Category Archives: Indonesia

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Manila Residents Paid ETH for Consensys-Backed Beach Cleanup

beach cleanup

Manila residents are being paid in Ether for cleaning up the city’s plastic-ridden beaches in a new crypto for work project in the Philippine capital.

Recent research has shown that that five Asian countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — account for more than 55% of global plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Indonesia, currently participating in a number of blockchain programs, is also a significant contributor to ocean pollution.

Manila’s beaches are listed as being some of the most heavily polluted beaches among these nations. Residents now have the chance to do something about this and be rewarded with cryptocurrency in the process. Stirring this social conscience is Ethereum’s co-founder Joe Lubin, who is also CEO of blockchain software giant ConsenSys.

He commented, “In Manila, participants will be paid in ETH for spending a few hours cleaning up one of the most heavily polluted beaches in the world. Bounties Network and ConsenSys Impact are proving a new model where people fund causes directly without intermediaries.”

Beach cleaning participants will be able to use a decentralized application (Dapp) based on the Ethereum blockchain to receive their rewards in ETH. The project is part of a larger ConsenSys program called ‘Bounties for the Oceans: Philippines Pilot – Sustained, Verifiable Plastic Cleanups’. The initiative states:

“Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year… With Bounties for the Ocean, we are asking people everywhere to submit verifiable proof of their direct plastic cleanup contribution as a way of fostering widespread and long-term behavioral shift. Do not depend on centralized organizations, go out there and do it yourselves.”

Manila residents are not the only ones “doing it for themselves”. There are a number of blockchain programs around the world at the moment which are making a significant contribution to fighting pollution.

US cleaning supplies firm SC Johnson has announced that it plans to launch blockchain rewards-based recycling centers in Indonesia to help solve the problem of plastic pollution. The company, which also which owns such brands as Glade, Ziploc and Mr Muscle, will open eight centers with the support of Plastic Bank using a tokens-for-waste payment system for local users.

A Norwegian startup has come up with a way of using blockchain to clean beaches via token rewards for recycling. The public, by removing plastic waste to any certified recycling station, is rewarded with waste tokens. The idea draws on a system that has been in operation for some time throughout Norway where plastic bottles can be returned to shops for between 15 and 30 cents a bottle.

The Philippines project is well placed given the country’s adoption of Bitcoin and Ethereum as legitimate forms of payment by the central bank, with local platform Coins.ph conducting business using partnerships with major commercial banks, remittance outlets, credit card companies, electric grid operators, and convenience stores,

Having become the largest platform in Southeast Asia, Coins.ph has over 5 million users.

 

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South Korea Chooses Blockchain Voting, New Trials Planned

South Korea’s government has plans to trial an online e-voting system based on blockchain technology.

The plans were announced by the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Election Commission (NEC). The trial will be carried out by the Seoul National University’s Blockchain Society and the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA).

Blockchain voting systems have been trialed in Switzerland recently and have attracted attention from other nations predominantly as a safeguard against fraud and vote rigging. The Japanese city of Tsukuba in the south of that country trialed a system in August using ID swipe cards, then encrypting votes using DLT in order for the public to be able to vote for different tech applications for a government website.

The city of Zug in Switzerland also recently trialed blockchain voting using an eID system to vote on municipal services such annual fireworks displays, digital ID library lending, digital entry ID parking fees, and electronic tax returns.

An Australian startup is supporting transparent voting in Indonesia, a country with a population of 261 million, with a 20-year history of miscalculating voting results. The company, Horizon State, is planning to launch a test case community-voter platform using blockchain on Sumatra which, if successful, will be utilized for both regional and national elections in the future.

South Korea’s system will use mobile and personal computers with gathered data stored on a distributed network which will also allow voters to follow the process and keep abreast of votes as they come in. Following the trial, the NEC will then decide on whether to proceed with a similar system for the country’s online elections, along with the addition of AI and IoT.

Terrestrial use of blockchain clearly isn’t enough for forward-thinking South Korea. In a new development, a South Korean satellite operator has expressed an interest in exploring how blockchain could be utilized within the satellite industry.

The company, KT Sat, boasting 50 years’ experience as South Korea’s sole operator, plans to bring blockchain and cybersecurity companies together through its new workgroup, the KT SAT Eco Alliance, in order to see where blockchain can be integrated into current satellite tech.

 

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US Firm Chooses Token-Based Solution to Clean Up Indonesia’s Plastic Waste

US Cleaning Supplies Firm SC Johnson has announced that it plans to launch blockchain rewards-based recycling centers in Indonesia to help solve the problem of plastic pollution.

