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Morning News: Japanese Exchanges Suspension Risk, SEC Wants New Powers

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read

Reports: Japanese Regulator Poised to Suspend Crypto Exchanges SEC Wants More Powers over Crypto Exchanges South Korean Mayoral Candidate Pledges to Create Cryptocurrency Japanese Banks to Launch Blockchain Payments and Transfer Service

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.

Reports: Japanese Regulator Poised to Suspend Crypto Exchanges
“More than one” Japanese cryptocurrency exchange platform may be hit with a suspension of business order in the days ahead, per media reports from the likes of Nikkei, Yomiuri and Mainichi. The media outlets say the country’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has concluded its wide-ranging series of on-site inspections of the country’s 32 exchanges following January’s massive Coincheck hack. A number of exchanges were handed business improvement orders, but it appears that FSA follow-ups have uncovered as-yet-unresolved issues pertaining to security and customer refund policies. Nikkei claims that five platforms have proved “particularly problematic,” and that the FSA may even consider winding-up orders. Mainichi, however, claims two platforms will receive business improvement orders with “multiple” others facing possible suspension.

US Regulator Wants More Powers over Cryptocurrency Exchanges
American financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says cryptocurrency exchanges will have to register with regulatory bodies and abide by federal securities laws. The SEC says it will apply the same legislation that it uses to regulate securities to cryptocurrency-related businesses, including exchange platforms and wallet services. The move echoes a similar announcement last year from the Japanese government, which requires all new exchange platforms to register with its own financial regulator. CNBC quotes a cryptocurrency litigation lawyer at Morrison Cohen as saying, “It’s one more message from the SEC that they view coins as securities and encourage everyone in the space to follow securities laws.”

South Korean Mayoral Candidate Pledges to Create Blockchain-powered Cryptocurrency
Kang Dong-gu, one of the leading candidates for the mayor of Seoul satellite city Suwon says he wants to turn Suwon into a “cryptocurrency hub” – and has pledged to create a blockchain-powered, city-issued “Suwon Coin.” Kang was part of the electoral campaign team that saw South Korean president Moon Jae-in sweep to power in a landslide general election win last year. Kang says, if elected, he will commission a huge new technical park in the city, labeling his ambitious project a “Korean Silicon Valley,” and says his Suwon Coin scheme will “provide a boost for the local economy.” Many of South Korea’s biggest tech companies are based in Suwon, including Samsung Electronics. Mayoral elections will be held on June 13. Kang is one of the three leading candidates currently being considered for nomination by the ruling Democratic Party, who are widely expected to retain the mayorship of Suwon.

Japanese Banks to Launch Blockchain Payments and Transfer Service this Year
NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, says two of the country’s largest banks, Resona Bank and Suruga Bank, will join forces with SBI Sumishin Net Bank, a subsidiary of financial giant SBI Group, for a new service platform powered by blockchain technology. Operators say some 61 financial companies have also signed up to collaborate on the platform, which may roll out in autumn this year. The service will allow bank customers to transfer money on a blockchain platform via a smartphone app, allowing for low fees and transfers made outside normal banking hours. The platform will also allow users to send money to other accounts using mobile phone numbers instead of account numbers. SBI, which recently announced it would be pushing back the launch of an ambitious ICO project, has shown considerable enthusiasm for all things blockchain and cryptocurrency-related, and last week snapped up a 40% share in CoolBitX, a Taiwanese cold wallet provider.