Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- At least BTC 1.5 million (USD 12 billion), or c. 8% of the current Bitcoin’s supply, might be assumed to be lost, crypto market analysis firm Coin Metrics said in their latest report today. “The common adage that there will only ever be 21M coins is an optimistic one. Over time, quirks, bugs and other events impact how many Bitcoins actually exist,” they added. (Learn more: How Good Are Bitcoin Recovery Services?)
- U.S. based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini for undisclosed sum acquired Nifty Gateway, a non-fungible token (NFT) platform. “Over time, we believe that both real world and digital collectibles will migrate onto blockchains in the form of nifties [NFTs],” Tyler Winklevoss, Co-founder and CEO of Gemini, said in a blog post. (Learn more: Non-Fungible Tokens: What Is It and What’s Been Happening in 2019)
- Radpay, an Arizona-based decentralized global payment processing company, said that it completed a USD 1.2 million series seed round reflecting a 20% oversubscription. The announcement says that the round included participation from Silicon Valley investors such as Phoenix-based investment firms Resiliency Ventures and BlackLaunch, as well as investors from Nebraska and Arizona, adding that the round carried a USD 10.2 million post-money valuation and represents the first outside funding since the company’s founding in July 2018.
- Ukraine’s parliament is set to debate a bill that will “legalize” cryptocurrencies. As previously reported, a group of some 50 Ukrainian MPs have pledged their support for the bill, which would provide a legal definition for terms like “virtual asset” and “token.” The bill’s co-authors also include a number of blockchain industry professionals and would seek to introduce crypto tax regulations. The Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, has confirmed that the bill has been successfully registered – although no date has yet been set for the bill’s first reading.
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC)’s commissioners say they will review Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) proposal, just over a month after the company’s initial proposal was rejected by the American financial regulator. Bitwise filed its original proposal way back in January this year, but was forced to wait some 10 months for the SEC to deliver its negative verdict. However, the SEC’s latest decision will give many companies planning to launch similar offerings hope. Regardless, the SEC’s filing states that its order disapproving the Bitwise proposal will “remain in effect pending the commission’s review.”
- The governor of the central Bank of Korea (BoK) has talked up the financial importance of facilitating blockchain-powered business development. Per ET News, governor Lee Joo-yeol told central bank employees that turning their back on progress would lead the public to lose trust in the BoK. The bank’s own task force believes that the BoK is “slowing down the rate of growth” for blockchain and other Industry 4.0 innovations, and says that the central bank risks losing its competitive edge if it does not stay ahead of progress.
Cryptocurrency tax news
- A legal expert has warned that recent U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statements on cryptocurrency tax are not definitive or binding, and has hinted that many of the tax agency’s statements on cryptocurrency may also be contradictory. In a column, tax lawyer Robert Wood wrote that the IRS has not “killed tax-free cryptocurrency exchanges,” and remarked, “The IRS isn’t even the last word [in crypto tax]. The courts are.”
- German airline Hahn Air claims it is issuing the world’s first blockchain-powered airline tickets. Hahn Air says it has teamed up with travel distribution firm Winding Tree – and will let customers pay for tickets in Ethereum or the Winding Tree-issued Lif token. The airline says its first three blockchain ticket passengers flew from Dusseldorf to Luxembourg on November 18.
- The Brooklyn businessman and computer programmer, Maksim Zaslavskiy’s, is sentenced to 18 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said, adding that Zaslavskiy is the first person in the U.S. to receive prison time for running an ICO (initial coin offering) scam. This comes after the SEC charged him with defrauding investors in September 2017.