A Bitcoin trader in South Africa was kidnapped and tortured in order for criminals to steal his cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin and its brethren exist in the digital world, but the real world can hold dangerous and terrifying consequences for those involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Criminals have proven themselves quite willing to rob, assault, and even potentially kill those who possess virtual currencies. The latest case involves a Bitcoin trader in South Africa who found himself kidnapped and tortured.

Horrible Doings in South Africa

It’s been reported that a Bitcoin trader, known only as Andrew in local media, met a man on Facebook that was interested in cryptocurrencies. Andrew was invited to a residence in Ntuli Street in Meadowlands Zone Five to give a presentation on cryptocurrency.

Andrew showed up at the residence at 1 pm to give his presentation. There, he was met by a group of four men and two women. When he entered the home, someone came up behind him and stuck a cloth over his face. This cloth was apparently soaked with some kind of drug as he was rendered unconscious.

Bitcoin wallet

When he woke up, he found himself in a different residence and surrounded by three men and two women. The group demanded his bank account information and his password to his Bitcoin wallet. He was stripped of his clothes, was assaulted, and tortured with a hot iron. Eventually, he gave up the information.

The criminals stole about R 800,000 ($57,873 USD) from his Bitcoin wallet. They also stole R 100,000 ($7,234) from his bank account, as well as the R 3,000 ($217) he was carrying on his person. The criminals also stole two laptops and two iPhones. Luckily for Andrew, the criminals blindfolded him and dropped him off on a distant road. He is currently recovering in the hospital ICU. Police are looking for the culprits.

Crypto Violence on the Rise

Andrew is lucky to be alive. Criminals are quite willing to use violence to gain access to cryptocurrencies. Back in March, two women performed a home invasion in Connecticut to steal bitcoins from the homeowner. The pair were armed with a cattle prod and pistol, which was used to whip one of the home’s occupants.

In Taiwan, a man, looking to sell his bitcoins, and his friend were set upon by a gang of four men. The two men were beaten up and the seller was forced to transfer over $170,000 in bitcoins. In New York City, a group of “friends” poured hot wax on a man and held his head underwater in order to get his crypto wallet information.

Criminals are quite happy to use force to gain cryptocurrency.

Another violent attack took place in the United Kingdom back in January. A Bitcoin trader had a gang of armed criminals burst into his home in the late morning. He and his wife were held at gunpoint while their baby was put outside on the porch. Once the trader transferred his cryptocurrency over to the thugs, they left.

As you can see, it can get quite dangerous when meeting someone face-to-face in the crypto world. It behooves one to always meet in public places and to have some people with you at all times. It’s always wise to take precautions as many criminals are willing to go to some very lengthy, and sordid, steps to get their hands on your cryptocurrency.

Have you ever been worried when doing a physical trade? Let us know in the comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

The World Trade Organization (WTO) released a report on blockchain technology’s effect on international trade today, Nov. 27. Per the study, blockchain’s economic value-add on a global scale could reach almost $3 trillion by 2030.

“Blockchain and International Trade: Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for International Trade Cooperation” analyzes blockchain applications and challenges that must be considered before the technology’s deployment in various sectors. The study considers the technology’s effect on industries such as trade finance, customs clearance, logistics and transportation.

Blockchain Business Value Forecast

Blockchain Business Value Forecast. Source: WTO

The study estimates that blockchain has the potential to significantly cut trade costs by increasing transparency and facilitating processes automation, including financial intermediation, exchange rate costs, coordination, and other aspects. “The removal of barriers due to blockchain could result in more than $ 1 trillion of new trade in the next decade,” the report reads.

Blockchain is expected to help administer intellectual property rights across multiple jurisdictions by delivering more transparency and efficiency, and enhance government procurement processes, including fighting fraud and managing public contracts.

Blockchain purportedly could improve supply chains, allowing for the tracking of shipments and proving their authenticity. Additionally, the technology could open new opportunities to micro, small and medium-sized companies.

Conversely, the study warns about challenges that must be addressed before deploying blockchain, as well as its impact on international trade. The researchers point out limited scalability of blockchains due to the predetermined size of blocks, in addition to energy consumption and security issues.

Although “blockchains are highly resilient compared to traditional databases due to their decentralized and distributed nature and the use of cryptographic techniques, they are not completely immune from traditional security challenges,” the study states.

The report stresses the importance of developing a multi-stakeholder approach in order to find appropriate use cases in cross-border trade. According to the WTO, blockchain requires frameworks that ensure the interoperability of networks and provide clear legal status for blockchain transactions across jurisdictions. The report concludes:

“Blockchain could make international trade smarter, but smart trade requires smart standardization — and smart standardization can only happen through cooperation. If we succeed in creating an ecosystem conducive to the wider development of blockchain, international trade could well look radically different in ten to 15 years.”

Earlier this week, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin said that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin argued that although there are a number of companies that try to establish higher standards by using blockchain technology, he does not think the technology is applicable in every industry.

This post is credit to cointelegraph

Venezuela’s government plans to present its national cryptocurrency, the Petro, as a unit of account for international crude oil trade to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The move is a further attempt by the country’s government to strengthen the position of its controversial state-issued cryptocurrency.

