Ukraine Becomes Latest Country To Legalize Bitcoin
The bill was set in motion in 2020 – and it now heads to the desk of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Until today, dealing in crypto in Ukraine has existed in a legal gray area.
Ukraine is the fifth country in as many weeks to lay down some ground rules for the cryptocurrency market, a sign that governments around the world are realizing that bitcoin is here to stay.
Locals were allowed to buy and exchange virtual currencies, but companies and exchanges dealing in crypto were often under close watch by law enforcement.
According to the Kyiv Post, authorities have trended toward taking a combative stance when it comes to virtual cash, regarding it as a “scam,” raiding crypto-related businesses, and “often confiscating expensive equipment without any grounds.”
In August, for example, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) blocked a network of what it called “clandestine cryptocurrency exchanges” running in the capital city of Kyiv. The SBU claimed these exchanges were facilitating money laundering and providing anonymity of transactions.
The new legislation also spells out certain protections against fraud for those who own bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and in a first for the Verkhovna Rada, lawmakers have taken a stab at defining core terminology in the world of crypto. If signed by the president, virtual assets, digital wallets, and private keys are terms that will be enshrined in Ukrainian law.
El Salvador made bitcoin a legal currency. Now it gets interesting.
Unlike El Salvador’s move this week to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, Ukraine’s crypto law does not facilitate the rollout of bitcoin as a form of payment, nor does it put it on an equal footing with the hryvnia, the country’s national currency.
READ ALSO: El Salvador To Make Bitcoin Legal Tender
However, today’s vote by the former nuclear power is part of a wider push by Kyiv to lean into bitcoin.
By 2022, the country plans to open the cryptocurrency market to businesses and investors, according to the Kyiv Post. Top state officials have also been touting their crypto street cred to investors and venture capital funds in Silicon Valley.
On an official state visit to the U.S. last month, President Zelensky spoke of Ukraine’s budding “legal innovative market for virtual assets” as a selling point for investment, and Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, said the country was modernizing its payment market so that its National Bank would be able to to issue digital currency.
This cryptocurrency has surged 300% in a month and is now the world’s seventh-biggest coin.
But to bitcoin backers like Jeremy Rubin, Ukraine’s new law and political promises such as these don’t amount to much “Ukraine’s improved
legal status for bitcoin is a laudable symbolic measure that we progress towards a world that respects individual rights universally,” said Rubin, CEO of bitcoin R&D lab Judica. “But it is only symbolic — bitcoin seeks neither permission nor forgiveness in its mission to protect persecuted communities from unjust governments.”
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I’ve Hired New Twitter CEO – Elon Musk
Elon Musk said on Thursday he has found a new chief executive officer (CEO) for Twitter, but did not name the person, while the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast (CMCSA.O) NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino was in talks for the job.
Musk said in a tweet: “Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!”
Musk said he will transition to the role of chief technology officer of the social media platform within the next few weeks.
Musk, who took over as CEO of Twitter when he completed his $44 billion purchase of the company in October, said in December that he would step aside as CEO once he found “someone foolish enough to take the job.” He said that he would then run Twitter’s software and servers teams.
The WSJ cited people familiar with the situation in saying that Yaccarino was in talks for the top post.
Reuters reported after Musk’s tweet that Yaccarino could be his choice to lead Twitter, according to a Silicon Valley executive and a former Hollywood executive who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Yaccarino, the top advertising sales executive at NBCUniversal, interviewed Musk at an advertising conference in Miami last month.
At the conference, Yaccarino encouraged the audience to welcome Musk with applause and lauded his work ethic.
“Many of you in this room know me, and you know I pride myself on my work ethic,” she said, adding, “Buddy, I met my match.”
Yaccarino joined NBCU in 2011, after 15 years at Turner Entertainment and has been credited with dragging the network’s ad sales operation into the digital future.
As broadcast television audiences migrated to streaming, she took to the stage at Radio City Music Hall last year to tell advertisers that their brand messages were not an afterthought.
Yaccarino did not respond to calls seeking comment on Thursday.
When asked for comment, an NBCUniversal spokesperson said, “Linda is in back-to-back rehearsals for the Upfront,” referring to a presentation NBCUniversal will host for advertisers in New York on Monday.
Yaccarino’s exit would be another big blow to the company after Comcast said last month that NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell was leaving after acknowledging an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, following a complaint that prompted an investigation.
Musk has previously not named any prospective candidates.
Speculation was rife on Thursday among tech and media insiders and on Blind, an anonymous messaging app for tech employees.
Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and a top executive at Musk’s brain-chip startup Neuralink, Shivon Zilis, were among names that were being discussed.
