US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright’s Bitcoin Registrations

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright’s Bitcoin Registrations

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registrations

On May 21, 2019, a press release was sent to a variety of publications that said Craig Wright was granted two U.S. copyrights for the original Bitcoin white paper and version 0.1 of the cryptocurrency’s code. Meanwhile, the U.S. Copyright Office specifically addressed the matter in a press release which emphasized the agency “does not investigate the truth of any statement made.”

Also Read: “I Am the Real Satoshi” Claims Hawaiian Man After Filing Bitcoin Cash Trademark

Craig Wright’s Copyright Proof Attempt Fails to Sway the Greater Crypto Community

Yesterday the crypto community was up in arms after Craig Wright detailed that he was granted two U.S. copyrights for the Bitcoin white paper and code. The two copyrights can be seen publicly with registration no. TXu 2-136-996 and also no. TX-8-708-058. Of course, most digital asset enthusiasts thought the effort was yet another lackluster attempt from Wright to try and prove he’s Satoshi. Many individuals on social media simply laughed at the copyright announcement. Alongside this, a few other crypto community members detailed that the copyrights were meaningless. Coin Center founder Jerry Brito explained that the U.S. Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of claims like these and they simply just register it. “Unfortunately there is no official way to challenge a registration — If there are competing claims, the Office will just register all of them,” Brito added.

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registrations

Moreover, back when Satoshi released the protocol, the code was released under the open source MIT license. This means that Bitcoin is free to distribute the software to any individual or organization and everyone has no limitations to what they can do with the software. Essentially anyone can use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and fork the Bitcoin software.

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registrations

Furthermore, there is a copyright notice from Satoshi established under the MIT licensing back in 2009, which gives developers the freedom to use the code in any manner. Then over the last few years, there’s been a slew of other individuals who have registered and have been granted copyrights to the Bitcoin software and it’s associated paper.

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registrations
Wright is not the first to attempt to copyright Bitcoin and it’s white paper.

The Hawaiian Who Registered the White Paper Before Wright

There’s Ronald Keala Kua Maria, a resident from Hawaii who copyrighted the Bitcoin white paper, back in August 2016 with registration no. TXu 002037698. reported on Kua Maria claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto back in June 2018. Not only did Kua Maria copyright the white paper, but he also copyrighted a decent number of other trademarks and words like “Bitcoin Cash.” Additionally, Kua Maria owned a bunch of Bitcoin-related domains such as,,,, and others. When we first wrote about Kua Maria, most of his domains redirected to his home page One interesting thing to note about one of Kua Maria’s domains ( is that it now redirects to a BSV website now.

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registrations
Ronald Keala Kua Maria also believes he is Satoshi Nakamoto and has also copyrighted Bitcoin’s white paper and a slew of other copyrights. Kua Maria also owns quite a few Bitcoin-related domains.

U.S. Copyright Office Responds to ‘Certain Bitcoin Registrations’

After all the commentary and jokes on social media channels, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a statement concerning the matter. In the press release called “Questions about Certain Bitcoin Registrations,” the agency detailed that it “does not investigate the truth of any statement made.” The Copyright Office continued by adding:

A registration represents a claim to an interest in a work protected by copyright law, not a determination of the truth of the claims therein. It is possible for multiple, adverse claims to be registered at the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office does not have an opposition procedure for copyright registrations, such as the procedures available at the Patent and Trademark Office for patents and trademark registrations.

Essentially after addressing that multiple registrants have copyrighted certain technologies, the agency said that it’s really up to the “federal courts, including disputes over authorship of a work.” Moreover, when it comes to works created by a pseudonym with a moniker like Satoshi Nakamoto, the Copyright Office “does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.” The U.S. Copyright Office also details that correspondence between Wright and the agency is part of the public registration record.

