Thailand Gets Ready For Its First ICO Portal

The securities regulator of Thailand has affirmed that at least one Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portal will be opened in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul, the secretary general of Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has affirmed that ICOs will possibly start to be regulated in the country by December.

It looks like the market for cryptos and ICOs in Thailand might just be starting to be on the right development track as regulation is started to be enforced in the country for these cases. Everything began with a royal decree back in May that was used to confirm the development of a framework for cryptos in the country. Now, the Thai SEC will regulate and oversee the whole process.

First, the companies will have to applicate for the new regulation and then they will have a 90 day to comply with the regulation created by the SEC, which is trying to diminish the risks of the markets in the country. Also, the SEC has affirmed that it will not amend the royal decree in any way.

However, the authorities are not necessarily pro-ICO yet. They affirm that ICOs are always very risky and that regulation will diminish the risks for the scam but that there are still issues to be solved.

At the current moment, there are six businesses trying to operate digital asset exchanges in the country: Bitcoin Co (bx.in.th), Bitkub Online Co Ltd (bitkub.com), Cash2Coins Co Ltd (cash2coins.com), Satang Corporation Co Ltd (tdax.com), Coin Asset Co Ltd (coinasset.co.th) and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd (seadex.io).

The two businesses trying to operate as digital asset dealers are Coins TH Co (coins.co.th) and Digital Coin Co Ltd (thaiwm.com).

Another platform that could receive some attention is J Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Jaymart Plc., which has been wanting to create its own decentralized digital lending platform for quite some time now.

By approving these entities and their businesses, the government and the regulatory agency hope to create a safe environment for the people who want to trade these assets free of legal trouble and uncertainty.

In somewhat related news, the country is now trying to use the blockchain technology in the validation of taxes paid by the citizens in an effort to speed up the tax refund process. This, the government believes, could be very beneficial for the whole process.

*The post is credited to Bitcoin Exchange Guide

Investors should expect more initial coin offering (ICO) projects to fail in the next few months as the global regulatory environment has tightened amid a cryptocurrency bear market, says Aaron Ting, secretary of Access Blockchain Association Malaysia.

“A good example is the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to regulate cryptocurrencies under its federal securities laws. As a result, [the providers of] digital tokens that function as securities are required to adhere to the rules and regulations of the SEC,” he adds.

“Failing to do so could prompt the regulator to announce that the projects are illegal and action could be taken against them. It is not hard to imagine that the price of these digital tokens would fall if such an announcement was made.”

Last month, the SEC took its first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency hedge fund when it issued Crypto Asset Management LP and its founder Timothy Enneking a cease and desist order and a fine of US$200,000. The fund was marketed as “the first regulated crypto asset fund in the US” even though it operated as an unregistered investment company.

“Not only have regulations tightened, so has enforcement. Local investors should be aware of this as a number of them have invested in ICO projects overseas. It is a global issue and local investors could be affected,” says Ting, who is also vice-president of the Malaysian Investors’ Association.

The bear market has reduced liquidity and exposed the highly speculative nature of the cryptocurrency market to a wider group of investors, he adds.

As at Oct 19, bitcoin — the dominant cryptocurrency in the market — had fallen 53.82% year to date to US$6,517. Ether, the cryptocurrency with the second largest market capitalisation, fell 72.84% to US$203.01, according to CoinMarketCap. Many digital tokens raised via ICOs (also known as alternative coins) have seen their prices fall by 90% or more.

“Previously, the wealth created by the bitcoin rally flowed into ether and other digital tokens. Everyone was happy when prices were up. But now, the reverse is happening. Money is flowing from the various digital tokens to bitcoin and fiat currencies,” says Ting.

As a result of the plunging prices, some ICO projects have failed and investors and speculators have suffered losses. Ting expects more of this going forward. “Investors should expect to see more failed projects. Some of them may be scams operating in the grey area since the beginning,” he says.

Ting says the bear market exposes the weaknesses of the cryptocurrency industry. Many ICO projects have not been carried out properly and investor money has not been utilised as stipulated in the white paper.

“There are many mismatches when you compare the details laid out in the ICO white papers with the projects’ underlying businesses. It is akin to the project promoter telling you that it is venturing into a café business that requires US$100 million. Then it raises that amount and only invests a few hundred thousand in buying a space and there are no business operations. Nobody knows where the rest of the money has gone. When times are bad, more of these projects will fail fast,” says Ting.

Access Blockchain Association Malaysia’s primary goal is to promote the use of blockchain technology in the country’s public and private sectors.

