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Ethereum Completes Merge and the Latest Crypto Headlines Explained

Ethereum’s long-awaited transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake is complete and despite the initial hype, the price of ETH slumped today. In other news, the Australian Treasury has reached out to the public, giving Australians 25 days to give their opinions on proposed legislation governing taxes on cryptocurrency. Preceding the Ethereum merge, the value of Raven coin (RVN) has leapt over 85%, owing to miners abandoning Ethereum and moving to coins that still operate on Proof of Work consensus mechanisms. 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced it intends to let users post NFTs to the two platforms, and the Central Bank of Russia has agreed to legalise the use of cryptocurrency for border-cross payments. 

A new era for Ethereum begins  

In a historic day for crypto, Ethereum successfully completed its long-awaited upgrade to an energy-saving Proof of Stake model on September 15.  

All eyes were on Ethereum in the lead-up to their highly anticipated Merge which is estimated to reduce its energy consumption by 99.95%. Such an upgrade had never been attempted before, let alone on Ethereum, home to over 3,500 decentralised applications (dApps) and powered by the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, ETH.  

The merge is a key milestone in Ethereum’s roadmap and lays the foundation for future upgrades that aim to make the network faster and cheaper. Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin said during a Merge viewing party “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey toward being a very mature system.”

The Merge itself was somewhat uneventful and went ahead without issues. Despite the hype and some initial swings immediately following the Merge, the price of ETH has dropped below $1,500 USD for the first time in more than a week. 

Australian Treasury consults public on Bitcoin foreign currency tax exclusion 

Australia’s ministerial department of Treasury has reached out to the public, giving Australians 25 days to provide their opinions on proposed legislation governing taxes on cryptocurrency. 

The department extended the offer for feedback on legislation that would, if passed, grant cryptocurrencies an exemption to the normal rules governing taxes on foreign currency. The public has been given from 6 September until 30 September to offer their opinions on this legislation, which, if made into law, would change the existing definition of digital currency in the Goods and Services Tax Act. Cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets would no longer be defined as foreign currency. The legislation, however, would not impact the collection of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on crypto assets.  

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones indicated that the Australian government intends to allow cryptocurrencies to not be considered foreign currencies for tax purposes—however, they will of course still be subject to the same capital gains tax imposed on any assets held as investments. The purpose of this legislation appears to be to reduce any uncertain outcomes that may arise from taxing cryptocurrencies as foreign currencies in the wake of El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender. 

It must also be noted that any member of the public responding to the Treasury on this issue will have their personal information made public unless they opt out of such information being released. 

Ethereum mining alternative Ravencoin jumps 85% ahead of Ethereum merge 

The value of Ravencoin (RVN) has leapt over 85% in the lead-up to the Ethereum Merge, as Ethereum Proof of Work miners look elsewhere for alternatives.  

Ethereum’s highly anticipated transition to a more environmentally friendly Proof of Stake model occurred yesterday. Once completed, mining on the Ethereum network will be eliminated, leaving miners without a source of income. This led to an increase in miners looking for alternative proof of Work blockchains like Ravencoin. Ravencoin is digital peer-to-peer network that was built on a Bitcoin hard fork.  

This massive spike in value also came in the wake of crypto exchange, FTX listing Ravencoin perpetual futures.  

The official Ravencoin Twitter account had this to say about the matter.

Meta rolls out NFT feature on Facebook and Instagram 

Facebook parent company Meta has announced its intention to allow users to post NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. 

Since May, social media powerhouse Meta has been experimenting with the integration of NFTs, with certain creators able to share their digital collectibles on Instagram. On the 30th of August, it was announced it’s now allowing users to post their NFTs on both Facebook and Instagram.  

Users can connect their wallets, such as MetaMask or Trust Wallet, to either app and post their NFTs across both platforms. Meta is supporting NFTs from the Ethereum, Polygon and Flow blockchains.  

As part of their digital asset integration expansion, Meta is apparently also working on custom animations for NFT posts.

Whereas Twitter and Reddit have been focusing on NFT-based avatars, Meta seeks to reach a broader audience of users. Whether this attempt to allow users to show their digital collectives through posts will pay off is yet to be determined, but the company does intend on supporting several major blockchains and wallets.  

Meta is also predicted to be working on building an NFT marketplace, competing with the likes of OpenSea and Rarible. 

Bank of Russia agrees to legalise crypto for cross-border payments 

In response to the current geopolitical conditions, the Central Bank of Russia has agreed to legalise cryptocurrency cross-border payments.  

As reported by TASS Russian News Agency, this comes as the Bank of Russia concedes that cross-border payments in crypto are inevitable, particularly given the current geopolitical state of the region. The bank asserts that it remains opposed to making cryptocurrency payments legal within Russia, in spite of legalising such cross-border payments. The Bank of Russia and the finance ministry are expected to legitimise cryptocurrency cross-border payments in the very near future. 

The ministry also touched upon enabling crypto services within Russia, as so many Russians rely on foreign platforms to open crypto wallets. Typically, the Russian legislature has resisted attempts to allow cryptocurrencies as legal payment methods, prohibiting the use of assets such as Bitcoin for payments in a law passed in 2020. 

Undoubtedly, this new position is related to the current war in Ukraine, with the Russian economy under significant pressure as a result of western sanctions. While still deeply hesitant to allow cryptocurrencies into Russia’s financial system, this new development suggests that such an occurrence may not be far off.
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