Author: Wolfie Zhao

South Africa’s Central Bank Eyes JPMorgan Blockchain Tech

South Africa’s central bank has launched a program that will trial JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain potential in interbank clearing and settlement. According to an official statement dated Feb. 13, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) revealed it has established a fintech program that will prioritize, among other things, a project dubbed Khokha to explore a proof-of-concept (PoC) using the tech. The SARB further said in the announcement that it will partner with ConsenSys, the ethereum technology development startup, in developing the PoC. The project will involve replicating the wholesale payment process on Quorum, the enterprise blockchain co-developed by JPMorgan and...

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Coincheck Exchange Sees $373 Million Withdrawn in One Day

Japan’s Coincheck exchange reinstated Japanese yen withdrawals yesterday and investors are already flocking to take out their funds following the firm’s recent hack. According to a company announcement on Feb. 13, soon after Coincheck partially resumed operations on Tuesday, it had already processed 40.1 billion yen (or $373 million) in withdrawal requests from existing investors. The firm first announced the plan to reopen Japanese yen withdrawals on Feb. 9. The move comes as the Japanese exchange attempts to normalize after it reported a loss of some $500 million-worth of NEM tokens in a major security breach last month. The significant...

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Japanese Watchdog Warns Foreign Crypto Firm Over Unlicensed Operation

Japan’s financial watchdog has stepped up its efforts to scrutinize foreign cryptocurrency services that target Japanese investors without a license. According to an official warning published by the Japan’s Finance Service Agency (FSA) on Feb. 13, the regulator said a Macau-based cryptocurrency service firm named Blockchain Laboratory headed by Jay Liu has been offering unregistered services related to cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICO) in Japan. According to the firm’s Japanese language website, the company brands its business areas as cryptocurrency tutorials and consulting, cryptocurrency sales and ICO agency services and related publicity work. The Kantou region office...

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Korean Government Firm on Crypto KYC Mandate in Petition Response

South Korea has doubled down on its commitment to eliminating the use of cryptocurrency in illicit financial activities, while expressed a will to foster the country’s blockchain development. In a video published today, Hong Nam-ki, head of the office for government policy coordination, said the government is taking a strong stance in bringing transparency to domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. Hong’s response comes as the government’s formal response to a petition opposing a severe clampdown on South Korea’s cryptocurrency trading platforms. According to the South Korean president’s website, the petition has gathered over 280,000 signatures meaning the government was obliged to provide...

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Coinbase Cuts Off New Credit Cards for US Customers

Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase said Tuesday that its U.S.-based users won’t be able to add new credit cards as a payment option. Making the announcement through its official blog post on Feb. 13, Coinbase said the platform currently is unable to offer a smooth credit card purchase experience. As a result, it has “disabled adding new credit cards as a payment method for U.S. customers.” The move is seen as a follow-up to the platform’s previous confirmation that credit cards issued by four U.S. banks are barred from being used to buy cryptocurrencies. Coinbase said, however, that debit cards remain...

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$600 Fraud? Fake ICO White Papers Draw Scrutiny in China

Months after China’s clampdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs), professional ICO white paper copywriters are still offering services, including fabricating information, reports suggest. The People’s Bank of China notably banned domestic initial coin offerings in September 2017, yet searches using key words such as “ICO,” “blockchain” and “whitepaper” result in dozens of online stores on Alibaba’s Taobao platform in China that provide ICO white paper copywriting, design and fundraising consultancy services. According to an article published today by China’s Beijing News, some of these services may have been involved in abetting questionable ICO projects by agreeing to fabricate critical...

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Microsoft Eyes Role for Public Blockchains in Decentralized Identities

Software giant Microsoft has said it sees potential for public blockchains in supporting decentralized identities and will explore the possibilities within its Microsoft Authenticator app. In a blog post released on Feb. 12, Microsoft’s Identity Division doubled down on its belief that blockchain technology is the right solution to store, maintain, protect and distribute users’ identification information in a tamper-proof and decentralized environment. Ankur Patel of Microsoft’s Identity Division stated in the post, “Some public blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, to name a select few) provide a solid foundation for rooting DIDs, recording DPKI operations, and anchoring attestations.” That said, the...

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‘Fans’ Build Controversial ICO Around Chinese Pop Band

Self-proclaimed fans of a popular Chinese boy band have built an initial coin offering (ICO) around their idols, amid controversy over the project’s legitimacy. At the heart of the project is a well-known home-grown pop band named The Fighting Boys (or TFBoys), formed by three teens – Karry Wang, Roy Wang, and Jackson Yi – in 2013. Notably, last year, Roy Wang was featured by Time as one of the 30 most influential teens of 2017. Amid the band’s overwhelming popularity in China, an unnamed group of fans have just launched an ICO to raise funds, supposedly aimed to...

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Russian Ministry Proposes Capital Mandates for ICO Organizers

One of Russia’s government ministries has proposed a law that, if approved, would introduce a capital requirement for initial coin offering (ICO) organizers. The proposal, which was released by Russia’s Ministry of Communications and Mass Media last week, seeks to enforce a series of requirements before any ICO activity can be officially accredited within the country. One major element of the proposal is that ICO organizers must have at least 100 million rubles (or $1.73 million) worth of authorized capital and must be registered as a legal entity within the Russian territory, with bank accounts from licensed financial institutions....

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China’s State Media Takes Aim at Crypto Trading, ICOs

China’s state-own news agency appears to be stepping up its rhetoric on over-the-counter (OTC), crypto-to-crypto trading and overseas initial coin offerings (ICOs) that still remain active in the country, calling them an attempt to bypass existing regulation. In a news report published Feb. 12, the Xinhua News Agency, detailed how purchasing cryptocurrency assets through OTC channel is easily available by having reporters register on exchanges such as Huobi Pro and buy bitcoin using accessible payment tools like AliPay. As reported previously, following the ban on ICO and closure of order book trading platforms last year by the People’s Bank of China,...

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