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Cryptocurrency Accounts for Less Than 2% of All Japanese Money Laundering Cases

February 28, 2019 |

Money Laundering Cases With Cryptocurrency Less Than 1.7% of All in Japan

Money laundering cases related to cryptocurrencies in Japan have increased significantly in 2018. Nevertheless, their number remains a fraction of the total. According to the Japanese press, the majority of reported money laundering instances actually involve banks and other traditional financial institutions.

Also read: Platform for Crypto Payments to Bank Accounts Launching in the UK

Most Instances Involve Banks and Credit Card Companies

The number of cases of suspected money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies reported in Japan surpassed 7,000 last year, the Japan Times reported, quoting the National Police Agency. The figure represents a 10-fold increase in comparison with the 669 cases registered between April and December of 2017, when crypto exchange operators were obliged to report suspicious transactions that may be linked to the movement of illicit funds.

Cryptocurrency Accounts for Less Than 2% of All Japanese Money Laundering Cases

The Japanese police detailed that in some of the cases, users with different names and birth dates have been sharing the same identification document. Others have been found to log in from foreign jurisdictions, despite providing Japanese addresses in their accounts.

In 2018 alone, 417,465 cases of suspected money laundering and other abuses were reported to the law enforcement agencies in Japan. That’s over 17,000 more cases than the previous year.

It should be noted, however, that the majority of these cases involve banks and other financial institutions, comprising 346,014 reports, and credit card companies 15,114. That means the cases related to cryptocurrencies, the exact number of which is 7,096, are less than 1.7 percent of the total.

Japanese Police to Train Data Analysis Specialists

The National Police Agency of Japan plans to take steps in response to the rising number of suspicious transactions. One of the initiatives involves the training of specialists in financial data analysis. Artificial intelligence technology may be employed to detect illegal trades. These systems can be taught to recognize patterns related to money laundering and other illicit transactions.

Cryptocurrency Accounts for Less Than 2% of All Japanese Money Laundering Cases

The Japan Times points out that the country has also seen some large cryptocurrency heists in recent years. These include the Mt. Gox hack in 2014 when $ 433 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from the digital asset exchange. Another attack, against the Japanese exchange Coincheck last January, led to the loss of approximately $ 550 million of the cryptocurrency nem.

Cases such as these were the main reason for a decision by the Japan’s Financial Services Agency to order several crypto trading platforms based in the country to improve their internal controls. The regulator also asked for the introduction of preventive measures against money laundering.

What do you think about the data released by the Japanese police? Share your thoughts on the topic of money laundering and cryptocurrency in the comments section below.


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The post Cryptocurrency Accounts for Less Than 2% of All Japanese Money Laundering Cases appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Crypto Businesses

February 23, 2019 |

Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Cryptocurrency Businesses

The Thai government has issued four licenses to a new crypto exchange. Prior to this, only existing exchanges that were in business before the country’s crypto regulation took effect were approved. The first licensed new exchange in Thailand is a subsidiary of a regulated Japanese exchange, Bitpoint.

Also read: SEC Chair Explains Key Upgrades Needed for Bitcoin ETF Approval

New Crypto Exchange Licensed

Japanese corporation Remixpoint Inc. announced on Thursday that its Thai subsidiary, Bitherb Co. Ltd., has obtained four different crypto-related licenses to operate in Thailand. The announcement concurs with the information posted on the website of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Remixpoint also operates Bitpoint Japan, one of 17 government-approved Japanese exchanges.

With the new licenses, Bitherb can legally operate as a crypto asset exchange, a digital token exchange, a crypto asset broker, and a digital token broker. Currently, it is the only company approved to operate as a digital token broker in the country.

Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Cryptocurrency Businesses

Bitherb is a crypto exchange and management company co-founded by Bitpoint Japan and Asia Herb Association Bangkok Co. Ltd. The latter owns 60.5552 percent of Bitherb while the former owns 39.4446 percent. The president of Bitpoint Japan, Oda Genki, also serves as an officer of the new Thai entity. Bitpoint also operates in other countries including Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Panama.

