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.
Japanese cryptocurrency traders exceed 3 million: Japan is one of the most crypto-friendly countries out there with more than 3 million Japanese trading in cryptocurrency according to the latest figures from its Financial Services Agency (FSA). The data also highlights that there were 17 registered cryptocurrencies by the end of March.
Millennials and younger age brackets represent 90% of the crypto traders. This data shows the inclination of the Japanese young populace towards the crypto trading phenomenon despite the recent Bitcoin price tank.
FSA halts operations of two exchanges over KYC failure: The FSA has ceased the operations of two exchanges when they failed to implement the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) licensing requirements. External Link and FSHO were also given penalty orders.
The move follows the agency’s suspension of 15 exchanges that were found to be complacent in implementing the rules and regulations of the FSA. The two exchanges were not available for any comment.
Government-backed study declares ICOs are not scams: While acknowledging the challenges that ICOs present, Japanese government’s recent study found out that ICOs are not scams and the right regulatory frameworks will be needed to legitimize them under the national infrastructure.
Insider trading and money laundering were found to be one of the major challenges posed by ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
Financial watchdog investigating banks for crypto association: South Korea’s top financial watchdog Financial Services Commission (FSC) has announced that it will investigate three banks to see if they are complying with the new anti-anonymity regulations imposed by the government.
The FSC announced back in January that investors in South Korea will have to buy cryptocurrencies under their own own name and using fiat banking channels to tackling money laundering practices.
Police detain two cryptocurrency exchange executives for questioning: South Korean police has detained executives from two cryptocurrency exchanges for extensive questioning. Four executives were arrested, including the CEO of Coinnest, over charges of embezzlement and money laundering. Prosecutors claim that billions of Korean Won (KRW) were transferred from client accounts that could amount to fraud.
These arrests are part of a wider initiative by the government to clean house after a recent exchange hack.
Chinese state cryptocurrency to feature negative interest rates: The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been working on a possible state cryptocurrency for some time, while cracking down on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.
In a surprise move, the PBOC’s director general of financial research said that negative interest rate for the state cryptocurrency was on the cards: “In the long run, due to the lower natural interest rate, monetary authorities can incorporate negative interest rate policies into the normal monetary policy toolbox.”
Giving no quarter to cryptocurrencies: While China may be relaxed on blockchain research and implementation through their national system, it is tightening controls over cryptocurrency traded in the country.
The Bank of China appointed a new head in Yi Gang and many people’s hopes were crushed once Gang announced his sweeping anti-cryptocurrency measures.
Police halt blockchain conference in Shanghai: The Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrencies continued this week as a blockchain-themed conference was abruptly raided and closed down by the police in Shanghai on Thursday. The Global Fintech and Blockchain China Summit 2018 was organized as a business conference but was raided around midday by the Chinese police.
According to PTP, the organizer said, “We are still investigating the reasons of the halt, and so far the explanation offered by the police is due to security risk. We are working on a solution regarding how to make up for event attendees. The conference is in compliance with the regulation in China and does not feature any ICO roadshow.”
An update is expected in the near future.
India prohibits banks from handling cryptocurrencies: In a sweeping move, the Reserve Bank of India has announced that all banks and regulated financial entities will now be prohibited from dealing or abetting in trading cryptocurrencies.
The reason behind this was described as “associated risks” of cryptocurrencies and the ban was effective immediately.
Over 17,000 sign petition against Indian crypto ban: A petition with over 17,000 signatures was tabled against Indian Reserve Bank’s much-criticized move of banning cryptocurrencies in the country. The petition was mostly driven by younger users who are employed in the blockchain industry in the South Asian country.
Pakistani central bank snubs cryptocurrencies: The State Bank of Pakistan recently announced that financial companies are now barred from sending money abroad through cryptocurrencies. The announcement also carried an “advice” to refrain from “processing, using, trading, transferring value in virtual currencies or tokens…”
The move follows the regional trend of banning and warning against cryptocurrencies.
Australia sets deadline for registration of cryptocurrency exchanges: Australia has recently implemented regulations suggested by the Australian Financial Intelligence Agency and is now requiring all cryptocurrency exchanges to register themselves before mid-May 2018.
These regulations were passed after the Australian Senate passed legislation: “Effective immediately, DCEs (digital currency exchanges) with a business operation located in Australia must now register with AUSTRAC and meet the Government’s AML/CTF compliance and reporting obligations”.