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.

China

President acknowledges impact of blockchain tech: Chinese Premier Xi Xinping has acknowledged the “breakthrough” impact of blockchain technology, according to latest reports from CNBC.

The Chinese head of state made these remarks at a meeting of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Engineering last Monday. The remarks by Xi roughly translate to: “A new generation of technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communications, internet of things and blockchain is accelerating breakthrough applications.”

Blockchain is being widely adopted by Beijing but cryptocurrencies, exchanges and ICOs are banned due to a clash with conventional institutions.

Government forms blockchain standardization committee: China is at the forefront of advances in blockchain technology with the ministry of industry and technology verifying rumored plans of establishing a blockchain standardization committee.

The structure of the committee will be based on the model of TC 307, the International Standard Organization’s (ISO) own blockchain standardization initiative, according to a report by CoinDesk.

Li Ying, the head of IT Ministry information division said, “We have been working closely with the ISO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). We should soon have our national technical committee for blockchain standardization ready within this year.”

Hong Kong

Government rules out native crypto: Hong Kong’s central banking regulator Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has dismissed claims that it will launch its own cryptocurrency in the near future.

Back in April 2017, the HKMA revealed its research for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) but the proposal is now being shelved. Joseph Chan, the head of Hong Kong Financial Services and Treasury said, “In the context of Hong Kong, the already efficient payment infrastructure and services make CBDC a less attractive proposition. The HKMA has no plan to issue CBDC at this stage but will continue to monitor the international development.”

South Korea

BitHumb bans 11 countries, South Korea accuses North Korea of $650 million Bitcoin heist: South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Bithumb has banned users from 11 countries, including North Korea, following startling revelations regarding Pyongyang’s cryptocurrency jacking.

Other countries banned in the move include Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu and Yemen.

North Korea’s spy network and hackers have been accused of striking over 100 banks across the world with some USD 650 million stolen.

National Assembly proposing bill to lift ICO ban: The South Korean National Assembly has been moved to lift a ban on domestic Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The move comes eight months after all cryptocurrencies were banned following the discovery of fraudulent activity.

South Korea is one of the biggest cryptocurrency promoters in the world with big exchanges, innovative Blockchain companies and other decentralized fintech startups operating in the country. The move to re-allow ICOs to function will likely attract more investment into the local cryptocurrency market.

Japan

Crypto learning centers thriving: Crypto learning centers and educational establishments are thriving in Japan, among other East Asian nations, according to Bitcoin.com. More than 80% of total Bitcoin trading took place in East Asia.

A number of banks have also joined the movement and some banks even offer accounts in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Financial watchdog bans private cryptocurrencies: The Japanese financial watchdog Financial Services Agency (FSA) has banned pro-privacy and privately-operated cryptocoins, according to latest reports published on CoinDesk this week.

The move will affect popular coins including Monero, Dash, Augur’s reputation token and ZCash. All of these currencies offer increased privacy as compared to other tokens. The reason behind the move is said to be a crackdown on illicit coin trading.

Philippines

Filipino blockchain project to bring banking to the unbanked: The Union Bank of Philipines and US-based startup ConsenSys will see the 35 million unbanked Filipinos come into the banking fold through blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

According to Finance Secretary Carlos G Dominguez, “Over 86 percent of Filipinos remain unbanked to this day. That is an intolerable ratio of the population excluded from the financial mainstream… We cannot have a new economy with an ancient banking system.”

Australia

Brisbane airport approves crypto payments: Australian city Brisbane’s international airport has announced plans of cryptocurrency payment options at its passenger terminals, according to reports by NewsBTC.

Passengers will be able to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and other cryptocurrencies to pay for their tickets at various places inside the airport. According to Roel Hellemons, the General Manager of Strategic Planning and Development, “This is just the beginning for us as we hope to expand the digital currency option across the business.”

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are becoming popular choices for Australian investors and many see Bitcoin as a viable currency of the future.

 

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