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Crypto winter causes Australian exchange to freeze operations permanently

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Crypto winter causes Australian exchange to freeze operations permanently Samuel Wan 路 4 hours ago 2 min read

Challenging market conditions during crypto winter force Australia-based BTC.com.au to close its doors for the last time.

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Updated: June 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

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Australian crypto exchange BTC.com.au announced its closure on June 17 and said 鈥渋t鈥檚 not possible to continue operating鈥 under the current market circumstances.

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鈥淪adly, the worst thing that could possibly happen, did. 鈥

Crypto winter claims another victim

The Terra LUNA/UST implosion in early May set off a cascade of events that rocked the crypto industry.

What鈥檚 come to light, including the mishandling of users鈥 funds, a laissez-faire attitude to risk, and accusations of fraud, will no doubt give regulators an open mandate to implement strict measures.

This knock-on effect has spread to other platforms, highlighting vulnerabilities across the entire crypto industry.

Recent weeks have seen crypto platforms freezing withdrawals to stay liquid, claims that major players, including Three Arrows Capital (3AC), are insolvent, and several exchanges announcing a cull in staff numbers.

As the mess unwinds, all of the above will plant downward pressure on token prices. And, against the backdrop of global economic decline, the outlook is gloomy.

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Under these conditions, smaller players like BTC.com.au are hit hardest.

BTC.com.au says goodbye

BTC.com.au was launched in 2018 to provide safe and secure crypto trading for Australian users.

鈥淲e launched with a vision that cryptocurrency should be easy to access and available for everyone. Today, our platform has evolved into a full-featured trading platform used by thousands of everyday Australians, just like you!鈥

As a small exchange, details of its trading activities are not listed on data aggregators such as CoinMarketCap. However, just 13 tokens are available, as are OTC trading and AUD on/off ramping.

Announcing its closure, BTC.com.au said it had expanded its team 5-fold over the last year and added a range of new features and services in anticipation of further growth in user numbers.

However, market crashes in legacy and crypto markets had hit the firm hard, forcing its closure. Friday marks the end of all trading and deposits. But, more crucially, unrestricted user withdrawals are open.

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鈥淲e will be keeping the platform alive until Friday, July 22nd to allow everyone time to finalise their accounts and to ensure everyone has downloaded their Trade Activity reports for tax purposes.鈥

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Albania To Start Taxing Crypto-Related Income From 2023

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Albania To Start Taxing Crypto-Related Income From 2023

Authorities in Albania are finalizing regulations that will allow the taxation of income and profits from cryptocurrency investments. The government intends to begin imposing the levy in 2023, after adopting the necessary legislation which has been proposed for public consultations.

Albania Set to Impose Crypto Tax as Early as Next Year

The Albanian state should begin collecting taxes on income from crypto assets as of 2023 in accordance with a new income tax bill, the local English-language portal Exit News reported on Friday. The government also hopes to pass a number of other laws and bylaws this year in order to comprehensively regulate the matter.

The special tax legislation is currently open for public consultations. It introduces the concept of taxing crypto holdings and income derived from virtual assets. The latter have been defined as 鈥渁 digital representation of a value that can be deposited, traded or transferred in digital form, and that can be used for payment or investment purposes or as a medium of exchange, including but not limited to cryptocurrencies.鈥

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However, the definition does not cover central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the report notes. That鈥檚 despite a growing number of monetary authorities around the world developing a digital version of their national fiats. The list includes major powers such as the United States, the European Union, China, and the Russian Federation.

The Albanian law also defines cryptocurrency mining as an activity using computing power to confirm transactions and gain virtual assets in exchange. The extraction of cryptocurrencies has been a grey area although law enforcement has been going after illegal mining facilities in the country and pressed charges against some of their operators.

Under the new legislation, any income from crypto transactions or mining will be classified as corporate income when it鈥檚 received as a result of business activity. And when the beneficiaries are private individuals, they will have to pay capital gains tax of 15%.

Financial Watchdog Tasked to Expand Crypto Regulatory Framework

Earlier this month, the Albanian parliament ordered the Financial Supervisory Authority (AFSA) to prepare and adopt new regulations regarding cryptocurrencies by the end of 2022. Albanian law allows crypto trading platforms to legally work in the country but no licensed entities are currently operating in Albania, Exit News remarked.

Two years ago, Albania also adopted a law titled 鈥淔inancial markets based on distributed ledger technology.鈥 While many have welcomed the legislation, critics have questioned whether the small nation in South East Europe, still an EU hopeful, is capable of properly regulating its crypto sector to prevent it from being used for money laundering, something it鈥檚 struggling to achieve in the fiat space.

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The legislature referenced a recent report by the Council of Europe鈥檚 Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), which recommended additional steps regarding the risks associated with cryptocurrency. In November 2021, the AFSA approved its first two regulations implementing the crypto markets law, which introduced capital and licensing requirements for entities working with digital assets.

