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Opera Browser Adds Support for NEAR Protocol through Its Native Crypto Wallet

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By leveraging the NEAR Protocol Opera users will be able to enjoy the speed and scale with a much lower gas fee than Ethereum offers. The users will be able to transact NEAR assets directly within the Opera browser.

On Thursday, September 30, internet browser Opera announced its plans to support the open-source platform NEAR. This makes Opera the first browser with Web 3 capabilities and a built-in crypto wallet to support the NEAR Protocol.

The NEAR Protocol is one of the world’s largest emerging blockchains supporting the development of decentralized applications (DApps). This collaboration also creates a win-win situation for both parties involves.

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Opera gets access to a whole new audience of blockchain and crypto enthusiasts. Besides, it gives application developers relying on NEAR an increased reach to Opera’s massive user-base. By leveraging the NEAR Protocol Opera users will be able to enjoy the speed and scale with a much lower gas fee than Ethereum.

The users will be able to transact NEAR assets directly within the Opera browser. Besides, they can also leverage NEAR’s permissionless Rainbow Bridge supporting the transfer of ERC20 and ERC712 tokens with Ethereum. commenting on the development, Susie Batt, Lead of Crypto Ecosystem at Opera said:

“Like Opera, NEAR’s easy user flow and reliable technology makes mainstream adoption of crypto frictionless. BTC is blockchain version 1, ETH is version 2, and NEAR is version 3.”

Incorporation of NEAR into Opera: Building Future-Oriented Apps

The NEAR Protocol is another Key Layer 1 blockchain protocol to be incorporated into the Opera browser. This further expands Opera’s non-custodial wallet capabilities to become truly multi-chain.

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Thus, offering the support for NEAR protocol to its wallet brings another step to the development of future-oriented applications. these applications will be able to talk to as many blockchains as possible.

Furthermore, integrating NEAR protocol to Opera’s native crypto wallet allows users to easily send and receive NEAR tokens via a seamless interface without the need for any third-party browser extensions or separate wallet applications. Illia Polosukhin, Co-founder of NEAR Protocol said:

“I’m excited about the mass market reach of Opera meeting NEAR’s rapidly expanding ecosystem of easy-to-use applications. NEAR is the first blockchain that’s ready for mainstream adoption. It’s important to continuously lower the barrier to adoption of the Open Web, and this is a significant step in that direction.”

Opera and NEAR Protocol are working with a common dream to make crypto easy to use, accessible, and easier to build on. The NEAR Protocol will be available on Opera’s browser for Android in near future.

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‘New Blow’ as Large Crypto Exchanges Are Told to Pay British Tech Tax

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Crypto exchanges operating in the United Kingdom – including the likes of Coinbase â€“ will be forced to pay a recently created tech tax – with the British tax body, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), declaring that cryptoassets “are not financial instruments.”

The British Treasury last year announced the launch of a new 2% sales charge on online vendors, search engines and social media providers with global revenue of over USD 666.4m and domestic sales above the USD 33.3m mark.

Per the Telegraph, the tax office has informed crypto exchanges that they are subject to the levy, which was created in a bid to make sure the likes of Google and Amazon â€“ who have been criticized for finding tax workarounds in the UK – contribute more to the Treasury’s coffers.

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The same media outlet noted that although Coinbase’s UK operations had reported sales worth just under USD 24m, “the company recently reported that global revenues had quadrupled, meaning it is likely to pass the UK threshold in 2021.”

However, the tax may be short-lived, at least in its current form: earlier this year, the G20 agreed to create a streamlined tax essentially aimed at global tax giants. The measure will force some of the world’s biggest companies to cough up some USD 150bn in extra tax revenue each year.

Last month, the BBC reported that G20 chiefs had agreed to create a global minimum tax rate of 15% for large companies, and would enforce the measure starting in 2023.

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In the meantime, however, the British “tech tax” is still in place – and Coinbase is likely to have to pay it.

HMRC’s ruling that cryptoassets “are not financial instruments” is key. Financial providers are exempt from the tax, but the tax body’s insistence that tokens “do not qualify as commodities or money” means that crypto trading platforms cannot slip through the net.

The same media outlet quoted the crypto pressure group CryptoUK as claiming that it was “unfair” to classify crypto “differently to other financial assets” – particularly as the UK tax body’s American counterparts largely consider coins to be commodities.

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CryptoUK director Ian Taylor was quoted as calling the move “a new blow” to crypto exchanges, who were already reeling from “arduous” licensing measures announced by the regulatory Financial Conduct Authority â€“ ultimately leading to higher fees for exchange customers.

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Crypto Exchanges Facing “Digital Tax” Blow in U.K.

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Cryptocurrencies are neither currencies nor commodities, according to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs

Cryptocurrency exchanges have to pay a 2% digital services tax in the U.K., according to a Sunday report by The Daily Telegraph.

They do not qualify for an exemption granted to financial marketplaces since the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as “financial instruments.”

The tax on the local revenues of large tech companies was introduced in April 2020.

CryptoUK, a crypto lobbying group, is not happy about the lack of the exemption since it would further stifle the industry.

The U.K. arm of the Coinbase exchange is expected to easily surpass the revenue threshold of £25 million ($33 million) due to the crypto trading boom in 2021.

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However, HMRC is adamant that crypto assets cannot be classified as either commodities or currencies.  

In October, European governments forged a deal with the U.S. to establish a new global tax regime to eschew America’s retaliatory tariffs.

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Bitpanda New Partner Lydia’s 5.5M Users Will be Able to Invest in Crypto

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Major French mobile financial services app Lydia is slated to offer its 5.5m users exposure to a wide range of crypto assets after a partnership with the Austrian crypto exchange Bitpanda.

As part of the deal, Lydia will integrate Bitpanda’s digital asset investment product, dubbed ‘White Label Solution,’ to allow its customers to invest 24/7 in more than 100 digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, fractional stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETF), and precious metals.

Founded in 2013, Lydia is a daily financial “super-app” said to be used by a third of the French 18 to 35 year olds. The app has raised a total of USD 131m in two funding rounds in 2020, though it did not disclose valuation.

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“With Lydia trading, our ambition is to widen access to investment assets, to make it accessible to everyone whether they are simply curious, beginner investors or experts,” said Cyril Chiche, the app’s CEO and co-founder.

“Our goal is to reimagine what it means to invest, by making simple, easy-to-use financial products for everyone,” Eric Demuth, Bitpanda co-founder and CEO, was quoted saying.

Bitpanda raised USD 170m earlier this year in a Series B funding round and earned a valuation of USD 1.2bn, becoming Austria’s first tech unicorn. In its Series C funding round, however, the exchange raised USD 263m, earning a valuation of USD 4.1bn.

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Meanwhile, the exchange has been aggressively expanding its presence across Europe. Just recently, Bitpanda unveiled a partnership with Fabrick, an Italian open finance provider, that will offer digital asset trading services to Italian banks and fintechs. 

The exchange has also hired former JPMorgan executive Joshua Barraclough as CEO of its advanced trading platform Bitpanda Pro.

“We are confident that this is just the beginning: we are committed to offering everyone investment options for any budget and risk appetite,” Demuth added.

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