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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 7-13 December 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

China

Chinese Government Increasingly Using Blockchain to Increase Big Government Initiatives: The Chinese government is increasing the use of blockchain technology, the core tech behind the creation of cryptocurrency for increased surveillance, financial checks and other forms of government outreach.

According to some experts in the Blockchain field, the Chinese government’s initiatives are ironic considering blockchain was actually the technology that was supposed to limit government interference in various matters.

The view was narrated by CoinShares Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Treasury Meltem Demirors who tweeted:

“My dystopian nightmares are slowly becoming reality. first Venezuela forces its citizens to hold worthless “petros”, now China is debasing the idea of cryptocurrency to eliminate cash and censor access to payments and banking services”

While Bitcoin may become bigger than China itself eventually, the dose of irony is very much a reality these days as the distributed technology continues to be used by the governments to limit rather than expand civil liberties.

South Korea

Virtual Power Plant to be Built in Dusan: The South Korean city of Dusan will now be home to the first virtual electricity power grid in the country with blockchain technology playing a key role in the process. Busan, the second most populous city in the country will see an increase in distributed electricity generation as a result of this intelligent grid being started in the country.
The 4 billion Wong ($3.5 million) project will be first of its kind in the country as a virtual power grid is a distributed system in which multiple power producers including independent smaller ones like solar farms can contribute to the grid thus creating a cloud power network.

Energy management company Nuri Telecom will partner with Busan City Gas and Korean Industrial Complex for this crucial project. It will eventually be presented in an energy competition in 2019.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Association to Create Healthy Crypto Ecosystem: Seven major cryptocurrency exchanges in the country are working with each other to create a better environment for crypto investors. Recently, they agreed and signed an agreement for the creation of a sound cryptocurrency ecosystem’.

Local exchanges including Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, Gopax, Coinplug (Cpdax), and Hanbitco signed the agreement to help increase investment in the sector and also create a positive ecosystem that punishes money launderers.

The move comes after the Financial Services Commission (FSC) reportedly initiated moves to tighten their hold on cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Japan

Ten Years Prison Sentence Sought for Mt Gox former CEO Mark Karpeles: Japanese prosecuting authorities are seeking a whopping 10-year sentence for the top official of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt Gox that suffered one of the biggest breaches in history with more than $450 million disappearing from its accounts. 

Authorities are blaming Karpeles for embezzling more than 340 million JPY from the exchange which was reportedly swept under the rug after the infamous hack of 2014. However, a softer sentence may be expected after Mt Gox announced that it intends to reimburse all the investors in fiat earlier this year.

Australia

Australian Beef to be Sent to China Using Blockchain Technology: An Australian logistics insurance company is testing a pilot blockchain technology called BeefLedger to handle beef shipments to Chinese customers.

The National Transport Insurance (NTI) has been in the insurance business for 45 months and is the country’s biggest truck insurer. Using the new blockchain system, the company intends to improve food security and animal welfare in the country.

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest crypto and blockchain news, continent by continent and country by country.

Japan

Taxation Committee to Help Simplify Cryptocurrency Tax Returns: Japanese taxation policy committee is debating on how to simplify cryptocurrency tax returns in the country to facilitate local traders.

Officials from the committee acting in an advisory capacity to the government for regulations said that there was a need to stimulate a thorough approach towards reporting cryptocurrency gains.

Japanese traders are required by law to report annual gains more than 200,000 Yen ($1780).

South Korea

Financial Regulator Maintains Tough Stance on Cryptocurrencies: The top financial regulator of South Korea has maintained its negative stance on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Financial Service Commission (FSC) has said earlier this week that the power of blockchain is immense but it may not be necessarily coupled with cryptocurrencies.

Choi Jong-koo, the Chairman of the FSC reflected this thinking and said:

But I think we should not equate the cryptocurrency trading business with the blockchain industry.”

ICOs were especially banned in the country a year ago by the FSC and the agency is now looking to reintroduce them with heavy regulations.

Taiwan

Politician Receives First-Ever Cryptocurrency Campaign Donation: A Taiwanese politician has become the first one to receive campaign donations in Bitcoin according to Taiwan News.