Petro as a Unit of Account for International Crude Oil Trade

According to local media sources in the Latin American nation, Venezuela wants to utilize the Petro as a unit of account for the commercialization of its crude oil. The head of Petroleos de Venezuela, the state-owned oil company, Manuel Quevedo, says from 2019, all Venezuelan crude oil will be traded for the Petro.

For Quevedo, the move is a continuation of the government’s drive to legitimize the controversial cryptocurrency. Quevedo, who also doubles as the nation’s Minister of Oil and Mining, said that the cryptocurrency formed an integral part of Venezuela’s economic recovery and growth.

This move isn’t the first time that Venezuela will be pushing a cryptocurrency agenda to OPEC. In February 2018, President Nicolas Maduro urged the cartel to adopt a common oil-backed cryptocurrency. The country also tried to woo India with a 30 percent discount for crude oil imports, but India declined the offer.

Circumventing US-led Economic Sanctions

There are more than apparent incentives for the country to push for such an agenda with OPEC. Using the Petro as a unit of account for international oil trade provides a needed boost for the much-maligned cryptocurrency. It also provides an avenue for the government to achieve one of its stated aims for the Petro – circumventing US economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, the country continues to grapple with a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, and an otherwise worthless fiat currency. To survive, citizens have since turned to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Dash. The country continues to break new records for BTC trading volumes of p2p trading platform Localbitcoins.

Against the backdrop of such bleak economic conditions, the government continues to advance the Petro agenda, albeit against vocal opposition from critics both within and outside Venezuela. Keen to get the cryptocurrency in everyday use, the government mandated banks to accept the Petro. Recently, the cryptocurrency also became the accepted means of payment for international travel passports.

Do you think Venezuela’s plan to use its state-owned cryptocurrency as a unit of account for international oil trade has any merits? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

  • A California college student, who works part-time at Barnes & Noble, recently explained his dire tax situation on Reddit.
  • In the post, he explains how he took his crypto portfolio from $5,000 to $800,000, and now owes $400,000 in taxes.

An anonymous poster on Reddit’s /r/taxes subreddit asks: “Did I ruin my life by trading crypto?” After an initial investment of $5,000, this “clueless college kid”  was able to turn his cryptocurrency portfolio into $800,000 at the peak of last year’s cryptocurrency bull run.

However, his portfolio is now worth only $125,000, and he estimates that he owes $400,000 in capital gains taxes, effectively bankrupting him. The poster, a college from California, claims that he won’t be able to afford the taxes since he only works part-time at Barnes & Noble, earning $12 an hour.

How was he able to turn $5,000 into $800,000? He started by buying Ethereum (ETH) in May of 2017, when ETH was trading around $200. After that:

Well, I went down the rabbit hole and struck gold a few times, hitting 10x’s on multiple alt coins… I brought my 5k initial all the way up to a $880k portfolio in December 2017. Now I should have listened. I should have cashed out, yes. Once I hit $1 million I was going to… I would have been set. And then, JUST like that the market tanks going into the new year.

Just like that, his gains disappeared. As he says above, he didn’t sell towards the top. Instead, he diversified into “more than a few bad ICOs to start 2018.” It’s possible these ICO’s locked up his contributions for months, and by the time the tokens were launched, might’ve already been in panic mode.

This post highlights a big problem with the cryptocurrency market: there are no clear guidelines for taxation. In traditional markets, there are clear rules. This means your broker will tell you every year, around tax season, how much you owe Uncle Sam. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is the wild west, and there are no clear cut laws. This means that the poster above didn’t plan to pay any taxes, and only realized his fate when he received a tax form from Coinbase.

The Crypto Tax Nightmare

Despite the poster’s pain, this example should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Cryptocurrencies are taxable in most jurisdictions, and although it’s a difficult process to file, everyone should plan to pay taxes.

If you live in the United States, as the Reddit poster here does, it might be worthwhile to HODL through the massive drawdowns. In the United States, traders are rewarded for holding positions for more than a year by qualifying for “long-term capital gains” taxes. Normally, trades and investments are taxed as ordinary income, which means traders pay somewhere between 10-39.6% based on their tax bracket. Investments that fall under the “long-term” qualification are only taxed at 0-20%, and most people (who make $38,601-$425,800) only pay 15% on long-term capital gains.

This represents a huge discount, but also explains why the anonymous poster is in so much trouble. If he booked $800,000 in profits, and realized them within a year, he would be responsible for short-term capital gains tax. Since he made over $425,800 in income, that means he’ll have to pay 39.6% federal income taxes, or a whopping (estimated) $316,000. The rest of his tax bill, totalling $400,000, could be from state taxes. The user admits to living in California, which has a state income tax of 12%.

Crypto-to-Crypto Trades Taxable

Additionally, it’s possible the poster expected he’d be exempt from taxes by sticking to “crypto-to-crypto” trades. In the past, traders reasoned that they could defer taxes by avoiding cashing out to fiat. Under the “like-kind exchange” exemptions, traders can avoid taxes by selling an asset and using the profits to buy something that’s “like-kind.” Commonly used in real estate, many cryptocurrency traders applied this to crypto, too.

However, as of the 2017 tax reform bill, cryptocurrency trades are no longer allowed under “like-kind exchange.” This means anytime you swap BTC for ETH, this is considered a “sale,” and any change in the price of BTC is a realized gain. This presents an accounting nightmare, and shows why traders should actively prepare for taxes – either by hiring a CPA or using software like CoinTracking.

This post is credited to cryptoglobe