US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright's Bitcoin Registration

Furthermore, the well known libertarian writer and patent attorney, Stephan Kinsella, told his social media followers that the copyright proves nothing. “As I’ve pointed out for days now on Twitter threads, such assertions are ridiculous and misrepresent the way copyright works — Because most people don’t understand how copyright works, when they hear that the Copyright Office “registers” or “approves the registration” of a works this somehow means the government has issued a copyright to the applicant and verified their authorship etc,” Kinsella opined. The patent attorney and intellectual property expert further detailed:

None of this is true. Copyright registration is a simple procedure that does not prove copyright or authorship and does not prove anything at all, especially when done more than 5 years after the original work was published.

The crypto community was once again not only disheartened by Wright’s attempt to copyright open source software, but most have also been dumbfounded by the extraordinary hoops he’s gone through to prove he is Satoshi. From the BBC interviews to the cover of GQ, Wright has gone to great lengths to prove he is the inventor of Bitcoin. The process could be much easier for him or for anyone to prove the existence of Satoshi by simply signing a message tied to the genesis block or moving some coins. Every single attempt Wright has made to prove he is Satoshi so far has been refuted and mocked by the greater crypto community. The copyright undertaking that costs $55 per registration for the white paper and some of the open source code is no different.

What do you think about Wright’s latest copyright proof attempt? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, Github,, and the U.S. Copyright Office online database.

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How to Buy Pizza With Bitcoin Cash

How to Buy Pizza With Bitcoin Cash

Every year on May 22, the cryptocurrency community marks this day in 2010 when Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins. To help you celebrate Pizza Day, here are a variety of options to buy to pizza with bitcoin cash (BCH) in different countries around the world.

Also Read: How to Check Median BTC and BCH Transaction Fees

How to Buy Pizza With BCH on Bitcoin Pizza Day 2019

One of the simplest ways to pay for pizza with bitcoin cash (BCH) in the U.S. is to get a gift card for you favorite joint on the Store. Here you can order cards for use in major national chains such as Domino’s and Papa John’s as well as smaller regional options.

How to Buy Pizza With Bitcoin Cash

To find a place selling pizza for BCH in Europe you can check out your country’s local branch of The Amsterdam-headquartered company operates over a dozen international food delivery websites and apps and a number of them accept BCH such as Germany’s, Poland’s, and the Netherlands’

If you are living or visiting Seoul, South Korea, you should check out Shuttle Delivery, which enables users to spend BCH in more than 200 restaurants in the area. This South Korean food delivery platform offers an app in Korean and English and supports Android and iOS devices.

To find a nearby pizza-serving BCH-friendly establishment wherever you are in the world, use the Marco Coino app.

Where can you get a pizza for bitcoin cash in your area? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Israeli Court Rules Bitcoin Is an Asset

Israeli Court Rules Bitcoin Is an Asset

Israeli Court Rules Bitcoin Is an Asset

An Israeli court has ruled that bitcoin is an asset, confirming the central bank’s stance. The case involves the country’s tax authority and the founder of a blockchain startup who argues that profits from the sale of cryptocurrency should be tax-free. The court has ruled in favor of the tax authority, endorsing the central bank’s definition of currency.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case at Government’s Request

Latest Court Ruling on Nature of Bitcoin

An Israeli central district court reportedly ruled in favor of the country’s tax authority Monday, recognizing bitcoin as a financial asset and not a currency. Profits on its sale in Israel are therefore subject to capital gains tax.

Judge Shmuel Bornstein simultaneously rejected an appeal by the founder of a blockchain startup who argues that bitcoin should be considered a currency, so the proceeds from its sale should not be subject to taxation. Globes daily financial newspaper reported Tuesday:

The Central District Court in Lod accepted the tax authority’s interpretation, and held that bitcoin is an asset and not a currency, and that the transaction in question is therefore taxable.

Emphasizing that the status of bitcoin is still undefined in the country, the judge stated in his ruling that “it was hard to envisage a result whereby bitcoin would be considered a currency for tax purposes in particular,” the news outlet conveyed, noting that the case could reach the supreme court.