Hsiao Hsin-Chen made history after several anonymous sources contributed to his campaign with BTC. More than 10,000 Taiwan Dollars ($325) was donated to his campaign earlier this week which apparently broke the rules as imposed by local Taiwanese rules and regulations. The politician is seeking to promote cryptocurrencies and other blockchain innovations.

Hong Kong

Securities Regulator Working on New Cryptocurrency Rules: A Hong Kong regulator is working on new cryptocurrency regulation in the Chinese special district to protect investors from fraud.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is expected to introduce new cryptocurrency regulations according to chairman Carlson Tong Ka-Shing. He has also said that a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies like mainland China may not be the right solution. The SFC is also deliberating on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and their regulatory measures.

China

Government Looking to Hire Cryptocurrency Experts: Mainland China is looking to add four cryptocurrency specialists to make a framework for facilitation of transactions.

The latest hirings will be done in the Digital Money Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). Two of them will be engineers and two experts in economic law and finance.

Cryptocurrencies are banned in Mainland China but this approach could soon see the uplifting of the blanket ban in the most populous country in the world.

Trade Tariffs Could Hit Chinese Mining Hardware: New trade tariffs imposed by the US government will affect chipmakers in China’s mining hardware manufacturing industry as the trade war intensifies between the two biggest economies in the world.

Bitmain, the biggest mining company will be affected the most by the new tariffs as the new Antminer will now be classified as electrical machinery apparatus and be subjected to a 2.6% tariff increase.

Iran

US Financial Authority Condemns Iran for the Use of Cryptocurrencies: US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has condemned Iran for using cryptocurrencies to avoid US sanctions. 

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran after the government backtracked on the nuclear deal signed a few years ago but Iran now it seems has found a way to circumnavigate situation through cryptocurrencies, thus inviting the wrath of the government.

Australia

Securities Regulator to Shutting Down Scam ICOs: Australian securities regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has reportedly shut down several Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Recently, a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) was also stopped for a cryptocurrency investment scheme.

According to ASIC commissioner John Prince:

“If you raise money from the public, you have important legal obligations. It is the legal substance of your offer — not what it is called —that matters,” 

ASIC is tightening control after ICO scams were revealed in recent times in the country.

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The post Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12-18 October 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Korea

South Korea to decide on ICO legality in November: The legality of initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be decided in November this year, according to a government source in the South Korean Ministry of Government Coordination.

The chief of the office Hong Nam-Ki provided valuable insight regarding government’s position on ICOs. While he was coy about what the government would eventually decide, he said survey results will be received from blockchain companies by the end of October and then the government will deliberate on whether to allow them or not.

The Korean Blockchain Association is making a strong case for removing the ban on ICOs in the country while advocating for them in a National Library seminar in the capital. Its chairman, Chin Dae-je, said that allowing new ICOs will bring in new jobs and benefit the economy.

Bithumb acquired by Singapore group: One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, Bithumb, has been acquired by a Singapore-based medical group in a USD 354 million deal. Bithumb suffered a major exchange hack back in June this year with more than KRW 35 billion (USD 40 million) lost and has been in rebuilding phase ever since.

Interestingly, the new stakeholder is a plastic surgeon named Kim Byung Gun and he has purchased a 51% majority stake in the exchange. Despite the recent hack, Bithumb’s daily trading volume is still the sixth largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex and Upbit.

Japan

New science minister has pro-blockchain history: The latest addition in the Japanese cabinet, Science Minister Takua Hirai, has a well-known pro-blockchain stance. His experience will prove to be crucial in the promotion of the cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in the country.

Earlier this year, Hirai was a senior advisor to a study group which had been set up to lay down rules for the adoption of ICOs and offer proposals for the Financial Services Agency (FSA). He also orchestrated a bill back in 2017 that legalized cryptocurrencies in the country. While agencies like FSA have tightened crypto rules, the crypto community can look forward to the new appointment with optimism.