Players prefer stricter regulations
When cryptocurrency prices were soaring, industry players called for less restrictive regulations for ICO projects. But now, after suffering losses and feeling the pain, some of them are calling for stricter regulations, says Ting.

“They also acknowledge the fact that the industry is not sustainable without rules and regulations to protect investor interest. Yes, you can say that the players are trying to redefine the industry and are calling for more regulations,” he adds.

As a result, the industry now uses the term “security token offering”, or STO, instead of ICO, says Ting. This means that a company issues its securities in the form of digital tokens and adheres to the country’s securities laws. It is the adherence to rules and regulations that separates STOs from ICOs, he points out.

“You can see that ICO project owners [in the US] are starting to approach the SEC and trying their best to adhere to the country’s securities laws before issuing tokens to the public. An example is the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), which has established a listing process for ICO projects to enhance investor protection. More ICO project owners have approached the exchange recently,” says Ting.

STOs have been touted by industry players as a safer way to invest in businesses vis-à-vis ICOs as they are backed by tangible components such as the company’s profit, revenue or assets.

Ting says most of the players who are serious about growing the cryptocurrency industry are talking about STOs and only a few of them still support unregulated ICO projects. “The market is correcting itself,” he adds.

However, a trend reversal could cut off retail investors’ access to ICO projects. That is because traditional securities exchanges deem it as a risky asset class that should only be available to accredited investors. For instance, GBX adheres to the SEC’s definition of accredited investors and only allows those who earn US$200,000 a year or have a net worth of more than US$1 million to trade security tokens listed on the exchange.

While Ting agrees that there should be more rules and regulations for ICO projects, he does not support the idea that such investments should only be open to accredited investors. “I would say a person’s net worth does not reflect his knowledge about cryptocurrencies and ICO projects. This also defeats the purpose of tokenisation, which aims to provide retail investors with access to illiquid investments,” he says.

Tokenisation is underpinned by blockchain technology. It enables the owner of an illiquid asset, such as an expensive property, to convert its value into digital tokens that allow retail investors to own a fraction of the asset, which they would not otherwise be able to afford.

For instance, a RM3 million property could be converted into three million digital tokens. This would enable a retail investor to purchase 3,000 tokens for RM3,000 to get a 0.1% stake in the property.

Ting suggests that the authorities and exchanges come out with a process to assess the knowledge of retail investors on digital tokens, blockchain technology and the different business models offered by STO project owners. “They should be allowed to invest in these tokens if they pass the test,” he says.

Possible trends
The cryptocurrency market may have plunged, but Ting remains confident in the future of STOs. He expects the listing of digital tokens by securities exchanges to be more common when the rules and regulations become clearer.

“You could see securities exchanges around the world setting up their own security token exchanges. This could be a trend worth observing. And when that happens, it will be a new segment for investors to look into,” says Ting.

He also says regulators around the world could begin segregating the function of digital tokens and there could come a time when hybrid tokens are no longer allowed in the market.

A hybrid token could function as a utility token (like tickets at amusement parks) as well as a security token (which offers investors a stake in a business in exchange for capital funding).

“These hybrid tokens that function as utility and security tokens are listed on cryptocurrency exchanges, and they are difficult for the regulators to regulate. However, going forward, hybrid tokens may no longer be allowed,” says Ting.

“If it is a utility token, the price should be fixed using a specific mechanism. There should be no speculation as it is merely used to gain access to certain blockchain services. And if it is a security token, it will be regulated under the country’s securities laws and could be traded on exchanges like stocks. This could be a trend going forward.”

*This post is credited to TheEdgeMarkets

Malta has recently earned the name “Blockchain Island”, being the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt blockchain regulations – three in fact. And, the Mediterranean island has already attracted the two largest crypto exchanges, Binance and OKEx, and most recently ZBX, now opening offices in the rising crypto hub.

In July this year that the Maltese Parliament passed law setting the framework blockchain (distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptocurrency and digital assets.

And, the following month, Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation (responsible for implementing Malta’s Blockchain Strategy, was quoted on Forbes explaining how Malta has become the world’s blockchain island.

Clearly, the politicians here have big aspirations. This is after all one of the world’s smallest countries (122 per square miles/316 km2) as well as most densely populated (c.475,000).

