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Florida Tax Collector to Start Accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

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After the first governmental elections powered by blockchain took place earlier this month in West Virginia, Florida’s Seminole seeks to become the first county to allow taxes to be paid with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

More specifically, Seminole County Tax Collector will be accepting bitcoin and bitcoin cash payments for services including property taxes, driver’s licenses and ID card fees, tags and titles. The payment will be conducted on BitPay, making the process less time-consuming and more beneficial for both sides.

In modern times, tax payments take place via third parties collecting the money from citizens and delivering them to the governmental institution responsible for spending and administering the funds. This method has significant drawbacks, such as heavy fees, and can be extremely time-consuming.

Joel M. Greenberg, who was elected Seminole County Tax Collector and took office in January 2017, is the person responsible for the idea. His office is responsible for tax collection in the county and he seeks to make the process flawless using distributed ledger technology (DLT) among other innovations.

“We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government. The aim of my tenure in office is to make our customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient, and to bring government services from the 18th century into the 21st century and one way is the addition of cryptocurrency to our payment options.”

Joel M. Greenberg said in his statement.

Blockchain technology offers a solution to these problems, creating a new way for people to pay their taxes with significantly lower fees and reduced potential frauds and identity theft, allowing people to use their own hand-held devices to get the job done.

About BitPay

BitPay, the company behind the application used, was founded in 2011. Over the last seven years it has become an experienced player in bitcoin and blockchain payments.

Its products allow businesses to send and receive payments across borders and customers to manage their digital assets. The company has raised more than $70 million from leading investors including Index Ventures, Aquiline Technology Growth and Founders Fund, among others. BitPay has expanded significantly in recent years, with offices in North and South America and Europe.

“BitPay was started because we recognized the potential for blockchain to revolutionize the financial industry, making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive on a global scale. With the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office, we have engaged our first government agency to accept bitcoin and bitcoin cash by making it easy and seamless for them.”

Jeremie Beaudry, Head of Compliance at BitPay, stated on the matter.

Distributed ledger technologies are improving by the day, with more people slowly realizing the benefits. A large portion of the tech industry is already applying these processes to improve our everyday lives.

Based on the current trajectory, it won’t be long before blockchain becomes a mainstream technology in which most of our applications are based, making them more secure, faster and reliable.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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CoinShares Bitcoin ETN Adds USD, Markets Rally

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Given the positive trend in the cryptocurrency market today, you might think that a bitcoin ETF somehow slipped through the cracks. While that isn’t the case just yet, you wouldn’t be too far off. CoinShares, a digital asset management firm domiciled in the Channel Island of Jersey, has announced a bitcoin exchange-traded note (ETN) product that Americans can now get their hands on more easily.

CoinShares chief Ryan Radloff is quoted in Bloomberg as saying: “Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before they were only available in euros or Swedish krona. Given the current climate on the regulatory front in the U.S., this is a big win for Bitcoin.”

As Fundstrat’s Tom Lee pointed out, the ETN, which is dubbed Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF), is “quoted in USD” despite the fact that it’s a Swedish-based product.  Traders went so far as to suggest that this new product was the catalyst for today’s “green candles,” and if retweets are endorsements, then Fundstrat’s Lee agrees.

Source: CoinMarketCap

The CoinShares ETN is not a new product and has been trading on Nasdaq Stockholm for several years. But now that it’s also based on U.S. dollars, the brokerage community can access it and offer it to U.S.-based clients. Lee likened it to Grayscale’s bitcoin investment trust (GBTC) and noted that it “trades at NAV, so returns are virtually identical to bitcoin.” Indeed, as CoinShares’ bitcoin ETN has shed more than half its value this year alongside the decline in the bitcoin price. Lee provided the following snapshot into Bitcoin Tracker One:

Bitcoin Rivalry

Meanwhile, if you ask CoinShares’ Radloff, the Grayscale product is flawed because of a premium attached to the bitcoin price. Radloff told Bloomberg that CoinShares’ products have managed to avoid the premiums while still providing liquidity.

Wall Street, however, may not be so keen to adopt the product. An investor tweeted that when he attempted to purchase Bitcoin Tracker One in his Merrill Lynch IRA, the product was blocked. This individual was willing to redirect his assets to another firm just to gain access to the ETN and tweeted: “Can someone point me to a new IRA provider that will let me trade this? I’ll move my funds over today.”

Just yesterday, former PayPal CEO Bill Harris said on CNBC that the bitcoin price was headed to zero. But with developments like this bitcoin-esque product making its way into the market, he may have to eat his words.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 36 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Coinbase Chief Brian Armstrong on Bitcoin Bubbles and Corrections

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It’s not often that you have two blockchain pioneers like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin address the market in the same week. But in recent days, the stars aligned, with Armstrong and Lubin both meeting with Bloomberg for separate interviews.