China

Government claims blockchain standards will guide industry: The China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI), a government institute, has announced a new project that will determine helpful blockchain-related standards in the country to increase efficient utilization of DLT.

While the organization is aimed at standardizing the industry, three separate models will be issued for smart contracts, privacy and deposits. The standards are expected to be released in 2019.

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)

Congressman proposes extension of AML laws to include crypto: A Taiwanese lawmaker is hoping to introduce new legislation in the Congress to include cryptocurrencies in the anti-money laundering framework in the country.

Congressman Jason Hsu has proposed an amendment to the current Money Laundering Control Act to have cryptocurrencies face the same legal course as fiat currencies. It is also expected to add new rules that are crypto-specific in nature. The bill is very similar to the one proposed and adopted by the European Union earlier this year.

Singapore

Financial regulator to address crypto-related complaints against banks: The Singaporean financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said that it is willing to support cryptocurrency projects including exchanges that are having problems with bank accounts in the country.

Some crypto firms complained about the banking system’s bias towards cryptocurrencies that has resulted in several account closures and suspensions. MAS is now working with the crypto projects to address the lingering issue.

Thailand

Government exploring blockchain application in agriculture, finance, IP: The Thai Ministry of Commerce is exploring the option of using blockchain technology for the betterment of three industries, namely agriculture, finance and IP.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon from the Trade and Strategy Office in an interview with the Bangkok Post said that the government is making an effort to use DLT for boosting credibility and efficiency of the country’s various industries.

Australia

Government testing smart money for disability insurance: A federal research branch called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is partnering with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) for a proof-of-concept blockchain for disability insurance.

Together, the two organizations will use the blockchain to create smart money, as they call it, for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As of now, a prototype has been developed by the participants of the scheme.

 

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The post Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 11th October 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 28th September to 4th October 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Korea

Government expected to reject exchanges status as venture firms: The South Korean government is expected to reject continuing the status of cryptocurrency exchanges as venture firms and is expected to degrade their status, thereby increasing taxation.

The move comes after earlier suggested legislation by the South Korean Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was upheld by the government and is now expected to be approved. The exchanges will now no longer be a part of the venture setup and are expected to be classified with gambling, bar and the entertainment industries thus doubling the taxes.

National policy expected to legalize ICOs: South Korea’s national policy committee chairman has called for the legalization of ICOs in the country. The move comes after much seesawing policy positions by the South Korean officials in recent times.

Min Byung-Doo, the current chairman of the National Policy Committee, is part of the ruling democratic party addressed the local media in support of ICOs and categorically said that Korea should allow ICOs. He also added that self-regulation from the cryptocurrency industry can help protect investors and traders against fraud and money laundering activities.

But other sections of the current government have been less welcoming of the prospect and have called for further restrictions on the blockchain economy. Policy adviser to the Justice Department Lee Jong Keun said just last month that strict regulations need to be in place around cryptocurrency for security purposes.

Japan

Exchange association tightens self-regulatory measures: The Japanese self-regulatory body of cryptocurrency exchanges has tightened laws of cryptocurrency trading in the country. The Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) was formed by some of the biggest names in the Japanese market for self-regulation purposes. The move has limited the amount of tokens that can be managed on an exchange’s “hot wallet” to help prevent big exchange hacks in the near future.

The latest move comes after the recent hacking of the Zaif cryptocurrency exchange in the country that led to more than USD 59.7 million worth of cryptocurrencies being stolen from the hot wallets. The JVCEA is pre-empting the regulation to invite a softer response from the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the premier Japanese financial markets regulator.

China

Hotel starts payment in Ether despite government ban: A hotel in China’s Sichuan province has reportedly started payments in Ethereum despite a blanket ban on cryptocurrency transfers in the country.

According to a local news outlet’s translated version: “The hinterland of western China has a rich and traditional hotel industry. They are entrepreneurs who accept Ethereum as payments with a goal to participate in advanced blockchain technology and trend.”

The pictures also show a big Bitcoin wall art just behind the reception lobby. The owner clearly is a fan of cryptocurrencies but it remains to be seen how the government will react to the matter.

