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

China arrests 98, recovers $266 million in OneCoin Ponzi: Chinese government machinery in the ZhuZhou County Protectorate has arrested 98 culprits involved in the infamous OneCoin cryptocurrency pyramid scheme and recovered a total of USD 266 million in crypto. If proven accurate, this could be the single biggest cryptocurrency seizure in history, with the current biggest episode being Finland’s with BTC 2,000 (USD 8 million) recovered from fraudulent activities.

OneCoin had over 2 million registered accounts in China in 20 different provinces. More than CNY 15 billion (Chinese yuan) was reportedly invested in the project.

Chinese central TV warns against Bitcoin investment: Chinese state-controlled China Central TV has discouraged investors in investing cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin in a news story this week.

The news report titled ‘Blockchain Cryptocurrency Bubble Accumulates’ (区块链”代币泡沫堆积) is part of many similar pieces covered by the government to fend off public interest in Bitcoin.

India

CoinSecure closes after losing all its BTC: Indian cryptocurrency exchange CoinSecure is still closed with a hack reported in the exchange on 9 April that led to over BTC 438 being stolen by hackers, equivalent to around USD 3.3 million at the time.

The company still remains locked up and distribution of funds may take place according to latest reports. As of this week, a ratio of 90% INR (Indian rupee) and 10% in BTC is being reported.

Government may implement crypto taxes: Crypto-skeptic Indian regulators will reportedly apply GST on cryptocurrency trading according to latest news from Bloomberg India. As much as 18% is being reported by the government sources and could see the cryptocurrencies labelled as “tangible goods”.

The proposal is being developed by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. The move follows the Central Bank’s ban on cryptocurrency exchange accounts registered in local banks.

Singapore

Central bank to revamp regulations for blockchain industries: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has drafted a consultation paper that includes proposals for changing existing cryptocurrency regulations, according to latest reports from the Southeast Asian nation.

The move will see a complete revamp of the regulations and is widely seen as enabling more blockchain companies to come and invest in the country. The report comes in the backdrop of a government-MAS preparation to launch blockchain-based inter-bank payment system.

South Korea

Seoul mayor reiterates support for local crypto ahead of elections: Mayor Park Won-Soon has doubled down on his proposal to introduce a native cryptocurrency in the capital city of Seoul in his bold plans of becoming a smart city ahead of his re-election campaign.

Park had highlighted six sectors that his city could improve drastically including Internet of Things, AI, big data and bio-health.

Government reviews, softens crypto regulations to meet G20 unified regulation: The South Korean government is revising its earlier hardline stance on cryptocurrency regulation following the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. The summit acknowledged cryptocurrencies as “financial assets”  and heralded them to usher in a new age of development in economy.

South Korean government is now softening its policies according to the G20 summit and are set to dole out “unified regulations for cryptocurrencies”.

Japan

MUFG Bank partners with Akamai for crypto payment: Japan’s largest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has announced that it is partnering with US-based Akamai to work on a global payment network service. The service will reportedly become fully functional by 2019 and will enable IOT-based payments and other emerging technologies.

According to a press release from the bank:

“MUFG and Akamai, using Akamai’s globally deployed high-speed and high-security platform, will utilize this new blockchain’s high-speed processing and secure value transfer abilities to promote pay-per-use, micropayments, and other new IoT generation payment methods, and to support the diverse payment options of the sharing economy by offering an open platform,.”

Thailand

Thai regulators clarify crypto stance: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand has made some clarifications regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain regulations while hosting a focus group on the matter. The SEC presented its present and future approaches in a Facebook Live session regarding ICOs and crypto-related enterprises.

The move will see KYC and AML standards adopted for new blockchain projects and ICOs.

Australia

Government considering blockchain for services and welfare payments: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the state Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to research blockchain and see how it could be used to improve government services including welfare payments.

A preliminary budget of AUD 700,000 has been earmarked for the initiative into blockchain technology. DTA Chief Digital Officer Peter Alexander said: “The Prime Minister, in fact, wrote to our minister and asked us to have a look at blockchain, which evolved into this particular piece of work.”

The move will focus on how government can leverage the new technology to improve governance.

 

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