I am a crypto enthusiast. A bitcoin trader and consultant in the frontier markets. I also Write and Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, I read and do some gardening. Author of So You Want to Get Into Courtship?. Practical and Mystical.
Japan’s financial authority has licensed 11 companies to operate as crypto currency exchanges in Japan. These cryptocurrency exchanges include companies such as Quinone, BitFlyer, and CoinCheck. This move will increase the robustness and use of crypto currencies in Japan. This move makes Japan to be the top cryptocurrency sector in globe.
The licensing of the crypto currency exchange brings Japanese based exchange operations into regulation and scrutiny by the government. It also makes the Japanese exchanges to recover from the Mt Gox scandal which portrayed Japanese exchanges in negative light. It is expected that the crypto currency exchange activity will increase in Japan after China banned ICO operations. Japan is therefore expected to be the haven for ICOs and crypto currency. It is important to note that Japan is the first country which recognised Bitcoin as a legal tender.
There are several benefits of using, possessing and owning crypto currencies in Kenya. Although crypto currencies had a negative image in Kenya because they were preferred by hackers and ransom ware attackers as their means of payment. Crypto currencies are now gaining world wide popularity as they are now becoming accepted worldwide as a legitimate form of payment.
1. Wholly owned by the holder
The holder of the crypto currency becomes the full owner of the crypto currency. Nobody can freeze your crypto assets not even the government, banks or any other entity. This means that your assets remain safe and within your control. This is very necessary for Kenyans as governments have a tendency to freeze people assets based on unfounded allegations. In addition banks are also not reliable as Kenya has seen two banks having their assets and depositors money frozen by the Central Bank of Kenya.
2. Minimizes fraud
Bitcoins transactions are irreversible hence once the payment is done it cannot be reversed. This is a major advantage to merchants in Kenya as it means that customers cannot dispute transactions once the payment has been done. This irreversibility of payments ensures that customers scrutinise the products and services to their satisfaction before making payments thus minimising fraud.
3. Global acceptance
Bitcoin is globally accepted as a currency of value. This means that when making international payments once can opt to pay using bitcoins instead of fiat money. This is specifically important to Kenyans who import commodities because they can benefit from minimised forex costs which they incur when changing Kenya shillings to USD or any other international currency.
4. Lower Costs
Bitcoins and other crypto currencies have lower costs compared with other forms of payment methods like Paypal or Visa. Paypal transaction cost is currently 4% while Visa ranges between 3%-8% in Kenya.
Macao’s financial regulator, The Monetary Authority of Macao which is also the de facto Central Bank of Macau has informed all the financial institutions in the country not to engage or provide services which are related to virtual currencies. The regulators have banned the financial institutions in the country from providing any form of service to Initial Coin Offering or to any cryptocurrency. This comes after mainland China effected a ban on all crypto currencies after it intimated that they were an illegal form of raising money from the public. The Monetary Authority of Macao further indicated that all banking and payment services should not provide any indirect service to ICOs.
Although Macao is an independent and autonomous region from China just like Hong Kong, the activities and occurrences in Mainland China have direct influence on financial operation and activities happening in Macau. This ban by the regulator is similar to another ban which took place in 2014 and it specifically banned bitcoin by noting that it was not a legal tender and neither was it a recognised financial instrument in Macau. The ban on bitcoin in 2014 stated that bitcoins could be used to fund terrorism and criminal activities. The ban was later reversed.
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Pundi X which is a block chain start up in Indonesia has developed a ubiquitous cashless payment solution that uses cryptocurrency. The company has unveiled a POS (Point of Sale) device that enables shops, retail stores and cafes to sell cryptocurrency to consumers . There is increasing number of shoppers interested in using cryptocurrency instead of fiat money.
This means that the Pundi X device will help customers to quickly sell and buy crypto currency using dollars, Rupee, Baht or Euro. Customers who buy the crypto currencies will then store them in digital wallets. Customers with the digital wallets can then use the crypto to make cashless payments to top up phones, pay utility bills or buy goods. In order to effectively make payments using crypto currency, Pundi X POS will convert cryptocurrency to fiat money in real time thus making the conversion process easier for the user.
Already, Pundi X has an existing cashless payment solution which uses QR codes to make instant payments to retail shops and restaurant. According to Zac Cheah who is the CEO of the company, Pundi X has 100,000 registered users. The company also has about 500 merchant partners in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city.
