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Bank of Korea chief says crypto has no intrinsic value, expects volatility

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Amid a major downward correction in the cryptocurrency market, the head of South Korea’s central bank is skeptical about digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC).

Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol said that crypto assets like Bitcoin have no intrinsic value, local news agency Yonhap reports Tuesday. The official said that he expects more price swings on the market, stating, “It is very difficult to predict the price, but its price will be extremely volatile.”

Speaking at the National Assembly, Lee also addressed possible reasons behind the recent sharp crypto rally, which led Bitcoin to become a $1 trillion asset. The BOK governor cited a number of factors including global concerns over excessive inflation, growing institutional interest, as well as a massive $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase by Elon Musk’s Tesla.

“These assets saw a steep rise in the shortest period of time,” Lee stated. “I would say institutional investors’ assessment of using bitcoins as a hedge could be interpreted as another factor.” 

According to The Korea Times, Lee claimed that the BOK is progressing with its central bank digital currency. “The bank is close to completing our review of designs and relevant technologies regarding bank-controlled digital currencies,” he said. As previously reported, the bank issued a book on legal issues surrounding CBDCs in early February.

Bitcoin saw a steep correction on Feb. 22, with its price plunging from above $58,000 to below $48,000. United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen criticized Bitcoin in an interview on Monday, stating that the world’s largest cryptocurrency is “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bank-of-korea-chief-says-crypto-has-no-intrinsic-value-expects-volatility

Blockchain

Korean Government To Levy Taxes On Bitcoin Capital Gains Starting 2022

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As cryptocurrencies continue to pick up steam and encompass the features of regular asset classes, governments have likewise imposed taxes on capital gains from digital currency. South Korea is the latest country to adopt this initiative. Its Ministry of Economy and Finance said it will levy taxes on cryptocurrency profits from next year.

The South Korean government is going ahead with its proposal to tax cryptocurrency returns after several reconsiderations. A local news agency, Yonhap reported in December that the National Assembly’s Planning and Finance committee deliberated on the amendment of income tax laws and individual consumption tax laws.

As part of the income regulatory initiative, cryptocurrency traders and investors are mandated to pay 20 percent if they earn more than 2.5 million won (almost $2300 at the present exchange rate) from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Gains below 2.5 million won will not be taxed. The law was initially scheduled to be implemented in October this year, but it will now be enacted in 2022.

According to the new report, bitcoin gains will be filed under ‘other income.’ Cryptocurrency investors will report their gains through an income statement and will pay taxes in May every year.

A turn of proceedings saw South Korea become a burgeoning cryptocurrency market. In 2017, the government announced that it would strictly regulate cryptocurrency transactions and even shut down exchanges in the country after Seoul-based exchange, Youbit, was hacked.

Bithumb Tax Saga

This is not the Korean government’s first attempt at bitcoin taxation. Korea’s National Tax Service asked cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb to pay its foreign customers withholding taxes to the tune of 80 million won in 2019.

There were uncertainties surrounding that. It was unclear whether the cryptocurrency industry was subject to withholding tax. Bithumb filed a complaint to the tax tribunal over what is referred to as a “groundless” tax imposed by the NTS. It also argued that cryptocurrencies were not recognized by South Korean law and should not be taxable.

The industry has evolved since then. Cryptocurrencies are bridging the gap on conventional assets, and emerging laws classify them as taxable properties.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/korean-government-to-levy-taxes-on-bitcoin-capital-gains-starting-2022/

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Vice President of Nigeria Tips Cryptocurrencies To Challenge Traditional Banking

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The Nigerian cryptocurrency community was shaken to its core when the country’s apex bank released a circular warning financial institutions to desist from enabling cryptocurrency transactions. The Central Bank made arguments to justify the decision, with several notable figures weighing in on the subject.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is the latest to share his view on the ban. In his keynote address at the CBN Bankers’ Committee Economic Summit, Osinbajo tipped digital assets to fiercely challenge traditional and reserve banking in the future.

Calls For Knowledge-Based Actions That Will Prove Beneficial

The ban on cryptocurrencies has continued making the rounds in Nigeria. Several weeks after, it has finally forced reactions from the upper echelon of the government. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo bared his views at a summit organized by the Central Bank earlier today.

He admitted to the disruptive capacity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, stating that they could well displace existing banking systems in the coming years.

He further opined that emerging technologies like blockchain must be adopted strategically, before praising the regulatory bodies for being ‘very articulate’ with their measures. He called for initiatives that will enable people to enjoy the benefits of blockchains and cryptocurrencies while keeping the adverse effects in check.