Do you expect Albania to adopt comprehensive regulations for its crypto space by the end of the year? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens鈥檚 quote: 鈥淏eing a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.鈥 Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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NHL enters the NFT space partnering with Marketplace Sweet

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NHL enters the NFT space partnering with Marketplace Sweet Abdulrasaq Ariwoola 路 42 seconds ago 1 min read

The NHL partnership with Sweet will offer a variety of digital collectible experiences to its fans, tradable in the marketplace

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Updated: June 25, 2022 at 3:59 am

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

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The National Hockey League on Thursday announced its partnership with NFT Marketplace Sweet. This partnership will be the league鈥檚 first dive into digital collectibles.

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The partnership, of which the NHL鈥檚 players and Alumni鈥檚 association are part, will go live in October to mark the start of the 2022-2033 NHL season.

The NHL Marketplace

The NFT marketplace is expected to offer a range of experiences to NHL fans. Including digital collectibles that showcase historical moments, past and present season game highlights, and NHL stars top plays.

The marketplace will also feature gamified collection experiences, specialty packs, and 3D interactive trophy rooms where users can display their collections. Among these offerings there are also dynamic NFTs designed to change based on current team data.

Additionally, fans would be able to buy, sell, collect and trade the collectibles on the marketplace.

However, the announcement did not state which blockchain would host the marketplace.

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NFTs in the sporting space

The NHL聽 joins a long list of sporting institutions that have embraced digital collectibles.

In 2020, the NBA launched Top Shot NFTs, its digital collectibles marketplace, in partnership with DapperLabs. Likewise, the NFL launched its play and own NFT game while the MLB is to launch its NFT game soon.

However, the extreme sell-off in the crypto market has seen crypto companies pull out of sports deals. This is so as crypto companies strive to stay afloat as the severe sell-off continues in the market.

FTX recently pulled out of a partnership deal with Los Angeles Angels. Similarly, sources suggest a patch deal between NBA Washington Wizards and a crypto company has crashed.

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What Lido staking dominance may mean for Ethereum鈥檚 future

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What Lido staking dominance may mean for Ethereum鈥檚 future Abdulrasaq Ariwoola 路 2 hours ago 2 min read

The Ethereum community has raised fears of lido staking dominance leading to centralization. What does that mean for ETH 2.0?

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Updated: June 25, 2022 at 3:33 am

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

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Lido DAO token holders have commenced voting to determine whether the DeFi platform should reduce its staking pool. The vote is a follow-up to a governance proposal released on June 24.

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The voting process results from a month-long deliberation over Lido鈥檚 staking dominance and whether it should limit itself to curb potential centralization risks.

Lido currently holds 31% of all staked Ether on the Ethereum proof-of-stake blockchain, the Beacon chain. The staking dominance has raised fears within the Ethereum community, and critics fear it will threaten Ethereum鈥檚 decentralization.

The vote is expected to end on July 1, and the result will determine whether Lido will self-limit or not. Should the majority of voters vote in favor, another vote will take place on how the self-limiting process should work.

Concerns over stETH dominance

In the governance proposal, Lido stated that its staking dominance would give it more voting power once the Beacon chain goes live. As a platform that started to counter centralized exchanges, it argued that such centralized voting power poses an existential threat to the blockchain.

The Ethereum community has raised similar fears about the centralization of voting powers. The DeFi platform currently has around one-third of all staked Ether, which could give voting leverage once the transition to the Beacon chain is complete.

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Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum co-founder, has argued that no single protocol should have a majority in staking ETH. He opined that such dominance, combined with Lido鈥檚 governance structure, is potentially a dangerous point of centralization.

Further, it stated the proposition is premised on the belief that other liquid staking protocols would also limit their exposure. This would effectively allow smaller protocols to meet the supply shortfall.

What Lido staking dominance means for ETH2.0

Ethereum鈥檚 transition to a PoS blockchain means it will rely on validators to validate transactions on the blockchain. Unlike a PoW blockchain that requires miners to expend excess energy to solve complex mathematical problems.

However, to operate a validator node, a user must deposit 32 ETH, which is a long shot for many users. Lido, on the other hand, as a staking service provider, allows users to bypass this requirement and earn staking rewards.

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According to data from Etherscan, roughly 12.6 million ETH is staked in the ETH2.0, which amounts to 10.6% of the circulating supply of ETH. Of the 12.6 million ETH staked, approximately 4.2 million have been staked through Lido by 73,369 stakers, making Lido the most used staking pool on Ethereum.

This means, should Ethereum transition to its PoS blockchain with Lido still having the lion鈥檚 share of the staking dominance, it would give the DeFi platform excessive influence over transaction verification which many warn could pose a risk. Some concerns include validator slashing, governance attacks, and smart contract exploits.

On the other hand, Lido鈥檚 staking dominance could help prevent a takeover by a centralized exchange and ensure the blockchain remains decentralized.

stETH remains depegged

The staked Ether, which is supposed to be pegged to ETH, remains depegged after a wave of massive sell-offs. Speculations have profused about the security of the token and whether its depegging could spell more chaos for the crypto ecosystem.

On June 16, Alameda Capital, one of the largest holders of stETH, dumped its stETH holdings, a massive $57 million. This is coupled with the continued financial troubles of Celsius and Three Arrows Capital, both large holders of stETH.

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As of the time of press, stETH has not gained parity with ETH and is trading at $1,173.

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