Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. has followed in the footsteps of America’s JP Morgan Chase as it plans to launch its own stablecoin pegged 1:1 with the Yen. Bloomberg sources reported that Singapore’s GIC wealth fund participated in a $300 million financing round of America’s cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. A founder of a Chinese mining pool claims that China is the best place to engage in Bitcoin mining activities.
F2Pool founder claims China is the best place to mine Bitcoins
Mao Shixing, the co-founder of F2Pool cryptocurrency mining pool believes that China is the best place on earth to mine Bitcoin. The founder of the mining pool has spoken about the difficulties miners have faced due to the plummeting price of Bitcoin. He estimates that 800,000 miners have been forced to abandon their operations.
F2Pool has never gone down the path of closing shop thanks to their impeccable business strategy that has allowed them to have a better understanding of the market and ensure that they only pick the most profitable digital assets to mine, said Shixing.
He attributed the location of their mining facility as one of the key drivers for their success. Their facilities are based in China – which he believes is the best place to mine cryptocurrencies – because skilled manpower is readily available.
Furthermore, electricity is much cheaper in the Asian country than in most parts of the world. The country is also home to some of the largest manufacturers in Bitcoin mining equipment. Companies such as Bitmain, Canaan Creative, and Ebang International are located in China.
However, the Chinese government is very skeptical of the emerging digital asset market and has outlawed cryptocurrency activities such as mining.
Major Japanese bank Mizuho launching a stablecoin pegged to the Yen
Japanese major holding company Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. announced that it is launching a bespoke stablecoin for payments and remittance services on the first day of March.
The cryptocurrency will be launched in partnership with nearly 60 financial institutions – which have a combined 56 million user accounts – and an already existing consumer base. The 56 million accounts will be linked to digital wallet where Mizuho’s stablecoin will be stored.
The bank’s stablecoin is dubbed the J-Coin and will be managed by a dedicated app known as J-Coin Pay. According to the news publication who first broke the news on Feb. 21, the stablecoin will be on par with the Japanese Yen. The transaction fees between bank accounts and the stablecoin’s wallets are set to zero.
“The arrival of all these new entrants [into the digital payments space] is eroding the common-sense notion that payment services are provided by financial institutions,” said Mizuho CEO Tatsufumi Sakai
The users of the J-Coin wallet will be spared undergoing credit checks and even users below the age of 18 are allowed to use the stablecoin service.
However, the bank is entering a market that is already penetrated by other players such as Line.
The financial giant employs more than 56,000 people and has more than $1.8 trillion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2018.
Money laundering cases linked to cryptocurrency up tenfold in Japan
More than 7,000 cases of money laundering with links to digital assets were reported to the relevant authorities in Japan last year, reported Japan Times.
The figure spiked more than ten times from the 669 reported between April and December in 2017, the time when cryptocurrency exchanges were required to report any suspicious transactions that could aid in moving illegally obtained money.
Cryptocurrency transactions were designed to be fast and anonymous. The police claim that digital assets were used in criminal transactions involving child pornography, drugs, etc.
It is reported that out of the suspicious transactions, users with different names and birth dates had the same ID photo, a clear indication that foul play was involved.
Japan is one of the most unfortunate countries in the crypto space. Two of the biggest hacks in the young history of the cryptocurrency market took place in Japan. Mt. Gox exchange lost 850,000 Bitcoins in 2014 and Coincheck lost almost $530 million in NEM currency in January 2018 hack.
Unconfirmed: Singapore’s wealth fund invested in Coinbase’s $300 million seed funding round
GIC Sovereign Fund, a wealth fund established by the Singaporean government in 1981 is rumored to have participated in Coinbase’s $300 million financing round in October last year, reported Bloomberg on Feb. 28.
The U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange openly stated that the funding round was led by Tiger Global Management with the participation of Wellington Management and Andreessen Horowitz. However, the exchange did not disclose the participation of the sovereign fund.
The two parties have not yet commented on the matter.
GIC has previously shown its interest in investing in technology startups and growth companies but is not keen on investing in cryptocurrencies.
At a briefing in July last year, the fund’s chief investment officer Jeffrey Jaensubhakij said,
“Cryptocurrencies are not issued by any government and are not backed by any asset or issuer. There is no regulatory safeguard for investments in cryptocurrencies. We consider the surges and changes in prices of cryptocurrencies to be driven by speculation.”
The wealth fund joins a line up of private institutions, university endowments, and government pension funds investing in the crypto sector.
Thailand capital markets regulatory agency bans three major cryptocurrencies
Thailand’s capital markets regulator has banned three major cryptocurrencies as a means of investing in initial coin offerings and as base currencies in trading pairs.
Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly banned Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC) from eligibility in ICOs, investments, and trading pairs with other assets on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Prior to the ban, the capital markets regulator announced the approval of four digital assets as a means of investing in ICOs or as base currency against other digital assets. The approved cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Stellar (XLM).
“In any case, the list update has no impact on investors or digital asset businesses because so far no ICO has been launched and the operating digital asset exchanges have never used BCH, ETC or LTC as base trading pairs,” said the SEC.
The regulatory agency did not specify why it had reduced the list of eligible tokens but claims that a number of factors were considered before arriving at the decision.
Thailand is making moves to emerge as one of the major players in the Southeast Asian cryptocurrency sector.
China rates EOS and Tron as the best crypto assets ahead of Bitcoin and Ethereum
A Chinese state-backed working group has rated EOS as the world’s best decentralization application (Dapp)-focused crypto project ahead of Tron, which came second.
The report was released by China’s Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID) which operates under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The report came after the state-backed organization analyzed 35 blockchain projects. The world’s first and original digital asset Bitcoin came up 13th in the report after it was previously ranked 15th.
CCID has been ranking EOS on the top spot in three aspects – basic technology, application, and innovation – since June last year.
Tron, the second most valuable digital asset according to CCID report is headed by the young Justin Sun who is serious about expanding the blockchain protocol. He acquired BitTorrent for more than $120 million last year and constantly takes a swipe at Ethereum.
Sun was impressed with the rankings and took to Twitter to celebrate the news.
“TRON is ranked as the second-best crypto project by The Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology,” tweeted Tron.