OFFICIAL: No Cryptocurrency Trading Ban in South Korea, Government Says
The Blue House, the executive office and official residence of the South Korean President, has announced that there will be no cryptocurrency trading ban in the short-term.
No ban, all FUD
The South Korean government’s official announcement came after a massive backlash and criticism against the Ministry of Justice, which independently announced its plans of banning cryptocurrency trading. The Ministry did this without the consent of the Ministry of Strategy and Justice and other government agencies involved in the South Korean cryptocurrency regulation task force.
According to the Blue House, more than 60,000 citizens voted in a petition to fire the head of the Ministry of Justice Park Sang-ki, who released a premature statement earlier today, on January 11, that the government will implement a policy to shut down cryptocurrency trading.
Almost immediately after Minister Park released his statement, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance emphasized that it does not support or agree with the decision of the Ministry of Justice to ban cryptocurrency trading. It also added that the Ministry of Strategy and Finance only found out about the statement of Minister Park through media reports, and the decision to ban cryptocurrency trading was not agreed upon by the task force.
In 2016, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is currently in jail for money laundering and corruption charges, was impeached by the people of the country who strongly voiced out their opposition against the former president. Millions of South Korean citizens came out to the streets and surrounded the Blue House, until the court decided to finally process the impeachment.
Since then, the voice of the South Korean citizens has strengthened and the new government, led by the current President Moon Jae-in, vowed to listen to the people.
In consideration of past events and the government’s announcement that cryptocurrency trading ban will not implemented in the short-term, it is likely that the South Korean government will move towards regulating and fostering the local cryptocurrency market.
Ban unlikely even in long-term
Previously, a spokesperson from the South Korean cryptocurrency task force stated that the country will follow the regulatory roadmap set by major regions like Japan and the US. Hence, it is highly unlikely that even in the long-term, a cryptocurrency trading ban will be imposed. The spokesperson said:
“The South Korean government has no other choice but to follow the regulatory frameworks and trends established by other leading governments. While there certainly exists a negative reputation attached to the cryptocurrencies, the government’s stance is to allow what has to be allowed, for the benefit of the South Korean market.”
Written by CoinTelegraph
Chinese Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Establishes Branch in Zug, Switzerland
For centuries Switzerland was known around the world for its tradition of banking secrecy, but now a new financial industry is taking root in the country. Local leaders tried to establish a cryptocurrency hub, and their latest catch is Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, which expanded to a new location in the picturesque Swiss canton of Zug.
Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the Beijing-headquartered bitcoin mining machines (ASIC chips) producer, has established a new branch in Zug, Switzerland. The Chinese company explained it chose the Zug location because Switzerland was “one of the most progressive countries”, “with good legal stability” and a skilled workforce. Bitmain says it will employ more employees in Zug in the future and will “actively communicate with self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and the Financial Market Authority (Finma).”
“Bitmain Switzerland will play a key role in our global expansion,” the company’s spokesperson told the German-language Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung. This is the first foothold in Europe for Bitmain which already has branches in the US, Singapore and Israel. “Now is a good time to build a hub in Europe to provide better services,” he proclaimed.
Chinese Global Diversification
Encouraged by the government to expand internationally, many Chinese corporations have established new businesses in markets all over the world in recent years. The Chinese bitcoin mining industry, however, might also be motivated to grow beyond their homeland by fear of a possible clampdown.
There are conflicting reports about the position of the Chinese government with regard to such a move against bitcoin mining, and it’s always wise not to keep all your eggs in one basket, just in case. Switzerland, among other countries, looks poised to benefit from offering a welcoming environment for anyone looking to expand to a more secure location.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Japan’s Most Popular Chat App In Talks to Integrate Cryptocurrencies
Japan’s most popular chat app, with 168 million active monthly users, Line, could soon integrate cryptocurrencies. The company is reportedly in talks with a number of companies to integrate cryptocurrencies into its mobile payment service, Line Pay.
