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. Next up is Asia and Australia.

China

Government Restricts Cryptocurrency Trading Websites: The Chinese government has banned cryptocurrency trading websites in the country as the digital currencies are considered illegal in the country.

But, despite the ban, there is a considerable presence of cryptocurrency circles in the country, which the government is planning to target them. There are over 206 crypto exchanges listed on coinmarketcap.com and the government has reportedly shut all of their websites down in an effort to crack down on cryptocurrencies.

The government is also looking to monitor ICO activity in the country.

South Korea

South Korean City Partnering with US Company to Reduce Carbon Footprint: A major South Korean metropolis Chuncheon is partnering with a clean energy company Swytch based in the United States to boost environmental and economic stability in the city.

According to a press release by the local government, Mayor Lee Jae-Soo was in attendance when the agreement was signed between the two parties. Several other South Korean cities are also looking to use blockchain for green initiatives.

Government Finds Security Flaws in Cryptocurrency Exchanges: South Korean exchanges are one of the most vulnerable to hacking attempts as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of coins have been lost to various hacks in the last several months alone. A recent government check found exchanges having varying levels of vulnerabilities in their systems.

The Korean government recently checked 21 local cryptocurrency exchanges and identified 17 out of 85 issues that need improvement, of which 11 concerned crypto wallet management. The investigated exchanges included Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinnest, Coinlink, Coinone, Coinplug, and Huobi Korea.

North Korea

North Korean Lazarus Group Infiltrates Crypto Exchange: North Korean hacker group named Lazarus have hacked into another cryptocurrency exchange in a hacking operation called Operation Applejeus by Kaspersky antivirus lab. The group has a longstanding history of hacking South Korean banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, and government websites.

But, Operation Applejeus is the first time that the group has successfully created malware for Mac OS, the native OS of Apple. An unidentified employee of an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange downloaded the malware belonging to the Lazarus group that led to the hack. The group has also attacked the US and South Korean governments in the past.

It is not yet clear what amount of cryptocurrencies the hackers were able to gain access to in the cryptocurrency exchange.

Japan

Financial Services Agency all for Balance between Innovation and Consumer Protection: The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has said that it is aiming to create a balance between technological innovation that blockchain proposes and consumer protection.

The FSA’s top regulator Toshihide Endo said that the industry needs to grow under proper regulation so that it won’t need government intervention in exchanges operating within the country. FSA has already enforced trading caps on exchanges and restricted use based on age groups.

Thailand

Central Bank to Test Digital Currency: The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has announced a landmark project to see the launch of a new Central Bank Digital Currency according to a press release on 21 August 2018.

The new state cryptocurrency will use R3’s Corda platform with a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) being deliberated for wholesale fund transfers. Wholesale central bank currency limits usage to banks and financial institutions only, as opposed to a retail one that is ready for public use.

Australia

Citizens Can Now Pay Bills With Cryptocurrencies: Australian citizens will now be able to pay their bills using cryptocurrencies as two fintech startups have teamed up to provide a crypto bill payment service for citizens.

The crypto startups Cointree and automated billing platform Gobbill are behind the initiative. The system involves Gobbill accepting cryptocurrencies and then paying bills on their behalf in the form of fiat currency to the concerned authorities.

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