US cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider Coinbase faces a fresh lawsuit, filed March 2, alleging it “kept” funds that its users sent via email, but which recipients never claimed. A class action document filed at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Restis Law Firm on behalf of two Coinbase users seeks reimbursement of the funds, including those sent involving now-expired email addresses. The lawsuit implicates not just the two plaintiffs, two US citizens residing separately in Michigan and California, but anyone potentially affected by the alleged practice of not returning unclaimed emailed coins. “[…U]ntil 2017, most people never heard of a ‘bitcoin’ or cryptocurrency, so most of these emails were disregarded. And most of the Cryptocurrency went unclaimed,” the court document suggests.
Despite the recent news about banks closing their doors on credit card purchases of crypto; one after the other, there are still available options you can use to buy crypto. Let’s see what they are. The easiest way is to buy cryptocurrency with a debit card on a centralized exchange. It really is as easy as buying clothes on Amazon. Coinbase, for example, is a popular interface to buy crypto with fiat (fiat = paper currency like dollars or euro). On Coinbase, users need to create an account and verify identity. After that, they can buy with their debit card. Bitfinex is another very popular exchange that has been around as early as 2012. Its website boasts being the “most advanced cryptocurrency trading platform” in the world, with many advanced charting tools to equip while trading. The website even has an app that is available for both Android and the iPhone. The core of the exchange is made up of three features: Exchange trading, Margin trading, and Margin funding. The P2P financing market integrated into Bitfinex matches borrowers with lenders to bring the advanced tools of margin trading. A beginner’s guide is offered in their support section so that even a first timer can buy on the site.
Coinbase recently notified approximately 13,000 of its customers that it was turning their information over to the United States. Coinbase has told those affected that it would be providing their taxpayer ID (social security number), name, birth date, address and transaction records from 2013-2015 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), by March 16, 2018. So what should you do if you received one of these letters? Coinbase advises recipients to contact a tax attorney. Sounds good, but also pretty boring. If you’re feeling up to it, you might also consider first, panicking, and then employing one of a number of “creative” approaches designed to make the problem go away entirely. It’s also important to remember that IRS employees are people too. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to love them or want them to succeed in collecting the most taxes they can. But it should mean that you think of how to approach them strategically, given that they are human and can be expected to have certain normal human responses.
As a result of the latest Bitcoin Core 0.16 update, the usage levels of Bitcoin SegWit have been taking off. This significant uptick in usage levels can also be attributed to a number of major exchanges and wallet providers such as Coinbase and Bittrex finally implementing this technology into their platforms. This uptick means that there could be a significant decrease in global bitcoin transaction fees and times. Segregated Witness (SegWit) is a way of bundling transaction together into blocks, which is a much more efficient way for transactions to be processed. The Bitcoin network has experienced high levels of congestion since its popularity exploded in 2017, with issues abound as to how to scale the network. This led to higher fees and slower transaction times which were turning a lot of people away from using Bitcoin. The adoption of SegWit is aimed at drastically reducing this level of congestion. The main issue that has been holding back the widespread adoption of SegWit across the space is that it has to be specifically enabled on wallets and exchanges. This means you need to have specific SegWit wallet addresses and these cannot be used to bridge non-SegWit and SegWit transactions.
Online finance company Credit Karma and research firm Qualtrics shared the results of a survey that kept a close eye on 250,000 Americans and their tax activities in terms of cryptocurrency. 100 or fewer of these people filed for cryptocurrency taxes while the rest of them did not. The reasons were not unintentional – prior to the study, another one was conducted last month where 57% of 2,000 Americans admitted that they profited from cryptocurrency gains. Considering how 2017 was a roller coaster ride for crypto users, many people have gained a large sum of money by either shorting virtual currencies or selling them when the price broke records. Even before the study, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had been tightening its hold around cryptocurrencies, warning people to pay their taxes on time. Last year, IRS won a court case against online exchange Coinbase to hand over information of 140,000 Coinbase users. These users were filtered out as ones who sent or received more than $20,000 from 2013 to 2015. IRS even employed a team to investigate people who used cryptocurrency to avoid taxes. Around 57% of people in the study also reported that they didn’t pay taxes to IRS and almost half of those knew that taxes were applicable on crytocurrencies. The situation requires attention since this topic has been gaining momentum for a very long time. Exploring the behavior of these people, Jagjit Chawla, Credit Karma’s general manager, said, “Generally, Americans with more complex tax situations file later in the tax season, especially if they expect that they’ll owe money. However, given the popularity of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in 2017, we’d expect more people to be reporting.”