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.

South Korea

South Korea may reverse crypto ban: Regulators of South Korean markets are reportedly softening their stance on ICOs and cryptocurrencies and may lift the blanket ban on ICOs imposed last year.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) took these measures because of consistent hacks occurring in Korean exchanges. Various cryptocurrency exchanges got hacked and lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Some exchanges were also suspected of illegal activity. But, due to increased security measures and Anti Money Laundering (AML) laws being implemented, the authority may look to reverse its earlier decisions on banning ICOs.

North Korea

Government thought to be using crypto to circumvent US sanctions: The North Korean government is using cryptocurrencies to avoid US sanctions on it, according to international money laundering and intelligence experts Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston.

They said in a joint statement:

“International criminals everywhere prefer cryptocurrencies and the DPRK (North Korea) is no exception. Cryptocurrencies have the added advantage to the DPRK of giving them more ways to circumvent US sanctions. They can do so by using multiple international exchangers, mixing and shifting services – mirroring the money laundering cycle – to exploit international financial institutions that have correspondent banking relationships with the United States.”

The move could spell further weakening of the US-controlled financial model that is currently widely accepted in the world.

Japan

Government fumes at $60 million hack of exchange: The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) is fuming at the latest hack occurring in Japanese exchange Zaif that saw almost USD 60 million stolen from investors. 

What is so frustrating for the FSA is that the exchange was given two warnings earlier to drastically improve their security system but it did not. The FSA has opened an investigation into the Zaif hack to help devise methods for exchanges to protect themselves in the future.

Mt Gox exchange confirms Bitcoin sell-off: Defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt Gox’s has confirmed that it has liquidated over USD 230 million worth of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from its wallets.

The exchange suffered a mammoth USD 470 million hack back in 2014 and declared bankruptcy. Now the recent sell-off is allowing the company to get out of bankruptcy by compensating its investors and getting into a rehabilitation program.

Malaysia

Government encouraging industries to adopt blockchain: The top three industries of Malaysia are being asked to promote blockchain growth in them that will enable transparency, efficiency and sustainability by a government-formed task force. The three top sectors include renewable energy, palm oil and Islamic finance.

In the energy sector, the government is confident to lead the growth in renewable energy with the help of blockchain technology by categorizing energy as green or emission-related. Similarly, in banking and palm oil, blockchain technology can create a recipe for success according to the government.

Hong Kong

Stock exchange firm announcing blockchain and fintech acquisition strategy: The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is looking to invest in blockchain and other fintech companies starting next year.

The progressive move was announced due to increased interest by the public in the blockchain space and encouraging government attitude. The stock exchange is already partnering with Australian Securities Exchange to implement blockchain technology in its system.

Australia

Research blockchain to conduct 30,000 cross-border transactions per second: Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is testing a new blockchain developed by the University of Sydney group called Red Belly Network and can reportedly process 30,000 transactions per second.

The Concurrent Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the university was behind the creation of this project and the blockchain will help CSIRO to improve the speed of cross-border transactions to help monitor environmental risks including those posed to marine life.

 

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