In general, most of the crypto-related firms are located between the United States and Europe. However, Asia is also playing an important role in attracting these kinds of companies. Indeed, Japan is becoming one of the main countries in terms of cryptocurrency adoption and usage.

One of the main reasons behind the success of Japan expanding crypto adoption is related to the fact that the country has a cash-based society. Although the country at the forefront of the technology world, cashless transactions are just 20 percent of all the transactions in the country.

The government has been trying to boost the mobile payments industry, something that would create several opportunities for virtual currencies and increased adoption in the future.

The country has also implemented different regulations to the crypto space. This allows companies to know where they are operating and how they are able to protect investors. During the last few years, Japanese exchanges experienced the worst hacks ever registered by the crypto space. One of them is the popular Mt. Gox back in 2014. The second one happened at the beginning of 2018 and affected the cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.

Since that moment, the government started to impose stricter regulations around digital assets and blockchain technology. Back in April 2017, authorities amended banking law in order to include cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. In this way, Business and companies knew how to better deal with digital assets in the country.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are taxed in Japan. However, as they were recognized as a payment method, the government has eliminated consumption tax on the sale of this virtual currency. Now, companies can accept cryptocurrencies in an easier and better way.

Here are many different companies and small retail shops accepting digital currencies as a means of payment. This includes one of the largest retailers in the country, Yamada Denki, which is now accepting Bitcoin for purchases made by customers. GMO is also allowing employers to receive a part of their salary in Bitcoin.

Not only big companies are starting to handle Bitcoin and crypto payments. Music schools or hotels are also starting to get involved in the market. During 2018, the space grew substantially in Japan and is expected to continue growing in the future.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, the Japanese Yen (JPY) surpassed the US dollar as the most traded currency against Bitcoin. This shows that Japan is a very active player in the market.

Although some other regulations have been imposed in the space, there are more than 190 companies trying to enter the Japanese cryptocurrency market. According to the country’s top financial regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA), around 190 firms are waiting for approval to start operating in the country.

*This post is credited to BitcoinExchangeguide

The popular cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has announced that it has officially launched its services in the country of Japan. In a celebratory tweet, Huobi’s Japanese division wrote on January 8th:

Additionally, the Japanese division of the cryptocurrency exchange has already informed its users that trading will begin on January 8th. To celebrate the launch, the exchange will initiate a campaign, giving Ripple (XRP) worth 500 yen (roughly around $4.60) to any new accounts.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, Huobi is currently the 7th largest cryptocurrency exchange by means of trading volume. In late December 2018, the South China Morning Post reported that the company is “optimizing staffing” by cutting some of its worst-performing employees, citing a Huobi Group Spokeswoman.

She also added that the company is still hiring people for emerging markets and core businesses. However, it’s noteworthy that the layoffs take place amid a prolonged bear market as 2018 saw around $700 billion wiped off the cryptocurrency market.

In October, Huobi launched a new interchangeable stable coin called the “HUSD.” Unlike other stable coins, the HUSD is interchangeable. The official announcement explains:

“For example, when you deposit 1 PAX, it will show as 1 HUSD in your account, and you can withdraw 1 TUSD (not considering transaction fees on the blockchain).”

About Huobi

Being the 7th largest cryptocurrency exchange, Huobi was founded in 2013 and reportedly became the leading digital asset trading platform in China at that time. The company has seen investments from major corporations such as Sequoia Capital.

The exchange has offices in several countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and is operating in over 130 countries.

In November 2018 CryptoPotato interviewed the Head of Business Development & Investment in North America for Huobi’s Global Ecosystem Fund. The cryptocurrency exchange has marked the US as its next target for expansion.

*This post is credited to CryptoPotato

The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) received 190 cryptocurrency exchange license applications, an unnamed FSA staff member told Cointelegraph Japan on Dec. 28.

The FSA has given the local crypto industry self-regulatory status, certifying the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) to oversee the space. The JVCEA is now expected to develop anti-money-laundering (AML) policy and providing guidelines to crypto exchanges.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, such a license was recently granted to cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. Following a hack at the exchange in January, it received two business improvement orders from the FSA.

Those improvement orders were mainly focused on setting higher standards for customer protection and anti-money-laundering measures. The FSA sent “punishment notices” to seven crypto exchanges in March.

