Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus

The decree signed by Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko which legalizes cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and smart contracts, will enter into force in March. Cryptocurrency activities are not restricted by the decree and will be tax exempt until 2023.

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Cryptocurrencies Soon To Be Legal

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in March
Alexander Lukashenko.

The decree which legalizes cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and smart contracts in Belarus will go into effect on March 28. Entitled “On the development of the digital economy,” it was signed by President Alexander Lukashenko on December 21, as reported previously.
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“The decree entitles legal entities and individual entrepreneurs who are residents of the High Technology Park (the HTP) to perform operations with tokens (including cryptocurrency),” explained Iryna Chelyshava, an associate attorney at the Belarusian law firm of Vlasova Mikhel & Partners. “Others can use tokens in the territory of Belarus through residents of the HTP,” she elaborated on Jurist.

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in MarchThe HTP is a special economic zone with a special tax and legal regime in Belarus, analogous to Silicon Valley in the US. According to its website, 192 companies that develop software products and provide IT services to customers from 67 countries worldwide are residents of the park, 35% of which are enterprises with 100% foreign investments.

The park describes itself as “the main experimental site for the implementation of pilot projects,” including those based on cryptocurrencies. According to its announcement this week:

The HTP Administration draws your attention to the fact that Decree No.8 ‘On the development of the digital economy’ comes into force on March 28, 2018.

No Restrictions and No Taxes

“The new decree legalizes ICOs, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts,” the HTP explained. It “does not imply any restrictions and special requirements for the operations of creation, placement, storage, alienation, exchange of tokens, as well as the activities of crypto exchanges and crypto platforms.” Furthermore, the park clarified:

Activity such as mining, acquisition, alienation of tokens, carried out by individuals, are not entrepreneurial activities, and tokens are not subject to declaration. At the same time, until 2023, activities related to mining, the creation, acquisition and alienation of tokens are not taxed.

Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in MarchChelyshava explained that the decree provides the definition of tokens, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts. “The definition given in the decree for cryptocurrency lists it as a version of the token,” she conveyed, adding that “for now the decree does not provide the criteria of cryptocurrency that would distinguish it from tokens.” As for smart contracts, the definition “is broad enough to encompass various approaches to the understanding of smart contracts that exist now,” she emphasized. For tokens, she wrote:

The decree does not specify the nature of the certain civil right, and therefore the concept of ‘token’ is provided with a high degree of flexibility.

By making smart contracts legal documents, “Belarus becomes the first country in the world to legalize smart contracts at the country level,” the HTP noted.

Anton Myakishev, the head of Microsoft’s Belarus office, told Reuters that “the decree is a breakthrough for Belarus,” adding that “it gives the industry the possibility to make a leap forward in its development and allows foreign capital the possibility to come to Belarus and work in comfortable conditions.”

What do you think of Belarus making a tax-free zone for cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.

After Coinbase Rejects Rumors of Adding New Assets Ripple Dips

Ripple has taken a hit by a move to end rumors that Bitcoin’s centralized competitor might be introduced to the leading trading platforms in the US. No decision to add new assets to either GDAX or Coinbase has been made, the exchange said in a blog post dismissing any statements to the contrary. Ripple lost some $30 billion of market capitalization on the day of the announcement.

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God Giveth, God Taketh

The clarification on the matter came in response to unverified rumors and unfounded reports that Coinbase might add Ripple to its cryptocurrency markets. They have most certainly helped fuel Ripple’s surge that doubled its price in a week. After Coinbase stated it had no intentions to change its Digital Asset Framework in the short run, Ripple wobbled in charts and lost 20 percent of its value before it rebounded a little. Its capitalization is now below $125 billion, down from Thursday’s peak at almost $149 billion. One XRP coin is currently trading for less than $3.25 USD at the time of publishing according to Coinmarketcap.