The massive scale of the Malta Blockchain Summit, which takes place this coming week (November 1-2), reflects this new-found momentum. The summit, which has been in the planning since last December and will see banks and some big names in venture capital (VC) space attending, is set to take place at the InterContinental Hotel at St Julian’s on the island. The event consists of four conferences over the two days, namely:

  • A Regulatory conference;
  • A Marketing and Investment conference;
  • A Developer and Technology conference; and,
  • A Tokenomics and Crypto conference

These proceedings are set around an already sold-out exhibition floor. Added to that there is a two-day Hackathon with around 300 blockchain developers taking part, with a €50,000 (c.$57,000) prize up for grabs to the winners.

Rounding things off, there is an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) pitch battle between what are described as thirty of the “hottest” start-ups in the crypto sphere. Each entity, who will be competing for $100,000, will have 10 minutes to make a pitch to a panel of judges.

It all comes on the heels of another blockbuster blockchain event on the island, the Delta Summit, which was convened at the start of October, which was attended by a little over 4,000 attendees from far and wide. But the Malta Blockchain Summit is on course to top that number according to the organizers.

Melanie Mohr, CEO and founder of WOM protocol, which is building a blockchain-based protocol that allows brands, content creators, publishers and social networks to monetize “word of mouth” (i.e. WOM) recommendations on any app or platform, chose Malta as a jurisdiction because the organization believes it is at the “forefront from a regulatory standpoint” in the blockchain and DLT space.

“A significant number of very knowledgeable people from the global blockchain community have worked diligently together with the government [here] to develop a legal framework, which regulates wisely and supports the further development of blockchain and DLT,” said the Berlin-based entrepreneur who is working at the forefront of the global digital revolution.

WOM indicated that they had also found a “great level of support” on the island.

Having founded video m-commerce platform YEAY in 2016 with the aim of providing GenZ with a bespoke space to share and shop, Mohr added: “The recent Delta Summit [October 3-5] showed how well Malta has positioned itself already. It delivered great content from top-notch speakers and attracted the global community to join. It was packed and for me THE blockchain event of the year to date.”

As such the German entrepreneur is “more than convinced” that the upcoming Malta Blockchain Summit will show that the island is “really in the spotlight of the global blockchain development” with thousands of attendees from around the world. “And, it can proudly call itself Blockchain Island,” she asserted.

Crypto Exchanges & Malta Exchange

In the case of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last month (September 11) with MSX Plc, the fintech and digital asset subsidiary of the Malta Stock Exchange.

This initiative was to launch a new digital exchange for security token trading, with the new trading platform poised to leverage Malta Stock Exchange’s 26-year track record of operating as a regulated stock exchange.

The MoU follows a decision by Binance to extend its business to Malta, in recognition of the country’s crypto regulatory climate. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, commenting at the time said: “Malta has become a global hub for blockchain technology through active and transparent crypto regulations.” (Note: Zhao’s net worth was put at north of $1.1 billion by Forbes in February 2018).

And, when I visited the exchange in Valletta this July for a tour, one could see that space was being set aside for innovative fintech start-ups in incubator hubs in the building.

Apart from admission and trading, the exchange that resides in the Garrison Chapel looking out over the harbour offers a comprehensive range of back-office services.

This includes maintenance of share and bond registers, clearing and settlement and custody services via its Central Securities Depository (CSD), which is situated in-house. It also has a link with Clearstream Banking in Frankfurt (part of Deutsche Boerse), and in Luxembourg that facilitates international access.

As explained by Simon Zammit, CEO of the Malta Stock Exchange during my visit, the exchange announced in May 2107 that it was to continue its use of Deutsche Boerse trading technology, extending an agreement from 1 January 2017, for another five years from that point – until 31 December 2021.

They also extended the exchange’s trading hours from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Zammit pointed out of that time that Deutsche Boerse’s technology was “extremely reliable” and highly performant. The partnership has been in place since 2012.

Boasting what the organizers claim are 5,000 delegates attending the huge event in a few days time, hundreds of investors, around 100 speakers and some 300 sponsors and exhibitors, the Malta Blockchain Summit will set the stage to announce the new crypto, ICO and blockchain regulations for Malta, as well as host debates surrounding the potential applications of blockchain across a myriad of industries such as entertainment, government, and banking.

Well, that is the tune being disseminated from the island in recent weeks by the organizers.

One delegate who I spoke to at CoinAgenda Europe (2018) on the island ventured in relation to the best – or perhaps the “right” – jurisdiction for crypto or blockchain businesses and regulation ventured: “Everyone decides to pick what they think is the right country. And, right now it clearly looks to be here [Malta]. We will see whether that lasts. I think it has a good chance of lasting here. But my motto is: Jurisdictional Diversification.”

