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 to decide on ICO legality in November: The legality of initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be decided in November this year, according to a government source in the South Korean Ministry of Government Coordination.
The chief of the office Hong Nam-Ki provided valuable insight regarding government’s position on ICOs. While he was coy about what the government would eventually decide, he said survey results will be received from blockchain companies by the end of October and then the government will deliberate on whether to allow them or not.
The Korean Blockchain Association is making a strong case for removing the ban on ICOs in the country while advocating for them in a National Library seminar in the capital. Its chairman, Chin Dae-je, said that allowing new ICOs will bring in new jobs and benefit the economy.
Bithumb acquired by Singapore group: One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, Bithumb, has been acquired by a Singapore-based medical group in a USD 354 million deal. Bithumb suffered a major exchange hack back in June this year with more than KRW 35 billion (USD 40 million) lost and has been in rebuilding phase ever since.
Interestingly, the new stakeholder is a plastic surgeon named Kim Byung Gun and he has purchased a 51% majority stake in the exchange. Despite the recent hack, Bithumb’s daily trading volume is still the sixth largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex and Upbit.
New science minister has pro-blockchain history: The latest addition in the Japanese cabinet, Science Minister Takua Hirai, has a well-known pro-blockchain stance. His experience will prove to be crucial in the promotion of the cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in the country.
Earlier this year, Hirai was a senior advisor to a study group which had been set up to lay down rules for the adoption of ICOs and offer proposals for the Financial Services Agency (FSA). He also orchestrated a bill back in 2017 that legalized cryptocurrencies in the country. While agencies like FSA have tightened crypto rules, the crypto community can look forward to the new appointment with optimism.
Government claims blockchain standards will guide industry: The China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI), a government institute, has announced a new project that will determine helpful blockchain-related standards in the country to increase efficient utilization of DLT.
While the organization is aimed at standardizing the industry, three separate models will be issued for smart contracts, privacy and deposits. The standards are expected to be released in 2019.
Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)
Congressman proposes extension of AML laws to include crypto: A Taiwanese lawmaker is hoping to introduce new legislation in the Congress to include cryptocurrencies in the anti-money laundering framework in the country.
Congressman Jason Hsu has proposed an amendment to the current Money Laundering Control Act to have cryptocurrencies face the same legal course as fiat currencies. It is also expected to add new rules that are crypto-specific in nature. The bill is very similar to the one proposed and adopted by the European Union earlier this year.
Financial regulator to address crypto-related complaints against banks: The Singaporean financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said that it is willing to support cryptocurrency projects including exchanges that are having problems with bank accounts in the country.
Some crypto firms complained about the banking system’s bias towards cryptocurrencies that has resulted in several account closures and suspensions. MAS is now working with the crypto projects to address the lingering issue.
Government exploring blockchain application in agriculture, finance, IP: The Thai Ministry of Commerce is exploring the option of using blockchain technology for the betterment of three industries, namely agriculture, finance and IP.
Pimchanok Vonkorpon from the Trade and Strategy Office in an interview with the Bangkok Post said that the government is making an effort to use DLT for boosting credibility and efficiency of the country’s various industries.
Government testing smart money for disability insurance: A federal research branch called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is partnering with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) for a proof-of-concept blockchain for disability insurance.
Together, the two organizations will use the blockchain to create smart money, as they call it, for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As of now, a prototype has been developed by the participants of the scheme.
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