The commissioner of Japan’s FSA said in August that the agency wished the crypto industry to “grow under appropriate regulation.” He further reassured that the agency has “no intention to curb [the crypto industry] excessively.”

As the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries have been growing in Japan, so too as the FSA. In July, the agency underwent a major overhaul in order to better deal with fintech-related fields, including cryptocurrencies.

The Strategy Development and Management Bureau replaced the Inspection Bureau, and will reportedly develop a financial strategy policy and handle issues addressing the digital currencies market, fintech, and money laundering.

The Policy and Markets Bureau will succeed the Planning and Coordination Bureau, and is tasked with developing a legal framework that addresses the rapid growth of the fintech sector.

After introducing regulations that requires cryptocurrency exchanges to report suspicious transactions, the Japanese National Police Agency (NPA) reported a steep increase in such reports. According to the NPA, there have been 5,944 such reports between January and October.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

The Japanese Yen has surpassed the US dollar to become the most traded national currency in the Bitcoin-to-fiat market. According to data compiled by Coinhills, the yen now has a 48.34% market share compared to 43.77% for the US dollar, at time of writing.

The third and fourth most traded national currencies in the BTC-to-fiat markets are the Korean won and euro at 6.08% and 1.07%, respectively.

Shortly after China banned Bitcoin exchanges in September 2017, it lost its dominance as the largest Bitcoin exchange market with daily trading volumes dropping by 50% from roughly 15% to less than 7%. Japan gained ground at that time but then lost market share following several big exchange hacks, including an estimated $530 million stolen from Tokyo-based Coincheck.

In a bid to improve infrastructure and security of cryptocurrency exchanges, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued new guidelines that introduce a registration system and maintains an internal control system.

News outlet Nikkei reports that Coincheck, after meeting standards and requirements, will now be licensed and approved by the FSA to operate an exchange.

Reports Nikkei,

“Nearly 200 companies are said to be waiting for licenses, but only about 50 are believed to have hammered out concrete plans.

In deciding whether to grant licenses, the FSA will scrutinize business plans, anti-hacking measures and the effectiveness of shields put up against other misconduct. Exchanges applying for approval will have to answer a 400-item questionnaire.”

Decisions to grant licenses are expected to trigger more approvals, more trading and more activity around cryptocurrencies, including adoption.

Say Michael Ou, CEO of CoolBitX, a mobile cold storage hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies,

“It seems that Japan lives months or years ahead of the rest of the world.”

“While news of government intervention makes headlines, private companies in Japan are also working hard to improve the crypto market: here are more than a dozen Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges. With a growing number of Japanese businesses accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, and with many startups in Japan’s thriving tech scene, it’s fair to guess that continued investment will inspire continued innovation.”

Japanese lawmaker Takeshi Fujimaki has also proposed four significant changes to Japan’s tax laws to “promote the wider adoption of virtual currency,” which includes lowering the capital gains tax on cryptocurrency profits from 55% to 20%, tax exemptions for crypto-to-crypto trades, tax exemptions for transactions involving small payments and the ability to carry forward losses, across quarters and years, until the cryptocurrencies are settled in cash.

It will take a combination of appropriate security measures, a clear regulatory framework with tax laws that can spur and not hamper innovation, and inventive methods developed by blockchain coders for the integration of cryptocurrencies in order to keep Japan’s crypto community engaged as the world’s number one Bitcoin-to-fiat market.

*This post is credited to The DailyHodl

The Financial Services Agency of Japan has resolved to refer to cryptocurrencies as “crypto assets” in order to prevent confusion with legal tender. Also in The Daily, the Justice Ministry in Moscow has confirmed that it classifies digital coins as “other property.” Finally, according to a recent report, stablecoins have seen significant growth over the past few months.

Japanese Regulator Renames Cryptocurrencies

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has decided to call all cryptocurrencies “crypto assets,” the country’s leading daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The reasoning behind the decision is to help traders avoid confusing digital coins with legal tender recognized by the government in Tokyo. The regulator notes the price of many cryptos fluctuates wildly, there’s no evidence of value and it’s often unclear who is issuing them.

