As young as it is, the cryptocurrency market never disappoints. China, which has never done a good job in hiding its hostility towards the crypto industry, is probably moving towards banning Bitcoin mining. Japan has may soon move away from the notion that Bitcoin is a virtual currency. Ripple had mixed fortunes during the week as it announced plans to double its headcount in Singapore as it prepares to expand its service offerings in the Southeast Asia region.
In an interesting turn of events, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao warned that Craig Wright’s claim that he is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto may lead the exchange to delisting Bitcoin SV, an off-shoot of the November Bitcoin Cash hard fork.
In the tweet, Zhao stated that “Craig Wright is not Satoshi.”
Binance enters into partnership with crypto security firm CipherTrace
The world’s third largest cryptocurrency by trading volume Binance announced via a blog post on April 11 that it has partnered with crypto security firm CipherTrace in an effort to bolster its anti-money laundering (AML) infrastructure.
CipherTrace is a firm that offers its services to financial institutions, regulators, and even auditors. The company’s CEO Dave Jevans recently became the first blockchain expert to testify in a Canadian court.
Per the announcement, the new partnership sees CipherTrace improving Binance’s already robust AML infrastructure and help the exchange to expand into new territories.
“As one of the most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges on the globe, Binance is leading the way in AML compliance programs for the industry,” said Jevans.
Binance is currently one of the few big cryptocurrency exchanges that have not been hacked yet. The exchange was founded in 2017 in China but has since moved its headquarters to countries such as Japan and Malta as it aims to settle in jurisdictions with favorable crypto regulation.
“The selection of CipherTrace as our on-chain security solution will augment our expansion drive and build greater trust among our users, regulators and financial institutions,” said Binance’s chief compliance officer Samuel Lin.
China may ban bitcoin mining as early as May
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s state planner of economic activities has listed bitcoin mining as one of the activities the country should scrap because of several reasons such as being unsafe, a contributor to environmental pollution, and more.
The revised list has over 450 industrial activities that could be phased and the public has been given until May 7 to air views on the future of these activities.
China is the largest maker for computer mining chips as it is home to companies such as Bitmain Technologies, Canaan Creative, and Ebang International.
The draft is another indication of the government’s hostility towards the growing crypto sector. The latest development has drawn mixed criticism.
An unnamed Bitcoin trader who spoke to local newspaper Securities said that Bitcoin mining consumes a great deal of electrical energy.
However, Jehan Chu, the managing partner at Kenetic, a blockchain firm said that this is one of the government’s ploy to gain more control over the crypto industry.
“The NDRC’s move is in line overall with China’s desire to control different layers of the rapidly growing crypto industry, and does not yet signal a major shift in policy,” said Chu.
Crypto exchange Bithumb releases audit results in the aftermath of a $13 million hack
South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb published the results of an external audit following the loss of 14 billion ($13 million) in a hack two weeks ago. The executives in the exchange came out and said the security breach was an inside job.
The exchange previously stated that the lost funds belonged to the firm and no customer funds were lost. Bithumb immediately transferred the remaining funds in hot wallets to safer cold wallets in an attempt to mitigate further losses.
The exchange announced that they had carried out an external audit as they had previously promised and the results revealed that customer funds are safe.
“We are pleased to inform you that our members’ valuable assets are managed and maintained in a systematic/safe manner through the attached due diligence report,” reads part of the report.
In June last year, the exchange lost nearly $17 million in a hack and the latest breach takes the exchange’s losses via hacks to $30 million.
Despite registering an increase of 17.5 percent in sales last year, the exchange recorded losses of nearly $180 million in the same period.
Japan: Hoya Corporation crypto jacked
Japan’s largest manufacturer of optical products Hoya Corporation recently reported that it shut down its factory lines for three days after a cyber attack that saw hackers try to use the firm’s computers for cryptocurrency mining activities.
The hackers infected more than 100 computers with a virus and stole critical login information. Hoya stated that the hack was initiated on March 1 and resulted in the network slowing down. The virus managed to move to other computers but was stopped before it went far.
As a result of the hack, Hoya’s production output declined 40 percent.
Major Japanese bank pulls out of Ripple pilot project
Ripple, the blockchain company behind the XRP cryptocurrency suffered a major blow after Resona Bank, the fifth largest bank in Japan announced it will no longer use MoneyTap, a fintech app that utilizes Ripple’s blockchain technology.
The bank did not provide any reasons why it quit MoneyTap and has become the first major bank in the country to do so.
The latest development will come into effect on May 13 and it is unknown if other financial institutions will follow suit.
“Resona Bank will cancel the cooperation with the money transfer application MoneyTap (which started on October 4, 2018) on May 13, 2019,” announced the bank on its website on April 11.
This comes after Ripple’s revealed plans to double its headcount in Singapore office as it eyes expansion in the Asia region.
Ripple to expand its operations in Southeast Asia
America’s blockchain and fintech startup Ripple has plans to double its staff at its Singapore base in a bid to expand its services for the Southeast Asia markets. The startup intends to increase its employees from 12 to 24 in the coming year.
This is to ensure that the company offers its customers more services that go beyond customer services.
It is also an interesting development in the sense that the startup is prepared to increase its workforce while other firms are laying off their staff. The company says investing in the region is a logical step because Southeast Asia is an integral market for the startup.
Ripple has partnerships with nearly 200 financial institutions and nearly half of them are from the Asian region. Japan alone had 61 banks working with Ripple.
Japan: Crypto exchange Decurret Inc. approved by FSA, prepares to go live on April 16
Japan is set to welcome another cryptocurrency exchange on April 16. The exchange announced on March 25 that it had been granted approvavl by the country financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
Based in the capital Tokyo, Decurret Inc. will offer spot trading services. It will initially launch with a limited number of digital assets that include the usual suspect Bitcoin, Ripple’s XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Ethereum will be added in the near future.
Japan’s FSA: Bitcoin may not be a virtual currency
The FSA is gearing to adopt a new stance – Bitcoin should no longer be described as virtual currency. In a meeting held on March 4, Professor Iwashita Goto of the Public Policy Graduate School of Kyoto University urged members to see the largest cryptocurrency differently.
The Professor argues that Bitcoin has become more than a medium of exchange due to its quality that goes beyond state borders.
“I don’t think it would be worthwhile to call Bitcoin [a] virtual currency,” he said.