Bitcoin Surges Amid Coronavirus Outbreak; Can Blockchain Save Social Media?

Bitcoin hit a fresh 2020 high this week, reaching $9,570 on the Luxembourg-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp Thursday evening. The latest bitcoin rally comes along with an increase in the price of gold, which has climbed as investors fret over the spreading coronavirus.

Some bitcoin and crypto analysts have pointed to geopolitical uncertainty being the cause for bitcoin’s latest move higher, though others are unwilling to classify bitcoin as a safehaven just yet.

Elsewhere, litecoin rallied around 10% over a 24-hour trading period at the end of the week. 

CAN BLOCKCHAIN SAVE SOCIAL MEDIA?

For any business on the internet, using Amazon, Microsoft or another cloud computing giant is a fact of life, but DFINITY—which has raised $190 million from Andreessen Horowitz and crypto investors Polychain Capital and Multicoin Capital—wants to change that. 

It showed off new blockchain technology at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week with a demonstration of an “open” social network called LinkedUp, a decentralized alternative to LinkedIn, which is not owned or operated by a corporate entity.

“We have no idea how Facebook creates its News Feed, and we have no idea how Facebook processes our data, and we have no way of knowing if it ships that data to Cambridge Analytica, and that is one key difference with an open internet,” DFINITY founder Dominic Williams said. “[On LinkedUp] you can see the updates to the software going through the governance system, so you know exactly what changes have been made and how the system works.”

TAX TIME: YOUR CRYPTO ISN’T SECRET

Thanks to a “matching” mechanism embedded in its Information Reporting Program, the IRS knows that you have reportable cryptocurrency transactions. Read more about how it works here, and remember that the U.S. tax system relies on a voluntary compliance system: at the end of the day, the IRS expects you to report all taxable transactions whether they know about those transactions or not.

JAPAN WEIGHS IN ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Recently, senior leaders in Japan took the extraordinary step of not only reversing recent guidance from the Japanese Central Bank saying that they weren’t pursuing a form of digital currency, but also admitting that a primary reason for doing so was concern about what may happen if China’s far more advanced efforts succeed.

Norihiro Nakayama, Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, told Reuters: “China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

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