Category: Litecoin

Litecoin Halving Price Rally Fizzles Sub $100 But 97% Hash Rate Stays

Litecoin Halving Price Rally Fizzles Sub $100 But 97% Hash Rate Stays

Litecoin Halving Price Rally Fizzles Sub $100 But 97% Hash Rate Stays 1

Under one day since Litecoin (LTC)’s halving, its hash rate appears to be as robust as ever.

In a tweet posted on Aug. 5 — just under 22 hours after the halving event —  Litecoin creator Charlie Lee noted that:

“504 blocks have been mined since the halving. This is 1/4 of the way to the next diff change. 21.65 hrs has elapsed since the halving. Normally on average it takes 21 hrs for 504 blocks. This means 97% of pre-halving hashrate still mining LTC.”

Mining FUD debunked

Halving — or the pre-coded 50% reduction of the mining rewards for a given cryptocurrency — is an event that is closely watched by the crypto community for its impact on both the price and on miners. 

For Litecoin, rewards halve every 840,000 blocks — a process that occurs every four years. The block speed for Litecoin is roughly 2.5 minutes, with around 576 blocks generated per day, as previously reported

Ahead of Litecoin’s latest halving, Lee had notably warned that the block reward reduction could be a shock for the coin’s mining ecosystem, noting that:

“When the mining rewards get cut in half, some miners will not be profitable and they will shut off their machine. If a big percentage does that, then blocks will slow down for some time.”

Yet as yesterday’s data reveals, this shock does not appear to have materialized, with miners unfazed by the slimmer pickings offered to them in return for their hash power.

Market ripples

Assuming that a cryptocurrency has a cap on the total coins that will ever be mined — as for Litecoin and Bitcoin (BTC) — the reward reduction should, according to classic supply-demand economic theory, have a bullish impact on an asset’s valuation.

While Litecoin’s mining health appears to be steadfast, the halving event translated into something of a fleeting price appreciation. The coin saw a boost on its USD chart of 13% yesterday to hit $104, as of press time Litecoin is back circling just below $100, at $98.

In regards to price, Lee had recently argued that market sentiment complicates the impact of halving on a cryptocurrency, proposing that traders’ anticipation of the event — rather than scarcity — is what creates a self-fulfilling prophecy to boost the coin’s valuation.

Anticipation meanwhile continues to build ahead of Bitcoin’s (BTC) next halving in May 2020.

cointelegraph.com

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Litecoin Price Fails to Pass $100 on Day of Halving

Litecoin Price Fails to Pass $100 on Day of Halving

All eyes were on Litecoin (LTC) price August 5 as its block reward halving failed to excite markets and produce gains for investors. 

Litecoin 7-day price chart

Litecoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

LTC gains fail to materialize

Data from Coin360 showed Litecoin, which is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, trading at around $94 Monday, just one hour before the halving.

Once the process completes, miners will gain just 12.5 LTC per block of mined transactions, instead of the current 25 LTC. While not guaranteed, this increased scarcity has the ability to push up the price of a token, Cointelegraph reporting on anticipation building prior to Bitcoin’s (BTC) next halving in May 2020. 

For Litecoin, however, the halving has yet to enliven sideways markets, LTC/USD gaining just 3% over the past 24 hours. 

Bitcoin in fact outperformed Litecoin and all other altcoins in the top twenty as the week began, rising by close to 10% on the back of increased geopolitical tensions centered on China. 

“In the bear market, a lot of traders saw the Litecoin halving as a good fundamental trade and it became pretty crowded,” Eric Turner, director of research at blockchain analytics firm Messari, meanwhile told news outlet Al Jazeera August 3 about the Litecoin halving. 

He added:

“Now that the halving is here, some investors are starting to exit the trade. Halvings tend to be priced in, so the event itself isn’t the positive catalyst that many expect.”

