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Pronouncements from the G-7 allow green fintech to flourish

Sustainability and the need to lessen climate change amid the COVID-19 pandemic have become the global economic agenda.
After debating the issue for over eight years, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation..

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Sustainability and the need to lessen climate change amid the COVID-19 pandemic have become the global economic agenda.

After debating the issue for over eight years, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mathias Cormann, welcomed a historic international agreement by G-7 finance ministers from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Canada on key elements of global tax reform designed to address the tax challenges related to the digitalization and the globalization of the economy amid the world economy digitizing at a fast pace with the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Not like before: Digital currencies debut amid COVID-19

The agreement mandates that the largest multinational tech giants pay their fair share of tax in the countries in which they operate, at a global minimum rate of at least 15%. If the agreement is finalized, it could help build momentum for a wider deal being discussed in talks held in Paris among more than 139 countries as well as at the upcoming G-20 finance ministers meeting in Venice in July.

The G-7 nations also agreed to follow the U.K.’s lead and make climate reporting mandatory, and they agreed on measures to crack down on the proceeds of environmental crimes, to ensure markets play their part in the transition to net zero.

As Rishi Sunak, finance minister of the United Kingdom, said after the G-7 meeting in London:

“G7 finance ministers have reached a historic agreement to reform the global tax system to make it fit for the global digital age.”

He also added: “These seismic tax reforms are something the UK has been pushing for and a huge prize for the British taxpayer — creating a fairer tax system fit for the 21st century. This is a truly historic agreement and I’m proud the G7 has shown collective leadership at this crucial time in our global economic recovery.”

OECD secretary-general Cormann also enthusiastically welcomed the outcome of the G-7 finance ministers’ meeting:

“The combined effect of the globalization and the digitalization of our economies has caused distortions and inequities which can only be effectively addressed through a multilaterally agreed solution.”

He continued: “Today’s consensus among the G7 Finance Ministers, including on a minimum level of global taxation, is a landmark step toward the global consensus necessary to reform the international tax system. There is important work left to do. But this decision adds important momentum to the coming discussions among the 139 member countries and jurisdictions of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS, where we continue to seek a final agreement ensuring that multinational companies pay their fair share everywhere.”

Global tax reform

The G-7 finance ministers agreed to the principles of a two-pillar global tax solution to tackle the tax challenges arising from an increasingly globalized, digital global economy as put forward by the OECD.

Under the principles of Pillar One, the largest, most profitable multinational companies will have to pay tax in the nations in which they operate — not just where they are headquartered. These rules would apply to global corporations that have a profit margin of at least a 10%, and 20% of any profit above that 10% margin would be reallocated and subjected to tax in the countries where they operate.

Under Pillar Two, these companies will pay a minimum global corporate tax of at least 15% on a country-by-country basis.

Related: The global corporate tax rate: crypto savior or killer?

Improving climate disclosures

Ahead of London Climate Action Week, G-7 finance ministers also accelerated action on environmental issues by committing for the first time to properly include considerations around climate change and biodiversity loss in the economic and financial decision-making process — and to make climate-related financial disclosures mandatory across their respective economies. In November 2020, the United Kingdom became the first country to commit to doing so.

Related: The need to report carbon emissions amid the coronavirus pandemic

The push toward mandatory reporting is being discussed by the wider group of G-20 nations as well. It is expected that nations will agree to mandatory climate-related financial disclosures across their respective economies ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Selva Ozelli, Esq., CPA, is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who frequently writes about tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.

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Bitcoin outflows from centralized exchanges surge to 100K BTC monthly

Centralized exchanges have experienced their heaviest week of Bitcoin withdrawals since November 2020.
Bitcoin outflows from centralized exchanges have surged to their highest level year-to-date, with roughly 40,000 BTC being withdrawn

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Centralized exchanges have experienced their heaviest week of Bitcoin withdrawals since November 2020.

Bitcoin outflows from centralized exchanges have surged to their highest level year-to-date, with roughly 40,000 BTC being withdrawn over the past seven days.

According to the Glassnode’s August 2 The Week On-Chain report, Bitcoin outflows have accelerated to a rate exceeding 100,000 BTC per month for just the third time since September 2019. The on-chain analytics provider estimates that just 13.2% of circulating BTC are currently held on exchanges — a new low for 2021.

“This represents a near full retracement of the significant inflow volume observed during the May sell-off,” the report noted.

BTC Exchange Net Position Change - Glassnode

Outflows surged to nearly 150,000 BTC monthly at the end of April 2020 following the violent “Black Thursday” crash that saw crypto prices tumble by more than 50% in less than two days after then-U.S. President Trump announced a travel ban between Europe and the U.S. in March as the coronavirus pandemic intensified. Despite the aggressive crash, Bitcoin had rebounded by 150% by the end of May 2020, driving heavy accumulation.

Outflows again came close to 150,000 BTC monthly in November 2020 as Bitcoin surged to test its then-record price high of $20,000, with BTC rallying into new all-time highs the following month.

Glassnode notes divergent trends between Coinbase and Binance throughout most of 2021, with Coinbase having experienced significant outflows while Binance has been the largest recipient of BTC.

However, Binance’s reserves are now beginning to dwindle, with 37,500 BTC (worth roughly $1.5 billion) exiting the exchange over the past week.