Proactive Approach

It is the Maltese government’s forward-thinking approach to blockchain regulation, their low corporate-tax, being part of the European Union (EU)-zone and the warm climate that allures the vast number of various blockchain related companies to escape to Malta and the migration trend is incremental.

Indeed, when I was last in Malta this June for the CoinAgenda 2018 event during which Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, gave a Keynote address, you could be forgiven for thinking one was in paradise.

Siim Õunap, the COO for Celerexx, a new exchange launching in 2019, commenting on the jurisdictional landscape said: “The Maltese government has been seeking to get crypto-related companies to boost their economy for quite some time and they been successful in their approach.”

The Estonian added: “While their governmental services and legal procedures are behind e-countries such as Estonia or Lithuania, special regulations allow Celerexx to offer lower prices and better services to our customers, which makes [for us] the move to Malta worthwhile.”

It is not just the exchanges that choose a more contributing environment in Malta for their operations. Coinvest, the crypto investment trading firm, announced a new collaboration with the Maltese government to establish a blockchain council. In addition, the new regulatory framework also supports ICO companies in their financial products, attracting many new and innovative projects to set up their base camp on Blockchain Island.

Malta Blockchain Summit & New Bills

During the Malta Blockchain Summit, three new decentralized ledger technology bills will come into force: (1) The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act; (2) The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act; and, (3) The Virtual Financial Asset Act.

Together these will provide what are being described as a “clear and navigable” framework for innovative technology businesses in a way that rules and governance are not the roadblocks to innovation. Blockchain and crypto pundits out there contends that the current indecisiveness and half-hearted regulation of most of the national regulatory bodies are just as inhibiting and near-sighted – as is the outright prohibition of innovative solutions.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act establishes the governance body to regulate the Distributed Ledger Technology, or DLT, industry with its principal goals to ensure businesses accepted as Technology Service Providers and the services they provide are in accordance with the principle of being honest and transparent to protect the consumers and financial markets.

The Innovative Technological Arrangement and Service Act is created as the futureproof regime for the registration and certification of Technology Service Providers and Technology Arrangements as it envisages the possibility of unforeseen technology developments.

The Virtual Assets Act is a framework within there is Financial Instruments Test that provides clear indication whether cryptocurrency or token issued in an ICO would qualify as a financial instrument that needs to be regulated as a security or virtual token that falls outside of the scope of regulation.

If the asset cannot be classified as either, it will be considered as a Virtual Financial Asset and regulated by the new law once it has enforced. ICOs and crypto exchanges can now breathe easy knowing that they are in compliance with the authorities and do not have to worry about being shut down.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who will inaugurate the regulatory conference, in giving a keynote speech on July 16 at the CoinAgenda Europe (2018) event at the Westin Hotel, St Julian, described the enactment of the three new laws as a “sweeping round” of legislation (i.e. covering the blockchain, crypto and digital asset space), saying: “This is not the end but just the start and the Maltese Government had to be innovative.”

One of the most keenly anticipated speakers at the conference is Dr W. Scott Stornetta who co-authored a paper that described for the first time a digital hierarchy system that utilized digital time-stamps for ordering transactions, the solution that entity called Satoshi Nakamoto later used in his Bitcoin protocol. This has earned Dr Stornetta the recognition as the founding father of blockchain technology.

The Winklevoss twins are attending as VIP investors and John McAfee, the famous British-American programmer and businessman, who I bumped into on a Blockchain cruise from Barcelona to Monte Carlo  this September organized by Coinsbank, is now confirmed as a speaker for the developer’s conference of the summit.

In 1987, he founded McAfee Antivirus, and under his leadership the company executed a meteoric rise to the top of the computer security industry. If his keynote to delegates on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship is anything to go by delegates at the Malta Blockchain Summit are unlikely to feel short changed.

And not to be outdone by her human counterparts, Sophia, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) humanoid robot has been confirmed as a speaker at the upcoming Summit. The Saudi Arabian citizen will join her creator in a fireside chat during proceedings. It all brings back memories of IPsoft’s Amelia, a digital personal assistant, who I saw in action earlier this summer in New York’s financial district at Cipriani.

The Hanson Robotics’ creation has become something of a media darling, appearing on popular late-night talk shows, gracing magazine covers, and taking up sought-after seats on plum panels and high-level conferences. Her status as a cultural icon has allowed her to ignite advanced conversations on how robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate people’s lives.

