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

Regulator shows sharp increase in crypto-related inquiries in Q1 2018: Japan’s top financial authority Financial Services Agency (FSA) has disclosed latest numbers on cryptocurrency trading in the country. According to the figures, 3,559 inquiries were faced by the agency during the first quarter of 2018 alone.

The number is three times more than the first quarter of 2017 with a total of 1,141 inquiries back then. These numbers show an increased interest in the Japanese people regarding cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain-based tuna fish film shows tech potential: Ethereum Startup Consensys is showcasing a documentary that shows the potential of blockchain technology in supply chain tracking.

The reel titled “Bait to Plate” was produced by Viant, Ethereum-based supply chain management startup and shows the journey of a huge yellow fish tuna caught off the waters of Fiji in Japan. The film showed the journey of the fish from the start to finish including packaging and then shipping and then finally ending up in the plate of a few lucky attendees at the conference in which the documentary premiered.

World’s fifth largest bank to trial digital currency: Japan’s largest and world’s fifth largest bank Mitsubishi UFC Financial Group (MUFG) in terms of assets has announced that it will trial its own cryptocurrency in 2019.

The move was anticipated as early as 2016 and will see the Japanese banking giant releasing the coin valued at one Japanese yen (JPY) equivalent to 100,000 account holders in the bank, according to news by Japanese broadcaster NHK.

MUFG is checking to see the viability of the test run and will even broaden the plot by offering the new cryptocurrency to a variety of businesses to test its effectiveness. Japanese corporations are warming up towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies and have signed lucrative deals to get into the space.

South Korea

Government’s focus on positive aspects of cryptocurrency: The South Korean government is finally relaxing its approach towards cryptocurrencies after months of cracking down and strong-handed measures. The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) will now classify cryptocurrencies as “financial assets” now and will soften its approach further.

The move comes after a unified G20 stance on cryptocurrencies. The FSS stated earlier:

“It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G20 nations. Given the current stance [in Korea], this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things.”

Largest cryptocurrency exchange cleared in audit: In a symbolic victory for the cryptocurrency scene, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit was cleared in a government audit thus allowing it to continue its operations. The currency market came under pressure recently after police raided Upbit offices on suspicion of fraud. The Financial Services Commission and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) allowed the government to take control and audit the exchange.

Upbit feels vindicated by this move and its president Lee Seok-woo said:

“In early March, when Upbit was suspected of only book transactions without coins… I have been notified that the amount of coins is 100% identical to the number of coins in the wallets.”

Chinese Tapei (Taiwan)

Taiwan bank sets pace in blockchain payments: Fubon Commercial is close to becoming one of the first banks in the country to introduce a blockchain payment system.

The first test run will see the restaurants and merchants in the National Chengchi University use the payment service with shorter transaction times and improved bookkeeping.

Each transaction is encrypted and stored in the Ethereum blockchain. Following this move, transactions have quadrupled in just two weeks since the launch.

India

Conglomerate attacked in largest crypto-jacking episode in country: Third largest Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group was targeted in the first episode of crypto jacking in the country according to latest reports by Economic Times.

Hackers broke into a network of 2,000 computers that belong to different companies operating under the Birla group umbrella and used their terminals and computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. The attack was first detected last month according to Economic Times but within a few days, the malware spread to other areas including manufacturing and additional services that are part of the huge corporate empire.

The attack isn’t widely seen as to steal information or cryptocurrency but to mine them, according to a person familiar with the attack who spoke with the Economic Times. A spokesperson for the group said that countermeasures had been deployed and that an internal investigation was being carried out.

Australia

Budget makes room for blockchain: The Australian government is warming up to blockchain as the Department for Home Affairs (DHA) has proposed a framework to introduce decentralized ledger technology to help improve the country’s international trade and supply chain management.

A spokesperson of the department said:

“Intelligence and risk assessment capabilities and revenue collection are improved by new and emerging technologies, such as blockchain, that would improve the veracity, validation, and analysis of intelligence and trade data.”

In addition to DHA, the Australian stock exchange ASX has also outlined plans to use a DLT system in the near future.

 

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