While each of them has their own take on the state of the market, they appear to agree on overarching themes that have gripped cryptocurrency investors of late surrounding digital currency prices and the bubble theory.

Coinbase’s Armstrong didn’t shy away from questions on bitcoin’s price, which has taken investors on a roller coaster ride since its December 2017 peak of more than $19,000 and recent dip below $6,000. Today, a corrective rally is in place in which the bitcoin price is up more than 6% on CoinMarketCap to $6,455. Armstrong suggested that it’s part of the evolution of the emerging technology.

“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections. We’ve actually been through about four or five of them now where bitcoin made this big run-up in price and there was … irrational exuberance and it corrected back 60-70%. and each time it does that it’s at a new plateau,” said Armstrong.

Joseph Lubin, who in addition to co-founding Ethereum is at the helm of ConsenSys, seems to agree, adding in a discussion with Bloomberg that “each of these bubbles has the advantage to bring attention to our ecosystem.”

Coinbase and Crypto

Coinbase, which launched about six years ago, holds anywhere between $10 billion and $20 billion of clients’ cryptocurrency assets on a given day. In 2017, Coinbase transacted approximately $150 billion in cryptocurrency volume. Armstrong likened the bitcoin bubbles to the growth of Coinbase, which is the most popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange.

For instance, as the bitcoin price has traversed this series of bubbles and corrections, Coinbase’s growth has performed in a similar trajectory, with the number of daily new users rising on the heels of major market corrections.

Armstrong is in the camp of comparing cryptocurrencies to the internet of 2001, pointing to “a lot of good companies that got started in the trough as well,” such as Facebook, for instance. While the expectations for the cryptocurrency prices may be “all over the map,” he said that “the real world adoption and usage is pretty steadily increasing.”

While adoption and usage may be on the rise, don’t expect to walk into your local Starbucks and pay with bitcoin any time soon, at least not in the U.S. The reason, Armstrong suggests, is that payments aren’t a major “pain point” in the U.S. unlike some developing economies. As much as 90% of cryptocurrency usage surrounds investments, leaving a mere 10% for “real world usage.”

Armstrong, who more than once likened Coinbase to the New York Stock Exchange, also addressed topics like regulation and ICOs, saying of the latter that the exchange “is not trying to list everything under the sun.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 36 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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ETFs

Winklevoss Twins Shift Crypto Focus to Retail Investors, not Resentment

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If anyone in the world has good reason to feel resentment toward Wall Street regulators for rejecting their bitcoin ETF application, it’s Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. Their bitcoin ETF product was rejected by the U.S. SEC not once, but twice, the most recent decision of which was responsible for igniting the crypto market meltdown that was exacerbated by the VanEck bitcoin ETF delay.

Instead of harboring feelings of resentment, however, the brothers only seem to be empowered by the development, as evidenced by their decision to focus on the one client group in which they can depend — retail investors, according to a Bloomberg report. If investors could adopt a similar big-picture perspective, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the current situation in which more than $20 billion has been shaved off the total value of the cryptocurrency market over 24 hours.

In fact, for Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, it’s not only business as usual but it’s more business than usual by the retail segment.

“Wall Street is taking cryptocurrencies seriously, however, the vast majority of Wall Street firms are still not participating in the cryptocurrency market, which remains primarily a retail-driven market. This will change over time, but it will take time,” Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg.

Winklevoss isn’t the only one to feel this way. Adam White, vice president and general manager at Coinbase, a rival exchange to Gemini, recently told CNBC: “What’s so unique about cryptocurrencies, and in many ways this asset class, [is that it] was driven by retail investors — not institutions,” characterizing the interest among institutional investors as “profound.”

OTC Market

Meanwhile, a report by Tabb Group earlier this summer revealed that trading volume in bitcoin’s over-the-counter (OTC) market exceeded that of exchanges as much as threefold, which would attach a value of $12 billion in OTC bitcoin trades every day. Here’s the tweet by crypto industry engineer Eric Wall –

A report on Yahoo Finance concluded that the dramatic selling in the cryptocurrency markets on the heels of the Winklevoss bitcoin ETF rejection could have been the result of bitcoin whales selling not on exchanges like Gemini, where the adjusted trading volume over the last 24 hours hovers at $69 million, but instead the OTC market. This inserts a bit more uncertainty into the drivers of cryptocurrency prices.

Nonetheless, it appears clear that the market is placing a great deal of emphasis on a bitcoin ETF, or lack thereof currently. Such a product could open up the asset allocation of large pension funds, for instance, to crypto.

And as for the Winklevoss twins, they already have a “first” in this market. They were behind the maiden Bitcoin Futures Contract (XBT) on the CBOE last December. And if the CBOE has its way, it will be part of the inaugural bitcoin ETF, as well.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 36 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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