Ripple Dips after Coinbase Rejects Rumors of a New Asset

Coinbase is the biggest cryptocurrency marketplace in the US and operates the Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), a platform for trading a variety of digital assets, and a broker processing crypto-fiat transactions. It trades Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium and has added Bitcoin Cash support last month. BCH jumped 70% after the latest update of its Digital Asset Framework. The December 17 announcement had been proceeded by a leak that attracted a lot of criticism and led to an internal investigation.

Yesterday Coinbase made it clear that it had no immediate plans to start trading Ripple, although XRP was not explicitly mentioned in its blog post:

We have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.

Coinbase also reminded that its Digital Asset Framework, released a few months ago, highlights the criteria for supporting new assets. It added that a committee of internal experts was responsible for determining whether and when new assets would be added and insisted that these employees were subject to confidentiality and trading restrictions.

Ripple Dips after Coinbase Rejects Rumors of a New Asset

Ups and Downs, and Peace of Mind

Ripple’s rise made it the second most valued cryptocurrency after Bitcoin during a spell when BTC saw its market share falling below 40%. XRP was trading for as little as $0.006 in January and ended 2017 at a price of $2.30 USD. A few days ago the current and former CEOs of the company, Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse, were ranking among the wealthiest Americans according to Forbes. Larsen, cofounder and Executive Chairman, who reportedly has the largest stash of ripples, would have placed somewhere between Steve Ballmer and Mark Zuckerberg in the 400 richest people list on Monday. But there have been some ups and downs since then – Ether passed the $1,000 barrier and Bitcoin is touching $16,000 again.

In the volatile world of digital money, following experts’ advice and staring at charts doesn’t always help to find a way to sustainable growth and lasting wealth. Reading the Holy Scripture, however, may bring some peace of mind and a sense of intrinsic value: “Naked came I…, naked shall I depart! The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away!”

Do you think Ripple has a chance to compete with Bitcoin, despite its centralized design? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disables New User Registrations:Binance Exchange

Untitled-design-3-1068x1068Anyone still sitting on the fence and considering whether to jump on the runaway cryptocurrency train way wish to make a move, because another door just slammed shut, reducing the number of on-ramps. The popular Binance exchange is no longer accepting new traders.

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No Binance For You

Binance Exchange Disables New User RegistrationsBinance exchange has announced today the immediate suspension of client registration. The company informed all prospective clients about an hour ago that: “Due to the overwhelming surge in popularity, Binance will have to temporarily disable new user registrations to allow for an infrastructure upgrade.”

The popular trading venue thus joins the growing list of major bitcoin exchanges no longer open for servicing new clients. As previously reported, CEX.IO, Bitfinex, and Bittrex have all announced similar difficulties with handling the massive influx of new business resulting in a halt of registrations. Other exchanges such as Kraken have also reported this situation is causing severe operational difficulties.

Binance Who?

Binance Exchange Disables New User RegistrationsFor anyone living under a rock for the past five months, Binance is the hottest cryptocurrency exchange at the moment. It recently proclaimed to have become the largest crypto trading venue in the world by volume with $2.8 billion traded daily, according to data from Coinmarketcap. The company also recently stated it reached 2.9 million users on the platform since its launch in July of 2017.

The Hong Kong based exchange has a global offering and supports multiple languages including English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, French and German. It also offers instant exchanging between 96 different cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, ethereum, tether (USDT) and its own native BNB token.

While the team behind Binance attribute its rapid growth to its service, technology, and affiliates (members of the ‘Binance Angel Program’), the word on the street is that its relatively lax client verification procedures don’t hurt either. Whatever the case, this pace is obviously no longer sustainable for the company without an upgrade to its infrastructure.

Have recent exchange issues affected your trading? Let us know in the comments section below.