Israeli Court Recognizes Bitcoin as an Asset

Itay Bracha, managing partner at Israeli law firm Bracha & Co. and the head of the firm’s tax department, shared his thoughts with local daily business newspaper Calcalist. He said: “The ruling is a signal to all those who have yet to report cryptocurrency-related profits or based their actions on differing legal advice … The ruling is unequivocal, and since it is not new legalization but a judicial interpretation, it applies retroactively.”

The Case

According to reports, the case involves Noam Copel, founder of blockchain startup DAV. “We’re building a decentralized infrastructure to revolutionize the transportation industry on the blockchain,” the company’s website explains.

Globes reported that Copel bought BTC in 2011 and sold them in 2013 for a profit of approximately NIS 8.27 million (~$2.29 million). Asserting that his profits should not be subject to capital gains tax, he told the court:

Bitcoin should be classified as a foreign currency, and that his profits should be seen as exchange rate differences received by an individual not in the course of a business, and therefore should not be taxed.

Israeli Court Recognizes Bitcoin as an Asset

However, the Israel Tax Authority disagreed, proclaiming that bitcoin is not a currency under the central bank’s definition, so it cannot be a foreign currency as suggested by Copel. Instead, the agency claims that cryptocurrency falls under the definition of an asset, therefore profits on its sale are subject to capital gains tax. Monday’s court ruling obligates Copel to pay tax of about NIS 3 million, the news outlet estimated.

Central Bank’s Definition of Currency

The court accepted the tax authority’s position that the definition of “currency” should be the one defined by the country’s central bank which does not apply to crypto assets. The agency affirmed that bitcoin is not a currency from both accounting and economic aspects, stating that “its valuation is extremely volatile, any related investments carry high risk, its use is severely limited and restricted mostly to unlawful entities, and it is not used as a benchmark for value,” Calcalist wrote.

Copel, on the other hand, believes that from both aforementioned aspects, “the trust users put in bitcoin and its use as both a payment method and to benchmark value means it should be considered a currency.”

After listening to both sides of the argument, the judge rejected Copel’s appeal and ruled that he “had failed to demonstrate that bitcoin met this definition [of currency], or that it represented a real alternative to coins and notes in any country,” Globes described.

Israeli Court Recognizes Bitcoin as an Asset

Bittax founder Gidi Bar Zakay, former Deputy Director of the Israel Tax Authority and currently director of the Israeli CPA Association, said that Monday’s ruling was based on current law, elaborating:

In my view, what will ultimately determine whether bitcoin is a currency is the reality test. As soon as its use becomes widespread, the legislature will have to rewrite the law in such a way as to accommodate this.

He added that when that happens, “we shall all benefit from these technological and monetary developments and from the ability of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to serve as efficient, trustworthy, and widely accepted means of payment.” He further opined: “the way to that lies through the regulator. If the enforcement agencies feel comfortable with the coin, and use blockchain analysis tools that make it possible to meet standards of money laundering prevention and tax avoidance prevention in a more reliable and efficient way than is the norm today, the road to it becoming a widespread means of payment will be open.”

Cryptocurrency Taxation

The Israel Tax Authority has long considered cryptocurrency an asset subject to capital gains tax. In December last year, Calcalist reported that the agency had been cracking down on the unreported crypto earnings of hundreds of Israelis, sending notices to those whose activities raised suspicion. “The authority will continue to seek out unreported [crypto] earnings,” said Eran Yaakov, the head of the Israel Tax Authority, in reply to the news outlet’s request for comment. The publication explains:

Cryptocurrencies are not defined as a currency but as a financial asset in Israel. As such, trading in cryptocurrencies is subject to a capital gains tax of 25%-30% in the country.

In July last year, the tax authority reportedly reached an agreement on obtaining information on crypto transactions with Bits of Gold, an Israeli cryptocurrency exchange with about 50,000 users. The exchange will share information about traders who have made transactions of $50,000 or more over a 12-month period. The authority has also approached other platforms for the same purpose.

