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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 8th to 14th June 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

Bank to use blockchain for credit blacklist: Suning Bank, one of the biggest retailers in China has announced that it is testing a blockchain-based system that will allow it to reduce credit fraud.

The low credit scores will be recorded on the blockchain and and will be used in collaboration with other banks to reduce credit card and loan fraud. China is investing a lot in blockchain technology, especially in the banking sector to increase transparency.

Japan

Monero miners to face charges: Japanese police is investigating three suspected Monero miners involved in a crypto jacking case, according to latest reports by Japanese daily Mainchi.

The miners used a software called Coinhive, a Monero mining script in a crypto jacking conspiracy that set up websites to include the script that cause the visitors’ computers to slow down as their CPU was drained.

Criminal charges are expected to be placed on these individuals in a first for Japan.

South Korea

Crypto exchange suffers major hack: Latest news from South Korea reveals a massive hack inside CoinRail, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, as reported by Reuters.

Roughly USD 37 million in altcoins were stolen in the hack but the claim was not verified by the exchange company itself. The exchange’s ranking is 9oth in the world with as much as USD 2.5 million in daily trading volumes.

Bitcoin’s massive drop last week was also amplified by the exchange hack that resulted in prices touching the lowest levels since the year’s start. A renewed mistrust in exchanges is going to a concern for the future price of all major cryptocurrencies.

Banks initiate blockchain ID system: The South Korean Federation of Banks (KFB) has announced a new blockchain-based ID system called BankSign that will be implemented as early as July.

The new initiative is anticipated to replace to the outdated current system that has been in place for the last 20 years and has resulted in numerous fraudulent activities.

A spokesperson of the KFB said,”[It is] the first project co-developed by the local banking sector utilizing blockchain technology. While BankSign will start off by providing the service in the banking sector, we will work with the government and other public organizations to expand its usage.”

The project itself is built on the Nexledger blockchain developed by tech giant Samsung.

Thailand

Securities regulator enforces crypto rules: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand has announced new laws for cryptocurrency on 8 Jun that are seen as a milestone to legalize cryptocurrencies in the country.

The SEC Thailand’s decision is in contrast with other countries including China that has banned cryptocurrencies. It has instead declared cryptocurrencies as digital assets that are legal but need to be regulated.

As part of the legalization efforts, seven cryptocurrencies have been cleared for trading on cryptocurrency exchanges and they include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Stellar and Ripple.

Afghanistan

Coders earn ETH by promoting new crypto projects: A non-profit company based in Afghanistan that gives young women coding lessons is partnering with a network that will allow these coding professionals to earn Ether for fixing issues in crypto startups and participating in bounties. A bounty is a simple job that results in reward of tokens for the person who does the job.

The startup, Code to Inspire (CTI), is partnering with The Bounties Network for this freelancing endeavor that will have a dual purpose of empowering women and promoting remote-learning in the mostly rural country.

Australia

Local tax office hunting crypto traders avoiding taxation: The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is on the hunt for unregistered cryptocurrency traders, according to latest reports coming from the country.

While Bitcoin appreciated several times over last year alone, a lot of money was made by ‘hodlers’ and traders in the cryptocurrency business but after the passing of crypto taxation regulation, the ATO is now on the hunt for all Bitcoin profiteers.

According to Liz Russel, senior tax agent: “There is a long-running debate over what cryptocurrency actually is – whether it’s an asset, currency or collectible – but the ATO has made it clear that it treats cryptocurrency as an asset. That means it’s subject to the same capital gains tax (CGT) provisions that apply to real estate and shares.”

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 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.

Asia

Japan

Fujitsu starts blockchain-based reward points system: Japanese tech company Fujitsu has successfully rolled out a new blockchain-based system for its promotional campaigns like reward points and discount coupons according to a press release issued by the company last Wednesday.

According to the company, the system is going to be deployed across Japan to create awareness among merchants regarding its rewards program and how the promotional activities can be based on blockchain technology.

