Morning News: Monster Profit of Exchanges, Blockchain Phone Deal
Bithumb, Upbit Post Monster Profits for 2017 Foxconn Subsidiary to Manufacture Sirin’s Blockchain Phone Japan Wants to Close Crypto Transfer Loopholes Commission Orders S Korean Exchanges to Change Customer Policies
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.
Bithumb, Upbit Post Monster Profits for 2017
News outlet Seoul Shinmun reports that, per the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea’s leading exchanges posted massive profits, putting them on a par with the country’s biggest tech companies. Bithumb’s net profits for 2017 were USD 402 million, with Upbit’s figures reaching USD 103 million. Seoul Shinmun says that “big transfer fees” have helped boost the exchanges’ profitability. Upbit’s profits were 86% as large as that of its parent company, the Kakao Group. Bithumb’s net profits, meanwhile, were over half the size of Naver’s (South Korea’s answer to Google). The media outlet says that, as of late last year, many exchange platforms reduced their transaction fees, and have looked to diversify their blockchain offerings.
Foxconn Subsidiary to Manufacture Sirin’s Blockchain Phone
Sirin Labs, the maker of the Finney, a device it calls “the world’s first” blockchain-powered smartphone, has struck a deal with a FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of electronics company Foxconn. The deal will see FIH manufacture the Finney phone, with Sirin claiming it has already received 25,000 pre-orders. Sirin says it hopes to sell around 100,000 devices in total, and claims to have received numerous orders from countries such as Vietnam and Turkey. The Finney is targeted at cryptocurrency investors, and features technology that allow for cryptocurrencies storage, lets users shop online in crypto and enables commission-free crypto transfers. Sirin also hopes to license its technology to other manufacturers. A deal with Chinese giant Huawei last month appeared to be on the cards – although neither party has yet made any sort of formal announcement on the matter.
Japan’s Finance Ministry Wants to Close Crypto Transfer Loopholes
The Japanese Ministry of Finance is set to amend foreign exchange laws in June this year, forcing all foreign corporations and individuals based in Japan to report cryptocurrency transactions of USD 283,000 or more. Japan is one of the few countries in the world that recognizes cryptocurrencies as financial assets, which means overseas transfers should be reported. However, the ministry says companies have been taking advantage of legal loopholes that only require parties to declare yen or foreign currency transactions of USD 283,000 or more – and failing to declare crypto deals. The ministry says that, if funds that companies or individuals send or receive are worth USD 283,000 or more on the day of transfer, they must be reported. Media outlet Nihon Keizai Shimbun quotes a ministry official as saying, “If the regulations are clear, it will be easier for everyone to use cryptocurrency as a means of payment.”
Fair Trade Commission Orders S Korean Exchanges to Change Customer Policies
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has ordered 12 of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges to make sweeping changes to their customer policies – or face prosecution. Among the exchanges listed were market leaders such as Bithumb, Coinone and Coinnest. These included clauses stating that exchanges were to be absolved of responsibility in the event of damage caused by hacking attacks, as well as server or communication difficulties. In an interview with Yonhap News TV, the Commissioner of Fair Trade Commission’s Terms and Conditions Department, Bae Hyun-jung, said, “Exchanges should assume responsibility for faults in their own security systems, server issues, staff negligence and communication faults.” The FTC also asked Bithumb and Coinnest to remove clauses that stipulate that should a user fail to log into their account for over six months, their cryptocurrency funds are automatically converted to Korean won and returned to them.