Israeli Court Recognizes Bitcoin as an Asset

While Israeli law requires financial institutions to report fraudulent transactions and suspicious activities to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, sharing data with the tax authority is not mandatory. Tomer Niv, Chief Growth Officer at Bits of Gold, clarified that his exchange only transfers “the information we are required by law … in order to protect the privacy of customers on the one hand, and [comply with] the provisions of the law on the other.”

Central Bank’s Position and Global Standards

Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, who served as Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel from March 2014 to the end of February, said in January last year that the central bank had been studying cryptocurrency. However, she revealed that not much had been learned from other countries’ regulations “since no regulator anywhere in the world had issued guidelines to the banking system on how to act in relation to customers’ activity in virtual currencies,” Reuters conveyed. She was further quoted as saying:

There is a real difficulty in issuing sweeping guidelines to the system regarding the proper way to estimate, manage, and monitor the risks inherent in such activity … Beyond the risks to the customer there are also compliance risks to the bank.

Israeli Court Recognizes Bitcoin as an Asset

In December last year, Israel became a full member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization which focuses on developing policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The FATF currently has 36 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations, including the European Commission. In February the organization urged its member countries to regulate crypto exchanges like commercial banks, elaborating:

For the purposes of applying the FATF recommendations, countries should consider virtual assets as property, proceeds, funds, funds or other assets, or other corresponding value.

Do you agree with this Israeli court’s ruling? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Elipay Celebrates the First of 100s of Crypto-Accepting Merchants in Croatia

Elipay Celebrates the First of 100s of Crypto-Accepting Merchants in Croatia

Elipay Celebrates the First of Hundreds of Crypto Accepting Merchants in Croatia

On May 20, Eligma showed off its Elipay service, a crypto payment processing system that allows people to pay for products and services with cryptocurrencies at over 300 retailers in the region. The grand opening of Elipay’s Croatian launch started with the first transaction made by’s CEO, Roger Ver, at the five-star Navis Design Hotel.

Also read: Developer Creates Interwallet Transfer Plugin to Strengthen Bitcoin Cash Privacy

Using the Elipay System to Purchase Goods and Services With Crypto in Croatia

On Monday, Croatia got a crypto boost during a grand opening event that showcased a few Elipay merchants. The Elipay system allows for payments with crypto at both online and physical stores throughout the area. The Elipay mobile application integrates with existing Point of Sale (PoS) merchant systems and the platform was already supported by hundreds of locations in Slovenia. The first transaction in Croatia took place at the Navis Design Hotel located in the seaside town of Opatija. Bitcoin’s first angel investor and CEO Roger Ver used bitcoin cash (BCH) to pay for his stay at the Navis Design Hotel.

“[Roger Ver] is visiting Slovenia and Croatia in the scope of the partnership between Eligma and,” the company’s blog post mentioned. Eligma continued:

Great news for all enthusiasts: At all 300+ locations accepting Elipay, you are now also able to pay with the Wallet, also in Croatia, of course.

Elipay Celebrates the First of 100s of Crypto-Accepting Merchants in Croatia
Elipay has onboarded over 300 online and physical merchants in Slovenia and Croatia. About 1/3 of those merchants are located in Bitcoin City.

The New Elipay System Helps Grow Crypto Adoption

The Elipay service offered by Eligma is available for Android and iOS mobile phones. Elipay supports cryptocurrencies like ETH, BCH, BTC, and the company’s native token called ELI. Out of the 300+ locations that accept cryptocurrencies, Eligma CEO Dejan Roljic told during the first week of April that about one third of the crypto accepting merchants are located in Bitcoin City. The notorious Slovenian crypto-metropolis is well known for being one of the most concentrated areas of cryptocurrency-accepting merchants worldwide. According to the merchant application Marco Coino, Slovenia has the most BCH merchants globally which is followed by other large concentrations like North Queensland, Australia, and Japan.

After Ver made the first crypto purchase at the Navis Design Hotel, he was also seen spending bitcoin cash at one of the largest Slovenian stores called Tuš market. Ver was again the first individual to pay with crypto at the store using the Wallet and Elipay service. The picture of’s CEO shared on Twitter shows him with a whole shopping cart full of groceries that are about to be purchased with bitcoin cash. Ver arrived in Ljubljana to visit the local BCH meetup on Tuesday in order to discuss the many benefits bitcoin cash has to offer the world.