Japanese Exchange Approved to Operate 4 Cryptocurrency Businesses in Thailand

Four Licenses

The Thai SEC’s website lists all companies that have been approved to operate crypto-related businesses in Thailand. The country enacted its crypto regulation in May and subsequently approved four companies that had been in business before the regulation took effect. Two companies were rejected.

Licenses have been granted to companies in five categories to date: crypto asset exchanges, digital token exchanges, crypto asset brokers, digital token brokers, and crypto asset dealers. Four companies have been approved to operate both crypto asset and digital token exchanges: Bitcoin Co. Ltd., Bitkub Online Co. Ltd., Satang Corp. Co. Ltd. and now Bitherb. Licenses to operate as a crypto asset broker have been granted to Coins Th. Co. Ltd. and Bitherb. Meanwhile, only Bitherb has been approved as a digital token broker and only Coins Th has been approved as a crypto asset dealer.

Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Cryptocurrency Businesses
Licenses Bitherb has obtained from the Thail SEC and the finance ministry.

The Thai SEC launched a website last month called “Siang Soong” which means “high-risk” to help educate the general public about cryptocurrencies and tokens. Rapee Sucharitakul, Secretary-General of the Thai SEC, said that “Digital assets are useful as funding tools … and as a medium of exchange.” However, he added that it is a high-risk asset suited for people with the knowledge and understanding of the technology and not necessarily for general investors.

What do you think of Bitpoint getting four different crypto licenses to operate in Thailand? Do you think many more exchanges will follow suit? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Crypto Businesses appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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CNN

Why Japanese women are rebelling against Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019 |

Japanese women are rebelling against a decades-old Valentine’s Day tradition that obliges them to give chocolates to men.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

Japanese Tycoon Plans to Fly With SpaceX, but His Latest Projects Have Failed to Launch

February 3, 2019 |

Yusaku Maezawa, who bought the first ticket to fly around the moon on Elon Musk’s SpaceX vehicle, is losing momentum on Earth. After years of rapid growth for his fashion e-commerce site, some big brands are backing away and competition from the likes of Amazon.com is rising.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

Japanese Tycoon Plans to Fly With SpaceX, but His Latest Projects Have Failed to Launch

February 3, 2019 |

Yusaku Maezawa, who bought the first ticket to fly around the moon on Elon Musk’s SpaceX vehicle, is losing momentum on Earth. After years of rapid growth for his fashion e-commerce site, some big brands are backing away and competition from the likes of Amazon.com is rising.
WSJ.com: US Business

CNN

Japanese sponsor accused of ‘whitewashing’ tennis star Naomi Osaka

January 23, 2019 |

One of Naomi Osaka’s Japanese sponsors has apologized after releasing a advertisement which has been widely accused of “whitewashing” the tennis star’s skin tone.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

A Japanese hotel is going to swap robots for humans

January 20, 2019 |

A hotel chain in Tokyo is trying to be the first run by robots, albeit with a few malfunctions along the way, according to a new report.
FOX News

Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives

January 13, 2019 |

Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives

Japan’s top financial regulator has clarified to news.Bitcoin.com its stance on bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrency derivatives, and upcoming regulatory changes. This follows reports that the agency may be considering approving an ETF that tracks cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives

Following recent reports claiming that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) may be considering approving one or more bitcoin ETFs, news.Bitcoin.com asked the country’s top financial regulator to confirm its plan regarding this type of investment instrument.

Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives

A spokesperson for the agency clarified on Friday:

There is no such fact that we are considering approving ETFs which track crypto-assets at present … we are not currently considering approving them.

The FSA also confirmed its position on cryptocurrency derivatives. Regarding “the listing of bitcoin futures on the financial instruments market,” the regulator said, “We are not considering that at present.”

The agency explained its reasoning to news.Bitcoin.com, stating that based on findings of the Study Group on the Virtual Currency Exchange Services:

Taken it into consideration that it is difficult for us to find constructive and social significance of trading crypto-assets derivatives at present, we think that there is no need for trading crypto-assets derivatives at financial instruments exchanges where many market participants are able to trade.

New Regulatory Direction

The FSA has recently published newly-proposed rules for crypto operators based on discussions and conclusions from 11 study group meetings. Self-regulation will play a major part in the ecosystem. In October, the agency approved the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) as a self-regulatory organization (SRO).

