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Cryptocurrency This Week: Craig Wright Gets Bitcoin Whitepaper Copyright; Indian Crypto Startups Expect Clarity From Modi 2.0

Cryptocurrency This Week: Craig Wright Gets Bitcoin Whitepaper Copyright; Indian Crypto Startups Expect Clarity From Modi 2.0

‘Pizza guy’ Laszlo Hanyecz has bought pizzas worth $800 Mn using Bitcoin

Indian govt may introduce crypto-related bill this budget session

Owning Bitcoin legal in China, says council member at Bank of China

After a recent flash crash at Bitstamp exchange that seemingly wiped around $1,000 off Bitcoin’s value and $10 Bn market capitalisation in 20 minutes, the good news for crypto community is that Bitcoin is back to $8K slab and currently trades at $8,014.   

As Bitcoin halving nears — i.e half the number of estimated maximum possible Bitcoins or 10.5 Mn of the total 21Mn Bitcoins — the cryptocurrency’s price is expected to rise.

Welcoming the crypto summer after a long winter, the 9th anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22 saw Laszlo Hanyecz, widely known as the ‘Bitcoin pizza guy’, disclose that he has actually spent 100K Bitcoins worth $800 Mn at today’s price only on pizza. On May 22, 2010, Hanyecz had spent 10K Bitcoins to buy two pizzas in the first-ever Bitcoin transaction.

Back in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to take oath for a historic second term and the Indian cryptocurrency community hopes that the government in its second term would address the concerns related to crypto regulations and other hurdles.

Let’s take a look at this week’s developments!

Crypto Regulations Bill Could Be Introduced In Upcoming Budget Session

Depending upon the cabinet’s approval and stance on cryptocurrency, the draft bill pertaining to crypto regulations and framework in India (reportedly called Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019) could be introduced in the parliament, this Budget Session.

After former special secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Dinesh Sharma-led interdisciplinary committee which recommended a complete ban on cryptocurrency trading in India (in July, 2017), another interdisciplinary committee chaired by the current DEA Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg submitted its report last month. The report includes the draft for a crypto regulatory framework.

Speaking to Inc42, a DEA senior official said that it is up to the government to decide whether to put the draft in the public domain or not. Depending on the government’s will, the draft bill pertaining to cryptocurrencies can be expected to be introduced in June. However, the process might take three to six months further.

Refusing to directly comment about whether the report is for cryptocurrency or against it, the DEA official said that India needs a regulatory framework in either case, which at present is not there. The existing PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) and related Indian Penal Code sections have limited appeal to crypto-related businesses. The upcoming regulatory framework will directly address them.

What Does Indian Crypto Community Expect From Modi 2.0 Govt

Despite showing some advancements at policy level, there is much more to be done in the areas of drones, cryptocurrencies, data privacy, epharma and many other cutting-edge tech-based businesses, according to the startups Inc42 spoke to after the election results were declared.    

The Indian crypto community has increased exponentially in the last five years. And in spite of the ‘roadblocks’ posed by regulatory authorities, the crypto community expects the Modi 2.0 government to address a list of concerns that could help boost the market at par with US, Japan and other markets.

The top three demands are:

  1. RBI must extend banking services to crypto startups. On April 6, the RBI had issued a notification banning all banks and RBI-regulated financial institutions from extending any services to crypto entities or crypto trading.
  2. There are challenges at KYC and AML level and this must be addressed on priority.
  3. A crypto body must be formed in participation with the industry stakeholders.  The body should be capable of monitoring but also regulating and adopting new standards in cryptocurrency.

Is Craig Wright The Real Satoshi Nakamoto?

While John McAfee thinks Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin, is actually a bunch of Indians,  Australian businessman and computer scientist Dr Craig S Wright has time and again proclaimed himself as the true Satoshi Nakamoto, even though his claims have been disputed by many.

Wright has now been granted a copyright by the US Copyright Office for the Bitcoin whitepaper, published in 2008. The whitepaper was published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. However, the copyright still doesn’t indicate that Wright is actually the real Satoshi Nakamoto, which US Copyright officials made clear.

Wright who has also been facing several lawsuits has reportedly denounced his Australian citizenship and now claims to be an Antiguan and Barbudan.

Is Owning Bitcoin Legal In China?

Following the Chinese government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges and mining, the status of cryptocurrency in China was under debate. However, Sa Xiao, council member at the Bank of China Law Research Association has now clarified that it is legal to own Bitcoin in China. Xiao also termed the occasional exchange of Bitcoins between individuals as legal.

The Beijing News, in an investigative story, has reported that amid exchanges shutdowns, scammers are now targeting individual Bitcoin owners through WeChat promising the latter to deposit Bitcoins at lucrative interest rates. According to the report, the scammers have managed to siphon out 7K Bitcoins from over 100 owners and have absconded since then.