Category Archives: Blockchain, Crypto, Digital Assets, Tokens

Hedge funds, not hipsters, may be powering bitcoin’s second big rally

Financial News  | Will Hadfield and Emily Nicolle | Nov 20, 2020

cryptocurrencies in 2020 - Hedge funds, not hipsters, may be powering bitcoin’s second big rallyThere is now 'a greater urgency by institutional investors to not miss out — to invest some of their assets in bitcoin, because this time looks different'

It may be hedge funds, rather than retail investors, that are driving this autumn’s rally in the price of bitcoin.

And this time round, the institutional investors are buying exchange-traded products as well as the underlying cryptocurrency. A bitcoin ETP managed by Swiss issuer 21Shares is receiving creations — the equivalent of inflows — of as much as $3 million a day. In November last year, it took all month to attract the same amount of new money.

See:  Canada’s first public Bitcoin fund hits $100M mark

Investors in bitcoin ETPs are overwhelmingly institutions, rather than individuals.

“This is purely us targeting institutional investors,” Laurent Kssis, managing director at 21Shares, told Financial News. “Our business is focused solely on institutional investors’ mandate to add crypto to their portfolio strategies and we have not really touched the retail market yet.”

Many institutional investors sat on the sidelines when bitcoin experienced its first dramatic rally in 2017 — the cryptocurrency surged to $19,783 before collapsing to as little as $3,248 in late 2018. Money managers lacked a mandate to invest in cryptocurrencies and nervous compliance departments blocked requests to trade on unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges.

This year’s rally is different. A group of companies have listed bitcoin-tracking ETPs, investment vehicles that mimic exchange-traded funds. ETPs are regulated, unlike bitcoin, so hedge funds with a mandate to get exposure to cryptocurrencies can invest in the products, which are listed on stock exchanges.

The situation is similar in the US, where analysts say family offices and institutional investors have been ploughing into investment vehicles for bitcoin in recent months.

See:  Bitcoin price hits record high for 2020 after PayPal finally adds cryptocurrency

Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, a cross-asset research analyst at JPMorgan, said there is now “a greater urgency by institutional investors to not miss out — to invest some of their assets in bitcoin, because this time looks different”.

“The big difference to 2017 is that there is now greater conviction that bitcoin is a genuine asset class, that bitcoin will never go to zero,” he said. This has been prompted by a perception of bitcoin as a credible alternative asset to gold, backed by corporate sponsorship from the likes of PayPal, MicroStrategy and Square.

“What is happening this year is that gold’s monopoly as an alternative asset is now being questioned,” he said. Instead over the past month, inflows into US-listed vehicles such as the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust show that “the institutional demand is so strong that even if some hedge funds or other funds that play bitcoin as a momentum trade get out, it’s not enough to stop the [price] ascent”.

See:  CEX.IO’s Executive Director Predicts the Future of Crypto Exchanges

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s share price value on Wall Street at the start of October was $10.87, according to Nasdaq. As of 20 November, it has almost doubled to $19.94 — and is still climbing.

Bitcoin has become an attractive asset class for US funds that are known for investing in technology stocks, he added, saying that the bank has heard anecdotally that they’re all “familiar faces”.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Hedge funds, not hipsters, may be powering bitcoin’s second big rally The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Should the U.S. Government Create a Token-Based Digital Dollar?

Alt-M | Larry White |

Digital US Dollar - Should the U.S. Government Create a Token-Based Digital Dollar?Proposals for "central bank digital currency" (CBDC) come in two basic types: account-based and token-based. I have been critical of proposals for an account-based system. Until recently, there didn't seem to be much active interest in a token-based system. But now comes a significant token-based proposal in a new white paper by the Digital Dollar Project. Would a token-based system be any better than an account-based system? It might, but it all depends on the design details. Let me explain.

