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Morning News: Buterin in Seoul, N Korea ‘Cryptojacking Pirate Manga’

  • Ethereum Top Brass Meets S Korea’s Chief Fintech Policymaker
  • Bithumb Unveils Deal with Mobile Coupon Company
  • North Korean Cryptojackers Mining on Pirate Manga Sites
  • S Korean Local Police Launch Crackdown on Illegal Crypto Mining

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.

Ethereum Top Brass Meets S Korea’s Chief Fintech Policymaker
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has attended a special meeting of South Korea’s Industrial Revolution 4.0 TF government taskforce, held at the National Assembly Hall parliament building. Buterin spoke on public policy and blockchain-related matters at a meeting with MP Song Hee-kyoung, the taskforce’s chairwoman, and was accompanied by Ethereum Foundation Executive Director Aya Miyaguchi. The Ethereum duo have been particularly active in East Asia of late, and last week held talks with Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono, following a workshop in Taiwan. The taskforce is South Korea’s chief blockchain and fintech policy-making body. Song, meanwhile, has recently returned to Seoul after traveling abroad for talks with executives at Amazon and Facebook. Buterin will also address a blockchain forum in the capital before flying out.

Security Expert: North Korean Cryptojackers Mining on Pirate Manga Sites
Japanese security firm Trend Micro has warned that users of sites that host pirated Manga titles are helping raise funds for the North Korean government. The company says Japanese-language pirated Manga sites often hijack browsers, forcing computing power usage levels to 100%, mining the Monero cryptocurrency for servers and accounts in North Korea. Trend Micro says the hermit state has been raising funds with cryptojacking software on sites hosting pirated Japanese manga sites since late autumn last year. The report follows a claim last week by a Japanese market research firm who warned that cryptojacking software was rife on pirate sites – and that such sites were bringing the Japanese Manga industry to its knees.

S Korea’s Bithumb Unveils Deal with Mobile Coupon Company
Exchange platform Bithumb has struck a deal with mobile coupon provider WinCube that will allow Bithumb customers to purchase WinCube coupons. Bithumb’s deal will allow its customers to buy 12,500 digital vouchers from a total of 600 brands, with purchases available in 13 cryptocurrencies. Customers can buy WinCube vouchers in crypto through the Bithumb Gift Store. WinCube partners include leading soft drink manufacturers, restaurants, convenience stores, cinemas and high street shops. Customers can also use crypto to buy vouchers for use online or via mobile apps, internet services, mobile operators and chat apps, such as KakaoTalk, Naver, LINE and OneStore. Bithumb has announced a slew of partnership deals in the past few weeks, and appears to be beginning April with the same fervor with which it ended March.

S Korean Local Police Launch Crackdown on Illegal Crypto Mining
Police in Gwangju, in South Korea’s Jeolla Province, have arrested 14 people from 13 companies for illegally mining cryptocurrencies at industrial complexes in and around the city. Mining is not illegal in South Korea, but as industrial complexes are provided subsidized energy for strictly industrial purposes, police say the companies have broken the law. Police found six offending companies in the Hanam Industrial Complex, three in the Nano Industrial Complex, three in Pyeongdong Industrial Complex and one in the Jeongok Industrial Complex. Companies are said to have each installed anywhere between 10-350 mining computers in facilities at the complexes reserved for factories. A Gwangju police spokesperson told reporters, “We have been urging the government to punish the landlords of industrial complexes that knowingly allow this sort of illegal mining activity to go on.”

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