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CNN

US, South Korea cancel major war games

March 4, 2019 |

The US and South Korea have canceled major war games that have long been a source of tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to “support diplomatic efforts” with North Korea.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

US, South Korea Make Big Change to Military Drills

March 3, 2019 |

South Korea and the US are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, the AP reports. The decision announced by both countries Sunday came after President Trump complained…
Newser

US ETF Ruling to Inform South Korean Cryptocurrency Market

February 23, 2019 |

Local media has reported that a South Korean exchange is waiting for regulators in the United States to make a ruling regarding the highly anticipated Vaneck cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) before determining its stance pertaining to virtual currency ETFs.

Also Read: Markets Update: Altcoins Gain on BTC

Exchange Awaits US Ruling to Develop ETF Policy

A report published by The Korea Herald has asserted that officials at a South Korean exchange are waiting for United States lawmakers to establish a precedent regarding cryptocurrency ETFs. The report quotes an anonymous source claiming to work as an official at South Korea’s main bourse operator, Korea Exchange.

The source asserted that “The US has been the front-runner on the cryptocurrency market and related derivatives,” noting that despite “strong voices supporting the launch of bitcoin ETFs within the market,” they are “observing the progress and response of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision on bitcoin ETFs.”

US ETF Ruling to Inform South Korean Regulatory Policy

The source also stated that the launch of cryptocurrency ETFs would require “a solid index, adding that the prospective index is “being discussed expansively at [The Korea Exchange] because it would eventually concern investor protection issues.”

Permissive Korea Exchange’s Policies for Bitcoin ETF Likely to Be Accompanied by Strict KYC Guidelines

Lee Kyung-ho, a professor at Korea University’s Graduate School of Information Security, described the Korea Exchange’s framework as intended to “minimize the risk of integrating ETF transactions” in South Korea’s cryptocurrency sector.

The professor emphasized that a permissive framework pertaining to cryptocurrency ETFs would require strict know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures, stating that “The government has been requesting cryptocurrency exchanges to adopt what is known as the rules of KYC and AML to boost transparency in transactions.”

US ETF Ruling to Inform South Korean Regulatory Policy

Lee also asserted that South Korea’s government has recently been expanding its investments into the “research and development of blockchain technology.”

When do you think the cryptocurrency industry will see an ETF receive regulatory approval? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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Bitcoin News

Survey Ranks South Africa Top for Cryptocurrency Ownership

February 19, 2019 |

Survey Ranks South Africa Top for Crypto Ownership

South Africa has been ranked as the top country for ownership of cryptocurrency, according to a global survey by social media management company Hootsuite and global agency Wearesocial. The survey found that 10.7 percent of internet users in the country own cryptocurrency. Thailand is second, with 9.9 percent of mobile users owning cryptocurrency and Indonesia third with 9.5 percent, while the global average was 5.5 percent.

Also read: Drug Dealer Fights to Prevent Canadian Police From Forfeiting his BTC

Africa Steadily Embraces Cryptocurrency

The Global Digital Report 2019 also placed other sub-Saharan African countries such as Ghana and Kenya within the top 45 nations in the world where a large number of people owned cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The results were based on the survey of internet users aged between 16 to 64 years during the six months to September 2018.

The survey confirms that Africa has embraced the digital currency revolution. A growing number of people on the continent are utilizing cryptocurrency to fulfill both personal financial needs and entrepreneurial ventures such as transferring goods, services and money internationally and domestically.

Survey Ranks South Africa Top for Cryptocurrency Ownership

There is also an emerging generation of Africans buying virtual currencies as investment vehicles, while a relatively small number of Africans trade digital currencies speculatively for profit.

In, 2018, Paxful Inc., a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, reported seeing significant growth in Africa. The U.S.-based company said Africans now accounted for the largest number of people buying and selling cryptocurrency on its platform, with average monthly transactions totaling $ 64.5 million.

Over the past year, users from the African continent of 1.2 billion people soared by 225 percent, Ray Youssef, chief executive officer of Paxful, said. Transactions on the exchange climbed 60 percent in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, 25 percent in South Africa, the continent’s most sophisticated economy, and by up to 100 percent in other parts of Africa.

South Africa Consults on Crypto Regulation

The top ranking for South African cryptocurrency ownership comes at a time when monetary authorities in the country have asked the public to make submissions on policy and regulatory proposals for crypto assets like bitcoin. There is currently no regulation for cryptocurrencies in South Africa, a situation which has prompted the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to come up with measures that provide legal protection or recourse to investors and users.

Survey Ranks South Africa Top for Cryptocurrency Ownership

Whereas the rest of the South African financial system is tightly regulated to prevent issues of market failure, the crypto market isn’t, SARB said. In its policy paper, the central bank makes several proposals including leaving crypto-assets without legal tender status, so as not to recognize them as electronic money.

