BaFin-approved German hybrid fund combines crypto

BaFin-approved German hybrid fund combines crypto, real estate

As the cryptocurrency space continues to grow and expand, the latest venture by a German firm has been to invest in what it called a hybrid cryptocurrency and real estate fund. Munich-based BITREAL Capital GmBH has been granted authorization by the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to market this fund—an intriguing development in the current market scenario, Finance Magnates reported.

Although cryptocurrency values have taken a beating in the last three months, there appears to be a recovery on the horizon with most of the major currencies soaring by well over 100% in April from their lows for the year. However, the real estate market has not registered any form of correction and is in a booming phase with values in the top city centres continuing to soar. The idea of a combined fund is quite interesting as it attempts to ride the wave of cryptocurrencies which are expected to continue rising in the next years together with real estate, which is always seen as a safe investment.

Founded in 2017, BITREAL is looking to specialise in what are termed special alternative investment funds (AIFs). According to the company, the BITREAL Real Estate Blockchain Opportunities Fund 1 (BREBCO 1) will be the first fund of its kind to combine cryptocurrencies and real estate—a combination that should see explosive growth in the short to medium term.

BREBCO’s strategy is to invest in the cryptocurrency market through blockchain technology and strategic investments in high market cap coins that are relatively stable although volatility still remains an issue. It also plans to invest in commercial real estate to generate an impressive 15% equity return annually. These real estate purchases are to be partially funded by bank loans from across 10 top economic regions in Germany. The fund is aiming for a seven-year lifetime and an equity volume of around $49 million.

The fund also offers to opportunity to investors to use cryptocurrencies such as BTC and Ethereum to purchase shares in the fund. They will also be able to withdraw their holdings in fiat or in any listed digital currency. The minimum investment volume for BREBCO 1 is set at €500,000 (US$612,000).

Boris Hardi, managing partner of BITREAL Capital GmbH, said BREBCO 1 is the answer to questions “as to how or in which virtual currencies, coins, and tokens can be sensibly invested in or how to take part in the blockchain technology market potential without the high volatility and risk of total loss.”

The BaFin has also provided clarity for ICOs after receiving a substantial number of inquiries regarding the legality of such offers. It said that ICO operators in Germany will be required to check exactly whether a regulated instrument or security is being dealt with in order to fulfill potential legal requirements without any loopholes.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
No VAT for crypto: Germany treats digital coins as legal tender

No extra tax for crypto: Germany treats digital coins as legal tender

Unlike the US, Germany will treat cryptocurrencies as legal tender, much like Japan does.

The German Finance Ministry has stated that cryptocurrencies will be treated like legal tender when used as a payment method, and will follow the standard VAT rules like usual purchases, rather than capital gains tax.

“Virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies, e.g., Bitcoin) become the equivalent to legal means of payment, insofar as these so-called virtual currencies of those involved in the transaction as an alternative contractual and immediate means of payment have been accepted,” according to the court ruling.

Although transaction fees imposed by wallet providers and exchanges may be subjected to tax since these are service charges, miner rewards, private investors, and individual traders are free from tax burdens.

Germany has been trying to ease up on taxation headaches for cryptocurrency holders. If you hold cryptocurrencies for more than a year, it doesn’t matter how much profit you’ve made from it—you get to keep your full stash as they will not ask for a cut.

The same cannot be said of the US, unfortunately.

At the moment, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—as well as Australia—treats cryptocurrencies not as currencies but as capital property, assets subject to capital gains tax. It is treated much like a stock rather than fiat. This means every time someone uses them to pay for a purchase, the transaction is treated as if the buyer sold a property (cryptocurrency) in exchange for dollars, and is therefore already considered a taxable transaction before the dollar equivalent is used to buy an item—which incurs another sales tax. Some argue that this is double taxation, while some say it’s not—but that it is a very convoluted, complicated, and utterly confusing way of going about taxation.

