Swiss Canton of Zug To Accept Taxes in Bitcoin, Ethereum

Citizens of the crypto-friendly region Canton of Zug in Switzerland can now pay their taxes using Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to a press release today.

The self-styled “crypto valley” is home to many crypto trading firms, exchanges, crypto banks, blockchain companies, and even the Ethereum Foundation, the non-profit entity that oversees the Ethereum network. And now, it’s taking its crypto aspirations a step ahead.

“Tax settlement by means of cryptocurrency will be available to both companies and private individuals up to an amount of 100,000 Swiss francs ($109,670),” the Zug canton said in a statement on Thursday.

To make this possible, the region has partnered with Zug-based crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse AG, which will convert the Bitcoin or Ethereum into Swiss francs and then transfer the amount to the state.

Bitcoin Suisse founder Niklas Nikolajsen said the crypto market has grown too big to ignore, and that he sees more crypto adoption in the traditional quarters. “Everybody cares about a $0.5 trillion market. There’s almost nothing controversial about trading Bitcoin anymore. It’s completely mainstream,” said Nikolajsen.

Largest Swiss online retailer now accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP

He added in a statement to news outlet Bloomberg, “With Bitcoin rallying during the pandemic and experts saying it could even act as an inflation hedge, the industry’s bellwethers might change their minds again.”

The Zug region offers low corporate taxes for all companies and has been accepting Bitcoin payments for certain government services since 2016, making it an attractive destination for crypto entrepreneurs. 

But crypto’s not all it’s doing. Zug even held Switzerland’s first blockchain-based municipal ballot in a test in 2018 and piloted a digital identity project using the technology in 2019. Clearly there’s more to come.

Ethereum Scammers Target Indian Prime Minister in Twitter Hack

Hackers targeted a Twitter account belonging to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and used it for a national relief fund early on Thursday morning, according to news outlet AFP.

The since-deleted tweet asked for charitable donations using a cryptocurrency, adding an Ethereum address in the comments.

While the targeted Twitter account is, in reality, used to promote legitimate relief contributions and donations, the social media site confirmed the account was targeted by hackers instead of the relief fund introducing crypto payments as a mode of donation.

“We’re aware of this activity and have taken steps to secure the compromised account. We are actively investigating the situation,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.

The firm added it had no information on whether any other accounts were compromised. At press time, no similar reports exist either. Twitter also added it had not found any link between the Modi hack and the July breach, the report said.

The attack comes just months after a widespread attack took control of several high-profile Twitter accounts to promote cryptocurrency-related scams involving Bitcoin and Ethereum.

FBI, US Senate probe Jack Dorsey over Bitcoin scam Twitter hack

The Twitter accounts of a range of celebrities, such as social influencer Kim Kardashian, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, and former US vice president Joe Biden, were hacked at the time.

The platform swiftly took down the affected accounts, but not before tweets were sent out by accounts totalling 346 million followers and over $120,000 in Bitcoin siphoned to the hacker’s address. US authorities allege that it was carried out by a 17-year-old teen in Florida, who purportedly gained access to the site’s admin keys.

Attackers used Slack to breach Twitter, according to report

Meanwhile, crypto scams remain a menace on social media. But while Twitter has stated it’s taking steps to prevent such instances, video-sharing giant Youtube continues to field such crypto ads. It has even been sued by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in August for failing to control such scams.

Ethereum fees briefly equal a US stimulus check

Forget rent, utility, food, and personal expenses; a US-supplied $1,200 stimulus check would have covered just one Ethereum transaction as of today, new data shows.

Transaction fees on Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency network by market cap, reached an unprecedented level for some traders earlier today, fuelled by the rise in DeFi projects and a new Initial Coin Offering, or ICO (remember those?).

Josh Rager, the founder of crypto trading platform Blockroots, pointed out on Twitter that fees reached the $1,200 level, while he attempted to purchase the tokens of MYX Network, a so-called “DeFi and deflationary” project:

As it turned out, the MYX token had specific smart contract issues causing it not to accept transactions below a certain GAS threshold. GAS works as “fuel” for the Ethereum network, and is a fee paid to miners to execute a trade.

