Asia and Australia

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.

South Korea

Government expected to reject exchanges status as venture firms: The South Korean government is expected to reject continuing the status of cryptocurrency exchanges as venture firms and is expected to degrade their status, thereby increasing taxation.

The move comes after earlier suggested legislation by the South Korean Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was upheld by the government and is now expected to be approved. The exchanges will now no longer be a part of the venture setup and are expected to be classified with gambling, bar and the entertainment industries thus doubling the taxes.

National policy expected to legalize ICOs: South Korea’s national policy committee chairman has called for the legalization of ICOs in the country. The move comes after much seesawing policy positions by the South Korean officials in recent times.

Min Byung-Doo, the current chairman of the National Policy Committee, is part of the ruling democratic party addressed the local media in support of ICOs and categorically said that Korea should allow ICOs. He also added that self-regulation from the cryptocurrency industry can help protect investors and traders against fraud and money laundering activities.

But other sections of the current government have been less welcoming of the prospect and have called for further restrictions on the blockchain economy. Policy adviser to the Justice Department Lee Jong Keun said just last month that strict regulations need to be in place around cryptocurrency for security purposes.


Exchange association tightens self-regulatory measures: The Japanese self-regulatory body of cryptocurrency exchanges has tightened laws of cryptocurrency trading in the country. The Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) was formed by some of the biggest names in the Japanese market for self-regulation purposes. The move has limited the amount of tokens that can be managed on an exchange’s “hot wallet” to help prevent big exchange hacks in the near future.

The latest move comes after the recent hacking of the Zaif cryptocurrency exchange in the country that led to more than USD 59.7 million worth of cryptocurrencies being stolen from the hot wallets. The JVCEA is pre-empting the regulation to invite a softer response from the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the premier Japanese financial markets regulator.


Hotel starts payment in Ether despite government ban: A hotel in China’s Sichuan province has reportedly started payments in Ethereum despite a blanket ban on cryptocurrency transfers in the country.

According to a local news outlet’s translated version: “The hinterland of western China has a rich and traditional hotel industry. They are entrepreneurs who accept Ethereum as payments with a goal to participate in advanced blockchain technology and trend.”

The pictures also show a big Bitcoin wall art just behind the reception lobby. The owner clearly is a fan of cryptocurrencies but it remains to be seen how the government will react to the matter.


Crypto exchange shuts down amid government indecisiveness: One of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country is shutting its operations due to the government’s poor regulatory efforts in the sector.

ZebPay closed its operations in the country after the Indian government failed to tackle an earlier announcement by Reserve Bank of India to declare cryptocurrencies illegal. ZebPay had over 3 million users and its sudden decision came as a surprise for the cryptocurrency community.


Government to develop new rules for crypto exchanges: According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) the agency is working on a new set of rules for regulating cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

The move comes after earlier regulatory efforts were deemed incomplete and the agency was tasked to devise new rules for the future.


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