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Income Tax Department of India Conducts a Survey at Major Indian Bitcoin Exchanges

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Press Trust of India on its Twitter handle recently posted an update saying Income Tax Department of India recently conducted a survey at major Bitcoin exchanges in India on suspicion of alleged tax evasion. It is said that various teams of the department visited the premises of around 9 Indian Bitcoin exchanges.

Moneycontrol reports that the survey was conducted on basis of the section 133A of the Income Tax Act, gathering of evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transaction undertaken by them, identity of counterparties, related bank accounts used, among others.” It means the exchanges might have to show their books of accounts and other documents which also includes KYC documents submitted by the users.

Zee News, recently on their TV channel mentioned that ZebPay was one of the exchanges where the sleuths from Income Tax department raided. It is said that the survey was conducted all around the country including the following cities: Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Kochi, and Hyderabad. However, there is no official update from the exchanges or the Income Tax department on the same.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the best digital currencies and are not regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. Since it isn’t regulated, one can easily convert their black money into Bitcoins and evade taxes. We are getting in touch with the exchanges for further information on this, we’ll keep updating as we get more information.

Ethereum price surges, but congestion and transaction fees reduce

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Ethereum price surge continues with the altcoin trading at around $477 as of this writing and while that’s good news, reduction in ethereum network congestion as well as transaction fees has also brought about a positive wave for the cryptocurrency.

As of this writing, ethereum’s transaction fees have fallen down to less than 10 cent from a recent high of more than 50 cent. Network congestion has reduced by more than 50 per cent at around 14,000 down from 30,000.

One of the reasons behind the reduction in transaction numbers and fees is miners raising ethereum’s gas limit (blocksize) by 1 million computations from 6.7 million to 7.7 million. Unlike in bitcoin, ethereum’s blocksize is a soft limit, with a simple majority of miners deciding whether it should increase or decrease.

Despite opposition from Ethermine other miners increased the gas limit thereby providing some temporary relief and solving what could have been a a very unappealing situation.

Ethereum may now continue operating smoothly while handling more than 700,000 transactions a day. The number of transactions per day will definitely increase with ethereum gaining momentum – both in terms of popularity and pricing.

For bitcoin, studies have suggested that 4MB is safe and considering the continued advance of technology, 8MB may be pretty safe. It’s unclear whether the same applies to ethereum, which has a current blocksize of around 0.8MB of data for every 10 minutes.

If eth’s blocksize can gradually be increased 4x in line with demand, then we would be looking at almost 3 million transactions a day. That should hopefully be enough for the kitties, and more importantly, it might hopefully be sufficient until the more long term solutions, such as sharding, are implemented.

Ethereum’s network, therefore, may continue operating finely as thankfully the simple majority of eth miners seems to have led to a decision in favor of smooth operations. Thus resolving this situation without endless debate as we wait for further scalability through protocol improvements.

BTC price on GDAX clips $19,000; GDAX goes down shortly after

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BTC price on GDAX clips $19,000; GDAX goes down shortly after

Bitcoin (BTC) surged to a whopping $19,697 on GDAX around mid-day – a whopping $5000 price difference between the crypto on GDAX and other exchanges around the world – and shortly after that the exchange went down for a few minutes.

The unprecedented turn yesterday for BTC on GDAX left an a long trail of altcoin carnage in its wake. BTC on GDAX started its breathtaking run of a whopping $2000 jump in a matter of 20 minutes. From $17,000 to $18,000 it took fifteen minutes while from $18,000 to $19,000 it took only five minutes until it reached a point of $19,697. At this point BTC on other exchanges was trading at $16,096 (average) across different exchanges. While the disparity in BTC trading prices isn’t unheard of, but this huge a difference is definitely unseen.

Source: Bitfinex

By 11:30 a.m. ET, BTC on GDAX was at $19,697 and was just a couple of hundred dollars away from the all-time high of $20,000. This is when things took a downward turn with prices plunging to $15,100 by 11:55 am. Then in just three minutes from that point at 11:58, GDAX went down all all markets were moved into “Post-Only” mode, meaning that traders could place limit orders but could not execute any trades. Bitcoin remained frozen at $16,299.