Su Zhu, the founder of trading firm Three Arrows Capital, even joked about the high fees on Twitter, “spending more money on GAS for ethereum than pretty much anything else in real life now.”

While fees have since relatively dropped to sub-$200, they remain staggeringly high for a network that aims to become the world’s next monetary system. At press time, the average fee for an ETH transaction is $6 but can reach up to $200 based on the speed of transfer and liquidity.

Gas fees have hit a record high on Ethereum. Image: ETH Gas Station.

“Yield Farming” pushes Ethereum to its limits

The high fees are a direct result of a “yield farming” frenzy led by projects with funny-sounding tokens like Yam and YFI, which has seen “farmers” lock-up capital that can be borrowed by others for a significant interest rate, which is, in turn, paid back to the “farmers.” This creates potential returns of as high as 1,000% per year, at the cost of severe network congestion, potential scams, and a high dose of risk.

Unsurprisingly, Uniswap, the decentralized exchange on which such tokens can be purchased, has seen traders pay the highest GAS fees, over $3.1 million in the past month. It is followed by stablecoin Tether and Forsage, a crypto scam that originated in the Philippines.

The fees go to show the ongoing DeFi frenzy—a bubble that might burst—remains a game for the ETH wealthy, for now.

ConsenSys-backed Starkware is powering 9,000 transactions/second on this Ethereum-based DEX

Decentralized trading applications are closing the gap on their centralized counterparts. The former were regarded as slow, clunky, and even “boring” in 2018, but have since seen extensive development and advancements in both technology and customer-facing UI.

On June 3, the DeversiFi 2.0 DEX said it has incorporated a layer-2 scaling technology on its trading protocol, pushing transactions counts to over 9,000 per second.

Can compete against fastest

As per a release, DeversiFi has teamed up with Starkware, a 2017-founded privacy and scalability protocol backed by the likes of  Pantera and ConsenSys Ventures, among others.

Starkware’s Layer-2 solution brings extensive scalability to non-custodial trading, such as that found on DEXs or related platforms. The firm utilizes Zero Knowledge Proof technology that allows processing trades in smaller batches and verifying proofs for each individual batch.

This allows transactions to be more secure and faster, as the use of Ethereum’s computing power is significantly reduced. Most on-chain exchanges or DEXs use a traditional method, leading to slower executions and transaction times for users.

The announcement noted:

“The DeversiFi platform brings instant settlement, privacy-by-default, withdrawal certainty, low fees, and deep aggregate liquidity — catering to serious traders seeking an edge in popular DeFi markets.”

DeversiFi touts its protocol can compete with the “fastest centralized exchange” while offering quick and reliable withdrawals, the latter of which benefits powers arbitrage and quantitative traders.

Starkware President Eli Ben-Sasson believes “commercial-grade” DeFi applications need robust cryptography and the use of zkSTARKS — the firm’s privacy solution — allow such protocols to scale to “tens of thousands of transactions per second” without a trusted setup.

Traders to be safeguarded

DeversiFi’s Will Harborne said integrating Starkware brings instant settlements and deep liquidity to the platform’s traders. He believes the “solutions born out” addresses the critical issue of scalability on other DEX platforms, but without compromising on feeds or transaction speeds.

A Data Availability Committee has been put together by DeversiFi as part of the 2.0 rollout, featuring industry-leading participants like Bitfinex and ConsenSys. This committee will ensure continual updates of account balances and keep an offline copy in case DeversiFi, or Starkware, face connectivity issues.

The above ensures customers are assured of withdrawals at all times, as funds are stored and accessible on DeversiFi’s Ethereum smart contracts at all times.

For traders protecting their holy grail-esque strategies, the protocol ensures unparalleled privacy. All transaction data is handled off-chain, with transactions updated only when executions are confirmed. This prevents others from analyzing trading patterns and, hypothetically, copying profitable strategies.

Meanwhile, ConsenSys’ Joseph Lubin congratulated the development:

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