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Bit Trade and MNM Institute Launch New Blockchain Education Project in Australia

MNM institute and Bit Trade have announced a new blockchain education project in Australia for inspiring entrepreneurs in the sector. According to Bit Trade, the move was very much needed because it was required to equip the masses in DLT for a decentralized future whose potential is all-encompassing and universal.

The MNM institute has been in the business of grooming entrepreneurs for five years with some of their students finding success with their ideas and saw them transformed into reality. While MNM is certainly not the first institute to offer blockchain-related education in the country,

Robert Schafer, the founder and current chair of the organization said:

“The MNM institute will integrate blockchain tech into their training to ensure that the dreams of participating startups are actualized.” Robert added, “the company is well-equipped to facilitate the implementation of startup ideas into real-world use cases.”

In addition to this blockchain education program, the MNM institute and Bit Trade are now in discussion with a prominent tech institute to increase the global adoption of cryptocurrencies and DLT. The institute is based in the Asia Pacific but there is no further information in this regard. Bit Trade and MNM are also planning to launch a Blockchain Bootcamp on the application of the technology from industry experts.

Australia is home to many new blockchain and cryptocurrency related projects. The Prime Minister has even called for blockchain companies to step up and take on big banks.

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 26th October to 1st November 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

Government declares stablecoins are not crypto: The Japanese financial watchdog, Financial Services Agency (FSA), has declared that stablecoins like USD Tether, Gemini Dollar and USD Coin (USDC) are not cryptocurrencies under the law. Under the ruling, they are prepaid payment instruments and will be regulated under different rules than cryptocurrencies.

The move comes because of the inherently different nature of stablecoins that is puzzling regulators around the world. While all other cryptocurrencies have a fluctuating price, stablecoins have a constant price they use blockchain technology.

The new move could spell major obstacles for Japanese companies to issue and transact USD stablecoins. While Japan has already voiced doubts about Central Bank Digital Cryptocurrencies (CBDCs), this is the first time it has categorized stablecoins differently.

Singapore

Country celebrates 10th Bitcoin anniversary: At the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, Singapore has announced a national crypto event for two weeks and has used the celebrations to promote blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the country.

Singapore is gearing for further adoption of DLT and cryptocurrencies and already tens of thousands of Singaporeans own cryptocurrencies with regulators taking the backstage to allow the digital innovation’s promotion.

China

China opening up to crypto: China is opening up to cryptocurrencies following recent moves by the government to allow Bitcoin ownership and payment in the country. In a groundbreaking move, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration ruled that merchants can accept Bitcoin as payment in the country. As a result, Chinese can even own and transact Bitcoin under the law.

While the ruling may not bring direct changes, as the court did pass the buck back to the government regarding regulations, other moves indicate that the state is working to open up to the crypto world, albeit slowly.

Hong Kong

Regulator proposes sandbox approach in crypto regulation: Hong Kong’s top securities regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), has proposed a sandbox approach towards cryptocurrency legislation in the Chinese district. The idea was pitched by SFC chief executive Ashley Adler at the recent Hong Kong Fintech Week.

While Adler acknowledged the presence of some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, he also raised concerns regarding their regulatory status. Hong Kong is home to two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world including Bitfinex and Binance.

According to Adler: “If, and only if, we decide at the Sandbox stage that we should regulate, we would consider granting a license… the platform would then be subject to intensive reporting and monitoring to ensure that strict internal controls operate as expected and investor interests are protected.”

The future of Hong Kong’s regulations are important as thousands of users will be affected by them.

India

India looks to ban crypto, keep DLT: A member of the Indian government has said that the government should look to ban private cryptocurrencies and increase the use cases of blockchain in the country.

This pro-DLT, anti-crypto strategy has been implemented by mainland China, India’s neighbor, and it seems the regional approach is now going to be in the norm. Due to the legal battles surrounding cryptocurrencies, the Indian government was given two weeks by the Supreme Court to finalize policies regarding them.

