Japan states it’s not possible to “own” Bitcoin, while Australia is about to treat Bitcoin as a regular currency. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 32:
- The deadline for applying for a BitLicense is today on August 8, 2015. The new regulation became effective in June this year, and requires that all businesses engaged in “Virtual Currency Business Activity involving New York or a New York Resident” must apply for a license. Multiple Bitcoin companies have therefore decided to leave the city and/or stop servicing New York customers. Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex was among the most recent companies to announce it would blacklist New York, following other companies like exchange Poloniex (earlier this week), instant exchange ShapeShift and mining pool BTC Guild (the latter closed completely).
- If you happen to own any cryptocurrency then Japan has some bad news for you; you do not really own anything at all. Just several days after former Mt.Gox CEO Mark Karpelès was arrested, Tokyo’s district court has issued a remarkable ruling that it’s not possible to “own” Bitcoins because it lacks “tangible qualities”. The court ruled against a man that had lost 458 Bitcoins due to collapse of Mt.Gox, and was now seeking compensation. Under the current ruling this will not be possible.
- More positive news came from Australia this week, as the country is getting ready to treat Bitcoin as a regular currency. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) previously decided that Bitcoin should be taxed as an intangible asset, causing transactions with Bitcoin involving taxable goods to be taxed twice. The Australian Bitcoin exchange CoinJar subsequently moved its headquarter to the United Kingdom, which has a hands off approach to Bitcoin and intends to make London the “Fin Tech capital of the world”. Prime Minister David Cameron recently even selected Bitcoin company Blockchain to be a part of its trade delegation to Asia. The fear of missing out has now pushed Australia in a new direction to get back in the game.
- Excitement and concern were triggered in the Bitcoin community this week by what appeared to be the discovery of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, making a transaction according to data provided by blockchain.info. Nakamoto disappeared in April 2011, after making his final public statement: “I’ve moved on to other things”, hence there was some excitement about his possible return. Bitcoin’s mysterious founder owns around one million coins, which were all mined during the early months of Bitcoin’s lifetime. By comparison there are currently roughly 14.5 million coins in circulation. The potential impact of Nakamoto’s coins are therefore also a reason for concern. In the end, however, the data turned out to be invalid as a result of blockchain.info accepting transactions without validating them.
- The price of Bitcoin kept heading downward this week, with the digital currency losing more than three percent of its value. One coin is now trading about $10 lower compared to the previous week, at a current rate of roughly $271.