The association is expected to “perform self-regulatory functions in a flexible manner, considering issues we have identified so far,” the agency told news.Bitcoin.com.

The FSA proceeded to outline the issues it expects the SRO to focus on. They are “insufficient risk assessment of crypto assets to be handled, inappropriate sales of crypto assets issued by providers themselves, excessive advertisement, over-emphasis on profit generation, no check and balance by directors and auditors, no internal audit, insufficient internal management control, insufficient AML/CFT measures and segregation of customer asset, and reluctance to disclose corporate information.”

Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives

ICO Regulation Coming Soon

When Japan legalized cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in April 2017, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and their tokens were not included. However, with the growing interest in token sales as a fundraising method, the FSA has turned its attention to the matter. The agency recently published a document outlining key areas which will be addressed in upcoming regulations.

The FSA will focus on “investment-type ICOs” and will “clarify that soliciting investments by funding virtual currency is subject to financial regulations,” the document reads.

Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives Specifically, “When soliciting 50 or more investors,” the agency plans to “require the issuer to provide public disclosure initially and subsequently.”

Brokers and dealers of investment-type ICOs will be regulated “on the same level as securities firms.” They will be required to “examine the business and financial conditions of the issuer.” Furthermore, both the current “unfair trading regulations” and rules to prevent insider trading will apply. There will also be restrictions on “solicitation to retail investors in the same manner as the restriction on unlisted stocks.” For other types of ICOs, the FSA plans to require crypto exchanges that deal with them “to provide information including the feasibility of the project.”

What do you think of Japan’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post Japanese Regulator Clarifies Stance on Bitcoin ETFs and Derivatives appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit

January 12, 2019 |

Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit

A combination of cheap electricity and cold weather has started to draw a growing number of Japanese bitcoin miners to Mongolia, a country sandwiched between China to the south and Russia to the north. Amid falling mining revenues in other regions of the world due to the current crypto bear market, companies that have set up shop in Mongolia have found they can still run profitable mining operations.

Also read: China Announces New Regulations for Blockchain Companies to ‘Promote Healthy Development’

 Business Environment Harsh But Mongolia Is Still Profitable

Tokyo-based e-wallet company Ginco is operating two mining farms in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city. One facility is located at an underground structure in a condominium complex .The company launched the business in October, a time when its peers throughout the world were considering winding down operations as a result of declining bitcoin prices, which rendered mining unprofitable.

Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit

Altogether, Ginco now operates 600 mining machines and is planning to increase that number to 1,000 units in this quarter. “The business environment is increasingly harsh, but we can still produce a profit,” Yuma Furubayashi, chief executive officer of Ginco Mongol, told Japanese publication Nikkei Asian Review on Jan. 11.

The market has been unforgiving for companies involved in cryptocurrency mining over the past year. During that period, the price of BTC has plunged more than 80 percent from its all-time high of almost $ 20,000 in December 2017, leaving some miners on the brink of collapse. Coupled with the price decline, bitcoin extraction is becoming less profitable as a result of the network’s rising hashrate.

For example, Japan’s bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer GMO Internet Inc. wound down operations at the end of December after posting a loss of 24 billion yen ($ 218 million). The company, which will nonetheless continue to mine in-house, also announced that it is moving its mining center to a region with cleaner and less expensive energy.

Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit

In November, U.S.-based bitcoin mining firm Giga Watt filed for bankruptcy at a court in the Eastern District of Washington, revealing that it still owes its biggest 20 unsecured creditors nearly $ 7 million. Other medium-sized miners in China were recently forced to sell their mining rigs as scrap, to curb further losses.

Mongolia’s Freezing Weather and Cheap Electricity Attract Crowds

But with freezing weather and cheap electricity, Mongolia – one of a few countries where bitcoin miners can still generate a profit, along with the U.S. and Sweden – is slowly developing into a destination of choice for Japanese miners. The cooler temperatures help to reduce the need for cooling systems for the mining hardware.

