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Zaif, the Japanese bitcoin exchange, operated by Tech Bureau, announced that in the 24 hours of March 8 were traded over 18 000 bitcoin, exceeding JPY 850 million in value. This has turned it into the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan. Besides bitcoin, on the Zaif exchange is also traded another Japanese cryptocurrency – MonaCoin. According to the press release, Zaif will start offering new bitcoin services shortly.
The trading volume of the Zaif exchange is still below that of Chinese bitcoin exchanges, such as BTCChina, but has exceeded, at least temporarily, that of the US and the European market with exchanges such as Bitstamp, Kraken and Coinbase.
A few weeks ago Japan’s ruling party announced it is planning to propose changes to the legislation that would define bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as currencies. This would mean they could be more tightly controlled and taxed and their exchanges regulated. Currently Japan is only taxing purchases paid with bitcoin and is one of the few countries doing so.
Last September the US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) ruled that the cryptocurrencies are property, not a currency. This would mean they can be taxed as property, but no state has done so yet.
Also last year the European Union Court ruled bictoin is a currency and cannot be taxed. At the same time the central bank of another large global economy, Russia, is taking a negative stance towards cryptocurrencies. Recently Andrey Shamraev, a deputy director of the payments department in Bank of Russia called them “surrogates”, but noted the bank supports the use of technologies, such as blockchain.