South Korea mulls crypto tax, lifting ICO ban

The South Korean government is looking at imposing a tax on cryptocurrencies, and regulation for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The Korea Times reported that Finance minister nominee Hong Nam-ki, during his confirmation hearing, had issued a prepared statement enumerating the taxation plan, which will take into account practices elsewhere in the world.

Hong said, “A task force consisting of experts from relevant government agencies including the National Tax Service and the private sector will be formed to examine overseas examples and hammer out the taxation plan.” Currently, according to him, there was “no internationally agreed regulatory framework” for cryptocurrencies, which he called “a new phenomenon.”

He also expressed concerns of “such lingering problems as the market overheating and investor protection. Therefore, we need to be careful in building the regulatory framework.”

Hong said that ICOs, which were prohibited in the country in September 2017, will be considered for regulation instead, with other markets to be monitored before a decision is made.

“We will determine our policy orientations on ICOs with relevant agencies after reviewing the results of the financial regulator’s market survey and getting feedback from experts,” Hong said. The survey had local blockchain companies providing their input on the matter.

Hong had made similar statements in support of allowing ICOs, as chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The country’s National Assembly is also recommending the lifting of the ban, after which regulations could be legislated.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in the country have enjoyed preferential tax rates, being classified like venture companies, but the government indicated last October that higher rates were coming for such firms.

Hong said, “We will do our utmost to nurture blockchain technology as nine out of the 10 business types classified as blockchain-related businesses by Statistics Korea excluding the crypto exchanges can be still acknowledged as venture companies.”

The exchanges, however, have recently benefited from the government’s clarification that banks need not worry of legal issues when dealing with cryptocurrency-related businesses, as long as the usual anti-money laundering/know-your customer (AML/KYC) requirements were met.

South Korea is a member of the G20 forum, that recently issued a joint declaration calling for regulation of cryptocurrencies in line with standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), of which the country is also a member.

The post South Korea mulls crypto tax, lifting ICO ban appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

South Korea experiments with blockchain voting in December

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT, and the National Election Commission (NEC), have announced plans for setting up a voting system powered by blockchain.

If results are successful, the system will be considered for online elections, according to the NEC.

Although online voting has been utilized in the country—the first time in 2013—use among citizens has been limited, to about 5.64 million people in all due to security concerns. The country has a little over 50 million people, of which 42.5 million are registered voters, with an average turnout of 64.3%.

ZDNet said that the government expected blockchain to aid with voter authentication and result saving, where the added transparency and security would allay fears of fraud and hacking. The results of elections, where votes are to be inputted by mobile devices and personal computers, will be viewable as the data is included in the blockchain.

The initial trials will begin in December, with surveys conducted by Seoul National University’s Blockchain Society and the Korea Internet & Security Agency. The NEC said that aside from blockchain, it was also looking at applying artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and Internet of Things (IoT) to the voting system.

The use of blockchain for polling in South Korea is not altogether new. Last year, the province of Gyeonggi-do used Blocko’s Coinstack platform to decide on the approval of 527 community projects. This involved the votes of 9,000 residents.

In Japan, the city of Tsukuba has made use of blockchain for choices on local “social contribution programs.” Although there were reports of some difficulties for some voters, the test was declared a success.

Zug, the ‘Crypto Valley’ of Switzerland, has conducted municipal voting via blockchain, though this involved only 72 citizens. The city government intends to expand the use of blockchain, to be part of its digital ID system.

In the U.S., there have been several initiatives involving distributed ledger technology for voting. In West Virginia, its first use has been limited to allowing overseas members of the military to vote, with a mobile app. In Maine, proposals have been considered for use of blockchain in municipal elections.

The post South Korea experiments with blockchain voting in December appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

Major Korean energy supplier to deliver eco-friendly power via blockchain

South Korea’s leading energy provider KEPCO has turned to blockchain to help it deliver eco-friendly power through its next generation micro grid (MG), becoming the latest firm in the energy sector to utilize the technology.

The company is majority owned by the South Korean government and the state-controlled bank, with what has been described as a “virtual monopoly” over the generation and distribution of power within the South Korean market.

The decision will represent a significant deployment of blockchain, with the technology working alongside other innovations to shape the new Open MG infrastructure.

In a statement, the South Korean energy provider said the platform will focus on what it termed the “three key trends” for the future of energy management—decentralization, decarbonization and digitalization.

Decentralization ensures energy stability and security, while decarbonization comes from more efficient management of energy sourcing and production. Digitalization will enable next generation systems to interact effectively, to more effectively manage output.

Previous MGs have experienced difficulties in producing stable power supply, with wind turbines, photovoltaic and energy storage systems being implemented by KEPCO prior to the new system.

Building on those experiences, Open MG will incorporate an “additional fuel cell” to underwrite fluctuations in output, which was explained by the firm as a way of increasing energy independence without additional greenhouse gas emissions.

The company press release describes Open MG is interoperable and based on international standard technology, which will help prevent demand squeeze and reduce bottlenecks in the system.

KEPCO said it intends to develop Open MG into South Korea’s first megawatt-scale micro grid, which will see the system distributing power more efficiently to end users nationwide.

In the last few weeks, KEPCO announced it had partnered with the University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank and Nihon Unisys to research using blockchain for managing electricity supply.

The plans follow a decision this month from the South Korean government to increase the budget for domestic blockchain research to $35 million, a 300% increase on the previous allocation.

It comes amidst proactive efforts at government level worldwide to integrate blockchain technology in next generation systems, with a view to delivering more efficient public services and administration.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post Major Korean energy supplier to deliver eco-friendly power via blockchain appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

PureBit exchange operator repents, issues refunds after exit scam

At the beginning of the week, users of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange PureBit had a rude awakening when they realized that the exchange’s owner had pulled a fast one and had run off with their money. They were out about 13,000 Ether (ETH) tokens – worth around $2.8 million at the time – with nothing more than an “I’m sorry” from the owner. It now appears that the would-be fraudster has had a change of heart and is beginning to issue refunds.

