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Regulation

The ‘Blockchain Island’ Of Malta Registered A Surplus Of €182 Million For 2017

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The blockchain island of Malta has been featured on many occasion on our DC Forecasts crypto news site. This time, we are featuring the potential of the postage stamp-like nation nestled in the Mediterranean again – mostly because of its attractive climate for crypto/blockchain businesses, British expats and other things.

As of recently, Malta has become famous for more than its rich heritage. It was also a welcoming home for the iGaming sector which is worth approx. $1.4 billion (12% of the country’s GDP). On top of this, the European island of Malta was able to register a surplus of €182 million for 2017 which is its second year in a row with a plus like this.

The country is being talked about in blockchain regulatory circles as well, mostly because of its progressive stance on cryptocurrency, even being rebranded as “the Blockchain Island”. The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, recently gave a compelling speech to the United Nations about how countries should work together to solve the world’s problems.

Still, Malta is commonly on the radar mostly because of the sticky issues coming with cryptocurrencies – with money laundering as the biggest among them. On the surface, however, it is definitely a country and an island that is a pioneer in the cryptocurrency regulation space – especially after passing three new crypto bills this summer and becoming the first and only country to regulate cryptocurrencies in such way.

This has helped Malta attract even more crypto businesses and establish a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, blockchain and DLT in general.

To sum things up, Malta is definitely living up to the hype of crypto, blockchain and fintech – being one of the several places on Earth which crypto and blockchain enthusiasts can call a home.

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Regulation

IRS Is Hunting Cryptocurrency Traders With Warning & Action Letters

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The latest cryptocurrency news put the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the focus. According to reports, the IRS is hunting suspected cryptocurrency holders and traders who may have misreported digital assets on their tax returns. As the sources show, there have been more than 10,000 warning and action letter sent by the authority. Letters such as the 6174-A, 6173 and CP2000 have all appeared in the mailboxes of many cryptocurrency traders all around the United States. A lot of crypto tax software companies are also on the hunt list - and have seen an influx of customers coming to them for tax help out of fear of penalties. As many best cryptocurrency news sites showed, the main problem and reason why IRS is hunting traders is the misreporting of their documents. However, traders claim that the authority does not have all of the necessary information - and that the information they have is extremely misleading. For those of you who don't follow our Bitcoin and altcoin news, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in the US are treated as a property from a tax perspective - and not a currency. Just like many other forms of property (stocks, bonds, real estate etc.) the capital gains and losses are incurred on the bills. It also doesn't come as a surprise that a lot of traders are not paying taxes on their crypto activity. This is why the IRS is hunting traders - which is also why it makes sense to start out carrying out these enforcement campaigns. In general, cryptocurrency users are constantly transferring crypto in and out of the exchanges. Therefore, the exchanges have no way of knowing how, when, where or at what cost the cryptocurrencies are acquired. They can only see what appears in the wallet on the specific platform. The second a person transfers crypto in or out of an exchange is when the exchange loses the ability to give users an accurate report detailing the cost basis and the fair market value of the cryptocurrencies. Both of these aspects are mandatory components for tax reporting. All in all, the IRS is hunting traders without all the information. So, if you receive a warning letter from the IRS, you should not panic. As long as you are properly filing your crypto gains and losses, you should be fine.
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Regulation

First Crypto Banks In Switzerland Are Seen As A “Game Changer”

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Cryptocurrency banks are a new thing on the horizon - and they are already showing up in Switzerland. As sources report, the first crypto banks in the country could open the floodgates to the integration of cryptocurrencies as well as other digital assets in the established financial sector. Some of them include the names of Sygnum and SEBA, which were among the recent provisional banking and securities dealers in Switzerland. They have been awarded licenses by the official Swiss regulator last week - and both entities are interested in becoming fully fledged banks once they complete some of the final routine regulatory hurdles. The CEO of Sygnum Swizerland, Manuel Krieger, was featured on many best cryptocurrency news sites that reported about the first crypto banks. As he said:
“This is the first time such licenses have been granted worldwide, so Switzerland is playing a pioneering role. We now have a responsibility as an enabling platform to help banks and other financial players make the step into the digital asset world.”
Other members of the bank and officials agreed that crypto will apparently "come out of the shadows once these assets are done in a 100% compliant manner" This, according to the official who runs the group's Singapore operation, is a "game changer." What is very interesting is the fact that Swizerland has been one of the leading players in the global adoption of tokenized digital assets and DLT technology. The country is in the process of updating its financial legislation to incorporate the new technology. To remind you with a piece from our altcoin news, Switzerland is also the home to Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency foundation - which was set up in Geneva. Other established players such as the Swiss stock exchange and state owned telecom giant Swisscom are also involved, as well as a number of startups. The benefits of tokenizing all types of financial assets in a purely digital format and then trading them on DLT ledgers are believed to be manifold - and instantaneous settlement might help big time in the future. Even though there are some critical voices about the adoption, the fact that Swizerland houses the first crypto banks is definitely a positive sign for the entire industry.
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Regulation