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel Bug

On Wednesday, the tech world was rocked by revelations of a computer chip vulnerability that exposes critical data. Meltdown and Spectre are the names assigned to the newly discovered flaws which primarily affect Intel chips. From a security perspective, the bug concerns everyone who uses an Intel-powered device to connect to the internet, which is pretty much everyone. But from a practical perspective, the bug is already making its presence felt: today Bittrex exchange was forced to take numerous wallets offline while Azure servers were patched.

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A Bug in the System

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel BugComputer bugs and vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, but the Intel one is particularly nasty. It risks leaving passwords and other critical data exposed on billions of internet connected devices, from smartphones to PCs. While patches are being rushed out for the major operating systems, hackers are trying to find ways to exploit the vulnerability, which could provide them with complete system access. Spectre forces programs to leak confidential data, while Meltdown noses around in the system kernel for the same purpose.

Cryptocurrency holders, who already face a heightened threat from hackers, have good reason to be concerned. In addition to affecting personal computers, Spectre and Meltdown spell danger for cloud-based systems. Cloud computing providers store data from multiple clients on the same server. If that server were to be exploited, it would theoretically be possible for an attacker to access multiple accounts.

A Dark Cloud

Cryptocurrency exchanges, whose websites carry a heavy load, are reliant on the cloud. While the likes of Amazon have been rushing to patch their servers, exchanges have been affected by outages and reduced service. Earlier today, Bittrex tweeted:

Azure accelerated a planned reboot due to the public Intel disclosure. Wallets will be online again once they complete post reboot audits.

At present, withdrawals and deposits for around 30% of the coins traded on the exchange are unavailable.


Bittrex wallets today.

Several other exchanges were temporarily taken offline, with some platforms specifically referencing the patch, and others simply referring to maintenance. Among those affected were Einstein Exchange, CEX.io, and Kucoin. Hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger also updated concerned customers on the situation, tweeting:

Bittrex Wallets Are Taken Offline as Companies Scramble to Patch the Intel Bug

There is an added issue regarding the Intel bug: as a consequence of patching it, system performance will be reduced by as much as 30%. Cryptocurrency miners are unlikely to be badly affected, as the process doesn’t involve making a high number of kernel requests. But for anyone who prides themselves on running an overclocked PC with a high benchmark, the slowdown may be hard to stomach.

Are you concerned by the Intel bug and do you think cryptocurrency holders should be worried? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

This day might be remembered in the history books as a major milestone for cryptocurrency diversification or as another colossal indicator of the altcoin bubble. There are now three cryptocurrencies with over a $100 billion market cap each. Bitcoin, ethereum (ETH) and ripple (XRP) are worth today a combined total of about half a trillion USD.

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$100 Billion Club

Ethereum long term investors and short term speculators are celebrating alike today as the smart contracts altcoin has broken through the $1,000 per coin psychological barrier. Standing at about $1,040 at the time of writing, the overall value of all ETH in circulation is now over $100 billion. It is the third cryptocurrency in this exclusive club, behind only bitcoin and ripple.

And despite all the warnings about ripple being centralized and freezable speculators keep pouring in to XRP. After rising about 160% from just a week ago and 28% in the last 24 hours alone, its market cap is now well over $140 billion. With a price of just under $4 per coin, part of this movement has to be due to penny stock mentality of new traders seeking a “cheap bitcoin” to bet on.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low Altogether, with bitcoin over $250 billion market cap, the three top cryptocurrencies are now worth just shy of $500 billion. Putting this mind boggling number into perspective, its just about 10% below the combined stock value of Visa (NYSE:V $265 billion), Mastercard (NYSE: MA $166 billion), American (NYSE: AXP $87 billion), and Discover (NYSE: DFS $28 billion).

Entering a Multi-Polar World?

Bitcoin has been able to maintain an impressive price level at $15,000 and a quarter trillion USD market cap in the face of this altcoin onslaught, but its market share has suffered. The BTC Dominance Index is now just above 32%, a new all time low, which means that bitcoin is for first time worth less than a third of the crypto market.