Cointelegraph has published a dedicated guide to the Litecoin halving, collecting the major theories on what it could mean for the token in the short and long term.

cointelegraph.com

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US Defense Dept. to Experiment With Blockchain-Based Security

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is pursuing blockchain solutions for cybersecurity as part of its digital modernization strategy.

The DoD released plans for blockchain tech in its four-year roadmap on July 12, entitled “DoD Digital Modernization Strategy: DoD Information Resource Management Strategic Plan FY19–23.”

According to the report, the DoD’s research branch, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is currently engaged in at least two exploratory blockchain projects focused on cybersecurity.

First, DARPA is experimenting with blockchain in order to construct a new — or improved — communication and transaction platform. Stated intentions for this platform include communications between units and headquarters as well as between intelligence officers and the Pentagon.

Second, DARPA is attempting to create an “unhackable code” with blockchain technology, citing blockchain’s ability to gather intel on bad actors who attempt to hack into databases.

DARPA’s blockchain workshop

As reported by Cointelegraph, DARPA previously announced plans to host a two-day blockchain workshop in February. DARPA was particularly keen on examining permissionless consensus protocols. The organization also noted that there were potentially valuable use cases for blockchain in data storage, saying:

“Technologies for distributed consensus protocols have been revolutionized by their prominent role in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. These technologies have dramatic implications for the security and resilience of critical data storage and computation tasks, including for the Department of Defense.”

In December 2018, DoD officials examined how blockchain technology could help emergencies responses in disaster situations in a presentation hosted by the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement.

cointelegraph.com

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Circle CEO to Testify Before Senate on Blockchain and Digital Assets

Circle CEO to Testify Before Senate on Blockchain and Digital Assets

Circle CEO to Testify Before Senate on Blockchain and Digital Assets 4

Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire is scheduled to testify before congress tomorrow as a representative of The Blockchain Association — a business organization comprised of blockchain industry advocates

Allaire will testify before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in an open session hearing called “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain.”

In his prepared testimony released on July 29, Allaire is prepared to discuss a number of relevant issues, including identity, privacy, data security, domestic and international approaches to regulation, as well as the potential of blockchain solutions for finance in the near future.

Allaire is also calling on Congress to create new policies that are specifically tailored to digital assets, writing:

“Congress should adopt national policies that define and establish digital assets as a new asset class and develop appropriate rules and exemptions for digital assets. This will require legislation that likely changes our existing commodities, securities, and banking laws, among others. Such policies should have the effect of enabling rapid technological progress within the context of sound risk management.”

United States: falling behind on blockchain?

Underpinning Allaire’s call to action is a fear that the United States will fall behind the rest of the world in blockchain development if it does not establish better policies. Allaire followed up his request by highlighting this fact, saying:

“Without a sound, pragmatic, and agile national policy framework for digital assets, I am concerned that the United States will not be the world’s leader in this critical new technology, that it will continue to fall behind, and that it will not fully reap the benefits of the economic transformation that digital assets will bring.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, pro-blockchain congressmen Darren Soto and Ted Budd issued a joint statement in December on how blockchain and virtual currencies have the potential to bolster the U.S. economy, saying:

“Virtual currencies and the underlying blockchain technology has a profound potential to be a driver of economic growth. That’s why we must ensure that the United States is at the forefront of protecting consumers and the financial well-being of virtual currency investors, while also promoting an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances.”

cointelegraph.com

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EU Exchange Bitstamp Partners with UK Firm to Offer Pound Sterling Onramp

Major European crypto exchange Bitstamp has partnered with digital asset brokerage BCB Group to enable direct transfers in British pounds sterling (GBP).

A press release shared with Cointelegraph on July 29 revealed that following the new partnership, by the end of this year United Kingdom-based investors will be able to make GBP withdrawals and deposits directly to and from their Bitstamp accounts.

In a statement, BCB Group founder and CEO Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie said that the partnership aligns with the company’s broader aim of providing robust and frictionless services infrastructure “covering compliance, trade execution and settlement and custody for clients wishing to access cryptocurrencies.” 

