South Korea Postpones 20% Crypto Tax Policy to 2022

South Korea Postpones 20% Crypto Tax Policy to 2022

South Korea has delayed the enforcement of its crypto tax law until the start of 2022 providing ample time for exchanges to create the necessary machinery for accurate cryptocurrency financial reporting. The news also finalizes the country’s tax plan after months of speculation concerning levying taxes on virtual currency trading gains.

South Korea’s Crypto Tax Coming in 2022

According to a report by Yonhap on Tuesday (Dec. 1, 2020), South Korea’s parliament has officially postponed the enactment of its crypto tax policy until 2022. Back in November, BTCManager reported that the National Assembly was considering a move to provide an extension to the cryptocurrency taxation policy.

The decision to postpone came after a session of the Planning and Finance Committee which held on Monday (Nov. 30). South Korea’s official tax policy will now come into force in January 2022; three months later than previously scheduled.

By delaying the enactment of the law, South Korean officials say the government is giving sufficient time for crypto exchanges to work out the necessary modalities required for complying with the new directive. When in force, crypto trading profits exceeding 2.5 million won (approx. $2,500) per year. This threshold provides a de minimis crypto tax exemption for gains below this mark.

South Korean exchanges will need to comply fully with real-name trading account regulations as part of the new crypto tax regime. Indeed, this law was part of the provisions included in the legislative action of March 2020 that effectively gave full legal status to crypto trading operations in the country.

Bithumb, as well as fellow “big four” competitors Corbit, Coinone, and Upbit, are the only cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea currently in compliance with real-name trading accounts regulation. With the crypto tax policy coming in 2022, platforms still have sufficient time to attain full compliance with this regulation.

As previously reported by BTCManager, some critics of the crypto tax plan say levying taxes on cryptocurrency trading gains will stifle the growth of the industry. Indeed, South Korea’s virtual currency space has stagnated over the last two years on the back of successive stringent government regulations.

However, 2020 has seen the government take steps to provide some support for the crypto and blockchain industry. The country’s central bank is also planning to conduct trial runs for an experimental digital currency in 2021.

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IOTA Rolls Out The Alpha Version of Its New Wallet, Firefly

IOTA Rolls Out The Alpha Version of Its New Wallet, Firefly

IOTA is releasing the Alpha version of the Firefly, a new wallet that replaces Trinity, an update on Nov 30 reads. 

IOTA is Learning 

The IOTA Foundation says the Firefly is a wallet meant for IOTA 1.5.

Because of the structural and technical changes that will accompany the upgrade, Firefly represents an overhaul. 

Designed from the ground up by a team of developers keen more on improving user experience by building on the organizational assets accrued over the last three years, Firefly is a wallet that will serve the current and future IOTA ecosystems.

Security and User Experience

In mind is the security, and specific steps for sealing known flaws. 

Early this year, the Trinity wallet was compromised forcing the IOTA Foundation to switch off the Coordinator. 

After working with authorities, holders ended up losing $2 million.

The hack called for better security of the network at this formative stage, viable steps of powering off the Coordinator, and most importantly, setting the ball rolling for a true DAG-protocol that’s decentralized and infinitely scalable.

Bearing this in mind, part of Firefly’s core lies in security.

For example, they are using Stronghold—a collection of libraries for securing personal details–allowing sensitive operations like key generation and transaction signing to take place in isolated memory. This shields the token holder from attackers. Additionally, it makes the wallet portable.

To enhance user experience along with navigation, Firefly is introducing the concept of profiles and accounts. 

In this mode, through a given device, people can use their profiles to securely access their wallets. The accounts feature allows the creation of primary and sub-accounts. 

On the UX front, Firefly users can check their balances securely using their pin. Their secret pin won’t decrypt the private key (seed), an improvement over Trinity. 

Additionally, users can re-use their wallet’s public address and their 24-key phrases, with the added benefits of better network performance.

Preparing for the Future

Additionally, Firefly designers are releasing the first version of the wallet keeping in mind future developments. 

Like a typical smart contracting platform, IOTA will introduce tokenization in the future. With more features, users will demand easy navigation.

For this reason, Firefly’s architecture is expandable with additional room for extensibility enabling perfection of the core. 

As per a BTCManager report, IOTA has partnered with Pantos to promote Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) interoperability. Pantos is backed by Bitpanda.