DLT projects in the country include a Hitachi-State bank partnership for digital payments.

Australia

Australia post starts digital ID platform: Australia Post is enabling cryptocurrency traders to easily access exchanges through a new platform called Digital ID. The new platform enables users to produce documents like drivers’ licenses and passports easily for initial verification which is required by the exchanges.

A Brisbane crypto exchange Digital Surge was the first to use the platform and commented on its easy user experience.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 19th to 25th 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.

China

New draft rules for blockchain companies unveiled: The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has announced new draft rules for regulating the blockchain projects mushrooming in the country. The rules are still under discussion but will shape the future of the blockchain economy in the country.

The draft, titled ‘the Regulation for managing blockchain information services’, will be up for public discussion until 2 November before it will be sent to the next level of approval by the regulating body. Once approved, the new rules will be applicable to both individual and institutional providers of DLT services.

There are 23 proposals overall in the draft with basic rules including having blockchain projects registered with the CAC within ten days. Experts in China, however, believe that some blockchain projects could be affected by this move.

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs are currently banned in Mainland China but it has a relatively favorable attitude towards non-cryptocurrency related application of DLT.

In other news, the capital arm of the ruling Chinese Communist Party State newspaper has signed a partnership with Chinese DLT company for the establishment of a technology innovation hub at the Blockchain Research Institute.

The State Daily is the propaganda arm of the party and is looking to introduce DLT as a state policy.

Japan

Central bank declares state-issued crypto not effective economic tools: Bank of Japan’s top executive has declared that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are not effective economic tools.

In a meeting in the city of Nagoya in Japan, Masayoshi Amamiya, the deputy governor of the bank, voiced his doubts about the CBDCs and their role in the fiat economy. He was of the opinion that fiat note system and CBDCs cannot work together and if interest rate is brought to zero because of CBDCs, then the two-part system will collapse.

Taxation committee working to simplify crypto taxation: The Japanese Government Taxation Investigation Committee (GTIC) is considering proposals to simplify cryptocurrency tax payment in the country.

The move comes after the earlier regulation was proved to be extremely cumbersome for traders. New recommendations will be made in the near future. Currently, investors with earning over JPY 200,000 are subject to income tax in the country.

Crypto association granted self-regulatory status: The Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) has been granted a self-regulatory status by the top regulating body Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The JVCEA applied for recognition after establishing a 16-member strong team of licensed cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country. Following recent hacks in cryptocurrency exchanges, JVCEA has intensified efforts for self-regulation and has now been awarded a self-regulatory status.

Taiwan

National ICO regulation standard expected mid-2019: In Taiwan, a standard for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is being drafted by the local Financial Services Committee (FSC).

According to FSC chairman Wellington Koo, the standards will be pro-crypto and will allow easy investments into ICOs and make them legal as conventional stocks. ICOs are currently not regulated exclusively in the Asian country and government has avoided taking a hardline approach on them.

India

Police raid sole Bitcoin ATM, arrest operator: In a sweeping move, the Indian police has raided the only operational Bitcoin ATM in the country and arrested its operator.

The Reserve Bank of India has recently maintained a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in the country for some time and the Bitcoin ATM operator had apparently been warned by authorities before setting up the machine.

In total, two laptops, three credit cards, five debit cards and a passport were seized by the police in the raid and co-founder Harish BV was arrested.

The Indian government’s hardline attitude towards cryptocurrencies is hurting the sector and forcing exchanges and traders to move abroad.

Australia

Woman arrested for stealing $65,000 worth of XRP: A 23-year-old woman was arrested by the Sidney police for stealing USD 65,000 worth of Ripple (XRP) tokens from a 56-year-old man.

According to local daily Brisbane Times, the woman hacked the man’s phone and used the 2FA to change the password and steal his funds. The XRP were then converted into Bitcoin but eventually, the authorities got to her.

