain showed its goal in a statement offered by the SCMP, predicting that the layoffs a”minor alteration” because it restructures to construct a sustainable company after the recession in the marketplace.

The company added:

A component of this is having to focus on matters which are core to this assignment rather than matters which are auxiliary. As we proceed into the new calendar year, we’ll continue to double back on selecting the best talent from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Even though the rumors making the rounds in Chinese press says roughly half of Bitmain’s employees may find themselves jobless at the conclusion of the present restructuring, a Bitmain spokesman allegedly denied the proposals but refused to discuss the precise amount of workers that may be axed. Another anonymous worker, mentioned by SCMP, asserts that the lien would cover all Bitmain’s branches but he was not sure of the precise number of workers to be terminated.

Also Read: Hundreds of Crypto Projects depicts signs of plagiarism, fraud and unlikely returns

In like fashion, Chinese firm Huobi Group, that SCMP notes have over 1,000 workers, will be linking Bitmain about the chopping block since it attempts to reorganize its construction for the new year by cutting redundant workers. Contrary to Bitmain, Beijing-based Huobi Group has been quick to point out that it’ll continue to expand its group “because of its core companies and emerging markets.”

The sudden market crash has made it hard for many blockchain firms to be more sustainable, resulting in cutbacks and layoffs out of companies.

Before this month, since CCN reported, Ethereum manufacturing studio ConsenSys went through a type of restructuring since the company needed to axe60percent of its workforce in an attempt to enhance its business amid the bearish market.

“We have to keep, and sometimes recover, the slender and gritty startup mindset which made us that we are. We find ourselves inhabiting an extremely competitive world…We have to recognize what got us here would likely not catch us there, where’there’ is,” ConsenSys CEO Joseph Lubin wrote in a letter to his workers.

Also Read: Blockchain will survive a Cryptocurrency Apocalypse

Blockchain societal platform Steemit wasn’t spared either. Citing the collapse of this cryptocurrency marketplace, Ned Scott, CEO of Steemit stated the startup was shooting 70 percent of its own group imagining that it was getting hard to enhance the blockchain together with the”rising costs of running complete Steem nodes” and the lower “fiat yields” in their “automatic selling of STEEM.”


As Bitcoin price drops, industry startups are forced to cut back

Around this time this past year, the purchase price of Bitcoin struck an all-time large of almost $20,000. Cryptocurrency fans everywhere whined about the riches 2018 would deliver, first coin offerings exploded and startups continued to pull listing amounts of venture capital. Fast-forward annually: Bitcoin is down 75 percent to a $3,700, sinking as fast as its meteoric rise, and business startups are paying the cost.

The most recent victim is Bitmain, a supplier of bitcoin mining equipment which quite recently filed its IPO prospectus into the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. The business affirmed to CoinDesk this week which cutbacks would start imminently:

“There’s been some modification to our team this season as we continue to construct a long-lasting, more sustainable and scalable company,” a spokesperson for Bitmain informed CoinDesk.

He kept adding that,

“A component of this is having to actually concentrate on matters which are core to this assignment rather than matters which are “

Beijing-based Bitmain has not clarified exactly how a lot of its workers will be affected, though rumors which Bitmain has since denied — on Maimai, a Chinese LinkedIn-like platform, imply as many as 50% of their organization’s headcount could be set off. This information comes following the crypto mining giant confirmed it had shuttered its Israeli growth center, Bitmaintech Israel, putting off 23 employees in the procedure.

Bitmain applies at least 2,000 individuals, up from 250 in 2016, based on PitchBook, since the organization’s expansion has skyrocketed.

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“The crypto marketplace has experienced a shake-up at the previous couple of weeks, which has compelled Bitmain to analyze its various actions around the world and also to refocus its business in keeping with the present scenario,” Bitmaintech Israel mind Gadi Glikberg allegedly told his workers in the time of their layoffs.

Bitmain has increased over $800 million in venture capital financing from Sequoia, Coatue Management, SoftBank and much more. At a cost of $12 billion, it immediately jumped to eventually become the most precious crypto startup on the planet, exceeding Coinbase, that gained an $8 billion evaluation this autumn.

In its IPO filing, Bitmain reported greater than $2.5 billion in earnings this past year, up almost 10x about the $278 million it asserted for 2016. In terms of the first half of 2018, Bitmain stated it surpassed $2.8 billion in earnings. These are amazing numbers, yes, however, if Bitmain can sustain this sort of momentum was called into question, particularly because it gears up to go public in what is the biggest crypto-related IPO so far. The crypto marketplace, by nature, is inconsistent — a feature that is less than beneficial to public market investors.

Startups forfeit staff

Meanwhile, the Huobi Group, a crypto trading platform also headquartered in Beijing, is putting off a part of its 1,000 workers, also, as shown by a reporting the South China Morning Post.

