Telegram ICO raises $850 million. Bitcoin continues to advance – Feb 19

Bitcoin price opened the day at $10,418 and continued the bullish rally to achieve $11,584, posting the market cap of $195 billion, with $4.3 billion traded on exchange over the past 24 hours. The cryptocurrency has now recovered 88% from the $6000 low posted on February 6th.

The daily trading volume of bitcoin across all major cryptocurrency exchanges including Binance, UpBit, Bithumb, and Bitfinex remain strong, demonstrating early signs of yet another rally towards $13,000.

It is likely that a lot of new investors have started to invest in Bitcoin out of FOMO, given that it has sustained its upward momentum throughout the past few days. Markets like South Korea and Japan tend to move by word of mouth and as such, FOMO triggers stronger volumes in most Asian markets.

In the U.S., a second hearing regarding cryptocurrency regulation with CFTC chair J. Christopher Giancarlo occurred in Washington, D.C. on February 15th. Giancarlo is focusing on six elements: (1) staff competency; (2) consumer education; (3) interagency cooperation; (4) exercise of authority; (5) strong enforcement; and, (6) heightened review of virtual currency product self-certifications.

On the network side, BTC hash rate and difficulty continue to increase month over month. This trend should continue unabated, with several new mining hardware products being shipped by Q2 this year.

Unconfirmed transactions are now significantly down. Transactions per day are currently less than half their peak, 490,000 on December 14th. Inputs per transaction continue to rise thanks to batching, where one transaction is sent to many people at once instead of each transaction being sent individually.

So far the as the Lighting Network goes, there are 1976 nodes with 5644 channels currently operating on the testnet. The second-layer protocol remains in very early stages on the mainnet, although it is growing in popularity, and should be used with caution.

All in all, Bitcoin is strapped for another major rally. One of Wall Street’s biggest bitcoin bulls, Tom Lee, has said Bitcoin could easily achieve an all time high by July.

Top Stories from the Crypto World

1. Telegram ICO raises $850 million

Leaving behind Filecoin, Telegram ICO has quietly shattered the blockchain-based fundraising record. As per the document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week, the Telegram ICO has raised $850 million since Jan. 29, when the token sale officially began.

Interestingly, the filing reports that only 81 investors contributed to the funding round, pegging the average individual investment at just below $10.5 million.

A 132-page document – purportedly a leaked copy of the Telegram Open Network (TON) whitepaper — states that the firm intends to launch a “third generation blockchain” that will achieve scalability by pairing a master chain with 2-to-the-power-of-92 sidechains.

2. Bitcoin will be taxed as an asset, says Israel Tax Authority

In an updated circular released on Monday, the Israel Tax Authority doubled down on its previous position of deeming cryptocurrencies as ‘assets’ rather than currencies.

The authority first issued an early official draft to clarify tax guidelines for cryptocurrency adopters in January 2017 following repeated requests from the community to clarify the government’s stance on the taxation of cryptocurrencies.

The authority will now press ahead with taxation guidelines for assets wherein individual investors will be subject to the 25% capital gains tax for profits from their cryptocurrency holdings.

In addition, businesses and exchanges trading cryptocurrencies will be liable to pay a 17% value-added tax (VAT).

3. Wyoming moves to lift cryptocurrency property tax

The Wyoming Senate Bill 111 was introduced on Feb. 16, moving to exempt cryptocurrencies from property taxation, solidifying the state’s business tax-friendly reputation and lifting its profile for blockchain businesses in the interim.

If the bill passes, not only would it be a boon for Wyoming’s economy, benefiting both individual investors and blockchain startups that would land there, but it could inspire other US states to similarly remove any hurdles that would interfere with the proliferation of the cryptocurrency market.