 

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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 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, 10th to 16th 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

Financial watchdog publishes findings on crypto exchange inspections: Japanese financial watchdog Financial Services Agency (FSA) has recently published the results of its on-site inspections of cryptocurrency exchange operations.

New exchanges hoping to get an official operating license will now be required to submit to more rigorous oversight of the FSA as a result of these inspections. According to official data from the FSA, hundreds of companies in the cryptosphere including exchanges are in its waiting list for approval. As of now, more than USD 7.1 billion worth of assets are present in domestic exchanges across Japan with each exchange having an average of just 20 employees. This means each employee is managing as much as USD 29.7 million assets.

The agency also highlighted Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) concerns among certain exchanges as well. The investigation of the USD 532 million heist of Japanese exchange Coincheck will also resume after this internal investigation.

South Korea

Exchanges criticize tax break exclusion: South Korean exchange and blockchain associations have hit back at the new tax breaks announced by the government for new growth technologies as they appear to have been excluded from the benefits.

The decision to offer tax breaks came from the South Korean Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and they excluded cryptocurrency platforms because they are categorized as entertainment or gambling businesses and, therefore, not eligible for tax reliefs. Overall, 157 technologies across 11 areas were made eligible by the ministry.

$4.4 billion innovation plan to give fiscal support to blockchain innovation: The South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance has outlined KRW 5 trillion (USD 4.4 billion) for innovative industries in 2019, including some for blockchain industry as well.

The official press release titled ‘Growth through Innovation Investment Plan’ revealed the increase of KRW 2 trillion for 2019. The education program intends to have 10,000 qualified workforce personnel in these cutting-edge fields in the next five years.

China

Aerospace industry turns to blockchain for invoicing issues: The Chinese aerospace industry is looking towards blockchain technology to provide a solution for its invoicing for tax issues.

According to the government website, more than 1.31 billion electronic invoices were circulating in the system in 2017 and it is forecast that it will rise to 54.55 billion by 2020 thus creating massive problems for the airlines.

The efforts to introduce blockchain technology aim to reduce the burden of these invoices including false reports and streamline the overall data sharing process.

Government releases blockchain guide for bureaucrats: The Communist Party of China (CPC) has announced a blockchain guidebook that outlines the key features of the technology and future applications, meant to be used by bureaucrats for future reference and understanding.

The tech guide covers many facets of the futuristic technology. Ye Hao, the president of the People’s Network said:

“We call on the industry peers to continue to look at the blockchain technology with a development perspective. Looking at the blockchain label from a scientific perspective, look at the blockchain industry with a strategic eye, look at the blockchain business opportunities with a calm eye, promote the sustainable and healthy development of the blockchain industry.”

IT ministry focuses on blockchain tech for data security: The Chinese IT ministry is focusing on blockchain technology for future data security applications with a blockchain research laboratory in the cards.

The ministry is looking to develop a strong ecosystem for the future applications of the technology especially in data security and management. It also intends to expand the research into other fields.

India

Government considering replacing smart travel cards with crypto tokens: The Indian government is considering replacing smart travel cards with crypto tokens for the ease of commuters.

A senior official from the finance ministry said that the committee is looking to undertake research on how to create a crypto token using a custom blockchain to help replace smart cards in the public sector, especially metro cards.

Australia

Former cricket captain Michael Clarke endorses ICO: Michael Clarke, ex-captain of the Australian national cricket team, has endorsed an initial coin offering, prompting skeptical reaction on Twitter from the wider cricket audience.

The platform claims: “…[it] combines premium education, important industry updates and a social platform, which is sure to revolutionize the way we invest and live. Our mission is to develop, advance and modernize the industry, making it more accessible, transparent and forward-thinking.”

The platform is looking to raise up to AUD 50 million in its upcoming ICO.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 20th to 26th July 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

Financial watchdog urges lawmakers to move forward with crypto bill: The South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) has urged the nation’s lawmakers to pass the first cryptocurrency regulatory bill in the country according to latest reports from Bloomberg this week.

