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CNN

Duterte says Beijing should ‘temper’ its behavior in the South China Sea

August 17, 2018 |

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has called for the Chinese government to tone down its behavior in the South China Sea, warning ongoing tensions could spark an accidental conflict.
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CNN

Why it’s so tense in the South China Sea

August 11, 2018 |

CNN’s Jim Sciutto explains the geopolitical conflict in the South China Sea.
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CNN

CNN flies aboard a Navy plane that gets a look at China’s rapidly expanding presence in the South China Sea. The crew receives multiple in-flight warnings.

August 10, 2018 |

High above one of the most hotly contested regions in the world, CNN was given a rare look Friday at the Chinese government’s rapidly expanding militarization of the South China Sea from a US reconnaissance plane.
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CNN

Record-breaking temperatures leave 29 dead in South Korean heatwave

August 6, 2018 |

As many as 29 people have died due to heatstroke in South Korea, according to the South Korean Ministry of Health, Welfare and Disease Control.
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‘Treasure Ship’ ICO Dupes Investors – South Korea Asks Interpol for Help

August 5, 2018 |

'Treasure Ship' ICO Dupes Investors - South Korea Asks Interpol for Help

South Korean police have asked Interpol for help with an investigation into the fraudulent token sale of Shinil Gold Coins that were claimed to be backed by the “treasure” on the sunken Dmitrii Donskoi. Local media reported that the sale raised an estimated $ 53.5 million from about 124,000 investors.

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

Treasure Ship Without Treasure

South Korean company Shinil Group announced on July 18 that it had discovered the shipwreck of Russian battleship Dmitrii Donskoi that was scuttled in 1905. The company also claimed at the time that about 200 tons of gold were found on board.

'Treasure Ship' ICO Dupes Investors - South Korea Asks Interpol for HelpThe firm subsequently backtracked on its treasure claims after the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), started investigating it for stock and initial coin offering (ICO) fraud, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

However, before withdrawing its claims, the ICO presale had already taken place through a Singaporean company with the same name, Shinil Group, the Korea Herald described. Shinil Gold Coin tokens are supposed to be backed by the treasure on the Dmitrii Donskoi. Nikkei reported that a full-page advertisement was run in a South Korean newspaper last month, detailing:

The newspaper ad said Shinil, one or the other, would soon show video of the Donskoi wreck and, in the first half of 2019, distribute dividends worth 10% of the value of the treasure that it estimated at 150 trillion won ($ 133 billion) to holders of the Shinil Gold Coin cryptocurrency.

'Treasure Ship' ICO Dupes Investors - South Korea Asks Interpol for HelpCiting that the tokens were sold “to some 124,000 investors” during the presale, the Korea Herald elaborated, “Shinil was estimated to have raised funds worth almost 60 billion won [~$ 53.5 million] as of July 26 on the claim.”

The Singaporean Shinil Group claims that “the value of a coin was expected to rise to 10,000 won [~$ 9] compared to a presale price of 30-50 won [~$ 0.03-0.05], once it completed an initial coin offering on cryptocurrency exchanges,” the publication added.

Meanwhile, “experts have said imperial Russia would have no reason to load vast treasure on a ship that was going into battle and have also noted that there was a safer land route to Vladivostok, the treasure’s supposed final destination,” AFP reported.

Connection to Singaporean Company

As the FSS launched its investigation of the firm for financial fraud, Korean police also launched a criminal investigation.

'Treasure Ship' ICO Dupes Investors - South Korea Asks Interpol for HelpChoi Yong-seok, president of the Korean Shinil Group, insisted that “Shinil Group in Singapore had nothing to do with Shinil Group in South Korea.” However, the Korea Herald pointed out that “the two companies’ founders are siblings, and the Singapore firm has been selling virtual coins, reportedly with a promise of handsome returns in case treasure is salvaged from the ship.”

Police say “the founder of the Singaporean Shinil Group, surnamed Ryu, was also wanted in connection with fraud allegations dating back to 2014” and they had already requested Interpol’s assistance with him, AFP noted. “Police has been hunting for Ryu since 2014, when he fled the country during a separate investigation…We are asking police in any relevant country to help locate and repatriate him at the earliest possible date.”

Officials of the Korean Shinil Group, including Choi, “have had travel bans imposed on them,” the news outlet detailed:

Police in Seoul requested an international arrest warrant for the founder of a Singapore-based firm Thursday after launching an investigation into the company and a South Korean startup over false claims of discovering a long-lost Russian ‘treasure ship’.