Huobi, that is endorsed by Sequoia and ZhenFund, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additionally, Brooklyn-based ConsenSys before this month confirmed it had been laying off 13 percent of its own 1,200-person employees. The organization, active in the crypto ecosystem, incubates and invests in decentralized software built on the Ethereum blockchain.

ConsenSys creator and crypto billionaire Joseph Lubin composed in a letter to workers about the layoffs.

“Excited as we’re around ConsenSys 2.0, our first step in this direction has become a tough one: we’re streamlining several areas of the company including ConsenSys Solutions, spokes, and heart solutions, resulting in a 13% decrease of net associates,”

At length, Steemit, a distributed program designed to benefit content creators, laid off 70 percent of its own employees only days before, citing poor market conditions.

Also Read: Bank of America discloses New Blockchain Patent targeting cash handling

“We believe that Steem could be undoubtedly the finest, and cheapest price, blockchain protocol for both software and the improvements which will result from this new leadership will ensure it is much better for program sustainability,” creator and chief executive officer Ned Scott wrote in a statement. “But, so as to make sure that we may continue to enhance Steem, we will need to get prices under control to stay economically sustainable. There is nothing I desire more than to endure, to maintain steemit.com functioning, and also keep the mission alive, to create wonderful communities.”

Downsizing after phases of rapid expansion — that lots of crypto startups experienced throughout that the Bitcoin flourish — is just natural, but can these companies continue to survive periods of intense volatility without crashing entirely? 1 thing is sure: If the purchase price of Bitcoin sinks further and further, “staff alterations” in crypto startups big and small will probably be inevitable.

Tip by Shanon Belversky
Inputs from Robin, Writer at ExFold Media Inc.

Morgan Creek’s digital branch founder Anthony Pompliano says Pension Funds should buy Bitcoin

Anthony Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek’s “Digital” branch, has long been a zealot for the decentralist motion, lauding the crypto area for many years on end. Case in point, each and every week, Pompliano, better-called Pomp into the crypto community, issues his 179,000 Twitter followers into the “extended Bitcoin, short that the bankers” rhetoric which has become his crucial calling card.

On the other hand, the investor, previously of Snapchat’s and Facebook’s growth group, has not maintained this opinion contained to his Twitter feed. Far out of, in reality. In the previous weeks, Pomp, together with his colleague (and boss) Mark Yusko, embarked on a massive crusade to select up mainstream customers, emerging on many of fiscal media outlets to assert a capital allocation to cryptocurrencies is financially favorable.

Moreover, just 3 weeks ago, Morgan Creek Digital issued a $1 million stake rooting for the in-house crypto index fund, which covers a great majority of the aggregate worth of cryptocurrencies. If Morgan Creek’s vehicle, based about Bitcoin, outperforms the Standard and Poor 500 within a decade, the company expects a $1 million cheque in its own mailbox.

Conversely, if conventional tools can outperform crypto, Morgan Creek is going to likely be mandated to fork out $1 million into its to-be-determined opponent. Yusko, echoing remarks from his colleague about the wager, told CNBC he considers U.S. stocks will bill”essentially no returns” within the next 10 decades, while he anticipates for crypto resources to spike within precisely the exact same timeframe.

Also Read: UAE to become main destination for Blockchain-Related Businesses in 2019, Experts says

Even though Morgan Creek (and Pomp, subsequently,)’ve put its money where its mouth is, that the notable insider is not do not banging the Bitcoin drum only yet. Most recently, Pomp took to Off The Chain, a crypto publication/media origin he heads, to assert that Bitcoin might be a way to solve the financial crisis.

“Each Pension Fund Should Purchase Bitcoin”

Nowadays, there are scores of millions, if not hundreds of millions throughout the world which are relying on pensions to remain afloat for retirement. However, whilst retirement plans frequently tout a major match, this kind of monetary compensation has come under fire in recent decades. Air Canada, for example, went right into a $4.2 billion retirement solvency deficit in 2012, which might have killed the business entirely. And as the airline has since regained its own retirement program’s prospects, there are many strategies which are facing gun barrels, so to speak.

By way of instance, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest public pension fund in the USA, with $300 billion of assets, is allegedly less than 70% financed. And, taking a look at its annualized yields, it does not seem as the finance will soon be reducing this shortage anytime soon.

Pomp, at a recent setup of Off The Chain’s newsletter, maintained that this matter has been pushed by the worker to retiree ratio, whereas reduced birth rates and the aging of the “Baby Boomer” generation has led to higher costs for retirement funds. As it stands, there are a lot of answers for this matter. Some alternative, like raising workers’ retirement gifts, might be contentious. While others, specifically raising the yield of capital, are insecure, particularly in the tumultuous environment than conventional stocks have discovered themselves in.

Morgan Creek’s representative clarified that while the above repairs may triumph, a”potential alternative” to fix this emergency is to just purchase Bitcoin, “seriously.” Bitcoin, for starters, is a non-correlated advantage, with Pomp calling it”the holy grail of any portfolio”

Delphi Digital, a blockchain- and – crypto-centric research/analytics unit, lately supported that using a little allocation into Bitcoin is mathematically logical. More importantly, the team decided that placing 3 percent of investable funds apart into Bitcoin generates the maximum Sharpe Ratio.

