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March 21,2022

Australia Aims To Regulate Cryptocurrency

Australia has joined the increasing list of nations aiming to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, with the government unveiling plans for a major revamp of payment system improvements that shall reportedly also include virtual currencies.

According to various reports, the proposed legislation would primarily focus on crypto taxes, investor protection, and supervision of digital banks as well as exchanges.

As per Australias Minister of Financial Services, Jane Hume, the governments goal is to guarantee that everyone involved with crypto be able to operate inside a regulated environment as the use of various digital assets continues to increase across the globe.

Australias desire to regulate cryptocurrencies initially became known in 2021, when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated that the country will eventually be announcing new regulations.

March 20,2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Officially Legalizes Crypto As Donations Continue To Pour Into The Country

A month after the countrys parliament approved a law to begin preparing a framework for the regulation as well as management of cryptocurrency assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has now officially promulgated the structure upon which the nation will build local markets for BTC along with various other altcoins, thereby legalizing the emerging industry.

A new digital age for Ukraine

In the words of Ukraines Deputy Prime Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, all market participants shall be given legal protection under the law and the chance to make informed decisions which would be based on transparent, open and fair consultations with local government agencies.

The legislation establishes the legal status, categorization, ownership, and regulators of digital assets, in addition to the requirements for cryptocurrency service providers to successfully register themselves. The countrys Stock Market and National Commission on Securities market will oversee the burgeoning digital space. Moreover, exchanges shall be legally permitted to operate, and banks will reportedly open accounts for them too.

As such, the state body is in charge of developing and implementing virtual asset policy, regulating the sequence of digital asset circulation, providing permits to the service providers of these assets, and finally conducting supervision and financial surveillance concerning this sector.

Good news in a bad time

Of course, one of the main reasons as to why Ukraine has legalized crypto is because of the ongoing conflict with Russia. While the war has unfortunately still not ended as of this time, it has nevertheless prompted crypto donations to flow into Ukraine from across the globe. In fact, just during the last month, the country has received at least $100 million in cryptocurrency donations from those who wish to assist its defense and humanitarian endeavors.

Perhaps it was because of the immense pressure of fighting back against the Russians combined with the fact that so many donations were indeed digital assets (including NFTs that finally prompted President Zelensky to legalize crypto. After all, he had initially rejected such a proposal back in September of last year.

In any case, one can only hope for a swift end to the ongoing conflict that has already claimed so many innocent lives. Regarding crypto however, Ukraines Ministry of Finance is presently working on amendments which will be added to the nations civil and tax codes in order to properly launch the digital assets market for Ukraines citizens.



March 20,2022

Cardano Could Be One Of The Main Projects To Keep An Eye On In 2022

As the crypto market begins the slow road to recovery, one project in particular has been making headlines and that is Cardano (ADA). While it is true that Charles Hoskinsons brainchild has taken a dip as far as the global rankings by market capitalization are concerned (Cardano is currently placed 9th overall), this hasnt stopped the project from adhering to its roadmap and experiencing success in the crypto, blockchain and DeFi industry.

Top five fastest developed assets

Cardano is still among the top five fastest developing assets in the previous month, according to Santiment statistics. Regarding development activity over the last 30 days, Uniswap, Solana, and Cardano have been the most active.

Despite the fact that development activity usually has little to no effect on short-term market pricing, it could nevertheless be a good sign of the projects long-term growth. After all, Cardano ranked first among the most developed assets in 2021.

Hydra Heads

Not too long ago, Charles Hoskinson announced the deployment of the first Hydra Heads on the public Cardano testnet. Hydra Heads, the initial protocol in a suite, is a vital component in Cardanos scaling trajectory. Hydra is essentially a group of Layer-2 technologies designed to improve network security as well as scalability.

Moreover, following the release of Cardano blockchain smart contracts technology, additional developers have begun to leverage the network and offer numerous use cases. Cardanos TVL (Total Value Locked) is increasing rapidly and has in fact grown by over 25,000% in 2022 alone. The DeFi LIama monitoring website reports that over $223 million is presently locked in different contracts developed on the Cardano network. Cardanos TVL also rose with the addition of staking, a key component of the project.

What should we expect going forward?