The Daily: Japan Calls All Coins ‘Crypto Assets’, Russia Defines Cryptocurrency as Property

FCA’s advisory panel has produced a report this week in which its members claim the term “virtual currency” could cause misunderstanding, calling for its substitution. According to the document, the regulator’s recommendation is to revise all relevant Japanese laws and regulations. The revision is expected to cover different pieces of legislation such as the Payment and Services Law, which regulates the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.

The panel has also emphasized the need to establish a mechanism aimed at protecting users in events such as a “cash outflow,” as reported by Japan Times, the newspaper’s English language edition. To achieve that, the Financial Services Agency intends to oblige Japanese companies operating with crypto assets to implement strict management systems.

Cryptocurrency Is ‘Other Property’ Russian Ministry Says

The Daily: Japan Calls All Coins ‘Crypto Assets’, Russia Defines Cryptocurrency as PropertyRussia’s Justice Ministry has once again confirmed the property status of digital currencies. According to an official statement, “cryptocurrency can be classified as an object of civil rights and be subject to obligations.” The document has been issued by the ministry in response to a request for a legal interpretation of the term and reaffirms a previously declared stance.

The query has been filed by a group of traders who have been trying to attract the attention of Russian authorities to the case of the now inactive Wex crypto exchange, successor of the infamous BTC-e. They’ve published a copy of the statement in their Wex.nz Initiative Group Telegram channel. Wex users, who have been unable to withdraw their funds from the trading platform for months, have also filed complaints with the Interior Ministry in Moscow calling for an investigation.

The Ministry of Justice further explains that cryptocurrencies cannot be accepted as “electronic money” and notes that the holders of digital coins cannot raise claims against their issuers. Nevertheless, the department states that “cryptocurrency has a property value recognized by its turnover” and falls under the “other property” category as defined by Russian law, an opinion expressed earlier this year by Russia’s justice minister Alexander Konovalov.

To this day, cryptocurrencies remain unregulated in Russia, with several draft laws filed in parliament still under consideration. In its latest version, the main bill, “On Digital Financial Assets,” does not have the term “cryptocurrency” among its legal definitions. Members of the crypto community and industry organizations have called for its inclusion but according to a recent statement by the country’s deputy prime minister Maxim Akimov, authorities do not plan to make any significant amendments to the texts.

Stablecoins See Rapid Growth, Report Claims

Stablecoins The Daily: Japan Calls All Coins ‘Crypto Assets’, Russia Defines Cryptocurrency as Propertyhave enjoyed growing adoption in recent months, reveals a report published by research company Diar. The transaction volumes of four new stablecoins – USDC, TUSD, GUSD and PAX – have increased by 1,032 percent, the authors claim. In terms of value, the total volume of transactions with the new stablecoins reached $2.3 billion in November, and $5 billion for a three-month period.

According to Diar, the paxos standard token (PAX), the most popular among these currencies, has attracted $93 million of volume. Its transactions volume is twice that of USD coin (USDC), a dollar-pegged crypto developed by San Francisco-headquartered digital asset exchange Coinbase in cooperation with crypto payments startup Circle. At the same time, the indicator has decreased for Trusttoken’s trueusd (TUSD) during the month of December.

The Daily: Japan Calls All Coins ‘Crypto Assets’, Russia Defines Cryptocurrency as Property

Despite the significant drop in its capitalization last month, the most recognizable stablecoin, tether (USDT), is at the time of this writing the fourth largest digital currency by market capitalization.

*This post is credited to Bitcoins News

  • Over 150 expert companies/organizations from Japan and abroad
  • Expended attendance of 25,000

The Global Blockchain Association (Shimizu Building 6F, 3-19 Hayabusacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Toshikazu Masuyama) is proud to host the largest blockchain conference in Asia: The Japan Blockchain Conference (JBC) – 2019 Yokohama, to be held on 30 and 31 January at Pacifico Yokohama.

The conference will host top companies and organizations from Japan and abroad who represent the future of the rapidly growing blockchain space. This is the place where the leaders of blockchain and crypto can interact, form partnerships, and showcase their leading technologies and developments.