The document also recommends that an appropriate regulatory framework be developed through a registration process for crypto-asset service providers. It also proposes a review of existing regulatory frameworks followed by new regulatory requirements or amendments to existing regulations.

“The phased approach, starting with the registration requirement, could lead to formal authorization and designation as a registered/licensed provider for crypto asset services operating in South Africa at a later stage,” states the central bank.

What do you think about growing cryptocurrency ownership in Africa? Let us know in the comments section below.


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CNN

US warships challenge Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

February 11, 2019 |

The United States sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday (Sunday night, ET), a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

South Bay couple donates $70 million to L.A. biomedical institute

February 10, 2019 |

In the months leading up to their 70th birthdays, Melanie and Richard Lundquist thought about ways to celebrate.

The South Bay couple, who have donated more than $ 200 million to education, healthcare and other initiatives in Los Angeles County, considered taking a trip. But they’re not much for…


L.A. Times – Business

South Korea Central Bank Says CBDCs Will Disrupt Financial Integrity

February 7, 2019 |

South Korea Central Bank Says CBDCs Will Disrupt Financial Integrity

South Korea’s central bank has warned that adopting a state-backed cryptocurrency as an official form of legal tender would threaten the country’s financial integrity. In a report, the Bank of Korea (BoK) said such a currency, also known as a central bank digital currency (CBDC), could result in a spike in interest rates and a liquidity crunch.

Also read: Australian Banks Fraudulently Collected Fees From Deceased Customers

‘CBDCs Will Cause Liquidity Shortages and Interest Rates to Rise’

Built on the blockchain, CBDCs are typically issued by central banks to work just like fiat money, but without necessarily replacing bank notes and coins. Korea said at the end of January that it was not considering issuing a government-backed digital currency anytime soon because there wasn’t any urgent need for one.

Now, the Asian country has issued a report to back up that decision. According to a newspaper article published in the Korea Times on Feb. 7, the BoK explained that the introduction of a CBDC will replace demand deposits held by local commercial banks. That’s because people will likely prefer the state-sponsored cryptocurrency, which they may deem safer and secure, to the domestic fiat unit, it said.

South Korea Central Bank Says CBDCs Will Disrupt Financial Integrity

The idea behind this thinking is that as depositors withdraw money from the bank, commercial banks will fall into a liquidity trap, forcing the money supply to drop. This will ultimately see interest shooting up.

Kwon Oh-ik, one of the co-authors of the Bank of Korea report, elaborated:

The central bank digital currency is a kind of a BoK-issued bank account. People trust it more than one in a commercial bank. Demand deposits are one of the biggest sources of loans for banks. When people pull out their money, banks raise rates, or lower the reserve ratio, to secure more funds.

Kwon further indicated that the BoK, which has conducted and recently completed a long-term study on cryptocurrencies, should be more cautious and analyze any negative consequences that could arise from the issuance of a CBDC.

Global Central Banks Show Interest in CBDCs

Cashless transactions have soared around the world in recent years, unsettling many of the control freaks who work for various governments. Bitcoin, for example, was created to challenge the conventional financial system and return the ownership of money to the people, beyond the reach of the state.

But this vision has not endeared it to global financial gurus who are steeped in tradition. Unsurprisingly, many national governments have raised concerns about cryptocurrencies and have called for tighter regulation while angling to issue their own versions of centralized digital currencies.

A recent report by the Bank for International Settlements showed about 70 percent of central banks throughout the world are researching CBDCs, although “this work is primarily conceptual and only a few intend to issue a CBDC in the short to medium term”.

South Korea Central Bank Says CBDCs Will Disrupt Financial Integrity
Christine Lagarde

However, the International Monetary Fund’s head Christine Lagarde has urged central banks to consider issuing digital currency to make transactions more secure. At a conference in Singapore in November, Lagarde argued that state-backed cryptocurrencies could satisfy public policy goals related to financial inclusion, consumer protection, privacy and fraud prevention.

“I believe we should consider the possibility to issue digital currency,” Lagarde said at the time. “There may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy. The advantage is clear. Your payment would be immediate, safe, cheap and potentially semi-anonymous. And central banks would retain a sure footing in payments.”

Citing the example of central banks in Canada, China, Sweden and Uruguay, which are all “seriously considering” the introduction of their own digital currencies, Lagarde said a state-issued cryptocurrency would be a liability of the state, just like fiat money. Such currencies could reduce the cost of transactions while maximizing security and spreading adoption, but they would not be censorship-resistant cryptocurrency in the true sense.