South Korea

Crypto margin trading to be treated as illegal gambling: The Cyber Crime Division of the South Korea government has declared that margin trading service in cryptocurrency exchanges that are on offer on most systems is equivalent to illegal gambling. The move comes after three Coinone executives involved in margin trading were reportedly close to being arrested because of margin trading.

The groundbreaking announcement was announced after problems arose in the margin trading business of Coinone, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. In the exchange, users could borrow as much four times as their deposits in the cryptocurrency exchange and could make money or lose some depending on the behavior of the markets.

Supreme Court rules crypto as assets: In a groundbreaking move, the Supreme Court of South Korea has overturned the decision of a lower court and declared that Bitcoin is a recognizable asset. 

The move came after a notorious case last year in which a 33-year-old child pornography suspect was found to have BTC 216 but the government couldn’t confiscate them because the law didn’t recognize them as “tangible assets”.

Vietnam

Government calls for crypto mining equipment ban: The Vietnamese finance ministry has announced that it is proposing banning cryptocurrency mining equipment imports in the country according to government sources.

The latest proposal is seen as a step towards a blanket cryptocurrency ban in the country as the country treats all non-cash payments as illegal and Bitcoin is not yet recognized as cash.

Indonesia

Supervisory board signals green light for Bitcoin futures: The country’s top securities regulator Indonesian Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti) has finally designated cryptocurrencies as commodities and they are now available for trading in the future exchange according to latest reports from Coindesk.

The Bappebti was formed in 2005 to regulate the financial market in Indonesia. Jakarta Post posted the news that the governmental commission after an extensive four-month study cleared the way for Bitcoin futures trading in the country.

Philippines

Government looking to blockchain for tax collection: The Philippines department of finance is looking towards blockchain technology for improving tax collection and business improvement initiatives according to latest reports from the Pacific nation.

Paolo Alvarez, the DOF spokesperson said:

“Yes, of course, we are open to exploring blockchain. Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez is really pushing for the application of financial technology. He wants to harness fintech to improve business, for example, payment of taxes online.”

While this is vague, it may be seen as a positive development towards pursuing blockchain-based solutions.

China

Blockchain “checks” to combat fraud being developed by China central bank: Digital Currency Research Lab by Di Gang in People’s Bank of China has announced that is going to use a system capable of issuing blockchain-based checks to combat check-related frauds in the Chinese market.

The tech was the result of a year-long effort initiated by the Chinese government to decrease fraud in the country’s sprawling fintech setup. The country has been suffering from check-related fraud for some time because of a large number of intermediaries that issue checks and it is difficult to legitimize the entire operation.

State TV claims blockchain 10 times more valuable than internet: The Chinese government is banking a lot on the success and application of blockchain technology with the state-run CCTV channel saying that blockchain could be “ten times as valuable” than the internet.

In an hour-long panel in Chinese language by host Chen Weihong, the panelists, including private and public blockchain innovators, termed the technology as exciting and futuristic that will have a lot of worth in the future.

Baidu develops ‘SuperChain’: Baidu has announced the successful development of a new blockchain protocol called SuperChain. The protocol will allow diverse applications of the technology in the future.

Baidu has been at the forefront of the blockchain revolution in the country. It is one of the most popular platforms in the world as 76% of Chinese searches taking place through its search engine rather than Google.

Brunei

Bitcoin as valuable as world’s most valuable currency, Brunei’s 10,000 dollar note: Brunei Darussalam is one of the richest countries in the world according to state wealth and as of right now with Bitcoin hovering around USD 7,420, the cryptocurrency’s unit worth is just about the same as the most expensive currency note: the 10,000 Brunei dollar bill issued first back in December 2006.

While Bitcoin has seen better days, even now the biggest cryptocurrency in the world is equal to the most expensive currency note. The total market cap is, however, less than the tiny East Asian nation’s riches.

Australia

Company loses $6.6 million in crypto: Australian company Byte Power Party has lost over USD 6.6 million worth of cryptocurrencies when a Singapore-based company Soar Labs tried to invest in it without actually paying for it.

