2 Senators introduce pro-crypto amendment to infrastructure bill; industry says it’s not enough

Perianne Boring, the founder and president of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, provided details about the proposed amendment Saturday afternoon.

United States senators Mark Warner and Kyrsten Sinema, both Democrats from Virginia and Arizona, respectively, have introduced a new amendment to the infrastructure bill that would lessen the burden on cryptocurrency tax reporting for miners and wallet providers. 

As Perianne Boring reported Saturday afternoon, the senators are endorsing an amendment that would exclude cryptocurrency miners and hardware and software wallet providers from being subject to new tax reporting provisions. The amendment would broaden an earlier update proposed by the same lawmakers, along with Ohio Republican Rob Portman.

The current version of the bill considers these entities to be “brokers” that facilitate the transfer of cryptocurrencies between users. If these entities are indeed classified as brokers, they would have to monitor and track user transactions despite them not being actual customers. Opponents of the proposed law say it would be nearly impossible for miners and protocol developers to fulfill these obligations adequately.

The cryptocurrency community has, with few exceptions, banded together to form a united front against the proposed infrastructure bill. Many influencers have urged their followers to contact state and local representatives to voice their opposition. In their view, the new tax reporting requirements are unworkable for cryptocurrency miners, wallet providers and protocol developers, which means their implementation would stifle innovation in the industry and may lead to an exodus to other jurisdictions.

Related: Treasury Secretary reportedly against amending crypto language in infrastructure bill

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey opposed Warner’s previous iteration of the bill, arguing that the “amendment makes it worse, especially for open source developers.”

Jerry Brito, who heads Coin Center, a D.C.-based crypto think tank, wrote a detailed thread explaining two competing amendments and how they would impact the digital asset market. He contrasted Warner’s initial amendment, which he described as a “misguided [attempt] to pick technological winners and losers,” with an alternative proposal put forth by a bipartisan group that includes Ron Wyden, Cynthia Lummis and Pat Toomey.

Regarding Warner’s revised proposal submitted on Saturday, Brito said it’s “still not as good as the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey amendment,” which excludes protocol developers from the tax reporting requirement.

Barring any further delays, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill late Saturday or on Sunday.

Related: SEC claims first enforcement action in $30M fraud case involving DeFi project

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6 Questions for Sanja Kon of Utrust

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


 

This week, our 6 Questions go to Sanja Kon, CEO of Utrust

Sanja Kon is the CEO of Utrust, a blockchain-native payments ecosystem that wants to bridge the gap between the money of tomorrow and traditional e-commerce. At Utrust, her main focus is partnering with key international players to improve the accessibility of digital assets and increase cryptocurrency merchant adoption. Prior to joining Utrust, Kon spent more than a decade in the corporate world, working for multiple Fortune 500 companies. At eBay, she headed the European partnerships strategy, forming key global relationships to enhance the selling experience for eBay professional merchants. At PayPal, her team was in charge of delivering and executing the payment experience solution for marketplace players. Kon is fascinated by technological innovation and disruptive startups and is deeply passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion topics.


1 What does decentralization mean to you, and why is it important?

I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Ive seen the devastating economic and political impact that the war put on individuals and companies in ex-Yugoslavia. Most us of have the privilege of living in a developed country, with relatively stable currencies and governments. Therefore, we dont often think about the consequences of putting our trust into governments, institutions and organizations. However, billions of people today live in countries with unstable governments, wars and high inflation. This is exactly where decentralization plays a key role. For me, decentralization means taking the control of money, finances and wealth into our own hands. So, its not surprising at all to see that cryptocurrency adoption is higher in countries with a failing financial system and a massive devaluation of the nations currency, such as Turkey, Brazil or Colombia. People are finally finding a solution for hedging their wealth and be in control.


2 What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?

Im very keen on seeing DeFi gain more adoption over the next 12 months, and this is the trend Ill follow very closely. For people in the crypto space, DeFi is already old news. However, the key challenge will be how do we improve the accessibility of the services for people that are non-crypto savvy yet. Early numbers and growth are very exciting: The total locked value in DeFi already went from $680 million in January 2020 to $41 billion in February 2021! People need to understand the principles of decentralized applications, such as the fact that those applications are owned by the users, and, therefore, users not only benefit from them financially but also contribute to improving the products themselves. Therefore, Im curious to see how educational aspects on these platforms will improve in order to attract new customers. Last but not least, simplification of the user experience will also be a key aspect of driving adoption.

3 Whats the most embarrassing moment of your life?

When I was working at Vodafone, in the first years of my career, I was doing a graduate program where I would rotate my role every five-to-six months in order to see as many departments as possible. In my second rotation, I was assigned to the enterprise sales team, where I had to shadow sales reps for a few weeks. On the first day, when my onboarding buddy was presenting me to the team, I did not notice that a huge carton box was on the floor in front of me, and while walking, I fell straight into the box in front of the whole office! People are still talking about that today, even if more than 10 years have passed!