The company, which also which owns such brands as Glade, Ziploc and Mr Muscle, will open eight centers with the support of Plastic Bank using a tokens-for-waste payment system for local users.

Plastic Bank was the featured in the award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean. They received the prestigious Sustainia Community Award at COP21, the Beacon For Change Award at COP23, the RCBC Innovation Award. Recently, their new blockchain exchange and incentives platform received an IBM Beacon Award.

Recent research has shown that that five Asian countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — account for more than 55% of the plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Indonesia, currently participating in a number of blockchain programmes, is also a significant contributor to ocean pollution.

The first disposal center opened this week on 28 October on the Indonesian Island of Bali. They allow users to exchange plastic waste for digital tokens which can then be used to purchase goods and services. SC Johnson suggested that the risk of loss or theft of funds will be limited due to the tokens being supported by blockchain.

The founder of Plastic Bank, David Katz, suggests that blockchain is the tool that can combat ocean pollution with such innovations, and the new project could also reduce poverty in Indonesia. Another decentralized program, in this case run by the UN, has had huge success in Jordan over the past two years as the UN Women program continues to offer incentives to refugees using a blockchain salary system.

A Norwegian company has recently come up with its own way of freeing the oceans of plastic waste with a similar tokens program. The project launched by Empower enables the public to remove plastic waste to any certified recycling station and be rewarded with waste tokens.

The idea draws on a system that has been in operation for some time throughout Norway where plastic bottles can be returned to shops for between 15 and 30 cents a bottle. There are also other incentives through the system for both users and manufacturers, the latter with an environmental tax exemption based on waste quotas.

 

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President of World Bank: DLT Has “Huge Potential” in Fighting Poverty

Jim Yong Kim, Korean president of the World Bank, has publicly come out in favor of blockchain technology as a tool for fighting poverty in a speech on the Indonesian Island of Bali.

Kim made the comments at the IMF and the World Bank Annual Meeting on October 11, suggesting that DLT had “huge potential” and as a result, the World Bank must keep abreast of emerging technologies.

The World Bank, part of the World Bank Group, is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It is comprised of two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.

At the forefront of all World Bank projects is the need to fight poverty, particularly in underdeveloped or developing nations. Kim referred to the need to combat corruption, often a barrier to successfully supporting developing nations, suggesting that this is a particular area where blockchain could make a significant impact. He commented:

“…we think distributed ledger has huge potential and we issued the first blockchain bond in August, where we created, allocated, transferred and managed the entire bond through blockchain technology.”

He went on to point out that the goal of the bank is to develop universal access to financial services by 2020 which he felt would be unlikely to occur without embracing available technologies and taking advantage of some of the “great things that are coming out,” referring to blockchain and AI.

As Bitcoin News reported recently, the World Bank and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia combined to create an Ethereum-based Australian dollar blockchain bond earlier this year. As for selecting both the CBA and Ethereum for the project, World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh said that it had worked with the Australian bank for a year before it could launch the project. Ethereum was top of its list as it had “the largest and most active development community globally”.

Oteh continued on a positive note stating that the bank “will continue to seek ways to leverage emerging technologies to make capital markets more secure and efficient.”

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Asia is Buoyant, New Crypto Exchanges Set for Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia

While 160 crypto exchanges wait to enter the Japanese market, elsewhere, the market is turning more buoyant, as Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia are poised to become home to new exchanges. Bitone Trade HK, Huobi – Indonesia, and South Korean Probit have all announced that they are opening exchanges.

Hong Kong is particularly buoyant in the blockchain industry at the moment and is feeling the pinch in the sector with a lack of qualified professionals to fill positions. A “talent list” has been issued by The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in which it states that it needs “quality people from around the world in a more effective and focused manner to support Hong Kong’s development as a high value-added and diversified economy”. Among the 11 professions on the new list are those with DLT skills.

The latest exchange, Bitone Trade HK will support 30 cryptocurrencies with plans to eventually list more than 100 coins. The company commented:

“Our platform is launched in Hong Kong which is Asia’s international financial center and we provide customers with stable and secure services. Mainly for the Asian market, our goal is to achieve a monthly transaction volume of US$5 billion”

Indonesia may not be one of the markets that spring to mind when the word cryptocurrency drops into a conversation, but the industry is beginning to express itself in South East Asia and forging its own way. The world’s fourth most populous nation has just launched its first formal blockchain association — Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia (ABI), boosting hopes that the Southeast Asian country may yet embrace blockchain technology.

