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Morning News: Thailand's Crypto Regulations, Japan’s FM Meets Buterin

  • Thai Minister: Cabinet Has OKed Crypto Regulation Bill
  • Japanese Minister Holds Talks with Buterin
  • Insurer Refuses to Pay Out on Hacked Exchange’s Claim
  • Hackers Demanding Crypto Unleash Sophisticated Sting on Designers

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.

Thai Finance Minister: Cabinet Has OKed Crypto Regulation Bill
Thailand’s finance minister Apisak Tantivorawong says the country’s cabinet has approved a royal decree to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country. The decree now only requires rubber-stamp approval from the country’s king in order to pass into law. The legislation will hand powers to the country’s financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who will soon pass rule over all future Thai Initial Coin Offerings. Investors could also face VAT rates of 7% on all cryptocurrencies and digital tokens-related trading, with capital gains tax charges of up to 15% also possible, per the Bangkok Post. The media outlet also quotes Korn Chatikavanij, chairman of the Thai Fintech Association and the country’s former finance minister, as saying Thai startups may relocate to Singapore to avoid SEC regulations. Korn asked, “Who are the beneficiaries from Thailand’s rules and regulations on crypto-assets?”

Japanese Foreign Minister Holds Talks with Ethereum Founder Buterin
Tokyo’s foreign minister Taro Kono has met with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin in Tokyo. Buterin is wrapping up a tour of East Asia that has also seen him visit Taiwan for a workshop on sharding (a type of database). The Ethereum Foundation’s new Executive Director Aya Miyaguchi was also present at the meeting, and posted a photograph of the trio on her Twitter account, with the caption, “Ethereum meets Japan.” Neither party has revealed any details of the conversation, but a number of major Japanese companies are members of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, and the country recognizes the Ethereum cryptocurrency as a legal means of payment.

S Korean Insurer Refuses to Pay Out on Hacked Exchange’s Claim
South Korean insurance giant DB has said it will not pay out on a USD 3 million claim from the company formerly known as Yubit, a beleaguered exchange platform that last year suffered two crippling hacks. Yubit (previously known as Yapizon), was hit with a USD 4.7 million breach in April, before suffering a USD 16 million hack in December. The company has since filed for bankruptcy and changed its name to CoinBin, but said it was hoping to recoup some of its funds through DB. The exchange platform took out a policy with DB less than three weeks before the attack, but the latter has now dismissed the claim, stating Yubit “broke contractual obligations,” rendering its claim void. The exchange is expected to appeal the decision through the courts, but experts say DB could also counter with insurance fraud litigation.

Hackers Demanding Crypto Unleash Sophisticated Sting on S Korean Designers
Hackers are targeting South Korean design professionals with an elaborate ransomware attack, aiming to swindle unsuspecting victims out of USD 600 in cryptocurrency. Per South Korean IT safety firm ESTSecurity, designers and photographers around the country should be on standby for an email claiming to be from one of the country’s leading graphic designers, named by the media only as “Mr Kim.” Per ESTSecurity, the body of the email contains a complaint, claiming that the recipient infringed on Mr Kim’s copyright during the course of their own work, and includes what appears to be a JPG file, with a legitimate-looking file extension, as evidence. However, if opened, the attachment instead unleashes the GrandCrab 2.0 ransomware program, which immediately encrypts all data on the user’s device. Victims cannot regain access to their data unless they send USD 600 in the Dash cryptocurrency to an as-yet-untraced wallet address.

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