While some of ripple’s staunch supporters, as well as fans that heard about it a week ago, are cheering on for “The Rippening” maybe its time to forget about the term and any other Flippening. It is possible that we are simply seeing a paradigm shift in the market, from one leading cryptocurrency and a thousand copy cats to a top heavy, multi-polar landscape. This can probably only be validated in the next big correction, when all the short term speculators will scatter away and either bitcoin will remain alone at the top or not.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

Do you think that bitcoin will continue to lose its market dominance to altcoins in 2018? Share your predictions in the comments section below!

Cryptocurrencies See Volatile Prices After Canceled Fork

The price of bitcoin (BTC) has been on a bearish run over the past 72 hours, after reaching $7,900 the day the Segwit2x fork was ”canceled”. Since then bitcoin’s market cap has shaved off over $20B, and the price per BTC is hovering just above the $6,475 range. Moreover, while bitcoin has been dipping, at the same time bitcoin cash (BCH) has been rallying hard as the currency has reached a high of $1,300 per BCH on November 11.

 

Bitcoin Markets See Some Bearish Sentiment

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Volatile Prices After Canceled Fork Market action on Saturday, November 11 is mirroring the day before, where traders saw bitcoin markets plummet over 7 percent in value to a low in the $6,400s range. When markets in Japan and South Korea opened, the price rebounded a touch coming close to capturing $7K, but traders failed to reach that point. During the earlier hours of Saturday morning, bitcoin’s price started diving again, dropping seven legs down to a low of $6,300. BTC trade volume is still holding steady and has been capturing roughly $5B or more in trades over the past 72 hours. The top five exchanges pushing significant trade volume this weekend include Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bittrex, Bitflyer, and GDAX.

BTC Technical Indicators

Bitcoin’s weekly and daily charts are not looking that great as red candles continue to dominate. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) crossed paths during the late evening of November 10. Now the long-term 200 SMA is well above the 100 SMA, indicating the road back to the upside is a long ways away. So far bitcoin’s price has corrected to levels bulls obtained on the first of November. Both the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic oscillators have been heading south for hours, confirming bitcoin’s bear market might be just getting started. Order books show consolidation could happen in the $6,300-6,400 region as there is some good temporary support in that zone. After that, we could see a bounce back to $6,600-6,700 if buyers manage to take the reigns. If prices continue in bear mode, then a price below the $6K region could be on the cards. The key zone to watch is if the Displaced Moving Average (DMA) breaks $6150. If it does the downward push will likely follow suit.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Volatile Prices After Canceled Fork

Bitcoin (BTC) prices reached a low of $6,300. BTC is hovering just above the $6,475 zone.

The Top Five Cryptocurrency Markets

Digital asset markets, in general, are following bitcoin’s drop except for bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, and tether. Ethereum (ETH) markets are down 3.4 percent, currently averaging $298 per ETH. Ripple (XRP) markets are down 1.4 percent reaching a low of $0.20 per coin. Lastly, the fifth highest digital currency market cap held by litecoin (LTC) is down 3.2 percent as one LTC is $59 per token. Bitcoin dominance among the entire $197B cryptocurrency market cap is 53 percent, dropping from its previous high of 60 percent. One notable spike this weekend comes from ethereum classic markets which have seen ETC rise by 25 percent.

Bitcoin Cash Bulls Push BCH Markets Up Over 57 Percent

Bitcoin cash (BCH) markets have been on a tear all week long and even more so after the Segwit2x hard fork was canceled. BCH trade volume has surpassed BTC’s volume at $5.2B worth of BCH trades over the past 24-hours. The currency’s market cap is commanding $20B right now, and is just $8B away from knocking ethereum out of the second highest position. The top exchanges swapping bitcoin cash this weekend include Bithumb, Bitfinex, Bittrex, Coinone, and Korbit.