Cheah, also noted that less than 1% of the global population owns crypto currencies mainly because the process of buying and selling cryptocurrency is complicated especially for ordinary person with basic technical knowledge. Pundi X is seeking to bridge this gap in the Indonesian market by making the process of buying crypto currencies as easy as buying retail products such as water. This will be done through provision of universal access of cryptocurrencies through the firm’s point of sale that will avail crypto currencies anytime and anywhere to customers. The company is expected to spur its growth by issuing block chain tokens in an Initial Coin Offering.
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Nexon, a South Korean Gaming company has acquired South Korea second largest cryptocurrency exchange at a cost of $150 million. Nexon (NXC), was established by Kim Jung Ju in the year 1994 and it has been a leading company in South Korea. According to Hankyung the South Korea’s finance news publication, Nexon bought 65.13% of Korbit shares at $90 million which valued Korbit at $150 million. This means that Nexon is now the majority shareholder in Korbit.
South Korea is a leading crypto currency exchange market and has received immense investment from venture capitalists such as Tim Draper and telecommunication conglomerate SK Telecom. In addition, ICO ban in China positions Japan and South Korea as the leading crypto exchange markets due to favourable regulations in the two countries.
Globally, Korbit is the sixteenth largest crypto currency exchange in the world in regard to volumes transacted over the internet. Despite Korbit occupying the second place behind Bithumb, the company leads in the trading volumes for altcoins such as ethereum. It is expected that this deal will consolidate the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market.
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Cryptocurrency firms in Singapore are experiencing challenges emanating from closure of their banks accounts. This is according to Anson Zeall who is the chairman of Access which is the Association of Singapore’s Crypto currency and block chain industry members. He indicated that most of the cryptocurrency companies have had their bank accounts closed for no apparent reason.
Anson Zeall is therefore urging the government of Singapore to step in and help the firms to reach amicable solution between the banks and the crypto currency industry. He said that banking was the major challenge which was facing block chain and cryptocurrency companies in Singapore.
However, the Monetary Association of Singapore has indicated that it does not get in the way of banks mechanism of self regulation. This is specifically in regard to issues such as customer transactions, Know Your Customer requirements as well as risks assessments which specific banks have for their clients. This is because banks are expected to undertake due diligence of their clients as well as undertake rigorous client assessments to ensure that the banks are compliant with money laundering requirements as well as terrorism financing.
Also the Chairman of Access failed to name the specific organisations whose bank accounts have been closed by the banks. Currently there are two major Fintech Associations in Singapore which are Access and Fintech Association. Access has an approximate of 106 member companies while Fintech Association also has 185 members. These organisations have been credited with the growth of cryptocurrency in Singapore due to their ability to lobby for the adoption of Fintech technologies in Singapore. In addition, these organisations have taken a leading role in promoting cryptocurrencies in Singapore which has increased the number of cryptocurrency users thus making Singapore one of the major cryptocurrency hubs in Asia.
The central bank of Nigeria has given a huge boost to the penetration of cryptocurrencies in the frontier markets by endorsing cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. Musa Jimoh the deputy director of Nigeria’s Central Bank has said that Central Bank of Nigeria is developing a white paper on the cryptocurrencies and block chain technology in the frontier market. He was speaking in a cryptocurrency forum which was held in Lagos Nigeria.
Jimoh explained that the Nigerian government has developed keen interest on the cryptocurrencies because his government had noted that the crypto currency tide was unstoppable. According to Jimoh, block chain technology was very significant and its derivatives were of similar importance and could not be stopped. This means that the Nigerian government recognises the importance of block chain technology and this is going to have positive effect on the crytocurrencies’ regulatory environment in Nigeria.
In his address during the conference, Jimoh noted that block chain technology capabilities that enabled users to store encrypted data in multiple location meant that crypto money could not be restricted or confiscated by the government. Other deliberations that happened during the conference included discussion of how block-chains can be used to move payments across the borders. Other deliberations were on how block chain derivatives especially cryptocurrencies can be structured to minimise risks for the investors.
This news paint a positive picture in the frontier markets that show that there is growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the frontier nations hence it is expected that adoption of cryptocurrencies as means of financial transactions will soon become mainstream in the frontier countries such as Nigeria. It also implies that governments are likely to come up with their own form of cryptocurrencies in order to retain relevance and regulatory influence in the cryptocurrency and block chain arena.