Huobi Indonesia built on the Huobi Cloud platform will list 123 coins on its new exchange. Currently, the platform lists three base cryptocurrencies: USDT, BTC, and ETH.

South Korea and Japan are considered the crypto powerhouses in the region and never run out of crypto news. Its latest exchange, soon to be launched Probit will list 157 currencies and plans to support eight languages on the platform. The bonus for users is the platform’s heightened levels of security, ensuring that more than 95% of digital assets are stored in a cold wallet supported by hardware keys and software double authentication. The company assures its clients that their “goal is to provide a virtual currency trading platform with the highest level of security.”

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Japan Latest to Push International Blockchain Voting

In news from Japan, the city of Tsukuba in the south of the country is using a tested blockchain voting system in order to let local residents of the city vote on local programs.

Tsukuba becomes one of Japan’s first cities to utilize blockchain technology in this way. The city is known to Japanese for its role in scientific research and development. Tsukuba Science City represents one of the world’s largest coordinated attempts to accelerate the rate of and improve the quality of scientific discovery, while not claiming to be Japan’s answer to Silicon Valley.

The voting system works by swiping an ID card on to the vote recording machine for verification which then stores the voter’s selected vote on a program of their choice. Once the data is stored, its encrypted via DLT. The system was tested on 8 August, recording 119 responses in relation to voting for different tech applications for a government website.

The city’s mayor, Tatsuo Igarashi, commented that he was surprised at the system’s simplicity. A local news agency reported that local government is measuring its successes before possibly extending its use to remote areas and possibly even overseas.

Only one reported problem emerged from the test, with some voters failing to remember their passwords, meaning counters were unsure if these votes had been entered into the system.

This Japanese test is certainly not the first to link blockchain with the ballot box. Blockchain voting was trialed for West Virginia’s Senate primary election on 8 May, and in a similar trial to Tsukuba’s, the Swiss crypto town of Zug trialed an e-voting system in June, allowing voting on minor social issues and the future of the ID system itself.

Zug’s trial blockchain-powered test vote enabled residents to vote on their annual fireworks display, digital ID library lending, digital entry ID, parking fees and electronic tax returns.

Australian startup Horizon State recently announced that it would be attempting to bring voting clarity to Indonesia with their blockchain system, restoring some faith to the electorate after years of allegations of vote rigging. The next general election in the country is to be held in at the end of this year.

 

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Indonesia Knowledge-Sharing Blockchain Hub Launches in Jakarta

The Indonesia Blockchain Hub was launched in Jakarta this week, described as a center for the sharing of industry knowledge, both locally and internationally.

The centee was opened in partnership with the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (KADIN), Indonesia Blockchain Association (ABI), BEKRAF and HARA, an agritech startup.

The ABI has become instrumental in promoting blockchain in the South East Asian country through accelerating understanding, utilization, advancement and technological inventiveness in relation to the fourth industrial revolution. South East Asia’s largest economy is seeing both public and private sectors investing in applying blockchain technology to address issues surrounding the storage and application of data within the country in a number of sectors.

Banks for one, are looking at DLT with more interest, as discovered by a survey published last year indicating that about 80% of financial institution executives see blockchain impacting future markets. Rico Ustahavia Frans, director of digital banking and technology at Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s second-biggest bank by assets, said it was currently looking at applying blockchain, once regulators had formulated guidelines for banking and financial institutions.

The launch of the new hub has to be a feather in Indonesia’s cap and signals its intent to become a significant player on the world stage in adopting the new technology. HARA CEO and co-founder of the hub, Regi Wahyu, sees blockchain being integrated into a range of areas of Indonesian society:

“We believe that data transparency as enabled by blockchain technology will help the bottom of the societal pyramid to improve their welfare… [which] will lead to improvement in business and economic performance. Based on HARA’s experience… there remain challenges in explaining the socio-economic impact of blockchain for business, regulators, and the society in general.”

Wahyu added that there is a need in the country for a platform which can extend blockchain knowledge in the community, one of the aims of the new hub. The Indonesia Blockchain Hub along with the IBA is now one of a growing number of bodies set up to support the dissemination of blockchain awareness in the country and share information. Another is the blockchain-focused coworking space Blockchain Space.

A number of government institutions, including the postal service, now utilize blockchain solutions across the country as its deployment spreads to different sectors of society.