An account-based CBDC would mean that households and businesses have retail checking accounts directly on the Federal Reserve System's balance sheet. A detailed proposal for such a "FedAccounts" system by three legal scholars (Morgan Ricks, John Crawford, and Lev Menand) is available here. (I recently exchanged views with Ricks in an online event hosted by the Cato Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives.) It is implausible that a FedAccounts system, run by a bureaucracy with no experience in retail payments, unguided by profit and loss, will provide better or more efficient service than systems offered by banks and other competitive private firms. But it isn't implausible that threats to privacy would arise from a system that gives a government agency real-time access to all deposit transfers.

See:  Why a digital dollar isn’t coming anytime soon (or so the Fed says)

A token-based CBDC would mean that households and businesses hold circulating digital Fed liabilities in digital wallets (think mobile phone apps), the way they hold Bitcoin or Tether[1], or the way they hold Federal Reserve Notes in analog wallets. This model has been labeled "FedCoin." The Federal Reserve System would know the dollar quantity of FedCoin in circulation, but in principle, as with physical notes and coins, it needn't know which users hold how many of these digital dollars. One prominent supporter of the FedCoin concept since 2015 has been Federal Reserve economist David Andolfatto. An early sketch of the concept was provided in 2014 by blogger J. P. Koning.

In May 2020 a group calling itself "The Digital Dollar Project" released a report entitled "Exploring a US CBDC." Although it deliberately leaves many important details to be determined later, the report deserves our scrutiny as an updated and prominent proposal for a token-based system. The report expands on an earlier WSJ op-ed by two of the Project's principals, J. Christopher Giancarlo and Daniel Gorfine. Giancarlo once headed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission while Gorfine was the CFTC's chief innovation officer. The named authors of the report include Giancarlo and Gorfine, plus Charles H. Giancarlo (CEO, Pure Storage) and David B. Treat (Accenture) as additional Project directors, together with eight more contributors from Accenture.

From the user's point of view, the Digital Dollar Project's "champion model" is akin to a well-backed dollar stablecoin, that is, a transferable digital token pegged to $1.00 per unit by its issuing entity. (Tether is by far the leading US-dollar-linked stablecoin with more than $9 billion currently in circulation. Here is a list of the many other available stablecoins.) But there are some differences between the Project's model and the typical stablecoin: the model's coin issuer is not a private entity, the fix to the dollar is free of default risk, and the exchange-rate variation around the $1.00 peg is zero. The issuer is to be the same US government agency currently responsible for supplying fiat US dollars in paper and ledger-entry form: the Federal Reserve System.

See:  US Federal Reserve Actively Working on Digital Dollar

Rather than buy FedCoins on an exchange, a user would get them from banks the way she gets fresh Federal Reserve Notes, redeeming her deposit dollars for them. She would hold FedCoin balances in a digital wallet, perhaps an app on her cell phone, and spend them online or in person, or transfer them to her friend, using the phone app.

The Fed would stand ready to interchange FedCoins (which the report calls "Digital Dollars," but FedCoins is less ambiguous) 1:1 with existing types of base money, Federal Reserve Notes (which are not to be abolished), and commercial banks' reserve balances on the books of the Fed. In this way FedCoins are to be a form of fiat money, part of the US dollar monetary base. They are to have "the same legal status as physical bank notes," which I interpret to mean that they are to be legal tender like Federal Reserve Notes. That is, they cannot be refused in the discharge of any dollar-denominated debts. Commercial banks will be as happy to accept them on deposit, and to pay them back out, as they are to accept and pay out Federal Reserve Notes.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Should the U.S. Government Create a Token-Based Digital Dollar? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Lagarde Says Her ‘Hunch’ Is That ECB Will Adopt Digital Currency

Bloomberg | Alexander Weber | Nov 13, 2020

European Central BankChristine Lagarde - Lagarde Says Her ‘Hunch’ Is That ECB Will Adopt Digital Currency President Christine Lagarde signaled that her institution could create a digital currency within years in what would be a dramatic change to the euro zone’s financial sector.

“My hunch is that it will come,” Lagarde said Thursday during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the ECB. “If it’s cheaper, faster, more secure for the users then we should explore it. If it’s going to contribute to a better monetary sovereignty, a better autonomy for the euro area, I think we should explore it.”

