Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and Digital IDs

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, will invite its residents to take part in an experimental blockchain-based vote. They are expected to share opinions on several questions of local importance, including the fireworks display during the annual Lakeside Festival and the use of digital IDs to borrow books and pay parking fees. This and other fintech and crypto-related stories from the Alpine nation and other corners of Europe are featured in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief.   

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: POT Saves World, Coinbase Pumps ETC, Binance Wants EUR

Zug Experiments with Blockchain-Based Vote

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAuthorities in the Swiss city of Zug plan to ask local residents to participate in a consultative blockchain-based vote this month utilizing the city’s electronic ID system. They will be able to vote via their smartphones by downloading and installing an app. The experimental vote will be held between June 25 and July 1. Citizens will be asked if they are in favor of setting alight fireworks during the annual Lakeside Festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library, pay parking fees, and for identification on regular referendums.

According to Swissinfo, the results of the vote will be non-binding. Nevertheless, the initiative, which aims to test whether blockchain can be used on a broader scale, highlights again the positive attitude of Swiss authorities towards cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology. The canton of Zug, dubbed Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, has become home to many fintech startups and even established crypto companies like the Chinese giant Bitmain, which has opened an office there.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsFor some time now, Zug has been accepting cryptocurrency payments for municipal services, including company registrations using bitcoin and ether. The city introduced its eID system to provide citizens with digital access to council services. The pilot phase of the project started last fall. The system is based on blockchain technology.

New Swiss Body to Simplify Capital Markets

In another example of Switzerland’s serious approach to fintech innovations, leading representatives of the country’s financial, technological, academic and legal sectors have recently formed the new Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to facilitate the use of blockchain in financial markets. In a press release, they noted that “the blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the complexity of the capital markets system and lower the barrier of entry for startups.”

According to CMTA’s founders, the lack of legal certainty is slowing and can potentially compromise development in the field. They hope to facilitate access to funding for new businesses by defining a set of industry-supported open standards. These should ultimately contribute to value creation throughout the economy said Jacques Iffland, CMTA’s chair and partner at Lenz & Staehelin, the largest Swiss law firm.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

Swissquote Bank Ltd, a leader in online banking, and Temenos, which specializes in banking software, are also behind the initiative. CMTA promises to work to create toolkits that can be used by new or established companies, businesses and startups to access funding and raise capital securely and efficiently, using new technologies and leveraging digitalization. The association is based in Geneva.

Irish Blockchain Startup Delivering Aid to Refugees Raises €1m

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAn Irish startup, using blockchain to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, has raised an estimated €1 million from investors, according to industry sources quoted by The Irish Times. The Dublin-based Aid:tech is working in refugee camps, often in hotspots like the Middle East. On Wednesday, Enterprise Ireland and SGInnovate, the venture capital arm of the Singaporean development authority, announced simultaneous investments in the Irish company. This is the first time both state-backed organizations have allocated funds to support a blockchain business, the Irish daily notes. Amsterdam-based Blue Parasol Investments and Tin Fu Fund, a closed private equity fund managed by Shenzhen Capital Group, also took part in the funding round.

Aid:tech aims to increase transparency in the distribution of aid, welfare, remittances, donations, and healthcare services through digitizing their delivery using blockchain technology on its platform. According to the company, only a fraction of the estimated €306 billion (~$360 billion) transferred each year by non-governmental aid organizations is currently delivered via transparent systems which, the startup claims, are extremely expensive to administer. The blockchain technology employed by the Irish firm would allow all international aid to be accounted for, including the distribution of medicine, food and other essentials, the publication details.

Government-Backed Platform to Promote Ireland as a Blockchain Hub

In an attempt to highlight Ireland’s capabilities in the blockchain ecosystem, authorities in Dublin have launched a new government-backed platform. Blockchain Ireland, founded in partnership with a young company called Consensys, aims to create conditions for greater cooperation between startups working in the sector, both on national and international level. The platform was launched by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group and backed by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Department of Finance, leading members of the country’s blockchain industry and representatives from a number of academic institutions.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The online platform is a source of useful information about the Irish blockchain ecosystem. It will be used to promote the country as a blockchain hub by highlighting the Irish technology sector and business environment which turn Ireland into an ideal location for blockchain-enabled business, Silicon Republic reports. The services it will be offering include providing information on setting up a new company and support for blockchain projects in Ireland. Its activities, however, will stretch beyond Irish borders. Blockchain Ireland will be working to develop the European and international blockchain ecosystem as well.

What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Bitcoin News is growing fast. To reach our global audience, send us a news tip or submit a press release. Let’s work together to help inform the citizens of Earth (and beyond) about this new, important and amazing information network that is Bitcoin.

The post Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and Digital IDs appeared first on Bitcoin News.