Hong Seong-ki the head of the FSC’s cryptocurrency security team has already warned the security and money laundering issues associated with the country’s unchecked cryptocurrency exchanges. He said:

“While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security. We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money-laundering prevention [AML] and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible.”

FSC joined the probe in May this year following a request to look into Anti Money Laundering (AML) compliance by many of Korea’s exchanges. While the FSC is pushing for the new bill, it is yet clear how much support it commands from the assembly itself.

Japan

New regulator limits margin trading loans: A new Japanese internal regulator has set a limit on margin trading loans in cryptocurrency exchanges. Margin trading is a process of borrowing money to trade in cryptocurrency when the investor has insufficient money.

The new borrowing limit under the newly-formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association shows that Japan is ready to regulate where it matters because margin trading bears the risk of losing a lot of money. The limit right now is set at four times the deposit amount.

According to the Financial Services Agency of Japan, 142,000 cryptocurrency traders were present in Japan in April but the total number of traders is as much as 3 million according to other statistics.

Internal affairs denies links to crypto exchange inquiries: Japan’s Interior Ministry has refuted any claims of it being linked to the latest FSA investigations into cryptocurrency exchanges.

Interior Minister Seiko Noda was accused of meddling in the investigations by local crypto outlets. The current investigation involves a non-registered Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange which had previously remained unresponsive to FSA inquiries.

Noda rejected the allegations and stated that it was overall a matter of getting “an overall general account of cryptocurrency exchanges” but many in the crypto community showed their disapproval through social media.

The FSA is an autonomous organization in Japan that regulates the financial industry in the country and doesn’t take direct dictation from the government.

China

Ethereum blockchain used to overcome Chinese censorship on vaccines: According to latest reports from China, a vaccine scandal is forcing Chinese social workers to use blockchain to bypass Chinese censorship on medicines in the country.

Reports claim that ChangChun Changsheng Biotech company sold unsafe vaccines in the country, resulting in public condemnation. The story that broke through a blogger’s expose went viral in WeChat, the Chinese social media network.

But, due to the Chinese government’s hard-handed measure, the post from social media was removed by censor boards on social media. However, a group of users used a ETH 0.001 transfer with the story attached and helped break the censorship. Due to the decentralized nature of the Ethereum blockchain, it was out of reach for the Chinese authorities.

Blockchains, especially programmable ones like Ethereum and NEO, are being used to overcome censorship in the country that has some of the toughest systems in place in the world.

Chinese study reveals positive effects of blockchain: A latest Chinese study done under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and Tencent Holdings has reaffirmed the notion that investing in blockchain will have a profound impact on improving financial services in the country.

While China itself has banned ICOs, exchanges and cryptocurrencies, it is one of the most progressive countries in adopting blockchain in various areas of governance. Recently, a USD 1.4 billion fund was established to further blockchain progress in the country.

Iran

US accused of stealing BTC 500 from Iranian holders: President of Iran’s Blockchain Association Sepehr Muhammadi has said that over BTC 500 (worth USD 4.1 million) have been seized from Iranian citizens by US authorities.

Muhammadi said that Bitcoin confiscations were still being done to Iranian citizens in the garb of sanctions against the Iranian government. He said:

“Last year, a remarkable volume of Bitcoins which belonged to some Iranians were confiscated for unspecific reasons by the federal government of the United States, and the process of confiscation is still continuing. The owners of confiscated Bitcoins are unable to take legal action against the US inside Iran as cryptocurrencies are banned in the country. The association is looking to take international legal action, but they have not yet found a legal expert in anti-money laundering law who will handle the case.”

The best way for Iranians to avoid this controversy is to hold their coins in a wallet and not an online exchange that governments and hackers have easy access to.

India

Indian law commission recognizes crypto as online electronic payment: An Indian Law Commission has recognized cryptocurrency as an online payment method.

