US Tax Authority Prioritizes Issuing Guidance on Cryptocurrencies

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CryptoKitties Founders Launch Blockhchain-based Game Cheeze Wizards

CryptoKitties Founders Launch Blockhchain-based Game Cheeze Wizards

Dapper Labs, the company behind the famous blockchain game CryptoKitties, has announced the launch of its new blockchain game Cheeze Wizards on May 17, 2019. It’s a battle royale where players can summon Wizards to fight in a duel for the “Big Cheeze.”

Where Ether Meets Magic and Cheese

Currently valued more than $135 billion, the gaming industry is estimated to sit atop a $300 billion valuation by 2025. Blockchain stakeholders have been trying to peg blockchain and cryptocurrencies to this huge industry and bring as much entertainment and benefit to the gamers as possible.

Igniting more innovation into the blockchain gaming industry, Dapper Labs, widely known for its successful game CryptoKitties, has announced its new blockchain game Cheeze Wizards. Citing the novelty of the game and the fact that it is built over new technology, Dapper Labs’ Medium blog stated:

“Right now, Cheeze Wizards is as much an experiment as it is a game. [A lot] of lessons from CryptoKitties informed our approach.”

Cheeze Wizards, only accessible to those with cryptocurrencies, is a player vs. player magical duel. Gamers in the game will own crypto collectibles called the Wizards which they will use to fights against other Wizards during the tournaments.

The game allows multiple Wizards to be invited for a series of duels by using ether. The value of the prize, Big Cheeze, gets bigger with more Wizards joining the battle royale. The winner of each tournament earns a title and the ether that is collected in the tournament.

Cheeze Wizards is currently heading through the pre-sale stage of Wizards, where people can buy from the four categories of Wizards, each described with a different set of abilities and special powers.

Designed for Extensibility

People were able to build on top of CryptoKitties their own products as part of The KittyVerse. As such, Dapper Labs will also allow independent creators and third-party developers to make their own “cheezy tools, projects, and features” on Cheeze Wizards, too.

The blog read:

“We may be the creators, but we want this game to belong to the community. [Every] Cheeze Wizard is an NFT (non-fungible asset) designed for extensibility.”

Though on a 2D level, the game brings more action into blockchain games and is sure to attract at least a few curious gamers. It might not be the blockchain version of Fortnite, as the blog clearly mentioned, but it’s a mark of a good start towards that point.

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NYSE Arca Seeks Rule Change to List ETF Backed by Bitcoin and T-Bills

NYSE Arca has formally applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a rule change that would allow it to list shares in a proposed bitcoin investment trust.

The United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust, managed by Wilshire Phoenix Funds, would invest exclusively in bitcoin and short-term U.S. Treasury securities, according to a filing made by the exchange late Monday.

Coinbase’s custody arm would act as the custodian for the investment trust’s bitcoin, the filing said. Working through Coinbase, the trust has obtained up to $200 million of insurance coverage against theft from its hot and cold wallets from “a syndicate of industry-leading insurers that are highly rated by AM Best.”

This investment vehicle is a separate effort from the bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) that NYSE Arca and Bitwise are seeking SEC approval to list.

Wilshire filed a prospectus for the vehicle in January, but Monday’s filing formally kicks off the regulatory approval process. The SEC now has 45 days to approve, reject or delay the proposed rule change, and up to 90 days to make a final decision, according to the filing.

Monday also saw the SEC delay a decision on a proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF), kicking forward a final determination on that proposed product to as late as October.

Treasury bond image via Shutterstock.

Billionaire Novogratz: Altcoins Won’t Pump Like In 2017 Bull Run, Bitcoin Will Dominate

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Billionaire Novogratz: Altcoins Won’t Pump Like In 2017 Bull Run, Bitcoin Will Dominate

billionaire-novogratz-altcoins-won-t-pump-like-in-2017-bull-run-bitcoin-will-dominate

It appears that cryptocurrency prices have finally begun to recover after enduring an extended bear market which lasted throughout 2018.

As the market capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) and other major cryptoassets continues to rise, several analysts have been drawing comparisons between what they’re seeing in the current market and what they observed during the historic bull market of late 2017 and early 2018.

Commenting on the recent crypto market price movements via Twitter, Ran NeuNer, the host of the CNBC Africa Trader show, remarked:

The market is running but we still haven’t seen the crazy alt pumps, pumps where coins do 40% in a day…is it coming?