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Coinbase Will Support Eth2 Beacon Chain Staking

Coinbase Will Support Eth2 Beacon Chain Staking

Starting in early 2021, Coinbase will support ETH staking and distribution of client rewards once Eth2 Phase 0 is active as per a statement on Dec 1.

Service Available in Eligible Jurisdiction

The service will only be accessible to clients in eligible jurisdictions including the United States and any of the over 100 supported countries.

More details will be communicated in due course.

The exchange is making it clear that it is supporting the transition. Holders won’t be illiquid since they will “enable trading between ETH2, ETH, and all other supported currencies providing liquidity for our customers.”

Stakers willing to lock their 32 ETHs in the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Beacon Chain mainnet via the official deposit contract are free to do.

Even so, Coinbase will assist in the distribution of rewards for clients whose balance is lower than the 32 ETH threshold.

Eth2 is Now live, over 880k ETH Deposited

With the Beacon Chain mainnet now active, there are over 27k official validators. At the time of writing, there were 880,672 ETH deposits and 27,512 validators. Validators continue to lock their coins in the Beacon Chain mainnet.

A week ago, 524,288 ETHs were needed to pave the way for today’s mainnet. Its failure would have seen the launch postponed for another week. However, it was the sharp spike in depositing activity three days before Nov 24 that saw the threshold met several hours before the deadline.

Notably, the deviation and acceleration highlighted the determination from the community of the need to shift to a new consensus algorithm. Unlike previous upgrades mired by delays, the migration to Eth2 is critical for the network.

Serenity Will Scale Ethereum and Fix the Problem of High Transaction Fees

Eth2 will be executed through several phases spanning years culminating in Serenity. The final phase will be scalable by several magnitudes sufficiently addressing the high Gas fees impeding adoption.

According to BitInfoCharts, an ordinary network user on Nov 30 paid an average of $3 to post any transaction. It was tripled the average on Nov 29 ($1) and may rise depending on the platform’s activity.

As BTCManager reported, Eth2 is now more decentralized considering the level of node distribution than Bitcoin. 

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DeFi Protocols Yearn.Finance and SushiSwap Announce Merger

DeFi Protocols Yearn.Finance and SushiSwap Announce Merger

In yet another decentralized finance (DeFi)-related M&A (merger and acquisition), Yearn.Finance and SushiSwap have announced a partnership between both protocols. The news marks the first of such mergers for DeFi bluechip Yearn.Finance as it continues to gain a larger presence within the emerging market sector.

Details of the Merger with SushiSwap

Yearn.Finance creator Andre Cronje announced the merger in a Medium blog post published on Tuesday (Dec. 1, 2020). The news marks the fifth such merger between Yearn.Finance and another DeFi project including the likes of Pickle Finance.

The deal will see both DeFi protocols combine their developmental resources thus creating an aggregated total value locked (TVL) sum. Together, both projects command about $1.2 billion worth of Ether (ETH) in TVL. Indeed, data from DeFi aggregator shows Yearn.Finance’s current TVL at $457 million while SushiSwap is at $738.

Commenting on the importance of the merger, Cronje wrote:

“As Sushi focused on expanding their AMM ecosystem, and as Yearn focused on expanding their strategies, more and more overlap became apparent, Yearn needed custom AMM experiences for their strategies, and Sushi started pushing the boundaries of yield and money markets.”

As part of the collaboration, SushiSwap will aid Yearn.Finance in the completion and launch of the latter’s Deriswap project. Back in November, BTCManager reported that roll out of the Deriswap protocol envisioned as a consolidated DeFi ecosystem encompassing swaps, options, and lending markets.

As part of the merger, Cronje’s Keep3r network will be integrated inside the Sushibar v2 protocol. Keep3r is a decentralized network that connects projects will suitable external developers to carry out developmental tasks on smart contracts, decentralized apps (dApps) among others.

The planned merger will not cause any drastic changes to the governance protocols of both projects. According to Cronje, the Sushi token and governance will remain the same.

After completing work on the Deriswap platform, Cronje says SushiSwap will handle a “stealth project.” The announcement did not offer any specific details as to the nature of this mysterious project.