India

Crypto exchange shuts down amid government indecisiveness: One of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country is shutting its operations due to the government’s poor regulatory efforts in the sector.

ZebPay closed its operations in the country after the Indian government failed to tackle an earlier announcement by Reserve Bank of India to declare cryptocurrencies illegal. ZebPay had over 3 million users and its sudden decision came as a surprise for the cryptocurrency community.

Australia

Government to develop new rules for crypto exchanges: According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) the agency is working on a new set of rules for regulating cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

The move comes after earlier regulatory efforts were deemed incomplete and the agency was tasked to devise new rules for the future.

 

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The post Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 28th September to 4th October 2018 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 21st to 27th September 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Korea

South Korea may reverse crypto ban: Regulators of South Korean markets are reportedly softening their stance on ICOs and cryptocurrencies and may lift the blanket ban on ICOs imposed last year.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) took these measures because of consistent hacks occurring in Korean exchanges. Various cryptocurrency exchanges got hacked and lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Some exchanges were also suspected of illegal activity. But, due to increased security measures and Anti Money Laundering (AML) laws being implemented, the authority may look to reverse its earlier decisions on banning ICOs.

North Korea

Government thought to be using crypto to circumvent US sanctions: The North Korean government is using cryptocurrencies to avoid US sanctions on it, according to international money laundering and intelligence experts Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston.

They said in a joint statement:

“International criminals everywhere prefer cryptocurrencies and the DPRK (North Korea) is no exception. Cryptocurrencies have the added advantage to the DPRK of giving them more ways to circumvent US sanctions. They can do so by using multiple international exchangers, mixing and shifting services – mirroring the money laundering cycle – to exploit international financial institutions that have correspondent banking relationships with the United States.”

The move could spell further weakening of the US-controlled financial model that is currently widely accepted in the world.

Japan

Government fumes at $60 million hack of exchange: The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) is fuming at the latest hack occurring in Japanese exchange Zaif that saw almost USD 60 million stolen from investors. 

What is so frustrating for the FSA is that the exchange was given two warnings earlier to drastically improve their security system but it did not. The FSA has opened an investigation into the Zaif hack to help devise methods for exchanges to protect themselves in the future.

Mt Gox exchange confirms Bitcoin sell-off: Defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt Gox’s has confirmed that it has liquidated over USD 230 million worth of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from its wallets.

The exchange suffered a mammoth USD 470 million hack back in 2014 and declared bankruptcy. Now the recent sell-off is allowing the company to get out of bankruptcy by compensating its investors and getting into a rehabilitation program.

Malaysia

Government encouraging industries to adopt blockchain: The top three industries of Malaysia are being asked to promote blockchain growth in them that will enable transparency, efficiency and sustainability by a government-formed task force. The three top sectors include renewable energy, palm oil and Islamic finance.

In the energy sector, the government is confident to lead the growth in renewable energy with the help of blockchain technology by categorizing energy as green or emission-related. Similarly, in banking and palm oil, blockchain technology can create a recipe for success according to the government.

Hong Kong

Stock exchange firm announcing blockchain and fintech acquisition strategy: The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is looking to invest in blockchain and other fintech companies starting next year.

The progressive move was announced due to increased interest by the public in the blockchain space and encouraging government attitude. The stock exchange is already partnering with Australian Securities Exchange to implement blockchain technology in its system.

Australia

Research blockchain to conduct 30,000 cross-border transactions per second: Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is testing a new blockchain developed by the University of Sydney group called Red Belly Network and can reportedly process 30,000 transactions per second.

The Concurrent Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the university was behind the creation of this project and the blockchain will help CSIRO to improve the speed of cross-border transactions to help monitor environmental risks including those posed to marine life.

 

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Asia and Australia Cryptocurrency News Roundup 14-20 September 2018

Welcome to another weekly blockchain and cryptocurrency news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country. Next up is Asia and Australia.

Japan

Financial regulator reveals update for crypto regulation: Japan’s top financial regulator is updating the public regarding the ongoing crypto regulation deliberations. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) held its fifth cryptocurrency study group meeting on September 12, 2018 and also revealed that more than 160 companies were aiming to get into the crypto space and three current cryptocurrency operators were being reviewed.

