Driverless car protection available for crypto trading: Hong Kong-based OKEx has become the first exchange to list high tech startup Cube #SPONSORED
One of the main concerns for the cryptocurrency investing community over the last year was the ability of exchanges to handle the huge influx of new traders into the ecosystem. Circle seems to have picked up on that sentiment, going on a hiring spree in order to improve the service at its recently acquired venue Poloniex. The move is meant to help the exchange expand globally, with an emphasis on serving Asian clients, while Circle continues to focus on the US market.
Improving Global Services at Poloniex
Circle Internet Financial Ltd., the Boston-headquartered fintech startup that acquired Poloniex last month, will reportedly expand the cryptocurrency exchange’s staff with a hundred new employees. The move is meant to improve the operations, customer support and technology for Poloniex clients around the world. Specifically, Circle is said to hire between 25 and 35 extra people to grow its operations in Asia, expanding a local workforce of just ten in Hong Kong and mainland China, and creating new offices for South Korea and Japan.
Besides focusing on localized services, it appears that Circle will also make sure Poloniex cooperates with regulators in different markets. “The long-term view is that every form of value on the planet will become a crypto token. We want to offer more markets, more assets, we want to localize it, and launch it in more international markets and, critically, we need to work with the most important regulators,” co-founder Jeremy Allaire said in a Bloomberg interview.
Expanding Circle Invest in the US Market
While Poloniex is expanding to new locations Asia, Circle is expanding the reach of its own services in the US market. The company announced last week that Circle Invest, its native cryptocurrency trading mobile app, has been made available (in early access availability) to residents of forty-six US states (all except for NY, MN, HI, and WY). The app supports bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), ethereum classic (ETC) and litecoin (LTC).
Since 2013 Circle has raised about $140 million from major investors, including $50 million venture capital round led by Goldman Sachs. It claims to handle cryptocurrency trade worth over $1 billion per month. Circle reportedly paid $400 million for the Poloniex deal.
Are you looking forward to trade with a more costumer service capable cryptocurrency exchange? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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According to The Korea Times, South Korean financial authorities are discussing plans to re-introduce ICOs into the country.
Last September, the South Korean government banned ICOs, not trusting cryptocurrencies and their lack of regulation. However, this didn’t deter South Korean startups. Instead of running ICOs in their own country, they simply turned to foreign investments to get their startups running.
Now, this may no longer be necessary.
An anonymous source stated:
“The financial authorities have been talking to the country’s tax agency, justice ministry, and other relevant government offices about ...
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Responding to media reports that South Korean internet giant Kakao plans to raise funds using an initial coin offering (ICO) abroad, the country’s financial regulator reportedly warned that the ICO could violate current cryptocurrency regulations.
ICOs Abroad Could Still Violate Korean Laws
Kakao Corp, which operates the country’s most popular chat app, Kakao Talk, plans to raise funds through an ICO overseas as well as issue its own Kakao coin, according to local media reports.
At a press conference held at the government building in Seoul this week, the chairman of the Korean Financial Service Commission (FSC), Choi Jong-ku, described his department’s assessment of Kakao’s situation. “Although there were media reports that Kakao and Kakao Pay are planning to raise funds through ICOs abroad, financial authorities have not confirmed this fact,” the Korean Financial Daily reported. Choi emphasized, “No funding has been confirmed.”
He reiterated that “current laws [in Korea] do not prohibit ICOs from abroad,” but pointed out that “it is highly likely to violate current legislation,” the news outlet conveyed. Citing that Kakao is a major shareholder of Kakao Bank, he explained that the company’s ICO overseas “will lead to the problem of credibility of Kakao Bank.” The chairman was further quoted by No Cut News saying:
Even if there is no prohibition on virtual currency, there is a possibility that it may be regarded as…[similar to] fraud or multi-level sales according to the issuance method…Since the risk is very high in terms of investor protection, the government has a negative stance on the ICO.
Kakao Says No Official Plans for ICO Yet
The Korean Economic Daily quote a Kakao official saying on Friday:
We have not yet officially released plans for the ICO…As far as the ICO of Kakao is concerned, there is nothing to be determined.
Meanwhile, the news outlet reported that a message pre-selling the Kakao coin has already been distributed through social media, which Kakao calls “an obvious fraud.”
An official of the company explained that the internet giant has been preparing for a blockchain platform business, emphasizing that “Virtual currency is inevitably required to activate the platform, but the development schedule is not yet known.”
While South Korea has already banned ICOs in the country, “there is no clear regulatory basis because the relevant legislation does not pass the National Assembly,” Sedaily detailed. “ICOs are likely to be fraudulent, multi-level…depending on the method of issuance,” Chairman Choi was quoted asserting, adding that:
In the case of ICOs in Korea, there is a problem in domestic law and there is a high risk from the perspective of protecting investors.