BCH Technical Indicators

BCH weekly and daily charts show the bullish momentum is strong but could see a slight correction in the short term. In contrast to BTC charts, the Simple Moving Averages for BCH are opposite. The 100 SMA is above the long-term 200 trendline, indicating the upside swing is not over just yet. However, RSI and Stochastic trends are showing oversold conditions as we speak and some resistance may lead to some temporary pullback. Order books show a nice floor in the $900-1,000 range if BCH markets see some sell-off. If BCH bulls manage to break resistance above the $1,200 region, then some smooth sailing to $1,350-1,450 could be on the cards.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Volatile Prices After Canceled Fork

Bitcoin cash markets reached a high of $1315 per BCH on November 11. Currently, the price is $1,310.

The Verdict

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Volatile Prices After Canceled Fork

Bitcoin gold (BTG) will join the cryptocurrency landscape tomorrow.

Overall the cryptocurrency community is focused on the intense market action happening all across the boards. Since the hard fork was allegedly canceled, global cryptocurrency markets have gone haywire. Most of the digital assets besides bitcoin cash and ethereum classic are in the red seeing market losses. Over the past 72 hours, BCH markets have increased by 57 percent, showing a thrilling correlation between BTC markets. The upcoming week should be interesting to see if the Segwit2x fork still happens with a rogue group of miners, and the introduction of bitcoin gold markets into the overall cryptocurrency market cap. Bitcoin gold (BTG) futures are up 55 percent, averaging $285 per BTG this Saturday. Cryptocurrency markets going forward will likely see some more volatility over the course of the upcoming week.

Where do you see the price of bitcoin (BTC) going from here? What do you think about bitcoin cash (BCH) markets reaching $1,300 per BCH? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Disclaimer: Bitcoin price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither http://blog.easypaypakistan.com  nor the aguahgfsd-1068x1068uthor is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

 

Breaking News: Segwit2x Fork Cancelled

Mike Belshe has published a blog post indicating that the planned Segwit2x hard fork will not be taking place. The markets have responded dramatically, with the price quickly setting a new all-time high of approximately $7900 USD.

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It Has Been Revealed That the Segwit2x Fork Will Not Take Place

Breaking News: Segwit2x Fork CancelledBitgo CEO, Mike Belshe has published a post indicating that the contentious Segwit2x hard fork scheduled for this month will not occur due to a lack of community support.

The post states that “the Segwit2x effort began in May with a simple purpose: to increase the blocksize and improve Bitcoin scalability. At the time, the Bitcoin community was in crisis after nearly 3 years of heavy debate, and consensus for Segwit seemed like a distant mirage with only 30% support among miners.” Belshe adds that “Segwit2x found its first success in August, as it broke the deadlock and quickly led to Segwit’s successful activation.”

Belshe states “our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin. Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger blocksize, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together.” Belshe concedes “it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x.”

The Markets Have Responded With a Dramatic Surge Into New All-Time Highs

Breaking News: Segwit2x Fork CancelledBelshe predicts that “as fees rise on the blockchain, we believe it will eventually become obvious that on-chain capacity increases are necessary. When that happens, we hope the community will come together and find a solution, possibly with a blocksize increase. Until then, we are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade.”

The markets have responded with a dramatic surge into new all-time highs. Following the announcement, bitcoin saw a spike of approximately $500 USD in less than one hour -signifying a highly bullish reaction to the news. As of this writing, the price of bitcoin is consolidating above the preceding all-time high at approximately $7700 USD, after having established a new all-time high of $7900 USD.

What are your thoughts on the news that the Segwit2x fork will not happen? Share your opinion in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Atomic swaps between blockchains have become a hot topic that has sparked a lot of interest due to the decentralized nature of the exchange process. This week a developer that goes by the name of “Deswurstes” or “MCCCS” has accomplished a successful bitcoin cash atomic swap test.