The bizarre incident occurred when Soar Labs was found to have a backdoor in its contracts and reportedly froze the coins it had paid to the Byte Power company in exchange for buying 49% of their stake. When Byte Power started selling their coins, Soar found out and stopped the process through the backdoor. Soar will likely be facing criminal charges in the backdrop of this incident.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 25th to 31st May 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

President acknowledges impact of blockchain tech: Chinese Premier Xi Xinping has acknowledged the “breakthrough” impact of blockchain technology, according to latest reports from CNBC.

The Chinese head of state made these remarks at a meeting of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Engineering last Monday. The remarks by Xi roughly translate to: “A new generation of technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communications, internet of things and blockchain is accelerating breakthrough applications.”

Blockchain is being widely adopted by Beijing but cryptocurrencies, exchanges and ICOs are banned due to a clash with conventional institutions.

Government forms blockchain standardization committee: China is at the forefront of advances in blockchain technology with the ministry of industry and technology verifying rumored plans of establishing a blockchain standardization committee.

The structure of the committee will be based on the model of TC 307, the International Standard Organization’s (ISO) own blockchain standardization initiative, according to a report by CoinDesk.

Li Ying, the head of IT Ministry information division said, “We have been working closely with the ISO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). We should soon have our national technical committee for blockchain standardization ready within this year.”

Hong Kong

Government rules out native crypto: Hong Kong’s central banking regulator Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has dismissed claims that it will launch its own cryptocurrency in the near future.

Back in April 2017, the HKMA revealed its research for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) but the proposal is now being shelved. Joseph Chan, the head of Hong Kong Financial Services and Treasury said, “In the context of Hong Kong, the already efficient payment infrastructure and services make CBDC a less attractive proposition. The HKMA has no plan to issue CBDC at this stage but will continue to monitor the international development.”

South Korea

BitHumb bans 11 countries, South Korea accuses North Korea of $650 million Bitcoin heist: South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Bithumb has banned users from 11 countries, including North Korea, following startling revelations regarding Pyongyang’s cryptocurrency jacking.

Other countries banned in the move include Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu and Yemen.

North Korea’s spy network and hackers have been accused of striking over 100 banks across the world with some USD 650 million stolen.

National Assembly proposing bill to lift ICO ban: The South Korean National Assembly has been moved to lift a ban on domestic Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The move comes eight months after all cryptocurrencies were banned following the discovery of fraudulent activity.

South Korea is one of the biggest cryptocurrency promoters in the world with big exchanges, innovative Blockchain companies and other decentralized fintech startups operating in the country. The move to re-allow ICOs to function will likely attract more investment into the local cryptocurrency market.

Japan

Crypto learning centers thriving: Crypto learning centers and educational establishments are thriving in Japan, among other East Asian nations, according to Bitcoin.com. More than 80% of total Bitcoin trading took place in East Asia.

A number of banks have also joined the movement and some banks even offer accounts in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Financial watchdog bans private cryptocurrencies: The Japanese financial watchdog Financial Services Agency (FSA) has banned pro-privacy and privately-operated cryptocoins, according to latest reports published on CoinDesk this week.

The move will affect popular coins including Monero, Dash, Augur’s reputation token and ZCash. All of these currencies offer increased privacy as compared to other tokens. The reason behind the move is said to be a crackdown on illicit coin trading.

Philippines

Filipino blockchain project to bring banking to the unbanked: The Union Bank of Philipines and US-based startup ConsenSys will see the 35 million unbanked Filipinos come into the banking fold through blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

According to Finance Secretary Carlos G Dominguez, “Over 86 percent of Filipinos remain unbanked to this day. That is an intolerable ratio of the population excluded from the financial mainstream… We cannot have a new economy with an ancient banking system.”

Australia

Brisbane airport approves crypto payments: Australian city Brisbane’s international airport has announced plans of cryptocurrency payment options at its passenger terminals, according to reports by NewsBTC.

Passengers will be able to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and other cryptocurrencies to pay for their tickets at various places inside the airport. According to Roel Hellemons, the General Manager of Strategic Planning and Development, “This is just the beginning for us as we hope to expand the digital currency option across the business.”

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are becoming popular choices for Australian investors and many see Bitcoin as a viable currency of the future.

 

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