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South Korea Fails to Lift Ban on Cryptocurrencies and the Japanese Yen Outshines the US Dollar in Bitcoin Trading

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The Japanese Yen has surpassed the USD in Bitcoin trading. Four major cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea have come together in an effort to minimize money laundering using digital assets. The country has also refused to lift its ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs).

R3 partners with SBI Holdings to foster Corda adoption in East Asia

The global software enterprise firm R3 announced a partnership on Jan. 29 with Japanese financial service SBI Holdings with the aim of driving the adoption of Corda in Japan and the East Asian region.

Corda is an open-source blockchain software designed for private transactions and transmission of data between business. The software is owned by R3, a consortium of more than 200 firms including SBI Holdings.

The two firms will use the partnership to continue their advocacy for enterprise blockchain technology and expand the commercial uses of Corda. The SBI will count on its contacts of financial firms in the region to attract new users to the Corda platform.

CEO of SBI Group Yoshita Kitao said that SBI has been a part of the consortium led by R3 for a long time dating back to the early stage of the consortium.

“SBI strongly commits in the support for [the] establishment of framework/partnership for the well-development of R3’s Corda in Japan and East Asian Region,” said Kitao.

R3 CEO David Rutter said that they are building a network made up of the best institutions in order to “ensure that Corda is the default choice for enterprise blockchain.”

South Korea maintains a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs)

South Korea’s top financial regulator the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said that it will uphold its ban on local initial coin offerings (ICOs) after discovering that some projects violated the rules. The FSC considers ICOs to be high-risk investments and has advised the public to exercise caution when investing in them.

Survey results from the Financial Supervisory Services (FSS) suggest that even ICOs conducted in foreign lands managed to raise capital from South Korean investors.

The research further claims that many companies were registering in Singapore in order to circumvent the ban but went ahead and raised money from local South Korean investors. This is evidenced by the number of marketing material and white papers written in the Korean language.

Last year, the government promised to make a ruling on the legality of the ICO industry in November of the same year.

South Korea is among the first countries to enact a blanket ban on ICOs and other crypto related activities.

Four major Korean exchanges join forces to fight money laundering

For major South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges have come together to find a solution to combat money laundering through the use of the digital currency market, reported The Korea Herald on Jan. 28.

The four exchanges – Bithumb, Coinone, Corbit, and Upbit – have established a hotline that will be used for discovering and red flagging questionable activities such as unusual trading, pyramid schemes, etc.

An official of the operator was quoted saying “They are now able to instantly check any wrongful transactions made at other exchanges and take necessary measures, such as blocking their own related accounts.”

Singapore’s Blockchain Exchange Alliance acquires 51 percent in Korea’s Bithumb exchange

Singapore based Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BXA) in partnership with five other investors from Japan, Hong Kong, the Middle East, the UK, and the US have acquired a 51-percent stake in South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb for $300 million.

The consortium, led by Byung Gun Kim, a surgeon, and the CEO of BXA still need to pay an outstanding balance of $250 million before the deal can be completed in February.

BXA is planning to build a strong network of crypto exchanges in 12 countries and is counting on Bithumb’s global base of 4.5 million users to act as the foundation for building the network.

More investors are expected to come on board during the second round of financing expected to take place after the deal has been settled.

“Over the past three months, we have been discussing with our consortium shareholders about how to position Bithumb and BXA for their global expansion,” said Kim.

BXA is planning to build exchanges geared for cryptocurrencies and security tokens in several countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, and more.

Malaysia introduces regulation for cryptocurrency exchanges

Malaysia’s securities watchdog, Malaysia Securities Commission (SC) announced on Jan. 31 that it has amended the Guidelines on Recognized Markets, which introduces regulation for cryptocurrency exchanges.

In the new guidelines, crypto exchanges must have a clear corporate organizational structure. The key management must have clean criminal records and proven experience in trading markets.

Importantly, the exchanges must prove that their systems have robust security systems in order to protect investor funds. This comes after investors have lost billions in cryptocurrency due to weak security systems of Bitcoin exchanges.

The crypto exchanges have been placed under a transitional period in which they are not allowed to open new accounts for traders.

“The new framework is part of the SC’s efforts to promote innovation while ensuring investor protection in the trading of digital assets,” said Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, the head of the SC.

What is the most popular fiat currency in trading digital assets: Japanese Yen surpasses USD?

Bitcoin trading is shifting to Japan, at least according to data from Coinhills. The data shows that the Japanese Yen (JPY) overtook USD as the most traded fiat currency against Bitcoin.

The data showed that Bitcoin trades involving JPY accounted for 49.1 percent of the total trades while USD trades accounted for 48.5 percent. The two fiat currencies are involved in almost 95 percent of the global trades.

The two currencies plus the Korean Won, the Euro, and the British Pound complete the top five trading pairs for Bitcoin.

The world’s first stablecoin pegged to the Korean Won is launched

South Korea’s fintech firm BxB Inc. launched the first stablecoin pegged to the Korean Won (KRW) on a 1:1 ratio, reported Cointelegraph on Jan. 30.

According to a Medium blog, the stablecoin (KRWb) has already been released to global and local South Korean exchange.

An initial amount of 400 million KRW ($360,000) was collateralized and an equivalent number of tokens were released. The funds came from the pockets of BxB Inc. and Singapore’s BxB Capital PTE Ltd.

The stablecoin market is dominated by the more prominent USD. However, the situation is changing and currencies such as the Hong Kong Dollar are used for backing stablecoins.

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