BCB Group, as the press release outlines, is focused on providing over-the-counter execution solutions for exchanges and institutions that are interested in offering cryptocurrency-related products and services to their clients.

As the Halloween deadline for Brexit looms, the partnership represents an important step to ensure that U.K. clients can continue to have access to fiat transfers on the European trading platform.

As reported, Luxembourg-registered Bitstamp — which has been operating for 8 years — has increasingly pursued a strategy of global expansion. The exchange was acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH — which in turn, is owned by South Korean media conglomerate NXC Corp — in October 2018. 

This January, the exchange partnered with major Swiss online bank Dukascopy; its United States subsidiary secured a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services this spring.

This month, major United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase was reported to have abruptly imposed a minimum deposit amount of 1,000 GBP for UK account holders. 

Staff confirmed that the exchange — which had previously allowed U.K. users to deposit fiat funds via the country’s Faster Payments settlement system — had suspended the service, requiring them to transfer funds using SWIFT instead.

Also this month, fiat-crypto exchange Binance Jersey listed its proprietary GBP-backed stablecoin.

cointelegraph.com

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Open Letter From Ripple Asks US Gov’t For Fair Crypto Regulation

Open Letter From Ripple Asks US Gov’t For Fair Crypto Regulation

Open Letter From Ripple Asks US Gov’t For Fair Crypto Regulation 5

Blockchain payment network Ripple signed an open letter to United States regulators on July 28 ahead of fresh hearings on cryptocurrency regulation this week. 

In the wake of mixed feelings from Congress on both Facebook’s Libra digital currency and crypto more broadly, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse appealed to Washington to be lenient in its future approach.

The letter, which follows other recent concerns from Garlinghouse, begins:

“Many in the blockchain and digital currency industry are responsible actors. We are responsible to U.S. and international law. We are responsible to serving the greater good.”

Ripple is the company behind the altcoin of the same name, XRP, used as a native token for its payment network and associated projects.

The network has seen interest from banks around the world, most of which are keen on cutting costs of international transactions in particular.

The company and its executives have meanwhile often found themselves at the center of controversy in the cryptocurrency world, due mainly to questions surrounding Ripple’s relationship to XRP and disputes over its decentralization.

In the letter, Garlinghouse appeared to continue that tone, unveiling rare praise of central banks and government monetary policy — something which Bitcoin (BTC) specifically was designed to counter.

He also mentioned trust as an essential component of a currency gaining wider acceptance. Bitcoin, based on mathematics, succeeded because it removed the need to trust any party involved in the transaction process. Garlinghouse continued:

“We don’t take for granted the vital role of central banks in issuing currencies and setting monetary policy in concert with the complex dynamics of economies around the world. For centuries, governments have been well suited for the job because paramount to the acceptance of any currency is trust.”

Concluding, Garlinghouse said the country was in the international spotlight over its response to the innovative sector: 

“We urge you to support regulation that does not disadvantage U.S. companies using these technologies to innovate responsibly, and classifies digital currencies in a way that recognizes their fundamental differences — not painting them with a broad brush.”

As Cointelegraph reported, this week, U.S. lawmakers will again sit to debate cryptocurrency and blockchain policy. The dedicated hearing — “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain” — is scheduled for Tuesday July 30.

cointelegraph.com

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3 Reasons Analysts Are Bullish on Bitcoin Despite 33% Price Correction

3 Reasons Analysts Are Bullish on Bitcoin Despite 33% Price Correction

As Bitcoin dropped an additional 8% on Saturday, naysayers claim the rally to a new all-time high is over. So what is it that’s keeping market analysts bullish in the face of a 33 percent correction? 

Bitcoin price bears draw a line at $10,000

Bitcoin’s most recent price action has been less than satisfactory, unless you’re a bear. To date, the top digital asset is down 32% from it’s 2019 high of $13,739 and short term price action remains overwhelmingly bearish. 