Source: GDAX

While there have been no confirmations from GDAX as to what went wrong at that particular moment. Visiting GDAX only shows “minor service outage” message. Some observers believe that either GDAX’s system had encountered an error or had been breached by hacker(s). The outage didn’t last long though and in less than 30 minutes trading resumed at 12:25 p.m. with bitcoin price recovering to global equivalent levels. At the time of writing, bitcoin price on GDAX is reflecting at around $16,000.

Goldman Sachs says it will trade bitcoin futures for clients

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Bitcoin futures have attracted attention of a lot of front line mainstream investors and the latest to join the bandwagon is Goldman Sachs, the global finance market’s second largest investment bank.

Goldman Sachs said it will be trading bitcoin futures for its clients and while the investment bank hasn’t detailed its plans in entirety, one of the sources inside the bank familiar with the development told Bloomberg that in the short-term, bitcoin future trades made by Goldman Sachs on behalf of its clients will be processed on a case-by-case basis.

As of now an official statement from Goldman Sachs reads as follows:

“Given that this is a new product, as expected we are evaluating the specifications and risk attributes for the bitcoin futures contracts as part of our standard due diligence process.”

Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO has already confirmed that the investment bank will become a bitcoin player if the cryptocurrency works out. Just last month he had said that the investment bank is “open minded towards bitcoin”.

He emphasized that the abrupt shift from the gold standard to the fiat currency system was rejected and failed to be adopted in the beginning. If bitcoin is a natural progression from hard money to digital money, Blankfein explained that bitcoin holds the potential to become the next gold and reserve currency of the world.

According to Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) they will be launching bitcoin futures trading on December 10. This will open up bitcoin trading in a way for large-scale investment banks and hedge funds. Goldman Sachs and its clients will likely utilize CBOE and CME bitcoin futures trading platforms to invest in bitcoin by mid-December.

With Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan optimistic in regards to the growth of bitcoin as the new gold and robust store of value, other major banks and financial institutions will inevitably follow.

Bitcoin (BTC) price breaches $14,000 mark, Monero enjoys bullish run

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Bitcoin (BTC) price breaches $14,000 mark, Monero enjoys bullish run

Bitcoin price is currently going through a superb bullish run with the cryptocurrency surpassing milestone after milestone in quick succession in matter of hours.

Just yesterday we reported that Bitcoin has set a new high by surpassing $13,000 levels and in a matter of hours it has not only breached $14,000 levels but also en route to set a new high of $15,000.

The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency has managed to expand its market cap well above $200 billion mark with the dollar figure representing an 1200{354c91d6c770f51e2d958086b609baaa0554bba184b320adf9922a4fa7c1531f} gain since the turn of the year, when bitcoin began trading at $1,000 on January 1st.

There is no signs of slowing down and settling for a value considering that bitcoin is currently at a constant upward trend and is records continue to tumble.

As of this writing Bitcoin is trading at $14,470 thanks to continued optimism in global markets. Bitcoin is currently 16 per cent higher than yesterday. Market data on CoinmarketCap, which accounts trading in global markets and factors in price premiums, shows bitcoin price peaking above $14,500.

Monero reaches new high

At a time when expect bitcoin almost all other cryptocurrencies are on a declining trend (read correction) Monero is gaining substantially with the cryptocurrency trading at near $300 levels as of this writing. Just yesterday we pointed out that XMR had reached a new high of $250 and in a matter of few hours it has gained 20 per cent to reach $300 levels.

One of the reasons behind the increase could be that the privacy-focused digital currency revealed Tuesday that it is providing a new online shopping initiative, enabling music fans to purchase merchandise from 45 artists, including Mariah Carey, Motorhead, G-Eazy, Fall Out Boy, and Toby Keith.

Monero’s Project Coral Reef initiative is a community-driven effort designed to bring more awareness to Monero’s secure and private system, reports Billboard.