Under this rule, every time a user trades one cryptocurrency with another, it is considered a reportable capital transaction. At some point, it would become impossible to track how many reportable transactions each user has, even if they wanted to. This means countries like the US and Australia would have to keep up with the times lest they end up drowning in piles of paperwork that they can’t even accurately verify down the road.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Bitwala to offer cryptocurrency-friendly banking

Bitwala to offer cryptocurrency-friendly banking, debit cards

A popular crypto payment service provider is about to make the lives of cryptocurrency enthusiasts a little easier. Bitwala announced early in the week plans to introduce an online bank account platform in the near future. The service will allow for direct and smooth interaction between fiat and digital currencies. Bitwala said that it would be rolling out the platform in the next couple of months.

Bitwala already has 57,000 customers in more than 200 countries and those that are interested in signing up for the new banking platform can pre-register on Bitwala’s website. The accounts will be fully regulated by Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (FFSA), and deposits are guaranteed, up to €100,000 (about $122,000). Bitwala is currently waiting on approval by the FFSA in order to launch the bank.

According to Bitwala, the accounts will be “the perfect solution for those seeking secure and crypto-friendly banking services.” Customers will have the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, as well as manage expenses and establish direct debits. Contactless debit cards, the most-widely used type of card, will be issued to customers, and can be used at a variety of locations, as well as for online shopping and ATM withdrawals.

This is the second time Bitwala has stepped into the debit card market. It previously offered cards carrying the Visa logo through Wavecrest Holdings Limited. Wavecrest was shut down at the beginning of the year after Visa Europe forced the company to suspend its program. Visa made the decision after determining that Wavecrest had violated the credit card giant’s operating policies.

Bitwala is a blockchain-based payment service provider with a global reach. The Berlin, Germany-based company opened for business in 2015 and offers digital currency solutions to compete with Western Union and MoneyGram. The company conducts bank transfers using both SEPA and SWIFT by exchanging cryptocurrencies to fiat to enable the transactions. It also offers a BTC debit card and BTC wallet.

Bitwala has been the recipient of several awards in the cryptocurrency community. It was a runner-up for the Best Fintech Startup at the 2016 Pioneers Festival, and in 2017, won the Best Blockchain Startup award at the Paris Fintech Forum, as well as the Future FinTech Star Award at Information and Communications Technology Spring 2017 in Luxembourg. It was also recognized as the Best Finance Startup at Fintech.Pioneers the same year.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Financial regulator shuts down German crypto brokerage

Financial regulator shuts down German crypto brokerage

Germany’s financial regulator, the German Financial Supervisory Authority, has issued an order shutting down the financial brokerage arm of a Berlin-based cryptocurrency exchange in a move that could indicate the regulator adopting a tougher stance on cryptocurrency businesses in the country.

BaFin, which is tasked with overseeing markets and the broader financial system in Germany, decreed that Crypto.exchange GmbH must immediately cease acting as a financial broker, following announcements made on one of the company’s websites.

On its btc-now.de site, Crypto.exchange offered to sell bitcoins for euros, with the firm then selling the cryptocurrency on exchanges. The company was claiming to forward money to its customers within 30 minutes, as part of this alleged brokerage process, according to the regulator.

BaFin said Crypto.exchange is not licensed to operate this type of service, and concerns were raised initially when several customers reported that they had failed to receive payment as part of their transactions.

According to a translated statement from the regulator, Crypto.exchange has gone outside of the terms of their licensing in operating a financial commission business, a regulated activity in its own right.

“The company advertised on the Internet – including on the site www.btc-now.de – to exchange Bitcoin in euros. It claimed to have been audited by the BaFin. Investors should transfer their bitcoins to the company, which in turn wanted to sell them on a stock exchange. The purchase price achieved there should be transferred to the investors within 30 minutes,” the regulator said. “As a result, Crypto.exchange GmbH operates a financial commission business. The BaFin expressly understood that the company operates against its own advertising, and without the required authorization by the BaFin.”

The move comes as only the latest steps taken by the German regulator to tighten up the cryptocurrency sector there.