Over the past two weeks Bitcoin formed an M-top at $13,739 and $13,177 before dropping to the neckline around $9,600. Most traders expect that Bitcoin will retrace to the 61.8% and 50% Fibonacci Retracement level which is also near the CME futures gap. It’s possible that the group think surrounding the CME gap is causing it to function as a magnet, drawing BTC price nearer to the $8,500 – $7,500 range. 

3 Reasons Analysts Are Bullish on Bitcoin Despite 33% Price Correction 6BTC/USD

Traders will also have noted that Bitcoin has dropped out of the broadening wedge that had carried it from $4,000 to the 2019 high and the parabolic trend is long negated, hence the probability of a revisit to the 61.8 Fib retracement. 

So, the short-term outlook is bearish. Yet several analysts across the sector remain extremely bullish on Bitcoin’s long-term price action. Let’s have a look at some of the key factors which are influencing their opinion. 

Dormant Bitcoin wallet address hit new all-time high

Earlier this week Coin Metrics released a report showing Bitcoin’s untouched supply reaching a new all-time high of 21%. 

BTC Untouched Supply

The amount of unmoved Bitcoin has increased significantly over the past five years and coins falling into this category have been held in the same wallet address for 180 days to 2 years. This suggests that Bitcoin is increasingly becoming a store of value rather than a medium of exchange. One could assume that if Bitcoin’s price continues to rise, so will the number of unmoved Bitcoin. 

Not everyone supports this conclusion, however. Adamant Capital founding partner Tuur Demeester countered saying that: 

“I’m not so sure […] 5 years without updating your cold storage method is a long time in Bitcoin. Imo most of these coins are likely lost.”

While Demeester could be right, taking a deeper look at the Coin Metrics chart shows that the number of untouched coins on the 1800-day and 1-year time frame has noticeably increased with compared against longer-time frames. This increase also aligns with Bitcoin’s price increase in U.S. dollars. 

Ultimately, the given report shows a correlation between increases in Bitcoin price and the amount of wallet addresses holding the digital asset as a store of value. 

Start of new bull markets coincides with miner capitulation, data shows

On Saturday expert crypto-analyst PlanB tweeted a rather intriguing chart that he and ParabolicTrav worked on.

Bitcoin bull markets start at difficult bottom

According to the analysts, after a BTC/USD rally reaches its peak, a massive amount of Bitcoin is available at lower prices. The start of new Bitcoin bull markets have coincided with miner capitulation and Bitcoin price tends to rise from these bottoms to grow 100 times. 

According to PlanB:

“We saw difficulty bottoms (miner capitulation) in Dec 2011 ($4.6), May 2015 ($230) and Dec 2018 ($3,896). Price continues to rise from these bottoms until ATH around 100x […] Implying a continuing uptrend until $370,000 ATH.” 

Closer investigation of the chart shows a reducing percentage rate of Bitcoin price gains from each successive rally and loose interpretation of the chart shows the current bullish trend maxing out around 1,000%. 

Cointelegraph reached out to PlanB for further clarification of this observation and PlanB explained:

“It could be a sign of a maturing Bitcoin market with reduced volatility. More money is needed to move markets now than it was in 2010-2011. Or, it could just as easily be 100x again, because Bitcoin markets are nonlinear power law distributed with black swans normally occurring [as opposed] to being outliers.”

Bitcoin’s current price action actually appears to be mirroring previous cycles and since bottoming in February, the digital asset has already rallied to the tune of 300%. 

Pre-halving hype could push Bitcoin towards $20,000 

A few weeks ago popular crypto-analyst Filb Filb reached an identical conclusion. He is convinced that despite the current correction, Bitcoin price won’t revisit its 2019 low of $3,120. 

Filb Filb explained that:

“Miners sell into market demand everytime the revenue per Bitcon rises above mining costs and he expects that they will ‘limit selling’ as the pre-halving event approaches to invoke the new halving bubble.” 

