Značka: Canada

Canadian restaurant chain reports earning 300% gains on BTC investment to weather pandemic

More than a year after a Canada-based Middle Eastern restaurant chain converted its fiat cash reserves into Bitcoin, the owner reported the move helped save the business during the pandemic.According to a Tuesday report from Canadian news outlet Toronto Star, when Tahini’s restaurant owners Aly and Omar Hamam and their cousin Ahmed decided to convert the company’s savings into Bitcoin (BTC) in August 2020 because it offered “a much better alternative to saving cash,” the price of the crypto asset was roughly $12,000. Aly Hamam reported the business had benefited from the initial crypto investment. “We made the move to the corporate balance sheet on a Bitcoin-standard back in August of 2020, and since then, we’re up more than 300 percent on our initial investment,” said Hamam. “It’s really done its job of protecting us against inflation and it worked as we intended it to.”The BTC price rose to an all-time high of more than $67,000 in November before dropping to $41,729 at the time of publication. Despite the company’s sales dropping 80% in a week at the start of the pandemic, Hamam said the crypto investment had allowed them to expand from three restaurant locations to nine at a time when many in the industry are facing financial difficulties, and it planned to increase that number to up to 25 by the end of the year.“We keep a working capital for about three to six months in cash, and then the rest all goes into Bitcoin,” said Hamam. “So, whenever we have an expansion, we’re not forced to sell our Bitcoin to fund that expansion. We try to operate conservatively, where we never have to sell our Bitcoin and we just keep accumulating on our treasury.”#Bitcoin is hope for both big and small businesses alike— Tahinis Restaurants (@TheRealTahinis) January 19, 2022None of Tahini’s locations in Ontario currently accept BTC or other cryptocurrencies for payments, but they are each home to a Bitcoin ATM, allowing patrons to purchase tokens before, during, or after meals. At the time of the initial investment — the amount of which is still unclear — Hamam hinted the business would continue to use Bitcoin as a reserve asset indefinitely if there wasn’t “a need for fiat.”“We’re going to continue to strive to make the best food that we can… and with Bitcoin, we’re also wanting to help people financially.”Related: Landry’s Restaurant Group to introduce Bitcoin loyalty programWhile restaurants like Tahini’s don’t seem to be the target of regulators in the Canadian province, it isn’t always the same story with local crypto firms. The Ontario Securities Commission has cracking down on crypto exchanges operating in the region, including Binance, OKEx, Bybit, KuCoin and Polo Digital Assets. On Jan. 14, Bitfinex announced it would be closing the accounts for Ontario-based customers who have no balances on the platform, while many users “will no longer have access to any services” starting on March 1.

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Bitfinex advises Ontario-based users to close accounts before March 1

In a Friday announcement, Bitfinex said it would be immediately closing the accounts for Ontario-based customers who have no balances on the platform. In addition, it planned to restrict access to those who do not have open positions in the exchange’s peer-to-peer financing market or open margin positions. Users who have balances or open positions on Bitfinex and are one of the roughly 15 million residents of Ontario — which includes Toronto and the nation’s capital city of Ottawa — “will no longer have access to any services” starting on March 1. The exchange advised customers to withdraw funds before the effective date.Though Bitfinex did not mention the Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, the region’s financial watchdog has been responsible for cracking down on crypto exchanges operating in the area, including OKEx, Bybit, KuCoin and Polo Digital Assets. In December, the OSC issued a notice that Binance was not authorized “to offer trading in derivatives or securities to persons or companies located in the province” after the crypto exchange reportedly told its users it would be able to continue offering services in the region. Binance reportedly said there was a miscommunication on the issue.Related: Amid ongoing legal proceedings, Bitfinex announces Tether loan repaymentBitfinex has also been the target of U.S. regulators. In October, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined the crypto exchange and its sister company Tether $42.5 million, with Bitfinex allegedly facilitating “illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions in digital assets with U.S persons.” The Office of the New York Attorney General previously ordered the two firms to pay $18.5 million in damages and submit to periodically reporting on their reserves.Crypto exchange Bitfinex has announced users based in the Canadian province of Ontario will no longer have access to many of its services starting on March 1.