What do you think the Korean regulators will do if Kakao goes through with an ICO overseas? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Korean Financial Daily, and Kakao.
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A January investigation that revealed a transfer of customer crypto funds into the bank accounts of exchange managers led to a raid on three South Korean exchanges last month. #NEWS
Regional news sources report South Korea’s financial authorities are working on legislation to formally allow initial coin offerings (ICOs) in an effort to appear more welcoming to the larger financial technology community.
South Korea Plans to Make ICOs Legit
Online news source The Korean Times reported this week “Financial authorities have been talking to the country’s tax agency, justice ministry and other relevant government offices about a plan to allow ICOs in Korea when certain conditions are met,” it quoted an anonymous source as insisting.
Initial coin offerings are an increasingly popular way to finance projects, and are often much less cumbersome and expensive than their namesake, initial public offerings, which involve gaggles of lawyers just to navigate legal hurdles. ICOs have also come under increasing scrutiny around the world, however, due to investors being scammed out of millions.
금융위원회 Financial Services Commission (FSC) is the Republic’s main financial regulatory body, directing the country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). FSC’s crypto regulator, Kang Young-soo, hasn’t committed to ICO liberalization publically, telling the National Assembly: “There are many speculating about the possibility of allowing ICOs. The FSC has acknowledged a third-party view regarding the issue, but there’s nothing that we can say officially at the moment. Yes, we have to have plans on how to advance blockchain-related technologies and effectively regulate crypto-trading. This is a separate issue.”
Still, The Times reports, “The financial authorities are preparing a plan to allow initial coin offerings (ICOs), digital token-based fundraising rounds, for domestic investors, to advance blockchain-based technologies, according to sources familiar with the issue.” It would be a major turnaround for the crypto-crazed nation, as regulators in Fall of last year outright banned ICOs for residents.
Perhaps tellingly, “Despite this, the administration has yet to implement the ICO rule and hasn’t forced companies to return ICO funds. It also continues to let local investors put money into foreign ICOs and digital currency exchanges operating within the country,” The Times reveals. South Korea plays a very large role in the overall fiscal health of the speculative cryptocurrency market, and plays a hand in dictating the price of coins and general sentiment.
“Various scenarios such as the imposition of value-added tax, a capital gains tax, or both on trade,” another anonymous source is quoted, “and the collection of corporate tax from local cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as the initiation of authorized exchanges with licenses are being discussed,” adding transparency between ministries and banks will allow capital to be better monitored.
In business-oriented countries like South Korea, they understand outright prohibitions on mechanisms such as ICOs mean those startups and capital will move to friendlier climes, and thus starve the region of badly needed growth. Instead, more politicians are at least considering embracing innovation by folding them into existing regulatory structures.
Is regulating ICOs the way to go for South Korea? Let us know in the comments!
Images via Pixabay.
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South Korean prosecutors have searched the offices of three cryptocurrency exchanges suspected of buying bitcoin with money stolen from customers’ accounts. According to authorities, the companies turned up on the radar during investigations of dubious transfers in January. The raids have been conducted this week.
Embezzled Funds Spent on Cryptos Elsewhere
South Korean law enforcement officials have raided three companies offering cryptocurrency exchange services, local media reported. The searches have been conducted this week after an earlier investigation into suspicious money transfers.
Prosecutors are investigating three cryptocurrency trading platforms on suspicion of buying bitcoin with money they stole from their customers’ accounts, the Chosun Ilbo reported. The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office raided the exchanges from Monday through Wednesday, a spokesman said, quoted by the daily.
According to South Korean authorities, executives and staff are believed to have diverted funds from customers’ accounts towards their own. They were then used to buy cryptocurrencies on other exchanges. Investigators will also try to find out if the companies have raised money by defrauding potential investors.
“The firms turned up on our radar in January, during our investigation of suspicious money transfers between bitcoin exchanges”, a prosecutor explained. The transactions were detected during an audit by the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit. Hard disks, transfer receipts, mobile phones, and accounting files have been confiscated during the raids.
Theft and Fraud amid Regulatory Pressures
South Korean authorities have been trying hard to put the local crypto sector under control. A new mechanism to end anonymous trading was implemented earlier this year. Its main purpose is to enforce real name identity verification on traders. The Financial Services Commission and the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit conducted inspections in leading commercial banks, targeting accounts of cryptocurrency traders. Banks had been ordered to stop issuing “virtual accounts” used by crypto exchanges to manage their clients’ money.