 

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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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Indonesia Gets Green Light for Bitcoin Futures as Supervisory Board Says “Yes”

The Indonesian Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti) is reported to have been given the green light for cryptocurrencies to be traded on the country’s futures exchange, having finally been designated as commodities, writes Coindesk.

Bappebti is an agency that was launched in 2005 to regulate certain sections of the financial services industry in Indonesia. It stands for Badan Pengawas Perdagangan Berjangka Komoditi, or the Indonesian Commodities and Futures Trading Regulatory Authority. It is the only agency with regulatory responsibility for various financial institutions. It operates under the supervision of the Indonesian ministry of finance and is managed by a board of administrators, all of whom are selected by the government from industry experts.

Jakarta Post reported on Monday that Bappebti’s market supervision chief Dharma Yoga confirmed the decision after a four-month study, which now clears the way for Indonesia’s launch of Bitcoin futures in Indonesia. Further details will be released by the country’s central bank shortly highlighting regulations concerning crypto exchanges and taxation issues.

This news represents a major turnaround in the fortunes of Indonesia’s crypto space as it was only last year that the central bank stated that it did not recognize Bitcoin as a legal payment system, although exchanges were not mentioned in the bank’s official statement. Further to this development, Yoga has indicated that the agency is requesting domestic crypto exchanges to submit their own regulatory proposals.

As the world’s fourth most populous country, Indonesia is essentially a cash-based economy with up to 80% of the population choosing not to use the banking system. This would seem a perfect ingredient for the establishment of a crypto-based economy, but clearly, the word isn’t out as yet. However, growth within the crypto space is growing according to Forbes.

Oscar Darmawan, CEO of Indonesia Digital Asset Exchange, has reported “exponential growth” in users of his platform over a period of two years from 50,000 members in 2015 to 500,000 members to August of 2017. According to Bloomberg, the exchange will have 1.5 million members buying and selling digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple by the end of the year.

 

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Global State Bank Crypto Adoption Still in Its Infancy

With banks increasingly switching on to the current global interest in cryptocurrencies, digital currencies are now being utilized by the same institutions they were designed to subvert, writes Cointelegraph.

More and more banks around the world see blockchain as a panacea to banking issues, all long overdue for improvement and update. They are realizing that, due to today’s already digitalized banking, which has changed the nature of payment and storage of monies, the technology behind Bitcoin clearly has a place within global financial systems.

Only a fraction of money is paper money bills in circulation, and current digital systems lack speed, stability and security. This, coupled with customer demand, as in the case of Goldman Sachs’s adoption of a digital dollar recently, is driving many nations to consider or actively support central bank cryptocurrency.

Governments and central banks from India, Japan, Canada, Russia, Switzerland to Singapore and the Marshall Islands are all currently looking into a government-backed digital currency. Several other governments, including China, Estonia, and Iran, have discussed plans for their own digital currency. Of these, the Marshall Islands have taken one step further and plan to issue its own cryptocurrency that will be circulated as legal tender along with the US dollar.

Singapore has project UBIN and the Bank of Canada has Project Jasper, while the United States is toying with the idea of a FedCoin. Last year, in the Middle East, the Bank of Israel was considering a digital Shekel.

In Sweden, many retail stores no longer accept paper money and some Swedish bank branches no longer disburse or collect cash. In response, the Riksbank has a current project in progress examining the viability of an e-Krona for retail payments.

Crypto-friendly Switzerland is looking towards the viability of a Swiss National Bank (SNB) e-Franc, but has little support within the Swiss government. The often controversial Venezuelan Petro, seen as both an economy saver and possible sanction breaker, was launched in February 2018 to supplement the plummeting bolivar fuerte, reportedly backed by the nation’s oil reserves.

In Russia, deputy minister of economic development Oleg Fomichev suggested the proposed CryptoRuble, conceived in a climate of heavy anti-crypto sentiments regarding adoption by private companies but nonetheless in state hands, becoming another powerful sanction breaker in the current political climate. Russian president Vladimir Putin stated that the Stone Age has not ended because humanity has run out of stones, but because new technologies have appeared.

“If if central banks were to back cryptocurrencies, the central banks would be better positioned to predict money demand and therefore adjust supply accordingly,” writes Mohamed Damak of S and P Global, adding, “It is still too early to tell in which direction this instruments will move.”

Alternatively, he writes, “If cryptocurrencies were to take off and become an effective currency issued in a decentralized manner, the impact on monetary policy implementation would be deep, since central banks might lose their ability to control the money supply.”

It is a view more closely aligned to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision.

 

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