Masayoshi Amamiya, Bank of Japan’s Deputy Governor, stated on Saturday that it was unclear whether digital currencies could enhance the monetary policies of central banks. He elaborated that the Bank of Japan had no plans whatsoever to issue a cryptocurrency. Ongoing Debate Mr. Amamiya said that there was “quite a hurdle” for cryptocurrencies to overcome
A committee of tax experts in Japan that is responsible for advising the government on taxation matters has called for the simplification of the country’s cryptocurrency tax filing process. According to officials of the tax panel, the process is currently complicated and a change is required in order to enhance accuracy and compliance. Per a … Continued
Japanese crypto exchange Zaif has concluded a business transfer agreement with another regulated crypto exchange in Japan. Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange will take over all of Zaif’s services and will be responsible for repaying users who lost their coins when Zaif was hacked last month.
Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif, has signed an agreement to transfer Zaif’s business to Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange (FCCE), the company announced Wednesday.
Zaif claims that it was hacked on Sept. 14, with approximately 7 billion yen ($62 million) stolen. On Sept. 20, Fisco Co. Ltd., the parent company of Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange, announced a plan to provide 5 billion yen to help Tech Bureau compensate its affected users in exchange for the majority of the company’s shares. Fisco and Tech Bureau have since been working on a business transfer agreement with a tentative transfer date of Nov. 22.
“While the details of specific measures addressing damages to Zaif users are under consideration, a formal business transfer agreement for the Zaif business to FCCE was concluded,” Fisco wrote, adding:
It has been decided that all of Zaif’s services will be passed to FCCE including handled cryptocurrency, exchanges, vendors, credit transactions and Bitcoin Airfx [derivatives trading]. FCCE will also carry out the return of cryptocurrency that Zaif users lost in the outflow during the hacking incident, etc. (including debt for payment in kind for reasonable amounts of money).
Japan currently has 16 regulated crypto exchanges. Both Zaif and Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange were licensed by the country’s Financial Services Agency in September last year. In August 2017, Fisco announced the launch of “Japan’s first bitcoin-denominated bonds.”
Fisco’s Long-Term Agreement With Tech Bureau
The two companies have been working together since 2016. When Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange began operations in August 2016, it licensed the use of Tech Bureau’s white label system to provide liquidity to the new exchange.
Two days prior to the hack, on Sept. 12, Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange reviewed its system in order to stop using Tech Bureau’s white label system and start using its new trading system provided by Ccct Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caica Inc.
Plan to Compensate Zaif’s Users
After discovering the security breach on Sept. 17, Zaif immediately suspended several services, including deposit, withdrawal, and merchant payment. The exchange claims that 5,966 BTC, 42,327 BCH, and 6,236,810 MONA were stolen.
According to Wednesday’s announcement, Zaif has resumed some services for BTC and BCH, including “transactions, buying and selling through simple transactions and savings.” Tech Bureau clarified that deposit and withdrawal services “are scheduled to resume after operations have been assumed by Fisco Cryptocurrency, with the specific resumption date to be announced at a later date.”
For MONA, “compensation will be made in Japanese yen to the equivalent value” of the amount held by each user at the rate of 144.548 yen per coin, Tech Bureau detailed. At the time of this writing, MONA is trading at 148.4 yen on Zaif.
What do you think of Zaif transferring all crypto services to Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zaif, and Fisco Co. Ltd.
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It has been a busy week for Singapore as it relates to cryptocurrency. The city-state is set open the first fiat-crypto exchange in Southeast Asia, while the financial regulator has vowed to help crypto companies set up local bank accounts, according to media reports.
More than 8,000 people signed up for the open public beta launch of Eurekapro’s new fiat-crypto exchange, Finews.asia has reported. “A Singapore-based exchange will allow for easy fiat-to-crypto trading and aims to make digital currency more easily accessible to businesses and consumers,” the news site said.
Eurekapro offers its own native token, EKT, and claims it provides the most extensive fiat-to-crypto support in Asia. With its new Singapore exchange, the company — which was previously known as Overswitch and based out of Sweden — will allow users to conduct transactions with a number of regional fiat currencies, including the Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah.
MAS Cautiously Embraces Crypto
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will start helping crypto firms to set up local bank accounts, Bloomberg has reported, citing MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon. Although Asia is home to a growing middle class that is keen to experiment with cryptocurrencies, Singapore is looking to contrast its embrace of crypto against that of other countries across the continent. For example, MAS does not plan to require licenses for crypto exchanges, as the Japanese authorities do.
Japan has emerged as the gold standard for crypto in Asia, and really around the world, as it has largely taken a live-and-let-live approach. But in Singapore, MAS plans to place different crypto businesses into categories. “Utility tokens,” the first of these categories, refers to the use of blockchain technology to facilitate payments for things such as computing services. Menon said that barely any regulation will be required for such activities.
The second distinction that MAS will draw for the crypto industry relates to digital tokens that resemble securities. Such cryptocurrencies will fall under the oversight of Singapore’s Securities and Futures Act. In reality, Menon acknowledged that there have not been many local initial coin offerings that could be classified under this category thus far. But those that do will be subject to the relevant legislation. MAS has even said that it will not consider many such examples to be viable business models. “Most of them are careful to steer clear of that line,” Menon said.
