Category Archives: Cryptocurrency exchange

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Major Belarus Bank Considers Launching Crypto Exchange

Major Belarus Bank Considers Launching Crypto Exchange

The largest bank in Belarus, Belarusbank, is reportedly considering launching its own cryptocurrency exchange.

Speaking to local news outlet BelTA on 28 January, chairman of the bank Viktor Ananich first shared details of the firm’s exploration into the viability of setting up such an exchange.

Noting how quickly banking and traditional finance are changing, Ananich said launching the cryptocurrency exchange would be a way to keep ahead of the game, with digitization being a top focus for the bank in the coming year. He also outlined Balarusbank’s virtual cards scheme which will replace physical debit and credit cards in the next a few months.

Belarus is home to a number of other crypto-related enterprises, with the country benefiting from regulation formulated by the country’s own “Silicon Valley” at the Belarus High-Technologies Park (HTP). In November last year, cryptocurrency operators and startups offering initial coin offerings (ICO) in the country were granted transparent regulations for their operations, constructed by HTP.

The country’s technology hub benefits from close government links and support, with the sector recognized as one of the top-priority economic sectors for Belarus to develop. Last month, HTP completed a document it dubbed the country’s “second stage of cryptocurrency regulation“.

 

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7 South Korean Exchanges Pass Security Inspection Checklist

7 South Korean Exchanges Pass Security Inspection Checklist

The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT reported yesterday that only seven cryptocurrency exchanges including Upbit, Bithumb, Gopax, Korbit, Coinone, Hanbitco, and Huobi Korea have passed the security inspection checklist.

A survey was conducted by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Internet & Security Agency and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, during the period of September to December of 2018 to evaluate the security performance of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

The inspection covered the following areas: administrative security, operational environment security, network and account security, database & backup security, and wallet security.

Out of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges that were inspected earlier last year for security compliance, only seven passed the improvement recommendation, leaving the remaining 14 labeled as “vulnerable” to one or more of the 85 security checkpoints. “The 14 exchanges are vulnerable to hacking attacks at all times because of poor security,” the ministry said. Moreover, 17 new exchanges that were inspected for the first time, did not meet the cutoff either. This brings the total of exchanges scrutinized to 38.

South Korea is home to over 100 cryptocurrency exchanges and due to the number of security breaches that have led to the loss of millions of dollars of user assets on exchanges, the Korean government decided to carry out a survey to determine the fitness level of these exchanges.

It would seem the agency expects more of this hacks to occur this year, and are prepared to mitigate the severity of the damage if not completely averted through these security inspections. Director of information security policy at the Ministry of Information and Communication Oh Yong-soo said: “This year, cyber attacks targeting encrypted money are expected to continue”. Yet, most of the inspected exchanges “are still vulnerable”, and there a lot more exchanges are out there whose security status is currently unknown.

The South Korean nation has been pulling resources to ensure the standardization of the industry, a part of that effort includes setting up a representative committee to oversee legislation for the industry and suggest possible adaptive measures to national laws. Though leaning on the side of caution, so far, the nation appears to be a friendlier territory for the industry than some other Asian countries.

Last month in Japan, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) reported having received 190 cryptocurrency license applications from exchanges as 2019 approached. Regulation and standardization seem to be the way forward in the industry.

 

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Thai SEC Issues Warning on Q Exchange

Thailand’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning to residents about Q Exchange stating that it is not “a licensed digital asset operator”.

The SEC had said that Q Exchange offered electronic money advisory and cryptocurrency trading, through print media outlet and also by using social media and other forms of online media to facilitate publicity of their services.

It was pointed out that the company had scarce online data, providing only an index page of the website, with no information about the exchange nor the services being provided.

As reported by Thai local news media lokwannee, Q Exchange offers digital asset trading services in BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, LTC, NEO, OmiseGo, DASH, and ADA. It had plans to introduce its platform token, Q token.

