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Your Morning News Update

  • EY: 10% of ICO Funds Stolen or Lost
  • SEC to Clampdown on “Overnight” Blockchain Companies
  • Suspicious travel expenses in South Korea
  • Real-name Authenticated Cryptocurrency Transfers
  • Crypto-friendly, AI-powered Hotel in Osaka

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.

EY: 10% of ICO Funds Stolen or Lost
A report from the consultancy firm EY has found that over 10% of the funds raised via initial coin offerings (ICOs) are lost or stolen by hackers. Ernst & Young examined some 372 ICOs issued between 2015 and 2017, and discovered that USD 400 million of a total of USD 3.7 billion was either stolen or lost during attempted hacks. The company’s global innovation leader for blockchain technology said he was “shocked by the quality of some of the ICO white papers,” claiming “clear coding errors and conflicts of interest” were not uncommon.

American Regulator to Clampdown on “Overnight” Blockchain Companies
The United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will begin scrutinizing so-called “overnight” blockchain companies – businesses that abruptly change their names or business spheres to cash in on traders’ current enthusiasm for all things blockchain-related. The SEC raised eyebrows in December last year when it temporarily suspended trading in Crypto Company, an business whose stock rose by an eye-watering 2,700% after it bought a German cryptocurrency data platform. Previously known as Croe Inc., the company changed its name to Crypto Company two months before it made the acquisition.

South Korean Customs Officials Investigate Investors “Bogus Travel Expenses” Claims
The Korea Customs Service (KCS) says it is investigating several cases whereby several South Korean citizens have allegedly travelled abroad with money they claimed to be holiday expenses – only to use it to buy cryptocurrency. Korean law stipulates that anyone leaving the country with USD 10,000 or more must declare what they intend to do with the cash they are carrying. The KCS says investors are now travelling to locations like Hong Kong and Thailand to buy cryptocurrency in cash, claiming the funds they take with them to be “travel expenses.” These investors then purportedly return to South Korea to withdraw their funds from online wallets via Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.

South Korean Banks Impose Real-name Authenticated Cryptocurrency Transfers
Six South Korean banks will begin requiring customers who use cryptocurrency exchanges to register in person before allowing transfers from January 30. The banks, including Nonghyup and Shinhan Bank, stipulate that they will not sanction transfers from cryptocurrency exchanges that are not created using investors’ ID numbers and real names. In order to complete a transaction from a cryptocurrency exchange, customers will now have to register at a branch in person with either their ID card or a driver’s license.

Osaka Welcomes Crypto-friendly, AI-powered Hotel
Staygold, a Japanese guesthouse operator, has opened a hotel that accepts cryptocurrency payments. The hotel, located in Osaka, has been built in collaboration with hotel management firm Santavel. The hotel developers say they will also use AI technology to calculate guest fees based on demand, allowing guests to settle their bills in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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