The agency is currently reviewing different approaches towards cryptocurrency regulation in the country. The main problem in reviewing applications is a lack of manpower available at the agency and therefore, the agency is also looking for additional workforce.

South Korea

Samsung’s blockchain technology to help improve Customs Service: Samsung is set to develop a blockchain-based platform to be used by South Korea’s Customs Services. Samsung SDS, the IT wing of the electronics company is developing the new program on Nexledger, which is currently being used by businesses to help reduce wastage and increase cost effectiveness in data exchange and financial transactions.

Now the South Korean Customs Service is signing up for the platform in order to streamline the Customs process that involves millions of goods that need to be cleared. The platform will also help in detecting forged trade documentation.

Ministry of Science and Information Communication Systems to help blockchain growth: The South Korean Ministry of Science and Information Communication System has announced that it is going to announce steps to support the blockchain industry development in the country. 

During a recent meeting between the blockchain startups and Second Vice Minister of Science and ICT Min Won-ki, the minister reiterated the government’s support for the crucial futuristic technology and its development.

Min said:

“Considering the fact that there is no significant blockchain technology gap between South Korea and the other countries, it is a good opportunity for South Korea to lead the industry. The government will actively back domestic companies to help them lead the global blockchain market.”

South Korea is pacing its blockchain development nicely but there are significant challenges in place for the future.

China

Chinese woman embarks on a 21-day Bitcoin challenge: A Chinese woman recently undertook a 21-day Bitcoin challenge that was aired on their popular streaming service iQiyi.

The challenge involves surviving across China for 21 days with just 0.21 BTC in her mobile wallet. She cannot convert it into fiat and has to engage with real-life people to make Bitcoin transactions. The show provides valuable insight into the cryptocurrency scene in China, which despite blanket government bans, has a vibrant presence.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong firm launches stablecoin, defying Chinese ban: A Hong Kong-based investment firm has launched a new stablecoin which is backed by the Japanese Yen in defiance of the mainland China government that has overall control over the running of the special Chinese region.

Grandshores Technology group announced that a funding round will be launched in late 2018 or early 2019 by the company. The company’s announcement was bold considering China’s continuing overbearing stance on cryptocurrencies and ban on ICOs. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the country and is looking to promote cryptocurrencies within its own little umbrella despite facing pressure from China itself.

Australia

North Queensland becomes hub for cryptocurrency adoption: Queensland in Northern Australia is becoming a new center for cryptocurrency adoption in the country with merchant adoption for Bitcoin Cash.

The region is home to the first BCH-only ATM in the country and has its own Bitcoin Cash Meetup as well. Also, there are several large and small merchants in the area that are accepting BCH. All in all, 73 of them are accepting the fourth largest cryptocurrency as payments for their customers. Residents can even buy coffee with Bitcoin Cash as well.

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 7th to 13th September 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Japan

Financial regulator adds more experts for crypto license applications: The Japanese financial regulator Financial Services Agency (FSA) has announced that more individuals are being added to its 30-strong team for cryptocurrency exchange license applications in the country.

Cryptocurrencies and exchanges are doing a roaring business right now with more and more players looking to enter the market. FSA is trying to strike a balance between newcomers to promote competition and security of Japanese investors.

According to reports from Japan, there are over 160 applications pending from companies in the space with some big names looking to enter the market.

South Korea

Firm offering insurance against hacking of crypto exchanges: Cryptocurrency exchange operators in the country can now get their exchanges insured against hacking attempts to cover for sizable losses that happen from time to time.

The new offer from Hanwha Insurance means that domestic South Korean exchanges will now have an option for an additional layer of security.

A representative of the Insurance company said:

“It is not a product that has to be compulsory, but it can be outlined if we discuss how much demand there will be. Even if the exchange wants to join, it will require as much coordination as the insurance and reinsurance companies need to meet in order to get insurance.”