Simply put, the basic rules of supply and demand determine Bitcoin price and Filb Filb believes that “what happened in 2018 was miners selling off their Bitcoins at marginal costs.”

“Only the most efficient miners survived, while their inefficient competitors got eliminated,” he added.

Similar to PlanB and Parabolic Trav, Filb Filb agreed that miners are currently holding on to new mined Bitcoins as they await the 2020 halving event. 

If this group of crypto-analysts are correct, then we should begin to see miners selling fewer coins as Bitcoin price gains in the near future. Selling will then resume as buying pressure decreases. 

As for the future of Bitcoin’s price, this trio of analysts see BTC/USD following the general trajectory of short-term consolidation followed by pre-halving hype leading Bitcoin back to $20,000. 

12 Month Forecast by FilbFilb

12 Month Forecast by Filb Filb

In the event that Bitcoin does test its all-time high price, it’s entirely possible that long-term holders who purchased BTC near its ATH peak around $16,000 could exit their positions and produce a selloff. 

Of course, all of this is dependent on the digital asset’s technical setup as it approaches these highs. From a technical standpoint, the most likely scenario could involve continued decline until $7,500. This would be followed by a lengthy period of consolidation as reaccumulation takes place and Bitcoin’s daily price fluctuations tighten. 

But as the excitement around the 2020 halving event builds, most analysts expect miners and investors to hold onto their coins. Alongside the predicted influx of retail investors and the debut of institutional investing services from the likes of Bakkt, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity Investments, the stage could be set for a new all-time high.

cointelegraph.com

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Is US Environmental Tax Policy Hindering Solar Power to Fuel Digital Technologies?

Is US Environmental Tax Policy Hindering Solar Power to Fuel Digital Technologies?

Is US Environmental Tax Policy Hindering Solar Power to Fuel Digital Technologies? 7

Society is now witnessing the implementation of digital currencies, AI and blockchain technology worldwide. These new digital technologies, necessitate very high consumption of electric energy, currently produced with coal and fossil fuels with adverse environmental effects. A global shift towards green energy will require the removal of the technological/infrastructure, financial and regulatory/tax policy barriers. In a series of articles, we will evaluate the tax, digital technology and solar policies (including space power satellites) of the top CO2 emitting countries.

The United States is at the forefront of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) technology adoption — both the government and private industry. And Bitcoin’s volatility recovery is fueling this process. 

According to reports, the United States government spending on blockchain is expected to Increase by 1,000% between 2017 and 2022, while U.S. investors are expected to increasingly invest in digital assets to add diversity to their investment portfolios and resume cryptocurrency mining as it once again becomes profitable. 

Blockchain transformation

The announcement by Facebook — with 2.7 billion users — that it will be issuing a new cryptocurrency named Libra to compete with China’s blockchain-based mobile payment system — with 1.5 billion users — has put pressure on the largest U.S. financial institutions for a quick blockchain transformation. Already, JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will be issuing an utility settlement cryptocurrency (USC) coin called JPM Coin. BNY Mellon, Nasdaq and State Street, on the other hand, are backing the development of USCs denominated in five major fiat currencies: the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar, the British pound, the Japanese yen and the euro. 

Blockchain applications not limited to fintech and are being adopted across various industries in the U.S. For example, the shipping-focused blockchain TradeLens, developed by IBM and Maersk, recruited two major marine cargo carriers to help usher in the digital transformation of the global supply chain. Separately, IBM piloted a blockchain and internet of things sensor solution to track sustainable groundwater usage. Pfizer Inc. and other leading American pharmaceutical companies joined a project to build a blockchain network for the health and pharmaceutical industries. 

