New Bill Could Mean Lower Taxes For Bitcoin Startups in New Jersey

Bitcoin Magazine
New Bill Could Mean Lower Taxes For Bitcoin Startups in New Jersey
legislature

A new bill by proposed by two New Jersey assemblymen could mean tax and regulatory breaks for digital currency companies operating in the state.

According to The Star-Ledger, the bill would lessen burdens for cryptocurrency companies in an attempt to incentivize job creation in the state. Proposed by Assemblyman Rai Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), the 30-page bill would create a regulatory framework for digital currency companies to operate within as well.

The bill comes two months after New Jersey’s Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance committee held a two hour hearing about Bitcoin. The New Jersey Treasury officially recognized the digital currency in April when it wrote that digital currency transactions were subject to sales tax and would be treated as barter.

The Star-Ledger reported that the new bill, titled the “Digital Currency Jobs Creation Act,” would qualify companies for up to $5,000 in tax write-offs for each new job they create and exempt Bitcoin companies from having to pay tax on electricity. The legislation would also require companies to have an “effective cyber-security program” and hire a chief security officer.

“You need a lot of firepower by way of technology to be in this business,” Mukherji said. “It would try to ease some of that burden.”

He added that he is unsure whether the bill, which was yet to be introduced to the state Senate, would advance, but said some regulation would be needed.

“The legislation clarifies where digital currency stands sort of in the rubric of New Jersey law. In other states that’s been confusing,” Mukherji told The Star-Ledger. “I think this would be the first statute of its kind in the country. We would be establishing the framework legislatively.”

The bill is yet to be made available to the public, but Bitcoin Magazine will continue to follow this developing story.

 
Photo The Virginia HouseCC BY-SA 2.0

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12charge.com Launches Worldwide Mobile Recharge With Bitcoin, Utility Bills Payments With Cryptocurrency, And More
12Charge-Screenshot1

Bitcoin Press Release: 12charge.com launches worldwide mobile recharge, utility bills payment, TV, Internet, Skype and more; aiming to “charge everything” with Bitcoin and other options, in just a few clicks.

Accepting Cryptos

Hong-Kong based company Sam Sien Trading Ltd recently launched startup 12charge.com. This global online recharge service allows users from 110+ countries to top up their mobile phones or buy airtime from over 450 providers and to pay utility bills, loans, TV, internet and other services in some of these countries with Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and other payment methods. Besides topping up cell phones and paying for utility bills, 12charge allows to recharge a variety of global services like IP telephony (VoIP) including Skype, travel sim cards top up, as well as to purchase game currency in a number of online games, fund social networks accounts and more.

Anton Vereshchagin, founder and CEO of Sam Sien Trading, company running 12charge website says:

“We are proud to present our users all around the world the possibility to recharge mobile phones virtually everywhere and to pay online for a number of other expenses. 12charge is not just a typical “recharge website” – a lot of services are available to our users; and we are working hard to add support of each and every existing carrier, and to make it possible to pay online for utility bills, TV/internet, etc. worldwide! Our aim is to “charge everything” that can be recharged. Besides that, we are focused on ease of using the service (we have handy options like payment reminders, favorites, etc.) and on increasing the number of payment options available. We accept credit/debit cards, PayPal and other e-wallets, online bank transfers and – most exclusive options – bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin are already supported; and this is just the beginning!”.

Available For Everyone

The services of 12charge.com are targeted to many groups of clients. Besides frequent travelers, expats working/studying abroad, international businesses, freelancers/webmasters and e-business owners/workers receiving salary in electronic payment systems – everyone preferring to top up mobile and pay for other services online will find this website extremely useful. The process of recharge is very easy, taking no more than a couple of minutes and does not require registration. Although, registered users have access to all features like reminders, repeated payments, managing lists of phone numbers/contracts details, et cetera.

“Besides increasing the number of supported providers , our mission is to provide our clients a possibility to pay using virtually any existing online payment system with a reasonable fee. It’s a real challenge, and currently there are countries and services we can’t support yet; but we are working very hard to create our dream top up service. In some countries – USA, Russia and a few others we have already managed to provide services with 0% fees. Now we are looking forward to increase a number of such countries!” – Sergey Karpovich, the project manager of 12charge explains. – “We especially welcome users from the bitcoin and altcoin communities. Thanks to lowest processing fees, our rates are the best when you are paying using cryptocurrencies!”.

