Hong Kong Stock Market Regulator ‘Reluctant’ to Greenlight Bitmain IPO, Sources Report

Hong Kong stock market regulator is reportedly reluctant to allow Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in the city. Local English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) made this claim in an article published Dec. 19, with reference to anonymous sources.

Citing two “sources familiar with the matter,” SCMP poured more cold water on the plans of mining giant Bitmain to go public, just a day after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) told Cointelegraph that any hesitation on part of the company was “rumors.”

According to the publication’s sources, Hong Kong’s stock market regulator thinks it is “premature for any cryptocurrency trading platform – or business associated with the industry – to raise funds through an IPO in Hong Kong before the proper regulatory framework is in place.”

As a result, SCMP suggests, current conditions “could be an insurmountable hurdle” for Bitmain and other cryptocurrency companies planning to launch an IPO.

Controversy has surrounded the mining giant’s IPO plans ever since rumors about them leaked into the community earlier this year.

Various factors — such as alleged poor sales — have already contributed to doubts about the likelihood that the IPO will be successful.

HKEX meanwhile repeated its refusal to comment on the Bitmain case when queried by SCMP.

Article First Published here

Japan’s Financial Regulator Expands to Handle Influx of Crypto Exchange License Demand

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) plans to bolster its workforce by 12 personnel to better handle the growing influx of applications for crypto exchange licenses, Reuters Japan reported September 12.

At a crypto exchange study group meeting Wednesday, the FSA’s vice commissioner for policy coordination, Kiyotaka Sasaki, said that the agency is currently conducting its oversight of crypto exchanges with a team of around 30 people, whose work includes the review of license applications.

Yet Sasaki reportedly stressed that with over 160 firms currently awaiting review, the dedicated number of personnel is insufficient, saying the agency would need to add 12 further persons in 2019 to handle its “biggest problem” – the burgeoning number of license applications.

According to a document released after the meeting, the FSA has to date been reviewing sixteen cases, twelve of which withdrew their application at the FSA’s request and one of which has been rejected. Three, including Coincheck — which notoriously suffered the largest hack in crypto industry history this January — await a final decision.

The document further states that the agency plans to refine its risk profiling mechanisms as part of its “ongoing in-depth monitoring” of the exchange space, and to work increasingly closely with related ministries and agencies vis-a-vis non-registered firms, both domestic and overseas.

The document highlights concerns over insufficient anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorism financing prevention measures among exchanges, and points to other concerns regarding business models, risk management and compliance, internal audits, and corporate governance.

As previously reported, the FSA published the results of its on-site inspections of crypto exchange operators last month, finding that  the total digital assets of domestic exchanges have surged to 792.8 billion yen ($7.1 billion) — an over six-fold increase within the space of one year.

Meanwhile, as today’s document reiterates, most exchanges’ system personnel are fewer than 20 people, meaning that one employee on average was found to be managing digital assets worth 3.3 billion yen ($29.6 million).

Article First Published here

Korea's Financial Regulator Wants to Use the Blockchain for Stock Trading

South Korea’s financial watchdog is advocating for a blockchain-based stock trading system.

The Financial Supervisory Service’s (FSS) appeal was part of a new study published by the agency on Thursday, which was first reported on by Korea JoongAng Daily. The study reportedly encourages South Korean regulatory agencies and companies to collaborate on the development of the proposed system, and also examines the use of the blockchain by stock operators around the globe.

The usage of blockchain in stock trading is already well established, with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) first trialing distributed ledger tech for its settlement and clearing system, called CHESS, in 2016. ASX said in April that it expects to roll out the new system in 2020.

Likewise, U.S. stock market Nasdaq unveiled a blockchain-based private securities platform in 2017, and the London Stock Exchange experimented with using the blockchain to replace paper trading certificates later that year. The Japan Exchange Group (JPX) also founded a consortium to explore blockchain applications to capital markets infrastructure in 2017.

The study reportedly noted that the exploration of blockchain use cases in Korea has only recently started, and that cooperation between private and public companies would be integral to the success of any future system.