The lawmakers from the country are debating on whether allowing cryptocurrency should be allowed as a legally accepted payment in the multi-billion dollar sports betting industry that is currently in the process of being legalized.

Pakistan

Pakistanis looking to crypto to avoid dollar inflation: Pakistan’s national currency rupee’s recent fall against the dollar is resulting in some Pakistanis looking towards Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a safe bet, according to latest reports from Forbes.

Pakistan is suffering from foreign currency liquidity issues and that is the reason why the US dollar has jumped up to 25% since the start of the calendar year, thus causing panic in financial circles, amplified by the recent elections.

Australia

Australian blockchain innovators using blockchain to tackle election rigging: An Australian startup is using blockchain to help improve the election processes in other countries.

The project is currently being tested in Indonesia where almost every other election is branded as rigged because of widespread nature of the constellation of islands that make up the country.

The Melbourne-based Horizon State Blockchain startup is working on a test case to launch a community-voter platform in Sumatra that would provide greater transparency and accuracy.

 

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Australia Tackles Crypto Taxation with New Crypto Classification

Australia’s tax authority has declared intentions to track citizens who hide their cryptocurrency gains offshore using data-matching services that also target “unexplained assets and wealth”.

Taxation

Earlier in 2018, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) published guidelines on the taxation of virtual currencies. It highlighted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that behave similarly to Bitcoin as neither being money, or foreign currency, but a property deemed similar to assets, making them liable for capital gains tax.

Despite the bullish comments from Tony Richards, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) in June, it was evident in his eyes that the mainstream adoption of virtual currencies wasn’t to happen in the foreseeable future, which may have contributed to the “asset” classification.

“100-point” check

Also in June, ATO announced its enforcement of crypto tax requirements through a 100-point check, which is a system that will be utilizing sophisticated data-matching techniques and is a system already favored by the Australian government as well as other sectors.

Through existing data-sharing agreements with over 40 other nations, the ATO can now target crypto-investors trading on offshore exchanges. It is estimated by the country’s accounting body CPA Australia that this will be the first time ever that “hundreds of thousands” of Australian taxpayers will make cryptocurrency tax declarations.

However, ATO acting deputy commissioner Martin Jacobs believes it is impossible to tell just how many will be including gains and losses on cryptocurrencies in their tax returning this year.

End of double taxation

Up until now, there had been a “double tax” on cryptocurrencies which lifted on 1 July 2018. The 2017-2018 Budget Summary writes: “The Government will make it easier for new innovative digital currency businesses to operate in Australia… purchases of digital currency will no longer be subject to the GST.”

It later added: “Currently, consumers who use digital currencies can effectively bear GST twice: once on the purchase of the digital currency and once again on its use in exchange for other goods and services subject to the GST.”

Speaking with local media outlet the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Jacobs said, “Our feeling is that the vast majority of investors who joined the bubble in 2017 are likely to be in the loss position as opposed to a gain… The other assumption is they probably haven’t disposed of their cryptocurrency. They might just be holding it.”

Under that condition, there would be no tax implications; Jacobs did reveal that the ATO isn’t “alarmed” by the crypto-specific tax compliance risks.

He said, “Where people attempt to deliberately avoid these obligations we will attempt to take action. We have a range of existing powers that are designed to address unexplained wealth and conspicuous consumption that may arise through profits derived through cryptocurrency investment.”

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th 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.

Thailand

Government levies taxes on crypto despite opposition: Thailand is the latest country to levy taxes on cryptocurrencies despite opposition at home. Thai blockchain associations were against the aggressive tax policy and the move follows the regional trend of crypto taxes after Australia and other nations levied taxes on crypto gains.

The ministry of finance had already released plans to introduce taxes for cryptocurrency trading and investment.  Thai digital currency associations voiced their concerns regarding the move and the minister responded but the move eventually took place.

The proposed 15% tax is considered stifling for the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain space. In addition to this basic levy, a 7% value-added tax is also levied on all cryptocurrency trades. The legislation is still in its infancy and the government has no infrastructure in place to audit the crypto taxes.