Even though the framework for future developments in the Cardano ecosystem has been laid, the price is struggling to return to its earlier highs. Of course, the same could be said about many altcoins and BTC itself (this is due to numerous factors chief among which being the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict) but ADA has nonetheless started recovering and Cardano enthusiasts remain hopeful that both the price as well as the projects ranking will improve sooner rather than later thanks to the initiatives strong fundamentals.

March 16,2022

Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Instagram is planning to add NFTs

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has stated that Instagram is planning to add NFTs after other platforms such as Twitter also recently stated that they are adding non-fungible token related functionalities.

The CEO claimed that his team is currently working on adding NFTs to Instagram in the near future. However, the Facebook creator did not specify when the deployment will take place nor were any particular dates mentioned. Nevertheless, he did say that he believes Instagram users will be able to mint their own NFTs on the platform in the coming months.

This is not Metas first foray into a crypto-related enterprise. In 2019, the organization announced intentions to launch "Libra" (later dubbed "Diem"), a USD-pegged stablecoin that failed owing to a lack of governmental permission and community opposition.

March 14,2022

Proof Of Work Consensus Crypto Officially Not Banned In Europe

Following the development of the European Union's (EU) proposed regulatory framework for regulating digital currencies, known as the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework, the use of Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies was recently called into question and a potential ban was being considered.

However, on March 14th, 2022, the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs officially voted against any possible ban on the PoW methods that underpin popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The clause that would have mandated PoW cryptocurrencies to switch to more environmentally friendly processes did not receive the necessary votes in parliament (32 were against the ban and 24 were in favor of it).

It is also vital to distinguish Proof-of-Work from Proof-of-Stake (PoS). PoW is the consensus method powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which typically need a massive amount of energy to operate.

As a result of the aforementioned vote, Bitcoin's PoW will no longer be restricted within the EU from now on. Instead, an alternate amendment has been approved which included BTC mining in the EU's sustainable finance taxonomy.

March 13,2022

Venture Capital Interest In Crypto Continues To Skyrocket Despite Global Uncertainty

Bain Capital Ventures, one of the world's leading venture capital companies with over $5 billion in AUM, recently announced the opening of a new $560 million cryptocurrency fund. The fund will be used to invest in everything from cryptocurrency businesses to DAOs in areas such as Layer-1 blockchains and storage. The company anticipates that the fund shall be used in the next few years and will invest in around 30 enterprises.

Similarly, Sequoia Capital intends to invest up to $600 million in crypto startups via a new fund. With all the interest surrounding cryptocurrencies and the recent executive order signed by President Joe Biden himself, now could indeed be the ideal time to invest in crypto.

Bain Capital

The Bain Capital fund was closed in November 2021, having already invested more than $100 million in various undisclosed projects. Bain Capital intends to be a lot more active than usual through the initiative in order to meet the rising demands of emerging crypto businesses.

Once the fund's capital has been invested, Bain Ventures may thus also consider opening other crypto-based funds. The broad consensus is that this is a 10 to 20 year opportunity, and the team is hence constructing a platform that they believe can support additional funds over time.

Sequoia Capital

Sequoia Capital has announced the formation of a $500 million to $600 million fund focused on cryptocurrency tokens and other digital assets. This is the first time the 50 year old business has launched a fund focused on a certain industry.

Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia Capital, revealed that the company will invest the aforementioned sum in cryptocurrency tokens and startups via the new dedicated fund to help further develop this burgeoning sector.

What does it all mean?

The present trend follows a boom in venture capital interest in cryptocurrencies and digital assets during last year. Despite the fact that cryptocurrency prices remain extremely unpredictable in 2022 (and the current state of the world isn't exactly helping things either), venture capital companies have nonetheless continued to make major investments in the immensely popular sector.

In related news, Polygon recently secured $450 million via a funding round spearheaded by several top venture capital companies in the blockchain sector. Needless to say, this kind of interest is not going away anytime soon.

March 13,2022

President Biden Signs Executive Order Detailing The Future Of Crypto Regulation

United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order directing the government to investigate the dangers and advantages of cryptocurrencies. The crypto community has been awaiting this day for a long time because of mounting regulatory anxiety about the embryonic digital asset market that has dominated the world for several years now.

