Australia overtakes El Salvador to become 4th largest crypto ATM hub

El Salvador’s position as the fourth-largest crypto ATM hub was short-lived as Australia stepped up its game over the following months.

El Salvador, the first country to legalize Bitcoin (BTC), has been pushed down yet another spot in total crypto ATM installations as Australia records 216 ATMs stepping into the year 2023.

As part of El Salvador’s drive to establish Bitcoin as a legal tender, President Nayib Bukele had decided to install over 200 crypto ATMs across the country. While this move made El Salvador the third largest crypto ATM hub at the time after the United States and Canada in September 2021, Spain and Australia overtook the Central American country’s ATM count in 2022.

On October 2022, Cointelegraph reported that Spain became the third-largest crypto ATM hub after installing 215 crypto ATMs. However, Spain continued its installation drive and is home to 226 crypto ATMs at the time of writing. El Salvador’s position as the fourth-largest crypto ATM hub was short-lived as Australia stepped up its game over the following months.

In the last three months of 2022, Australia deployed 99 crypto ATMs, confirms data from CoinATMRadar. As of Jan. 1, 2023, Australia recorded 219 active crypto ATMs, overshadowing El Salvador by 7 ATMs at the time of writing.

Australia represents 0.6% of global crypto ATM installations and, at this rate, is well-positioned to take over Asia’s crypto ATM numbers, which stand at 312 ATMs. The total number of crypto ATMs worldwide is 38,602, out of which 6,071 ATMs were installed in 2022 alone.

Related: Florida best-prepared US state for widespread crypto adoption: Research

Nigeria’s drive to impose the adoption of an in-house central bank digital currency (CBDC) — eNaira — forced the government to limit ATM cash withdrawals to $225 (100,000 nairas) a week.

“Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions,” noted Haruna Mustafa, the director of banking supervision, while announcing the drive.

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Indian Central Bank: Developing Global Crypto Regulation Is a Priority for G20 Under India’s Presidency

Indian Central Bank: Developing Global Crypto Regulation Is a Priority for G20 Under India's PresidencyThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) says one of the priorities for the G20 under India’s presidency is to “develop a framework for global regulation, including the possibility of prohibition, of unbacked crypto assets, stablecoins, and defi.” The Indian central bank warned that “turmoil in crypto assets market” is among “the major risks that can […]
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How to buy Bitcoin in Australia?

Buying Bitcoin (BTC) in Australia can be done through crypto exchanges, ATMs and by trading with other parties.

More and more people are discovering Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, which is good for the adoption of digital money on the blockchain. Interest in Bitcoin is also growing in Australia and companies are responding positively. For example, there are various ways to buy Bitcoin in Australia.

Trading Bitcoin is more than just buying and selling. So, what is the best place to buy Bitcoin and what is the most secure way to store a Bitcoin investment? Discover in this article different ways to buy Bitcoin in Australia, how to trade Bitcoin and the ways to store cryptocurrencies.

Various ways to buy Bitcoin in Australia

If you like to invest in BTC in Australia, there are several ways you can opt for. The most common way is by buying Bitcoin through a crypto exchange. By connecting a bank account, credit or debit card to the crypto exchange, it becomes easy to convert fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies.

Investing in Bitcoin with cash is also possible through a Bitcoin ATM. With more than 200 places where a Bitcoin ATM is located, it can be quite a search to find a crypto ATM in Australia. Oceania’s largest country is not much smaller than the United States, but it has remarkably fewer ATMs. By comparison, the city of Los Angeles, with some 2,000 Bitcoin ATMs, has 10 times as many facilities where it is possible to buy Bitcoin with cash.

In addition to buying on an exchange or through a Bitcoin ATM, there is an option to use peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges. This way makes it possible to buy Bitcoin directly from a person through a marketplace. However, this way is less well known, but it brings several advantages. For example, P2P exchanges often have more liquidity than traditional exchanges, fees are lower and exchange rates are better.