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Bitfarms purchased more than $43M in Bitcoin to start the new year

Canadian crypto mining firm Bitfarms has already bought 1,000 Bitcoin in 2022, making its total holdings of the crypto asset more than $177 million.In a Monday announcement, Bitfarms said it purchased 1,000 Bitcoin (BTC) for $43.2 million in the first week of January, roughly the same amount the company added to its treasury in both the third and fourth quarters of 2021. According to the mining firm, it currently holds more than 4,300 BTC as of Jan. 10, roughly $177 million at a price of $41,183.“Our guiding company strategy at Bitfarms is to accumulate the most Bitcoin for the lowest cost and in the fastest amount of time for the benefit of our shareholders,” said Bitfarms founder and CEO Emiliano Grodzki. “With the dip in BTC while mining hardware prices remain high, we seized the opportunity to move cash into BTC.” Increased our #Bitcoin holdings 30%More Info: https://t.co/xCcIUHkWsU$BITF #BTC #BitcoinMining #Blockchain #NasdaqListed pic.twitter.com/zNz54ps5HK— Bitfarms (@Bitfarms_io) January 10, 2022In November, the mining firm announced its intention to build its first data center in the United States following the purchase of a land plot in Washington State. The company’s websites states Bitfarms has a total mining capacity of 106 MW at the time of publication producing 2.2 exahashes per second. According to Grodzki, it aims to raise this rate by more than 260% by the end of the year, to 8 EH/s.Related: Bitfarms estimates Argentine facility will reduce BTC mining costs by 45%While many in the media still cite the potential environmental impact of crypto mining, Bitfarms claims its facilities in Canada are powered almost entirely by hydroelectric energy. The firm currently has 10 mining farms in operation or under development in countries including the United States, Argentina and Canada.According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, the price of BTC fell under $40,000 earlier today for the first time since September before returning to more than $41,000.

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Kevin O’Leary-backed WonderFi to buy Bitbuy parent company for $162M

Kevin O’Leary-backed decentralized finance (DeFi) platform WonderFi Technologies is increasing its footprint in Canada by buying the first regulated crypto exchange in the country. WonderFi agreed to pay close to 206 million Canadian dollars ($162 million) to acquire First Ledger Corp., the parent company of BitBuy. WonderFi aims to become an end-to-end consumer platform for crypto and DeFi, according to the official announcement.Founded in 2016, Bitbuy became a fully-regulated crypto exchange in Canada after being licensed by the Ontario Securities Commission last November. The platform has over 375,000 users who transacted more than $3.4 billion. The announcement states that Bitbuy generated over $24 million in revenue in the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2021.The transaction details revealed that WonderFi would fund the acquisition by issuing 70 million new shares and paying $15.7 million in upfront cash and $23 million in deferred cash via a vendor-takeback note due in 12 months. “WonderFi will retain substantially all current Bitbuy employees and enter into employment agreements with key members of the management team,” the announcement reads.Related: Binance gets the green light from Canada and BahrainHighlighting the importance of a licensed marketplace as a gateway to the digital asset economy, WonderFi CEO Ben Samaroo said:“The integration of Bitbuy’s product suite will accelerate and expand the reach and scope that WonderFi can offer to the market, and will drive long-term growth and value for the company.”[embedded content]Kevin O’Leary, a former Bitcoin (BTC) critic who turned to a crypto advocate, commented that the acquisition would enable two teams to “have the bandwidth, assets and licenses to provide an institutional-grade compliant crypto platform to investors interested in exposure to centralized and decentralized financial services.” In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, the Shark Tank celebrity said if stablecoin regulations become more precise, he’d b ready to increase his crypto allocations up to 20%. O’Leary is more interested in the U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins as he sees them as an effective hedge against rising levels of inflation.