In the aerospace industry, blockchain technology is being implemented in myriad ways, including flight recorders, airspace management, cyber security, tracking parts during the manufacturing process and in establishing secure, efficient and prioritized data as well as command communication pathways among ground and space-based sources. In addition, U.S. energy companies Brooklyn Microgrid, Clearway Energy Group and Grid are developing applications for trading renewable energy credits on a blockchain. 

These new digital technologies will replace many jobs and necessitate a very large consumption of electric energy that is currently produced with coal and fossil fuels — which has adverse environmental effects, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. Cryptocurrency mining alone generates about 22 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, based on a study by the Technical University of Munich and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A report issued by LUT University in Finland and the Energy Watch Group in Germany states that transitioning to green energy — 69% solar — can be accomplished globally in an economically competitive way in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system to zero by 2050. Among other important options, solar power satellite (SPS) systems remain one of the most promising but is currently a largely undeveloped option to accomplish this goal.

Solar power satellites 

Paul Jaffe, an electronics engineer who has investigated SPS systems for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), explained that “anything we can do to wean away from coal and fossil fuels is a step in the right direction. Implementing SPS might result in a clean, constant, and globally distributable energy supply — unmatched by any earth-bound source.”

The SPS transmission idea — in which energy captured from the sun is transmitted via microwave beams to nearby planets from a space station — was first mentioned in a short story in 1941 titled “Reason” by Russian-born, U.S. science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. 

In 1968, the concept for SPS technology emerged when aerospace engineer Peter Glaser published the first technical article, “Power from the Sun: Its Future,” in the journal Science, in which he described collecting solar power in outer space via solar cells on a satellite system at geosynchronous orbit, where sunlight is available almost continuously (more than 99.8% of the time each year), that would be capable of converting sunlight directly into electricity and distributing it to Earth via a wireless transmission system to a receiver. 

There are two potentially viable options: laser and microwave beams. According to an NRL research report from 2009, SPS systems offer one of several possible solutions to the energy independence and dominance of our country and our military, but that there remain significant system risks in many areas. For example, safe power densities for wireless energy transmission generally restrict applications to large, relatively immobile receiver sites. Jaffe explained: 

“While safety is a concern, wireless power transfer can be implemented to stay below existing safety limits. In general, microwave transmission requires larger diameter transmitters and receivers than laser.” 

Unlike land-based solar power, which has been inefficient due to the atmospheric, day/night light interference, a SPS system could continuously harnesses the sun’s energy, working not only when there is daylight but also at night, during rain or snow and even on cloudy days — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For these reasons, the concept of SPS initially attracted a lot of attention during the 1970s, when NASA technical reports indicated that the SPS concept was technically feasible but economically unrealistic — and thus, the U.S. government and its agencies cut funding for solar cell research during the 1980s. According to Jaffe:

“For space solar to work, it will almost certainly need to offer some compelling advantage in a given application before it can compete on cost. There are several segments involved: launch, manufacture of the space and ground portions, and the industries associated with each. The logistics will be challenging.”

The International Academy of Astronautics completed the first international assessment of SPS during 2008-2011, involving diverse subject matter experts from some 10 countries concluding that it is technically feasible and that it might be realized in as little as 10-15 years. “Space solar is an enabling technology that could leapfrog the electric-power transmission grid on Earth, and have a similar effect that previous satellites have had on communications,” Jaffe said, but it has yet to electrify U.S. terrestrial grids. Instead, ground-based solar energy has been making an important contribution of one-sixth to the U.S. energy mix. 

The world’s largest renewable energy company, Nextera, forecasts solar energy costs at $30 to $40 per watt, post 2023. While, utility-scale solar farms in India already generate solar energy for $0.03-$0.04 a watt according to Greg Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, who has written a new book on global policy and market forces that combined to make solar electricity one of the cheapest forms of energy, said “It’s possible solar prices could have bottomed out a decade or two sooner had the U.S. not slashed funding in the 1980s” — or had the U.S. environmental tax policy been more favorable toward solar energy and SPS by including it in government incentive programs as opposed to heavily subsidizing fossil fuels since the enactment of the U.S. tax code in 1873.