The fourth way to buy Bitcoin is through over-the-counter (OTC) trading. This way, it is possible to easily buy large amounts of BTC. These transactions are concluded directly between two parties; there is no order book involved. This way of buying Bitcoin is especially popular among wealthy investors and institutional parties who trade Bitcoin for very large amounts of funds.

Bitcoin ATMs in Australia

To convert cash to cryptocurrencies such as BTC, Bitcoin ATMs are the ideal devices to complete this exchange. This is also the only way to convert cash directly to cryptocurrencies. Especially in major cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, there are many Bitcoin ATMs that can be utilized to buy Bitcoin.

In addition to Bitcoin, it is often possible to buy Ether (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) at these ATMs. There are even ATMs where XRP (XRP) and Dogecoin (DOGE) can be purchased. These altcoins can only be bought. Selling cryptocurrencies is a lot less common at ATMs. However, there are ATMs where it is possible to both buy and sell Bitcoin.

How to trade Bitcoin in Australia?

Trading Bitcoin in Australia can be accomplished within a few steps, such as

Steps to trade Bitcoin in Australia

It is important to choose a reliable crypto exchange that meets all the requirements and needs of a crypto trader. For example, a cryptocurrency exchange with a good reputation, low fees, a significant user base and a large supply is more attractive than an exchange where trading is expensive and the supply is small.

After choosing a crypto exchange, it’s time to create an account with the exchange in question. By going to a crypto exchange’s homepage and pressing the Register button, the process of creating an account can begin. By providing all requested personal information and setting up two-factor authentication, the account is ready to use.

To ensure that the customers are genuine when the account was created, they must verify their identity. Most exchanges use a Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which requires customers to reveal their identity. This may involve uploading a copy of the person’s government-issued ID and proof of residence.

After creating an exchange account is fully completed, it is time to provide the exchange account with funds. This can often be funded through your bank account or credit card so that the account is endowed with fiat currency and ready for trading on the crypto market.

Trading Bitcoin can begin by placing an order on the exchange. It is possible to buy or sell Bitcoin at a specific price or to place a limit order to execute a transaction when the price reaches a certain level.

Once Bitcoin is bought, it is important to keep an eye on the price. Keep an eye on the market and monitor trades. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow alerts to be set up, which go off when the price of Bitcoin reaches a certain level.

Australia-based Bitcoin exchange

Residents of Australia can use a lot of different crypto exchanges, including well-known platforms like Crypto.com and Coinbase. Major exchanges like these have millions of users and a large selection of cryptocurrencies, but what are the crypto exchanges to buy Bitcoin in Australia? 

There are also several cryptocurrency exchanges based in Australia. Each exchange has its own fees, services and assortment. Therefore, it is wise to research exchanges well before choosing one. The following are the available options when looking for an Australian cryptocurrency exchange:

  • ZenGo
  • Swyftx
  • CoinSpot
  • BTC Markets
  • Independent Reserve

Does Binance work in Australia?

It is also possible for Australians to use Binance for cryptocurrency trading. Tens of millions of crypto investors buy their cryptocurrencies here and use Binance’s services, such as crypto staking or margin trading. With more than 600 different tokens in their range, this platform is of interest to many investors.

To use Binance for Bitcoin trading in Australia, an account will first have to be created on the platform and then the verification process must be completed. This may involve uploading a copy of your government-issued ID and proof of residence. Once the account is verified, it is possible to fund it with a supported payment method and start buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Four ways to buy Bitcoin in Australia

How to store Bitcoin in Australia?

When investing in Bitcoin, not only is the method of buying important, but also the way the cryptocurrencies are stored. Like fiat currencies, digital currencies can be stolen, so that’s why it’s important to protect the Bitcoin investment as best as possible. There are several crypto wallets that can be used, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Many beginner crypto investors use an exchange wallet. This is the wallet used when trading on an exchange. This is the easiest way to store cryptocurrencies,but also the riskiest medium. With an exchange wallet, the private keys and seed phrase are owned by the exchange itself, so the crypto investor has no control over the cryptocurrencies in the exchange wallet. 

