Morning News: S Korean Mining Boom, Crypto Popularity Soars
S Korean Altcoin Mining Boom Predicted Crypto Popularity Reaching All-time Highs in S Korea Square’s Cash App Could Let Customers Pay with Bitcoin Report: Pirated Manga Sites Force Readers to Mine Crypto
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.
S Korean Altcoin Mining Boom Predicted as Hardware Retailer Profits Soar
South Korea’s recent cryptocurrency slump has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the country’s miners, with hardware retailers posting record profits. Chief amongst these retailers include motherboard and graphics card retailers JCH Systems, whose sales grew by 50% last year. Investment adviser Taurus Investment & Securities has forecasted year-on-year sales growth of 27%, and has predicted that operating profits in JCH will rise by 35%. A Taurus researcher commented, “The demand for altcoin virtual currency mining equipment is expected to grow in Korea, coinciding with expansion in the gaming industry.”
Crypto Popularity Reaching All-time Highs in S Korea
Cryptocurrency investment is now enjoying phenomenal popularity in South Korea, with crypto figures gaining fast against stock market investment. Per a survey by researcher Nielsen, figures show cryptocurrency investment is now 75% as popular as the country’s stock market. Nielsen found that users aged 20-39 accounted for over 53% of investors, and that the average Korean investor now spends 409 minutes a month on cryptocurrency-related websites or apps. The most popular apps are those operated by currency exchange platforms. Market leader Bithumb has some 3.3 million users, with 2.71 million users preferring its nearest rival, Upbit.
Square’s Cash App Could Let Customers Pay with Bitcoin
Jack Dorsey, CEO of e-payment service Square, says the company’s Cash App may soon allow for customers to make payments to vendors in bitcoin. Per Bloomberg, Dorsey said he thinks “bitcoin offers an opportunity to get more people access to the financial system.” Dorsey, who is also CEO of Twitter, has shown a keenness to integrate Square’s services with cryptocurrencies – with a particular preference for bitcoin. Square last month announced that the Cash App would also allow users to buy and sell bitcoin, with purchases of up to USD 10,000 a week permitted on the platform.
Report: Pirated Manga Sites Force Readers to Mine Crypto
Illegal sites that allow users free access to pirated Japanese manga titles may be riddled with cryptojacking software, says media outlet Abema TIMES. The outlet reports that pirate manga sites are crippling the Japanese comics industry, with fewer users now paying for top titles, and revenues down 13% last year from 2016. Market research company Video Research Interactive says some 42% of teens now regularly access pirate manga sites. However, a security company says such pirate sites are notorious for running hidden cryptocurrency mining programs that force users’ browsers to mine while they are reading online titles, sending their earnings to pirates’ accounts or servers.