The People’s Bank of China has registered 78 digital currency patents in the last two years. Photo: iStock
The People's Bank of China aims to provide greater legal clarity to the regulation of its national virtual currency. Photo: iStock

A China state crypto will be about control: A new Bloomberg report says Beijing’s accumulation of dozens of blockchain patents is about a reinforcement of control. The People’s Bank of China, which has registered 78 digital currency patents in the last two years, is working on a state cryptocurrency that Bloomberg says would be able to track every transaction made and could be used to cap an individual’s spending or block loan applications.

Tokyo drafts new cryptocurrency regulations: Japan’s Financial Services Agency, in a new ruling, says all virtual currencies will now be known as ‘crypto-assets’ to avoid them being mistaken for legal tender, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun. Japan already has some of the most all-encompassing crypto regulations in the world, and these are often cited as the driver behind the country’s vibrant crypto trading ecosystem.

ISIS using Bitcoin for money laundering: Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute and the author of “American Traitor: The Rise and Fall of al Qaeda’s US-born Leader Adam Gadahn” writes in The Washington Post that the cryptocurrency-terrorism connection is too big to ignore. Stalinsky says the Islamic State terrorist group regularly runs money laundering and bank fraud schemes using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “With the Islamic State’s physical caliphate in shambles, revenue from oil and taxes have disappeared, but cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Monero, Verge and Zcash, with others in development, constitute an alternative funding source,” says the author.

Australians warned about skipping out on cryptocurrency taxes: Australian media reports say authorities there are not happy that Australians trading cryptocurrency have failed to declare profits in their annual returns. In Australia, cryptocurrencies are considered property, not currency, and this means they are liable for capital gains tax if sold for a profit. However, fortune favors the brave, because if they are held for more than 12 months before being sold, investors can receive a 50% capital gains tax discount.

This year, blockchain changed the art world: Asia has become an area of huge growth for the art world, and Forbes says blockchain is now very much an integral part of the sector as it can track “transparency, ownership and provenance” while also providing an infrastructure for the “tokenization of fractional artwork sales”. Innovations in blockchain, writes Forbes, “are helping to lead the technological transformation of the art market, and this looks set to progress in 2019.”

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