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Morning News: USD 93m Blockchain Investment, Crypto Board Game

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Upbit Parent Company to Make USD 93m Blockchain Investment Developer Unveils Crypto Board Game Web-Based Comics Take a Hit Hong Kong Mobile Data Trading Platform Eyes New Markets

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.

Upbit Parent Company to Make USD 93 Million Blockchain Investment
Dunamu, the fintech company that operates South Korea’s Upbit exchange platform, has said it will make a USD 93 million investment in blockchain ventures over the next three years. Dunamu is an affiliate of internet giant Kakao, which is also said to be preparing to launch an initial coin offering for its own Kakao Coin through an international subsidiary. Dunamu plans to make investments in game-specific blockchain innovations, e-wallet services and other blockchain ventures. The company will look to buy shares in promising blockchain startups through a new mergers and acquisitions arm called Dunamu & Partners. Yonhap quotes a Dunamu official as saying, “This investment will let us create a network of stepping stones for startups and young people who are interested in blockchain technology.”

Bandai Game Developer Unveils Crypto Board Game
A Japanese board game developer has launched a crowdfunding project for what could become the world’s first cryptocurrency-themed board game. The game, entitled “The Cryptocurrency,” allows players to compete against one another in buying and selling six fictional cryptocurrencies. The project is seeking some USD 2,900 in funding via Makuake, a Japanese crowdfunding platform. The game is the brainchild of Shimpei Takahashi, a toy designer who has developed hit titles for the likes of game giant Bandai. Takahashi has assembled a collective of designers, board game experts and cryptocurrency consultants for the project. Takahashi claims the game provides the crypto-curious with an educational grounding in the basics of cryptocurrency trading. As part of the game, players experience random events, including hacking attempts and sudden market crashes.

Web-Based Comics Take a Hit – S Korea Gov’t Points Finger at Cryptos
South Korean media outlet Maeil Business Newspaper reports that the country’s webtoon (web-based comics) industry is flagging – and cryptocurrencies may be to blame. The newspaper claims some 70 illegal websites who use cryptocurrency-paid banner ads are offering free or discounted access to pirated titles, leading to a dramatic drop in legal sales in recent months. The illegal websites, now worth 30% of the country’s legal channels, make their money through advertising banners, but as the transactions for these banner ads are made in cryptocurrencies, authorities are struggling to trace them. One site, Pam Tokebi (literally “Night Demon”), is said to be accruing an estimated USD 1.1 million per month for its webtoon offerings.

Hong Kong Mobile Data Trading Blockchain Platform Eyes Japanese, S Korean Markets
Japanese media outlet Harbor Business Online claims that Dent, an Ethereum-powered mobile data exchange network that allows users to buy, sell and donate cellular data via a blockchain platform, is set to move into the Japanese and South Korean markets. Traders can buy, sell or give away data using the company’s Dent tokens, and recently completed a successful trial via a Beta iOS mobile app in Hong Kong, where the company is headquartered. Harbor Business Online says Dent is currently in talks with mobile operators in both countries, with Japan’s Docomo and South Korea’s KT said to be interested. The media outlet quotes Dent co-founder Andee Vollmer as saying, “Although we are still in the discussion stages with telecom companies right now, we plan to gradually upgrade our services to allow individuals to trade cellular data with one another.”