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.
Government declares stablecoins are not crypto: The Japanese financial watchdog, Financial Services Agency (FSA), has declared that stablecoins like USD Tether, Gemini Dollar and USD Coin (USDC) are not cryptocurrencies under the law. Under the ruling, they are prepaid payment instruments and will be regulated under different rules than cryptocurrencies.
The move comes because of the inherently different nature of stablecoins that is puzzling regulators around the world. While all other cryptocurrencies have a fluctuating price, stablecoins have a constant price they use blockchain technology.
The new move could spell major obstacles for Japanese companies to issue and transact USD stablecoins. While Japan has already voiced doubts about Central Bank Digital Cryptocurrencies (CBDCs), this is the first time it has categorized stablecoins differently.
Country celebrates 10th Bitcoin anniversary: At the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, Singapore has announced a national crypto event for two weeks and has used the celebrations to promote blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the country.
Singapore is gearing for further adoption of DLT and cryptocurrencies and already tens of thousands of Singaporeans own cryptocurrencies with regulators taking the backstage to allow the digital innovation’s promotion.
China opening up to crypto: China is opening up to cryptocurrencies following recent moves by the government to allow Bitcoin ownership and payment in the country. In a groundbreaking move, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration ruled that merchants can accept Bitcoin as payment in the country. As a result, Chinese can even own and transact Bitcoin under the law.
While the ruling may not bring direct changes, as the court did pass the buck back to the government regarding regulations, other moves indicate that the state is working to open up to the crypto world, albeit slowly.
Regulator proposes sandbox approach in crypto regulation: Hong Kong’s top securities regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), has proposed a sandbox approach towards cryptocurrency legislation in the Chinese district. The idea was pitched by SFC chief executive Ashley Adler at the recent Hong Kong Fintech Week.
While Adler acknowledged the presence of some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, he also raised concerns regarding their regulatory status. Hong Kong is home to two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world including Bitfinex and Binance.
According to Adler: “If, and only if, we decide at the Sandbox stage that we should regulate, we would consider granting a license… the platform would then be subject to intensive reporting and monitoring to ensure that strict internal controls operate as expected and investor interests are protected.”
The future of Hong Kong’s regulations are important as thousands of users will be affected by them.
India looks to ban crypto, keep DLT: A member of the Indian government has said that the government should look to ban private cryptocurrencies and increase the use cases of blockchain in the country.
This pro-DLT, anti-crypto strategy has been implemented by mainland China, India’s neighbor, and it seems the regional approach is now going to be in the norm. Due to the legal battles surrounding cryptocurrencies, the Indian government was given two weeks by the Supreme Court to finalize policies regarding them.
DLT projects in the country include a Hitachi-State bank partnership for digital payments.
Australia post starts digital ID platform: Australia Post is enabling cryptocurrency traders to easily access exchanges through a new platform called Digital ID. The new platform enables users to produce documents like drivers’ licenses and passports easily for initial verification which is required by the exchanges.
A Brisbane crypto exchange Digital Surge was the first to use the platform and commented on its easy user experience.
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