Event Details
Name: Japan Blockchain Conference (JBC): Yokohama Round 2019
Host: The Global Blockchain Association
Date/Time: Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 January 2019, 9am to 6pm
Venue: Pacifico Yokohama, Hall B

Tickets:
VIP Pass
100,000 yen (approx. USD885)
Includes access to the lounge for both days, as well as the After Party (30th) and Celebration Party (31st).
Expo Pass
Advance purchase:
1-Day Pass—3,000 yen (approx. USD27)
2-Day Pass—5,000 yen (approx. USD45)
At the Door:
1-day pass—4,000 yen (approx. USD35)

Purchase: https://jbc-yokohamaround-2019.peatix.com/

Pass includes access to:
1. The Exhibition Zone: Featuring 150 companies from Japan and abroad;
2: Speeches and seminars: By prominent blockchain figures;
3: Other areas.

Contacts

The Global Blockchain Association
Media Enquiries:
Davit Otto (English): +81-3-3288-1277
Email: press@japan-blockchain-c.com

A Japanese video platform service called c0ban.tv has started its expansion into English-speaking markets, the startup team has reported to Cointelegraph. The platform has its own cryptocurrency and has been developed by the LastRoots corporation, famous for its  popular cryptocurrency exchange.

Buying lunch with crypto

The c0ban.tv platform publishes short video ads, already with over 50,000 active users and 5 million transactions per month, according to the startup team.

The concept of c0ban is based on combining blockchain and video advertisement. The core idea of c0ban is that a user can get paid with c0ban coins (RYO) for watching advertisement videos posted on c0ban’s web application.

This c0ban mechanism is similar to websites that offer reward points to their users. In order to get rewards, a user needs to sign in to the c0ban.tv web application and watch the videos that appear on the screen.

There are three huge problems for the video advertising market that the industry faces right now: Users tend to skip video ads, they do not watch them in full and the current ads are not cost effective. According to the c0ban team, their application and platform can solve these problems by paying users to watch videos.

According to c0ban fans blog, there are stores in Japan that accept RYO. Users can, for instance, watch a few videos, get paid with c0ban cryptos and buy lunch with those coins. Although the number of such stores is still quite small, LastRoots is actively working to expand, a company’s representative told Cointelegraph.

Middle age samurai coin

“C0ban is named after a Middle Ages Samurai coin, named Koban. C0ban is the first challenge for us to spread the technology to the world. We will be pleased if we could provide a trigger to people to feel the revolutionary world of decentralized consensus,” reads the c0ban website.

According to the website, c0ban is a proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency that is designed to make it easy for everyone to enter the blockchain world. The genesis block was mined on Dec. 15, 2016 and so far over 26,000,000 RYO have been issued. The target number is 88,000,000 RYO.

С0ban.tv held one of the first ICOs in Japan in July 2016 and succeeded in raising about $6 million. Its app was released in February 2017, with the cryptocurrency listed on a Japanese exchange in March 2017. Today, the c0ban trade volume has reached 100 million trades.

On Nov. 30, c0ban will be listed on the Latoken exchange and will be able to be traded for Bitcoin and Ethereum. The c0ban cryptocurrency has been on the market since Dec. 15, 2016, when it was officially launched. The c0ban startup team has decided to move forward and expand worldwide, making its way to a broader audience.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph
The funding, estimated at $30-35 million, was led by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co, with crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital and Denlow Investment Trust also entering Goqii’s investor cap table.

NEW DELHI: Wearable devices maker Goqii Inc has raised over $30 million (about Rs 212 crore) in its latest equity financing round, as the Menlo Park and Mumbai-based company eyes entering overseas markets over the next 12-18 months.

The funding, estimated at $30-35 million, was led by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co, with crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital and Denlow Investment Trust also entering Goqii’s investor cap table, according to sources briefed on the development.

The investment values the four year-old venture at $100-125 million, the sources said. ET could not independently verify this.Existing investors DSG Consumer Partners, NEA, Edelweiss Financial Services and Cheetah Mobile also participated in the financing round, as did Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, both early backers of the company.

GCA Corporation was Goqii’s financial adviser in the transaction, sources said.

Vishal Gondal, chief executive of Goqii, confirmed the developments but declined to share specific details citing confidentiality agreements.

