Nine Japanese banks are teaming up to trial a blockchain-based inter-bank settlement system using Fujitsu technology.

IT giant Fujitsu announced in a press release Monday that it has been chosen as an “application development vendor” for the field trial that will use a custom digital currency to attempt to achieve low-cost transfer of small-scale transactions using real-time gross settlement. The test is aimed to gauge aspects of the tech such as performance, security and real-world viability.

The nine banks involved in the effort comprise a consortium called the Japanese Banks’ Payment Clearing Network (or Zengin – net) and include Mizuho Bank and MUFG Bank.

Specifically, Fujitsu will build and provide the new trial platform using blockchain technology and will also utilize a peer-to-peer money transfer platform it developed in 2017 alongside three Japanese banks. That trial encompassed a cloud-based blockchain platform for sending funds between individuals, as well as a smartphone app.

Among its various explorations of blockchain, Fujitsu also partnered in September with the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) to provide a platform built with Hyperledger Fabric that banks within the group’s ranks could use to test various business use cases for the tech.

It further launched a “ready-to-go” blockchain consultancy service in July that it claimed can deliver a minimum viable product in just five days.

*This post is credited to CoinDesk

Increasing doubt of how official regulators can keep up with the advancing crypto market has led Japan to take a bold new move in how to handle the field. They have given the authority to regulate cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency exchanges themselves.

The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has granted the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) authority to regulate themselves and enforce rules which protect consumers, prevent theft and standardize how cryptocurrency exchanges work.

Japan is making this move despite already having special regulations in place for virtual currency businesses. These regulations were put into effect in April of 2017, after the devastating Mt Gox heist of 2014. This made Japan the first developed country to regulate the cryptocurrency industry in such a unique way.

Faith In this regime has been shaken, however. In January earlier this year, hackers were able to rob the Coincheck cryptocurrency exchange for $534 million U.S.D.  This theft revealed gaps in the governments’ policy regarding cybersecurity and revealed how difficult it is for official regulators and sanctions to keep up with the ever-evolving crypto industry.

The JVCEA is comprised of representatives from multiple cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. By granting them this self-regulatory status, it is hoped that more efficient sanctions and regulations will be put into place at a quicker speed. A senior FSA official elaborates on this, as reported by Reuters:

It’s a very fast-moving industry. It’s better for experts to make rules in a timely manner than bureaucrats do”.

It is noted by Yuri Suzuki, a senior partner at Atsumi & Sakai law firm, that the new rules which are being set by the JVCEA are severe compared to the current regulations in Japan. It is hoped that this will help bring consumer confidence back into the cryptocurrency economy.

Japan is not the only country looking to adapt to the pace of cryptocurrency. Brian Quintenz, a commissioner for the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, spoke in an address about the need for American cryptocurrency exchanges to self-regulate as well. U.S exchanges have taken heed to this advice.

The results of this decision will have a great impact on how the public views the world of cryptocurrency. If exchanges are able to self-regulate and lower theft, it would draw people in who previously were wary of the risk.

*This post is credited to CoinInsider

Japan who’ve been considering legal aspects of cryptocurrency for quite a time, finally made its mind and granted an alliance of 16 crypto-exchanges with regulatory rights over the industry.

Wise men say that all of the novelty needs to be treated with caution. Being, perhaps, the most intriguing breakthrough of their times, cryptocurrencies at once spark a lot of fear and admiration. Therefore the global community decided to step into carefully, saving time for a deeper consideration of the inner sense of such an ambiguous fenomenon.

For Japan it took a couple of months before the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) agreed on a regulatory framework suitable for the crypto-sphere. Today it has become known that Japanese primary financial regulator delegated the rights to control and monitor the crypto-industry to a group of 16 crypto-exchanges that was legally recognized as a self-regulatory body.

What is the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association?

Earlier Coinspeaker reported that the group also known as the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) submitted an application to the FSA with a view to become a “certified fund settlement business association”. In case their application is approved, a self-regulatory body of 16 formally licensed Japanese crypto-exchanges would be formed.

The organization is pursuing a goal to fight against illegal activities taken place in the industry in accordance with tough self-imposed rules and practices. The idea of JVCEA has emerged in the aftermath of infamous heist of the major cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Japan.

Seeking to protect their own funds as well as money of their customers Japanese exchanges have joined forced to combat insider trading and money laundering while creating security standards and guidelines for domestic exchanges.

The JVCEA to Police Domestic Exchanges

The decision made by the FSA was a long-awaited one that signals the government has finally laid down their weapons allowing the industry to take care of itself. During a briefing a senior FSA official said:

“It’s a very fast moving industry. It’s better for experts to make rules in a timely manner than bureaucrats do.”

In a statement following the FSA approval, the cryptocurrency industry association reassured the public that it will make further efforts to build an industry trusted by customers. This comes very timely since Japan is going to back the reputation of blockchain-friendly county, which is welcoming every technological innovation made in the sphere.