Hacked exchanges are a big problem in South Korea as more than USD 500 million worth of coins have already been hacked from major exchanges in the country this year alone.

China

Government to track donations with the help of blockchain technology: The Chinese government is planning to implement blockchain technology to track charitable donations made in the country through their Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).

The Chinese government has always been wary of donations and charities that could be misused against the integrity of the country. The ministry has announced a four-year plan for charities to enhance governmental outreach and transparency in the field. NGOs and other charitable organizations will be made to held accountable for all donations through this under-development system.

Uzbekistan

Government looking for South Korean blockchain expertise: South Korea’s blockchain expertise has found overseas admiration and demand as other countries like Uzbekistan are looking to them for developing blockchain industry in their own country.

The Central Asian country recently legalized cryptocurrency trading in the country and has announced initial regulations for mining and trading in the country as well as a state-owned coin trading platform. It is in that regards that the government has sought help from the Korean Blockchain Business Association for help. The government is also looking to offer specialized educational courses in its local universities.

Australia

Driver’s license to be based on blockchain technology: The Australian government has announced that blockchain technology will now be incorporated into public services as part of its forward-thinking approach. The government will trial a digital drivers’ license backed by blockchain in Sydney.

The move is part of a concerted effort to deploy blockchain for better governance. The move will give 140,000 license holders an access to the newly-developed secure Logic TrustGrid license.

The tech behind the blockchain drivers’ license was developed by Australian data security company Secure Logic’s platform. The company is looking to partner with the government for further projects because of the potential of the technology.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 24th to 30th August 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Japan

Actress takes role with Tokyo police to fight crypto fraud and cyber crimes: Japanese singer and celebrity actress Rie Kitahara has appeared in a public awareness campaign against cyber crime and crypto fraud in the country.

The campaign was an event that included 1,700 guests and focused on cyber crimes like phishing and fake websites. The police department is currently cooperating with big exchanges in the country including SBI Virtual Currencies, Bitflyer, Bitpoint Japan, GMO Coin, Bittrade, Quoine, Bitbank, Btc Box, Money Partners and Coincheck.

South Korea

Government hosts blockchain awareness hackathon: The South Korean government has announced that it will be holding a Blockchain Grand Hackathon Challenge in partnership with Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The hackathon challenge announced last week is a chance for blockchain developers to create solutions for social issues, distributed apps and create innovations for public and private industries. Participants will have until 28 September to sign up for the hackathon. The tournament also has a prize pot of KRW 100 million (USD 90,450).

North Korea

Government to host Pyongyang blockchain conference: The North Korean government in a first, is expected to announce a blockchain conference in the capital of Pyongyang later this year.

While North Korea is usually in the crypto news for the wrong reasons, the government has probably decided it is time to start opening up the country in anticipation of ending of tough sanctions against the country. There is little news regarding the event overall and its agenda, however.

India

Government considering rupee-backed digital currency to combat rising fiat cost: The Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India are deliberating the introduction of a rupee-backed cryptocurrency in the country to lower the burden of printing paper money and coins that is creating a crisis.

According to Financial Services company EY India’s Manesh Makhia:

“The idea of a central bank-issued digital currency is very promising though issues around digital counterfeiting will need to be addressed.”

The issues started with demonetization in the country that resulted in 99.3% of the money being returned to the bank with just over INR 100 billion left in the market. A rupee-backed cryptocurrency will surely solve many solutions for the country according to reserve bank officials.

Cambodia

Oxfam to trial blockchain app to help Cambodian farmers with pricing rice: Oxfam International has said that it is piloting a blockchain-based farming project that aims to help rice farmers get a fair price for their produce.

There are over 50 rice farmers already on board for the project which is dubbed Blocrice. Oxfam aims to pilot test the project and then introduce it across the country.

Malaysia

Crypto Expo Asia to be held in Malaysia: The “mega event” Crypto Expo Asia will be held in Malaysia this year, bringing blockchain professionals from across the world in the Southeast Asian nation.