The president said it might be two to four years before the project could be launched as it addresses concerns over money laundering, privacy, and the technology involved.

See:  China’s digital currency app looks like Alipay and WeChat Pay

That’s still fast compared to its peers. On the same panel, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey reiterated their caution. Powell said the Fed will “carefully and thoughtfully” review the issue, and Bailey said there’s a “lot of hard work to think through the implications.”

China is also advance with plans for a central-bank digital currency.

“We’re not racing to be first,” Lagarde said. “We are moving ahead diligently, not incautiously. We will be prudent.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Lagarde Says Her ‘Hunch’ Is That ECB Will Adopt Digital Currency The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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KABN Network Joins the Trust Over IP Foundation

KABN Systems North America | David Lucatch | Nov 12, 2020

KABN digital identity - KABN Network Joins the Trust Over IP FoundationGlobal Leaders in Online Identity Verification, Management and Monetization Take Strategic Role as Steering Members to Help Enable Trusted Exchange of Verifiable Digital Credentials

TORONTO, ON and GIBRALTAR / ACCESSWIRE / November 12, 2020 / The KABN Network together with KABN Systems NA Holdings Corp. (CSE:KABN) (the "Company" or "KABN North America") (www.kabnsystemsna.com), a Canadian Fintech company that specializes in continuous online identity verification, management and monetization in Canada and the US, today has announced a strategic role as a Steering Member of the Trust over IP ("ToIP") Foundation (www.trustoverip.org).

In taking on this role, KABN joins other Steering Members including Accenture, Anonyme Labs, Continuum Loop, Evernym, Finicity, Futurewei, IBM, ID Ramp, LG CNS, Mastercard and others. The Trust over IP Foundation has over 170 members, including organizations as well as individuals, collaborating together with the common objective of changing the way people interact online.

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The Trust over IP Foundation is defining a complete architecture for Internet-scale digital trust that combines both cryptographic trust at the machine layer and human trust at the business, legal, and social layers. As part of this community, the KABN Network is focused on bridging the gap between traditional fintech services and solutions and new and innovative Verified Credential processes.

KABN aims to use proven bank-grade identity verification processes to allow Holders (who use a credential), Verifiers (who confirm the validity of a credential) and Issuers (who produce the credential) to complete transactions of many kinds including financial services, eCommerce transactions, organization, building and visitor access badges among others.

"I am certain KABN will make a strong contribution to the Trust over IP Foundation." said John Jordan, executive director, BC Digital Trust Service and executive director of ToIP. "People and businesses are going to continue using the internet to build relationships and complete transactions digitally with all the risks of security breaches and fraud that go along with it today. It's time for a change. Global leaders are working together at our Foundation to make it possible for people to be known and to build trusted relationships online. I am happy to have KABN be part of this effort."

Businesses today struggle to protect and manage digital assets and data, especially in an increasingly complex enterprise environment that includes the Internet of Things (IoT), Edge Computing, Artificial Intelligence and much more. This is compounding the already low consumer confidence in the use of personal data and is slowing innovation on opportunities like digital identity and the adoption of new services that can support humanity.

See:  From Voting To Social Media: What Does The Future Hold For Digital Identity On The Blockchain

The KABN Network believes that without a global standard for how to ensure digital trust, these struggles are bound to continue. The four layers of Trust over IP's dual governance and technology stack establish a clear model for how utilities, technical components, business rules and human-focused design can combine to solve this set of problems. The digital trust ecosystems that emerge from Trust over IP will help businesses, citizens and governments alike use the internet to create enduring trusted relationships that allow transactions to be completed safely and with confidence.

