ChainTalk Weekly Newsletter: The latest in Crypto Asia
|Aug 21||Public post|
It was a week of doubt, enthusiasm, epic failures, and surprises as twists, turns, and unexpected announcements came from all directions. A website came online promising to unmask the true identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto and shed more light about the unknown history and facts about bitcoin and blockchain technology. But it was another epic failure which ended with more questions than answers.
Rakuten, Japan’s e-commerce giant launched its spot trading cryptocurrency exchange and wallet. Binance enters into competition with Facebook’s Libra project. Things are looking the other way in South Korea as local crypto projects prefer listing on foreign exchanges and cases of suspected money laundering using digital currencies are on the rise.
And there is more. A lot more.
Binance announces Project Venus to rival Facebook’s Libra
The interesting world of cryptocurrencies has taken another twist after Binance, one of the leading digital exchanges announced its plans to launch Project Venus, a scaled-down version of Facebook’s Libra project.
The new project aims to create localized stablecoins tied to real-world currencies used across the globe. Binance is ready to partner with governments and tech and crypto companies to “empower developed and developing nations to spew new currencies.”
Weak Renminbi pushes crypto interest among Chinese traders
A number of factors have played a tangible part in propping up the price of bitcoin. These include
Facebook’s plans to issue its own cryptocurrency
Tether’s market manipulation
Monetary easing by central banks.
However, the demand for bitcoin from Chinese investors may well be playing a huge role in affecting the leading digital asset’s price.
Babel Finance, a cryptocurrency service provider from Hong Kong, said that bitcoin’s trading volume in mainland China has been on the increase over the past few months and has grown by more than 50 percent in the last two weeks.
Analysts claim that the surge is mainly due to China’s decision to allow the renminbi to fall to seven against the US dollar for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, spiking the appetite for alternative assets such as bitcoin.
Chinese regulators have been very skeptical about the growth of cryptocurrencies, leading them to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges over concerns that it poses a threat to financial stability. Chinese investors have found a way to trade cryptocurrencies using offshore funds in crypto-friendly countries as Hong Kong and Singapore.
It is not yet clear if Chinese investors are buying bitcoin to hold or convert them to other digital currencies.
Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten launches crypto exchange
E-commerce behemoth, Rakuten, that in many ways resembles the Japanese version of Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, announced the launch of a cryptocurrency wallet – Rakuten Wallet – and “spot trading service for crypto assets in which users can conduct spot trading of crypto assets through a dedicated smartphone app.”
The app is currently compatible with Android devices and support for iOS will be added in the future.
The new exchange separates customer funds from those owned by the company. The company has implemented a number of security measures to ensure the safety of customer funds. Digital assets owned by customers will be stored offline – or cold storage – and private keys will be used in a multi-signature scheme.
Two-factor authentication will be required when accessing one’s account and withdrawing either fiat or digital assets.
Customers can use the app for transactions involving digital assets and the Japanese Yen. The only tradable assets on offer are BTC, ETH, and BCH. No fees will be charged for trading crypto assets or depositing money.
Rakuten Bank clients will have no struggle in opening a Rakuten wallet.
Report: Suspicious cryptocurrency transactions on the rise in South Korea
A report recently published shows that the number of suspicious transactions involving cryptocurrencies increased over the last year in South Korea, according to a report by Yonhap.
A National Assembly Budget Office (NABO) report indicate that the number of reported suspected cases of money laundering reached 972,320 last year. This is an increase of 86.5 percent from the previous year.
The surge in suspected money laundering cases came after the government adopted a framework to prevent such illicit activities using digital assets.
The South Korean government has banned the use of anonymous bank accounts in transactions to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal financial activities. The real-name trading system was used to thwart the potential of illicit activities and speculating in virtual currencies.
Domestic financial institutions are required to inform the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of transactions worth 10 million Won ($8,300). The state-run financial watchdog will then convey the information to the police if there are suspicions of money laundering or other financial crimes.
South Korean exchange CoinOne publicizes listing criteria
South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange CoinOne published a blog post detailing the requirements for projects hoping to get listed on its platform. The exchange identified nine major conditions that projects must meet before their cryptocurrencies can be traded on the platform.
The blog post further listed conditions that warrant a project to be delisted from its platform.
The exchange noted that it does not charge any trading fees but generates its revenue from trading fees. Therefore, it is only natural that the exchange will favor projects with the potential of higher trading volumes in order to generate more income and expand its business.
The required criteria include business model sustainability, transparent governance, a strong leadership team, clear and achievable roadmap, marketability, and a reasonable token distribution plan.
CoinOne clearly specified that it is more interested in projects geared towards the South Korean market as the majority of customers are within the country.
