Another Thai Bank Shuts Down Accounts of Local Crypto Exchange
Second Bank Closes Account of Crypto Exchange
A major Thai financial institution, the state-owned Krungthai Bank, has “shut down crypto trade accounts,” the Bangkok Post reported on Monday. The bank has become the second in Thailand “to terminate transactions involving cryptocurrencies trading with Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX),” a local cryptocurrency exchange.
The first bank was Bangkok Bank, which decided to terminate TDAX’s accounts with the bank last week. Earlier this month, Thailand’s central bank issued a circular, asking financial institutions to refrain from getting involved in five cryptocurrency activities.
Mr. Somchai Sujjapongse, the permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry and chairman of Krungthai Bank, ordered his bank on Monday “to halt any transactions related to cryptocurrencies with TDAX through the bank’s accounts,” the news outlet elaborated, adding that:
The move followed a Bank of Thailand request that financial institutions cooperate by refraining from making or being involved in cryptocurrency transactions, as the regulatory framework supervising digital currencies remains unclear.
Another Crypto Exchange Affected
TDAX is a privately-owned Thai cryptocurrency exchange. According to the publication, the exchange still has bank accounts with two other financial institutions: Kasikornbank (Kbank) and Siam Commercial Bank (SCB). Last week, Kbank confirmed that it was still providing service to TDAX.
According to the Bangkok Post, a source from another major domestic cryptocurrency exchange, Bx.in.th (BX), revealed that “Bangkok Bank has already terminated the exchange’s account, but did not reveal whether the termination occurred on the same day as TDAX’s termination.” Yuthavithi Rootwararit, founder and CEO of Crypto Trading Co Ltd, said, “BX’s trading volume and value are more than ten times larger than those of TDAX.”
TDAX is also preparing to launch some initial coin offerings (ICOs). However, the regulatory uncertainty has prompted the exchange to announce that its ICO plans are now postponed.
The exchange recently completed an ICO for Jfin coin by J Ventures, a subsidiary of Jay Mart Plc which is listed on the Thai stock exchange. 100 million tokens were sold at the price of 6.60 baht per token. “Jfin coin will not be affected [by TDAX’s ICO decision], as this ICO was fully subscribed to on Feb 16, while the first trading day will be held on April 2,” Mr. Poramin Insom, TDAX’s CEO and founder, was quoted by the news outlet. He added:
Although there are five or six ICOs in the pipeline, the exchange has decided to impose a two-week postponement because market participants expect the SEC to unveil its ICO regulatory framework soon…We are waiting for the ICO regulations from the [Thai] SEC.
The Thai government is in the process of establishing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, which is expected “on March 8, followed by a fintech bill,” the Bangkok Post wrote. A source told the news outlet that the “ICO regulations are focused on supervising online exchanges, which will have to register themselves with the SEC.”
Written by Bitcoin.com
Las Vegas Strippers Accept Bitcoin via QR Tattoos
A Las Vegas news show has featured a segment on an adult entertainment venue in the city which enables its dancers to get payments from clients directly via bitcoin transfers. The use of the cryptocurrency was primarily showcased as a privacy enhancing measure (preventing your wife from seeing the payments on the credit card bills) as well as an attraction for affluent bitcoin investors.
The Las Vegas strip club is called the Legends Room and we reported about its opening back in May 2017. The local news team interviewed the founder, Nick Blomgren, as well as a number of the adult dancers at the place. They even explained how visitors can use the in-house bitcoin ATM to buy cryptocurrency at the club. Furthermore, the dancers can choose to wear temporary QR tattoos as wallet addresses that can be scanned on a smartphone.
The Future of Adult Entertainment
Besides the privacy concerns of the patrons, the use of cryptocurrency allows the dancers to avoid explaining to banks where they get large amounts of cash. “I’m not going to name names, but there are certain banks that… will shut down your account and actually deny you from having an account because we work in the adult entertainment industry”, said Summer Chase.
Asked how often customers want to pay with bitcoin, Brenna Sparks answered: “Oh, quite often. Like the people that come here, they are like really into crypto. I feel like it’s very smart. They are really into that.” She says she likes checking her balance a lot, “It’s fun though. Once you invest, it becomes an everyday thing.” The 26 years old dancer became interested in cryptocurrency when she was just 19. Now she and her friends think cryptocurrency may be the future for adult entertainment workers. “It’s peer to peer. It’s anonymous, and it’s instant,” Sparks said.
“When I first heard about the concept, I thought wow this is really something different, you know,” said DJ Saint Clare who gets part of her salary in cryptocurrency.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Customer ID Now Required for Crypto Exchange Purchases in Malaysia
New policies for cryptocurrency exchanges developed by Malaysia’s central bank have gone into effect.
Bank Negara Malaysia announced Tuesday that its “Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Policy for Digital Currencies” is now the law of the land. As outlined in the published policy documentation, the rules will apply to all activities performed by cryptocurrency exchanges that offer both fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading services.
The move follows months of public consultation on the issue. In December, officials from the central bank published draft rules which were then opened up for input to industry stakeholders. Officials began speaking publicly about the framework as far back as November, as reported at the time.