"With the ToIP Technology and Governance Stack, the industry is now in a position for an Identity Paradigm shift. Future generations will have a hard time believing that there was a day when everyone was anonymous on the Internet and we believe that the KABN Network is at the forefront of this evolution," said RJ Reiser, KABN North America CBDO, Director and Co-Chair ToIP Ecosystem Foundry Working Group.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - KABN Network Joins the Trust Over IP Foundation The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Binance has begun to block U.S. users from accessing its exchange platform

The Block Crypto| Yogita Khatri | Nov 9, 2020

binance - Binance has begun to block U.S. users from accessing its exchange platformQuick Take

  • Binance has started blocking U.S. users from accessing its platform, The Block has learned.
  • An email obtained by The Block directed a user to withdraw their funds within 90 days if they were based in the U.S.
  • The move comes more than a year after Binance first announced that it would stop serving U.S. residents from September 2019.

Crypto exchange Binance has begun blocking U.S. users from accessing its exchange platform, The Block has learned.

The move comes more than a year after Binance first announced in July 2019 that it would stop serving U.S. residents from September of that year.

Until now, the exchange was still effectively allowing U.S. users to access its platform. As The Block reported recently, a U.S. resident just had to click "I'm not [American]" to set up an account on Binance.com. It remains possible to create an account in this fashion.

See:  5 Trends to Watch in Fintech Regulation

Binance is now sending emails to U.S. residents based on their IP addresses in what appears to be a significant step toward enforcing its previously announced blockade of such users. One such email, sent Sunday and obtained by The Block, reads:

"We noted your account may be associated with the U.S. due to an IP address you connected from in the past. In-line with regulatory requirements, we are unable to provide services to U.S. citizens or residents."

"If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, please transfer your assets out of your account within 90 days. You may consider using Binance U.S. or other U.S. platforms," the email continues.

A member of Binance's customer support team told The Block that "once our system detects the access of account or the factors mentioned in the email are detected within the account then the following email notification will be sent out to users."

See:  The case against BitMEX is a compass pointing towards the future of crypto regulation

Recent issues

Binance's move comes soon after the U.S. government launched twin legal cases against crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently charged BitMEX and its founders for violating know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations, among other allegations. In light of this case, BitMEX accelerated its KYC program, requiring all customers to be verified by November 5 — three months earlier than its original deadline of February 2021.

BitMEX rival Deribit will also require all users to become verified before the end of this year, as The Block reported last month. (Deribit already blocks U.S. residents based on IP addresses).

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Binance has begun to block U.S. users from accessing its exchange platform The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Cryptocurrencies vs. Precious Metals: Which is the Better Investment?

Guest Post | Nov 9, 2020

Bitcoin versus precious metals - Cryptocurrencies vs. Precious Metals: Which is the Better Investment?

Cryptocurrencies are the alleged future of money, while precious metals are a longtime stead in the investment space. With so much debate between the two, which is the better investment? We’re going to break down the pros and cons of each so you can make the best decision for you.

The Pros of Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are supposedly on the up. These projects are so early in their development that enthusiasts argue it’s the best time to invest. After all, if Bitcoin ends up replacing fiat money, it should be worth significantly more than now, right?

Aside from simple value, cryptocurrencies aren’t controlled by any one entity. There’s no government or other group in control of these assets. To many, that’s a significant plus. What happens to their value is based purely on the money flowing in and out. A government can’t choose to print millions more, diluting its value.

There are also tons of ways to easily invest in digital assets, as well as various use cases. Most popular ones are available on exchanges like Coinbase and Binance - each of which are easily signed up for. Some are physically-backed, like Goldcoin, while others serve as entryways into new digital ecosystems like Ethereum.

These use cases represent a variety of incentives to invest within. Just choose the one you believe in most, and go from there. Some even provide other earning potential, especially proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies. With these, you can earn interest on your investment similar to a savings account.

The Cons of Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Of course, the world of cryptocurrencies is largely untested. If you’re not careful, many projects end up being scams, and you can lose your investment. Even then, some initially promising projects might be poorly managed, resulting in a failure years down the line. This happens more often than not in the crypto space.

That and the volatility of cryptocurrencies can be a turn off for many. Even projects like Bitcoin see drastic price fluctuations on a daily basis. Considering the market is on 24/7, a massive price drop can happen in your sleep. Some might be fans of the potential for short-term gains, but many are wary for good reason.