The JVCEA has reportedly drawn up a 100-page self-regulatory draft with rules including a proposal a complete ban on insider trading and privacy coins like Monero and Dash from licensed exchanges. The association has also proposed a 4-to-1 limit on margin trading with cryptocurrencies, restricting the amount of funds investors can borrow on their original deposit.

The FSA’s approval of a cryptocurrency self-regulatory body comes at a time when Japanese authorities are reviewing a new system of crypto-taxation that will facilitate tax filing and make it easier for taxpayers to calculate their profits on the sales of digital assets against both fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies.

*This post is credited to Coin Speaker

MoneyTap, a consumer-focused blockchain money transfer app built by SBI Holdings and Ripple, has now gone live.

Announced by Ripple in a tweet Thursday, the remittance app is the product of SBI Ripple Asia and several participating banks.

A new website for the product has also been launched indicating that the app is able to make bank-to-bank money transfers in “real time” using Ripple’s xCurrent payments product.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, the product allows users to send funds to others using just their telephone numbers or a QR code, and utilizes devices biometric log-in features, such as fingerprint scanning, for security.

Currently, the service is only able to remit between accounts held at the three participating Japanese banks – SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank. Payments are being offered at no charge and can be sent in Japanese yen or foreign currencies, says the website.

SBI Ripple Asia announced in late September that it had completed registration with Japan’s Ministry of Finance as a licensed agent for handling electronic payments – the final hurdle before launching the app.

In the Asian nation, any entity wanting to handle electronic payments using banking APIs must now be registered with local finance bureaus – a rule that came into effect from June 1.

Ripple’s xCurrent network is built on distributed ledger technology and has recently seen increasing adoption by banks seeking to stay competitive as rival payments offerings proliferate. Banking giant Santander also launched a payments app using xCurrent back in April.

While based on blockchain, xCurrent does not by default utilize the Ripple-linked crypto token XRP.

However, at the U.S. firm’s Swell event over the last few days, it was revealed that several payments firms are now commercially using Ripple’s third payments solution, xRapid, which does use the open-source token.

*This post is credited to CoinDesk

While cryptocurrencies are more accessible than ever before, there’s still a long way to go until cryptocurrencies are perfectly regulated in most of the world’s countries. While Europe and America are still trying to figure out how to accurately and efficiently regulate cryptocurrencies, a wide array of Asian countries have been quick to enact laws, ground rules, and regulations.

Not only did Asian regulators understand the importance of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but most of the Asian banks have also become aware of the fact that the adoption of the underlying technology of blockchains is inevitable. Hence, most Asian country governments have understood the importance of protecting their monetary sovereignty while still allowing innovations to take place.

Here is our list of Asian countries that have fully, partially, or slightly adopted blockchain:

Japan

Our list starts with Japan, one of the most influential Asian countries when it comes to a great deal of things, including the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Not only is Japan one of the most crypto-friendly countries (and one of the earliest adopters of crypto), but it’s also the place where Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious pseudonym associated with the creation of the Bitcoin platform, is believed to have started his operations.

The first major regulatory intervention took place after the Mt. Gox crash in 2014 and, thanks to a very lenient and business-focused government, cryptocurrency operations have been since thriving in Japan. For example, in April 2017, Bitcoin has been recognized as a legal tender in Japan. 2017 was also the year in which Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) approved 11 exchange operators. The government has set up a legal framework through the PSA (Payment Services Act) that legalizes the use of cryptocurrencies as an official payment method.  Nowadays, the crypto scene is pretty much vibrant in Japan.

China

China’s start with cryptocurrencies can be described as nothing short of enthusiastic, which led to dramatic rises in Bitcoin prices, among others. Back in the “olden” days, China was considered a haven for cryptocurrencies, and Chinese exchanges accounted for almost 90% of the daily trading volume for Bitcoin alone.

As faith would have it, the Chinese government has cracked down upon both crypto exchanges and mining operations within the country. In 2017, the People’s Bank of China also banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) within the country. The government’s pressure was so high that various Chinese crypto exchanges either relocated or stopped accepting Chinese currency.

Thanks to the cheap electricity in China, crypto mining was extremely popular (some estimate that 70% of all Bitcoin mining took place in China). In the following months since the government’s decision, many miners left the country and set up operations in Canada, Iceland, and other crypto-friendly countries. Unsurprisingly, this major change has affected the global crypto market and has even led to a crash.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not fully banned in China, but the government did rule that cryptocurrencies cannot be used as a legal currency in the country. In the middle of what might seem like a fiasco, the Chinese government has made its stance on cryptocurrencies quite clear, meaning that it understands the importance of such technologies. China is already looking towards introducing its own version of Bitcoin to substitute the national currency.