Back in April 2017, the regulator took action against payment processors involved in the notorious OneCoin cryptocurrency, a project that has come in from strong criticism from analysts and regulators alike.

In the weeks following a decision by Italian authorities to fine OneCoin in the order of €2.6 million ($3.2 million), the BaFin ordered connected companies in Germany to ‘dismantle’ the parts of their business that dealt with OneCoin at the time.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Deutsche Boerse considers European BTC futures

German exchange Deutsche Boerse has announced plans that could see SegWit1x (BTC) futures traded on European exchanges for the first time, following the launch of futures trading on two U.S. exchanges.

The Frankfurt-based exchange group said that it was reviewing early futures trading in the U.S., which began for the first time last week, admitting that it may be ‘some time’ before a final decision is made on whether to bring futures to European markets.

If Deutsche Boerse goes ahead with the decision to roll out futures, it would become the first time BTC futures have been sold on a European exchange, and could open up investment in BTC to a new class of large investor.

According to local press, Deutsche Boerse sees opportunities for both private and institutional investors to hedge their positions, as well as to capitalize on upwards and downwards movements in price.

“We are thinking about futures, with which private investors and institutional investors can protect existing investments in Bitcoin or set for falling prices of the cryptocurrency,” the exchange said.

If Deutsche Boerse confirms their plans, the futures contracts would be made available on their Eurex exchange platform, which would open up BTC futures to a much wider audience, including hedge funds, asset managers and investment banks.

BTC futures contracts went live on U.S. exchange CBOE last week for the first time, and are slated to go live on a second exchange, courtesy of exchange group CME, later in December.

The futures contracts allow institutional investors including hedge funds to speculate on price movements in the underlying market, without requiring ownership of any cryptocurrency—an important factor for some funds restricted by regulatory issues.

The debut of futures at CBOE saw BTC prices rise still further, breaching the $17,000 threshold for the first time. Investors will be hoping for a similar response when the contracts are first traded on CME, the world’s largest exchange group, later in the month.

The news marks the latest sign of BTC gaining mainstream financial acceptance, and any further movement on futures trading would further cement digital currencies as a legitimate investment for institutional money.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Deutsche Boerse considers European BTC futures

German exchange Deutsche Boerse has announced plans that could see SegWit1x (BTC) futures traded on European exchanges for the first time, following the launch of futures trading on two U.S. exchanges.

The Frankfurt-based exchange group said that it was reviewing early futures trading in the U.S., which began for the first time last week, admitting that it may be ‘some time’ before a final decision is made on whether to bring futures to European markets.

If Deutsche Boerse goes ahead with the decision to roll out futures, it would become the first time BTC futures have been sold on a European exchange, and could open up investment in BTC to a new class of large investor.

According to local press, Deutsche Boerse sees opportunities for both private and institutional investors to hedge their positions, as well as to capitalize on upwards and downwards movements in price.

“We are thinking about futures, with which private investors and institutional investors can protect existing investments in Bitcoin or set for falling prices of the cryptocurrency,” the exchange said.

If Deutsche Boerse confirms their plans, the futures contracts would be made available on their Eurex exchange platform, which would open up BTC futures to a much wider audience, including hedge funds, asset managers and investment banks.

BTC futures contracts went live on U.S. exchange CBOE last week for the first time, and are slated to go live on a second exchange, courtesy of exchange group CME, later in December.

The futures contracts allow institutional investors including hedge funds to speculate on price movements in the underlying market, without requiring ownership of any cryptocurrency—an important factor for some funds restricted by regulatory issues.

The debut of futures at CBOE saw BTC prices rise still further, breaching the $17,000 threshold for the first time. Investors will be hoping for a similar response when the contracts are first traded on CME, the world’s largest exchange group, later in the month.

The news marks the latest sign of BTC gaining mainstream financial acceptance, and any further movement on futures trading would further cement digital currencies as a legitimate investment for institutional money.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Blockchain-regulated renewable energy in Germany taps on another decentralized resource: neighbouring houses

If you think blockchains and energy are inversely correlated, think again.