Bitcoin To “Outperform” All Other Cryptos “This Time”

As the bitcoin price begins to recover, there have been many predictions made regarding the anticipated performance of altcoins. Twitter user “Crypto Bitlord” (@Crypto_Bitlord), a widely-followed digital asset market analyst, believes XRP, which currently has a market cap of around $16.3 billion, may trade as high as $10.

However, prominent crypto investor Michael Novogratz believes that digital asset traders are a lot smarter this time, when compared to some of the bad investment decisions they might have made during the initial coin offering (ICO) craze of 2017.

Novogratz, who’s the founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, a full-service crypto merchant bank, has predicted that in this market run, Bitcoin will “outperform” all other cryptoassets.

On May 16th, 2019, the Bitcoin price surged to a 2019 high of $8,373 according to CryptoCompare data. In response to bitcoin’s recent price movements, Juan Villaverde, the Chief Analyst at Weiss Crypto Ratings, told CryptoGlobe: 

Bitcoin could fall to as low as $4,400. But [if] it does, it will be the best Bitcoin buying opportunity since 2015.

“More Good News For New Bitcoin Users”

Villaverde, an econometrician and mathematician focused on developing various crypto index models at Weiss Ratings, believes bitcoin would be a great buy at a lower price (as suggested above) because of the following reasons:

  • “The usage of Bitcoin is near all-time highs – 450,000 transactions per day. That’s up from a low of 150,000 in April of 2018 and approaching the all-time high of 490,000 in December of 2017.”
  • “Despite the high transaction volume, fees on the Bitcoin network are at their lowest levels since August of 2017 – more good news for users.”
  • “The Bitcoin block size is now greater than ever before, thanks to the Segwit technology upgrade.”

Villaverde further noted that the predictions are “based on studying the time patterns in Bitcoin’s rises and falls throughout its 9 year trading history.” He explained that the time patterns have been analyzed by using an “algorithm-based market cycles model.”

The Chief Analyst at Weiss Ratings also mentioned that the bear market “ended on December 15th 2018 and the model confirmed this shift in trend on March 26th of this year.”

He added:

Then, after the rally that took place starting on April 25th, the same model told me a new bull market was now underway. The same model indicated a 30% to 45% correction due as of late April-early May and we seem to be experiencing that right now.

Indian Bitcoin Trader Commits Suicide Over Losses Trading Crypto for Local Officials

A Bitcoin trader from India has taken his own life after being threatened by senior police in relation to losses he incurred whilst trading crypto assets on their behalf. Bharat Patel hanged himself on Sunday, leaving a suicide note for his widow.

In the note, Patel details how Chirag Savani, the Narmada police force’s Deputy Superintendent, along with his brother Harnish Savani had threatened him over the losses incurred owing to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency’s price volatility. Although the two had only invested in five Bitcoins, they were demand 11.575 BTC back from Patel.

Bitcoin Trader Hangs Himself After Receiving Threats from Senior Police

According to a local news publication, Ahmedabad Mirror, a Bitcoin trader, Bharat Patel, from the Gujarat province of India killed himself on Sunday. The article states that he left a suicide note detailing the reasons for him taking his own life. In it, he explicitly names the individuals who drove to suicide. It states:

“DySP [Deputy Superintendent] Chirag Savani had come to my house to invest in five bitcoins. After incurring a loss due to slide in their value, Chirag and his brother Montu were demanding 11.575 Bitcoin. I am distraught due to the recovery they are claiming. My life is not worth living. DySP Chirag Savani came to my house and threatened me to return the amount they had invested. I have been forced to commit suicide. The two brothers (Chirag and Harnish Savani) are responsible for my act.”

Following Patel’s death, his daughter, Darshi Patel, has appealed for Chirag Savani to be suspended from his duties. She also speculates on how the case will be handled given the seniority of the official involved. She told journalists:

“We have not given my father’s phone, tape, and laptop to the police as we don’t trust their sincerity. We fear that the evidence in these devices will be destroyed. We seek assurance from some top police official that a fair probe will be conducted in the case.”

Usha Patel, the wife of the late Bharat Patel, described the night that her husband took his life. The two were up together until 1 AM. He was reportedly looking tense and stressed. That evening he spoke with Harnish Savani but Usha does not know the details of the conversation. Bharat asked Usha to go to bed whilst he finished work. He joined her shortly after but committed suicide at some point before she woke the next morning.