U.S. environmental tax policy

Environmental tax is used as an economic instrument to address environmental problems by taxing activities that burden the environment (e.g., a direct carbon tax) or by providing incentives to reduce the environmental burden and preserve the environmentally friendly activities (e.g., tax credits, subsidies). It is used as part of a market-based climate policy that was pioneered in the U.S., which also includes cap-and-trade energy emission allowance trading programs that attempt to limit emissions by putting a cap on and price on them. 

Environmental taxes are designed to internalize environmental costs and provide economic incentives for people and businesses to promote ecologically sustainable activities, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, to promote green growth and to fight climate change via innovation. Some governments make use of them to integrate climate and environmental costs into prices to reduce excessive emissions while raising revenue to fund vital government services. 

Carbon Tax: Under a carbon tax regime, the government sets a price that emitters must pay for each ton of greenhouse gas emissions they emit so that businesses and consumers will take necessary steps — such as switching fuels or adopting new technologies — to reduce their emissions in order to avoid paying the tax, as taxes have distortionary effects that influence free-market decisions. Carbon taxes are favored because administratively assigning a fee to CO2 pollution is relatively simple compared to addressing climate change by setting, monitoring and enforcing caps on greenhouse gas emissions as well as regulating emissions of the energy-generation sector. Four subsets of environmental taxes are distinguished: energy taxes, transport taxes, pollution taxes and resource taxes. 

The U.S. is the world’s number two in CO2 emission, owing 84% of its greenhouse gas emissions to fossil fuels. Currently, it does not impose a federal carbon tax. However, the congress in a bi-partisan effort is aiming to introduce a carbon tax in the US. Because, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), greater reliance on environmental taxation is needed to strengthen global efforts to tackle the principal source of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.  

A carbon price/tax of between $50-$100 per ton will be needed to be implemented by  signatories to deliver on Paris Agreement commitments by 2030 according to a report titled “High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices”, written by Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern.

Tax Credits: Through tax credits, subsidies and other business incentives, governments can encourage companies to engage in behaviors and develop technologies that can reduce CO2 emissions. Just as tax credits for fossil fuel energy sources has enabled growth and development, renewable energy tax credits are incentives for the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. 

According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, subsidies to hydrocarbon industry accounted for 85% of global subsidies of $4.7 trillion (6.3% of global GDP) in 2015, which were projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5% of GDP) in 2017, with the U.S. ranking number two in subsidies to the hydrocarbon industry, at $649 billion. In stark contrast, during 2016, subsidies for renewable energy totaled $6.7 billion — dropping 56% from 2013 levels, according to a report prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. About 80% (or $5.6 billion) of the 2016 renewables subsidies came in the form of tax breaks, half of which went to biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel and the other half benefited wind and solar in the form of tax credits, which are set to expire at the end of 2021, though a permanent 10% investment tax credit for solar and geothermal installations will remain. 

According to the IMF as well as the International Energy Agency, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies worldwide would be one of the most effective ways of reducing greenhouse gases and battling global warming. 

Conclusion

Increased digital technology adoption in the U.S. and around the world, will continue to push CO2 emission to its highest levels in history, if the electricity used to fuel it is largely produced with hydrocarbon energy. To cut down on CO2 emission during the height of the cryptocurrency bull market in 2017, the use of an SPS system was proposed to electrify crypto currency mining. 

Transitioning to clean energy has become inevitable, a survival concern, so much so that investment advisors who manage nearly half the world’s invested capital, of more than $34 trillion in assets are urging the G20 for compliance with the Paris Agreement to save the global economy $160 trillion. Because the alternative, will result in damages of $54 trillion. 

Nevertheless, switching to solar energy will likely necessitate — among other issues — adjustments to the U.S. environmental tax policy, which currently heavily favors fossil fuels. 

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

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

cointelegraph.com

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