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Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency to expand scope of digital currencies after completion of pilot phase

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the financial watchdog for Saudi Arabia is considering to expand the scope of digital currencies to several banks and other countries after completion of its pilot project later this year, reported Al-Eqtisadiah. Hisham Al-Hogail, Deputy Governor of SAMA revealed that the pilot project was dedicated to understanding technical aspects of digital currencies. After completion of the pilot project at the end of this year, the expansion phase would be focused on legal and economic aspects and how to issue the digital currency.

The revelation about expanding the scope of use for the digital currencies in numerous financial sectors came during a program organized by the Ministry of Finance, “Diwaniyat al-Maarifah”. The program was attended by a number of experts from the financial and economic sector where Al-Hogail stressed on the role of SAMA in developing emerging techs like blockchain for the financial sector and also develop the necessary legislation to encourage private sector participation.

Saudi Arabia is focused on harnessing emerging tech

“Diwaniyat al-Maarifah” conference was organized with the aim of enriching specialized knowledge and making this initiative as a platform to inform interested and specialists on the latest technologies and developments in the financial sector. The conference touched on many aspects ranging from how SAMA deals with the warnings issued by the Ministry of Finance about e-currencies and the risks involved. The conference further discussed use cases of blockchain technology in B2B transactions, to solve the problems in trust and settlement field and the extent of security in the business.

Al-Hogail said,

“We are presenting the competition to a consultant to close the deal, which will help us to build the logistics area and benefit from a deposit area according to customs procedures and regulation. We expect that in the expansion of this application and adoption of blockchain technology in many countries, the Saudi exporter and importer will also be able to speed up the procedures, given a large amount of information documented by the General Authority of Customs to enable them to determine the level of risk for each consignment.”

Al Hogail also acknowledged that the emerging tech like Blockchain is still in its infancy and its development needs to be done in accordance with multiple parties and a network of experts. The interest of Saudi Arabia towards the emerging tech is a part of its  “Vision 2030 Kingdom” objective, where the country is investing heavily in the renewable energy sector, the tourism sector and now blockchain as well to end country’s heavy dependence on oil exports.



Cryptocurrencies price prediction: Bitcoin, Ethereum & Dash – Asian Wrap 26 Feb

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD could be heading for a deeper correction

Bitcoin’s price action has looked dire on Tuesday. The market has moved away from the highs seen on February 13th. On the Tuesday night close, if the market closes below 9,227 then we could be headed toward the 8,500 area marked on the chart.

Ethereum Price Analysis: ETH/USD bears drop price below SMA 20

ETH/USD dropped from $265.80 to $248 this Tuesday as the price continued to trend in a downward channel formation. In the process, the bears were able to conquer the critical support level at the SMA 20 curve. The 20-day Bollinger jaw has narrowed considerably to show decreasing price volatility.

Dash Price Analysis:  Heavy bearish action sees DASH/USD drop below the $100-level

DASH/USD had a significantly bearish Tuesday where the price dropped from $103.70 to $95.58. The price is presently consolidating in a triangle formation and has found support on the downward trending line and is trading for $96.50.


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Cryptocurrencies price prediction: Bitcoin, Ripple & Bitcoin Cash – Asian Wrap 25 Feb

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Bitcoin Price Prediction: After major dip from the $10,000 level, BTC/USD tries to consolidate above $9,600

BTC/USD bears retained control of the market as the price dropped from $9,662 to $9,592.80. This follows a heavily bearish Monday, where the price plummetted from $9,971.45, following a brief flirtation with the $10,000-level.


Ripple Price Analysis: XRP/USD bears take control as price consolidates above $0.26

XRP/USD bears continued to make their presence felt as the price dropped from $0.271 to $0.2675. This follows a heavily bearish Monday where XRP/USD plummetted from $0.284 to $0.271. The price is trending in a downward channel formation, while SMA 20 acts as immediate market resistance.

Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: BCH/USD leg to $400 cut short at $380

Bitcoin Cash losses are in tandem with the rest of the cryptocurrencies. For instance, Bitcoin is trading under $9,600 after the rejection at levels close to $10,000. Ethereum and Ripple are also languishing in selling pressure.


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New Zealand Plans to Drop ‘Unfavorable’ Sales Tax Treatment of Cryptocurrencies

New Zealand’s tax authority is considering changes to its treatment of cryptocurrencies that would drop the current and controversial application of goods and services tax (GST).

The current regime sees bitcoin and other digital currencies as property, with normal rules applying. That means crypto is liable for 15 percent GST when changing hands within the country as part of a business’s operations and potentially throws up a “double taxation” problem when income tax is later applied.

Calling the situation “unfavorable,” the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has now suggested doing away with the GST liability for cryptocurrencies in many cases, but keeping the treatment for income tax.

In a policy issues paper made public on Monday, the IRD states:

“Because of their innovative nature, [cryptocurrencies] will often also have different features to … other investment products. This means that some existing tax rules can be difficult to apply, involve very high compliance costs or may provide policy outcomes for some crypto-assets that lead to over-taxation compared to other alternative investment products.”

The overall aim of any changes would be that cryptocurrencies should have a similar treatment to other investment products or asset classes that are “close substitutes” for the digital asset.

An issue being considered by the IRD is whether different types of token should have different tax treatments depending on how they are used. One way forward is that tokens used like currency or shares would likely not be liable to GST, while other types might see the sales tax applied.

“An advantage of this approach is that it should provide a neutral tax treatment for those crypto-assets which are close substitutes for existing financial products such as currency or shares,” the IRD says.

The tax department suggests it might still treat some tokens differently, for instance, if a token is considered to be a share “but if it does not provide an interest in a foreign company or partnership, it would still be taxed very differently to other foreign equity investments.”

Yet with thousands of tokens now available offering different use cases and features, the IRD says there may be “practical limitations” to their potential classification for tax purposes.

As such, a different approach being considered is to usher in more general changes to tax rules that are seen as throwing up “the most significant policy issues when applied to crypto-assets.”

“There appears to be a case to exclude most types of crypto-asset from the GST and financial arrangement rules by developing a broad definition of crypto-assets for this purpose,” says the IRD.

Whatever the solution, Inland Revenue recognizes that change is needed. The department says, “The current GST rules provide an uncertain and variable GST treatment making, using or investing in crypto-assets less attractive than using money or investing in other financial assets.”

Parties with an interest in the issue have until April 9 to offer their opinions on the best solution.

Australia, which had previously also imposed GST on some crypto transactions, ended the policy in October 2017. Singapore proposed the same policy change last summer.


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