The digital arms race.
Refugees arriving in Greece have found themselves forced to organize in order to survive. One of the most basic needs, after feeding oneself, is to be able to communicate — to be able to ask for help, to go to the doctor, to get a lawyer, to know your rights, to get out of the refugee camp and to work in a new country. These tasks can be extremely difficult for refugees in Greece, the majority of whom only speak Arabic.
Ramez Shame, who is a refugee from Egypt, speaks both Arabic and English, which is a second language for many in Greece. As soon as he realized how his language skills could help others, he went to work. After taking stock of the needs of refugees, Shame and three others started a cooperative hotline in Thessaloniki to act as a bridge for refugees, called the Refugees to Refugees (R2R) Solidarity Call Center.
The Internal Revenue Service has dropped the ball on bitcoin and left users with little choice but noncompliance. Agency officials may have been in denial for the past few years, but the weight of criticism from both government and independent watchdogs appears to have jolted them into action.
Their knee-jerk response, however, is thin on introspection and does zero to facilitate legal use of the cryptocurrency. To make up for lost time and cast fear into the hearts of bitcoin users across the country, the IRS is demanding to know the transaction records and identities of every single client from 2013 to 2015 of the largest bitcoin trading platform in the United States.
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, self-regulating digital currencies that may be used as “cash” for global trading and are based on very complex mathematical algorithms that must be approved by a majority of the community, making it practically impossible to defraud. It offers instant exchanges from anywhere in the world, with little or no charges.Gemini Trust Company, LLC is the first company in the US (and the world) to gain a license for trading Ether, a new and emerging type of cryptocurrency that is run on the platform Ethereum which, according to their website, “is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.”
Cryptocurrencies garnered hostility from the mainstream population due to its tendency to attract illegal businesses, mainly because it offers anonymity and can be used to transfer money without a trace. While their legality varies from country to country, people see their possibilities and advantages and the acceptance of digital currencies has been developing.
Recently, Japan recognized Bitcoin and a license has been issued to Bitstamp for trading bitcoins within the EU.