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
LocalBitcoins imposes restrictions on accounts based in Iran: As a result of the recent US-Iran tensions, LocalBitcoins has banned all its users operating from Iran.
The peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange saw a recent surge in the user base from the country courtesy their hassle-free account opening procedures, but it announced the ban last Friday citing “risk-based reasons” and a need for compliance with financial regulations in Finland for the decision. The exchange added that it would allow the existing customers to withdraw the bitcoins, but won’t allow any further trading.
India supreme court advocate offers crypto regulation ideas: CIO of Economic Times, cyber law expert, and Indian supreme court advocate NS Nappinai has offered advice on implementing cryptocurrency regulation in India.
In an interview, she said that if implemented correctly, a functioning crypto regulatory framework would help in fostering openness about crypto trading in the country. But she also warned against a “one size fits all” approach and suggested that customized regulations for specific digital assets have to be created to regulate the reporting methods while incorporating investor protection provisions.
Australian IT worker charged for crypto mining at government agency: An Australian government contractor has been arrested after allegedly abusing his position to illegally access and use government agency computer systems, according to the Sydney police.
The charges have been filed under sections 477.2 and 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 namely for “Unauthorized modification of data to cause impairment” and “Unauthorized modification of restricted data”. It was revealed in a report that just last year AUD 6.1 million was lost in various cryptocurrency scams in Australia, with around 378,000 scams spread across all sectors costing victims around AUD 489 million.
Japan regulator to inspect crypto exchanges for AML policies ahead of FATF inspection: The financial services agency (FSA) will reportedly assess Japan’s anti-money laundering policies as part of their campaign against non-compliant cryptocurrency exchanges before the inspection by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this fall.
Given that this year’s G20 meeting will also be chaired by Japan, FSA is desperate for a better review by FATF than the last time in 2008 when the Japanese financial institutes received the lowest possible rating back due to a lack of transparency and an “insufficient legal framework”.
South Korean Bitcoin exchanges post highest fiat influx: During the recent crypto boom, South Korea has topped the charts in accumulating bitcoin more than any other country, as revealed by CryptoCompare. The data analytics firm reported that the South Korea exchange BitHumb received USD 16 billion+ fiat money in April 2019, with their rivals, Upbit, coming second with fiat-based capital of only USD 7.5 billion during the same month.
In the same period, US-based exchanges such as Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken only posted investments of around USD 1-5 billion each, where interestingly the fiat statistics were more or less equal among all these exchanges before the bitcoin price boom. Both BitHumb and Upbit topped the fiat-to-crypto volume in both the months February and March as well.
Samsung Pay could soon be adding cryptocurrency integration: Samsung is contemplating the integration of cryptocurrency into Samsung Pay, which currently accounts for 80% of the total digital payments in South Korea. The decision by Samsung is seen as a move for expanding its user base, with further speculation that Samsung wants to use the blockchain technology to reduce the current transaction fees.
There are also reports of Samsung exploring the possibility of launching its own blockchain network and a token on the Ethereum blockchain, thus taking over a significant share in the FinTech industry.
Lao PDR central bank gets tough on crypto: Laos has recently warned off their citizens and potential investors from buying crypto, thus following suit of their neighbour country Vietnam. The central bank of Laos’s Transaction System Management Department has recently warned commercial banks, businesses, and the general public against buying, selling, or using cryptocurrency for monetary transactions, deeming it an “illegal activity”.
The authorities claim that this ban was necessary due to a lack of checks and balances present for the regulation of cryptocurrency transactions. This warning holds for any investment activities involving cryptocurrencies, with banks put on high alert to monitor any crypto related transactions.
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