Your Morning News Update
South Korea Asks to Report “Suspicious” Crypto Transactions Stripe to Phase out Bitcoin Payments Huobi Global Resurfaces with its Own Cryptocurrency South Korea’s New Crypto Guidelines Could Be Hard to Implement Paxful Completes Bitcoin-funded School
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.
South Korea Asks Banks to Report “Suspicious” Cryptocurrency Transactions
The South Korean government has authorized its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to impose new restrictions on cryptocurrency investment, in a bid to wipe out crytpocurrency-funded money laundering and drug trafficking. The FIU says it has already found evidence of possible drug deals funded by cryptocurrencies, with transactions worth “billions” of Korean won. An FIU spokesperson said, "We have found evidence that a cryptocurrency investor with a history of drug trafficking and recent overseas travel has made a series of suspicious transactions. The prosecution and the police are currently looking into the matter."
Under new regulations, banks are required to report “suspicious transactions” to the FIU should a cryptocurrency investor transfer over KRW 10 million (USD 9351) a day (or over KRW 20 million a week) from a cryptocurrency exchange. Banks have also been told to report to the FIU should an investor make over five transactions a day, or over seven transactions in a week.
Stripe to Phase out Bitcoin Payments
Internet payment platform Stripe has announced it will stop accepting bitcoin payments as of April 23 this year, claiming, "Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange." Stripe says big increases in transaction confirmation times, transaction failure rates and fees are also contributing factors and adds, “There are fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with bitcoin makes sense.”
One of China’s Leading Exchanges Resurfaces with its Own Cryptocurrency
Chinese cryptocurrency trading platform Huobi Global has launched its own cryptocurrency, named Huobi Token (HT), which it will make available to users of its Huobi Pro point card service. Huobi says it will cap supply at 500 million tokens, but claims its issuance is “not an initial coin offering (ICO).” Huobi was one of Beijing’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges until last year’s crackdown, after which it began operating overseas.
Bank Officials Admit South Korea’s New Cryptocurrency Guidelines Could Be Hard to Implement
South Korean newspaper Kookmin Ilbo reports that confusion is set to reign as banks and cryptocurrency exchanges begin imposing “real-name” account authentication. The move comes after the government issued a set of guidelines that it hopes will eliminate cryptocurrency being used in money laundering and drug trafficking cases.
Earlier this week, six banks, including giants Shinhan Bank and Kookmin Bank, said that as of January 30 they would only accept authenticated transactions. However, Kookmin Ilbo points out that many leading banks, such as IBK, are yet to act. IBK is the bank that has processed the most money from cryptocurrency exchange platforms, and says that it has decided not to require real-name accounts “for the time being.”
Shinhan employees also admit that implementing the new authentication system will be easier said than done, even for existing account holders. Kookmin Ilbo quotes an anonymous Shinhan source as saying, “These guidelines will help prevent money laundering, but it will take time for us to prepare a system that lets us adhere to them." Both Shinhan and rival Kookmin are yet to decide on their policy for new account holders who wish to trade in cryptocurrencies.
American Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform Completes Bitcoin-funded School Project in Rwanda
Delaware-based Cryptocurrency exchange platform Paxful has teamed up with non-profit development organization Zam Zam to build a nursery school in Rwanda, funded by bitcoin donations. Paxful intends to use bitcoin to pay for the construction of a further 100 schools in Africa.