South Korea

South Korea has seen its fair share of cryptocurrency innovations and has recently made various headlines. For the last couple of years, South Korea emerged as a slightly crypto-friendly country. Last year, South Korea was the third biggest market for Bitcoin trading and the largest market for Ether trading in the world. This was until January 2018, when the government followed the example of China and cracked down on the virtual exchanges. The government even issued various official statements regarding the ban of cryptocurrencies and pointed at the fact that they are used for various criminal activities and money laundering. Even though the government’s stance has softened since January, there’s still no guarantee that South Korea will ever become the crypto force it once was.

Thailand

While regulators from all around the world still have various problems when it comes to categorizing cryptocurrencies, Thailand has stepped forward as one of the most prolific ecosystems for crypto adoption. Earlier this year, authorities have issued an emergency decree that resulted in the creation of the Digital Asset Business Decree. It defines both crypto and digital tokens, and it introduces a tax so that the government can benefit from the growing industry.

Even though Thailand still has a lot of work until its regulations will be perfectly accurate and relevant, the country does a good job at formalizing the process of crypto exchanges and ICOs. One interesting aspect is the fact that all ICOs and trades must be paired with one of seven officially acknowledged cryptocurrencies.

Taiwan

As some Asian crypto countries seem to prefer to tighten the rules, Taiwan is yet another country that might become a safe haven for cryptocurrencies. The Taiwanese government’s view on cryptocurrency can be viewed as “neutral.” Slowly but surely, Taiwan continues its journey towards becoming an important crypto hub in the Asian scene, with more banks developing their own cryptos and with various trading platforms already in the game.

Indonesia

After maintaining a firm stance against cryptocurrencies for quite some time now, Indonesia’s government has recently legalized crypto trading. Various important figures within the nation’s government have also hinted at the fact that cryptocurrency exchanges might be subjected to various regulations as well.

Even though Asia seems to have a very nice fascination with cryptocurrencies, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is a relatively new technology and that it’s quite normal for governments to have hesitations or make mistakes when it comes to regulating cryptos. At the time of this writing, Asia has a fairly balanced crypto situation with countries such as Japan that fully embrace the technology, others like South Korea that are becoming more and more restrictive, and some like India that seem to be very much confused about the whole condition.

*This post is credited to UseTheBitcoin

 

TOKYO: Bitcoin and other digital currency worth around ¥6.7 billion yen (RM248 million) has been stolen in Japan following a hacking attack, a virtual exchange operator said on Thursday.

Osaka-based Tech Bureau, which operates virtual currency exchange Zaif, said its server had been illegally accessed and money transferred.

“We decline to comment on the details of how this illegal access occurred, as it is a crime and we’ve already asked the authorities to investigate,” Tech Bureau said in a statement.

It added that the virtual currencies stolen were bitcoin, bitcoin cash and monacoin.

“We will prepare measures so that customers’ assets will not be affected” by the hack, it said, adding it would receive financial support from major shareholder Fisco Group.

The current management team will step down after returning the lost assets to customers, Tech Bureau said.

Japan’s financial services agency on Thursday began on-site inspections into the company, Jiji Press reported.

Japan is a major centre for virtual currencies and as many as 50,000 shops in the country are thought to accept bitcoin.

Earlier this year, Japan-based exchange Coincheck suspended deposits and withdrawal for virtual currencies after it had been hacked, resulting in a loss worth half a billion US dollars of NEM, the 10th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.

Japanese authorities later ordered two cryptocurrency exchanges to suspend operations as part of a clampdown following the hack.

*This post is credited to Free Malaysia Today

Japan is the latest country to consider using blockchain for voting. Tsukuba is set to become the country’s first city to trial blockchain-powered digital voting.

The system will rely on the Japanese equivalent of social security cards to verify voter identity. Currently, the solution is being used to allow citizens to cast votes on “social contribution projects,” the Japan Times reports.

The system does not sound too dissimilar to conventional voting. However, rather than placing a mark against a relevant response for a vote and placing the ballot card in a secure box, voters will place their votes on a screen.

The system will use blockchain tech to prevent falsifying any of the data recorded, according to the Japan Times.

After placing a vote using the system, Tsukuba Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi said he “had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy.”

Despite this, the rollout has not been as smooth as city officials had perhaps hoped.

The Japan Times stated that a number of voters forgot their passwords, as such they would have been unable to cast a vote. Furthermore, it was apparently difficult to also tell whether or not a vote had indeed been counted. Not that that’s crucial in this scenario.

It remains unclear if there are any additional safeguards against voter fraud, in Tsukuba’s trial of the tech. As the voter simply holds up a social security card to the screen before voting, there is no knowing if the voter is required to provide evidence that they are in fact using their own card.

West Virginia has also trialed a blockchain based voting app which allowed military personal to cast votes on local elections, opting for facial recognition to verify the voter. We already know this isn’t always a watertight method of verifying identity.