Lack of Regulatory Clarity
While the Singapore authorities have overtly tried to encourage the growth of financial technology businesses, crypto companies have found that a lack of regulatory clarity has thus far held back their expansion. Part of the problem is that crypto firms have struggled to get local bank accounts; in some cases, the banks have ended up closing accounts that such companies have managed to open.
Yet Menon acknowledged that the crypto business is different from the fintech space in many ways, noting that the reluctance of local banks to get involved is understandable, due to the arguably “opaque” practices of some crypto companies. He said that the regulator’s primary concern involves discouraging money laundering and protecting the interests of consumers. But he also noted that there are ultimately limits to the regulatory reach of the MAS.
Do you believe Singapore will eventually accommodate crypto businesses to the same degree as Japan? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Eureakapro
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In recent news pertaining to crypto exchanges, Yobit has announced a “random coin” pump for Oct. 11, the founder of Okgroup has announced Okcoin USA’s plan to launch a stablecoin, and Coinbase’s chief policy officer has predicted that the exchange will attain Japanese regulatory approval by 2019.
Skepticism on Twitter over
Aggressive Yobit Campaign
Yobit, the shadowy Russian cryptocurrency exchange, has announced an upcoming “Yobit Pump” scheduled for 9 a.m. EDT on Oct. 11. According to Yobit’s Twitter, the pump will see Yobit purchase one random coin for 1 BTC every one to two minutes, 10 times.
The comments section beneath the tweet shows a predominantly critical reaction to an aggressive promotional campaign premeditated by an exchange that’s already mired in controversy. Last year, Forbes Ukraine reported that Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecommunications regulator, had launched juridical proceedings against Yobit, with Roskomnadzor seeking to block Russian IP addresses from accessing the exchange.
In 2016, Waves also published a warning pertaining to Yobit after the exchange listed a waves/BTC pairing, even though users were unable to withdraw the cryptocurrency from private Waves wallets at the time.
Okgroup Founder Vows Full Compliance
with Planned Stablecoin
Star Xu, the founder of Okgroup, has announced that Okcoin USA is planning on entering the stablecoin market.
In a recent tweet, Mr. Xu posted: “Embracing the tide of technology, the launch of a #CNY backed #stablecoin is an inevitable trend, and it will significantly improve the internationalization of the RMB. OKCoin USA will launch a fully compliant stablecoin.” Xu added that “the dollar-pegged #stablecoin regulated by the U.S. government will strengthen the penetration of the U.S. dollar 100 fold.”
Xu also spoke in favor of stablecoins, stating: “Stablecoins are in essence electronic cash. They have the same attributes. The central bank issues the currency and then it is distributed peer-to-peer. The difference is it’s electronic. Today, the amount of cash in China’s domestic monetary system is not small.”
Coinbase Executive Optimistic About Securing Regulatory Approval in Japan
In a recent interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Mike Lempres, the chief policy officer of Coinbase, optimistically discussed the exchange’s desire to obtain regulatory approval to operate in Japan.
Lempres stated that talks are “going well” with Japan’s Financial Services Authority, adding: “We are … committed to getting it done. It will certainly be in 2019.”
Lempres also spoke favorably of the Japanese regulatory system relating to cryptocurrencies. “The Japanese government is more focused on security,” he explained. “That is good for us … Japan has been an active large market from the very beginning, and has proved resilient as it bounces back from several bad experiences. We think there is great demand for a trusted provider of services here.”
Despite his praise for Japan’s crypto regulations, Lempres noted that there are still several issues to be resolved, including whether or not the regulator would require Coinbase to manage its systems from within Japan in order to obtain a license. “We have everything built to protect our storage … in the U.S,” he stated. “We won’t do anything to even raise (the) possibility of a hack. It would be hard for us to duplicate what we do in the U.S. today in Japan and other countries.”
What is your response to Yobit’s random coin pump? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter
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Japanese internet giant GMO Internet has announced that it will launch a stablecoin pegged to the yen next year. According to the founder and president of GMO Internet, Masatoshi Kumagaii, the stablecoin which will be known as GMO Japanese Yen (GJY) will be issued in Asia. It is expected that the assets backing the stablecoin
Japan’s GMO Internet Group has announced plans to issue a yen-pegged stablecoin called GMO Japanese Yen. Already in the crypto exchange and mining hardware businesses, the company plans to launch its third crypto enterprise with this stablecoin.
GMO Internet Group announced Tuesday that it “will start full-scale preparations to issue stable coins of virtual currency, with an eye to enter into the ‘settlement’ area of virtual currency business.” The company detailed:
‘GMO Japanese Yen (ticker symbol: GJY)’ [will be launched] through the unified brand (global brand) ‘Z.com’ in the overseas strategy of the GMO Internet Group. [It will be a] ‘yen-pegged currency’ linked with the Japanese yen.