Gondal said the company is looking to enter Japan next year and would work extensively with Mitsui & Co, an active investor in the broader healthcare space globally, to establish its footprints in Asia’s second-largest economy.“There will be multiple synergies with the Mitsui Group, within and outside India… We will be working with the different companies in Mitsui Group’s portfolio across India, Japan and Malaysia down the line,” Gondal told ET.

“Japan is a very mature market, along with being one of the largest insurance markets in the world… As part of the deal, we will be working with Mitsui to launch a local chain in Japan,” Gondal said.

Mitsui & Co has made a clutch of investments in India’s traditional healthcare industry, having previously backed hospital chains Columbia Asia and IHH, which acquired Fortis Healthcare this year. The investment in Goqii is its first in the wearables and technology-focused preventive healthcare solutions space.

Goqii is Gondal’s second startup. He had earlier founded online and mobile gaming company IndiaGames, which he sold to Walt Disney in 2011in a deal valued at $80-100 million.

In an earlier conversation with ET, Gondal, 42, had stated that Goqii had targeted having 10 million paid users in India over the next 36 months. The company currently has about 1 million paid users on its platform.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2018, Goqii Technologies Pvt Ltd, the domestic arm of Goqii Inc., reported total revenue of Rs 11.43 crore, marginally up from Rs 11.06 crore in the previous fiscal year. Its loss increased by about 24% to Rs 19.63 crore as per regulatory filings sourced from business signals provider Paper.vc

*This post is credited to Economictimes

Tuesday brings expansion in Japan, more mining woes in China, blockchain compliance in Abu Dhabi and in Hong Kong and ‘political’ crypto in Malaysia

Hong Kong port embraces blockchain: Hong Kong’s Modern Terminals have signed a deal to use a Maersk-IBM blockchain platform. The TradeLens solution works to process documentation and verification to speed up customs clearance. More than 20 port and terminal operators globally are piloting the solution. The system claims to allow shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities access to operational data – including container temperature and information weight – and also to blockchain smart contracts.

 

World’s first ‘political’ crypto in Malaysia: Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s Central Bank, says they must approve all new digital currencies. This comes as the crypto-currency Harapan Coin is launched. The team behind the initiative calls it the world’s first “crypto-politic” coin and it is backed by Paratan Harapan, the current government ruling coalition who have created it to elicit “opposing sentiments against the current governing coalition, in preparation for the coming election.” They hope to raise $120 million. And to date? $715.35.

*This post is credited to Asia Times

A sister collaboration of Ripple, SBI Ripple Asia have announced a new partnership with the Japan Payment Card Consortium (JPCC). The partnership aims to use Proof of Concept technology in order to fight instances of fraud. The Proof of Concept system will be deployed via Corda, a blockchain platform built by R3.

The JPCC is made up of a number of major payment card groups within Japan and includes financial service providers such as American Express and Toyota Finance. As a result of this, we can expect that this new partnership will bring the blockchain to the fore within a number of major mainstream financial service providers. It’s a solid move for blockchain adoption.

The introduction of Corda within this partnership is no coincidence, according to Cointelegraph:

“Corda has reportedly been chosen for the PoC due to its data privacy and security set-up. The release outlines that data in the system is to be shared only with those that have a need to know. Each company will own a Corda node, and while each company implements its own security policy, the data sharing among the nodes is secured by Corda.”

Why the blockchain?

Of course, SBI Ripple, being partially blockchain based are going to focus any efforts they can on bringing blockchain technology to any of their partnerships. In this instance, the blockchain has proven its worth in anti-fraud measures, therefore I suppose the blockchain presents an ideal solution. Moreover, the Corda platform specifically seems to have presented an ideal solution for this partnership.

Furthermore:

“Japanese IT services provider TIS, which is a member of the R3 consortium, will reportedly develop a secure and scalable information sharing system for the PoC on the basis of Corda. Although at the PoC stage, information will be shared only between the participant card companies. The consortium says it will consider extending data sharing to a broader range of parties – such as merchants and payment service providers (PSPs) – in future, in the name of better protecting against fraud industry-wide. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)’s Mission Critical Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Lab has been chosen as a secure host environment for testing the new PoC.”

Evidently, there are a large number of firms and companies all getting involved with this project and this partnership. This is an exciting example of just how versatile and accessible the blockchain industry is, literally anyone and everyone can get involved.

*This post is credited to Cryptodaily