Launched in partnership with payment processor GloBee, and Manhead Merchandise and Global Merchandising Services, both of which are music merchandising companies, the initiative will provide discounts to customers, including 15 percent from Carey’s store.

Steam stops supporting bitcoin as a mode of transaction

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At a time when the whole world is going crazy over bitcoin, Steam has decided to pull the plug on bitcoin transactions because of network congestion, price volatility and exorbitant fees.

In an announcement today, Steam pointed out the price volatility of bitcoin over the last few months as well as the transaction fees that users have to pay when they transact on Steam using bitcoin. The online gaming platform said that transaction fees have increased by manifolds over the last few months and this has made life for its customers as well as the company a lot harder.

“…transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin)”, Steam said in its blog post.

Because Valve has no control over the transaction fees, there are cases when the trasaction fees are sometimes higher than the value of the purchase and this makes the transaction unreasonably costly.

Couple the transaction fees issue with that of price volatility, things go much worse. Steam points out that the value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time for a particular transaction and so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.

The normal resolution for this is to either refund the original payment to the user, or ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance. In both these cases, the user is hit with the Bitcoin network transaction fee again. This year, we’ve seen increasing number of customers get into this state. With the transaction fee being so high right now, it is not feasible to refund or ask the customer to transfer the missing balance (which itself runs the risk of underpayment again, depending on how much the value of Bitcoin changes while the Bitcoin network processes the additional transfer).

Steam says they may re-evaluate their bitcoin stance in future.

IOTA market cap overtakes that of Ripple

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IOTA price continues to surge with the cryptocurrency surpassing $4.10 mark through a 24{354c91d6c770f51e2d958086b609baaa0554bba184b320adf9922a4fa7c1531f} jump over yesterday. The latest surge has enabled the “next generation blockchain” project to surpass Ripple’s XRP token to become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency with market cap eyeing the $10 billion mark.

IOTA has surged a whopping 900 per cent in the last month when it reached the price above $3.5. Most of that movement for IOTA has taken place over the last few days thanks to announcement that IOTA is partnering with a number of corporate giants for a proof-of-concept Internet of Things (IoT)-based Data Marketplace.

If we look at the share of the exchanges as far as IOTA trading is concerned, more than 80 percent of all IOTA volume is concentrated on Bitfinex, while Binance accounts for another 18 percent.

MIOTA/USD on Bitfinex’s is the largest trading pair — larger even than BTC/USD. Altogether, traders have exchanged more than $1.2 billion of IOTA today, shattering the cryptocurrency’s previous all-time high.

The price surge in IOTA has led its market cap to surge to $9.8 billion, enabling it to surge past ripple to become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. IOTA remains about $16 billion behind third-ranked bitcoin cash.

This is quite remarkable, given the groundwork that Ripple — the fintech startup that created XRP — has laid for XRP adoption in recent months. Just last month, for instance, Ripple partnered with credit card processing giant American Express to create a transatlantic payment channel between the U.S. and the U.K.

However, market cap is not the only metric by which IOTA is growing. According to data from Reddit Metrics, /r/IOTA was the sixth-fastest growing subreddit on Monday, placing it ahead of all cryptocurrency subreddits — even /r/bitcoin.

Bitcoin price surpasses $13,000 mark and continues to rise

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Bitcoin price surpasses $13,000 mark and continues to rise

In yet another record setting move, bitcoin price has surpassed $13,000 mark thanks to market optimism and continues to rise with some analysts believe that the cryptocurrency will continue its price surge.

As of this writing bitcoin is trading at $13,002 with a near 10 per cent increase over yesterday when it was trading at $12,200. Yesterday’s price surge was seen as a direct link to optimism surrounding the launch of bitcoin futures CBOE. There aren’t many options for high profile investors to invest in bitcoin except three bitcoin investment instruments: Sweden’s Nordiq Nasdaq-listed bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETN) XBT Provider, Grayscale Investment’s Bitcoin Investment Fund (GBTC), and LedgerX’s US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)-regulated bitcoin options exchange.