What do you think of this treasure ship scheme? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post ‘Treasure Ship’ ICO Dupes Investors – South Korea Asks Interpol for Help appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South Korea

August 4, 2018 |

The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South Korea

The wide adoption of cryptocurrencies in Russia has been put on hold after the State Duma postponed the final reading of three crypto bills for its fall session. Nevertheless, Russian companies are already planning to introduce crypto payments as soon as the regulations are in place. Among them, a major car dealer and an international pizza chain. Also in The Daily, the governor of Jeju has received support from Bitcoin.com for his efforts to create a Crypto Valley on the island. And while the South Korean province hopes to become a crypto and blockchain hub in Asia, major European banks have decided to base their blockchain initiative in Dublin.   

Also read: Hackers in High Demand, China Hires Cryptographer

Avtospetscenter and Papa John’s Prepare for Crypto Payments

With Russian parliamentarians taking vacation without keeping Putin’s July deadline for adopting comprehensive regulations for the country’s crypto space, Russian companies are left with only one option – to plan for crypto adoption after lawmakers officially recognize cryptocurrencies this fall. Two major businesses have announced their readiness to take advantage of crypto payments once they are legalized by authorities in Moscow.

The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South KoreaOne of Russia’s major car dealers, Avtospetscenter (ASC), has admitted it intends to start selling automobiles for digital money. “We are thinking of selling cars for cryptocurrency. The idea is under development. If there are no obstacles in the legislation, ASC will start selling cars and providing crypto services by 2020 – 2021,” Andrey Turkin, general manager of ASC’s subsidiary Audi Center Taganka, said quoted by Bits Media.

Soon, Russians will probably be able to order pizza with bitcoin as well. “Cryptocurrency has every chance of being directly applied in our business. I think, in the future, you’ll be able to buy our pizzas with bitcoin. We have the solutions ready, but for now we are just waiting for the right moment to start it all,” Christopher Wynne, Papa John’s President for Russia, CIS and Poland, revealed in an interview with TASS.

Governor of Jeju With Bitcoin.com Wallet

Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju in South Korea, has presented some ambitious plans for his province and they involve cryptocurrency adoption with the help of Bitcoin.com and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Won wants to turn Jeju Island into Korea’s Crypto Valley and has already made proposals for that to the country’s National Assembly.

The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South KoreaDuring the Huobi Carnival in Seoul this week, Won Hee-ryong met with Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver who promised to contribute to the realization of the project and support the efforts of the governor. Prior to their conversation, Mr. Ver showed Mr. Won how to download and install the Bitcoin.com wallet on his smartphone, Blockinpress reported.

The opening of Jeju to various projects from around the world will help the development of the crypto and blockchain technology, Roger Ver noted. He also said that people from the crypto space will discover the island as a holiday destination. “I will support Jeju to become a prosperous blockchain hub,” Mr. Ver emphasized and revealed he is planning to visit the island next month.

The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South KoreaWon Hee-ryong accepted the offered help and added: “As Mr. Roger Ver said, Jeju is an international tourist destination with a good environment to become a blockchain hub.” He also noted that the island has a special, autonomous status that can help solve regulatory issues which haven’t been solved at national level.

Top Euro Banks Choose Dublin for Their Blockchain Initiative

An alliance of nine leading European banks has chosen the Irish capital as a base for their blockchain initiative, local media reported. The We.trade group, formerly Digital Trade Chain, includes major financial institutions from the Old Continent such as Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Santander. The consortium was founded in 2017 to explore and develop blockchain technologies for carrying out transactions between banks and their clients. The platform is currently used for trades among 11 European countries.

After a period of development and testing, the participating banks are now working to onboard more clients, revealed We.trade’s Chief Operating Officer, Roberto Mancone, former head of the disruptive technologies division of Deutsche Bank. “It’s no longer a proof of concept, it’s no longer an experiment, the platform is now made available to the clients,” he said, adding that they can find counterparts in other countries and start trading using the platform to create smart contracts, finance invoices or make payments.

Days after We.trade’s announcement, a European blockchain body expressed concerns over the lack of legal clarity in regards to the implementation of blockchain technologies and the application of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR). The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum warned that the new rules which went into effect recently are actually threatening innovation in the space.