Elipay Celebrates the First of 100s of Crypto-Accepting Merchants in Croatia
Roger Ver using the Elipay system and bitcoin cash to pay for accommodations at the five-star Navis Design Hotel and at the well-known Tuš market.

Ver has been relentlessly pushing bitcoin cash adoption nearly everywhere he goes. Just recently he announced the Tokyo-based Alliance Cargo Direct would be adding BCH and the SLP token ACD at thousands of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Now with the recent push in Croatia and Slovenia, BCH and other cryptos have more merchant acceptance to rely on. Eligma plans to continue adding merchant partners to the Elipay system in order to grow internationally. The startup wants to take the crypto shopping experience to a whole new level by making cryptocurrency payments user-friendly. Eligma recently started a project called Eligmalabs and partnered with the firm Spartan Solutions this past March. Additionally, the company has detailed that in the future, debit cards, credit cards, and loyalty programs will be integrated into the Elipay system.

What do you think about the first crypto transactions using the Elipay payment service in Croatia? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Eligma has a strategic cooperation with None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. This editorial is for informational purposes only.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Eligma, and Twitter.

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IRS Plans to Issue Guidance on Virtual Currency Taxation

IRS Plans to Issue Guidance on Virtual Currency Taxation

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner Charles Rettig has explained to U.S. representatives that the tax department plans to issue clearer guidance toward cryptocurrency taxation soon. Since 2014, Americans have been asking the tax agency for better clarification in regard to official tax guidelines.

Also read: Last Will Platform Allows Your Loved Ones to Inherit Your BCH

IRS Pressured to Issue New Crypto Tax Guidelines

In September 2018, reported on a group of U.S. bureaucrats who sent a formal letter to the IRS asking for more clarification in regard to the way cryptocurrencies are taxed in America. U.S. representative Kevin Brady, Tom Emmer and a variety of other state officials insisted in the letter that digital asset taxation needs clearer guidelines. Since the tax agency’s official statement in 2014, the current guidance for taxpayers is to file each and every transaction executed when using a cryptocurrency as each transaction is considered a taxable event. Meanwhile, in the U.S., cryptocurrencies are also taxed under traditional capital gains laws that apply to property investments. The letter from various representatives notes that most officials believe the IRS should have no problem issuing a comprehensive virtual currency strategy for taxes.

“[We] strongly urge the IRS to issue updated guidance, providing additional clarity for taxpayers seeking to better understand and comply with their tax obligations when using virtual currencies.” the letter read.

IRS Plans to Issue Guidance on Virtual Currency Taxation

Acceptable Methods of Calculation and the Tax Treatment of Forks

IRS commissioner Charles Rettig responded with an official statement which explains that the tax commissioner agrees with the request and the agency plans to issue tax guidelines soon. “I share your belief that taxpayers deserve clarity on basic issues related to the taxation of virtual currency transactions and have made it a priority of the IRS to issue guidance,” Rettig wrote in response to the request from congressional leaders.

IRS Plans to Issue Guidance on Virtual Currency Taxation

Rettig’s letter details that the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, which essentially says that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are to be treated as property. This means that existing tax statutes that apply to property transactions also pertain to virtual currencies. However, Rettig’s response notes that things have changed since then and virtual currency use as a medium of exchange and as an investment vehicle have continued to develop. The IRS commissioner details that the tax agency has received “numerous comments in response to the notice (2014-21)” and the IRS claims to be working with “internal and external stakeholders.” The stakeholders and the IRS have been identifying areas that need guidance. According to the IRS, there are three identified areas underscored by Rettig’s letter and the new guidelines should include:

  • Acceptable methods for calculating cost basis.
  • Acceptable methods of cost basis assignment.
  • Tax treatment of forks.

