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

New bureau announced to revise tax rules for “new-growth” technologies: Major advances in South Korea are forcing its financial watchdog to plan an organizational reshuffle and a new bureau to look at the new financial innovation policies for “new-growth” technologies, which are believed to include cryptocurrencies.

Last Tuesday, the South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) published the press release that entailed the desire to better protect the domestic financial consumers and make preparations for a reduced tax policies for the innovative technologies disrupting the market.

The newly-formed bureau was specifically created for “policy initiatives for financial innovation e.g. innovative financial services using fintech or big data and responses to new developments and challenges such as cryptocurrencies”.

The South Korean government is also introducing new draft bills in the national assembly that will also include taxation details for the future.

Singapore

Real estate company claims first to employ DLT in conducting individual and institutional investment: A Singapore-based real estate company, NOON Capital, has announced that it will be utilizing the Ethereum blockchain in financial management of its real estate investments that are reportedly worth around USD 20 million.

A majority of the new investment will be directed to Thai tourist hub Phuket. The managing director of NOON Capital said:

“Thailand has a stable currency, low inflation, a strong banking system, and is embracing blockchain technology. It has great infrastructure for both our investors and tenants… This makes rapidly developing cities such as Phuket an attractive proposition, because it has the safety and structure of a developed country, while also having immense real estate potential for investment and development.”

The move follows an announcement by consumer goods giant Unilever to launch a platform run by date tech company Blis based on the IBM blockchain. 

Thailand

Government announces state-run token by Thai Bond Market Association: The Thai government has announced that the Thai Bond Market Association (TBMA) is developing a state-run token for the purpose of clearing corporate bonds.

“Bond Token” will be built around a private blockchain to ensure transactions between pre-selected participants including regulators and bond issuers. The coin is expected to launch in August 2019.

Japan

First bank-backed crypto exchange starts operations in Japan: VCTRADE, a first bank-backed cryptocurrency trading exchange has been launched in Japan this week.

The exchange is currently owned and operated by SBI Holdings and is open for trading for people between 20 and 70 years of age. The platform will currently only offer the trading of Ripple-Yen pairs as the SBI chairman Yoshikato Kitao believes that Ripple has the ability to become a global digital currency that will compete with Bitcoin in the future.

Kitao said, “There’s a lot of speculative demand around cryptocurrencies, which is why the price is going up so quickly, but people need to think about how these technologies are being used in real life and how they can improve people’s businesses.”

Police seize crypto for unpaid parking tickets: Japanese police from Hyogo Prefecture announced the seizure of a small amount of cryptocurrency from a user for unpaid parking tickets.

Before this move, real estate, vehicles, bank savings and other assets were seized by the Japanese police for unpaid fines but the man in question had no bank accounts and police was unaware of his whereabouts so they simply got into the exchange account and took JPY 5,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from him (USD 44). The amount will be liquidated if the fines are not paid, according to the Japanese police sources.

While the amount involved is very small, this is yet another reason to keep one’s cryptocurrencies in wallets instead of exchanges so that a user has complete control over his funds.

China

China reports 500% increase in blockchain-named companies: Qukualian (the Chinese word for blockchain) is becoming popular in Chinese business circles according to South China Morning Post and is now appearing six times more in company names than last year. 

The increased activity shows the popularity of blockchain culture in the most populous country in the world. There are over 4,000 blockchain companies in the country according to data aggregator Qixin.com. The Qukualian name is now in over 3,078 new companies compares to 555 last year.

While blockchain is becoming popular in China, cryptocurrencies still remain illegal and crackdowns continue by the government in the garb of anti-money laundering and anti-corruption measures.

Chinese inventors use blockchain to conserve artifacts digitally: Tsinghua University in China has come up with an interesting implementation of blockchain technology for the protection of the country’s cultural heritage.

The university has filed a patent for the application that saves digital versions of the ancient artefacts on blockchain using 3D scanning capability. The digital version scanned using 3D scanning and its related information is stored in a private Blockchain using a concept called “hashing”.

The patent reads:

“Based on the unique design of blockchain for exchanging information, the digital identities of each cultural heritage can be transferred among different parties at lower costs with higher efficiency, so that we can enlarge their economic and social values.”

The concept is now patented by inventors and now they will look to establish practical measures to put it into work.

Australia

Australian seeking $6.2 million bet on Bitcoin price: An anonymous cryptocurrency expert in Australia is attempting to place a bet that Bitcoin’s price will one day surpass the price of a share in Berkshire Hathaway’s stock by 2023.

Tom Waterhouse, the CEO of William Hill, a London-based bookmaker, reported the betting attempt. The bet is interesting because the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, has been extremely critical of cryptocurrencies, calling them a Ponzi scheme.

A Berkshire Hathaway share costs USD 288,400 with a market capitalization of USD 471.32 billion. While the market share may be achievable for Bitcoin, the current Bitcoin price is languishing at USD 7,450 and will take considerable interest from the world and a market cap of USD 5 trillion to make the bet a successful one. The Berkshire stock has also been increasing a steady rate so by 2023, it could be worth a lot more.

 

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