SEC Chairman Applauds ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep’

SEC Chairman Applauds 'Operation Crypto-Sweep'

The chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, has issued a statement “applaud[ing]” the efforts of authorities associated with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in executing the current “enforcement sweep targeting fraudulent ICOs and crypto-asset investment products.”

Also Read: 70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto Schemes

SEC Chairman Commends Regulators Involved in ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep’

SEC Chairman Applauds 'Operation Crypto-Sweep'SEC chairman Jay Clayton has “applaud[ed]” his “fellow regulators in the United States and Canada who are coordinating and participating in efforts to police fraud in the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) markets.”

“The enforcement actions being announced by NASAA should be a strong warning to would-be fraudsters in this space that many sets of eyes are watching, and that regulators are coordinating on an international level to take strong actions to deter and stop fraud,” Mr. Clayton said.

The “efforts” referred to by Mr. Clayton have seen more than 40 North American state and provincial regulators participate in ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep’ – an “enforcement sweep” targeting fraudulent ICOs and crypto investment schemes which has resulted in over 70 investigations thus far.

NASAA Describes ICO Fraud as ‘Threat to Main Street Investors”

SEC Chairman Applauds 'Operation Crypto-Sweep'The SEC chairman sought to take a firm stance regarding the issuance of unlicensed securities through an ICO, stating that “When investors are offered and sold securities, whether through traditional channels or through an ICO on a sales-oriented website, state and federal securities laws apply. These laws have applied to our securities markets for over 80 years. At their core, these laws require full and fair disclosures of material information about both the securities and the venture being funded. Unfortunately, some market participants seem to believe that the use of new technology provides a basis for ignoring the core principles of our securities laws.”

Of Operation Crypto-Sweep, NASAA President and Director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joseph Borg, recently stated: “The persistently expanding exploitation of the crypto ecosystem by fraudsters is a significant threat to Main Street investors in the United States and Canada, and NASAA members are committed to combating this threat. Despite a series of public warnings from securities regulators at all levels of government, cryptocriminals need to know that state and provincial securities regulators are taking swift and effective action to protect investors from their schemes and scams.”

What are your thoughts on Operation Crypto-Sweep? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia


At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post SEC Chairman Applauds ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea Clarified

New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea Clarified

The majority of South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are implementing new self-regulatory rules and performing self-inspection. The industry group in charge of leading the efforts has clarified the differences between the new and old self-regulatory rules for its 23 exchange members.

Also read: Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token Sales

Promoting Safe Crypto Trading

New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea Clarified
Jeon Ha-jin’s interview.

The Korean Blockchain Association, known for its efforts to spearhead self-regulation among the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges, has unveiled and clarified its self-regulatory rules.

In an interview with Asia Economic TV on Tuesday, Jeon Ha-jin, chairman of the association’s self-regulatory committee, explained how the group and its exchange members are in the process of implementing self-regulation, adding that in the future:

The role and responsibility of the blockchain association will be significant until a safe and sound cryptocurrency trading culture is formed.

New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea Clarified
Jeon Ha-jin explaining about self-regulation.

The rules were unveiled at a press conference last week by the association and 14 of its exchange members in an effort to “boost transparency of deals and head off money laundering, insider trading and other illegal deals,” the Korea Times reported.

Specifically, the rules suggest that crypto exchanges “(1) manage clients’ digital coins and their own separately (2) cope with abnormal transactions quickly (3) list new crypto with enhanced client protection system (4) hold a minimum equity of 2 billion won [~US$1.85 million] and (5) publish regular audit and finance reports,” the news outlet conveyed, adding:

The association will inspect the system of the 14 exchanges and nine newcomers to see if their systems meet the rules. But the inspection could have a limited impact because the rules are not legally binding.

Inspections will start on May 1 and the association will look into the exchanges’ systems “to check if there are loopholes that could be used for insider trading, price rigging and money laundering,” the publication detailed. “Members are supposed to submit self-inspection reports to the association by May 8.”

New vs Old Rules Clarified

Jeon explained on a show hosted by the same TV station the differences between the new and old self-regulatory rules introduced by the association.

New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea ClarifiedHe believes that “the government is now totally neglecting” small and medium-sized exchanges with the enforcement of the real-name system. Since it was implemented, banks have been reluctant to provide virtual account services to small and medium-sized exchanges, opting to only work with the country’s largest such as Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit.

Describing the association’s approach to self-regulation, Jeon said “First, we examined the differences [of the new rules] from the existing self-regulation.” He then clarified:

In the new self-regulation, the content of strengthening the transparency and security of cryptocurrency exchanges has been added. In order to prevent money laundering by the users of the exchanges, we have added a procedure to verify identity.

Furthermore, he emphasized, “From next year, we will be able to trade [with] only one account per person. It [is] also planned to preserve transparency by keeping transaction records for five years.”