12charge, as well as the carriers, has special offers and promos almost every day (for example, special “X2 top ups days”, when recharge amounts are doubled for specific countries/operators). Detailed information is available at the website and 12charge’s social networks accounts.

To learn more please go to: http://12charge.com

Media contact:

Name: Sergey Karpovich

Organization: Sam Sien Trading Ltd

Tel.: +85221270645

E-mail: pr@12charge.com

Twitter: @12charge

 

Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to FDIC and other consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.

 

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Citi Persuaded that Digital Money is Inevitable, Encourages U.K. Government to Create its Own
citi

In March, after receiving more than 120 replies to a call for information on digital currencies, the U.K. government released a Treasury document titled “Digital Currencies: Response to the Call for Information,” which summarizes the submissions received and outlines the government’s views and proposed next steps. In particular, the government is launching a £10 million (U.S. $14.6 million) research initiative on digital currencies.

One of the replies to the U.K. government call for information came from the global bank Citi. The bank is persuaded that digital money adoption is inevitable, and the U.K. government should consider issuing its own digital money, Finextra reports. The full text of the Citi document was obtained by CoinDesk via a Freedom of Information request.

Headquartered in Manhattan, Citi is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation. As of January 2015, it is the third-largest bank holding company in the United States by assets and has one of the world’s largest financial services networks.

“Due to the potential benefits, we believe the adoption of Digital Money is inevitable,” notes the Citi document. “While we believe that the use of Digital Money is certain, the future of specific cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is less clear.”

The wording shows that Citi agrees with the growing persuasion, in the financial and regulatory sectors, that the promising blockchain technology will eventually have to be adapted to non-Bitcoin blockchains with different features, more appealing to the financial mainstream.

Recently the Bank of England itself called for further research to devise a system that could use distributed ledger technology without compromising a central bank’s ability to control its currency. Similar ideas were discussed at a research workshop organized by the European Commission.

“The greatest benefits of digital currencies can be realized through the government issuing a digital form of legal tender,” notes the Citi document. “This currency would be less expensive, more efficient, and provide greater transparency than current physical legal tender or electronic methods.”

Citi recommends that the U.K. government work together with regulators in other nations to establish a common platform, if possible, within the framework of existing regulations and laws.

“The decision by a government to issue its own digital money would resolve the majority of national AML, KYC and sanctions concerns,” adds the Citi document. “Clearly this creates possible privacy concerns on the side of the citizen, but it could be offset by the additional value digital money provides.”

The idea of a government-sponsored digital currency has been around for quite some time. In February, David Andolfatto, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wrote a blog post about “Fedcoin: On the Desirability of a Government Cryptocurrency.” Similarly, Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis envisaged some kind of “Eurocoin” for Europe, especially for financially troubled economies such as Greece’s.

One thing is certain: Governments and established financial institutions risk obsolescence if they don’t act soon.

“We believe that Governments and the Financial Industry incumbents are not currently leveraging the benefits of emerging technologies and risk similar challenges to that of the Post Office during the shift to digital forms of communication,” warns Citi.

 

Photo Uris / CC BY-SA 3.0

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Ex-Investment Bank CCO Joins Bitcoin Exchange Kraken To Prepare For US Expansion
kraken

Bitcoin exchange Kraken has announced that financial compliance veteran Howard Bernstein has joined the company as chief compliance officer as the trading platform looks to expand to the United States.

Bernstein, who has more than 20 years of experience in American financial regulations, constructed the entire anti-money laundering program of the publicly traded investment bank Merriman Capital, Inc. He also helped Merriman comply with SEC and FINRA requirements. Much like the current state of Bitcoin regulations, the compliance requirements for the SEC and FINRA were new and very unclear at the time.

According to a Kraken blog post, Bernstein will help manage the company’s day-to-day compliance program and begin to engage regulatory officials and lawmakers. But the new CCO also marks a change of heart for the exchange about the U.S. market, a country Kraken doesn’t operate in, but which contributes greatly to bitcoin’s trading volume.