Yearn.Finance’s latest merger announcement has given a significant boost to the YFI governance token. As of press time, YFI is up almost 10 percent in the last 24-hour trading period. YFI took the DeFi scene and indeed the crypto market by storm when it rallied 8-fold back in August.

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Bitcoin Price Rally to Over $19,800 Likely Because of “Smart Money”

Bitcoin Price Rally to Over $19,800 Likely Because of “Smart Money”

Preceding the Bitcoin price pump to over $19,800 was an influx of new capital and investors, data from GlassNode reveals.

The Bitcoin Price Pump

The Bitcoin price has since contracted to around $19,400 at the time of writing but price action favors bulls. 

After last week’s decline–that saw prices slide to $16,555 before reversing to spot rates, the entry of new investors is bullish for Bitcoin price and the crypto scene.

Focus on On-Chain Activities

Differentiating the current Bitcoin rally from previous pumps are bullish on-chain activities and the influx of smart money.

Not only is the network hash rate increasing months after miner rewards were slashed—hinting at the resilience and miners’ expectations of better prices, but the spike from $13k to $16k saw the largest wave of coins changing hands. 

Besides, more users flew in, hoping to capitalize on price increments. 

With investors shifting gears, looking for entries and tuning their positionsallocating funds for the digital asset, there was a firm foundation for the current upswing and potentially, the printing of a new 2020 high. 

Accompanying this rally are the outflows from exchanges. 

According to Willy Woo, this withdrawal of coins out of centralized ramps was organic. Bitcoin buyers reportedly scooped an unprecedented number of coins as prices temporarily corrected in mid-November.  

Institutional Flow to Bitcoin and Gold Comparison

Increasingly, crypto and Bitcoin is now being re-assessed by different institutional-grade investors. 

Citing the coin’s superior characteristics and its fixed supply, Bitcoin is now a viable alternative to gold.

However, the gold market is one of the deepest and most liquid with over $7 trillion in average daily trading volumes.

On the other hand, the total crypto market has a market cap of $581 billion as of Nov 30. Bitcoin, the most valuable digital asset, is dominant and has a market capitalization of $389 billion. 

Even so, it has been immensely successful since the concept of decentralized and internet-native digital currency is roughly 12 years old. 

At spot levels, Bitcoin is more valuable than JP Morgan and most leading global banks in the United States and China.

As BTCManager previously reported, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been requested by intelligence services to assist crypto and Bitcoin companies amid Chinese domination. 

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EverSystem CEO Holds Online Session for Japanese Developers, Benefits of IOST Pointed Out

EverSystem CEO Holds Online Session for Japanese Developers, Benefits of IOST Pointed Out

On Nov 28, EverSystem organized a hands-on online session for beginner Japanese developers looking to launch applications on IOST, an update on Dec 1 shows.

An Online Session for Programming Students in Japan

Hosted by Takao Wada and Keiya Shirahama, the class was set for software engineering students, UX developers, programming novices, and others keen on immersing themselves in product development. 

Wada is a part-time lecturer with a Ph.D. and the CEO of EverSystem–a Servi node operator and a core developer on IOST.

The online class was split into three main phases.

First, developers were shown how to write smart contracts using JavaScript. In the second phase, they were taught how to split a token payment before finally being introduced to developing on the IOST blockchain platform.

IOST Supports JavaScript 

Unlike competing networks like Ethereum, IOST is scalable.

The Ethereum Virtual Machine only supports Solidity. It is a language that programmers must first learn before deploying smart contracts. Errors within the blockchain realm are costly since transactions are immutable. 

By selecting JavaScript, developers can build more products on the blockchain. Besides IOST, JavaScript is used to develop other blockchain projects like Lisk. 

Their program selection also syncs with their value proposition of simplicity in development. 

One of the main distinctions between IOST and other platforms is that its smart contracts can be updated. As such, errors can be fixed.

Hands-on Training and Introduction of IOST’s Main Features

From the online class, beginner Japanese developers directly interacted with blockchain engineers and persons actively deploying smart contracts on the high throughput platform. 

Guided by experienced lecturers, students were appraised with blockchain and smart contracting before being taught how to estimate the market size for blockchain-based development.

Moreover, a developer with the EverSystem also explained distinctive features of IOST smart contracts including their basic notions and some of the platform’s main APIs. 