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Introducing Bitcoin Cash to the Atomic Swap Protocol

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash NetworkOn November 4, bitcoin cash (BCC) was tested using the Decred/atomic swap protocol by a developer named Deswurstes. The atomic swap Github pull request #37 states, “the first Bitcoin Cash atomic swap has been made! — Proof at the end of this pull request.” Deswurstes says he’s been interested in the scaling debate since mid-2016 and has been a bitcoin fanatic (as a small scale miner/holder, not a developer) since then. The test is one of the developer’s first contributions using the bitcoin cash code, and he plans to design friendlier-looking software to allow users to use it more efficiently.

“Atomic swaps are interesting topics, and there are many alt-to-alt exchanges, but none of them are safe; there’s nothing that prevents the exchange from stealing your money,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com.

When I found atomic swaps, it looked like magic to me. I thought it’d be cool if bitcoin cash had this feature. First I asked its developers if they were going to implement bitcoin cash support, but they were busy. One or two weeks later, I tried and succeeded in coding my atomic swap dream.

‘In the Future, All Altcoin-to-Altcoin Atomic Swaps Will be Instant’

The developer’s first test was a bitcoin cash-to-bitcoin cash atomic swap contract. He tested it like this because it enabled him to debug both initiate and participate commands at the same time, and each time he got closer to the working software. “Currently the software works awesome, however, it doesn’t have dynamic fee support,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com. “The command that makes the node software choose inputs for the transaction (fundrawtransaction) has different syntaxes in different node software.”

Deswurstes says now, people can make trustless bitcoin cash payments, but the process of compiling the software and typing commands in the command prompt is complicated for average users. “When trustless, decentralized exchanges that have order matching come with good UIs, the atomic swap will replace the current exchanges — Especially BCC-BTC will have high volume,” the programmer explains.

In the future, all alt-to-alt atomic swaps will be instant — People will be trading BTC and BCC, which’ll be the highest volume trade, in a few seconds.

This Developer Aims to Bring Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Will Have to Utilize Atomic Swaps, or No One Will Use Them

Deswurstes believes atomic swaps just need a good user interface (UI), and after a nice looking and easy to use UI is implemented there’s nothing that can prevent everyone from using atomic swaps, the developer explains. At the moment Deswurstes notes there are two startups working on friendlier atomic swap UI’s including Barterdex, and Altcoin.io.

“One day, all of the alt-to-alt exchanges will use atomic swaps, because of its safeness and it will be as convenient as the old style trades. There’s no reason for them not to use atomic swaps If they won’t, their users will no longer use them,” Deswurstes concludes.

What do you think about implementing atomic swap processes with bitcoin cash? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


A Step-by-Step Walkthrough:Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks:

At the moment there are two forks planned for the Bitcoin network, and cryptocurrency proponents are curious about taking the best preparations. One fork is called Bitcoin Gold which is scheduled for October 25, while the other hard fork Segwit2x (BTC1) will take place roughly around mid-November or block height 494784.

 

The Tale of Two More Forks

This past summer news.Bitcoin.com wrote a lot about preparing for a fork when the entire Bitcoin network and its participants experienced the August 1 blockchain split. Currently, there are two bitcoin forks scheduled to happen over the next few weeks. This means if splits happen to occur between all of them, there could be a total of four blockchains that share the same transaction history of the original Bitcoin blockchain created by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough
The Bitcoin Gold project is expected to fork the bitcoin network on October 25. However, the network will not go live until November 1.

The Bitcoin Gold (BTG) project aims to fork the network so they can create an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) ‘resistant’ version of bitcoin. The reason they are forking the network is because the team thinks ASIC mining is too centralized. So BTG developers plan to make bitcoin mineable using Graphic Processing Units (GPU), by changing the original protocol’s consensus to an algorithm called Equihash. This hard fork is planned for October 25 the developers have stated, but the network itself won’t be live until November 1.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough
The Segwit2x project is expected to fork the bitcoin network at block height 494784

The Segwit2x hard fork is a technical compromise stemming from the New York Agreement (NYA) this past spring, between a vast majority of bitcoin miners and businesses. Some people believe the NYA compromise helped push miners to use their hashrate voting power to ultimately implement the Segregated Witness (Segwit) protocol. But the activation of Segwit came with the agreement that three months later a 2MB block size hard fork would take place. This hard fork will take place at approximately block height 494784 or roughly around November 18 depending on hashrate.