China Plans Crackdown On Crypto Mining In Inner Mongolia

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Big news come from China as the regulators of the Chinese autonomous province of Inner Mongolia plan a complete clean up of the province and its crypto mining enterprises. It seems that China plans crackdown on the crypto mining industry in this province. As the local crypto outlet ChainNews reported a while ago, there have been five departments within the province of Inner Mongolia which determined the need to rectify the mining industry in the province. The organizations named included the Development and Reform Commission, the Public Security Department, the Office of the Ministry of Industry, The Financial Office and the Big Data Bureau.
“The virtual currency ‘mining’ industry belongs to the pseudo-financial innovation unrelated to the real economy, and should not be supported," the report summed up, indicating that China plans crackdown.
China's regulatory approach towards crypto mining has been somewhat inconsistent, sources reported. This left it unclear what exactly what the recent notice will mean for miners operating in the province of Inner Mongolia. In a tweet with a reaction to the ChainNews' report, a partner at Primitive Ventures and popular crypto commentator (featured on many best cryptocurrency news sites) named Dovey Wan wrote:
“I doubt this will have any impact.”
What's also interesting is that as of the end of May, China was responsible for 70% of the global BTC mining. At the time, reports showed that China plans crackdown and that regulators were investigating illegal mining operations in Sichuan - a province which is responsible for 70% of the Bitcoin (BTC) mining thanks to the electricity generation of the Dadu River Basin. In April this year, reports in the altcoin news also showed that the National Development and Reform Commission in the country was considering a ban on crypto mining throughout the country. This tentative ban led to speculation that mining would be forced to leave the country or go underground - which was clearly a troubling proposition for the Chinese regulators. China currently houses the majority of the world's hash power and so far, no ban like this has entered into law. Meanwhile, the recent Bitcoin and coming altcoin news show an increase on the markets.
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Regulation

Netherlands Could Block Foreign Crypto Firms Under New Laws

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The European country of Netherlands could block cryptocurrency entities which are based outside of the country. These businesses may get the boot under the new crypto regulations, the latest cryptocurrency news show. In fact, a report by CoinDesk on the DNB recent registry mandate for crypto companies brought a DNB spokesperson named Tobias Oudejans in the focus. Oudejans said that the current legislation before the Dutch House of Representatives will not only force domestic companies to register with the central bunk - but also that foreign entities will not be allowed to conduct services within the country. This shows that Netherlands could block the foreign crypto firms in total. In fact, foreign entities here include all firms registered outside of the European Economic Zone, a block which constitutes most of the European countries. When asked if the foreign crypto companies will have to create offices within the Netherlands or Europe in order to gain access to the market, Oudejans gave no specific comment. The legislation, according to Oudejans, is still under consideration. According to him, the central bank has already asked all Dutch crypto companies to register before the January 10 cut off date mandated by the AMLD 5. For those of you who don't know, the legislation and central bank registration is based on anti-money laundering concerns. Just like all financial firms, Oudejans noted that crypto firms in the country must register with the Dutch government. It is true that Netherlands could block the foreign crypto firms - but it is also true that a lack of clear regulation in the country is an issue which many Dutch crypto service providers face, according to one local crypto firm. We are talking about Crypto2Cash and its founder PJ Datema. As he told many best cryptocurrency news sites, the latest DNB standards will help mature the market.
“It’s a really nice step. I’m not saying they are embracing crypto. [But] we are finally moving forward after a long period of silence,” Datema said. “It’s good they are taking action. If we want the market to mature and the participants to evolve… you want anti-money laundering (AML) and proper know your customer (KYC),” he summed up.
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