The event has already attracted hordes of investors to witness an ICO battle that provides a highly valuable opportunity for thirty blockchain-based companies to get support for the next step in their roadmap.

One of those ICOs to pitch at the Malta Blockchain Summit is Zelectrix, a team of talented specialists that will change the way electric vehicles (EVs) and their own EV rental fleet are powered with improved chargers utilizing renewable energy and underpinned by the state-of-the-art Thought AI blockchain.

Raido Lensment, CEO of Zelectrix, commenting said: “As part of the service to our customers using our chargers and renewable energy grid, we are looking at creating financial products as part of Zelectrix payment scheme.”

He added: “Our research is showing that Malta may be the right choice for our company and the opportunity to pitch our project at the Malta Blockchain Summit is greatly anticipated by our team. We just hope the Winklevoss brothers will be listening.”

The Malta Blockchain Summit, is already on its way to becoming an annual landmark event in the global blockchain calendar. And, when I spoke to one of the organizers, Dennis Avorin, a Swedish national, at the start of October it was pretty certain that the event will see a repeat in 2019.

The organizers are also inviting “C-level” executives and investors from within the sphere to exclusive invite-only dinners throughout the year under the Maltese-themed title ‘Knights of Blockchain’.

Eman Pulis, Founder of the Malta Blockchain Summit, said: “I wish to welcome every blockchain enthusiast to the Malta Blockchain Summit, a melting pot for global influencers in technology, civil society, democracy promotion and innovation.”

Pulis amongst others said that we can “expect riveting discussion” about the world-changing potential applications of blockchain across multiple verticals. “But also, some good, old fashion networking under the sun of the Blockchain Island,” he added. And, given the scale of the event, if they had motto it would be that “Business is not made between companies – it is made between people.” Time will tell.

*This post is credited to Forbes

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning about investing in nine digital tokens and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which have not been accredited by the regulator, news outlet Bangkok Post reported Oct. 26.

The SEC reportedly initiated an investigation into digital tokens and ICOs being promoted on social media platforms for investment, and found nine cases wherein promoted digital assets had not been authorized by the market regulator.

Per the SEC, the alleged digital assets and ICOs have neither filed an application for the SEC’s approval, nor have they met the necessary qualifications and had smart contracts assessed by ICO portals. The SEC said that those who have invested in the alleged assets should be wary of associated investment risks.

The SEC reportedly reiterated a warning about Ponzi schemes that persuade people to invest in digital assets by promising investment returns generated from tokens. “Information disclosure for investment decision-making is also inadequate, while these digital assets might not have sufficient liquidity to trade and cannot be converted into cash,” the regulator added.

In August, the SEC said that almost 50 ICO projects expressed interest in becoming certified following the Finance Ministry’s announcement to introduce ICO regulations. The authorization process takes up to five months as upon submission of an application, the SEC will transfer the document to the Finance Ministry within 90 days. After that, the Ministry has 60 days to make a decision whether to approve a license.

Later that month, the SEC approved seven businesses to conduct cryptocurrency operations as part of the formalization of the country’s domestic market. The move forms part of a package of “transitional” rules governing crypto businesses operating in Thailand prior to the first tranche of regulations that came into force May 14.

The 100-section law defines cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens,” and brought them under the regulatory jurisdiction of the SEC. Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong reportedly assured that the new measures are not intended to prohibit cryptocurrencies or ICOs.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

The prolonged cryptocurrency bear market has seen a substantial number of organisations finding new opportunities for growth via consolidations and acquisitions. According to a CNBC report, investors are seeking more and more deals within the blockchain space, even in the face of declining or stagnant crypto prices.

Despite market volatility and a peak-to-trough bitcoin price decline of nearly 70 percent, the past year has witnessed an increase in merger and acquisition activities in the past year as revealed by data from JMP Securities and PitchBook.

According to the data, token values associated with startups have remained correlated to bitcoin rather than actual company value. This is perhaps understandable when taking into account the fact that bitcoin has been in existence for about a decade, which makes it an elder statesman compared to most of the crypto industry.

Speaking to CNBC, Satya Bajpai, a specialist consultant on mergers and acquisitions and head of blockchain and digital assets investment banking at JMP, explained the phenomenon.

In his words:

“Even for great businesses, the value of the token remains correlated to bitcoin, which can create an ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers.”

