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Regulation

CoinShares Officer: “SEC Is Unlikely To Approve Bitcoin ETF, Concerns Remain”

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Even though the regulatory status of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has been floating in the air since November 2018, the present cryptocurrency news show that 2019 may be the year of cryptocurrency-backed ETFs.

However, there are also cynics who believe that 2019 won’t be the turning point for Bitcoin ETFs. One of them is Meltem Demirors who is the chief strategy officer (CSO) at CoinShares, which is a crypto asset management group from Jersey.

In an interview on the CNBC Africa’s “Crypto Trader” show along with another guest, Demirors said that he doesn’t expect Bitcoin ETFs to hit the mainstream in the coming months.

During the interview, which was also intertwined with comments from Morgan Creek’s Anthony Pompliano and Arjun Balaji from The Block, Demirors first claimed that ETF proposal from VanEck, SolidX and CBOE will “absolutely not” be the application that gets approved in 2019.

She also noted that as it currently stands, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has no upside in approving applications. Instead, Demirors said that there is solely a downside for the financial regulator, adding that the current climate in the US is making Bitcoin’s outlook even worse.

Moreover, she explained that from a fundamental perspective, the green lighting of a truly crypto-backed exchange-traded product is a quixotic dream as there are still many concerns about Bitcoin (lack of market surveillance, manipulation risk and few custody/proper security measures.

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Regulation

Crypto Exchanges In Bulgaria Are Investigated: Government Asks For 10% On Profits

In today's crypto news, the government of Bulgaria is starting to investigate crypto exchanges to demand taxes from the profits that investors generated from trading digital assets such as Bitcoin and other altcoins. The National Revenue Agency (NRA) of Bulgaria has categorized cryptocurrencies as financial assets which incur a 10% tax on profit that individuals have to disclose on an annual basis. The main problem, however, with NRA's regulation of cryptocurrencies using the same policies is that it does not take into account the volatility of the emerging class. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy stage and the dominant digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum still demonstrate daily moves from 5% to 15%. Obviously, if an investor in Bulgaria is required to declare his profits on taxes on an annual basis, the decreasing price of Bitcoin could turn in a large negative return for the investor. Bulgarian authorities are now considering crypto assets to be anonymous and have already said that by doing that, it will be easy for investors to evade taxes in the crypto market. With the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems integrated by all the local exchanges, however, it will be difficult to hide or confine any transactions from the authorities.
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Blockchain News

Accounts Of The First Digital Bank In India Closed After Involving In Crypto-Related Activity

Digibank, India’s first digital bank started closing accounts that allegedly were involved in crypto-related activities after a claim made on Twitter reached our crypto news today. The Twitter user ‘’IndianCryptoGirl’’ posted about this on January 14 but has also taken to the social media platform plenty details of the anti-crypto restrictions that were imposed on all of the account holders in India’s second largest bank Kotak Mahindra Bank. Both banks imposed strict measures related to the prohibition on domestic banks dealing with crypto businesses which were first announced by the central bank of India last July. According to the IndianCryptoGirl tweet, Digibank is a multinational financial services company which froze multiple accounts on its platform after it detected transactions from entities identified to be virtual currency traders or brokers. The Twitter user clarified:
 “I've been a user of DBS' Digibank for a year. Although I regularly used Kotak Mahindra Bank for my cryptocurrency transactions, I used Digibank only 7 times throughout the year. On January 14th, I received multiple messages from my twitter [sic] followers regarding an account closure notice by Digibank. I checked my mailbox and found the mail myself.”
However, Digibank stated:
 “Reserve Bank of India through their public notices have warned/advised the public regarding risks associated with virtual currencies. We reiterated the same vide our emails dated 4th May 2018 and 2nd Aug 2019, cautioning our account holders [against] the risks associated [...] and that DBS accounts and debit cards should not be used for their purchase or any kind of dealings.”
Many other users responded to the allegations that not only Digibank but many other banks are doing the same as well.
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Blockchain News

BitMex Pulls The Plug On Trading Accounts In Quebec And The US

BitMex, the Hong Kong Based futures exchange, shuts down all of the trading accounts in the US and Quebec-Canada because of the massive regulatory restrictions in North America. More about this decision, we read in our blockchain news below. The exchange is one of the most active trading platforms in the world and it’s now battling with the impact of the strict laws for exchanges in the continent. It is currently shutting down trading accounts in US and Quebec just in the middle of the crackdowns on unlicensed crypto exchanges. According to the South China Post:
‘’The development comes at the same time as the Hong Kong-based company notifying users in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and Sevastopol in the Crimea since the fourth quarter of 2018 against holding positions or trading on BitMEX, as these are restricted jurisdictions.’’
It seems like BitMex only wants to cover its back and provide protection for their users against regulatory crackdowns. However, the exchange decided to pull the plug on the trading accounts after the Canadian regulatory body has announced the BitMex is operating illegally in Canada:
‘’BitMEX is not registered with the AMF and is therefore not authorized to have activities in the province of Quebec. We informed this company that its activities were illegal.’’
There is still no explanation why the exchange decided to shut down the trading accounts in the US. Many believe that the exchange does so because of the same strict crypto regulations. We are still expecting a comment from BitMex since it seems like there is almost a billion dollars worth of crypto still on the platform.
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Blockchain News

The Revenue Agency Of Bulgaria Will Investigate Crypto-Selling Companies

The National Revenue Agency of Bulgaria announced to start a series of investigations of cryptocurrency selling companies according to the crypto news coming from Sofia-based news outlet Novinite reports. The reason for the investigation is to make sure that the companies are in compliance with the tax regulation because the agency thinks that crypto-related businesses are the perfect way to get to tax evasion. According to the revenue agency, there has been already a conducted survey of the companies that operate in the country by selling and purchasing cryptocurrencies- crypto exchanges. After the investigation of approximately nine companies ends, the tax authority will determine based on the gathered information whether the users declared their income from the crypto exchanges. In Bulgaria, the income from selling digital currencies is declared in annual tax returns and is treated as profit from selling a certain digital asset taxed by 10 percent. The companies who make profits from the selling of crypto assets fall under the Corporate Income Tax Act. For example, in other countries such as Denmark, the tax authority is authorized by the tax council of the country in order to gather all the needed information regarding the trades of cryptocurrencies across domestic crypto exchanges. Another example is the United States’ tax agency that has stopped its request towards popular crypto exchange Coinbase to turn all of the information on the US users and instead the court ordered that only information regarding high-transacting users is required which is about 13.000 users.
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