“We have been considering these issues and intend to publish guidance addressing these and other issues soon,” Rettig wrote. Following the letter, congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and coauthor of the initial letter, replied back to the IRS commissioner. “I am glad to hear of the IRS’ plans to issue guidance on this important issue — Taxpayers deserve clarity on several basic questions regarding federal taxation of these emerging exchanges of value,” Emmer’s correspondence said. “I look forward to seeing their forthcoming proposal, and working together to serve the American taxpayers.”

The original bi-partisan letter from U.S. representatives expressed hope for more guidance from the IRS with a deadline for May 15, 2019. People have been complaining about the lack of well-defined tax guidelines for quite some time as many Americans believe the process is confusing. Further, the IRS has had no issues with the enforcement aspect of making people pay up and the agency has regularly sought to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance. The tax entity has also applied criminal prosecution to U.S. residents who have failed to ‘properly’ report their income tax in regard to virtual currency transactions.

What do you think about the IRS Commissioner’s response letter to the bi-partisan representatives? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, and the IRS.

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You Can Pay With BCH for Your Domain From Abaco Hosting

You Can Pay With BCH for Your Domain From Abaco Hosting

You Can Pay With BCH for Your Domain From Abaco Hosting

Online presence is essential for any business today and especially for projects that deal with cryptocurrencies. Abaco Hosting offers this type of solutions to small and medium enterprises, and companies from the crypto industry can take advantage of its flexible payment options. They include support for major digital coins such as bitcoin cash (BCH).

Also read: How to Travel the World With Bitcoin Cash

Internet Services Company Accepts Bitcoin Cash

Abaco Hosting is a provider of domain, hosting, server, email and cloud services. You can transfer your existing domain to the platform or use it to register a new one. Try the website’s name suggesting tool in case the desired domain name has been registered already or to check domain availability for a specific name.

Available domains are listed by categories such as Most Popular, Generic, Business, and many more covering different sectors of the economy and society. Use the platform’s search feature to find the one that suits your needs the most. Prices vary between domains and .com is currently offered for a $12 annual fee.

With every domain, customers get a free domain forwarding service. The option which allows you to mask your URL can be activated or deactivate at any time. The platform also provides 2 free email accounts with your domain and unlimited redirection of emails to a destination of choice. That includes a mailbox manager, autoresponders and spam protection.

You Can Pay With BCH for Your Domain From Abaco Hosting

Three different packages and pricing plans are available for cloud services. The Personal Cloud plan which hosts one website and supports 25,000 monthly visits will cost you $10 a month. Then there’s also a Business Cloud plan hosting unlimited sites with 300k visits for $13 and a Pro Cloud plan with 500k visits at $19 a month.

Abaco Hosting accepts fiat payments through credit cards and Paypal but it also takes a variety of digital coins including major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and others. “After a lot of demand we have decided to accept Bitcoin Cash,” its team explains in an announcement noting that it’s joining other progressive vendors of online services. You can pay for domain registration, web hosting, VPS’s, dedicated servers and reseller hosting with BCH.

For more ideas about products and services you can buy with BCH, visit’s Spend Bitcoin Cash page. The online store allows you to shop for apparel and bitcoin branded accessories, purchase gift cards for major brands and retailers or buy a hardware wallet at a discounted price.

Have you paid for domain and hosting with cryptocurrency? Do you know other internet services companies accepting bitcoin cash? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to third party companies or any of their affiliates or services. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any third party content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Abaco Hosting.

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Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

There’s a party happening right now and everyone’s invited. The music’s playing, the fridge is loaded and the bathtub’s full of ice. All the ingredients for the sickest soiree are in place. There’s just one problem: the guests have yet to arrive. Welcome to the world of security tokens, where you can tokenize anything you like, but making it tradable is another matter entirely.