At the present time, both of these forks may or may not take place on the expected dates.

Before During and After the Forks

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step WalkthroughThere are a few things bitcoin holders should know before, during and after the fork. Before the fork, users should make sure their funds are in the right place, at the right time. This means choosing to leave money on an exchange, which some folks like traders do, or hold the funds in a non-custodial wallet. Most people agree the best practice, to remain in full control of any amount of bitcoin holdings, is to maintain your own funds by possessing your own private keys. So before the fork, if users keep their BTC stash in a non-custodial wallet they should make sure they have their seed phrases or private keys available. If an individual possesses their private keys, they are in full control of their funds before and after the fork.

If a user chooses to keep funds on a custodial wallet or a centralized exchange then they should be fully aware the provider is in control. Trading platforms will cease deposits and withdrawals during a fork and may even stop trades temporarily. Users keeping money on an exchange must always know they will be ultimately subject to that business’s discretion.

During the fork, most people would also agree that sending bitcoin transactions while the consensus change is taking place is not the best idea. People should remain patient until 100 percent of the dust has settled before they transact with the bitcoin network. There could be confusion with the fork like blockchain re-organizations, replay attacks, and prolonged confirmation times.

After the fork, it is still a good idea to remain patient, and you can start investigating reliable infrastructure for both forks before using the split networks. From here you can research how to import your private keys so you can claim split tokens, as well as wait for splitting tools from wallet and exchange providers. For instance, many bitcoin wallet users had to wait for the app maintainers to create a tool or fully support the new network that was born this summer. Some people may have to wait a few days or even weeks before wallet providers and exchanges follow through with support and special chain-splitting tools.

Replay Protection and Attacks

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step WalkthroughAt the moment both of the planned forks, Bitcoin Gold and Segwit2x, do not have replay protection added to the specific project’s code. Segwit2x initially had an opt-in type of replay protection, but developers have since removed the protocol. Bitcoin Gold promises replay protection, but the code also has not been added to the Github repository. Both forks could add an opt-in version or a stronger means of replay protection before the forks happen. During a replay attack, it’s possible Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO) can be verified by miners on both chains making it easy for an attacker to manipulate or unknowing investors could make mistakes. Some individuals believe replay protection is necessary, while there’s also an argument against the implementation as well.

Additionally, light clients, otherwise known as Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets, follow the chain with the most cumulative proof of work. SPV wallets don’t check the rules and ultimately sync transactions with the longest chain headers. Those using SPV wallets will want to make sure they are on the preferred chain. While some wallet providers let users decide on which node they should tether to, other light clients will choose for you. If you don’t like the wallet startup choosing for you, then it is probably best to move your bitcoin to a client that allows choice or is tied to the chain you prefer. You can also choose to use other wallet options like paper, hardware, and full node clients.

Hardware Wallets, Exchanges, and Full Nodes

Some people believe that hardware wallets and paper wallets are better places to keep funds during a hard fork. With paper wallets, an individual can obtain or spend their funds whenever they want after the fork on both chains. With a hardware wallet, you may have to wait for a tool to be released as hardware companies like Ledger, and Trezor had to launch firmware updates for their users regarding bitcoin cash.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Users can also choose to side with a chain of their choice by downloading a full node client. Full nodes will enforce the rules on the specific chain they are tethered to, and these types of wallets have keys that can also be imported to retrieve split tokens at a later date.