JMP’s data shows that mergers and acquisitions are becoming a more favoured option versus starting up new companies or divisions from scratch. Over the past year, more than a hundred cryptocurrency or blockchain-related deals have already been announced, with a projection of 145 by the end of 2018. To put that figure in perspective, the equivalent figure for all of 2017 was 47 at a time when the bitcoin price touched $20,000.

coinbase
Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has been one of the industry’s most prolific companies when it comes to “acqui-hiring.”

Bajpal describes the current strategy adopted by most investors as a “land grab” approach, where they are compelled to buy rather than build. Explaining that building takes quite a long time, he says companies benefit from the expensive option of buying because the acquired entity already has some technology and, often, market-ready products.

In a chat with CNBCBajpal stated that that the strategy is also a land grab for talent as the new entity benefits from having employees with business and technical backgrounds because blockchain engineers are not easy to come by. He specifically referenced the example of Coinbase’s acquisition of Earn.com, which saw Earn’s founder and CEO becoming Coinbase’s first-ever CTO.

He also added that users  — an essential part of any startup’s assets — are on-boarded almost immediately through an acquisition.

It is not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as mergers and acquisitions have some challenges, too. Given the nascency of the space, valuations are not always simple. Companies that have raised funds through initial coin offering (ICO) listings have to consider the different forms in which new investors are compensated. This gets even more complicated as the new companies are often still in the developmental phase when new offers begin to spring up.

*This post is credited to CCN

Singapore-based BK Global Consortium has paid 400 billion won (approximately $350 million) for a majority stake in South Korean Bithumb, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, according to a local news outlet.

BK Global Consortium is a blockchain investment firm under BK Global, a Singapore plastic surgery medical group owned by Kim Byung-Gun. The Consortium had held a minority position in Bithumb for a while and was the exchange’s fifth largest shareholder until today’s announcement.

The new deal will see the consortium acquire a “50 percent plus one share” of the holdings of Bithumb’s largest investors, BTC Holdings Company. The move, once finalized, would give the Consortium a controlling stake and make Kim the largest shareholder of Bithumb.

Bithumb is presently the largest digital asset platform in South Korea by trading volume. South Korea emerged as one of the hottest spots of the crypto market last year. Investors were so crypto-hungry that they had to pay a premium on every digital currency they purchased compared to investors in other parts of the world.

The Consortium, under the leadership of Kim, has plans to create a stablecoin for the exchange in the near future, according to the news outlet. There are also plans to launch a global decentralized crypto exchange (DEX) in partnership with blockchain firm One Root Network and a blockchain e-commerce payment system with the aim of reducing “virtual currency price volatility and settlement fees.”

Kim is increasing his stake in a cryptocurrency market that he is massively optimistic about. He founded an initial coin offering (ICO) consulting firm called ICO Platform in Singapore earlier this year, and he is also known as an early cryptocurrency investor.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement by the exchange’s shareholders who revealed the platform’s earnings, showing net profits of 39.34 billion won (about $35 million) in the first half of the year, despite a rocky June where the exchange lost $40 million to hackers.

*This post is credited to Bitcoin Magazine

Chinese energy company Risen Energy has partnered with a Spanish cryptocurrency mining farm will to develop capacity of up to 300 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic power. The news was reported by a Chinese media outlet PV Tech Thursday, October 4.

Several months after CryptoSolarTech confirmed it was building two farms near the city of Malaga using energy-efficient technology, Risen “will develop and take on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) responsibilities for the projects,” according to the new report.

For comparison, Bitcoin network consumes an average of about 200 MW of energy for mining every day, according to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index.

In June, CryptoSolarTech released its own token via an ICO to assist in financing its operations, the token raising a reported $68.2 million.

“Funding for the project is secured against the launch and sale of the cryptocurrency tokens from the farms and based on a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA),” PV Tech added.

A month previously, CryptoSolarTech reported it had raised 60 million euros ($69 million) from its first two months of existence, along with concluding a power supply contract with Barcelona-based Respira Energia.

Since the culmination of the ICO, the company’s token has lost the vast majority of its value, making it into the top ten ICO ‘losers’ in research released late September.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

Singapore Blockchain Week happened this past week. While there have been a few announcements from companies, some of the most interesting updates have come from regulators, and specifically, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The financial regulator openly discussed its views on cryptocurrency and plans to develop blockchain technology locally.

For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore historically has been a financial hub in Southeast Asia, but now has also gradually become the crypto hub of Asia. Compared to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world, the regulators in Singapore are well-informed and more transparent about their views on blockchain and cryptocurrency. While regulatory uncertainties still loom over Korea and Japan, in Southeast Asia, the MAS has already released its opinion “A Guide to Digital Token Offering” that illustrates the application of securities laws to digital token offerings and issuances. Singaporean regulators have arguably been pioneering economic and regulatory standards in Asia since the early days of the country’s founding by Lee Kuan Yew in 1965.