Noting that there are already 57 stablecoins in the world, 23 of which are already in circulation, GMO disclosed that “We plan to start issuing [the stablecoin] for the Asian region around the fiscal year 2019.”
Third Crypto Business
Currently, GMO has two businesses in the crypto space: the exchange business which started in May last year and the mining business which started in December. In its earnings presentation published in August, the company outlined another crypto business area it seeks to enter called “cryptocurrency payment.”
In Tuesday’s stablecoin announcement, GMO revealed that it has been “investigating and researching whether the virtual currency could be the settlement currency from the viewpoint of volatility.”
GMO’s Hope for Its Stablecoin
According to GMO, in order to solve the hyperinflation problem seen in many developing countries, “issues such as true non-centralization need to be overcome.” The firm asserted that stablecoins can be a solution to this problem “as a currency to replace low-credit domestic currencies.” The firm also believes that even in developed countries, stablecoins have “a potential to become a global standard innovative financial infrastructure.”
Referring to its yen-pegged crypto, GMO described:
One of the tasks is to stabilize price fluctuation (volatility), which is a risk to remittance and settlement, in order to increase the spreading and development of the virtual currency.
What do you think of GMO issuing a yen-pegged stablecoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and GMO Internet Group.
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Tech Bureau, operator of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif, is yet to reveal a compensation strategy for customers who suffered losses from an infamous $60 million theft three weeks ago. Osaka-based Tech Bureau has already halted new user registrations to focus on reimbursing customers who collectively lost ¥4.5 billion ($40 million) from the ¥6.7 billion ($60
Switzerland has started sharing financial account information with tax authorities in dozens of countries as a way of fighting tax evasion, but Africa, which loses about $60 billion in illicit flows each year, mostly into European banks, is conspicuous by its absence from the deal. Swiss bank accounts have long been stereotyped as enablers of financial opacity, tax fraud and safekeeping of stolen public funds. That era is coming to an end.
Swiss Banks’ Data Exchange Halts Era of Bank Secrecy
Switzerland, for long the world capital of unreported wealth, has begun automatically sharing bank account data with dozens of tax authorities in a move calculated to crack down on tax evasion and tax fraud, reports say.
Swiss bank accounts have controversially facilitated the diversion of public funds to the private vaults of government officials, and also allowed companies to escape democratic scrutiny. Along with emerging offshore havens such as Panama, Singapore and Hong Kong, the Swiss facility has attracted public disaffection for allowing leaders, corporates and wealthy individuals to withhold obligations to their communities.
Responding to global pressure to cut back on tax evasion, Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) announced October 5 that it had started disclosing client financial account information beginning end of September, according to a report.
Data Shared With 37 Countries
The initial batch of data for about two million accounts was sent to the 28 countries in the European Union, and to Australia, Canada, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Norway and South Korea. The information, drawn from 7,000 banks, insurers and other financial institutions, includes details on “owner’s name, address, country of residence and tax identification number as well as the reporting institution, account balance and capital income,” said the report.
“This lets authorities check whether taxpayers have correctly declared their foreign financial accounts,” it noted, adding that the deal is expected to expand to cover around 80 countries worldwide in the coming months, as long as they adhere to requirements on privacy and account information security.
Data sharing has been delayed in France and Australia “as these states could not yet deliver data to the FTA due to technical reasons.” Poland, Croatia and Estonia are still outstanding as well.
Africa Excluded From the Arrangement
The arrangement does not include African countries, whose poorest have suffered due to externalization of funds by corrupt leaders and corporate beneficiaries of sweetheart contracts. The bulk of the illicit flows are allegedly facilitated by European banks, particularly those in Switzerland.
According to an African Union-commissioned report, $60 billion in illicit financial flows leaves Africa through looting and tax evasion every year – no mean figure for a continent that must be addressing underdevelopment and improving citizens’ wellbeing. In the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, for example, it was revealed that patients in Uganda were sleeping on the floor of an under-resourced hospital while just next door a foreign-owned oil company was greasing government and military officials’ hands, and stashing its money in offshore tax havens.
Swiss banks minded the safes of corrupt African leaders like Mobutu Sese Seko and Sani Abacha, while the military dictators were embezzling public funds both to deny and violate the rights of their citizens. In the 1990s, Abacha hid $800 million in Swiss bank accounts while Mobutu’s millions, accumulated from Zaire coffers across decades, were controversially unfrozen to his son rather than the country, following the dictator’s death.
Justice has been legally incapacitated on Swiss turf so that stopping the illicit flow of public funds could be more effective than trying to recover them. The move to automatically share bank account data could significantly pre-empt looting and tax evasion. Since governments are often part of the problem, more civic engagement, escalating to regional institutions, in Switzerland and other tax havens, can build on the latest development to bring some form of respite to poorer citizens.
According to Reuters, the initial move still allows citizens secrecy for their domestic bank accounts, for example while keeping an eye on tax-evading professionals. This could help keep pressure on tax fraudsters while respecting citizens’ privacy.
Does maintaining bank secrecy, in the manner Swiss banks are notorious for, matter? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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