The exchange may have targeted the Thailand market as blockchain business is taking a critical turn there both in terms of development and regulation. Chamnarn Suk, General Manager of Q Exchange Co Ltd, during the launch of the exchange had this to say:

“We are a joint venture with a major Korean company. The best management system in the industry… We intend to be the largest provider of currency exchange and services in Thailand, where we will educate…”

However, the Thai regulator has warned citizens that if investors, traders or holders of digital assets are “persuaded to receive digital asset exchange services or electronic money transactions”, they are at risk, as they are “not protected by the law under the supervision of the SEC”.

This public notice has also been followed up with a cease and desist order, whereby the SEC has expressly informed the Q Exchange management to cease its enticements for public investment and instructed the company to take precautions against violations of the Digital Asset royal decree of 2018.

On the subject of regulation, the country’s deputy prime minister, Wissanu Kreangam, is a strong voice for the intensifying of digital currency control measures, stating their vulnerability to being used for criminal activities such as money laundering and funding terrorism.

 

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Korean Blockchain Association Argues to Legalize ICOs to Boost Startups, Save Crypto Exchanges

The battle to for global blockchain supremacy rages on in South Korea as the head of the Korean Blockchain Association makes further calls to legalize initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Economic rhetoric

Chin Dae-je, chairman of the Korean Blockchain Association, made a strong case for the presently banned fundraising method whilst speaking at a National Assembly Library seminar in Yeouido, western Seoul.

Believing that ICOs are the key to creating new jobs, boosting the economy and producing innovative world-leading blockchain startups, the chairman said:

“The government should implement guidelines to nurture the domestic blockchain industry, which will help Korea emerge as a global industry leader… Startups who comply with guidelines should be allowed to launch ICOs.”

ICOs have been a point of contention in many nations as they struggle to classify and regulate cryptocurrency tokens. Furthermore, ICOs have a muddied history of scams and fraudulent activities that caused knee-jerk responses from many governments such as the United States and South Korea, who banned ICOs or made them incredibly difficult to launch.

While investor and consumer protections have been at the crux of the contentious debate, so has the stifling of domestic blockchain enterprise and innovation in South Korea. According to the report, disallowing domestic ICOs has resulted in startups setting up shop in jurisdictions that accommodate ICOs such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand.

Despite this claim, South Korea is home to a robust blockchain market with major investors and traditional companies beginning to enter the space and drive innovation. In addition to this, city governments, as well as national government entities, are largely in favor of backing the technology through public sector pilot projects, funding, education, and implementation.

Team effort

The Korean Blockchain Association is no underdog however in its mission to legitimize ICOs; in September the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service called for an international standard for ICO and cryptocurrency regulations.

Furthermore, the Committee Chairman of the National Policy Committee spoke at the Korean National Assembly, furthering the argument that the present stance is causing global competition to get ahead.

As reported by local media outlet Korea Joongang Daily, Chin said, “By regulating and allowing ICOs, we can nurture start-ups with high potential, create jobs and reduce youth unemployment […] We can designate public or private organizations like the Korean Blockchain Association to look over the ICO white papers and verify the purpose of their fundraising.”

During his proposal, Chin offered up his organization as well as suggested other public or private entities as potential regulatory bodies that would oversee the verification of ICO whitepapers.

Trouble in tandem

Also backing cryptocurrency exchanges, Chin proposed for the government to make it easier for exchanges to set up new user accounts for Korean fiat deposits and withdrawals. He believes that should an exchange adhere to an approved standard of security measures, it should be allowed to “issue new virtual accounts”.

Chin considers these issues to have a knock-on effect to one another, arguing that if domestic exchanges disappear, then local startups seeking to gain funding through ICOs will be up against significant financial challenges and would result in domestic cryptocurrencies being listed on to foreign exchanges.

Highlighting the present impacts he said, “Korean exchanges that were ranked as the fourth or sixth-largest in the world before are dropping to below 20th place now.”

Also speaking at the seminar was Democratic Party representative Min Byung-doo, who has been backing pro-blockchain legislation. He said, “We cannot completely close the door on ICOs… The government needs to promote the blockchain industry by cooperating with the National Assembly and blockchain associations to curb scams, speculation and money laundering.”

 

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