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Morning News: BitFlyer Offline for 2hrs; Low-level Security Exchanges

  • BitFlyer Goes Offline for Almost Two Hours
  • Analysts: “Low-level Security” at Crypto Exchanges
  • CME Group: “No Plans to Expand Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Influential Businessman Lashes out at Coincheck and Crypto Traders
  • Ukraine Drafts Blockchain Legislation

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories.

BitFlyer Goes Offline for Almost Two Hours
BitFlyer, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, went offline for around two hours on January 31. The incident left investors, already jumpy after last Friday’s massive Coincheck hack, frustrated and nervous. The company posted a message saying that its website was “temporarily inaccessible” on its Facebook page. Per Nikkei, BitFlyer’s website and trading operations were down from 2:50pm, with customer service staff advising customers to send inquiries via an online form – which was also inaccessible. The website was back online by 4:30pm, however, and trading resumed 20 minutes later. On Facebook, BitFlyer users complained that they were still having difficulties accessing the exchange’s app later on in the day. Meanwhile, the company has also delayed the launch of its Swap For Difference (SFD) tool for minimizing foreign exchange price/spot price differentiation. The SFD tool was scheduled for release last month, but this has now been pushed back to mid-February, as the company works to “make additional adjustments.”

Analysts: South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges Operating with “Low-level Security”
South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are operating with security systems “no more advanced than those of a small internet shopping site,” warn experts. Media outlet Chosun Ilbo reports that Lee Han-sun, of the business school at Korea University, said, “As cryptocurrency exchanges do not make use of the same encryption-based technology that cryptocurrencies themselves make use of, you can only assume that exchanges will continue to be the target of intensive hacking attempts.”
Chosun also quotes Lee Keun-hee, a professor of business administration at Sogang University, as saying, “If cryptocurrency exchanges currently operate outside regulatory systems, that means there is no way for investors to be compensated in the event of a Coincheck-like hack on a Korean exchange. Cryptocurrency trading is currently worth more than the securities market. The time has come to discuss these things in public.”

CME Group: “No Plans to Expand Beyond Bitcoin”
Terry Duffy, the CEO of financial market company CME Group, says the firm currently has “no plans” to expand its cryptocurrency futures trading operations beyond its current bitcoin offering. CME bitcoin contracts are equal to 5 BTC, and volumes are currently averaging some 1,000 contracts a day. Earlier this week, Duff said that CME’s bitcoin futures were “going to be a slow grower.” Speaking to Bloomberg, he reiterated his reluctance to offer trading to “mom and pop” clients, and added, “I don’t want to attract a craze of people [to bitcoin futures trading].”

Influential Japanese Businessman Lashes out at Coincheck and Cryptocurrency Traders
Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Akio Mimura says cryptocurrencies have “come to a crossroads” in Japan following the Coincheck hack last week. Mimura, the former CEO of Nippon Steel, a Japanese steel producer, complained that the number of users who were speculatively trading in cryptocurrencies was increasing fast, and questioned the integrity of both Coincheck and the country’s cryptocurrency investors.

Ukraine Drafts Blockchain Legislation
Konstantin Yarmolenko, the adviser to the head of the Agency for E-Government of Ukraine, has claimed that Ukrainian lawmakers are close to drawing up blockchain legislation, in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Yarmolenko also claimed that
Ukraine is now “a global leader in blockchain” after Canadian blockchain expert Don Tapscott, author of Blockchain Revolution, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the country was part of the “Blockchain Top 14.” The other countries making Tapscott’s list were: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Israel, the UAE, Georgia, Estonia, the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and China.

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