Coinbase balances remained steady in June. While the exchange received 30,000 BTC in mid-July, 31,000 BTC was withdrawn from the platform this past week.

Related: Traders are withdrawing 2,000 BTC from centralized exchanges daily

Looking at the macro sentiment, the on-chain analytics provider referred to its “Liveliness metric” to identify trends in accumulation.

The metric, which measures the ratio of the sum of coin days destroyed and the sum of all coin days ever created, indicates a broad trend of accumulation following May’s immediate sell-off.

“It seems that HODLing and accumulation is the most likely dominant trend in the on-chain market,” the report concluded.

BTC Liveliness chart: Glassnode

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BTC price sees 6% correction in contrast to booming Bitcoin on-chain data

A cooling-off period is welcomed by traders who were already in moderate shock at the veracity of last week’s 10-green-daily-candle surge.
Bitcoin (BTC) dipped below $39,000 on Aug. 2 in what traders had long predicted would be a…

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A cooling-off period is welcomed by traders who were already in moderate shock at the veracity of last week’s 10-green-daily-candle surge.

Bitcoin (BTC) dipped below $39,000 on Aug. 2 in what traders had long predicted would be a necessary reaction to recent gains.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Bitcoin needs to hold mid-$30,000 zone

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD hitting local lows of $38,915 on Bitstamp Monday.

After a successful weekend turned less optimistic, the start of the new week saw mixed activity as Bitcoin bulls faced off with the prospect of fresh FUD from regulators.

For Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, a comedown was nonetheless not just likely, but necessary.

“Given the vertical move that we’ve had, it would be very surprising if we just continued moving towards $48,000, as that is the next point of interest,” he explained in a fresh YouTube update.

Van de Poppe noted that low volumes on the rise to local highs above $42,500 fuelled the argument that such levels constituted a “fakeout.”

Should downside take hold more convincingly, $38,500 has formed a potential bounce zone, with the area between $34,800 and $36,000 critical to hold as support, he added.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD was back above $39,000, still down around 5.6% over the past 24 hours.

On-chain numbers “retrace the dump”

Despite volumes remaining low for supporting a bullish advance, meanwhile, on-chain data showed a return to form among Bitcoin entities at large.

Related: Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, UNI, LINK, SOL, XMR

As noted by Lex Moskovski, chief investment officer of Moskovski Capital, average weekly active Bitcoin network entity numbers were back at levels last seen before the May BTC price drop.

Bitcoin active entities 7-day moving average chart. Source: Lex Moskovski/Twitter

It’s not the only metric to have “erased the dump,” as Moskovski called it — strong hodler command of the BTC supply has also rebounded strongly, with illiquid supply hitting all-time highs.

In additional good news, the entire realized cap of Bitcoin was growing again as August began, something stock-to-flow model creator PlanB suggested was a bullish event.

As Cointelegraph reported, in June last year, realized cap reversed losses caused by the March coronavirus crash, going on to unleash the current bull market.

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Amazon will pay you $10 in credit for your palm print biometrics

How much is your palm print worth? If you ask Amazon, it’s about $10 in promotional credit if you enroll your palm prints in its checkout-free stores and link it to your Amazon account. Last year, Amazon introduced its new biometric palm print scanners,..

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How much is your palm print worth? If you ask Amazon, it’s about $10 in promotional credit if you enroll your palm prints in its checkout-free stores and link it to your Amazon account.

Last year, Amazon introduced its new biometric palm print scanners, Amazon One, so customers can pay for goods in some stores by waving their palm prints over one of these scanners. By February, the company expanded its palm scanners to other Amazon grocery, book and 4-star stores across Seattle.

Amazon has since expanded its biometric scanning technology to its stores across the U.S., including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Texas.

The retail and cloud giant says its palm scanning hardware “captures the minute characteristics of your palm — both surface-area details like lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns — to create your palm signature,” which is then stored in the cloud and used to confirm your identity when you’re in one of its stores.

Amazon’s latest promotion: $10 promotional credit in exchange for your palm print. (Image: Amazon)

What’s Amazon doing with this data exactly? Your palm print on its own might not do much — though Amazon says it uses an unspecified “subset” of anonymous palm data to improve the technology. But by linking it to your Amazon account, Amazon can use the data it collects, like shopping history, to target ads, offers and recommendations to you over time.

Amazon also says it stores palm data indefinitely, unless you choose to delete the data once there are no outstanding transactions left, or if you don’t use the feature for two years.

While the idea of contactlessly scanning your palm print to pay for goods during a pandemic might seem like a novel idea, it’s one to be met with caution and skepticism given Amazon’s past efforts in developing biometric technology. Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology, which it historically sold to police and law enforcement, was the subject of lawsuits that allege the company violated state laws that bar the use of personal biometric data without permission.

“The dystopian future of science fiction is now. It’s horrifying that Amazon is asking people to sell their bodies, but it’s even worse that people are doing it for such a low price,” said Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, in an email to TechCrunch.

“Biometric data is one of the only ways that companies and governments can track us permanently. You can change your name, you can change your Social Security number, but you can’t change your palm print. The more we normalize these tactics, the harder they will be to escape. If we don’t [draw a] line in the sand here, I am very fearful what our future will look like,” said Cahn.

When reached, an Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

 

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