This is why a software wallet is considered a better option. Crypto investors who use a software wallet own private keys and, therefore, have full control over their own coins. Do not share this code with anyone, as this is a unique key that opens the door to the cryptocurrencies in the wallet. Software wallets are available as desktop wallets and mobile wallets, allowing users to use their cryptocurrencies anytime and anywhere.

However, software wallets are not considered the most secure option because tokens are stored online. The most reliable crypto wallet is a hardware wallet. Hardware wallets are physical devices that store Bitcoin and altcoins offline. They offer an extra layer of security because they are not connected to the internet. As a result, hardware wallets are less vulnerable to hacking.

Bitcoin taxes Australia: How much tax on Bitcoin profits?

In Australia, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are treated as property for tax purposes. This means that buying, selling and trading causes capital gains tax to potentially be paid. This tax must be paid on the profits made.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued guidance on the tax treatment of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to the ATO, Bitcoin transactions are subject to capital gains tax if the Bitcoin has been owned for more than 12 months. For investors, who have owned Bitcoin for less than 12 months, profits are being treated as ordinary income.

In addition to tax regulations, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued guidance on the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country. According to ASIC, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Australia and are not regulated by the government. However, companies dealing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be required to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFS).

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North Korean hackers stealing NFTs using nearly 500 phishing domains

The hackers created decoy websites impersonating NFT marketplaces, NFT projects and even a DeFi platform.

Hackers linked to North Korea’s Lazarus Group are reportedly behind a massive phishing campaign targeting non-fungible token (NFT) investors — utilizing nearly 500 phishing domains to dupe victims.

Blockchain security firm SlowMist released a report on Dec. 24, revealing the tactics that North Korean Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups have used to part NFT investors from their NFTs, including decoy websites disguised as a variety of NFT-related platforms and projects.

Examples of these fake websites include a site pretending to be a project associated with the World Cup, as well as sites that impersonate well-known NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, X2Y2 and Rarible.

SlowMist said one of the tactics used was having these decoy websites offer “malicious Mints,” which involves deceiving the victims into thinking they are minting a legitimate NFT by connecting their wallet to the website.

However, the NFT is actually fraudulent, and the victim’s wallet is left vulnerable to the hacker who now has access to it.

The report also revealed that many of the phishing websites operated under the same Internet Protocol (IP), with 372 NFT phishing websites under a single IP, and another 320 NFT phishing websites associated with another IP.

An example phishing website Source: SlowMist

SlowMist said the phishing campaign has been ongoing for several months, noting that the earliest registered domain name came about seven months ago.

Other phishing tactics used included recording visitor data and saving it to external sites as well as linking images to target projects.

After the hacker was about to obtain the visitor’s data, they would then proceed to run various attack scripts on the victim, which would allow the hacker access to the victim’s access records, authorizations, use of plug-in wallets, as well as sensitive data such as the victim’s approve record and sigData.

All this information then enables the hacker access to the victim’s wallet, exposing all their digital assets.

However, SlowMist emphasized that this is just the “tip of the iceberg,” as the analysis only looked at a small portion of the materials and extracted “some” of the phishing characteristics of the North Korean hackers.

For example, SlowMist highlighted that just one phishing address alone was able to gain 1,055 NFTs and profit 300 ETH, worth $367,000, through its phishing tactics.

It added that the same North Korean APT group was also responsible for the Naver phishing campaign that was previously documented by Prevailion on Mar. 15.

Related: Blockchain security firm warns of new MetaMask phishing campaign

North Korea has been at the center of various cryptocurrency theft crimes in 2022.

According to a news report published by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) on Dec 22, North Korea stole $620 million worth of cryptocurrencies this year alone.

In October, Japan’s National Police Agency sent out a warning to the country’s crypto-asset businesses advising them to be cautious of the North Korean hacking group.

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Australian ‘token mapping’ consultation paper to release in early 2023: Treasurer

The consultation paper will give an insight into how certain crypto assets should be regulated alongside frameworks for company licensing, asset custody and consumer protections under token mapping.