Wada highlighted the various application of blockchain, especially in the healthcare sector. In the mid of the coronavirus pandemic, there must be systems that safeguard the privacy of patients and medical health workers while concurrently allowing interoperability. The developer took students through the Pracs project his team–EverSystem, is currently working on. 

Pracs, as BTCManager previously reported, is a medical information sharing system that runs on the IOST blockchain.

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ECB President Bullish on Digital Euro, Slams Private Stablecoins

ECB President Bullish on Digital Euro, Slams Private Stablecoins

Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) has once again espoused a bullish position on a possible digital Euro while warning about the potential risks of private stablecoins. Several nations, including China, are developing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) with the consensus among mainstream finance experts being that sovereign digital currencies are better than decentralized cryptos from a regulatory standpoint. 

Europe Needs Digital Euro to Stay with the Times

In a Nov. 30 article for the L’ENA hors les murs magazine, the ECB chief offered an exhaustive commentary on the future of money while highlighting the need for innovation to not erode the principles of trust. Commenting on the role and place of a digital Euro against the backdrop of COVID-19 and a possible decline in cash usage, Lagarde identified a European CBDC as a necessary instrument of the region maintaining a presence in the emerging digital economy.

Commenting on the matter, Lagarde wrote:

“Central bank money is unique. It provides people with unrestricted access to a simple, essentially risk-free and trusted means of payment they can use for any basic transaction. But for retail use it is currently only offered physically in the form of cash. A digital euro would complement cash and ensure that consumers continue to have unrestricted access to central bank money in a form that meets their evolving digital payment needs.”

According to the CBDC chief, a “properly designed” European CBDC would allow for seamless integration between the private sector and the payments industry thus allowing the former to create digital Euro-based business processes. Lagarde also declared that a digital Euro will also help in fostering economic unity across the region.

As previously reported by BTCManager, Germany’s finance minister recently called for a quick decision on the EU CBDC. Earlier in September, the ECB declared that it would soon release a report on plans for a digital Euro.

Stablecoins Threaten Monetary Sovereignty

While praising blockchain and distributed ledger technology, Lagarde argued that the erosion of trust in the crypto payment system is a flawed concept. The ECB President further identified stablecoins as posing serious risks.

According to Lagarde, stablecoins gaining broad-based adoption could threaten national and international monetary sovereignty as well as global financial stability. The ECB President also remarked that stablecoins attaining high transaction volume capability could negatively affect commercial banks.

As part of the editorial, the ECB head also railed against stablecoins helmed by big tech firms like Facebook adding that such projects could have significant privacy and consumer protection issues. As previously reported, Libra is set for a limited roll-out in January 2021 with the release of a dollar-pegged stablecoin.

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Japan: Life Insurance Giant Uses Blockchain Technology for Stockholder Voting

Japan: Life Insurance Giant Uses Blockchain Technology for Stockholder Voting

Blockchain technology is now being used for stockholder voting.

Japanese Firms Tap Blockchain for Stockholder Voting

According to a report by Ledger Insights, one of the top three Japanese life insurers, Meiji Yasuda Life, is mulling using distributed ledger technology (DLT) for shareholder meetings from July 2021.

As a result of the rampant COVID-19 pandemic, both the Japanese government and the Japanese Business Federation, Keidanren, have suggested using blockchain technology, among other emerging technologies to enable shareholders to vote at corporate meetings without attending in person.

For the uninitiated, last year, Meiji Yasuda Life conducted a meeting that required members to submit a power of attorney in advance. However, as was later observed, the major downfalls of this approach were that if someone wanted to change their vote after hearing speeches and discussions at the meeting. However, if the vote is already submitted in paper, that would not be a possibility.

The report by Ledger Insights reads in part:

“The life insurance firm has adopted a blockchain solution developed by Japanese IT firm Asteria which uses an enterprise version of the Ethereum blockchain. At a December 2020 meeting, questions will be accepted in real-time. But once legal issues are resolved, the system will be considered for blockchain voting at the general meeting in July 2021.”

Blockchain and Voting

Among its several other uses across numerous industries including finance, banking, supply chain management, real estate, and law, blockchain technology has continually been touted as a strong force to strengthen the current vulnerable voting processes across the globe.

Earlier this year, BTCManager reported that the U.S. Senate had hinted in a memo that it could use DLT for remote voting by its members. This way, Congress would be able to continue conducting its business without being impacted by the pandemic.