Singapore is the first stop for foreign companies in crypto

In the past, I’ve said that Thailand is one of the most interesting countries in crypto in Southeast Asia. Nonetheless, for any Western or foreign company looking to establish a footing in Asia, or even for any local company in any Asian country looking to establish a presence outside of their own country, Singapore should be the first stop. It has become the go-to crypto sandbox of Asia.

There are a number of companies all over Asia, as well as in the West, that have already made moves into the country. And the types of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges that go to Singapore vary widely.

A few months ago, a Korean team called MVL introduced Tada, or the equivalent of “Uber” on the blockchain, in Singapore. Tada is an on-demand car sharing service that utilizes MVL’s technology. The Tada app is built on MVL’s blockchain ecosystem, which is specifically designed to serve the automotive industry, adjacent service industries, and their customers. In this case, MVL was looking to test out its blockchain projects in a progressive, friendly jurisdiction outside of Korea, but still close enough to its headquarters. Singapore fulfilled most of these requirements.

Relatedly, Didi, China’s ride-sharing company, has also looked to build out its own blockchain-based ride-sharing program, called VVgo. VVgo’s launch is pending, and its home is intended to be in Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong or San Francisco. Given Singapore’s geographic proximity and the transparency of its regulators, it would likely be a good testing ground for Didi as well.

This week, exchanges such as Binance and Upbit from Korea have also announced their plans to enter the Singaporean market. A few days ago, Changpeng ZhaoCEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced the launch of a fiat currency exchange that will be based in Singapore. He also mentioned his company’s plan to launch five to ten fiat-to-crypto exchanges in the next year, with ideally two per continent. Dunamu, the parent company of South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Upbit, also just announced the launch of Upbit Singapore, which will be fully operational by October.

The team at Dunamu mentions how they are encouraged by MAS’s attitude towards cryptocurrency regulation and the vision of the country’s government to establish a strong crypto and blockchain sector. They also believe Singapore could be a bridge between Korea and the global cryptocurrency exchange market.

From a high level, the supply of crypto projects and trading volume in Singapore is certainly strong, and the demand also appears abundant. Following China’s ICO ban in late 2017, Singapore has become home to many financial institutions that can serve as potential investors for ICOs.

As recently featured on the China Money Network, Li Dongmei wrote that:

What is supporting such optimism is the quiet preparation of capital on a massive scale getting ready to act the “All In Crypto” mantra. “In recent months, there have been over a thousand foundations being established in Singapore by Chinese nationals,” said Chen Xianhui, an agent specialized in helping Chinese clients to register foundations in Singapore. Most of these newly established foundations are used setting up various token investments funds.

Singapore has become the first choice when crypto companies from both the West and the East are initially scoping out their market strategies in Asia, and companies want an overarching idea of what’s going on in the cryptocurrency world in the region.

In fact, it’s often the case that Southeast Asian crypto companies and leaders gather in Singapore before they go off and do crypto businesses in their own countries. It’s the place for one wants to tap all of the Asian crypto markets in one single physical location. The proof is in the data: in 2017, Singapore ascended to the number three market for ICO issuance based on the number of funds raised, trailing the United States and Switzerland.

Crypto is thriving due to regulator openness

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) takes a very practical approach to crypto. Currently, MAS divides digital tokens into utility tokens, payments tokens, and securities. In Asia, only Singapore and Thailand currently have such detailed classifications.

While speaking at Consensus Singapore this week, Damien Pang, Singapore’s Technology Infrastructure Office under the FinTech & Innovation Group (FTIG), said that “[MAS does] not regulate technology itself but purpose,” when in conversation discussing ICOs in Singapore. “The MAS takes a close look at the characteristics of the tokens, in the past, at the present, and in the future, instead of just the technology built on”.

Additionally, Pang mentioned that MAS does not intend to regulate utility tokens. Nevertheless, they are looking to regulate payment tokens that have a store of value and payment properties by passing a service bill by the end of the year. They are also paying attention to any utility or payment tokens with security features (i.e. a promise of future earnings, which will be regulated as such).

On the technology front, since 2017, Singapore authorities have been looking to use distributed ledger technology to boost the efficiency of settling cross-bank financial transactions. They believe that blockchain technology offers the potential to make trade finance safer and more efficient.