The event is being organized by FINEXPO, an influential fintech company in the area and aims to bring a real show. Over 30,000 crypto enthusiasts, investors, traders, innovators and pioneers are expected to attend the event.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong looking for blockchain professionals: Hong Kong is increasing its support for blockchain development and innovation in the country and is on the lookout for more industry professionals to focus on the DLT side of things.

A talent list issued by the government of Hong Kong lists DLT skills as new professions that it needs for future development of vital industries.

Australia

Government may develop nationwide blockchain platform: The Australia Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) announced that a data consortium has been launched with the help of IBM and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills for building a nationwide blockchain smart contracts platform for Australian businesses to collaborate and do business with.

The platform will be called Australian National Blockchain (ANB) and is being presented as a future game-changer in the future. The pilot project will start using the IBM Blockchain.

 

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Asia and Australia Cryptocurrency News Roundup 17-24 August 2018

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country. Next up is Asia and Australia.

China

Government Restricts Cryptocurrency Trading Websites: The Chinese government has banned cryptocurrency trading websites in the country as the digital currencies are considered illegal in the country.

But, despite the ban, there is a considerable presence of cryptocurrency circles in the country, which the government is planning to target them. There are over 206 crypto exchanges listed on coinmarketcap.com and the government has reportedly shut all of their websites down in an effort to crack down on cryptocurrencies.

The government is also looking to monitor ICO activity in the country.

South Korea

South Korean City Partnering with US Company to Reduce Carbon Footprint: A major South Korean metropolis Chuncheon is partnering with a clean energy company Swytch based in the United States to boost environmental and economic stability in the city.

According to a press release by the local government, Mayor Lee Jae-Soo was in attendance when the agreement was signed between the two parties. Several other South Korean cities are also looking to use blockchain for green initiatives.

Government Finds Security Flaws in Cryptocurrency Exchanges: South Korean exchanges are one of the most vulnerable to hacking attempts as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of coins have been lost to various hacks in the last several months alone. A recent government check found exchanges having varying levels of vulnerabilities in their systems.

The Korean government recently checked 21 local cryptocurrency exchanges and identified 17 out of 85 issues that need improvement, of which 11 concerned crypto wallet management. The investigated exchanges included Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinnest, Coinlink, Coinone, Coinplug, and Huobi Korea.

North Korea

North Korean Lazarus Group Infiltrates Crypto Exchange: North Korean hacker group named Lazarus have hacked into another cryptocurrency exchange in a hacking operation called Operation Applejeus by Kaspersky antivirus lab. The group has a longstanding history of hacking South Korean banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, and government websites.

But, Operation Applejeus is the first time that the group has successfully created malware for Mac OS, the native OS of Apple. An unidentified employee of an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange downloaded the malware belonging to the Lazarus group that led to the hack. The group has also attacked the US and South Korean governments in the past.

It is not yet clear what amount of cryptocurrencies the hackers were able to gain access to in the cryptocurrency exchange.

Japan

Financial Services Agency all for Balance between Innovation and Consumer Protection: The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has said that it is aiming to create a balance between technological innovation that blockchain proposes and consumer protection.

The FSA’s top regulator Toshihide Endo said that the industry needs to grow under proper regulation so that it won’t need government intervention in exchanges operating within the country. FSA has already enforced trading caps on exchanges and restricted use based on age groups.

Thailand

Central Bank to Test Digital Currency: The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has announced a landmark project to see the launch of a new Central Bank Digital Currency according to a press release on 21 August 2018.

The new state cryptocurrency will use R3’s Corda platform with a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) being deliberated for wholesale fund transfers. Wholesale central bank currency limits usage to banks and financial institutions only, as opposed to a retail one that is ready for public use.

Australia

Citizens Can Now Pay Bills With Cryptocurrencies: Australian citizens will now be able to pay their bills using cryptocurrencies as two fintech startups have teamed up to provide a crypto bill payment service for citizens.

The crypto startups Cointree and automated billing platform Gobbill are behind the initiative. The system involves Gobbill accepting cryptocurrencies and then paying bills on their behalf in the form of fiat currency to the concerned authorities.

