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Morning News: Telegram ICO Price Hike, Cryptojackers Run Riot in Japan

  • Report: Next Round of Telegram ICO “Will See Prices Triple”
  • “Cryptojacking Now Commonplace in Japan”
  • Singapore Considers Crypto Regulations
  • S Korean Banks Refuse Crypto-backed Loans
  • S Korean Cryptocurrency Miner Arrested

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.

Report: Next Round of Telegram ICO “Will See Prices Triple”
Bloomberg reports that chat app Telegram will triple prices in its next funding round, as the popularity of its forthcoming Gram token grows. The encrypted platform is the de facto app of the cryptocurrency community, and was founded by Pavel Durov, the so-called “Russian Mark Zuckerberg.” Durov says he recently raised USD 850 million from the ICO’s latest round, where Grams were offered at 37 cents for large-scale investors. However, per “two potential investors who declined to be identified, citing confidentiality agreements with the company,” a new round that could close in early March will see tokens sold at a price of USD 1.33.

Security Company: “Cryptojacking Now Commonplace in Japan”
Japanese antivirus provider Trend Micro says instances of cryptojacking are on the rise in the country. The company says hackers are infecting Japanese computers with viruses that force browsers to run cryptocurrency mining software. The company says some 135,400 PCs and laptops were infected with such viruses in the final quarter of last year, a figure that is 16 times as high as the numbers reported in the same period in 2016.

Singapore Central Bank Considers Crypto Regulations
The Singaporean central bank may move to introduce cryptocurrency trading regulations, following suit with countries like South Korea and China. Per Reuters, Ong Chong Tee, the Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) of Singapore’s Monetary Authority, said, “We are assessing if additional regulations are required in the area of investor protection.”

S Korean Banks Refuse Crypto-backed Loans
South Korean banks are declining to issue loans to the country’s many cryptocurrency investors – as they refuse to accept cryptocurrency as collateral. Media outlet Money Today reports that fluctuating market prices mean banks have trouble placing an exact value on cryptocurrency funds. Another obstacle, say bankers, is cryptocurrency’s difficult legal status in the country. Bitcoin and altcoins are not illegal under Korean law, but they are not recognized as financial assets. A third factor, says an employee at an online bank, is the fact that banks cannot link directly to cryptocurrency wallets or exchange platforms. Banks believe they should be allowed to claim or withdraw funds if a loanee who has used cryptocurrency as collateral defaults on payments.

S Korean Cryptocurrency Miner Arrested for Breech of Business Laws
A South Korean man has been arrested after police discovered him operating an illegal cryptocurrency mine at an industrial complex. Per media outlet Kyongbuk Ilbo, the man rented part of a factory in the Gyeongsan General Industrial Complex, in North Gyeongsang Province, in December last year, where he installed 100 computers and ran cryptocurrency mining software. Cryptocurrency mining is not illegal under South Korean law, but police say the man had violated business regulations. Under the terms of the Industrial Cluster Development and Factory Establishment Act, industrial complex residents must notify management of their activities and obtain necessary business licenses. Police say suspicions were raised after a spike in energy consumption was reported at the site.

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