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Morning News: Two Giants Reveal Crypto Plans, Coincheck Woes Deepen

  • Starbucks Keen on Blockchain Technology
  • E-commerce Giant Announces Crypto Plans
  • Lawyers Prepare to Do Battle with Coincheck
  • S Korean Exchange Platform Signs Deal with Mobile Stocks App

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.

Starbucks Keen on Blockchain Technology
Coffee shop chain Starbucks says it could move into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The company’s executive chairman, Howard Schultz, dismissed the idea of bitcoin integration in an interview with media outlet Fox Business. However, he claimed Starbucks could “be one of the first companies to have a proprietary digital currency” integrated into a new Starbucks app. He also enthused about bitcoin’s underpinning technology, saying, “Blockchain technology is probably the rails on which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of.”

E-commerce Giant Announces Crypto Plans
Japanese e-commerce platform Rakuten is set to launch its own cryptocurrency, according to its CEO. Speaking at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Hirofumi Mikigaya said the company’s forthcoming Rakuten Coin currency would use blockchain technology, and allow for online transactions and loyalty point management. Analysts say the move is part of the company’s overseas expansion plans, and could allow international users to use its services. Media outlet Sankei states, “Points accrued with Rakuten’s regular services cannot currently be used overseas. This seems like an attempt to build the foundations for international business expansion.” Rakuten has already invested heavily in sports marketing, and is now the official shirt sponsor of FC Barcelona. The J-League football team that Rakuten owns, Vissel Kobe, recently sealed a deal to bring German international and World Cup winner Lukas Podolski to the club.

Lawyers Prepare to Do Battle with Troubled Japanese Exchange as Police Investigation Intensifies
Lawyers representing 134 individuals and three companies have filed civil law proceedings against beleaguered Japanese exchange platform Coincheck. The exchange was the subject of a USD 400m hack last month, and has already been hit with legal action from two other groups representing both companies and private individuals. However, the new claim is the biggest yet, threatening to bring the company to its knees as financial pressure escalates. The plaintiffs’ legal teams filed their suits at the Tokyo District Court. Meanwhile, police in the capital are proceeding with their own investigation of the exchange, with a 100-officer cyberpolice team beginning an on-site investigation earlier this week.

Watch the latest reports by Block TV.

S Korean Exchange Platform Signs Deal with Mobile Stocks App
Bithumb, South Korea’s second biggest cryptocurrency exchange platform (and the world’s seventh largest) has struck a partnership deal with Stock Tong, a mobile stock trading platform operator. The deal will allow investors to trade in crypto via the Stock Tong mobile app. A Bithumb spokesperson stated, per media outlet Busan Ilbo, “Customers will be able to buy and sell 12 cryptocurencies on the Stock Tong app, including bitcoin, and will be able to access real-time crypto market monitoring services.” Some 3.9 million South Koreans use mobile stock trading apps, with Stock Tong among the most popular of these services.

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