Tennet, a major power utility catering to the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, partnered up with clean energy battery supplier Sonnen to launch the first European blockchain-controlled power stabilization scheme. Using IBM’s blockchain software, Tennet and Sonnen are slowly integrating renewable energy sources into European power lines.

As clean energy sources are usually unstable, the project aims to manage and stabilize renewable energy supply by tapping into another distributed, decentralized resource: the neighbourhood.

 

Blockchain-regulated renewable energy in Germany taps on another decentralized resource: neighbouring houses

The allegiance between the corporations and home owners, called sonnenCommunity, allows members to store energy for the community, and share it as needed—thereby significantly cutting down on wastes associated with the traditionally centralized supply source.

The project, which allows households to get involved in the energy cycle not just as users but as suppliers, aims to eventually eradicate the need for third party energy providers completely. The decentralization of energy supply helps members to be self-sustaining in terms of producing their own energy, and it could also bootstrap the entire community’s energy use while saving costs for everyone involved.

The sonnenCommunity is a community of sonnenBatterie owners who are committed to a cleaner and fairer energy future. As a member you can share your self-produced energy with other members of the sonnenCommunity. Since you are exclusively using energy from the community, there is no need for a conventional energy provider anymore.

The project has been on a pilot test run since earlier this year, and is now officially in a real-life application phase.

“The project is the first of its kind using blockchain technology and leads the way to the future integration of renewable energy sources. We clearly see a potential to develop new possibilities of flexibility through blockchain technology. Ultimately, this helps limit the use of expensive curtailment of wind turbines which is needed to stabilize the grid,” Tennet TSO GmbH board chairman Urban Keussen said in the announcement.

“As a grid operator, we are taking a new approach here to better integrate decentralized renewable energy sources and secure supply. At the same time we offer citizens the opportunity to actively participate in the energy transition.”

Blockchain-regulated renewable energy in Germany taps on another decentralized resource: neighbouring houses

If you think blockchains and energy are inversely correlated, think again.

Tennet, a major power utility catering to the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, partnered up with clean energy battery supplier Sonnen to launch the first European blockchain-controlled power stabilization scheme. Using IBM’s blockchain software, Tennet and Sonnen are slowly integrating renewable energy sources into European power lines.

As clean energy sources are usually unstable, the project aims to manage and stabilize renewable energy supply by tapping into another distributed, decentralized resource: the neighbourhood.

 

Blockchain-regulated renewable energy in Germany taps on another decentralized resource: neighbouring houses

The allegiance between the corporations and home owners, called sonnenCommunity, allows members to store energy for the community, and share it as needed—thereby significantly cutting down on wastes associated with the traditionally centralized supply source.

The project, which allows households to get involved in the energy cycle not just as users but as suppliers, aims to eventually eradicate the need for third party energy providers completely. The decentralization of energy supply helps members to be self-sustaining in terms of producing their own energy, and it could also bootstrap the entire community’s energy use while saving costs for everyone involved.

The sonnenCommunity is a community of sonnenBatterie owners who are committed to a cleaner and fairer energy future. As a member you can share your self-produced energy with other members of the sonnenCommunity. Since you are exclusively using energy from the community, there is no need for a conventional energy provider anymore.

The project has been on a pilot test run since earlier this year, and is now officially in a real-life application phase.

“The project is the first of its kind using blockchain technology and leads the way to the future integration of renewable energy sources. We clearly see a potential to develop new possibilities of flexibility through blockchain technology. Ultimately, this helps limit the use of expensive curtailment of wind turbines which is needed to stabilize the grid,” Tennet TSO GmbH board chairman Urban Keussen said in the announcement.

“As a grid operator, we are taking a new approach here to better integrate decentralized renewable energy sources and secure supply. At the same time we offer citizens the opportunity to actively participate in the energy transition.”