Bitcoin price has fluctuated since its December high of just under $20,000 – but some cryptocurrency experts now believe bitcoin could have a “more stable” price in the future (though this could take decades) (Bitcoin Investing).
The sense is that volatility is not going to go away any time soon, especially since there are still plenty of bitcoin ‘whales’ or people who are involved in bitcoin early on who have amounted a large stockpile. That’s going to be a threat in the near-term and possibly for the long-term. However, once the adoption rate of bitcoin is normal and has reached full market penetration, which we are nowhere near at the moment, and once there is more liquidity in the market, it’s likely there will be a much more stable price fluctuation. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ though (Bitcoin Investing).
Emergency tax on pension lump sums
A report commissioned by the government has called for a rethink to the use of the emergency tax code on pension withdrawals. Currently pension freedom payments are taxed at an individual’s marginal rate and if an individual draws a large amount in a single month then they can be taxed at a higher, emergency rate of tax. Individuals who are charged this higher rate can then reclaim this tax from HMRC by filling out a form however this is not always claimed back. In a report by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the body called on the government to review the way pension withdrawals are taxed, accusing the current system of creating a lot of confusion. This would seem to be borne out by the £300 million overtax on pension payments since pension freedoms were introduced.
Crackdown on costly credit – but is it enough?
Consumer groups have reacted with disappointment to a crackdown on high-cost credit by Britain’s financial watchdog, saying it fails to address “unfair” unarranged overdraft charges or extend to a cap on the doorstep lending market. Following a wide-ranging review into the sector, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing reforms to bank overdraft charges, rent-to-own operators and catalogue credit and store cards. The watchdog is also considering a number of measures to make it easier for customers to manage their accounts, including mobile alerts warning of potential overdraft charges and stopping the inclusion of overdrafts in the term “available funds”. However, Which? said it was wrong that the regulator was not taking action on unarranged overdraft fees given that that banks are estimated to have raked in £2.3 billion in revenue from overdraft charges in 2016 alone.
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