As explained above, leaving funds with an exchange during and after a fork exposes users to the will of a company’s decisions. The business may not let you deposit or withdraw between a specified period. So if you need access to funds that are on an exchange, you may not get them right away. Additionally, some exchanges may not release support for split tokens right away, and again you will have to wait. For instance, the exchange Coinbase has not yet released bitcoin cash (BCH) holdings to their customers who kept funds on the trading platform prior to August 1 and the firm aims to release the BCH in January 2018.

Keep Calm and Bitcoin On

Over the past few weeks, wallet providers and exchanges have been releasing their contingency plans, and more will likely follow shortly. News.Bitcoin.com has been covering nearly every popular bitcoin service’s contingency plan, and we will continue keeping our readers informed every step of the way. Further, our team will provide information regarding these forks before, during and after each event so users can be sure they know what’s happening throughout each period.

Lastly, we need to reiterate further that keeping private keys yourself is truly the best way to proceed during a fork, and also being patient during a blockchain split event by not sending or receiving transactions will ensure losses won’t happen.

How are you preparing for the upcoming hard forks scheduled to take place on the Bitcoin network? Let us know your game plan and thoughts in the comments below.hjgyttrreeww-1068x1068

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies

Following the meeting with Vladimir Putin, Russian regulators announced that cryptocurrencies will officially be regulated in Russia. The central bank and the finance ministry will now work together to come up with one draft law to provide a basic regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which is expected by the year’s end.

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Putin Has Spoken

At the meeting on cryptocurrencies between Putin and top Russian regulators on Tuesday, the decision to regulate cryptocurrencies in Russia was reached. “The Russian government has decided to officially regulate the mining and circulation of cryptocurrencies,” RT described and quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announcing on Wednesday that:

We have agreed on the following: the state should regulate the process of issuing cryptocurrencies, the process of mining, the process of circulation…The state should head this situation and regulate it legally.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Putin’s meeting on cryptocurrencies.

The meeting was attended by Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Central Bank Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, and Qiwi CEO Sergei Solonin.

In the meeting, Putin acknowledged the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. However, he also stressed that “it is important not to create unnecessary barriers, of course, but rather to provide essential conditions for advancing and upgrading the national financial system.”

Finance Ministry to Work With Central Bank

Currently, cryptocurrencies including bitcoin are not regulated in Russia despite many attempts by various government departments to put forward proposals to regulate them. Both the central bank and the finance ministry have been working separately on a draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies. A draft bill was supposed to be introduced in October but was postponed due to a lack of consensus among the regulators.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

The finance ministry proposed to legalize cryptocurrencies but was opposed by the central bank due to “a loss of control over the money flows from abroad.” This week, the ministry proposed to register cryptocurrency miners and to license crypto exchanges.

After the meeting with Putin, however, Siluanov told journalists that the finance ministry and the central bank will now work together to prepare one basic draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies, Tass reported on Wednesday and quoted him saying:

We will prepare the draft law together with the Central Bank…I think we will be able to determine the basic regulatory positions before the end of the year.

“According to him, with regard to regulation, the functions of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring will be delineated,” the publication elaborated.

Possible Restrictions

In addition, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev indicated on Wednesday that there may be some restrictions. “Russia’s Finance Ministry supports the idea to limit the amount cryptocurrency that can be purchased by individuals,” Tass detailed and quoted him saying:

We said that restrictions are needed on purchases and sales, accounts, miners’ taxation and so on…Yes, there is such an idea, we support it. We should discuss the amounts. We should look at international practice.

This is not the first time Moiseev talked about restricting the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies in Russia. In August, he proposed listing them on regulated exchanges but banning non-qualified investors from buying and selling them. However, his proposal did not receive a lot of support from other regulators. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov promptly commented on Moiseev’s suggestion, stating that no legislation had been decided. The finance minister followed up with a suggestion that cryptocurrencies could be made available to anyone in the same way federal loan bonds (OFZ) are.

How do you think Russia will regulate cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.