It’s important to note that storing cryptocurrencies can be confusing. If not done properly, you can lose your assets forever. Those not technically inclined will surely want to invest elsewhere at risk of losing their funds.

The Pros of Investing in Precious Metals

Precious metals are a tried and true investment method. Investors have been putting their funds in assets like gold, silver, platinum, and more for centuries. That longevity means precious metals are always a safe investment. This isn’t to mention their continued use case in things like automobile and jewelry production, of course.

Most precious metals have a decent rate of return as well, with silver being one of them. In fact, silver’s fluctuation is so varied that it’s recommended you start. It’s quite easy to buy silver, too, with many online platforms offering the asset.

Precious metals - especially gold - are also seen as a great way to hedge against financial recession. Gold holds its value for quite some time, to the point where it’s safe to do so for many.

Most precious metals come in various formats, too. Gold and silver can be purchased in bullion or coin format. Others usually offer the same.

The Cons of Investing in Precious Metals

While precious metals are certainly less risky than cryptocurrencies, there are some negatives to them. For example, purchasing coins and bullion might cost you a premium. That extra fee can vary based on where you buy from, but some might try to scam you.

It’s also somewhat expensive to store precious metals - especially gold bars. Purchasing the asset is only the start. All of these additional fees can really add up, especially if you’re new to the scene.

See:  6 Things to Consider Before You Make Investing Decisions

Each precious metal has its own volatility rate, as well. For those looking to profit in the short-term, they must be cautious about which to invest in. Otherwise, their investment will sit at a similar price for a while, especially with gold.

Of course, whatever you decide to invest in is up to you. There’s no right answer as to which is best. It all depends on your situation and what you can afford. A smart investment will almost always result in a profit, however.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cryptocurrencies vs. Precious Metals: Which is the Better Investment? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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CRA goes after client details of major Canadian cryptocurrency marketplace in battle against ‘underground economy’

National Post | Christopher Nardi | Nov 6, 2020

canadian 300x247 - CRA goes after client details of major Canadian cryptocurrency marketplace in battle against 'underground economy'The Canada Revenue Agency wants to know the identity of every client of a major Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform as part of its effort to fight tax fraud and the underground economy.

In a September filing to the federal court, Canada’s tax agency is asking a judge to force Toronto-based crypto trading platform Coinsquare to hand over information and certain documents about all its clients since the beginning of 2013.

In its filing — the first of its kind involving a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange — the CRA says it needs all the information to ensure that Coinsquare’s customers have “complied with their duties and obligations” under Canadian tax laws.

See: CEX.IO’s Executive Director Predicts the Future of Crypto Exchanges

In other words, CRA wants to make sure that the firm’s clients have declared all their income, paid their fair share of taxes and haven’t used cryptocurrencies to hide assets.

The details contained in the few documents available from the federal court are scarce, but all this likely means that CRA wants to know which Canadians have been trading on Coinsquare’s platform, and then compare it to their past tax filings.

If a Canadian trader on Coinsquare has not declared any cryptocurrency revenue or trading to CRA, then the agency may decide to further audit that person or organization, said David Piccolo, a tax lawyer at Tax Chambers.

“CRA could use this information to essentially try to verify or to match certain transactions with what was reported” in Canadians’ tax filings, Piccolo said in an interview.

Because the case is in front of the federal court, CRA spokesperson Charles Drouin refused to comment on the Coinsquare request specifically.

See: Expert Tips and Strategies for Crypto Trading

The agency also refused to say if the decision to seek Coinsquare’s client list has anything to do with significant penalties imposed by the Ontario Securities Commission on the company and several of its executives earlier this year. The provincial regulator imposed $2.2 million in sanctions and costs against the firm for having significantly faked its trading volume, then tried to cover it up all the while firing a whistleblower that flagged the issue internally.

But as a general comment, Drouin says the CRA considers that there is a “high” risk of tax fraud, evasion or any other type of tax crime within cryptocurrency trading.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - CRA goes after client details of major Canadian cryptocurrency marketplace in battle against 'underground economy' The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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