“As long as the legal framework around personal data and blockchain remains unclear, entrepreneurs and those designing and building blockchain-based platforms and applications in Europe face massive uncertainty. That can put a brake on innovation,” the organization said in a report titled “Blockchain Innovation in Europe”. One of the main concerns stems from the incompatibility between the right of individuals under GDPR to request their personal data to be deleted and the immutability of data stored on a blockchain.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Blockinpress.


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The post The Daily: Cars and Pizzas for Crypto in Russia, Crypto Valley in South Korea appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges

August 1, 2018 |

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges

The South Korean government has announced a new set of tax law amendments. Under this proposal, bitcoin exchanges will no longer be eligible for income and corporate tax deductions currently enjoyed by small and medium-sized businesses. The regulators have also been considering imposing capital gains tax on the sale of cryptocurrencies.

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

Stripping Away Tax Benefits

The South Korean government has announced its proposed Revised Tax Law 2018. In the official statement published Monday, the government wrote, “from next year, virtual currency handling businesses will be excluded from the industries eligible for the tax reduction for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises].”

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges
The South Korean government announcing 2018 tax amendments.

News1 explained that crypto exchanges “have been considered as venture companies or small and medium-sized businesses for tax purposes until now,” allowing them to benefit from considerable income tax deduction. Citing other favorable tax treatments such as depreciation of assets acquired during the first four years, the publication elaborated:

Under the current tax exemption rules, income tax and corporation tax are reduced by 50% to 100% for five years for business startups, SMEs and venture companies.

Crypto Exchanges to Pay Higher Taxes

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin ExchangesAccording to the news outlet, the government has decided to exclude crypto exchanges from the list of entities eligible for SME tax deduction “because the cryptocurrency trading business lacks the effect of creating added value.” The revised tax law will be submitted to the National Assembly and, if passed, will go into effect next year.

Crypto exchanges are currently liable to pay corporation tax of up to 22%, Seoul Finance described, adding that “considering that virtual currency exchanges earned huge amounts of money in the last year and earlier this year, it is estimated that the amount of exemption would be considerably large.” The publication conveyed that under the current setup:

Bitsum exchange, which is estimated to have net profit of over 250 billion won [~US$ 223 million] last year, should pay 54.4 billion won [~$ 48.6 million] in corporate tax but it is expected to save 27.2 billion won [~$ 24.3 million] since it receives 50% reduction.

However, “taxation on the sale of cryptocurrency was not included in the amendment bill…based on the judgment that more research is needed,” the publication emphasized. “The government has been considering imposing capital gains tax virtual currency trading profits since early this year, but no specific taxation bill has come out.”

What do you think of the Korean government proposing to take away tax benefits for crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Korean government.


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The post South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill Urgently

July 28, 2018 |

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill Urgently

South Korea’s top financial regulator has urged lawmakers to pass the country’s first crypto bill quickly, citing the urgent need from rising incidents at crypto exchanges. There are currently several crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.

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

Crypto Law Urgently Needed

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlySouth Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), has urged lawmakers to “pass the country’s first cryptocurrency bill quickly,” Bloomberg reported this week. According to the agency, “Korea urgently needs crypto laws as thefts rise,” the publication conveyed, adding that “local exchanges are rife with security flaws and money laundering risks.”

Hong Seong-ki, head of the FSC virtual currency response team, said in an interview:

We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money laundering prevention and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible.

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlyThe South Korean government first announced crypto regulation in the second half of last year. In September, initial coin offerings (ICOs) were banned. A crypto task force was established at that time “to improve the transparency of transactions and improve the legal system to protect consumers,” Joongang Daily described.

Since then, the FSC and other regulators have announced additional crypto regulatory measures including the real-name system and trading restrictions on minors and foreigners. However, “the problem is that these announcements have shaken the market but do not provide a proper legal framework for investor protection or market development,” the news outlet pointed out.

According to the publication, there are currently five crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.

Inadequate Security Measures

Hong was further quoted by Bloomberg claiming:

While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security.

In June, two Korean crypto exchanges suffered security breaches. Coinrail was hacked on June 10 with an estimated damage of 45 billion won (~US$ 40 million). Bithumb, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, was hacked on June 20 with an estimated damage of about 19 billion won (~$ 17 million).