“There should be no barrier between public institutions and private companies in developing a blockchain system,” the FSS was quoted as saying.

Stock market display image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Article First Published here

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill Urgently


South Korea’s top financial regulator has urged lawmakers to pass the country’s first crypto bill quickly, citing the urgent need from rising incidents at crypto exchanges. There are currently several crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Crypto Law Urgently Needed

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlySouth Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), has urged lawmakers to “pass the country’s first cryptocurrency bill quickly,” Bloomberg reported this week. According to the agency, “Korea urgently needs crypto laws as thefts rise,” the publication conveyed, adding that “local exchanges are rife with security flaws and money laundering risks.”

Hong Seong-ki, head of the FSC virtual currency response team, said in an interview:

We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money laundering prevention and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible.

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlyThe South Korean government first announced crypto regulation in the second half of last year. In September, initial coin offerings (ICOs) were banned. A crypto task force was established at that time “to improve the transparency of transactions and improve the legal system to protect consumers,” Joongang Daily described.

Since then, the FSC and other regulators have announced additional crypto regulatory measures including the real-name system and trading restrictions on minors and foreigners. However, “the problem is that these announcements have shaken the market but do not provide a proper legal framework for investor protection or market development,” the news outlet pointed out.

According to the publication, there are currently five crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.

Inadequate Security Measures

Hong was further quoted by Bloomberg claiming:

While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security.

In June, two Korean crypto exchanges suffered security breaches. Coinrail was hacked on June 10 with an estimated damage of 45 billion won (~US$40 million). Bithumb, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, was hacked on June 20 with an estimated damage of about 19 billion won (~$17 million).

Putting FSC in Charge of Crypto Exchanges

South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill UrgentlyFollowing the security breaches at Coinrail and Bithumb, the Korean government immediately launched an investigation into their causes.

The FSC subsequently pushed for a bill to require crypto exchanges to report to and be regularly supervised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is under its supervision. “This is the first time government agencies have said they will oversee virtual currency exchanges,” Maeil Business wrote.

Emphasizing that he personally “wouldn’t recommend putting money in cryptocurrencies,” Hong reiterated:

FSC oversight wouldn’t imply an official endorsement of crypto trading. If the bill is passed, the regulator will focus on policing the exchanges rather than promoting their growth.

Meanwhile, the commission itself is undergoing a major restructuring. A bureau dedicated to financial innovation including cryptocurrencies will be established for policy initiatives, the FSC recently announced.

Do you think South Korea needs to pass a crypto bill urgently? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSC.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

Article First Published here

Vietnam's Securities Regulator Warns Industry to Avoid Crypto Activities

Vietnam’s securities regulator has warned industry companies and funds in the country to avoid activities related to cryptocurrencies.

In an announcement this week, Viet Nam News reported Wednesday, the State Securities Commission (SSC) said firms should avoid issuance, transactions or brokerage of cryptos, adding that they must observe laws on money laundering.

The warning relates to an April 2018 Prime Minister’s Directive on strengthening the management of activities related to cryptocurrencies. Vietnam banned the use of cryptos in payments in October 2017, as CoinDesk reported, despite suggestions earlier that year that the prime minister might legally recognize bitcoin for that purpose.

Back in April, the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Vietnam, also banned commercial banks and payment service providers from making transactions with cryptocurrencies, arguing that such activities could increase the risk of money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion, Viet Nam News states.

In a further move aimed to restrict crypo activities in the country, the central bank last week supported a move to block, at least temporarily, the import of mining devices into the country.

The suspension was initially proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in June, which argued that, since cryptocurrency miners are not on the list of prohibited imports, it has become difficult for local authorities to enforce current restrictions on cryptocurrencies.

Ho Chi Minh City image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.

Article First Published here

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto


Vietnam’s securities watchdog has required local businesses not to engage in transactions with cryptocurrencies. The announcement follows a directive issued by the country’s prime minister earlier this year aimed at tightening what Vietnamese regulators call the management of crypto activities.