Regulating and overseeing crypto activities has proved a tough task, however. Korean officials have complained about their limited powers within the existing legal framework. Nevertheless, Seoul authorities have announced stricter requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges, including measures against crypto-related crimes. The country is home to some of the largest providers of cryptocurrency exchange services in the world.
In January, the chairman of the South Korean Fair Trade Commission admitted it was “impossible in reality” to close cryptocurrency exchanges, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. His comments came during an investigation of 13 major trading platforms, following alleged violations of the e-commerce law. At the same time, the local crypto sector has taken steps towards self-regulation. At least 25 crypto exchanges are participating in the efforts lead by the Korean Blockchain Association.
Do you think tougher crypto regulations would minimize fraud or self-regulation is a more effective approach in the crypto sector? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have reportedly been raided by prosecutors suspecting embezzlement of user funds. Korean publication Chosun is reporting a series of raids this week by the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office on three separate cryptocurrency exchanges as a part of an investigation into the alleged siphoning of customer funds. The exchanges’ executives … Continued
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$200 bln Korean remittance market ripe for Bitcoin disruption, say BitPay and Bithumb. #NEWS
A survey released this week reveals that many South Koreans in their 20s are actively investing in digital assets. The region has become a hotbed for cryptocurrency exchanges as more than 2 million South Korean citizens own one of the top digital assets.
South Koreans in Their Twenties: The Most Active Crypto-Investors
According to the regional publication Yonhap, South Korean residents in their 20s are very active when it comes to cryptocurrency investments and trading. South Korea is Asia’s fourth-largest economy and its become a popular region for trading digital currencies despite pending government regulations. The local news outlet details that over 2Mn South Koreans residents claim to own popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash, ripple, bitcoin core, and ethereum. The Korean Financial Investors Protection Foundation ran a survey in December and questioned 2,530 South Koreans between the ages of 25-64.
The survey’s data shows that around 22.7 percent of the respondents were in their twenties and are very “active” within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Out of all the age groups, an average of 13.9 percent were also relatively active digital currency investors. These metrics were followed by South Koreans in their thirties (19.3%) and their forties (12%).
“Numbers for people in their 60s reached 10.5 percent and those in their 50s at 8.2 percent,” explains the Survey’s data.
More Than Two-Thirds of the Survey Respondents View Cryptocurrencies As an ‘Investment’
Even though investors in their sixties were low on the list, the survey explains that this age bracket was the highest on record in the amount of the investments made. The Korean Financial Investors Protection Foundation says that this group spent an average of 6.58 million won (US$6,161). The 30-year old age bracket had shown that they paid 3.73 million won ($3,478 USD), and those in their twenties around 29.3Mn won ($27.2K USD). Moreover, the study details that over 70 percent of South Koreans surveyed view cryptocurrencies are an “investment.” While 34 percent of the 2,530 respondents use digital currencies as a payment service.
What do you think about the survey conducted by the Korean Financial Investors Protection Foundation? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, and Bithumb.
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Nearly six months after a blanket ban on ICO (initial coin offering) fundraising, South Korean regulators are reportedly planning to allow ICOs, under certain conditions. South Korea’s financial regulator and watchdog first banned initial coin offerings in late September 2017, citing concerns about fraud as a means to ultimately protect investors. The restrictive curbs came … Continued
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Clients of real estate consulting firm Knight Frank were more exposed to gold as opposed to crypto this year. #NEWS
What a week for the peninsular nation, 대한민국 Republic of Korea. Moon Jae-in’s administration appears to have brokered a potential meeting between heads of state to avoid nuclear holocaust, and in more practical terms local media is widely reporting regional internet giant Kakao will deepen its involvement with cryptocurrency in South Korea by incorporating crypto into its various, hugely popular, platforms.
Kakao to Make Crypto Ubiquitous in South Korea
주식회사 카카오 Kakao, sometimes romanized in press accounts as Cacao, has tentacled itself into every conceivable community platform: Kakaotalk chat application (app), Kakaomusic app, Kakaostyle mobile fashion service, Kakaopay e-wallet, Kakaobank, Kakao T taxi app, and those are just for starters.
The company’s penetration in South Korea is deep and growing, especially regarding cryptocurrency. Toward Fall of last year, these pages informed readers Kakaotalk had, through its inner-app Kakaostock, planned a cryptocurrency exchange to trade bitcoin and ether. The effort was to exploit the app’s 200 million worldwide users as well as its having gobbled up 95% of the domestic smartphone market.
