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Morning News: Japan Keen to Lead G20 Talks, Microgrid Funding Spike

  • Japan to Take Initiative in G20’s Crypto Talks
  • Energy Trading Startups Get Massive Funding Boost
  • Kakao Group Launches Blockchain Subsidiary, ICO to Follow?
  • US Marshals to Auction BTC 2,170

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.

Japan to Take Initiative in G20’s Crypto Regulation Talks
Cryptocurrency regulation will be on the agenda at the forthcoming summit of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Argentina (March 19-20), with Japan keen to lead the conversation, per media outlet Sankei. While Western countries will look to introduce regulations aimed at fighting money laundering and fraud, Sankei says Japan wants to share findings from its recent government inspections of cryptocurrency exchanges, and will look to suggest regulations that will eliminate short selling, market manipulation and misinformation. Per the media outlet, the government is not seeking regulations that would suffocate the market. A treasury official said, “Cryptocurrency has great potential. It is not only a risk – it is also an opportunity."

Report: Blockchain-powered Energy Trading Startups Get Massive Funding Boost
America’s GTM Research has revealed that investors have recently stumped up USD 300 million worth of funding for blockchain-powered energy trading apps, many of which allow users to buy and sell energy in cryptocurrencies. So-called microgrid trading platforms have sprung up (albeit often in pilot form) everywhere from New York to the Philippines, and many claim that peer-to-peer energy trading will help boost small-scale renewable energy projects. GTM says some 122 companies are currently developing products or services for the energy industry, and Q3 saw a huge spike in funding for these startups.

S Korea’s Kakao Group Launches Blockchain Subsidiary, ICO to Follow?
South Korean internet giant Kakao Group, which operates the country’s most popular chat app KakaoTalk and search engine Daum, appears set to launch an ICO for a so-called “Kakao Coin.” The news comes months after the company announced it would be developing its own cryptocurrency exchange platform. Kakao has so far confirmed it will establish a blockchain subsidiary, but has stopped short of outlining what the new company will be tasked with doing – or officially confirming the ICO. News outlet Seoul Economy quotes a Kakao official as saying, “Our specific business plans, such as the ICO, are not yet set in stone." South Korean media sources suggest that if and when a Kakao Coin ICO is issued, it may be launched in Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong, as ICOs are currently illegal under South Korean law.

US Marshals Set for Second Bitcoin Auction of 2018
The United States Marshals Service will auction off a whopping 2,170 bitcoins (USD 24 million) seized in federal, criminal and civil cases on March 19. The auction will be the second of its kind this year, and the marshals’ seventh in total. Bidders are required to register their interest by March 14, and will need to place a USD 200,000 deposit if they wish to participate.

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