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed that the government will release a consultation paper in early 2023 as part of its token mapping initiative.

The crypto sector has received greater attention from Australian regulatory and enforcement agencies since the FTX implosion, with the government emphasizing the importance of providing greater consumer protection laws as soon as possible.

In a Dec. 14 statement, Treasurer Chalmers noted that the Anthony Albanese-led government is “taking action to improve the regulation of crypto service providers and ensure additional safeguards for Australians.”

As part of that process, Chalmers revealed the consultation paper will cover how certain crypto assets should be regulated alongside frameworks for company licensing, asset custody and consumer protections under its previously announced token mapping exercise.

“The next steps in the Government’s ongoing ‘token mapping’ work will include the release of a consultation paper in early 2023 to inform what digital assets should be regulated by financial services laws, and the development of appropriate custody and licensing settings to safeguard consumers.”

“Following the release of token mapping, the Government will consult on a custody and licensing framework next year before introducing legislation,” he added.

The latest comments from Chalmers adds to a promise from the Treasury in mid-November that it will develop and enact a robust regulatory framework for crypto in 2023.

The focus on crypto is also part of a push to “modernize Australia’s financial system” with the government set reform regulations on financial market infrastructure — particularly in relation to the Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX’s) clearing system, payments systems and the Buy Now Pay Later sector.

Related: A loophole allowed FTX to secure its Aussie license without full checks: ASIC’s Longo

Australia’s government has been largely pro-crypto but has reiterated the importance of allowing for innovation while keeping the public safe.

On Dec. 8, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) published a stablecoin-focused report which suggested the regulators are “undertaking significant work” to figure out how to safely integrate them into the ecosystem.

“Stablecoins have the potential to enhance the efficiency and functionality of a range of payment and other financial services,” the report read.

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Australian firm raises $28M to expand Bitcoin mining capabilities

The Sydney-based Arkon Energy secured $28 million in a recent funding round to expand its renewable energy Bitcoin mining operations despite the volatile market.

The turbulent climate of the crypto industry is not putting a full stop to builders in the space. Arkon Energy, an Australian renewable data center infrastructure company, recently raised millions to expand its Bitcoin (BTC) mining operations and acquired another European-based data center. 

The funding round was completed with $28 million raised by the data center infrastructure company, which uses 100% renewable electricity to mine BTC. Arkon extracts renewable power trapped in electricity markets to sustainably lowers its costs.

Arkon CEO Josh Payne said this type of market creates the perfect storm for growth due to many factors:

“The current market climate, with low prices for Bitcoin and mining equipment, offers a compelling opportunity to take advantage of our unique profitability and access to growth capital.”

In addition, Arkon acquired one of Norway’s leading renewable energy-based data centers Hydrokraft AS, as a part of a larger plan to create a “vertically integrated green Bitcoin mining platform.”

However, on Oct. 6, the Norwegian government recently proposed to eliminate the reduced electricity tax which is available for BTC miners in the country. The country’s finance minister said the power market is in a completely different situation now compared to when it first initiated the tax break in 2016.

Similarly, in the Canadian province of Quebec, the energy manager for the region asked the local government to cut power from crypto miners due to high energy demands.

Related: Bitcoin miners rethink business strategies to survive long-term

The current market downturn and industry turmoil has created a rough environment for many companies in the space to thrive.

One recent example is that the BTC miner Iris Energy, is now facing a default claim worth $103 million from creditors in the United States. A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 7 alleged that the company failed in restructuring to meet payment deadlines.

The Hashrate Index recently released its Q3 mining report which revealed low hash prices, along with soaring energy costs made the quarter particularly rough for the mining industry. After BTC dropped below $20,000 this past September, hash rates climbed to a new all time high on Oct. 3.

Amid the doom and gloom, some companies are pushing forward. The Chinese BTC miner Canaan, recently announced plans to scale its operations globally and include new research and development projects.

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