At its heart, the policy requires that exchanges be more diligent about checking and collecting information about the customers who are using their trading platforms, according to the text released Tuesday.
“Reporting institutions are required to conduct customer due diligence on all customers and the persons conducting the transaction when the reporting institution establishes business relationship with customer and when the reporting institutions have any suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing,” the policy document states.
Specific pieces of data required include the customer’s full name, their address and date of birth, as well as information about the purpose of their transactions.
Still, the central bank stressed that Tuesday’s release doesn’t represent any kind of endorsement from them – nor does it mean that officials are moving to consider cryptocurrencies a form of legal tender in Malaysia.
“Members of the public are advised to carefully evaluate the risks associated with dealings in digital currencies,” the central bank said.
Written by CoinDesk.com
The Telegram ICO: What We Know (And Don’t) About 2018’s Biggest Token Sale
An outsider continues to steal the crypto spotlight.
So far in 2018, Telegram’s rumored initial coin offering (ICO) has been the talk of the industry – a remarkable feat given the global messaging platform’s executives have yet to utter those three letters together or confirm the company is, in fact, raising money via a sale of tokens called “grams.”
Yet, the story’s popularity stems not only from Telegram’s tight-lipped CEO Pavel Durov, but also from the billions of dollars his team reportedly plans to raise through the sale.
Despite the company’s efforts and strict non-disclosure agreements, which are keeping most news about the largest crowdsale in history under wraps, things have leaked here and there.
We’ve outlined what’s been learned thus far below.
Looking back, it seems obvious what CEO Pavel Durov really meant when he told Bloomberg that he was planning “something big” in the new year for Telegram.
Perhaps he has something else in the works, but it’s hard to imagine Telegram doing anything bigger than this token sale this year.
Investors started telling CoinDesk in late December that Telegram was looking at doing some kind of ICO.
Then, the first mainstream report about its plans came out, describing its unbelievably broadtechnical ambitions for the Telegram Open Network (TON). It included services that we’ve already seen from prominent companies in crypto like Orchid, Blockstack and Filecoin.
All that on top of promising super fast payments and micropayments using mobile devices, with negligible transaction fees.
CoinDesk then reported on the large amount of money the company would raise. At the time, investors told us to look for a $600 million private sale and another $600 million public sale. The company would create 500 billion tokens called grams that would serve as the payment system throughout TON.
With these announcements, fake sites quickly popped up claiming to be the place to buy grams. Confirming that one was fake in a tweet proved to be the closest Durov has come to a public confirmation of the crowdsale.
Once CoinDesk got access to the full technical white paper, we were able to report on its token economics. The paper’s appendix described an unusual formula where it delineated a minimum sale price for all 500 billion tokens, where each subsequent token’s price went up by a fraction of the price of the last token sold.
Working out the math, we found that if every single gram were sold under the specified formula, the TON would raise $14.7 billion over the course of its lifetime.
By mid-month, the idea that Telegram might raise its fundraising round even higher was reported by Bloomberg.
Amidst all this, early-stage investor Alok Vasudev tweeted a thoughtful thread about Telegram, describing the offering as pitting traditional tech investors (which seem to like the crowdsale) against the crypto influencers (who, by and large, have sat it out).
On Valentine’s Day, we learned that investors were fickle lovers of the grams tokens. Quartz reported that investors had been selling their distributions at something like double the per gram price they purchased them for.
All the grams have been sold under a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT). The tokens themselves come with a long lockup period after distribution, and distribution itself is dependent on Telegram completing its made from scratch blockchain (actually, one master chain with millions ofadditional blockchains, according to its white paper).
They come up with a lockup period that releases tokens after four waiting periods, the longest one last 18 months.
Two days later, Techcrunch found Telegram’s Form D, which revealed the company was 25 percent oversubscribed from the $600 million its offering circular had targeted for the private sale. It raised $850 million.
Since rumors and unnamed sources are all anyone has had to go on at this point, and Telegram has yet to respond to any reporters request for comment (including CoinDesk), the rumors have started to accelerate (which doesn’t mean they are unfounded).
Despite all the attention on Telegram, the only document from the company that’s been directly released into the public domain is its Form D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
That hasn’t stopped the tech press from continuing to chase the story, and there’s been a flurry of reporting here at the end of the month.
First, we heard that Telegram was conducting a secret pre-ICO that would raise nearly as much as the round filed with the SEC, according to the Verge. That report projected the total would rise to $1.6 billion, which would mean the second round was about $750 million. It also acknowledges that the final number seems to be an open question.
Next, Quartz reported that the company had a clear target for the second round of $1.15 billion, which would bring its total to $2 billion. It cited a per token price of $1.45, significantly up from the prior round, whose offering circular cited a per token price of roughly $0.30. That price ultimately rose to $0.38, due to the larger size of the initial round.
Quartz’s numbers square with those shown to ConDesk by sources with knowledge of the deal.
Finally, Telegram has apparently offered investors some kind of refund provision if it fails to deliver the TON platform by the end of October 2019, Business Insider reported.
It also cited a total crowdsale that could go as high as $2.55 billion.