Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

Asia and Australia

Indonesia

Indonesia unicorn Bukalapak considers Middle East expansion: After crossing the 1 billion USD valuation mark and attaining the unicorn status, the Indonesian e-commerce and marketplace platform Bukalapak is now contemplating its expansion into the Middle East, according to CNBC.

The company has expanded into five Asian markets after starting its operations in 2010, but the CEO now thinks that the company’s Muslim workforce can act as a strong leverage point to connect with the businesses and customers in the Middle-East.

Iran

Iran Blames Bitcoin Miners for Unstable Power Grid: After the recent 7% spike in the electricity consumption in Iran, Energy Minister’s spokesman has released a statement blaming the Bitcoin community for the consequential power failures and shortfalls. He added that the crypto miners are consuming unsustainable amounts of electricity as the network encourages people to utilize computing power to solve increasingly complex cryptographic puzzles.

He claimed that each Bitcoin mined in Iran consumes as much electricity as 24 Iranian households over an entire year, with most miners are now operating from mosques, factories, agricultural sites, and government offices to avail the subsidized energy prices. He warned that the bitcoin miners will now be identified and deprived of their electricity connections soon.

South Korea

South Korea to Copy Global Models in Fintech Adoption: Local firms in South Korea will be able to use global models as templates to adapt their business practices after the government’s announcement of relaxing their laws for tech startups.

The revelation was made by the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC), who remarked that they desire to boost the fintech, hydrogen vehicles, and drones industries and spur innovation. An FSC taskforce has already reviewed 188 cases of possible financial services using new tech, now moving towards allowing financial firms to fully acquire fintech startups, currently only allowed to be only 15% acquired.

Seoul Transport Ministry to Pilot Blockchain Traffic Data Storage: Seoul has finally released a pilot launch date for its blockchain traffic data storage project as a part of its Smart City Initiative.

With the help of the Canadian tech firm, Graph Blockchain Inc, the CAD 55,000 (USD 41,700) project will be implemented to streamline and secure traffic data via the Hyperledger Fabric framework. The project will be fully up and running within the next five years and will be implemented in applications like citizen ID records, voting systems, charity aid management, and even vehicle history reports. 

India

Koinex, India’s Largest Crypto Exchange, Shuts Down: After months of suffocation at the hands of Indian lawmakers, India’s largest digital asset exchange, Koinex has finally given in and has announced their closure.

A company that saw a record-breaking trading volume of 265 USD million in December was forced to shut down after a string of draconian crypto laws by the Indian government and the consequent decline in the company’s trading volumes.

Back in April 2018, the RBI issued a circular that prohibited all financial institutions from forming or maintaining relationships with cryptocurrency companies, which led to the ostracization of the crypto community from the country’s markets. 

Reserve Bank of India Developing Blockchain Banking Platform: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced plans to develop and launch their own blockchain platform in the next year, that will host a number of blockchain applications.

This is a surprising move considering how RBI has been clamping down on any crypto activity, such as it declaring ICOs and crypto exchanges as not part of their regulatory sandbox. The model will be focused on banks in a bid to introduce crypto into the market in a manageable fashion.

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