Japan has a new cryptocurrency-themed J-pop band https://t.co/GLTBjXdR6w
— BLOCKCHAIN TLC LLC (@tonilanec) January 12, 2018
South Korea’s financial regulator has prohibited domestic companies and startups from participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Following a meeting to discuss cryptocurrency controls today, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said it will prohibit all forms of the blockchain funding method “regardless of technical terminology,” while margin trading of virtual currencies will also be illegal following the ruling.
Token offerings, a type of fundraising method that has gained popularity in recent months, are overly speculative and constitute a “violation of the capital market law,” the FSC states. An “intensive crackdown” will ensue, with “stern penalties” issued on parties involved in ICO offerings.
Other measures, which are likely to impact cryptocurrency companies more broadly, include on-site inspections from the FSC from the end of September, and the analysis of virtual currency accounts for user data from December.
Further, the regulator will review the operations of cryptocurrency companies with the intent to “ramend unfair terms and conditions, including arbitrary withdrawal restrictions.”
It is unclear how far the ruling will extend into cryptocurrency exchanges. South Korea has recently seen a surge in cryptocurrency trading. Domestic exchange Bithumb, for example, has a total trading volume of 104,113 BTC, or $427 million, according to CoinMarketCap data at press time.
The FSC statement also cites a wave of recent arrests and closures of companies involved with marketing fake cryptocurrencies, which had apparently acquired 25 billion KRW ($22 million) from a total of around 1,000 investors. Due to such criminal activity, a new “Virtual Currency Detention Centre” has been created, the release states.
Business Insider reports that a consortium of Japanese banks are set to launch a new national digital currency in a bid to wean citizens off cash.
The FT says that a consortium led by Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank plans to launch the new digital currency in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The new project, which has the support of Japan’s central bank and regulators, aims to develop technology to allow Japanese people to pay for goods and services with their smartphone.
Cash currently represents 70% of all transactions by value in Japan but such a heavy cash dependency incurs costs for banks and governments. Banks must pay to handle, transport, and audit large amounts of cash, while governments risk losing tax revenue to undocumented cash-in-hand work or black market transactions.
The consortium of banks estimate that the adoption of a new digital currency could add ¥10 billion ($90 million; £67 million) to the economy, the FT reports. J-Coin will be exchanged at a one-to-one rate with yen.
News from Japan over at Quartz.com
GMO Internet Group, based in Tokyo, normally does incredibly boring things like registering domain names and hosting web services. But it, too, has caught the bitcoin fever, one that some people think has created a bubble in valuations.
GMO announced today that it plans to spend more than $3 million to start mining bitcoin in the first half of next year. Some $10 million is available for bitcoin miners to accumulate each day, at the current bitcoin price of around $4,600. The firm says cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will evolve into “universal currencies” that will create a global “borderless economic zone.”
The Japan Times is reporting booming local interest in Crypto currencies.
It quotes BitFlyer Inc., a Tokyo-based startup providing exchange services for virtual currencies, reporting 600,000 customers as of May — up from 200,000 a year ago. And most of the customers are Japanese.
Meanwhile www.cointelegraph.com reports that the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has announced it received registration applications from 50 Bitcoin exchanges as of August 2017. The applications are being reviewed for compliance.
Japan’s top customer-to-customer (C2C) ticket exchange marketplace, Ticket Camp, announced last week its become the first in the Japanese ticket industry to accept bitcoin. The site has about 5 million users and processes approximately 5.8 billion yen per month.
The marketplace is operated byHunza Co. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mixi Group. The company describes in the announcement:
Hunza Co., Ltd. develops and manages the largest C2C ticket sales site ‘Ticket Camp’ in Japan, with the vision of creating web services that become the culture of the world.