Also read: China Releases Ranking of 31 Crypto Projects

Securities Watchdog Asks Companies to Obey AML Rules

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) has required relevant companies and funds not to engage in any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies. The measure, referred to by local media as a ban, affects public companies, securities companies, fund management firms and securities investment funds. They have also been asked to obey anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From Crypto

According to the SSC, the announcement is based on Directive No 10/CT-TTg signed on April 11 by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Viet Nam News reported. The document puts an emphasis on strengthening the management of activities related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The outlet also notes that the use of digital currencies is prohibited in Vietnam.

Not the First Anti-Crypto Measure

This is not the first administrative measure aimed at curbing crypto activities in the country. In April, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) banned commercial banks, payment services providers and intermediaries from making transactions involving cryptocurrencies. The central bank also issued a warning stating that such activities may increase the risks of money laundering, terrorism financing, trade fraud and tax evasion.

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoLast October, the SBV declared that cryptos do not represent a “lawful means of payment” in the Asian country. Its proposals in that respect, which were submitted to the government in Hanoi, included a ban on the issuance, distribution, and use of cryptocurrencies as well as criminal prosecution and fines for their users.

Recently, citing the familiar argument – the need to improve the management of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam – the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the SBV reached an agreement to suspend the import of crypto mining equipment. The proposal came from the Finance Ministry in June, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.

Fraud and Scam in Vietnam

Vietnamese Regulator Tells Firms and Funds to Stay Away From CryptoIn the past couple of years, the Vietnamese mining sector has been growing rapidly leading to a significant increase in the number of imported mining rigs. Digital coin minting, however, has caused concern in Hanoi. In May, close to 150 Vietnamese government agencies, financial institutions and businesses took part in a large cyber-security drill aimed at preventing the spread of mining malware.

Crypto-related fraud has played a role in shaping the current attitude of Vietnamese authorities and regulators towards the crypto space. The country recently had to deal with one of the largest scams in crypto history in which more than 30,000 people were defrauded into investing in the Ifan and Pincoin currencies.

What are your expectations for the future of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the SSC.

Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

Article First Published here

Korea’s Financial Regulator Will Establish a Positive Cryptocurrency Policy Body

South Korea’s primary financial regulator will establish a new policy-making body centered on nurturing Korea’s fintech industry with a specific focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is set to establish a new policymaking body dubbed the Financial Innovation Bureau to proactively help the fintech industry while formulating policies for the cryptocurrency sector, the Korea Times reports.

The decision to establish the new body was taken during a cabinet meeting between the FSC and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety this week amid an organizational reshuffle to better safeguard investors while nurturing financial innovation bought on by new technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency.

An FSC official told the publication:

“The new Financial Innovation Bureau will also be tasked with policy initiatives for financial innovation, such as innovating financial services using fintech or big data, and responses to new developments and challenges such as cryptocurrencies.”

While the new body will see a temporary life-span of two years, it will markedly cover South Korea’s existing cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, the FSB confirmed.

Pointedly, the new body will look to adopt the financial regulator’s recent positive outlook toward the sector wherein domestic cryptocurrency exchanges could soon be faced with guidelines similar to commercial financial institutions as lawmakers seek to fast-track bills regulating the sector.

Despite a domestic ICO ban – taking a cue from China – South Korea is also looking at loosening previous restrictions in sticking with the wider G20 directive of uniform global regulations among member bodies. The Korea Times report adds that the regulator’s stance is ‘believed to side with the Financial Stability Board’s recent report that claimed crypto assets ‘do not pose material risk to global financial stability.’”

As reported earlier this week, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) – an international G20 watchdog and body to coordinate regulation for member nations – published its report on cryptocurrencies. FSB chairman and Bank of England governor Mark Carney called for ‘vigilant monitoring in light of the speed of market developments’ of the sector.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Follow us on Telegram or subscribe to our newsletter here.
• Join CCN’s crypto community for $9.99 per month, click here.
• Want exclusive analysis and crypto insights from Hacked.com? Click here.
• Open Positions at CCN: Full Time and Part Time Journalists Wanted.


Article First Published here