Similarly, in September, reports emerged stating that Russia was contemplating using an e-voting system built on Waves Enterprise Chain ahead of the State Duma elections.

On a recent note, BTCManager reported that Tokyo-based Layer X Labs stated it was developing a blockchain-based electronic voting system, a crucial cog of Tsukuba City’s “smart city” initiative.

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Central Banks of UAE and Saudi Arabia Say CBDCs are More Efficient and Can Preserve Privacy

Central Banks of UAE and Saudi Arabia Say CBDCs are More Efficient and Can Preserve Privacy

The conclusion of Project Aber and subsequent review by the Central Banks of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority) and the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) shows that Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) can improve remittance and satisfy privacy demands despite it being technically untenable, a joint report on Nov 28 reveals.

Objectives of Project Aber

The HyperLedger Fabric-built Project Aber is a Central Bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) experiment that was launched in January 2019.

It was built on previous trials in Japan, Singapore (Project Ubin), and Canada (Project Jasper). Unlike previous trials where a single currency was issued via the payment network, two currencies were being transmitted via Project Aber. 

A Proof-of-Concept project, it was for the two central banks to understand the mechanics of DLT and how it is applicable in CBDCs. 

Additionally, it would showcase the viability of a shared digital currency. Two central banks were considering the possibility of using the system as an additional reserve system for domestic payment systems whenever there are disruptions.

During the year-long project, six local commercial banks ran nodes and contributed money from reserves deposited at their respective central banks.  The digital currencies used during this experiment was backed by the respective central banks. The entire project was broken down into three phases.

If successful, Project Aber would have overhauled the way financial transactions are settled between the two countries. 

SAMA and CBUAE Findings

The conclusion of the project now reveals the immense benefits of DLT and CBDCs. Although more research is required, there are clear-cut differences and advantages blockchain-based remittance systems have over traditional settlement methods.

On one end, the technology behind the digital currency can satisfy the privacy requirements of users. Secondly, payment systems anchored on DLT offered better advantages over centralized systems in both domestic and international bank settlements.

Early issues identified involve node coordination. 

However, further research could see the expansion of the project and the addition of more fiat currencies, and the launch of more financial instruments on the system.

As BTCManager reported, the German Finance minister has called for a quick decision on the Digital Euro.

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Tezos Set to Implement Zcash Privacy Features in Edo Upgrade

Tezos Set to Implement Zcash Privacy Features in Edo Upgrade

Smart contract blockchain protocol Tezos (XTZ) is gearing for its next network upgrade designated “Edo” which will reportedly introduce robust security features to the network. The Edo update will also include a revamp of the project’s smart contract functionality with the introduction of token issuance capabilities.

Edo Upgrade Follows Swiftly on the Heels of Delphi

Tezos developers Nomadic Labs, Metastate, and Marigold issued a joint release announcing the Edo update on Monday (Nov. 30). According to the statement, the upgrade will go live in early December.

Among the raft of features in the upcoming Edo upgrade is the first implementation of the Zcash (ZEC) Sapling library. Deploying Sapling on the Tezos chain will reportedly introduce shielded coinbase, a major component of transaction privacy functionality on blockchain networks. After the completion of the Edo upgrade, developers will be able to integrate Sapling into their decentralized apps (dApps) and smart contract protocols.

The deployment of Sapling on the Tezos network is the latest of such collaborations across blockchain divides. Back in May, BTCManager reported that Tezos had inked a deal with oracle provider Chainlink (LINK) to utilize the latter’s services on its chain.

Apart from Sapling, the Edo upgrade also introduces a ticket system to the Tezos network that allows smart contracts to grant permissions or initiate token issuance protocols within the blockchain. According to the release, this new ticket system offers seamless access for third-party smart contract and dApp developers.

With the Edo upgrade coming barely a fortnight after the Delphi update release, the Tezos developers remarked that work on the former had been going on in the background for a significant amount of time. Commenting on the accelerated update timeline, the release explained:

“We’ve been hard at work on the core Tezos software, and we’ve made significant improvements that we want to share with the users of the network. In particular, we have now completed a number of improvements that were in progress at the time that the interim Delphi update was proposed.”

Back in September, Societe Generale tapped Tezos for its Bank of France-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC) test. Tezos is also one of the public chains integrated into China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN).

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