A house divided

There have been allegations of a schism between White House officials and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen which was reportedly causing policy delays. On Wednesday this past week, the order was nevertheless officially signed. As per a White House fact sheet, it calls on federal agencies to take a uniform approach to digital asset regulation and monitoring.

With the rising popularity of the crypto industry, many had predicted that such an order was indeed inevitable, and that if the United States wanted to maintain any kind of dominance in the world of financial technology, a regulatory approach instead of a blanket ban (which has repeatedly been the preferred solution in the past by organizations such as the SEC) would have to be adopted.

Brad Garlinghouse of Ripple had gone out of his way to tweet that the Biden administration should be appreciated as they have taken the initiative and are actively trying to understand the potential and possible use-cases of cryptocurrencies rather than outright rejecting them.

What does the order include?

Consumer and investor protection, financial stability, illegal activity, U.S. competitiveness on a global scale, financial inclusion, and responsible innovation will be the emphasis of the measures outlined in the aforementioned executive order.

Consumer protection in particular is a key component of the directive. There have been several reports of investors succumbing to crypto scams or losing large quantities of money as a result of cyberattacks on exchanges or users. The Biden administration has thus asked the Treasury to examine and make crypto policy suggestions. It also requests that authorities provide adequate monitoring and protection against any systemic financial risks presented by virtual assets to help the government in terms of regulatory efforts going forward.

March 09,2022

Consult An Accountant - Crypto Taxation

Since crypto can be a decentralized and private form of banking and wealth storage, governments and banks have a natural animosity concerning it. The pressure is great for regulators and governments to clarify their positions on cryptocurrencies, defi, and other crypto earning endeavors. Rising to the challenge are tax professionals now specializing and striving to keep current in the tax treatment of cryptocurrency earning and investing, no easy task. Speaking to one of these professionals regarding your tax preparation can provide clarity, save you money, and prevent unpleasant dealings with the government.

Crypto is an encrypted transaction making exchanges difficult to track. This makes taxation of them more a matter of trust than provable fact in tax situations. In the past few years there has been a big push by the Canadian government to crack down on day-traders and cryptocurrency investors and earners. This may create issues for crypto users if audited by the CRA from an income tax perspective, as earning, mining, staking, or investing in cryptocurrency vary in forms of income. In Canada, the CRA reports cryptocurrency gains as a capital gain, which can be an inaccurate classification due to a lack of specific regulation. An example is that long-term and short-term crypto holders have not been able to keep track of losses or gains because purchasing crypto is not the only way they have come out owning it, and there is no clear entry value. In other cases, holding crypto for a time periods before and after the addition or removal of regulations, because even today the rules are still in progress.

The best advice is to consult with a tax professional, one that is specializing in crypto, and plan for the most reasonable way to report crypto investments and earnings. Operating under the proper tax guidelines clients can remain protected against scrutiny from both governments and regulators. Make sure you offer your tax professional a complete picture of your portfolio and work with them to achieve an honest and accurate appraisal of tax obligations.

John Harfoush

Palm Financial Solutions

March 08,2022

Binance Restored Bank Transfer Functionalities For Account Users In Europe

Binance has announced that it has completely restored bank transfer functionalities for account users in Europe, 8 months after stopping the service due to regulatory pressure.

Binance's European customers, with the exception of those in the Netherlands and Switzerland, now have accessibility to both British Pound as well as Euro withdrawals and deposits thanks to the FPS (Faster Payment Services) and SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) rails.

FPS and SEPA enable consumers in Europe to transfer Pounds and Euros using their respective bank accounts. Binance representatives stated that new deposits and withdrawals would be made through a cooperation with the United Kingdom based payments company known as Paysafe.

March 06,2022

The Russia-Ukraine War: A Curious Case For Bitcoin And Crypto

Generally speaking, there is no such thing as good or bad in times of crisis as instead there is often just the best course of action under the current circumstances. So, is crypto beneficial in the light of Russias invasion of Ukraine or are these digital assets more trouble than theyre worth? The answer may not be so straightforward.

