Crypto News Headlines (26-Jul-2022)

Prominent U.S. senators are trying to free Americans from tracking taxes every time cryptocurrencies change hands, introducing a bill that would exempt them from reporting any transactions up to $50 or any trade in which they earn less than $50.

Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) joined with Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to push the exemption from tax requirements for crypto users making small investments or purchases. Their Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act matches a similar effort previously introduced in the House of Representatives. The idea of clearing low-level transactions from tax worries has also appeared elsewhere, including in a more comprehensive bill introduced this year by senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“While digital currencies have the potential to become an ordinary part of Americans’ everyday lives, our current tax code stands in the way,” said Toomey. He has sought to help the crypto industry on multiple tracks before he retires from the Senate at the end of this session.

Tesla Inc. filed its second-quarter report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday.

The company explained that it converted about 75% of its bitcoin holdings into fiat currency, as News reported last week. The BTC conversion added $936 million of cash to the electric car company’s balance sheet.

Tesla informed the SEC that in the second quarter:

We recorded $170 million of impairment losses resulting from changes to the carrying value of our bitcoin and gains of $64 million on certain conversions of bitcoin into fiat currency by us.

Tesla originally purchased $1.5 billion of bitcoin in Q1 2021. In the same quarter, the company sold BTC worth $272 million. The price of bitcoin fluctuated between the $32K level and the $59K level in Q1 2021.

The regulator which could soon be responsible for more of the US’s crypto oversight is beefing up its technology team, the agency’s chief said on Monday.

The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which stands to gain greater authority over digital assets under the proposals of a bipartisan congressional bill, is setting up a new Office of Technology Innovation.

“We are past the incubator stage, and digital assets and decentralized technologies have outgrown their sandboxes,” said CFTC chief Rostin Behnam of the decision, while speaking at a Brookings Institution event yesterday.

The new office will replace the CFTC’s existing fintech team, called the LabCFTC, a project which was the brainchild of Behnam’s predecessor Christopher J. Giancarlo. The former CFTC Chairman is also a blockchain advocate who has embraced the nickname “Crypto Dad.”

The price of bitcoin has been fluctuating in the last week. Mainly the price has been growing, reaching one-month highs in the process. However, as the month of July is drawing to a close, bitcoin has begun to shed the gains it has made over the last week. This has brought the percentage of holders who are in profit down below 50%.

Only 47% In Profit

Bitcoin holders have been one of the few digital asset holders who have managed to maintain their profitability through the bear trend. Even when large cryptocurrencies were seeing the number of holders in profit drop below half, the pioneer cryptocurrency had maintained more than half of all holders in profit. That is, until now, as the recent price crash has made things harder in the space.

According to data from IntoTheBlock, the number of bitcoin holders in profit has taken a nosedive over the last couple of days. In total, there are 47% of all wallets are currently in profit. Even though it remains the majority of holders in profit, it is by a small margin and is down more than 3% from where it was last week.

United States-based fast casual restaurant chain Chipotle has started an online game which will give customers the chance to win more than $200,000 in crypto.

In a Monday announcement, Chipotle said that, through July 31, fans would be able to play its “Buy The Dip” game using their rewards accounts. The company will give away $45,000 in Bitcoin (BTC), $10,000 in Ether (ETH), $13,750 in Solana (SOL), $14,250 in Avalanche (AVAX) and $14,250 in Dogecoin (DOGE) via the game.

“We want to build the next generation of Chipotle fandom by connecting with the Web3 community,” said Chipotle chief marketing officer Chris Brandt.

The restaurant chain gave away $100,000 in BTC in April 2021 as part of a promotion for National Burrito Day. In June, Chipotle announced its roughly 3,000 restaurants in the United States would accept 98 cryptocurrencies as payment through digital payment provider Flexa.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has obtained approval to operate in Italy, the Luxembourg-based company’s CEO confirmed to CoinDesk.

“This registration in Italy is part of our global plans to offer services across Europe and around the world,” said JB Graftieaux in an email.

The platform registered with the financial regulator Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) on July 22, according to OAM’s website.

Bitstamp isn’t the only company expanding its operations into Italy. Binance, BitGo, Coinbase and have all recently secured clearance from OAM.

“Italy is among the most important markets in Europe, and we are thrilled to provide its citizens with a safe and secure way to trade cryptocurrencies,” said Graftieaux.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an investor alert Thursday warning crypto owners of a scam targeting them. The law enforcement agency announced:

The FBI is issuing this public service announcement to warn American citizens about a cryptocurrency scam using an investment strategy called Liquidity Mining in which scammers exploit owners of cryptocurrency, typically tether (USDT) and/or ethereum (ETH).

“Liquidity mining is an investment strategy used to earn passive income with cryptocurrency,” the FBI explained. “In legitimate liquidity mining operations, investors stake their cryptocurrency in a liquidity pool to provide traders with the liquidity necessary to conduct transactions. In return, the investor receives a portion of the trading fees.”

The CEO of Binance is not happy with Bloomberg.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is suing Bloomberg Businessweek for three allegedly defamatory statements published earlier this month through the publication’s Chinese edition—which is distributed in Hong Kong—and its affiliated Twitter and Facebook accounts.

According to a copy of the filing submitted to the High Court of Hong Kong Friday and obtained by Decrypt, Zhao is suing the Chinese edition of Bloomberg Businessweek for its version of the Bloomberg US article, “Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?”

Zhao is seeking damages because the Chinese edition of Bloomberg Businessweek wrote in print and online a phrase which translates to “Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme.” Zhao is also suing the publication for reusing that phrase twice more in corresponding Twitter and Facebook posts promoting the profile story about him.

A potential bipartisan bill to regulate stablecoins has been bogged down in negotiations, according to three people familiar with the talks, but lawmakers developing the legislation are considering releasing some draft language that may spur wider input.

With Washington’s legislative efforts, it’s common to see a fast-moving bill suddenly slowed down by debate as it gets close to the finish line. The hangups over this U.S. effort to establish rules for stablecoins – digital tokens designed to maintain steady valuations by being tied to assets such as the dollar – are expected to delay it until September, when the lawmakers return from their summer break, the people said.

Meanwhile, the committee is talking about issuing a discussion draft – a document that would include the legislative language the members are working on, the people said. That could happen much sooner.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulatory agency that shares primary crypto regulatory responsibility with the Securities and Exchange Commission, will undergo restructuring to become more proactive and comprehensive, CFTC chair Rostin Behnam announced on Monday. LabCFTC, which was described as “the focal point for the CFTC’s efforts to promote responsible fintech innovation,” will become the Office of Technology Innovation (OTI) and report directly to the chairman’s office.

“We are now engaged in a more proactive and comprehensive effort across the agency to regulate these markets with the tools currently available to us,” Behnam said at a Brookings Institute webinar. “Our core policy divisions are now directly addressing how the CFTC can leverage our existing authority to bring important regulatory protections to this market.”