Singapore FinTech Enables Instant Blockchain Remittance for Myanmar Migrant Workers in Thailand

Everex, a Singapore-based financial technology firm, has partnered with Myanmar’s Shwe Bank to introduce blockchain-Powered remittance Services between Myanmar and Thailand. The blockchain firm claims that the partnership will enable millions of Myanmar migrant workers living in Thailand to send money home instantly and securely at much lower transaction costs than traditional remittance methods. Blockchain … Continued

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Cryptocurrency to Fiat Transactions Remain High in the Philippines

Cryptocurrency to Fiat Transactions Remain High in the Philippines

The Filipino central bank has revealed that the trade between fiat and cryptocurrencies on authorized bitcoin exchanges in the Philippines has maintained its high level for the country from the boom time of late 2017 during the first quarter of this year.  

Also Read: US Authorities Seize Over $20M in Crypto in Massive Darknet Crackdown

Cryptocurrency-Fiat Transactions Remain High

Cryptocurrency to Fiat Transactions Remain High in the PhilippinesTransactions involving both fiat and cryptocurrencies remained high during the first three months of 2018 in the Philippines, revealed new figures released by the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This happened despite the warnings to the public issued by the central bank about the risks involved with the instruments, which were meant to discourage the acquisition, possession and trading of cryptocurrencies.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier announced that conversion of cryptocurrencies into the local peso as well as other fiat currencies by monthly average amounted to $24.16 million, while conversion from peso and other fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies reached $36.74 million in the first quarter of the year, as The Philippine Star reported. In the last quarter of 2017, Fonacier said the average monthly transactions involving conversion of cryptocurrencies to peso and other fiat currencies reached $24.79 million, while conversion from peso and other fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies amounted to $38.27 million.

A Fertile Ground for Bitcoin Adoption

Cryptocurrency to Fiat Transactions Remain High in the PhilippinesThe Philippines has a population of over 100 million people, and it has a couple of factors that make it a fertile ground for bitcoin adoption. Its growing economy is heavily reliant upon remittances from overseas Filipino workers and international tourism is an also important sector of the local industry, both of which stand to greatly benefit from reduced costs on cross-border transfers enabled by cryptocurrency.

Moreover, unlike other locations in Asia, the local financial authorities have not banned fiat to cryptocurrency transactions and the BSP even authorized the operation of a few exchange platforms in the country including Rebittance Inc, Betur Inc (Coins.ph), and Bloom Solutions Inc. As we reported last month, Coins.ph reached a whopping five million users in May for its mobile payments app and hot wallet.

What can the bitcoin community do to encourage the further development of the market in the Philippines? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

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Venezuela Begins Monitoring Bank Accounts for Crypto Transactions

Venezuela Begins Monitoring Bank Accounts for Crypto Transactions

The government of Venezuela has started monitoring the bank accounts of its citizens for cryptocurrency-related transactions. Accounts found to contain crypto transactions at prices which the government considers to be “undermining the national currency” will be “severely punished,” Vice President Tareck El Aissami said.

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

Next Phase of Operation Paper Hands

Following the launch of “Operation Paper Hands,” as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported, the Venezuelan government has initiated the next phase of its plan to reduce capital flight, calling it “Operation Metal Hands.”

Venezuela Begins Monitoring Bank Accounts for Crypto Transactions
Tareck El Aissami.

This new phase was launched last week with a focus on what they call “gold smugglers,” or Venezuelans who bought gold from small miners and then sold it outside of the country. The operation has “detected that these mafias have distorted the prices of the dollar,” the country’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami declared, adding that “they have migrated through the market of cryptocurrencies to hit the Venezuelan monetary system.”

The operation further targets capital flight via cryptocurrencies. El Aissami explained that the government will start monitoring bank accounts for crypto-related transactions and will prosecute those trading them “at speculative prices.”

“This is part of a war to hit the financial system of the country,” Aporrea publication stated, “and they [the government] will exercise future actions to hit those who try to conspire through cryptocurrencies.” The Vice President was quoted by La Red publication:

All the accounts that we identify that are linked to the manipulation are going to be severely punished and (those responsible will be) placed at the order of justice.

He revealed that, as part of Operation Paper Hands, “5 billion bolivares [~US$50,000] in bank accounts were frozen at Banesco bank, and 12 trillion bolivares [~$120 million] were seized that were destined for contraband in Colombia,” Aporrea publication conveyed.

Three Remittance Houses Legalized

Venezuela Begins Monitoring Bank Accounts for Crypto TransactionsSince the launch of Operation Paper Hands, three remittance houses were shut down, including two crypto exchange operators. However, the government soon realized that underground cryptocurrency transactions did not cease.

This led the Vice President to announce last week that three money exchangers in Caracas have been specifically authorized to handle the country’s foreign exchange transactions and remittances. He was quoted by Correo Del Orinoco:

We have authorized three exchange houses, private companies, private exchange operators, legally authorized, to perform all operations associated with remittances.

