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Morning News: Two Exchanges to Close, Bithumb in Social Media Pay Plan

  • Two Crypto Exchanges Set to Close after Pressure from Regulator
  • Bithumb Wants to Allow Crypto Pay through Social Media
  • S Korean Exchange Loses Financial Backer
  • Tech Company to Enable Crypto Pay at S Korean ‘Silicon Valley’

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.

Two Crypto Exchanges Set to Close after Pressure from Regulator
Two Japanese cryptocurrency exchange platforms are set to close after failing to meet regulator-issued business improvement orders. Tokyo GateWay, which operates out of the country’s capital, and Fukuoka’s Mr Exchange were both established prior to the government’s announcement in September last year that all new exchanges should register with the country’s regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA). The government allowed a total of 16 pre-existing exchanges to continue operating, with the proviso that they apply for FSA registration. However, on March 8, the FSA ordered both exchanges to step up their security operations or face possible suspension. However, it appears the demands were too stringent for Tokyo GateWay and Mr Exchange, who have now withdrawn their applications and will look to wind up their operations. Three other platforms (Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station) have previously withdrawn registration applications, and numerous Japanese media sources say more of the 16 original exchanges could be set to follow suit.

S Korea’s Bithumb Wants to Allow Crypto Pay through Social Media
South Korean exchange platform Bithumb says it is preparing to unveil a peer-to-peer, blockchain-powered platform that supports transactions and payments through social media sites, web communities and blogs. Bithumb has tentatively named the platform SNS Pay, and says it will allow customers to make cryptocurrency purchases directly from their social media pages and chat apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, KakaoTalk, Naver Blogs and Pintrest – without having to navigate to separate e-commerce sites. FN Times quotes a Bithumb spokesperson as saying, “The SNS Pay platform will look to meet the needs of people aged 20-39, who are very much into social media.”

S Korean Exchange Loses Financial Backer
Major South Korean network management firm and software maker Team Moda has withdrawn its bid to acquire a 25% stake in Zest C&T, the company behind South Korea’s Coin Zest exchange platform. The move potentially jeopardizes the future of the platform, which was set for launch this month after beta testing in February. The scheme also involved plans for an Initial Coin Offering and cross-company collaborations. The Team Moda deal was originally struck in January this year, when the two companies also announced they had struck an investment deal with gaming giant HanbitSoft (the company behind South Korea’s first wave of e-sports mania) – with the latter’s chairman Kim Young-man taking a particularly keen interest in Coin Zest. The exchange platform has claimed its security network was peerless in South Korea, and had acquired SO27001 certification – considered by many to be the leading industry standard for information protection.

Tech Company to Enable Crypto Pay at S Korean ‘Silicon Valley’
South Korean gaming, mobile payment and cryptocurrency conglomerate JNU Group has announced it will enable cryptocurrency payment at hundreds of restaurants, coffee shops and stores in Seoul’s answer to Silicon Valley, the Gasan Digital Complex, via a JNU mobile app. The complex is home to thousands of IT companies, ranging from larger ventures to smaller startups. In total, some 150,000 people are thought to work in the complex. JNU will enable vendors to accept pay via a smartphone app called JPAY Silver. The company says it hopes to have its payment platform operational by “mid-April,” and will first look to allow payments in the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and Monero cryptocurrencies – with support for at least 16 other tokens set to follow. The JNU Group also plans to integrate its new system with its blockchain-powered gaming cryptocurrency platform.

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