Musk, who has come under fire from investors in his Tesla (TSLA.O) electric car company as being distracted by his attention to Twitter, said he will transition to the role of Twitter’s executive chair, along with the role of CTO, overseeing product, software and system operations.
Musk’s post about a new Twitter CEO came about 15 minutes before the close of Wall Street on Thursday, and Tesla shares closed 2% higher. The shares rose a further 1.6% in after-hours trade.
“The boat anchor called Twitter is loosened from Musk’s ankle. Now he can get back to spending more time creating value at Tesla,” said Craig Irwin, analyst at Roth MKM.
Musk has long said he intended to find a new leader for Twitter.
In a Twitter poll started by Musk in December, 57.5% users voted for him to step down as CEO of the social media platform.
The billionaire’s first two weeks as Twitter’s owner in October were marked by rapid change. He quickly fired Twitter’s previous CEO, Parag Agrawal, and other senior leaders, and then laid off half its staff in November.
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has said he took over Twitter to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division.
He also said he would “defeat” spam bots on the platform, a key area of his tussle with Twitter’s board over his back and forth on the buyout of the company.
He said last month that Twitter was “roughly breaking even.”
Elon Musk Looks For Twitter CEO ‘Foolish Enough’ To Succeed Him
Elon Musk said late Tuesday that he plans on remaining as Twitter’s CEO until he can find someone willing to replace him in the job.
Musk’s announcement came after just over 57 per cent of responses indicated that he should step down from the role, in an unscientific poll the billionaire himself created and promised to abide by the past weekend.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk tweeted. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
Since taking over San Francisco-based Twitter in late October, Musk’s run as CEO has been marked by quickly issued rules and policies that have often been withdrawn or changed soon after being made public.
Twitter users vote yes to Elon Musk’s poll of whether he should step down as CEO
He has also alienated some investors in his electric vehicle company Tesla who are concerned that Twitter is taking too much of his attention.
“The first weeks of Mr. Musk’s Twitter ownership have raised questions about possible violations of securities or other laws, including whether Mr. Musk is funnelling Tesla resources into Twitter,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a letter, made public, to Robyn Denholm, Tesla’s board chair.
READ ALSO: Mass Sacking As Elon Musk Completes Takeover Of Twitter
Tumultuous first weeks Some of Musk’s actions have unnerved Twitter advertisers and turned off users. They include laying off half of Twitter’s workforce, letting go contract content moderators and disbanding a council of trust and safety advisors that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform.
Musk, who also helms the SpaceX rocket company, has previously acknowledged how difficult it will be to find someone to take over as Twitter CEO.
On Sunday, Twitter owner Elon Musk joined comedian Dave Chappelle on stage and was roundly booed. Musk responded on Twitter saying, “Technically, it was 90% cheers,” and that “It’s almost as if I’ve offended SF’s unhinged leftists … but nahhh.”
Musk has said that he’s politically a centrist, but the tweet is just one recent example of how he’s adopted partisan language in a social media culture war. Musk has distributed Twitter records that are supposed to reveal biased censorship, indulged in far-right talking points about COVID-19 and unbanned white nationalist accounts.
Bantering with Twitter followers last Sunday, he said that the person replacing him “must like pain a lot” to run a company that he said has been “in the fast lane to bankruptcy.”
“No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted.
As things stand, Musk would still retain overwhelming influence over platform as its owner. He fired the company’s board of directors soon after taking control.
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WhatsApp To Get Additional Features For Better Interaction
By John Michael Ojo
WhatsApp users will henceforth get more value for their money from the Meta-owned messaging platform following the launch of new features, including expansion of size of group video calls to accommodate 32 people, increasing the group size to 1024 from 512 and allowing users to carry out polls in group chats.
The announcement of the new features was made known on Thursday by Mark Zuckerberg.
“Today, we are excited to share our vision for a new feature we are adding to WhatsApp called Communities. Since WhatsApp launched in 2009, we’ve been focused on how we can help people have the next best thing to an in-person conversation when they want to talk to an individual or a group of friends or family,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
He added, “We also frequently hear from people who are using WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate within a community.”
The communities feature changes in admin controls, and introduces support for sub-groups and announcement groups. The feature will also allow 32-person voice and video calls, larger file sharing, emoji reactions, and polls.
READ ALSO: Users Stranded As WhatsApp Goes Down
When the feature is launched, admins of existing group chats will be able to transition their group to ‘Communities’ or opt to re-create their group as a ‘Community’.
Mr Zuckerberg noted that the encryption aspects of the ‘Communities’ feature was to “raise the bar for how organisations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else.”
The ‘Communities’ feature has been in testing with over 50 organisations in 15 countries to gain early feedback.
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