Also read: Developer Creates Interwallet Transfer Plugin to Strengthen Bitcoin Cash Privacy

STOs Are on the Rise But Liquidity Is Non-Existent

HYGH is a peer-to-peer advertising network and content management system seeking to make outdoor displays affordable to businesses of all kinds. It’s currently raising funds via a token sale, and has elected for an STO over an ICO. Explaining the rationale, CEO Vincent Mueller said: “We see clear benefits to aligning incentives between the project and its backers, and we believe a compliant STO is the best way to achieve this. We’ve set a small check size of $500, in exchange for which investors will receive a 9% share of revenue.” A security token offering was chosen, he added, on account of it being the most ethical means of raising money, helping investors become long-term advocates for the company, rather than short-term token flippers, as was the case with the ICOs of yore.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

But how long-term are we talking about when it comes to trading security tokens? In the U.S., there’s generally a one-year lock-up before securitized assets become tradable, but that’s not to say that STO investors can exit after 12 months. Offloading any asset requires a counterparty willing to acquire it, and right now accredited investors with the means and will to purchase security tokens on the secondary market are thin on the ground – as are trading platforms themselves, for that matter.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

First Comes Infrastructure, Then Liquidity

The Winklevoss twins might have caught flak for Gemini’s “Crypto needs rules” campaign, but when it comes to securities trading, they’re absolutely right. While the legal status of utility tokens can be debated ad infinitum, securities will always be securities, and thus any project pondering an STO must ensure they are au fait with all pertinent regulations before proceeding. Furthermore, any exchange wishing to list these assets requires a license from their securities regulator, which doesn’t dole such permits out to just anyone.

At Token Summit New York last week, Josh Stein, CEO of security token exchange Harbor, had a lot to say about the state of the nascent industry. “The issue is getting a critical mass of investments and investors,” he told event organizer William Mougayar. “You can have the best tech in the world, but you still need buyers and sellers willing to transact … It’s like a fission reaction, you gotta reach critical mass.” Solving that chicken and egg problem is a task that call for a multilateral approach involving STO projects, issuance platforms, custody providers, secondary exchanges, regulators, and all the other intermediaries who govern the complex security token landscape.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them
Josh Stein

From ICO to STO – With an IEO Pitstop in Between

If 2017’s ICO boom was an illegal rave – wild and untamed, hella fun, but ultimately unsustainable – then the incoming STO wave is more of a swanky after-party. There’s still fun to be had and networking to be done, but there are bouncers on the door and it’s an invite-only affair. Despite these restrictions, security tokens still have the power to democratize investment and unlock innovative new financial products, just like conventional crypto assets.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

“The short-term innovation is minimizing the investor amount,” opined Harbor’s Josh Stein. “From $500K to $10K. So the short-term effect is to add liquidity and lower check sizes.” As for the long-term, he speculated: “When you have real estate bonds, you can leverage them … get increased credit on them using Darma or multi collateral Dai. The innovation today is the liquidity, which quickly leads into smaller units, more investors participating.”

In the here and now, the prognosis on the STO ecosystem is bullish, with a number of big money deals between major industry players being inked. In the past week alone, we’ve seen:

  • Rhodium Capital Advisors, lift the lid on a $100M tokenized real estate fund using Harbor’s security token protocol and platform.
  • CF Capital Group, a resource mining advisory firm, unveil a $250M STO using a multi-jurisdictional protocol from Koreconx.
  • Polymath team up with Cardano and Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson to create security token blockchain Polymesh.

There are other ways to issue securities, even within the cryptocurrency landscape, than through an STO, it should be noted. Kraken exchange, for example, has begun offering dividends to investors, with check sizes as small as $1,000 significantly lowering the barriers to entry.

Josh Stein predicts a future that will include securities which live only onchain – native digital securities. For now, most of the assets being tokenized are traditional securities such as real estate and bonds. Just as it would have been impossible, a decade ago, to visualize many of Bitcoin’s present day use cases, it is safe to assume that there will be applications for security tokens we have yet to conceive. In the meantime, for anyone wishing to get their hands on a tokenized security via the secondary market, it will be necessary to wait a while longer. “A year from now you’ll start to see the beginning of trading,” ventured Harbor’s CEO.

What are your thoughts on STOs – do you think tokenization adds any benefits over traditional securities? Let us know in the comments section below.

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