When compared to other Asia crypto hubs like Hong Kong, Seoul, or Shanghai, Singapore can expose one to the Southeast Asia market significantly more. I believe market activity will likely continue to thrive in the region as the country continues to act as the springboard for cryptocurrency companies and investors, and until countries like Korea and Japan establish a clear regulatory stance.

*This post is credited to TechCrunch

Cryptocurrency web wallet provider Blockchain has filed a complaint in a U.S. federal court alleging attempted deception by a copycat website.

In a blogpost, Blockchain — whose website is hosted at blockchain.com — identifies the platform, blockchain.io, as a deliberate impostor that is attempting to rebrand itself in order to continue in its usual insincere practices from years back.

Deliberate Attempt to Mislead

Blockchain’s major concern over this development as reported includes the fact that the establishment is confusing customers and misleading them into thinking that they are “Blockchain”. This concern arises from the brand similarities which are thought to be designed deliberately.

They include:

  1. Similar domain name to website (blockchain.io)
  2. Similar colors to website (shades of dark blue)
  3. Similar logo (a cube instead of a square) made up of similar geometric shapes (circles instead of rounded boxes).
  4. Repurposed tagline “connecting the world to crypto” through a thesaurus to come up with “your gateway to the internet of value.”

A Familiar Character

According to Blockchain, the supposed new establishment is actually an old platform with the original name Paymium, also known as “Instawallet”, which in 2013 lost its users’ funds in a widely-publicized hack.

Blockchain claims from its findings that one of the major reasons for Paymium’s rebranding tends towards its attempt to launch an initial coin offering (ICO). Having damaged its own reputation due to the way it handled the 2013 hack case, aggrieved customers may take it up with them upon resurfacing. Hence the reappearance under a new name entirely, albeit in a suspicious manner.

The Bane of Anonymity

The relative anonymity that exists within the blockchain ecosystem has been blamed for most of the scams and fraudulent practices that have befallen a lot of participants. Most often, victims are left to mourn their loses without any hope or respite. This is one of the key issues that is assumed to be delaying the regulatory framework within most regions and by extension, also delaying mainstream adoption.

In the time being, the framework laid out by SEC is going a long way in protecting investors from fraudulent performers in the ICO space. This is one of the reasons why Blockchain is calling out Paymium and exposing what they claim to be another attempt to scam and defraud the unsuspecting public. Blockchain notes that there is no registration statement in existence for the exercise as claimed by Paymium, this means that it does not only fail to fulfill the requirements by SEC but is also lying about it.

Blockchain claims that, by embarking on a litigation procedure, it does not only intend to protect its brand but also protect its customers and the general public from investing into the promise of a technology that in the actual sense does not exist at all.

*This post is credited to CCN

PETALING JAYA: Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB) is looking to issue its own asset-backed cryptocurrency (ABC) known as “Horse Currency” through an initial coin offering (ICO).

The group told Bursa Malaysia that it will seek the support and endorsement from the shareholders at its EGM scheduled to be held on November 8.

Citing blockchain technology as the way forward, CHHB highlighted that the main and defining difference of the “Horse Currency” and other cryptocurrencies available in the Malaysian market is that it is backed by the group’s existing assets worth of RM2 billion.

“When launched, the ‘Horse Currency’ will mainly be used as a utility token, a reward token and royalty program with the businesses, products and services under the company’s new business strategies such as stays at the Palace of the Golden Horses, restaurants, golf memberships, private jet trips, Car City Centre, medical treatments and checks at the Golden Horses Health Sanctuary and many others.”

CHHB said the group is also looking at allowing the “Horse Currency” to be used as legal tender in purchasing and leasing its unique properties scheme, especially the resort properties.

Founder and chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew proposes to issue 1 billion units, of which an intial 300 million units will be made available to the public.

CHHB said its assets will be placed in a trust held by a reputable legal firm and a prominent technology partner and other external consultants (if necessary) will be appointed to give back-end support to this exercise.

“We seek the shareholders to approve the appointment of these external consultants. In the fast moving digital age, the company intends to ride this wave of popularity of blockchain technology and assetbacked cryptocurrencies, in finding new and creative means to raise capital for the expansion of the company.”

“We seek the shareholders’ support especially on this ABC, which the company will match minimum RM2 worth of assets eventually for 1 ‘Horse Currency’, across all ICO phases.”

CHHB’s share price fell 1 sen or 0.8% to close at RM1.28 on 5,000 shares done.

*This post is credited to The Sun Daily Malaysia