News Roundup — Orange: A Bitcoin-Based Decentralized Identity Platform

May 6, 2024

Major news stories this week;

  1. MicroStrategy Unveils MicroStrategy Orange: A Bitcoin-Based Decentralized Identity Platform
  2. Ex-Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao sentenced to four months in prison
  3. SEC Has Been Investigating Ethereum (ETH) Since March 2023
  4. After the USA and Hong Kong, Australia is Preparing to Launch Bitcoin ETFs
  5. Trudeau proposes 67% Capital Gains Tax for stocks and crypto

Story Summaries;

  1. MicroStrategy, the company leading the pack in corporate Bitcoin (BTC) holdings, has announced a groundbreaking new product: MicroStrategy Orange. This innovative platform aims to revolutionize digital identity management by leveraging the power of the Bitcoin blockchain. MicroStrategy Orange leverages Bitcoin’s Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model to create a robust and secure foundation for DIDs. This approach makes it incredibly difficult for malicious actors to steal or tamper with user data. The announcement of MicroStrategy Orange comes amidst a surge in identity theft. According to LendingTree data, identity theft cases have skyrocketed by over 60% in the past four years. MicroStrategy’s solution offers a potential answer to this growing threat.
  2. In an April 30 hearing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judge Richard Jones sentenced Zhao to four months in prison. Prosecutors had recommended the former Binance CEO serve three years for his failure to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program while at the crypto exchange, to which he pleaded guilty in November. CZ’s lawyers requested he be given probation. According to reports from the courtroom, Judge Jones said there was no evidence Zhao “was ever informed” of specific illegal activities at Binance, pushing back against prosecutors’ request to enhance the sentence from 18 months to three years. In final arguments, attorneys for the government suggested that CZ’s approach at Binance had been to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and he shouldn’t be allowed to profit from his actions.
  3. Amid the ongoing regulatory question regarding the second largest cryptocurrency, new court filings reveal that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been investigating Ethereum since 2023. Indeed, the filings show that chairman Gary Gensler and the agency have been seeking to challenge the asset’s security status for a year. Ethereum software firm Consensys filed a lawsuit against the SEC last week. However, they paint an interesting picture of how the agency has viewed the cryptocurrency. Specifically, they note that it has been building a case against the asset since early 2023. Conversely, development is vital as the agency is facing a plethora of Spot Ethereum ETF applications.
  4. Among them are Van Eck Associates Corp. Major players in the industry, including BetaShares Holdings Pty, are preparing to introduce Bitcoin ETFs on Australia's main stock exchange. ASX Ltd, which dominates about 80% of the country's equity trading, is expected to greenlight the first spot-Bitcoin ETFs for main board by the end of 2024, according to officials familiar with the matter. This move comes from BlackRock Inc. It follows the surprising success of Bitcoin ETFs in the US, which have raised a total of $53 billion in assets under management this year, with offerings from financial giants such as Fidelity and Fidelity Investments. Sydney-based BetaShares is actively working to launch a Bitcoin ETF product on the ASX, with dedicated labels for both spot-Bitcoin and spot-Ethereum ETFs.
  5. Amidst the housing crisis in Canada, which has placed significant pressure on aspiring young homebuyers, Premier Justin Trudeau has proposed a new Capital Gains Tax. This tax would range from 50% to 67%, depending on the taxpayer’s income bracket. The Capital Gains Tax is levied on individuals when they sell an asset or capital property, with capital gains representing the profits from such sales. According to the Canada Revenue Agency’s website, common capital properties include cottages, securities (such as stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and units of a mutual fund trust), land, and buildings. Starting June 25, the proposed alteration will impact individuals with over $250,000 CAD in capital gains annually. Corporations and trusts will also face increased tax obligations on a larger portion of their gains. The government clarified that this change will primarily affect the wealthiest 0.13% of individuals, encompassing approximately 12% of Canada’s corporations and Canadians with an average income of $1.42 million CAD.

And that’s all for last week’s news! Wishing you a great week ahead!

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