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Crypto makes history in 2021: Five instances of governments embracing digital assets

As digital asset prices had been hitting new historical highs in 2021, many jurisdictions were increasingly adopting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto-based instruments.In addition to Bitcoin crossing $68,000 for the first time since inception, the year of 2021 will be remembered for Bitcoin’s historical adoption as legal tender in El Salvador. The world’s first-ever Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) was also inaugurated in 2021, alongside many other benign regulatory developments around the world.As we glance back at notable global regulatory moments in 2021, Cointelegraph has picked some of the most memorable instances of friendly crypto regulation.1. El Salvador: The first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tenderThe Republic of El Salvador, the smallest nation in Central America, officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender on Sept. 7, 2021, becoming the world’s first country to do so. Bitcoin was trading at around $47,000 on the day of Bitcoin’s official adoption in the country.El Salvador’s bold Bitcoin move took several months to materialize as president Nayib Bukele had first introduced the “Bitcoin Law,” laying the groundwork for BTC’s usage as an official payment method alongside the United States dollar in June 2021. The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly subsequently passed the law, which amassed a supermajority of 62 out of 84 votes.Known as the “Land of Volcanoes,” El Salvador also moved to deploy its volcanic activity to generate new Bitcoin. In September, president Bukele teased a Bitcoin mining plant powered by volcanic geothermal energy in El Salvador, marking a major case for cutting BTC’s carbon footprint. Soon after, Bukele upped the stakes even further when he announced plans to establish an entire Bitcoin city, funded by BTC bonds.While the crypto community celebrated El Salvador’s BTC drive, global financial authorities like the International Monetary Fund have expressed skepticism about the government’s move into crypto.Related: El Salvador buys 21 Bitcoin to celebrate Dec. 21, 2021Some people in El Salvador were also unhappy with the Bitcoin Law, with some protesting against Bitcoin adoption due to concerns over its unstable price. Some of the protests even resulted in destroyed Bitcoin ATMs.2. The United Arab Emirates: CZ’s new homeThe UAE emerged as one the most crypto-friendly countries in 2021 as authorities in its capital city of Dubai have been ramping up the efforts to enable the crypto industry’s development.In January, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced plans to establish a comprehensive crypto regulatory framework as part of its 2021 business plan. The DFSA subsequently issued several regulatory approvals, including one for a major Canadian investment product, The Bitcoin Fund, in October. DFSA has also been working on regulations for investment vehicles like security and derivative tokens.UAE regulators also came up with multiple arrangements to officially allow and support crypto trading in several free economic zones in Dubai. The nation has also been making strides in nonfungible tokens (NFT) adoption as its postal operator issued NFTs in November to commemorate the federation’s 50th National Day.In late 2021, the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority said it will become a comprehensive zone and regulator of cryptocurrencies, products, operators and exchanges.Related: Binance joins fresh crypto hub by Dubai World Trade CentreThe UAE is becoming an attractive destination for some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies and industry figures. In October, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao reportedly bought his first home in the “very pro-crypto” Dubai. The Chinese-Canadian business executive had previously claimed that he did not own any real estate as of April 2021. pic.twitter.com/QrgxaHKAp9— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 21, 20213. Canada: Crushing the global Bitcoin ETF raceCanada has earned a place on the list of 2021’s most crypto-friendly countries the moment its main securities regulator cleared the takeoff of the world’s first physically-settled Bitcoin ETF at the beginning of the year.Launched by Canadian investment firm Purpose Investments in mid-February, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF saw an explosive debut with $564 million in assets under management in just five days after starting trading.Canada continued leading the global Bitcoin ETF race as Fidelity Canada launched its Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF and the eponymous mutual Bitcoin ETF fund in December. Canada’s Bitcoin ETFs aren’t just available for retail investors but also provide significant benefits for those who open government-registered investment accounts, such as the Tax-Free Savings Accounts.Related: Crypto poses no big risk to economy so far, Bank of Canada official saysOn top of crypto ETF dominance, Canada has been working to introduce more clarity to its crypto regulations in recent years, officially recognizing crypto firms as money service businesses in 2020. In late 2021, Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada issued registration for Binance’s local subsidiary, Binance Canada Capital Market. Canada is ranked the fourth largest country in terms of Bitcoin mining power, accounting for 9.6% of the total global hash rate, according to data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.4. Singapore: Crypto is ‘investment in a prospective future,’ says regulatorSingapore continued to be one of the world’s biggest hubs for cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain enterprises in 2021 as the country’s regulators have done a great deal to nurture the industry.In November, Singapore welcomed two new institutional-grade Bitcoin funds launched by Fintonia Group, a company regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Previously, MAS officially allowed companies like the Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve and DBS Bank’s brokerage arm, DBS Vickers, to provide digital payment token services in the country.DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest retail and commercial bank, is one of the largest local companies to make a foray into the crypto industry in the past year. The firm posted tenfold crypto volume growth in Q1 2021 after launching its crypto trading platform, DBS Digital Exchange, in late 2020.Related: Singapore to position itself as a global crypto center, says regulatorSome companies with close ties to the government of Singapore are reportedly big fans of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Robert Gutmann, CEO of New York Digital Investment Group, claimed in March that Singaporean government-backed holding company Temasek is a major Bitcoin investor.Singapore is also among the world’s top nations in terms of retail crypto adoption as 43% of Singaporeans own crypto, according to one survey.Despite local authorities welcoming the crypto industry development, a large number of crypto businesses have apparently failed to receive licenses to operate in Singapore in 2021.5. Gibraltar: New target for Huobi exchange after Chinese crackdownGibraltar, a British Overseas Territory and one of the smallest countries in the world, has been emerging as an attractive location for crypto in 2021.In November, Gibraltar welcomed Bullish, a new cryptocurrency exchange launched by the EOS.IO protocol developer, Block.one. The company’s local branch previously obtained a distributed ledger technology license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).In September, the GFSC also approved operations of Zubr Exchange Limited, a new local crypto exchange business launched by Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto giant FTX.The government of Gibraltar has been strengthening its ties with global blockchain and crypto industry players. In March, Gibraltar’s minister for digital and financial services, Albert Isola, became an ambassador for the Global Blockchain Business Council, a major industry association.Related: Gibraltar’s government plans to bridge the gap between public and private sectors with blockchainSome of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges entered Gibraltar in 2021 amid growing support from regulators.Following approval from the GFSC, crypto exchange Huobi has reportedly been moving its spot trading operations to its Gibraltar-based affiliate following China’s cryptocurrency crackdown. According to the firm, Chinese operations made up at least 30% of its total trading volumes and revenues before the ban.Crypto-friendly jurisdictions of 2021: Honorable mentionsEl Salvador, the UAE, Canada, Singapore and Gibraltar are, of course, not the only countries that served examples of benign crypto regulation in 2021.Among other increasingly crypto-friendly jurisdictions is Australia, which has been actively moving to adopt new crypto regulations and became a major location for crypto-related ETF listings this year.Liechtenstein, the world’s richest nation per capita, was the country with the most comprehensive cryptocurrency tax policy for the second year in a row in 2021, as per a PwC report. Australia and Malta ranked second, followed by Germany.