According to Usha, Bharat had agreed to return 5 Bitcoin to the Savani brothers in instalments but they had demanded the fiat value they had invested returning. Darshi Patel, added that Savani had stated that if the over 11 Bitcoin was not returned, he would come to the Patels’ property and “not leave until my father paid up.”

Apparently, the family has received more threats following Patel’s death too. Darshi continues:

“We received two calls from Savani’s number even after my father’s death. The police asked us to switch off the mobile and not take any calls from them.”

For now, the authorities have sent the suicide note off for handwriting authentication stating that necessary action will be taken after receiving the findings of the tests.

 

Related Reading: CEO Who Held $150M in Crypto Died in a Region Known for Having a Fake Death Mafia

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

US SEC Postpones Verdict on VanEck and Bitwise ETF Application, Again

What can I do to prevent this in the future?

If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.

If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices.

IRS Says It Will ‘Soon’ Issue Crypto Tax Guidance in First Since 2014

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is working on its first tax guidance for cryptocurrency since 2014, the agency’s commissioner told a lawmaker Monday.

In a reply to Rep. Tom Emmer’s request for further guidance on reporting cryptocurrencies, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig outlined a non-specific plan to release in-depth guidance in the near future.

“I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance,” Rettig wrote.

The IRS is working on guidance for “acceptable methods for calculating cost basis, acceptable methods of cost basis assignment, and the tax treatment of forks” according to the letter.

Guidance on these and other issues will be published “soon,” Rettig wrote.

5.16.2019 emmer 2019-11771 by John Biggs on Scribd

“I am glad to hear of the IRS’ plans to issue guidance on this important issue,” Rep. Emmer said in a statement after receiving Rettig’s reply. “Taxpayers deserve clarity on several basic questions regarding federal taxation of these emerging exchanges of value. I look forward to seeing their forthcoming proposal, and working together to serve the American taxpayers.”

Rep. Emmer is part of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a group of lawmakers that aims, among other goals, to solidify the reporting requirements and legal requirements associated with cryptocurrencies.

His original request called for the IRS to “issue more robust guidance clarifying taxpayers’ obligations when using virtual currencies” with a deadline of May 15, 2019.

2019 IRS Letter Final by John Biggs on Scribd

Image via Shutterstock

Crypto Industry Reacts to Yet Another VanEck Solid X Bitcoin ETF Delay

A Bitcoin exchange-traded fund or ETF, has become a running joke across the cryptocurrency industry, with each new proposal set forth by various financial industry firms repeatedly rejected or delayed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The entire market of crypto investors were watching and waiting to see if today’s deadline for VanEck and Solid X’s proposal for a Bitcoin-based ETF would be rejected or approved, or delayed once again. As many expected, the deadline for the proposal has once again been extended by the SEC, further delaying a decision on if an ETF will be approved eventually.

Bitcoin ETF Delayed Once Again, Crypto Industry Yawns At Non-Event News

The potential of a Bitcoin ETF has reared its head quite a few times in recent years. The most recent Bitcoin ETF speculation took the price of Bitcoin towards $10,000 in late July as a proposal put forth by Gemini co-founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Related Reading | Why The Next Bitcoin Bull Run Could Eclipse The Last Crypto Bubble 

The proposal was rejected, and the price of Bitcoin fell once again towards $6,000. Around that time, a proposal for a VanEck and Solid X Bitcoin ETF also reached its deadline with the SEC, but the proposal was delayed again and again. Each delay or rejection caused the price of Bitcoin to crash throughout the 2018 bear market.

A government shut down put the proposal – which is said to have the best chance of being approved out of all of the different proposals out there – on ice for some time, but the review resumed weeks ago, and was targeting a May 20 deadline for a decision.

Today has come and gone, but the SEC has once again chosen to delay the proposal set forth by VanEck and Solid X. According to The Block, the SEC has also issued a request for public comment on whether or not the US financial watchdog should approve or disapprove the proposal.

While in the past, such news would cause a sharp selloff, the price of Bitcoin has since risen following the news circulating. Also, now that the news had made its way across the cryptosphere, industry analysts and experts are all weighing in on the news that turned out to be a non-event.

Bitcoin has shown much resilience in recent weeks, also shaking off a hack of Binance and the worst Tether FUD to hit the industry yet without as much as a scratch. Instead, the price of Bitcoin continues to climb along the parabolic curve that began with the April rally.

The VanEck and Solid X Bitcoin ETF deadline has since been rescheduled for August 19, and has until one more final deadline of October 18 it can push its decision off until.

Will a decision finally be made?