Putting FSC in Charge of Crypto Exchanges

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlyFollowing the security breaches at Coinrail and Bithumb, the Korean government immediately launched an investigation into their causes.

The FSC subsequently pushed for a bill to require crypto exchanges to report to and be regularly supervised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is under its supervision. “This is the first time government agencies have said they will oversee virtual currency exchanges,” Maeil Business wrote.

Emphasizing that he personally “wouldn’t recommend putting money in cryptocurrencies,” Hong reiterated:

FSC oversight wouldn’t imply an official endorsement of crypto trading. If the bill is passed, the regulator will focus on policing the exchanges rather than promoting their growth.

Meanwhile, the commission itself is undergoing a major restructuring. A bureau dedicated to financial innovation including cryptocurrencies will be established for policy initiatives, the FSC recently announced.

Do you think South Korea needs to pass a crypto bill urgently? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSC.


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The post South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill Urgently appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades

July 27, 2018 |

Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades

Cryptocurrencies are becoming more prevalent to residents living in South Africa and over the past year bitcoin interest stemming from the region has grown exponentially. Furthermore, just recently the South African Treasury has proposed a few amendments that apply to the country’s Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (TLAB) and how cryptocurrencies are taxed. According to regional reports, if the proposals are accepted, bitcoin trades could be exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in South Africa.

Also Read: Bitcoin Cash Fund to Help Promote Future r/MillionaireMakers Drawings

South African Treasury Proposals Could Make Bitcoin Trades Exempt from Value-Added Tax Laws

Interest in bitcoin and other digital assets within South Africa has been rising steadily over the past few years. Back in April, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) revealed its latest guidelines towards cryptocurrency taxation and explained that taxpayers must declare profits and losses if the funds stem from digital asset transactions. SARS details that taxpayers who are uncertain about their tax filings involving cryptocurrencies may reach out to the tax entity for guidance.

“The onus is on taxpayers to declare all cryptocurrency-related taxable income in the tax year. Failure to do so could result in interest and penalties,” said SARS on April 6, 2018.

Now the members of the South African Treasury have proposed new guidelines that could make trading bitcoin and other virtual currencies exempt from VAT. Regional reports detail that the proposals aim to change the definition that digital assets are deemed taxable financial instruments, the clarity within the country’s VAT Act, as well as loss provisions of the Income Tax Act. A senior tax consultant from Mazars, Tertius Troost, explains to regional publications that the proposals will make things much clearer for individual cryptocurrency tax filings and how they apply to the VAT Act.

Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades
Treasury Department for the Republic of South Africa

“The clarification of the VAT treatment will be well received, especially on the basis that the issue, acquisition, collection, buying or selling or transfer of ownership of any cryptocurrency will be included under the definition of financial services in terms of section 2 of the VAT Act,” Troost said in an interview.

If accepted, all dealings in cryptocurrencies will be exempt from VAT. This means there will be no VAT input claims on the acquisition of cryptocurrencies, and no VAT output being levied on the disposal of cryptocurrencies.            

Cryptocurrency Interest Continues to Trend Higher in South Africa

Troost also says that VAT costs associated with mining might not have to be claimed within tax filing associated with the VAT. However, the tax consultant says “the good news seems to end there.” Troost emphasizes that the Treasury has proposed the acquisition or disposal of any cryptocurrency under the ring-fencing of assessed loss provisions which is sometimes called ‘suspect trades.’ This means some cryptocurrency sales may not be able to offset losses in certain instances. “In other words, these losses are ring-fenced to be used only against future profits earned from cryptocurrencies,” Troost concludes.

Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades
Google shows the amount of bitcoin-related queries in South Africa is the largest number of searches worldwide.

Digital currencies have been very popular within the South African region which has caused tax officials to scrutinize cryptocurrency dealings. Additionally, Localbitcoins and Paxful volumes in South Africa have been increasing steadily over the past few weeks. Interest in bitcoin is higher than every global region. As Google Trends reports, South Africa is the number one area in the world searching for ‘bitcoin-related’ queries.

Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades
The Douro cryptocurrency ATM in Nelspruit.

Moreover, cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs) have become more prevalent in the daily lives of South Africans. There are now ATMs in Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town, and Midrand.

What do you think about the South African Treasury’s proposals? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Mybroadband.co.za, and Pixabay. 


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The post Officials in South Africa Propose VAT-Exemption for Bitcoin Trades appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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