The Indian government will meet to discuss the regulatory framework of Bitcoin and other digital currencies next week, according to a local publication. Bitcoin.com talked with India’s leading bitcoin exchanges to find out what to really expect from the meeting.
Government Working on Bitcoin Framework Next Week
According to DNA, India’s English broadcast daily owned by Diligent Media Corporation, the Indian government is expected to make a decision about the regulatory framework of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies next week. However, no additional detail about the framework or the decision was given. “The issue of whether virtual currencies or bitcoins should be banned, regulated or self-regulated has been deliberated for some time,” the publication wrote...
What to Really Expect Next Week
In April, the government formed a committee to investigate Bitcoin and expects its report next month. The committee is also tasked with assessing the existing legal and regulatory framework of digital currencies in India as well as globally...
Bitpoint has recently partnered with Peach Aviation to provide bitcoin payment tech to the company, and now plans to do the same at “hundreds of thousands of Japanese retail outlets.”
From Peach Aviation to 100,000+ Stores
Peach Aviation Ltd announced last week that it will be the first Japanese airline to accept bitcoin for tickets. Peach is Japan’s first Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) and is majority owned by the country’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd (ANA).
400,000+ Stores Could Accept Bitcoin
Since April 1, when the Japanese government started recognizing bitcoin as a legal method of payment, a slew of Japanese companies have started considering accepting bitcoin. The first major retailer to do so following the government’s move was Bic Camera, one of the country’s biggest electronics retailers. The company partnered with Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitflyer, to accept bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s rising value continues to pick up steam this week by breaking a new all-time price high nearly every day. Currently, the global average is US$2400 per BTC, but the price is also trading at a premium of $2700 in Japan, $3050 in India, and $3150 in South Korea.
Bitcoin Price Fires Up the Rocket Boosters Breaking New
Since our last price post just four days ago, bitcoin’s fiat value has climbed $400 higher to an all-time high average of $2405 across most global exchanges. The Bull Run is showing unstoppable momentum with a few pit stops along the way as bitcoin’s market cap is just a few dollars shy of reaching $40 billion. Alongside bitcoin, many altcoins are also gaining in value at an unprecedented level not seen since 2013.
Largest Russian Online Retailer
Founded in 2008 and headquartered in St. Petersburg, Ulmart has over 450 infrastructure facilities including fulfillment centers and pick-up points. The Russian version of Amazon.com is present in more than 240 cities and towns across Russia.
A study by Trackad shows that Ulmart is the largest online retailer in Russia with 20 million monthly visitors, 30,000 daily orders, and 12 million items of goods and services. Trackad is a data management company used by the top 100 e-commerce Russian websites.
In addition to items listed on its website, the company also has a marketplace with growing inventory. “By year-end, an additional one million items could be on offer from third-party sellers,” the announcement reads.
This week all eyes are watching India as citizens are having trouble accessing cash reserves as ATMs run dry throughout the country. Alongside these troublesome economic times, bitcoin trading is increasing substantially in India, as the country is one of the hottest bitcoin regions in the world right now next to China and Japan.
Right now there is significant demand in India for cash as banks and ATMs within the country are currently experiencing a shortage of physical notes. According to regional publications, some regions in India are reporting 90 percent of the local ATMs do not have cash. Sources in the country say the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has moved some of its cash reserves to certain areas within the country due to the recent elections.
As cash reserves run dry in India, many citizens have found a safe haven and store of value with bitcoin. Right now most Indians look at bitcoin as an asset class and are waiting for the government to consider it a legal form of payment much like Japan’s recent rulings.
“Like gold, Indians believe that to be an asset class, and its actual use case is only 1% of total transaction value. We believe that once Indian merchants get clarity on regulation and taxation of bitcoins, we will see them using it as a payment gateway,” Saurabh Agarwal, co-founder, and CEO of Indian Bitcoin exchange Zebpay adds.
Bitcoin is up nearly $100 in the past week, hitting levels not seen since mid-March after Japan legalized the cryptocurrency as a payment method and Russia is seeking to regulate it too.
Earlier this month, Japan began accepting bitcoin as legal currency with major retailers backing the new law. Consumer electronics retailing giant Bic Camera began accepting bitcoin last week.
At the same time, Russia, one of the strongest opponents of bitcoin is seeking to regulate the digital currency. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview this week that the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering.
"If there's a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations."
Increasing state regulation around bitcoin could make the cryptocurrency an attractive investment for investors who previously shied away from it due to the high risk and price swings.
March has been a busy month for Bitcoin in Japan. The country officially recognizes Bitcoin as a method of payment today. While Japan prepares to recognize the digital currency, its long-awaited tax reform bills have also been passed this week. One area the bills address is the consumption tax treatment of digital currencies including bitcoin.
Japan’s Consumption Tax
The consumption tax is the tax levied on spending on goods and services by the Consumption Tax Law, a municipal law in Japan. “This system can be considered Japan Declares Sale of Bitcoin Exempt from Consumption Texas similar to the VAT (value-added tax), GST (goods and services tax) or sales tax”, describes Kyoto City Official Travel Guide website.
Hermann Djoumessi, CEO of Africa Digital MarketPlace, says Bitcoin could be the engine for African growth which will definitely fuel the continent's great leap forward. In his judgment, it will be a sweeping knowledge and technology jump that is expected to happen within the next five years.
Djoumessi believes the continent holds huge potential in its youth and coupled with the right education, beautiful things could happen.
Many people tout bitcoin as a way to hedge against future financial instability. In most cases, that is considered to be solid advice. Interestingly enough a bullion-related website has a poll discussing various alternative investment options. It is evident bitcoin is the clear leader in this regard, which is not entirely surprising.