Line Could Soon Integrate Cryptocurrencies
The operator of Japan’s most popular messaging app, Line Corp, is reportedly working to integrate cryptocurrencies into its platform.
According to people familiar with the matter, the Tokyo-based company “is in discussions with multiple companies on using cryptocurrencies for payment services including Line Pay,” adding that:
The broader goal is to create products that keep users within Line’s ecosystem and keep them coming back to the app, increasing ‘stickiness.’
Line Pay is the mobile payments service used in the chat app. Launched in 2014, it has signed deals with over 30 banks across Japan to allow instant transactions using its platform, according to Mobile World Live. In May of last year, Line Pay reached 30 million users in Japan.
Line has a market value of ¥1.2 trillion (~USD$10.75 billion). The app currently has about 168 million monthly active users in its primary markets of Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Speculation of a Collaboration with Kakao’s Upbit
Line has not named the companies it is in discussion with. However, there is “speculation that it was looking to tie up with South Korean bitcoin exchange Upbit,” according to a Bloomberg report. However, a representative for Line declined to comment on a potential alliance with Upbit.
The South Korean exchange is backed by Kakao Corporation, the operator of the country’s most popular chat app, Kakao Talk.
Since its launch in October, Upbit has rapidly gained market share in South Korea. In December of last year, the platform claimedthat its volumes exceeded those of Bithumb, South Korea’s largest exchange by volume. There are currently over 120 coins listed on Upbit, thanks to a partnership with the US-based exchange, Bittrex.
Makers of chat apps around the world are starting to take notice. Earlier this week, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology could potentially be used on Facebook’s platform.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies
Japanese e-commerce and entertainment giant DMM Group has launched its crypto exchange, supporting 7 cryptocurrencies and 14 trading pairs. The group is also preparing to launch another crypto exchange in the Spring aimed at inexperienced investors.
DMM’s Crypto Exchange Launched
Japanese internet and entertainment conglomerate DMM Group has launched a cryptocurrency exchange under the brand name DMM Bitcoin. The platform began trading on Thursday January 11.
To commemorate the grand opening, the exchange is giving away 1,000 yen (~$US9) to all customers who open a new account during the campaign period between January 11 to March 11.
Customers can trade on their PC or use an Android or iOS app. The platform supports bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), ether (ETH), ethereum classic (ETC), nem (XEM), bitcoin cash (BCH), and ripple (XRP). Fourteen currency pairs are available for trading. In addition to the 7 coins trading for yen, 7 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs are offered; they are ETH/BTC, ETC/ETH, XEM/BTC, XRP/BTC, LTC/BTC, ETC/BTC and BCH/BTC.
According to DMM’s announcement, the exchange is using a trading platform provided by Simplex Inc. called “Simplex Cryptocurrency.” This platform offers trading tools for general investors, business management systems, and a dealing system.
Simplex has been providing securities and FX trading systems to major banks and financial services companies such as SBI Holdings, GMO Group, Nomura Securities, Matsui Securities, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, and Money Partners Group. The company recently started offering a cryptocurrency trading system and DMM Group is its first customer for the new service.
Another DMM’s Exchange Coming Soon
In addition, a subsidiary of DMM Group is launching a new cryptocurrency exchange. Next Currency Inc announced earlier this week that it has filed with the Japanese financial authority to register a new exchange called Cointap.
Planned to launch this Spring, Next Currency described, “Cointap is a service that allows you to easily buy and sell virtual currencies from smartphones,” adding that it is “best suited for those who want to start virtual currency transactions such as bitcoins.” Furthermore, the company claims:
Since virtual currency exchanges so far are centered on services for people with knowledge and investment experience of virtual currency, they are fashionable but difficult to understand and difficult to use.
Citing that there are many inexperienced investors who do not know how to buy or sell, the DMM subsidiary explained Cointap will be tailored for investors entering the market for the first time.