The legal adviser to the EU's highest court said that digital currencies like Bitcoin should be exempt from value-added tax, the Factom Foundation has launched a first release candidate, and more top stories for July 17.

Top EU Court Adviser: Bitcoin Should be Exempt From VAT

In a case that could set a rule across the European Union, the legal adviser to the EU's highest court said that digital currencies like Bitcoin should be exempt from value-added tax (VAT). The European Court of Justice, set up to make sure EU law is applied equally across member states, is still considering a request from Sweden for guidance on the tax status of Bitcoin. While the advice is not binding, the court does often follow the advice of its legal adviser.

Factom Team Launches First Release Candidate

Having crowdfunded US$1 million on Bank to the Future, Factom Inc.'s sister organization the Factom Foundation has launched a first release candidate, Release Candidate One (RC1). This is a critical step for launching the Factom network, a data layer for the Bitcoin blockchain. The company now calls on developers and interested participants to combine their efforts to help test and debug the beta client in advance of making it available to the broader community.

Core Developer Jeff Garzik Proposes 2MB Block Size Limit Compromise

With a new Bitcoin Improvement Proposal, BIP102, Bitcoin Core developer Jeff Garzik has proposed raising Bitcoin's block size limit to 2MB. Meant as a compromise between those who want to raise the limit as much and as soon as possible and those who don't, Garzik hopes to be able to buy some time before the limit is actually reached. As such, it would give Bitcoin developers more time to come up with alternative solutions to scale use of Bitcoin to more than the current maximum seven transactions per second.

BitPay Reveals 510% Growth in Latin America

Major Bitcoin payment processor BitPay has revealed a 510% increase in Latin America's Bitcoin transactions from 2014 to 2015. This is much bigger growth than in, for example, Europe, which saw a 70% increase. The impressive Latin American numbers seem to confirm that countries with unstable currencies are most in need of an alternative such as Bitcoin.

Drawing parallels with the current situation in Greece, BitPay project leader for the Copay Bitcoin wallet Matias Alejo Garcia said:

“Living first-hand through the Argentinian economic turmoil following the 2001 default, we could only wish we had bitcoin as a solution to protect our income from inflation and devaluation […] Now that Bitcoin exists, we hope that Greek workers and merchants can use it to protect their income through this crisis.”

Police Crackdown on €50 Million Spanish Virtual Currency Ponzi Scheme 'Unete'

Spanish national police have arrested 20 people involved in major Ponzi scheme Unetenet. The supposed alternative investment firm promised affiliates annual ROIs of over 350% paid in the company's homemade virtual currency, 'Unete.' The company stopped paying its investors in April 2014, after Latvian bank Rietumu froze the account of Unetenet founder José Manuel Ramírez Marco, as part of an investigation into money laundering. Unetenet has reportedly swindled 50,000 investors out of €50 million.

Police Crackdown on €50 Million Spanish Virtual Currency Ponzi Scheme 'Unete'

Midas Rezerv Wins Tech in Asia Bangkok Startup Competition

Midas Rezerv has won the Tech in Asia Startup Competition, securing them a ticket to the final of the Tech in Asia Tour in Tokyo. Midas Rezerv uses the blockchain to issue its own MR Coin, a decentralized digital token system backed by gold, which it stores in third-party, non-bank vaults in Free Trade Zones.

Greek Bitcoin Community Spreads the Word Amidst Violence

On the night the Greek parliament voted in favor of yet another austerity package for the country, riots broke out in front of the nation's parliament in Athens. Coin Outlet’s CEO Eric Grill stood in the middle of it all, along with the quickly forming nucleus of a Greek Bitcoin movement.

In a report for Cointelegraph, Ian DeMartino spoke with Grill and other bitcoiners present at the riots.


“I definitely think Bitcoin shines in instability and turmoil, [...] [The Greek people] are taking money out of the traditional ATMs because they don’t trust their government and they certainly don’t trust the banks.”

Greek Bitcoin Community Spreads the Word Amidst Violence

Snapcard Announces Partnership with ifeelgoods to Offer Bitcoin as a Reward for Major Retailers

Snapcard, the San Francisco-based Bitcoin wallet provider, has announced a partnership with ifeelgoods, a digital gifting platform. The partnership will give the companies using ifeelgoods the ability to create, launch and monitor campaigns that offer end users the chance to earn Bitcoin as a reward.

Иeureal Aims to Bring Artificial Intelligence to the People

Иeureal is the first decentralized open-source protocol designed to produce a distributed artificial intelligence (AI) architecture that is incentivized, maintained and housed within a cryptocurrency. Creator Wil Brown started the project with the idea that AI could be hugely impacted with the help of the technology behind Bitcoin, to pursue his “mad scientist” dream of creating an AI system.

Cointelegraph got together with Brown to discuss the project and Brown’s vision:

“[My mission is] to bring AI to the people and out of the hands of the few and to create an infrastructure with the potential to be the world’s largest repository of true understanding.”

Иeureal Aims to Bring Artificial Intelligence to the People