Lawyer Jong Jae-jung said on the same TV show:

Considering the size of the cryptocurrency market, it is necessary to impose a null and void liability in the event of damages caused by hacking or the like. It is desirable to impose an insurance policy on capital adequacy through appropriate capital requirements.

What do you think of the new self-regulatory rules for South Korean crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Asia Economic TV.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post New Self-Regulatory Rules for Crypto Exchanges in South Korea Clarified appeared first on Bitcoin News.

16 Government-Approved Crypto Exchanges Have Formed Self-Regulatory Group in Japan

16 Government-Approved Crypto Exchanges Have Formed Self-Regulatory Group in Japan

A new association has been registered in Japan consisting of 16 government-approved cryptocurrency exchanges. The group will focus on establishing self-regulatory rules and will have the authority to investigate and sanction members that do not comply with self-regulation.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

New Japanese Crypto Association

A new cryptocurrency organization has been registered with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), consisting of 16 crypto exchanges that have been approved by the agency, according to local media.

16 Government-Approved Crypto Exchanges Have Formed Self-Regulatory Group in JapanThe Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association recently held a general meeting, during which a director was chosen, Jiji Press reported.

The group plans to “elect Taizen Okuyama, President of Money Partners as Chairman” at the next Board of Directors meeting which will be held on April 23. The association will be formally launched on that date.

The news outlet quoted the new group explaining that they aim to establish rules for their member exchanges, and as an organization, will have the “authority to investigate and banish member companies.”

Founding Members

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association’s founding members are the 16 fully licensed exchanges operating in Japan. They are Bitflyer, Money Partners, Bitbank, Bitpoint, Quoine, SBI Virtual Currencies, Fisco Virtual Currency, Btcbox, Zaif, GMO Coin, Bittrade, Tokyo Bitcoin Exchange (DMM Bitcoin), Bitarg Exchange Tokyo, FTT Corporation, Xtheta Corporation, and Bitocean.

16 Government-Approved Crypto Exchanges Have Formed Self-Regulatory Group in JapanJapan already has two existing associations in the crypto space: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano and the latter by the president of Money Partners Group.

The new association will be a member of both the JBA and the JCBA, both of which will continue to operate, according to the news outlet. Some crypto exchanges are members of both associations, such as GMO Coin and Coincheck.

While all members of the new association are FSA-approved exchanges, members of the JBA and the JCBA also include “deemed dealers,” which are exchanges the agency allows to operate while their registrations are under review. Coincheck, which was hacked in January, falls into this category.

The FSA is currently strengthening its rules for deemed dealers. Masashi Nakajima, Professor at Reitaku University, who participates in the agency’s research group, pointed out that most users did not know that Coincheck was unlicensed, Sankeibiz conveyed. “I ask for a mechanism that is easy to recognize at a glance” to indicate that an exchange is still unlicensed such as a posting on the exchange’s website, he was quoted.

Do you think this new association will help the crypto ecosystem in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 16 Government-Approved Crypto Exchanges Have Formed Self-Regulatory Group in Japan appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

On Thursday, Nikkei reported:

Two cryptocurrency industry groups in Japan [JBA and JCBA] have agreed to merge in an effort to accelerate the establishment of voluntary regulations and regain public trust in the aftermath of a massive virtual currency heist.

Set to launch on April 1, “The new organization’s chairman will likely be JCBA Chairman Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners Group,” the news outlet detailed, adding that Kano is “expected to become the self-regulatory body’s vice chairman.”

Commenting on the news of its merger with the JBA, the JCBA issued a statement on Thursday, stating that no details have been decided at this time.

Accelerating Self-Regulations

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe new entity will need the approval of the FSA. Under Japan’s revised payment services law which went into effect in April of last year, cryptocurrency operators are allowed to form a self-regulatory organization. They can “set industry rules, conduct investigations on members, and impose punishment,” the Japan Times elaborated.

However, the FSA previously “refused to allow two self-regulatory bodies, urging the industry to create a unified organization by merging the JBA and the JCBA,” Nikkei explained on Thursday, adding that:

Once the new body is approved by the agency, it will gain the power to set penalties for breaches of its self-imposed rules. This should also help address calls by banks and other businesses in the conventional financial industry for virtual currency businesses to establish a robust self-regulatory regime.

Do you think the merger will help the crypto industry gain more of the public’s trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck Hack

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck Hack

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges are strengthening their self-regulation procedures following the hack of one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges, Coincheck. The Japanese Financial Services Agency has yet to approve Coincheck’s registration as a crypto exchange.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Strengthening Self-Regulation

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck HackThe Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) has previously established self-regulation standards which its cryptocurrency exchange members voluntarily adopt. The standards include “the maintenance of cold wallet, etc., under the consent of the related members,” the association announced on Saturday after one of its members, Coincheck, suffered a hack which led to an approximately 58 billion yen loss on its platform.