Even the flagship cryptocurrency even offers an asymmetric yield profile, which means that there’s far more upside than downside in owning Bitcoin. Pomp especially attracted attention to the electronic gold debate to demonstrate his point, noting that when Bitcoin becomes golden, the upside is “~100x+” Accentuating his view in this plan, he also wrote:

“Bitcoin has become the best performing asset during the previous ten decades. It has undergone a 1,300,000X+ rise in value from $0.003 to ~$4,000 today. It’s conquering the S&P 500 to the previous ten decades, the previous five decades, and the previous 2 decades. As a fixed source asset, I think Bitcoin will still continue to outperform conventional assets in the long run as demand continues to increase also.”

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Pomp noted that when Bitcoin hypothetically exceeds $1 million apiece, as most optimists expect it will, a 0.1 percent allocation to the cryptocurrency will blossom into 25 percent in total assets. Still, the crypto bull left it crystal clear it isn’t that simple since there’s a non-zero possibility that Bitcoin could capitulate to zip if the worse comes to worst.

Still, in final, the diehard noted that the cryptocurrency still has the capability to fish culture from a financial crisis, adding that we only want a couple of brave people to make the first movement.

Alex Pack thinks that Bitcoin crossed a major milestone this year

Bitcoin has had a tough couple weeks, topping off a dreadful year that has seen it shed around 80 percent of its value because of its all-time large 12 weeks ago.

While many are concerned that bitcoin–as well as several other significant cryptocurrencies like Ripple’s XRP and Ethereum–may currently be dead in the water, others are convinced that this is just another blip in the extended bitcoin saga.

Currently, the managing partner of Dragonfly Capital Partners, a U.S. crypto-focused venture capital company, has stated he believes bitcoin has crossed a significant milestone this year, using its odds of falling to zero virtually non-existent.

Bitcoin has dropped sharply since it appeared at nearly $20,000 in the end of 2017, crashing into annual highs of about $3,150 before this month following a busy couple weeks and prompting many to attempt to call a base into the tumultuous market.

“Bitcoin could fall as low as $2,000, as well as $1,000, but maybe not $0,” explained Alex Pack, a former finance director at Bain Capital Ventures. “And that is a landmark for an advantage.

“For something like bitcoin, which can be a milestone in the history of cash, it has come to be a more reliable store of value,” Package additional. “Individuals purchasing and using it’s to be confident it is not going to zero”

Since the bitcoin and wider cryptocurrency marketplace has dropped in value, investors have fretted over slow adoption among consumers and retailers, delays to long-awaited institutional investment, and also the marginal danger of tougher regulation.

Bitcoin has dropped throughout the previous week, climbing back above the psychological $4,000 mark. Some market watchers believe this rally won’t last, however.

However, Peck said that thanks to the improvements seen in 2018, specifical fascination with bitcoin stocks from Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange, along with the interest generated by bitcoin’s epic bull run a year ago, his”assurance has never been greater.”

“Back in 2014 there has been a considerably smaller set of investors. Bitcoin and crypto were very market, which triggered a great deal of doubt,” Pack said.

He also added,

“The question now is’how long that this bear market will last?’ The death cries appear much milder than in previous downturns and the folks involved have more patience. We believe we will have the ability to weather the storm”

In October it was disclosed Dragonfly Capital Partners has raised $100 million to its inaugural fund to purchase cryptocurrency startups.

Pack, together with venture capital veteran Bo Feng, are trying to invest in three kinds of resources: crypto-native funds which are looking to be turned into the following asset management dynasties for your crypto-asset course; protocols and software which are going to be the base of the decentralized market; and pick-and-shovel technology startups building bridges between the decentralized and centralized worlds.

Dragonfly’s investors include cryptocurrency exchange OKEx and cryptocurrency mining gear manufacturer Bitmain, both located in Beijing. Bitmain’s long-expect stock exchange float has come under uncertainty in recent weeks, casting a shadow across the entire sector.

Pack is worried the U.S. and Europe could drop behind international growth as a result of heavy-handed regulation. Dragonfly intends to bridge Western technology development together with the requirement for crypto and blockchain providers in Asia and the developing world.

“A great deal of the technology and infrastructure has been constructed from the West but the majority of the consumer base is currently in Asia. It is China, Hong Kong and Japan in which the most compelling use cases are available and it would be tricky to implement a whole lot of these fresh, exciting items from the West,” Pack said.

“Crypto development goes so fast, and in a significantly faster rate than the world wide web, for instance. What can happen five years in online development, can occur in about a couple of years in crypto.

“The U.S. is at risk of losing its technology giant crown to Asia and the clock is still ticking. I would say it’s only a couple of years before that occurs.”

“Fast moving web companies like Facebook prefer to request forgiveness, not to consent. It is far more difficult for crypto businesses to do so.”