Stock exchange launches crowdfunding blockchain: The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced the launch of a decentralized crowdfunding platform based on blockchain to facilitate small businesses and enterprises in the country.

The platform is named LiVE and has plans to provide a complete startup ecosystem which will also provide the necessary education for new businesses to get easier access to institutional investors as well. More than 50 companies are targeted to join the program.

China

Police announce blockchain-based evidence storage: The Chinese ministry of public security has announced the development of a blockchain application that stores evidence from police investigations safely and securely for long-term. The tech was patented at China’s Intellectual property office back in November 2017 and it automatically takes police data and stores it in cloud storage.

This will help solve the problem of falsified records and fake evidence, according to Chinese authorities since blockchain technology can help data become tamper-proof. Criminals will no longer be able to easily hack into the government databases and wipe out the records.

600 Bitcoin mining rigs believed to be from Iceland seized in China: Police in the city of Tianjin, China have seized a record 600 Bitcoin mining rigs in a raid, which is the same number of machines that were reportedly stolen in Iceland heists back in December and January.

The mining operation had caused a short circuit due to stealing power from the national grid after authorities found out that there was a sudden 28% increase in power consumption on one line alone.

India

Crypto exchanges challenge banking restrictions in top court: Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have challenged the central bank’s decision to stop facilitating the transactions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This is the third challenge to cryptocurrencies in the market and the most severe as all banking services have been blocked off to the crypto exchanges and they include big local names like Coindelta exchange, Koinex exchange, Throughbit Exchange and CoinDCX.

The petitions will likely be heard in India’s top court on 11 May 2018.

Taiwan

Binance CEO sees ICOs as future of VC: The CEO of popular cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has stated that he believes initial coin offerings (ICOs) are the future of venture capital investments. Changpen Zhao, the CEO believes that the digital crowdfunding method is not just a “good-to-have” option but a genuine future for the system.

Binance is currently based in Taiwan after previous operations in China and Japan.

South Korea

Regulators positive about crypto: The new head of the Korean State’s financial watchdog Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Yoon Suk-heun has made some encouraging comments regarding the future legislation around cryptocurrencies.

He at least admitted that cryptocurrencies have “some positive aspects” and could have a part in the future. This seems that the confrontational situation has so far dialed down below the 38th parallel since last September’s ban when regulators had “serious doubts” about cryptocurrencies.

The top regulator also said, “there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”

Japan

FSA crackdown on anonymous exchanges and crypto businesses on the cards: Japan continues its love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies with the Financial Security Agency (FSA) mulling actions against anonymous cryptocurrency exchanges and startups in the country.

It is also trying to see the exchanges delist currencies like ZCash, Monero and Dash, something that goes far beyond the normal crypto regulations that we have gotten used to in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Indonesia

Private and public sectors encouraged to apply blockchain technology: The South East Asian country is encouraging both the private and public sectors to invest in blockchain technology to solve complex problems that are plaguing the country including storage and application of data according to latest reports from Reuters.

The country is a challenge to administer as 250 million inhabitants are spread over a total of 17,000 islands. The Financial Services Authority has assembled a team and they are investigating the applications of the technology for the future.

Singapore

Physical Bitcoin smart banknotes launched: Singaporean Bitcoin startup Tangem has announced a physical Bitcoin banknote at a popular shopping center in the island state. The banknotes are available in denominations starting from BTC 0.01 btc onwards. Each note has a chip that cost the company USD 2 to make and it stores the private keys.

It is the first hardware solution in the form of banknotes with certification for its entire hardware and electronics according to EAL6+ and EMVCo standards. The company is committed to “radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users”.

Tangem has a presence in South Korea and Southern China, Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.

Australia

Government earmarks $700 million for blockchain research: The Australian budget has recently unveiled an allocation of USD 700,000 for the blockchain Space to “to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government service”.

 

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