Russia’s Cryptocurrency Mining Boom Shows No Signs of Slowing
While China still accounts for the vast majority of global cryptocurrency mining, Russia has been gradually increasing its market share. This rise hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Russian authorities, who have taken steps to introduce regulations for cryptocurrency mining that would see them regulated, and taxed, according to Russia’s Internal Revenue Code.
According to the RACIB report, the number of cryptocurrency mining operations within the Russian Federation has increased by 15% this year alone. In addition, the last 7 months have seen a dramatic increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, as measured by the number of people holding cryptocurrency, and the number of businesses who are now accepting them as payment.
Digital Financial Assets
Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, Anatoly Aksakov, suggested that the bill to regulate digital financial assets, the legal term for cryptocurrencies in Russia, would be passed during the autumn session. Speaking to the Russian media, he revealed that there will be no separate taxation schemes for cryptocurrencies.
In practice, this means that the circulation of cryptocurrencies between users will be taxed in the same way that any other assets are. Those who circulate cryptocurrencies will be treated and taxed the same way as those who move fiat currencies through the Russian system. Businesses, meanwhile, will be taxed according to the type of business they operate.
In May, the State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work gave its backing to a first reading of the bill. At the time, it emphasized the importance of normalizing Russia’s burgeoning digital economy, while “minimizing the existing risks of using digital objects for transferring assets into an unregulated digital environment for the legalization of criminal incomes, bankruptcy fraud or for sponsoring terrorist groups.”
With nations around the world waking up to the need for sensible and workable regulations around cryptocurrency and associated activities, we can expect to see similar initiative in the future.
Cryptocurrency ATMs Arrive in Prague
The appearance of a cryptocurrency ATM in a Prague subway station is the latest sign of crypto’s growing influence and appeal.
There are a number of barriers that are still impeding the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies in people’s every day lives. One of the biggest barriers is usability. There are a limited number of brick and mortar stores, and a larger but still relatively low number of online stores, that will accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
However, for the average cryptocurrency user, aside from these relatively small number of applications, there is little to be done with their cryptocurrencies, other than wait. But that waiting is starting to pay off.
ATMs At The Moment
The first cryptocurrency ATM appeared in 2013 as Waves Coffee Shop in Vancouver. 5 years on, and there are now around 3,000 cryptocurrency ATMs located around the world. These ATMs work just like normal ATMs, except that they allow users to withdraw their cryptocurrencies as fiat cash, subject to the exchange rate at the time of withdrawal.
General Bytes, the Czech company behind the machines in Prague, boasts of selling 1700 cryptocurrency ATMs across 53 countries just in the last 4 years. Another early mover in the market, EasyBit, who introduced the very first cryptocurrency ATM, has four different models of its own machine, which now appear on four continents.
ATMs In The Future
Both of the aforementioned firms have been able to spread their reach far and wide, owing largely to their being the first on the scene. However, newer entrants into the market are eyeing up the potential for improvement upon the concept. So-called smart ATMs, which will allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies from the terminal, and which can run third-party apps, are the next innovation.
With interest in cryptocurrencies growing, and more people eager for new ways to actually use the crypto they hold, there is clearly plenty of room for growth here. These ATM’s solve one of the biggest problems; converting cryptocurrency into fiat money.
Canaan Creative Release Bitcoin-Mining TV Set
The world’s second largest Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer, Canaan Creative, has broken new ground, launching what it claims is the “first-ever” TV set that also mines Bitcoin.
The device has a purported hash rate of 2.8 trillion hashes every second and is underpinned by sophisticated AI, which enables it to respond to voice commands. By comparison, the most powerful mining rig that Canaan offer can process hashes at a rate of 11 trillion per second.
The fluctuating price of Bitcoin is constantly changing the definition of “economic mining”, the device calculates the profitability of mining in real time and, as reported by CoinTelegraph, allows users to purchase entertainment content directly using the cryptocurrency they have mined on the device.
Blockchain in the Home
The Canaan TV is the first in what is sure to be a new trend towards blockchain-related home appliances. Such devices would allow their owners to generate cryptocurrency in their own home, perhaps by just going about their daily lives.
However, some in the cryptocurrency world have expressed skepticism regarding the device and its merits. Xioa Lei, a Beijing-based Bitcoin analyst, remarked that would represent a more meaningful step forward if the technology could instead be incorporated into the television sets of existing big-name brands.
Needless to say, there is a great deal of competition for cryptocurrency mining hardware in the Chinese market. China is by far the biggest and most lucrative cryptocurrency mining market in the world. Bitmain, Canaan’s chief rival, reported profits of between $3 and $4 billion for the year 2017. This is even higher than the US-based GPU manufacturing giant Nvidia, whose graphics cards are often used in Bitcoin mining rigs.
Bitcoin was reported to have earned somewhere in the region of $1 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2018. Rumors continue to circulate that the company is gearing up for an overseas IPO. If so, this new approach to hardware could be crucial for winning investors over.
Websites Can Now Accept Crypto Payments Through Coinbase
Coinbase has been in the news a lot recently. Not only have they added the ability to trade directly using GBP, but they have now released a plugin that could prove game-changing for cryptocurrency’s future.
WooCommerce websites are built on WordPress and have proven to be just as popular. WordPress themselves claim that 28% of online stores use the WooCommerce platform, but independent analysts put the figure at closer to 40%.
Coinbase’s new plugin will make it easy for any website built on WooCommerce to accept cryptocurrency payments. Predictably enough, this is currently limited to “major” coins. Which at the moment means Bitcoin and Litecoin. However, there are plans to add Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash in the near future. After that, expect to see the other usual suspects as payment options on a number of sites in the near future.
Open Financial System
Coinbase has designated the plugin as part of its “open financial system” initiative, their vision for a peer-to-peer payment network that utilizes cryptocurrencies. In their vision, the internet ecosystem will embrace the peer-to-peer nature of cryptocurrencies, thereby leaving no room for additional fees to be levied.
As quoted by thenextweb.com, the press release states “This means merchants never have to pay transaction fees to accept payments and always remain in complete control over their funds.”
In order to add this functionality to existing websites, their owners simply need to add a small button to their WordPress-based website page.
There is no doubt that if cryptocurrency payments are to become to standard option, there is going to need to be a major drive towards making it easy for both customers to pay using crypto, and for websites to process those payments. Just another small step towards cryptocurrency adoption.