With the launch of two bitcoin futures exchanges by CBOE and CME by mid-December, high profile investors as well as retail investors will immediately be able to invest in bitcoin. As a launch offer, CBOE’s bitcoin futures exchange will initially offer trading for free.

While market optimism surrounding bitcoin futures is high, analysts believe that the price of bitcoin could be negatively impacted by the launch of bitcoin futures. But that isn’t the case as is seen from the recent rally that pushed price of bitcoin to over $13,000.

Bitcoin futures will see money in tune of $10 billion being pumped into the bitcoin market and that’s something that is acting as a spark for the current surge. If the price of bitcoin declines in the next few days, it will likely be triggered by the rapid increase in the value of bitcoin and the stabilization of the market. Often, as demonstrated by the performance of bitcoin dating back to 2014, the price of bitcoin tends to experience a major correction after achieving a new all-time high, and recover back to its previous all-time high to initiate a new rally.

In the short-term, the price of bitcoin will likely increase, especially upon the December 10 and December 18 bitcoin futures launches by CBOE and CME.

Monero price hits all-time high levels of $250

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Monero price hits all-time high levels of $250

Monero price continues to surge with the cryptocurrency reaching an all-time high of $250.

Just on Monday monero was trading below $200 and in a matter of just a few hours monero price has surpassed $250 mark translating into a $3.9 billion market cap. There are at least three different factors that led to the surge in monero price. First is John McAfee words of praise for monero as an alternative to bitcoin. He said that if there was a serious competition for bitcoin, it was monero.

Second factor is the announcement of Project Coral Reef. The project is an online shopping initiative that will allow music fans to use monero to purchase holiday gifts from more than 35 high-profile musical artists, including Mariah Carey, Toby Keith, and Fall out Boy at discount prices.

The third factor that may very well be the most significant is a paper published by University of Michigan-Dearborn researcher Jeffrey Quesnelle who questioned the privacy of Zcash’s shielded addresses.

Quesnelle found that — at least the way most people currently use the shielded address feature — 31.5 percent of transactions using zk-SNARKS cryptography could be circumstantially linked to their original address. Zcash’s Zooko Wilcox and Jack Gavigan wrote a blog post addressing the research, stressing that it had not uncovered any security vulnerabilities. However, they conceded that many users misunderstand how shielded addresses should be used, which is why they inadvertently sacrifice their privacy when using this feature.

Monero developer Riccardo Spagni expressed a hint of vindication on Twitter, recalling that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had praised the Zcash project but referred to Monero as “amateur crypto“.

“Turns out that 31.5{354c91d6c770f51e2d958086b609baaa0554bba184b320adf9922a4fa7c1531f} of the handful of ZCash private transactions are traceable. What’s that [Edward Snowden] quote again? Oh yes – ‘Great project, but the problem with amateur crypto is mistakes happen and have huge consequences for people like me,’” Spagni wrote.

New York regulator keeping tabs on bitcoin, says they are guarding consumers

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At a time when bitcoin is making inroads into the mainstream trading world through futures trading, regulators including New York Department of Financial Services are keeping close watch on the cryptocurrency and working towards keeping consumers secure.

According to Maria Vullo, the superintendent of New York Department of Financial Services, they are on top of bitcoin. Vullo said they are scrutinizing companies offering bitcoin services and ensuring that they are doing things they need to do. As of this writing six bitcoin related companies licensed by the department.

Vullo said while the regulator does provide licenses for bitcoin related services, the application process for a state bitcoin license is lengthy and vigorous. They require information about the owner(s) of the company as well as whether the people involved with the formation of the company have enough capital and liquidity while also ensuring that they have robust cyber security practices was well as policies and procedures in place to counter money laundering. She said the procedure is similar to that of regulating banks and insurance companies.

Vullo said the agency will be in a position to protect consumers should the federal government retreat from supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB), in light of the Trump Administration’s criticism of the CFPB.

“We will do what we can in New York to protect New Yorkers,” Vullo said in a recent interview. Since the government created the CFPB, New York State has had a “terrific” relationship with it, Vullo said.

She added that under the Dodd Frank Act, the state has the ability to bring cases against parties.