The three exchanges are Zoom, Italcambio, and Insular. However, their websites do not indicate that they deal with cryptocurrencies in any way.

For the purpose of buying and selling cryptocurrency specifically, the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, announced in April that he had certified 16 exchanges with the aim for them to list his country’s own digital currency, the petro.

What do you think of Venezuela monitoring bank accounts for crypto transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.


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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.


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Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South Africa

Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South Africa

Crypto exchange Golix is entering three other African markets in an effort to survive the ban imposed by the central bank in its home country – Zimbabwe. Moreover, the troubled trading platform claims the move is part of a strategy to offer its services across the whole continent. Golix says the shortage of infrastructure has slowed down the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Africa.

 Also read: Johannesburg Gets a New Crypto ATM, Ban Threatened Harare May Lose One

Golix Moves On After Ban, Expands in Africa

Trying to stay afloat after the crackdown by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Golix has turned its attention to Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. Zimbabwe’s leading cryptocurrency exchange hopes to continue trading in these African countries, despite the ban imposed by financial authorities in Harare.

In a statement quoted by News Day, Golix head of growth, Panashe Tapera, noted that moving outside the country was part of a new strategy – the trading platform plans to expand operations across the entire continent. Tapera said:

As part of our strategy, starting from Friday, June 1, people in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda will be able to start trading from Golix. This is one of our plans to be the leading exchange in Africa, which is inspired by the vision to provide financial autonomy in the continent.

Golix has been offering exchange services in Zimbabwe for the past three years and was the only crypto trading platform there for quite some time, processing transactions worth $20 million and having 50,000 local users. Now it’s planning to continue to do the same in more and larger markets, saying that shortage of crypto infrastructure has slowed down the adoption of digital currencies in Africa.

Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South Africa

The Republic of South Africa, the region’s economic powerhouse, has the highest number of cryptocurrency exchanges on the continent. Its central bank has set up a special unit tasked to review its position on cryptocurrencies and a “self-regulatory” approach has been proposed by legal experts working in the crypto sector. Uganda has been mentioned recently as a crypto-friendly destination, where the leading crypto exchange Binance wants to open a new office.

Challenging the Central Bank in Court

The announcement comes after last month the central bank in Harare issued a circular to banking institutions instructing them to stop providing bank accounts to cryptocurrency companies. The new guidelines effectively banned all crypto-related activities in the country. The RBZ gave local banks and cryptocurrency operators 60 days to comply.

Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South AfricaGolix has since sent several letters to its clients informing them that they would not be able to trade digital coins or deposit fiat currency, and also helping them withdraw their funds.

According to local media, the operator of the exchange, Bitfinance Limited, has filed a lawsuit against the central bank. Later, it was reported that the country’s High Court has ruled in favor of the company’s argument that the RBZ has no authority to ban digital currencies.

Last week, Golix said it had been granted “an interim relief.” In further communication with its customers, the exchange shared that its accounts had not been restored and the legal proceedings were still ongoing. “Nevertheless, please note that we are in the middle of promising engagements with a financial institution which is willing to process our fiat withdrawals through a prepaid debit card,” the platform told its clients.

Golix Takes Its Token Sale to the New Markets

The Zimbabwean exchange intends to enter and operate in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa by also conducting its $32 million token sale there. The aim of the coin offering is to enable instant remittances and international payments through cryptocurrencies.

According to Golix lead of special projects, William Chui, “Since the onset, our main agenda is to provide financial autonomy in Africa. The GLX token is going to be used to facilitate and realize this agenda.”

Zimbabwe’s Golix Exchange Enters Kenya, Uganda, South Africa

Clients from different countries will be able to buy the GLX token from the exchange with fiat currencies, he explained. Then, the coin issued by Golix will be used to purchase other cryptos on its trading platform at zero transaction fees.

Zimbabwe’s first crypto exchange also promises lower fees, in comparison with traditional banking methods, for remittances and international transfers facilitated by the GLX token. The Golix representative believes that will contribute to the GDP growth in African countries.

Do you think the expansion to new markets will help Golix survive the ban in Zimbabwe? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Philippines’ Crypto Wallet Reaches 5 Million Users, Adds More Coins

Philippines' Crypto Wallet Reaches 5 Million Users, Adds More Coins

Averaging more than a million onboardings per year, Philippines’ Coins.ph announced it reached a whopping five million users this week for its mobile payments application (app) and hot crypto wallet. Not content with merely adding numbers for their own sake, the company also revealed it would add two new popular coins: bitcoin cash (BCH) and ether (ETH).

Also read: Bitgrail Exchange Ordered Down Indefinitely as Italian Court Upholds Halt

Philippines’ Coins.ph Hits 5mil User Milestone

Founder Ron Hose enthusiastically explained, “We are excited and proud to provide 5 million customers with access to financial services. Our focus on creating financial inclusion to all Filipinos has propelled our growth to date.”