4 What is the book that influenced you the most? Why?

When my grandmother died years ago, I went into a phase of spiritual exploration and enlightenment. I wanted to understand the bigger meaning of life, what life is about, and, especially, what happens after physical death. Ive read many books in this field, but Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss was the one that profoundly changed my conception of life. The book talks about the work of Dr. Brian Weiss, a traditional psychotherapist, who accidentally started regressing patients into past lives. As a doctor and scientist, he was a complete non-believer in supernatural occurrences at first, which resonated with me at the time, as I never questioned life as we know it. I highly recommend this book, as it offers very valid scientific proof of reincarnation. The more I know about this topic, the less I feel I really know, and this, for me, its very exciting, as our existence is much more profound and rich than the one we can see.

 

5 What will happen to Bitcoin and Ethereum over the next 10 years?

I see a different pathway for Bitcoin and Ethereum over the next 10 years. I believe Bitcoin is gaining its pace and firming its position as the go-to store of value. We saw this particularly in 2020, where the rise of Bitcoin was driven by institutional investments. The involvement of such large players in the space gives it the legitimacy to fuel its growth for the future. In the upcoming 10 years, I do believe we will see more and more interest from several businesses, corporations and individuals in allocating percentages of their portfolio into a unique store of value. The trustless and permissionless characteristics of the network, as well as the fixed amount of supply, will ensure holders will continue to rise, and payments with the currency will follow as well. With regards to Ethereum, I believe it will fuel a whole new subset of our economy, accelerating the adoption of decentralized financial services. In this new economy, there wont be the need to rely on central financial intermediaries such as banks to offer traditional financial services, as smart contracts on blockchains will create protocols to substitute the existing financial services in a more transparent way. Ethereum will also improve money accessibility, making it a tool available to all, improving financial inclusivity across the globe.

 

6 What do your parents/significant other/friends/kids tell you off for?

My impatience! Im very driven and fast-paced, so I become very impatient when I need to wait for things to happen or when other people are slow. This shows in everyday life in things like having to wait in a queue; I will probably decide not to wait in the supermarket line at all instead of having to wait even for five to 10 minutes. Thankfully, most shopping can be done online! The other thing that my friends are often telling me is to relax more: Im always on the go. If Im not working, Im either learning something, exercising or feeding my mind in a way or another. While this is great, its also important to relax, and this is something Ive been improving a lot over the last years, dedicating more time on things like meditation, mindfulness or simply small pleasures like watching a movie or a TV series.


 

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Nigeria’s SEC and Central Bank Partner to “Look Into” Cryptocurrencies Weeks After Ban

Nigerian Youths Are Unfazed By Country’s New Bitcoin Ban

After a few weeks of placing a ban on cryptocurrency trading in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has agreed to partner with the country’s SEC to study cryptocurrencies further for a better regulation strategy. This comes as a result of the SEC advocating for a look into the industry rather than a complete […]

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Bill Gates Neutral on Bitcoin but Says Cryptocurrency Is an Innovation the World Can Do Without

Bill Gates Neutral on Bitcoin but Says Cryptocurrency Is an Innovation the World Can Do WithoutMicrosoft founder Bill Gates is no longer a bitcoin bear. He has now taken a neutral stance on bitcoin as an investment. However, as an innovation, he says that cryptocurrency is one that the world would be better off without because it allows for certain criminal activities. Bill Gates Changes His Mind About Bitcoin Bill […]
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Robinhood announces plans to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals

Robinhood’s reputation has taken a battering lately, but it hopes to regain credibility among the crypto community by introducing cryptocurrency transfers.

The controversy-laden trading platform Robinhood announced on Wednesday that it intends to implement cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. While customers have been able to buy and sell cryptocurrency via the platform for some time, they are unable to access the coins themselves to transfer them to other wallets.

According to a series of tweets published from the company’s Twitter account, work on integration of cryptocurrency transfers has already begun, though no dates or specifics were provided on when it will go live.

Robinhood also clarified that crypto deposits would be custodied by their own wallets and added that the company does not invest in cryptocurrency and will not use customer funds for its own benefit.

Robinhood currently has seven cryptocurrencies listed for trade on their platform, including Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV). It is unclear if they intend to roll out support for transfers of all seven coins.

On Jan. 29, Robinhood suspended instant fiat deposits in response to social-media-fueled speculation, chalking up the decision as a reaction to “extraordinary market conditions.” The company was already under fire from both customers and regulators after restricting purchases of a select handful of securities offered for trade on its platform. By Feb. 4, Robinhood had reinstated instant deposits for crypto purchases.

The decision to expand cryptocurrency-related services comes at a time of increasing distrust of centralized service providers. Not everyone believes the move to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals will help Robinhood regain credibility lost through its recent actions. Others have questions about how the deposit and withdrawal process will work, specifically as it relates to customer access of private keys.

On Feb. 7, a 30-second NFL Super Bowl commercial aired for Robinhood in which a new slogan for the company was unveiled: “We are all investors.”

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