What do you think about CBDCs and financial stability? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com

The post South Korea Central Bank Says CBDCs Will Disrupt Financial Integrity appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation

February 1, 2019 |

South Korea Updates ICO Policy After 3-Month Investigation

The South Korean government has updated its stance on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as announced the results of its 3-month investigation of ICO activities carried out by Korean companies. The government found that many companies have bypassed its ICO ban and conducted token sales overseas.

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

ICO Policy Update

The South Korean government announced on Thursday the outcome of its investigation of ICO activities conducted by Korean companies as well as the future direction it is taking on ICOs.

South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation

“With requests to allow ICOs piling up, the government investigated 24 companies and their offerings for three months starting September [2018],” The Investor reported, adding:

The Korean government on Jan. 31 said it will maintain a strict ban on initial coin offerings, saying that a three-month investigation proved they are very risky.

“We will continue to remain cautious about systemizing ICOs,” the office under the Prime Minister’s Secretariat was quoted by the news outlet as saying. “If we suggest guidelines, it can be understood that we approve of ICOs which is a risky investment option.”

South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation

The Korean government banned domestic ICOs in September 2017. In December last year, a startup filed a constitutional complaint against the government claiming that the ICO ban is unconstitutional.

Results of 3-Month Investigation

The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) conducted an ICO investigation from September to November last year. Twenty-four local companies with ICO projects were asked to cooperate on a voluntary basis. The government sent them a questionnaire and inspected their whitepapers and press releases. The results from 22 companies were analyzed.

South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation

The aim of the investigation was to analyze ICOs conducted by Korean companies and establish proper responses, the government said on Thursday.

The regulator found that none of the companies have actually launched their projects but they are all developing platforms or carrying out test services, The Investor elaborated. “Most of the 22 companies were set up as an overseas paper company and carried out ICOs overseas, but were intended for the Korean market.”

The government’s official announcement states that “domestic companies have conducted many ICO overseas,” thus bypassing the government’s ban. They have established subsidiaries abroad, such as in Singapore, with less than 10 million won (~$ 8,945) in capital and an average of only three employees including the executive of the local company.

South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation

Meanwhile, each new token trades at four exchanges on average, with its price commonly falling 68 percent after the first day of trading. The FSS has also found cases of illegal ICO activities such as the issuance and trading of security tokens as well as the selling of investment funds, the government detailed.

The Office for Government Policy Coordination was quoted by The Investor as saying:

There were cases of important investment information missing, such as company introduction, business plans and financial statements … Especially, there was no disclosure on how those funds were used and most of them refused to answer the financial authorities’ request.

What do you think of South Korea’s ICO stance? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post South Korea Updates ICO Stance After 3-Month Investigation appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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CNN

Why a military spat between Japan and South Korea could snowball into crisis

January 27, 2019 |

Japan and South Korea are engaged in a heated military dispute that analysts say could damage the already tenuous geopolitical situation in northeast Asia if the two sides do not reach a resolution.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

January 17, 2019 |

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

A regulatory working group in South Africa, which includes the country’s central bank, has released a consultation paper on crypto assets this week. According to the document, all exchanges, wallet providers, Bitcoin ATMs and payment processors will have to register with the government in 2019. 

Also Read: Bitpay Reports Processing Over $ 1 Billion Transactions in 2018

Consultation Paper on Crypto Assets

South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) jointly released on Wednesday their consultation paper on crypto assets. The group was formed to review the state of cryptocurrency in the country under the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) at the start of 2018.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper includes background on the subject and provides the scope of the activities that have been assessed. It highlights the benefits and risks, as defined by the regulators, reviews the approaches taken by other jurisdictions, and presents recommendations for dealing with crypto assets from a local perspective. The South African public and impacted parties have been asked to provide comments on the document by Feb. 15, 2019, and the regulators promise that the input will help determine the way in which crypto assets will be regulated.

Crypto Service Providers Will Have to Register

The group recommends that crypto assets remain without legal tender status and not recognized as electronic money, but they won’t be banned for now. It proposes a regulatory framework to be developed in phases, starting with a registration process for crypto asset service providers. This could eventually lead to formal authorization as a licensed operator in South Africa. Registration will be required for all cryptocurrency trading platforms, vending machines (Bitcoin ATMs), wallet providers, custodial services and payment service providers.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper also recommends that crypto asset service providers be required to comply with AML/CFT regulations under South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act. This means that the companies will have to conduct ongoing monitoring of their clients, keep records of their activities and file reports on suspicious and unusual transactions, including all cash transactions of 25,000 South African rand (around $ 1,900) and above. Details about the registration process will be published later and it is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2019.

Is this development good for cryptocurrency users in South Africa? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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