Many of the southeast Asian archipelago’s inhabitants struggle with inadequate economic opportunities and poor financial services. Nearly half of the Philippines is living on close to $2 a day, and its central bank, Bagko Sentral ng Pilipinas, estimated early last year that 86% of Philippines’ citizens are unbanked – bereft of basic banking services used by folks in the West every day.

Philippines' Crypto Wallet Reaches 5 Million Users, Adds More Coins

Those factors just might be features rather than bugs when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption. Indeed, for relatively smooth economies in the West, money is already digitized for all intents and purposes. Crypto adoption, as a result, in the West has been a bit of struggle: the immediate argument gets lost in money that ‘works,’ and works well.

For Filipinos to become one’s own bank, in effect, relying less on financial legacy permission and trust, a peer-to-peer currency out of view of its notoriously corrupt government seems to be proving very attractive if Coins.ph numbers are any indication.

Coins.ph Adds Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

“Millions of our customers have already used Coins.ph’s web and mobile apps to access a wide array of financial services,” CEO Ron Hose continued, “including buying load, paying bills, topping up their beep™ card, and purchasing digital currencies, all without needing a bank account.”

Five million users has come in only four years for the company. It was founded by Runar Petursson and Mr. Hose, both Silicon Valley veterans. Their services are a way for Filipinos to become banked, a potential market of over 300,000 people. In the past two years, it has raised a total of $10mil in venture capital funding, indicating investors believe the company to be “on” to something.

Philippines' Crypto Wallet Reaches 5 Million Users, Adds More Coins

Users of the company’s platform can take advantage of ever-important remittance services, card top-ups, wallet transfers, paying bills, and even online shopping. Just the mere notion of a friction-filled economy (as is the case within the Philippines), flattening and becoming more streamline would seem to forecast wonderful economic advancements for the nation, at least theoretically.  

“Responding to consumer demand for additional blockchain-based services,” the company notes it has already rolled out ether (ETH) acceptance in addition to its existing bitcoin core (BTC) offering, “with an eye for future smart contract based financial services, and will also begin supporting Bitcoin Cash (BCH) next month, in an effort to support lower cost blockchain based payments.”

Do you think more emerging economies will embrace crypto? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay, Coins.ph.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com

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Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The government of Venezuela has taken action against two cryptocurrency exchange operators in the country. Both of them allow customers to convert between a number of cryptocurrencies and bolivars and send remittances abroad.

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

Operation Paper Hands

The Venezuelan government’s “Operation Paper Hands” began a new phase this week “with the dismantling of 3 illegal remittance houses: Intercash, Rapidcambio, and Airtm,” according to the country’s Prosecutor General, Tarek William Saab. He described:

Operation Paper Hands is the largest anti-litigation procedure in the country’s history. So far 112 people have been arrested, of whom 107 have already been brought to court.

Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Venezuela’s Prosecutor General, Tarek William Saab, talking about Operation Paper Hands.

The operation “seeks to take action against individuals and companies that have incurred misappropriation, [and] dissemination of false information about the exchange rate,” he explained, adding that “1,382 bank accounts have been frozen in which a sum exceeding 711,967 million bolivars [~US$10.6 million] has been blocked.” Furthermore, he indicated that he has also requested the blockade of 247 bank accounts, 40 new arrest warrants, and 104 raids, according to a notice by the country’s Public Ministry.

Out of the three aforementioned exchanges, the latter two engage in exchanging between cryptocurrencies and bolivars. Airtm supports the conversion of zcash, bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, ripple, litecoin, monero, dogecoin, and tether. Rapidcambio allowed customers to exchange and send remittances using bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, dash, litecoin, and ripple.

Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Charges Against the Exchanges

Saab noted that these exchanges operate through websites registered abroad as well as Twitter accounts and other social networks, adding that they use international parent bank accounts in the U.S., Chile, Ecuador, and Panama. The crackdown, therefore, only affects their operations in Venezuela.

He elaborated, “In those accounts, they received deposits in cash or transfers, and then converted at a high and unreal exchange rate,” adding that “I have spoken with the President of the Republic to create new detention centers for these criminals.”

Efecto Cocuyo then quoted the Prosecutor General exclaiming:

I want someone to explain to me how in September of 2017 a dollar cost 15,000 bolivars; in December it was 100,000 bolivars; in January of this year 200,000 bolivars and at the end of March 500,000 bolivars.

Rapidcambio Shut Down

Venezuela Shuts Down Two Cryptocurrency ExchangesAt the time of this writing, one of the exchanges above has already closed down. Rapidcambio posted a notice on its website stating that it has “always demonstrated its responsibility, honesty, seriousness and a true commitment to providing a service to all Venezuelans who are abroad.”

In addition, the company emphasized, “our company has never set or intended to fix market prices, our exchange rates have always been given by the law of supply and demand, as a free market without any imposition.”

Nonetheless, Rapidcambio concluded:

Unfortunately we are in need to close our operations indefinitely due to the unjust persecution to exchange houses in Venezuela by the National Government.

What do you think of Venezuela shutting down these exchange operators? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Rapidcambio, Airtm, Vtv Canal8, and the Venezuelan government.


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