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 3rd to 9th August 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

China

Court sides with exchange despite allegations of defying government crypto ban: A Beijing court took the side of a cryptocurrency exchange despite strict local rules preventing cryptocurrency transactions and trade.

In a detailed judgment, the court upheld a decision on Bitcoin trader Li Jianfeng that he must return the proceeds of BTC 5 that he got by accident back in 2017. Li liquidated the cryptocurrencies immediately after that.

The case was complicated because cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions are under a blanket ban by the Chinese government and Li’s counsel argued that the transactions couldn’t be recognized by the court but the court still ruled that Li should return the funds.

The court’s judgment said:

“In this case, whether or not Coinnice’s establishment as a Bitcoin trading platform has violated relevant rules, does not have any impact on Li’s liability to return the profits he received with no legal basis… As such, the court denies his appeal and the decision is final.”

Alibaba working on application of blockchain technology: Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, is working on application of blockchain technology and already has the largest number of blockchain-related tech patents in the world.

According to Jing Xiandong, CEO of Alibaba’s financial arm: “We are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology.”

Overall, 43 blockchain-related patents were claimed by Alibaba in 2017 alone. That is around 11% of the total number of blockchain patents filed in the space in the world. The Ant Financial System 2.0 released by the Alibaba’s financial arm is an open platform for self-operation and decentralization. Alibaba is also involved in blockchain partnerships around the world.

Thailand

50 ICOs apply for licenses: Increasing interest is being witnessed in the Thai crypto circles as more than 50 companies have applied for ICO permits, according to latest reports from the Bangkok Post.

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received increased interest after it announced that ICOs will have to be passed by it. ICOs normally look to raise funds through crowdfunding campaigns and SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul said that it remains to be seen how many of these new ICOs will actually be given license to operate in the country.

Japan

Crypto exchanges’ self-regulator applies for official status: Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges’ self-regulation body Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is seeking official recognition from the government.

The union consists of 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges and are what they call security inspectors of Japanese exchanges themselves as part of a self-regulatory approach by them. The association has written up to 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures.

The association filed for recognition and certification from financial regulator Financial services Authority (FSA) and said in the application that it is a “certified fund settlement business association” which will provide “guidance and recommendations to members to comply with regulations, laws and self-regulation rules”.

South Korea

Blockchain association presses for regulation efforts: The South Korean Blockchain Enterprise Promotion Association (BEPA) has pressed the government to swiftly pass blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in the country.

Yoo Joon-sand, president of BEPA said in a press briefing:

“But instead of welcoming the people’s fervor for the technology, the government is focused on controlling it to address negative short-term side effects. This is essentially kicking away the economic opportunities that lie in front of us.”

The association is a powerful union with ex-politicians, academics and even former Prime Minister Lee Soo-Sung is part of its team.

Philippines

Government Using Blockchain Technology in Cleaning Rivers: The Philippines government is working on a blockchain system to help clean up a local river.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Council (PRRC) which is in charge of cleanup operations in the city is looking to partner with CypherOdin, a blockchain startup with an environmental focus to help save a river that is one of the most polluted rivers in the country.

India

Government planning blockchain district in Hyderabad: The Indian government’s IT division is planning a new blockchain center in the city of Hyderabad in a partnership with multinational IT services company Tech Mahindra.

The two groups signed an MoU for future work on the center. The project is part of India’s agenda to bring new technological innovation in the country.

Australia

“Time traveler” millionaire investor plans crypto bank: Aussie cryptocurrency millionaire Fred Schebesta who claims to have traveled in time is trying to establish his own bank in the country to circumnavigate strict crypto-related restrictions in place in the Aussie system.

According to Schebesta:

“You don’t have your money. The bank has your money. Have you ever gone to the bank and asked for all your money? If everyone did a bank run on CommBank [Commonwealth Bank of Australia] right now, they wouldn’t be able to service it. That’s why I’m so big on crypto. I think eventually people will go, “Oh my god, this is so messed up”, and they’ll move to where they can hold their value. Not all of their money, but some of it.”

The eccentric millionaire says he “travels” forward in time to benefit from cryptocurrencies.

 

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