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Morning Update: Market rebounds, US Regulators on Crypto, Retail Deal

  • Market Rebounds After US Regulators Take it Easy on Crypto
  • Information-sharing Deal with Stores
  • Kazakhstan Officials “Caught Mining with State Hardware”
  • S Korean Exchanges Struggling to Meet Gov’t Guidelines

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.

US Market Regulators Take it Easy on Crypto despite BIS Scare, Market Rebounds
United States financial market regulators have called for tighter cryptocurrency monitoring and new legislation, but stopped short of requesting strict, East Asia-style market regulations. At a Senate Banking Committee, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) described initial coin offerings as “securities,” and said there may be a need for legislation that provides them with jurisdiction over crypto spot market and the exchange platforms – but refrained from calls for far-reaching regulatory powers. The market responded positively to the news, with bitcoin and other currencies bouncing back from a three-month low.
In the last 24 hours Bitcoin is up by 19%, to USD 7,470, Ether jumped by 24%, to USD 750, whil ripple advanced by 18%, to USD 0.74, according to Coinmarketcap data.
Bloomberg quoted an American blockchain investor as saying, “It was great for the space. [The regulators] don’t want to do anything to hamper the development of this technology.”
The news from Stateside came as a welcome tonic to traders, who had cause for concern earlier in the day when Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS), called for more central bank-led crypto regulations. The GM urged the world’s central banks, economy ministers, tax officials and financial regulators to “safeguard the real value of money” as cryptocurrency trading increases. Carstens also criticized bitcoin for relying on the “oxygen provided by the connection to standard means of payments and trading apps that link users to conventional bank accounts.”

Japanese Police Strike Information-sharing Deal with Cypto-friendly Stores
Japanese police have unveiled a wide-reaching information sharing network that they hope will help fight fraud at Tokyo stores that accept cryptocurrencies. The police say they have struck a deal with BIC Camera, one of Japan’s biggest electronics retailers, which recently began accepting cryptocurrency payments at many of its branches. The deal is the first of its kind in Japan, a country where cryptocurrency is becoming an increasingly common form of payment in high street stores, particularly in the capital. Sofmap and Kojima, two of BIC Camera’s subsidiary brands, have also signed up to the agreement. Under the deal’s terms, store managers will report any cryptocurrency transactions or customer behavior they feel are suspicious to the police. BIC Camera’s executive vice president Hitoshi Kawamura said, “Our new information-sharing initiative will help reduce crime.”

Kazakhstan Government Officials “Caught Crypto Mining with State Hardware”
Employees at Kazakhstan’s finance ministry are being investigated for allegedly mining cryptocurrency on state servers, says the country’s National Security Committee (NSC). Mining on government hardware is illegal under Kazakh law. The NSC says the illicit mining operations were conducted by employees of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance. Per an NSC statement, the employees in question secretly installed mining software on the ministry’s servers and computers, reducing network speeds and slowing down the ministry’s tech operations. The employees are said to have attempted to disguise the mining programs as system software and added them to a list of apps that were made exempt from antivirus checks.

Beleaguered South Korean Exchanges Struggling to Meet Gov’t Guidelines
A number of South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are having trouble complying with recently introduced government guidelines, forcing many platforms to suspend or limit their operations. Yesterday, the Coinpia exchange announced that it would suspend business until it could find a “stable” means to incorporate real-name, social security number and bank account information – now required by the government – into its trading platform. Another exchange, Coinplug, has also suspended some of its services, including Korean won deposits deposit, while rival platform Eyalabs has decided to temporarily stop accepting new account applications. News outlet Joongang Ilbo quotes an anonymous employee at a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange as saying, “Withdrawals are on the rise and some people are closing their accounts. If things don’t improve, we may have to consider closing the exchange down.”

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