The association currently has 127 members, 15 of them are crypto exchange members and 35 are blockchain members. Among crypto exchange members are Bitflyer, Coincheck, GMO Coin, and Bitocean. Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano is the association’s representative director. According to the JBA’s announcement:

The fact that the maintenance of the cold wallet was delayed caused the current illegal outflow. It is very regrettable.

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck HackThe association noted that the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has alerted the representatives of each cryptocurrency exchange regarding their security. “We are looking for further measures,” the JBA emphasized, adding that its crypto exchange members have been told to “check the status of [their] security based on the possibility of cyber attack.” The association noted:

In the future, in order to appropriately secure the security of virtual currency exchange traders…we will establish stricter voluntary regulations and seek compliance with members.

FSA’s Concerns About Coincheck

According to Japan Times, the FSA had urged Coincheck to “address security concerns about the way it manages customer assets before Friday’s ¥58 billion theft of NEM tokens.” The publication quoted informed sources asserting:

As part of questionnaires issued in late August, the FSA asked exchange applicants how their assets were distributed in the two types of accounts [cold and hot wallets]…After the company [Coincheck] filed for registration in September, the FSA highlighted the risk of unauthorized accesses taking place in its computer system and urged it to strengthen security.

The financial authority usually takes two months to approve an application for a cryptocurrency exchange, the news outlet noted, pointing out that Coincheck’s application has already been under review for four months after its filing.

According to Reuters, the FSA has ordered Coincheck to submit “an incident report and measures for preventing a recurrence” by February 13. In addition, the agency may “conduct on-site inspections of other exchanges,” the news outlet noted. Furthermore, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department will launch an investigation into the exchange’s hack.

What do you think of Japanese exchanges’ self-regulation and Coincheck hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the JBA, and Japanese FSA.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Crypto Exchanges Strengthen Self-Regulation Following Coincheck Hack appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Growing Number of South Korean Crypto Exchanges Participate in Self-Regulation

Growing Number of South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges Participate in Self-Regulation

The number of cryptocurrency exchanges participating in self-regulation has nearly doubled in South Korea. The crypto self-regulation efforts are led by the Korean Blockchain Association which has recently launched with 66 members. The association also plans to develop standard price indices for the main cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

25 Crypto Exchanges to Self-Regulate

The Korean Blockchain Association has been leading the cryptocurrency self-regulation efforts in South Korea. The group formally launched on January 26 with 66 members, local media reported. Among its members are 25 crypto exchanges including all of the country’s major platforms such as Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, and Coinplug.

Growing Number of South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges Participate in Self-Regulation
Chin Dae-jae.

An inaugural ceremony for the launch was held at the Yeouido National Assembly Hall in Seoul. It was attended by 58 out of 66 member companies along with Min Byung-Doo, a member of the Democratic Party, and Kim Sung-tae, a member of the Free Korean Party, Inews24 reported.

Former South Korean Minister of Information and Communication, Chin Dae-jae, became the first chairman of the association. Top Star News quoted him saying, “The public interest in cryptocurrencies represented by bitcoin has soared, and the excessive speculative funding has flowed into exchanges. It’s our reality now.” He emphasized, “The association wants to be an effective communication channel between the government and the industry.”

During the first half of the year, the association “plans to create an information system that allows the public to easily understand virtual currency,” Chosun detailed, adding that:

The association also plans to develop a standard index of key virtual currency prices and transaction data…The intention is to provide credible information as standard transaction data.

Growing Number of South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges Participate in Self-Regulation
The Korean Blockchain Association’s launch event.

Self-Regulation for Korean Exchanges

Growing Number of South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges Participate in Self-RegulationPrior to its official launch, the association initially announced self-regulatory measures in December, at the suggestion of the regulators and in consultation with the banking sector. Fourteen cryptocurrency exchanges jointly declared self-regulation at that time, including all major crypto exchanges in the country except Upbit, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The Kakao-backed exchange, which has grown to be one of South Korea’s largest exchanges, joined the association and declared self-regulation in January.

The association has established a self-regulatory committee to work with cryptocurrency exchanges. Chin was then quoted by Chosun:

I will launch a self-regulation review in the first half of the year.

He further noted, “We will study the Japanese regulatory framework and make sure that the entire ecosystem is stable.” In addition, he elaborated, “I will also take the initiative to create an environment where investors can learn how to use virtual currency,” Maekyung reported.

According to the Hankyoreh, the association’s self-regulatory measures will “include minimum operating requirements such as the capital base of virtual currency exchanges, employee ethics regulations, and consumer protection.”

What do you think of Korean crypto exchanges declaring self-regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Yonhap, and the Korean Blockchain Association.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Growing Number of South Korean Crypto Exchanges Participate in Self-Regulation appeared first on Bitcoin News.