Energy costs are a key factor in the profit equation of crypto mining. Electricity prices in Mongolia run at around a third of Japanese rates and lower than in China, which has been home to many crypto miners, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Another Japanese entity, iTools, began mining operations in Mongolia last summer. It says although the market is down, mining in Mongolia still returns a profit. The company has currently put on hold plans to expand its fleet of mining equipment, but CEO Tamir Bayarsaikhan indicated that the business has the capacity to deepen its expertize in blockchain technologies and create new business. iTools rents its gear from Tokyo-based advertising group Unimedia.

Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit
Statue of Genghis Khan

Crypto mining is an attractive year-around business for companies in Mongolia, whose core industries like mineral mining, agriculture, and tourism slow down during the harsh winter. The government is actively nurturing the country’s information technology sector, noted the article.

Last year, the Central Bank of Mongolia approved crypto-friendly legislation, and Mobicom – Mongolia’s largest telecoms network – decided to create its own cryptocurrency, known as “Candy”, whose value is pegged to Mongolia’s fiat currency, the tugrik.

This year, Mongolia has just announced a partnership with Terra, a blockchain payment system that is backed by exchanges such as Binance and Houbi. According to a recent Forbes report, the program will launch with two features: a peer-to-peer payment system to allow transfer among users of different banks, as well as a mobile payment system.

What do you think about bitcoin mining in Mongolia? Let us know in the comments section below.


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

The post Mongolia’s Cheap Electricity Draws Japanese Bitcoin Miners Seeking Profit appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-Regulation

January 5, 2019 |

5 More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-Regulation

Five cryptocurrency exchange operators including Coincheck have signed up to self-regulate under Japanese law. They have joined the self-regulatory association which, until now, has only accepted regulated crypto exchanges as members. According to Japan’s top regulator, companies seeking to register their exchanges in the country must follow to self-regulatory rules.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

More Exchanges to Self-Regulate

More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-RegulationThe Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea), currently the only self-regulatory organization (SRO) in the Japanese cryptocurrency space, announced on Friday that five cryptocurrency exchange operators have joined the association.

The Jvcea was approved as an SRO in October by Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Prior to Friday, the only members of this association were the 16 regulated cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan.

Out of the five new members, three are deemed dealers which are companies that have been allowed to operate crypto exchanges in Japan while their applications are being reviewed by the FSA. They are Coincheck Ltd., Everybody’s Bitcoin Co. Ltd., and Lastroots Inc. Coincheck is a subsidiary of Monex Group; the popular exchange was acquired after it was hacked in January. Everybody’s Bitcoin has been acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.

More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-RegulationThe other two new members — Lvc Corp. and Coinage Corp. — are not yet registered with the FSA and are currently not allowed to operate crypto exchanges in Japan.

Lvc Corp. oversees cryptocurrency and blockchain business units of Line Corp., the operator of Japan’s most popular chat app, Line. In July last year, the company launched a crypto exchange called Bitbox globally except in the U.S. and Japan due to regulations; the exchange is not yet registered with the FSA. Coinage Corp., established in October 2017, is a subsidiary of United Inc., a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed advertising company. According to its website, Coinage is engaged in “virtual currency transaction-related business.”

How Self-Regulation Works in Japan

More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-RegulationIn an exclusive interview with news.Bitcoin.com last week, the FSA detailed what it expects from crypto self-regulation. The agency also recently published its final report outlining proposed rules for crypto service providers.

Operators of crypto exchanges are expected to follow the rules set by the SRO regardless of whether they are members of the organization. The agency emphasized that registration of non-SRO members that have not established internal rules equivalent to the SRO’s rules can be refused or canceled.

More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-RegulationThe Jvcea is expected to cooperate with the FSA to instruct and supervise its members to properly operate their businesses, including improving the safety of their systems. The association is also expected to “set out detailed wallet management processes from the system security point of view and the cross-sectoral rules in areas that are not covered by the laws/regulations, for example, margin trading, for the users’ protection,” Japan’s top financial regulator described.

Furthermore, the FSA told news.Bitcoin.com last week that over 190 operators have expressed interest in entering the Japanese crypto market.

What do you think of Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges self-regulating? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post More Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges Sign up for Self-Regulation appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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