“CoinOne is a Korean-based exchange. The majority of its users are Korean. Therefore, it is very important for the project to have a business plan in Korea and how to exchange and train with Korean investors. In addition, online and offline communication is also very important.”
A project has the potential to be delisted from the exchange due to legal issues, suspected market manipulation, technical problems, lack of transparency, low trading volume, problems with the management, and criminal acts within the project.
South Korean blockchain projects listing en-masse in overseas exchanges
Local South Korean crypto industry observers say that the number of domestic blockchain startups listing their projects in overseas exchanges is growing steadily. Projects already listed on local exchanges are also favoring additional listing on exchanges in countries such as Singapore and the US.
The observers noted that foreign exchanges are scrambling to open the Won market in an attempt to lure both Korean blockchain startups and users.
Experts say that a tougher operational and regulatory environment is catalyzing the exodus of the blockchain projects. Investors cannot make deposits or withdrawals using the local fiat currency.
With the exception of only four exchanges, nearly 200 small trading platforms cannot open real-name virtual accounts and this is scaring investors away.
Domestic cryptocurrency exchanges are also plagued with low trading volume, making them unattractive to startups and traders.
Alleged biggest cryptocurrency exit scam of all gets away with suspected $2.9 billion
It is suspected that as much as $2.9 billion has vanished in what could be the biggest exit scheme the cryptocurrency industry has ever seen. According to the crypto detective firm CipherTrace and Chinese police, the perpetrators are on the run and recently moved the funds they fleeced from their victims.
At the center of it all is a cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service provider, PlusToken, which at one point, claimed to have more than 4 million users.
It is very difficult to say how much was taken because no one knows the exact figures of the number of wallets the now-defunct exchange had.
Satoshi Nakamoto is in town, or it’s just another faketoshi
The possibility of finding the real Satoshi Nakamoto is fading every day as faketoshi (people falsely claiming to be Satoshi) come forward more frequently but still fall short in offering real evidence to substantiate their claims.
The latest person to do so is James Bilal Khalid Caan, a British-Pakistani national who claims to have lost all his 980,000-bitcoin stash due to a hard-drive malfunction, prompting him to ditch his creation and live a normal domestic life.
“I didn’t want to tell anyone or consult anyone, as I felt humiliated. I abruptly stopped communicating [with] Hal, and this was one of the main reasons I went into self-exile,” wrote Caan in the three-part series of the ‘Big Reveal.’
What makes this sound more like a scam is the fact that Satoshi wants to promote a new project, Tabula Rasa, that he is currently working on with the intention of improving bitcoin.
Caan reiterated over and over again that he is an avid lover of numerology and astrology and Bitcoin got its name from the Bank of CredIT and COmmerce INternational, which closed down in 1991.
For many people, the new ‘Satoshi’s’ claims do not hold water unless he can send a signature using the genesis key. Even Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has weighed in on the matter.
“Satoshi Nakamoto brought to the world an open-source, decentralized, trustless, censorship-resistant currency based on math and cryptography. If Satoshi wanted to reveal himself, he would sign a message with the genesis key. Anything short of that is most likely fraudulent,” tweeted Lee.
BitMEX restricts access to users in Hong Kong, Seychelles, and Bermuda
BitMEX, a major derivative trading and cryptocurrency platform founded in 2014 by three entrepreneurs including Arthur Hayes, announced that is restricting access on its platform to users located in Hong Kong, Bermuda, and Seychelles.
“For this reason, we have decided to restrict access to BitMEX for users in the jurisdictions in which HDR-affiliated employees and offices are located,” wrote the exchange in a blog post.
The latest development will have no financial impact on the exchange’s business model, the firm said in the post. Only a few people will be affected by this and the exchange will communicate with the affected customers.
The exchange claims that it is doing this as it enters a new exciting era. BitMEX is entering a new era of transparency for the benefit of its customers and stakeholders. They are doing this as they look forward to engaging with regulators.
BitFlyer and Tpoint Japan partner for a crypto loyalty program
Cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer has entered into a new partnership with technology company Tpoint Japan to allows its customers to redeem loyalty points for cryptocurrency.
“As part of our mission of ‘Making the world simpler with blockchain’, we will continue to contribute to the further development of a sound virtual currency industry,” said the official press statement.
The Philippines gives the green light to two crypto exchanges
The central bank of the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has given two new exchanges - Atomtrans Tech Corp. International and Japan’s Telcoin Corp - the go-ahead to operate legally in the country.
Atomtrans was founded in 2017. It operates a remittance and payments business and wants to extend its services to digital assets trading.
The latest addition brings the total number of licensed cryptocurrency exchanges to 13 in the country.
We have published the video version of our interview with BW CEO Cathy Zhu. You can watch it here:
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