For quite some time now, investors have been looking for alternative ways to make money. Buying and trading stocks or foreign currencies have become a rather risky endeavor as of late. With little room to make a profit quickly, alternative solutions need to be created. Bitcoin provides an intriguing alternative, although not everyone may consider it to be a viable investment option right now.
The short answer would be “It depends on how much you’re willing to spend”. Each person asking himself this will get a slightly different answer since Bitcoin Mining profitability depends on many different factors. In order to find out Bitcoin mining profitability for different factors “mining profitability calculators” were invented.
These calculators take into account the different parameters such as electricity cost, the cost of your hardware and other variables and give you an estimate of your projected profit. Before I give you a short example of how this is calculated let’s make sure you are familiar with the different variables.
Localbitcoins saw a roughly 85 percent increase in global volume over the course of 2016, and the growth seen by this bitcoin trading platform was seen equally in both the developed and developing world—albeit for different reasons.
While the need for increased privacy and the avoidance of Know Your Customer regulations is known to be the driving force behind Localbitcoins and other forms of P2P trading volume in the developed world, much less is known about Localbitcoins’s popularity in places like Russia and Venezuela. To get a better idea of why Localbitcoins saw so much growth in these two particular areas of the world, Bitcoin.com reached out to bitcoin users on the ground who are familiar with the activities in these particular countries.
Banks in the United Kingdom are turning a deaf ear to bitcoin exchanges, despite the government’s pro-blockchain position, according to financial writer Roger Aitken, writing in Forbes. Unless the situation changes, the banks will undermine bitcoin’s progress and drive cryptocurrency entrepreneurs out of the banking system.
Cryptopay, a bitcoin brokerage, recently informed customers that it will no longer support British Pound deposits and withdrawals on account of new bank policies. Such incidents have increased as bitcoin has gained popularity.
Cancellation of GBP deposit and withdrawal facilities limits people to Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfers, making Cryptopay’s buying and selling useless to most British customers.
Bitcoin will soon be legally recognized as a method of payment in Japan. The bill with provisions for cryptocurrencies has recently passed through the period of public consultation and will enter into force in April.
Bitcoin.com examines what the bill means and how it could affect Bitcoin with Special Counsel at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Ken Kawai, who has held numerous speaking engagements on the legal issues of virtual currency regulations in Japan.
Countdown: The Long Awaited Bill
Since Bitcoin’s inception, its legal position in Japan has not been clear. The first bill containing provisions for virtual currencies including Bitcoin was submitted to the Diet last Countdown: Bitcoin Will Be a Legal Method of Payment in Japan in Two Months March. It amends the existing Payment Services Act and the Act on Preventing of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds.
Over the past year, Japan has been laser focused on digital currency and blockchain solutions. Moreover, the country has recently become the second largest Bitcoin trading region in the world. Now one of Japan’s largest IT conglomerates plans on entering the Bitcoin industry with a new wallet and exchange service.
Japanese Internet Giant Goes Big On Bitcoin
When it comes to Bitcoin, a lot has changed in Japan since the Mt Gox days. Back in May of 2016, the country’s government defined digital currency as money. Since then, exchanges like Bitflyer, Zaif, and Coincheck have been trading a lot of bitcoin. Alongside this, digital currency and blockchain-related investments within the region have been announced regularly throughout the past year.
Bitmain, which specializes in custom mining chips and miners, has come under increased scrutiny due to the Chinese firm’s control over the production of so much bitcoin hardware and hashing power. Some bitcoin participants are beginning to fear a negative outcome for bitcoin with so few producers of the digital currency’s mining hardware.
In 2013, companies like Black Arrow Software, Cointerra, Hashfast, Vmc, Kncminer and others offered different hardware miner models. Today, the competition for consumer-grade mining hardware has largely dwindled to two companies: Canaan and Bitmain.
The-Beijing based Bitmain announced Tuesday the launch of its new Antminer T9, which features fewer ASIC chips and increased power consumption over the hardware provider’s prior models, leaving questions as to how they’ve made their overall system more efficient.
Bitcoin has emerged as a popular cryptocurrency for a reason. The benefits offered by Bitcoin compared to conventional fiat currency are numerous. The decentralized, secure and peer-to-peer nature of Bitcoin allows people to have complete control over their money. If those reasons aren’t enough, the use of Bitcoin comes with health benefits as well.
The physical currency notes and coins are probably some of the dirtiest things in the world. The money in circulation is handled by thousands of people in various settings, examples of which includes sweaty palms of a dock worker, bloody hands of a butcher, a mechanic’s greasy ones and more. The currency is stored in cash registers, someone’s back pockets, moldy purses, and wallets. All these things turn them into microbes’ own paradise.
Indonesia, trailing just behind the United States as the fourth most populous country in the world, has a large and growing bitcoin community. The vast population is 80 percent unbanked, and their Rupiah is one of the most-traded currencies for bitcoin worldwide already. Bitcoin.com interviewed Suasti Atmastuti Astaman, the Business Development Manager of Indonesian bitcoin exchange Bitcoin.co.id.
Majority Market Share
Bitcoin.com (BC): What’s your market share of the Indonesian bitcoin market?
Bitcoin.co.id (BI): We have more than 229,500 members with daily growth around 100-150 members.
Our daily transaction volume can reach up to 1.5 million USD per day. And we are listed as one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges in Southeast Asia.
I believe we control for more than 70% Bitcoin transaction in Indonesia, considering we are the biggest Bitcoin exchange in Indonesia.
As the year kicks off with an all-time high market cap for Bitcoin on its eighth birthday, 2017 promises to be an exciting year for Bitcoin, digital currency and BlockChain Technology in general.
In this first week of the new year, Bitcoin Magazine reached out to a variety of thought leaders and stakeholders in the industry, to offer a look ahead.