Bitcoin Weekly 2015 October 27: European Union rules BTC exempt from VAT …

As of writing, is currently reporting that the market price of BTC is $300.98. This marks the first time that Bitcoin has remained above the $300 mark for a sustained period of time since January this year. (There was a brief spike during July, but that didn’t last.)

This marks the third week of continually rising price of bitcoin on the market and equally continued speculation as to the source. Last week the community linked it to China and the launch of the Gemini exchange; this week a writer at the International Buisness Times thinks it’s related to the European VAT court decision (see below).

As for the news, already mentioned is that a European Union high court decided that BTC purchases are not subject to value-added tax. Bitfinex, a popular Bitcoin exchange, is bringing a real-time debit card to its customers. BTCC (formerly BTC China) just launched a large-volume margin trading service called Pro Exchange. And Nasdaq may finally reveal its blockchain-based securities trading platform to the world after its initial announcement in May of this year.

This and more in today Bitcoin Weekly.

European Union High Court rules bitcoin purchases not subject to VAT

The European Union’s Court of Justice ruled recently that purchases of bitcoins are not subject to value-added tax (VAT) in what will become a coup for the cryptocurrency industry in the region. The European high court ruled that purchasing bitcoin is akin to purchasing any other currency and is therefore not subject to tax as a service or product.

According to SiliconANGLE’s Duncan Riley, the ruling surrounds a disagreement between Sweden’s tax authority, which wanted to charge VAT for purchases of BTC, and Daniel Hedqvist, operator of a Swedish Bitcoin forum and exchange.

As this ruling comes from the EU’s highest court it sets precedent for all 28 nations in that region.

This is not the first time that the subject of Bitcoin and VAT has come up amidst states within the EU and, as recently as July, advocates have argued that bitcoin is a medium of payment (a currency) and therefore should not be taxed. Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom already do not charge VAT for bitcoins.

BitFury and Allied Control intend to use two-phase immersion to cool 40+ megawatts of ASIC clusters

The Republic of Georgia is about to become home to the largest Bitcoin mining operation seen in a long time. BitFury Group Ltd., a leading Bitcoin mining and blockchain infrastructure company, has joined forces with engineers at Allied Control to design a facility that will house a tremendous amount of Bitcoin hashing power and the team intends to cool it with 3M Novec 7100 Engineered Fluid.

The full release is available from 3M Company including some impressive specifications for the datacenter’s power and expectations. Keep reading for a simplified explanation of the technology.

Extremely large Bitcoin mining operations, like large data centers, must contend with the physics of computing, which involves the production of tremendous amounts of heat. As computers heat up it damages the processors leading to errors, melting components, and ultimately rapid failure. To prevent this numerous solutions have been invented from large air cooling systems to the aforementioned liquid cooling.

Image courtesy of 3M Company

Image courtesy of 3M Company

The process, known as two-phase immersion cooling (2PIC) was developed by Allied Control (recently acquired by BitFury Group), involves dropping the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) into an open vat of low-boiling temperature liquid (in this case the 3M Novec 7100). As the temperature of the ASICs rises the fluid begins to boil and the change in state draws heat away from the components. The vapor is then re-condensed on a water-cooled condenser and falls back into the tank.

“The PUE we’ve achieved leads us to the next level of data center cooling for high performance computing,” said Valery Vavilov, BitFury CEO. “We’ve taken many steps to optimize our infrastructure for securing the blockchain and blockchain transaction processing that have led us to many different technological innovations. These experiences and technologies could be useful for next generation data center constructions of high performance computing and supercomputing.”

PUE, or power usage effectiveness, is a measure of how effectively a data center uses energy—it is the ratio between the amount of energy used by the computing infrastructure to the total energy used by the facility (such as cooling and other overhead). In the case of the BitFury data center, the project intends to run 40 megawatts of IT load and expects a 1.02 PUE. This is extremely close to the ideal PUE of 1.0—it even beats Google’s average for Q3 2015 which the search giant reported at 1.12 PUE.

The statement released by 3M claims that an efficient system can deliver as much as 95 percent cooling energy savings with minimal fluid loss.

Bitfinex partners with Blade Payments to bring debit cards to customers

Real-live debit cards are coming to Bitfinex (iFinex, Inc.) customers, which just announced a partnership with Blade Payments (Blade Data Ltd.) to provide the cards. The cards will support payments without needing to pre-load them with fiat currency in what the company describes as a “frictionless” experience.

According to details in the article on SiliconANGLE about the announcement, most Bitcoin exchanges that offer such cards require customers to either pre-fill accounts with fiat currency or exchange bitcoin for fiat before it can be accessed via the card.

As a result, Bitfinex customers will be able to liquidly use their bitcoin assets stored on the exchange at point of sale.

“We are very happy to be providing our users with access to their bitcoin at any time via Blade’s industry-leading debit cards,” Bitfinex Director of Community Product Development Zane Tackett said in a statement sent to SiliconANGLE. “We see the ability to withdraw directly from one’s Bitfinex account using traditional ATMs around the world as a major benefit for our users.”

The new debit card will become available to select Bitfinex customers in Europe and Asia in the coming months.


BTCC exchange unveils new margin trading platform with 20x leverage

This week BTCC Technology Limited, a large Bitcoin exchange, announced the launch of BTCC Pro Exchange, a bitcoin margin trading tool that permits up to 20x leverage on spot exchanges.

“We’re the first exchange to launch a radically new trading platform,” Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCC, said to Bitcoin Magazine. “We’re going to reinvent the game and not wait to be marginalized. We’re going to disrupt ourselves with this. This is big. This kind of trading will be adopted by other companies, I guarantee you.”

Lee went on to explain that while BTCC’s normal spot trading service would be most useful to someone wishing to buy or part with one or two bitcoins, the margin leverage with Pro Exchange would be best for advanced users looking for bulk purchase.

BTCC is formerly better known as BTC China, the company rebranded itself recently in a bid for a more international audience.

Nasdaq finally ready to reveal blockchain-based platform

Nasdaq, Inc., the American stock exchange company, has long been working on an enterprise-level blockchain-based platform for the enterprise. Nasdaq Linq, first brought to light by the company in May, would use a version of the peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology that acts the Bitcoin network’s infrastructure to secure stock and securities for member companies.

According to the statement the new blockchain-platform would include Chain, Change Tip, PeerNova, Synack, Tango and Vera as its first private company clients.

“We are extremely encouraged by the initial demand for Nasdaq Linq from these innovative, first-mover companies,” Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq CEO, said in a statement, ”and the validation it represents of our application of blockchain technology…blockchain applied to the private market is innovation built on top of innovation, and carries with it the opportunity to forever alter the future of financial services infrastructure.”

A demonstration of the platform was expected to take place at the Money 20/20 event in Las Vegas yesterday (Tuesday, October 27).

Featured image credit: via Associated Press
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Kyt Dotson
Kyt Dotson


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