The Ukrainian side

Crypto has increasingly become a more mainstream component of the global financial system, which also means that it is now a significant part of international warfare. This was made evident when Russia invaded Ukraine which led to millions of dollars in crypto being donated to help Ukraine fight against their neighbors. In fact, many Ukranians are currently relying on crypto for long-term storage and plan to make conversions back to fiat as soon as the conflict ends.

Some Ukrainians are thus turning to cryptocurrencies as a viable substitute for local financial institutions, which are reportedly restricting access to bank accounts and international funds. In a situation when governments are in disarray, it is therefore difficult to rely on traditional banks, not to mention the long-lasting effect of the increasing apprehension about surveillance. As a result, a largely anonymous system with no government involvement could indeed be very desirable.

But what about Russia?

The romantic version of crypto in crisis, which portrays it as a valid alternative for individuals in desperate situations, inadvertently obscures the industrys darker side. Its an important point to consider, particularly in relation to Russia.

Well before Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S administration was concerned that cryptocurrencies might dilute the impact of economic sanctions. In the past, Iran had employed Bitcoin mining to circumvent trade embargoes, for instance.

Restricting Russian access to crypto might have serious consequences for the country's economic longevity as cryptocurrencies have rapidly grown in popularity there since Russia is also the worlds third biggest BTC miner. Additionally, just as pro-Ukrainian parties have been able to raise funds using cryptocurrencies, so have pro-Russian separatist movements in Ukraine, particularly in 2014 when Russia attacked and occupied Crimea.

Whats the solution?

Ultimately, its difficult to ascertain what the best course of action is right now. The recent situation in Canada involving The Freedom Convoy is yet another example of the growing use-case for crypto. Still, we will have to wait and see how this industry continues to grow and in which direction.

March 06,2022

Bitcoin Ban Dropped From EU’s Regulatory Plans

A portion of a planned regulation in the European Union has been reportedly cancelled which would have otherwise made it illegal for cryptocurrency services to deal in coins based on PoW (Proof-of-Work). PoW is the consensus process that both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) utilize for mining purposes as well as to protect their respective networks.

The role of MiCA

The MiCA (Markets in Cryptocurrency Assets) bill was introduced by a coalition led by Stefan Berger and was initially scheduled for a vote in the European Parliament on February 28th. However, it was postponed when many members of parliament objected to a clause about PoW. Berger verified that paragraph 61 (9c) of the bill was eliminated entirely following the influx of objections and complaints.

MiCA has the ability to greatly impact European crypto adoption. It was first suggested two years ago and would essentially force the European Central Bank to create consistent rules for crypto-asset service providers as well as issuers at the EU level. In a nutshell, it would provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency assets throughout the EU, something the United States and other countries are currently still working on.

Environmental concerns or something more?

It is no secret that one of the biggest criticisms made against the crypto industry is that mining digital assets such as Bitcoin is causing irreversible damage to the ecosystem. Environment-related anxieties are also weighing heavily on Europe, whose member countries all strive to reach the Paris Agreement's climate standards. Finanspektionen, Sweden's financial regulator, had even suggested a complete ban on mining BTC and various other PoW coins last year, stating that the energy expense was simply not worth the advantages.

Nevertheless, many remain hopeful for this industry and are optimistic about its chances following the aforementioned decision by the EU to get rid of the regulatory aspect which would have adversely affected the crypto sector in all of Europe.

March 06,2022

Visa and Mastercard Have Joined PayPal In Ceasing Business Operations In Russia

Visa and Mastercard have now joined PayPal in ceasing business operations in Russia, highlighting the country's continuing invasion of Ukraine as the main reason. Many believe that this will lead to the Russians relying more heavily on crypto from now on as a result.

Visa has already started working towards discontinuing all transactions in Russia, although it will reportedly take a couple of days. Mastercard has similarly stated that it will stop its network services in Russia as soon as possible.

According to Al Kelly, CEO and Chairman of Visa Inc., the payment processor felt obligated to act following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the deplorable actions that have since been observed.

Moreover, Mastercard claims that in addition to barring specific Russian financial institutions, it will also discontinue support for any and all cards issued by Russian banks and shall even prohibit transactions using cards that were issued outside Russia but were still used at various Russian ATMs or merchants.