The San Francisco-based exchange previously swore off the U.S. market, having said that the country’s regulations were too nascent to know what they needed to comply with. Kraken instead focused its efforts on Europe and Japan, which it found to have simpler financial regulations.

Bernstein will now led the exchange’s efforts to get a U.S. banking partner and necessary financial licenses so the trading platform can operate in the country.

“We are working toward being able to operate legally in the United States,” Kraken CEO and founder Jesse Powell told Bitcoin Magazine. “Unlike most other services, we’ve chosen to stay out of the U.S. until we have the necessary licenses, which has put us at a substantial competitive disadvantage. We’re looking forward to entering our home market.”

He added that the new CCO is also re-evaluating Kraken’s existing compliance programs in Japan and Europe.

“We plan to better localize our compliance efforts and adjust to a more customized risk-based model, as opposed to the generalized policy we have now, which might in some cases be too strict, and in other cases not strict enough,” Powell said.

 

Image via Kraken.

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Tembusu Systems to Launch TRUST Digital Money Platform for Businesses and Governments
tembusu

Tembusu Systems Pte Ltd., a digital currency platform provider based in Singapore that counted Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis among its advisers, announced that it will soon begin implementing digital currency payments using its TRUST framework.

According to the Tembusu website, Tembusu’s TRUST framework is a global infrastructure that lets verified individuals transfer and manage assets instantly, securely, simply and inexpensively. Based on blockchain technology, it enables payment using different currencies – real-world, digital or even gold and silver. The system was developed to integrate traditional currency platforms with the emerging blockchain technology that drives digital currencies such as bitcoin.

“TRUST is taking its first step into getting widespread adoption and integration with existing systems,” said Tembusu co-founder and CEO Andras Kristof. “We’re planning to try out several possible use cases with current payment systems in Singapore, and the success of this trial will see the use of digital currency payment systems being extended into real-world context.”

A first demo, conducted in local uptown bar The Spiffy Dapper – which also hosted Singapore’s first Bitcoin ATM in 2014 – showed how the TRUST framework could be easily implemented with a computer or mobile device attached to existing POS systems. An interesting feature of the TRUST system is that it allows consumers to withdraw cash through participating businesses by processing currencies from their digital wallets to the POS systems. Businesses will then be able to cash out the digital payment into cash for consumers over the counter.

“The potential for blockchain technology is seemingly limitless, and Tembusu Systems is continuously exploring using our TRUST platform in other applications,” said Tembusu co-founder and COO Jarrod Luo. “Our goal is not to replace other payment systems like NETS and credit cards, or even checks. In fact, we are hoping the TRUST platform can be developed to integrate with these other systems, to become an organic payment integrator in time to come.”

TRUST, a next-generation distributed blockchain technology, stands for “Tembusu Reputation-based Universally Secure Transaction System.” The Tembusu website outlines the advantages of the platforms for consumers and businesses, and includes as well a section titled “TRUST for Governments.”

The government section outlines the benefits of TRUST from the point of view of central banks, law enforcement and regulatory bodies: Every user on the TRUST network is a real and identifiable person, every transaction is permanently recorded and verifiable on the blockchain (so taxes can be easily filed and verified), and the cost of maintaining and creating physical money can be reduced by using a robust, persistent, low-cost cryptocurrency.

These statements seem to imply that Tembusu is planning to develop custom implementations of the TRUST platform for governments. In fact, governments are warming up to the idea of state-controlled cryptocurerncies, with rumors of “Fedcoin” in the United States and some kind of “Eurocoin” in Europe. Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis wrote a blog post in February proposing a cryptocurrency dubbed Future Tax Coin (FT-Coin). Varoufakis is not impressed by bitcoin as a currency, but he is persuaded that its underlying technology could be put to effective use in troubled economies.

Varoufakis was an adviser to Tembusu Systems and helped to build a key part of its founding strategy until the end of 2014. Though Varoufakis has not played any active role for Tembusu since his decision to stand in Greece’s elections, the company still considers him as an adviser because of his foundational contributions. Therefore, it seems plausible that systems such as TRUST for governments could be candidates for actual implementation in Greece. In fact, Tembusu System stated that it is keen to explore working partnerships with institutions that want to leverage the power of the blockchain for their operations.

 

Image via tembusu.sg.

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