Prior to Osinbajo’s remarks, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele publicly defended the ban, saying that cryptocurrencies were created “out of thin air”. He further described cryptocurrencies as being “used to describe the activities of players in an electronic dark world”

Many Nigerians have taken the Vice President’s comments with a grain of salt. They urged him to use his influence to turn the tides instead.

Waging War Between Cryptocurrencies and Nigerian Banking System

Industry enthusiasts in Nigeria interpreted the CBN ban as a direct attack on cryptocurrencies. Speculations emerged that the apex bank was rattled by the traction gained by the digital assets and the fact that they were gradually displacing conventional banks.

A Nigerian economist shared a shocking statistic that bared the Nigerian Stock Exchange trading volume and how it measured against the trading volume on Binance.

In all of these, it is widely rumored that the adoption of bitcoin in last year’s protest against police brutality was the last straw to break the camel’s back. Activists spearheading the protests started accepting bitcoin donations after the Central Bank issued orders to freeze their bank accounts. The recent ban allegedly signals the central bank’s intention to maintain a stronghold on the country’s monetary system.

Entrepreneur and investor, Victor Asemota believes that banning cryptocurrencies is self-defeating and does not address the deficient banking system. He tweeted :

“I have predicted the demise of traditional banking institutions in Africa for a while now until things accelerated during the pandemic and agent models became prominent. The cost structure of old banking Africa do not make sense. Community banking and cooperatives make more sense. What happened to Nigerian remittances during the pandemic was that people discovered more efficient channels to send money home as bank branches were closed. We now had multiple FX exchanges as people became aware that it was lucrative. Crypto is not the problem, it is banking.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/vice-president-of-nigeria-tips-cryptocurrencies-to-challenge-traditional-banking/

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Polkadot Gears Up for Parachains Launch: Unveils ‘Common Good’ Parachains

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Polkadot, the interoperable blockchain protocol spearheaded by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, has announced its forthcoming parachain launch.

Parachains – application-specific blockchains that connect to the main network and benefit from its security and computing capacity – are viewed as the building block of Polkadot’s ecosystem. Initially, the plan was for 100 parachain slots, with an auction process determining who gets to ‘lease’ parachains for defined time periods.

However, according to a blog post published by the team on February 25, some slots will be made available for ‘governance-allocated parachains,’ also known as common good parachains. These common good parachains have been conceived to address the so-called “free rider” problem, wherein parachains can forgo contributing to elements (such as bridges) that may benefit the ecosystem as a whole.

Solving the Free-rider Problem

The free-rider problem is best understood with reference to an analogy. Supposing a levy is imposed on car manufacturers to offset pollution: in turn, vehicles’ cost is increased, and all drivers are forced to pay extra.

Although everyone will subsequently benefit from a less toxic atmosphere, only those who actually buy a car will have contributed: the others (cyclists, for example) are considered free riders.

Polkadot’s governance process will essentially earmark parachain slots for consideration outwith the auction process, with a Council and Technical Committee representing passive stakeholders and supplying technical guidance. Both groups will then decide whether to accept or reject the direct registration of certain parachains.

According to the blog post, both system-level chains and public-utility chains may emerge as blockchain categories that qualify as common good chains.

Any parachain, in other words, that the Polkadot team deem beneficial for the overall ecosystem – bridges, identity projects, and smart contract platforms and governance would all theoretically be under consideration.

Chains that help remove transactions from the Relay Chain and enable more efficient parachain processing seem the likeliest to be considered ‘common good.’

As noted in Polkadot’s blogpost:

“By allocating a subset of parachain slots to common good chains, the entire network can realize the benefit of valuable parachains that would otherwise be underfunded due to the free-rider problem.

Polkadot’s governance system is on the bleeding edge of social coordination and it will be exciting to see how it helps the network evolve to meet the needs of its constituent parachains and stakeholders.”

Polkadot Gears Up for Parachain Launch

The Polkadot team recently published a roadmap noting that all upcoming parachains will be tested on regular parachain testnets, like Rococo and on Kusama Network. The latter being Polkadot’s canary network.

Kusama is a proving ground for parachains, allowing developers to build and deploy them and experiment with Polkadot’s governance, staking, nomination, and validation functionality.

Once parachains are live, community members will have their say on which additional features and network upgrades should be incorporated over time.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/polkadot-gears-up-for-parachains-launch-unveils-common-good-parachains/

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