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Fidelity Canada officially launches Bitcoin ETF and Bitcoin Mutual Fund

On Thursday, Fidelity Canada officially launched the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) and the Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF Fund (mutual fund), marking the first such assets to be made available in the country and confirming earlier reports on the matter. The funds have the tickers FBTC and FBTC.U, denominated in Canadian and United States dollars, and are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Fidelity’s Bitcoin ETFs seek to track the performance of Bitcoin’s (BTC) spot price. Fidelity currently manages CA$208 billion ($162.27 billion) in assets in the country.The ETFs will have an annual management fee of 0.4%. Operating expenses and trading costs are not yet available as the assets are still new. Over 98% of Bitcoin purchased by the funds is stored in cold wallets.The implications are significant for Canadian retail investors who open government-registered accounts, such as the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and purchase Bitcoin ETFs. As the name implies, securities held in a TFSA are exempt from capital gains tax liabilities.Related: VanEck’s Bitcoin spot ETF shunt solidifies SEC’s outlook on cryptoSince 2009, the annual contribution limit for a TFSA has ranged from CA$5,000 ($3,903) to CA$10,000 ($7,807). Unused contributions from the previous years are carried forward, making them cumulative. In addition, all realized profits accrued in the TFSA are added back into the contribution room. Hypothetically, if an investor purchases $10,000 in a Bitcoin ETF and sells them for $20,000, then further capital appreciation from reinvesting the full $20,000, not $10,000, will be eligible for capital gains tax-exemption.

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