Little more than a month later, the company announced launch of Upbit, with over 110 cryptocurrencies, making it the largest of its kind in South Korea. By December, “Kakao’s cryptocurrency exchange Upbit [claimed] to be the largest crypto exchange by volume in South Korea, one of the top three markets globally. Listing over 120 coins and leveraging Kakao Talk’s massive user base, Upbit currently facilitates an average daily trading volume of 5 trillion won,” News.Bitcoin.com reported.
아시아경제 Asian Economy, a Korean online news organization, reports the company isn’t letting up on its crypto business model. In fact, Kakao “will introduce a virtual currency payment system. It will be applied not only to its own platforms such as KakaoTalk, but also to more than 10,000 Kakaopay merchants.”
Huffington Post Korea quotes a Kakao official as saying, “We are discussing the introduction of a cryptographic business, including ICO, through subsidiaries,” and a more concrete announcement will be given on the 20th of this month. Its financial technology arm “has introduced a service to support virtual currency settlement in the first half of the year,” Asian Economy continued. Kakao is reportedly also considering its own proprietary coin, Kakao Coin, or something approximating. “When a consumer chooses to pay for a virtual currency,” merchant settlement will continue to be in won, but the crypto currency will be able to trade among all of Kakao’s platforms, from taxis to video games. It is unclear as to whether the latest platform will facilitate usage of other coins, such as bitcoin.
According to the Huffpo, “There is no reason not to enter the coin market for companies doing various content businesses like cacao,” an industry official is quoted as saying. “Instead of cash, you can use your coin to get payment data, and add it to your card company or payment agency. I do not have to pay a commission, so there are many advantages. The [coin] can attract overseas users, but the government has a negative view on ICO, so it should be more widespread whether it can be universally used in Korea.”
The company will reportedly smuggle it all under the subsidiary name of Kakao Blockchain, according to Money Today. The online source also indicates recent success of its global rival, Telegram, to raise hundreds of millions of dollars during an initial coin offering (ICO) has prompted Kakao to take a harder look at the investment opportunity. However, “ICO is illegal in Korea,” Money Today points out, “For this reason, it is estimated that the ICO will be conducted overseas in Singapore and Hong Kong.”
What do you think about Kakao’s crypto expansion? Let us know in the comments!
Images via Pixabay, Kakao.
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South Korean news agency, Yonhap, has reported that according to a recent survey, people in their 20s are the front-runners in cryptocurrency investment. The results are not surprising – younger generations from all around the world prefer investing in this new industry rather than stocks and bonds. Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation surveyed 2,530 people, between … Continued
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Asia Business, an influential finance-focused media outlet in South Korea, has reported that Kakao, one of the two largest internet companies that operate KakaoTalk, KakaoPay, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, and a subsidiary company which runs major cryptocurrency exchange UpBit, will integrate cryptocurrency within 2018. Importance of Kakao An exclusive coverage released by Asia Business revealed that Kakao’s … Continued
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Major South Korean exchange Bithumb partners with kiosk brand to let customers pay for food in crypto in some cafes and restaurants #NEWS
Korean crypto exchange Bithumb is entering the retail kiosk business to accelerate crypto adoption in the country. These order-taking and payment facilitating kiosks will be placed in restaurants and cafes for customers to browse menus, place orders and pay for food. Cryptocurrency will be among the payment options.
Bithumb’s New Venture
One of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, announced on Wednesday that it is introducing the “Touch B” brand and entering into the kiosk business. Describing a kiosk as an unmanned order and payment system, Yonhap elaborated:
Bithumb has agreed to supply kiosks to food and beverage franchise stores, small restaurants, and cafes under the brand Touch B, in partnership with kiosk manufacturers.
“The entry into the kiosk business is meaningful to provide substantial benefits and low-cost rents to small business owners,” Bithumb was quoted by Zdnet Korea. “We will continue to work in various industries based on the blockchain technology…to provide total solutions for small businesses through our partnership.”
The Kiosk Culture in Korea
In South Korea, ordering food using kiosks is popular. Bithumb partnered with several kiosk manufacturers in February including Unos Pay, Tros Systems, and I’m U “to supply kiosks optimized for small businesses that operate food and beverage franchises, small restaurants, and cafes,” the publication detailed.
Furthermore, the exchange plans to charge a rental fee that is 10% below the industry rate for kiosks. “This will help SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] reduce costs, increase sales and provide efficient store operations,” the publication described, adding that:
The kiosk is a multimedia device that combines touch screen, graphics and communication functions. It is an unmanned information guidance system that provides efficient information to users…and simplified payment.
Bithumb also plans for the kiosks to take cryptocurrency as one of the payment options. The exchange believes that the kiosk business will create a synergy among all of its offerings.
What do you think of Bithumb’s kiosk business? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tros Systems, and Bithumb.
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