Immediately after the scam, the crypto community, including a number of exchanges, rallied together to start to track the movements of the digital assets. The news made the airwaves around the world, helping support efforts to prevent the coins from getting too far. All of the work paid off, with the Upbit exchange ultimately freezing several accounts tied to the fraudsters.

Those initiatives undoubtedly played a part in preventing a catastrophe, as well as compelling the exchange owner to have a change of heart. Partial refunds have already started to be delivered and the company has promised to refund all of the ETH that was taken.

In a statement released by PureBit through local media channels, the scamming CEO said that he had made an “unforgiveable mistake.” The announcement went on to say, “This is Pure Bit. First off, I would like to apologize to everyone that was affected by the ICO. Since November 5, I raked in 16,000 ETH and did not open a crypto exchange as promised. I kicked out everyone in our social media chat groups and disappeared without any message. I negatively affected investors in the project psychologically and financially.

“I made an unforgivable mistake that cannot be turned around, blinded by money. It has been less than a day and I have already started to suffer from guilt. Although it cannot be compared with the hardship faced by the investors, I also felt significant guilt. I sincerely apologize to all of the investors in the ICO [initial coin offering] who were affected by the operation.”

The ICO referred to was a PureBit ICO that had attracted $30 million. In addition to the ETH stolen, the would-be criminal had also tried to run off with those funds, as well.

The CEO went on to say that the guilt had been too much, leading to his decision to issue the refunds. More than likely, it wasn’t the guilt as much as it was the angry mob with torches and pitchforks ready to attack.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post PureBit exchange operator repents, issues refunds after exit scam appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

PureBit exchange pulls exit scam, runs of with almost $3M in ETH

Crypto traders using the South Korean exchange PureBit understand why Mondays are typically considered to be bad days. Over the weekend, the small exchange suddenly and unexpectedly turned off its lights and locked its doors, walking away with 13,000 Ethereum. The Kakao social media account of the exchange’s founder offered little to appease the investors – it carried a simple caption of “I’m sorry.”

According to a report by South Korean media outlet EDaily, the exchange had only been operational since September 9. There are reportedly several hundred users, possibly more, affected by the closure.

The exchange was apparently a scam all along. Business registration documents were allegedly falsified and it had misrepresented itself to investors, claiming to be a part of corporations that do not exist.

When it began to go offline, it began to kick out all participants of its forum on Kakao Talk and closed its homepage. Several quick-thinking viewers were able to capture screenshots and site data, which should aid in the investigation.

PureBit had launched an initial coin offering (ICO) behind its Pure Coin cryptocurrency as part of the scam. It collected investments from individuals, ultimately receiving around $2.8 million in Ethereum. The exchange has reportedly been trying to move the crypto through several exchanges, including Upbeat and Binance, which means that there is at least some ability to track the theft.

Upbeat is already working to ensure that access to the stolen funds cannot be used. It said that it has confirmed the arrival of Ether to its platform and that it can “arbitrarily withdraw [the Ether] deposited into the account in accordance with the terms and conditions of use restrictions.” It added, “We have taken measures to stop the suspension, including suspension of withdrawal.”

ICOs are banned in South Korea, but PureBit was targeting international buyers. Pure Coin was billed as an “exchange coin,” which is seen by many as a source of guaranteed returns. However, the PureBit ICO only guaranteed returns for its operator.

As the cryptocurrency industry matures, detecting theft and scams are becoming easier. Since the exchanges to which the crypto assets were sent have already, to a certain degree, already identified suspicious activity related to the PureBit exit scam, it’s only a matter of time before law enforcement is able to resolve the issue.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post PureBit exchange pulls exit scam, runs of with almost $3M in ETH appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

Upbit makes its move into Thai, Indonesian markets

Upbit, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, has reportedly set up a website for crypto exchanges in Thai and Indonesian languages, as part of its attempt to market its trading services to customers in the two Asian countries.

Last week, South Korean news outlet Edaily  quoted the crypto exchange saying that both countries “appreciated the growth potential of the cryptographic industry.” Thailand, in particular, has seen its government recently making an effort to cultivate the sector, while Indonesia is “regarded as the biggest hand of the Southeast Asian cryptography market,” creating jobs, attracting foreign capital, and introducing technology for the fourth industrial revolution such as the blockchain.

The new exchanges are part of Upbit global expansion plans. According to reports, the company will trade over 130 coins, and 240 trading pairs will be offered on the new Upbit exchanges.

Dunamu Inc., an affiliate of Kakao Corp., operates Upbit. The crypto exchange is also affiliated with U.S.-based exchange Bittrex.

While speaking to local reporters, Lee Seok-woo the CEO of Dunamiu stated Upbit has always aimed at providing foreign exchange services to people around the globe. He told the South Korean news outlet, “I am in a desperate situation that I can lose a great opportunity if I miss this period… the competition is spreading.”

In addition to the new exchanges, the Upbit community received a new exchange in Singapore. The exchange was launched officially to support Singapore dollars. Customers using the new platforms will use the local currencies—baht in Thailand and rupiah in Indonesia.

On the Thai Upbit website, the company state that its services are in “closed beta” phase. The website explained that Upbit services are only available to a small group of Individuals who registered early with the platform.

The website in Indonesia is different from the one in Thailand. The site displays different features and message. It states: “Buy and sell the latest crypto assets from our partner, Bittrex, the premium exchange from the United States.”

The website also says that the Indonesian platform will support 156 coins and 276 trading pairs. This is smaller figures compare to the 131 coins and 241 trading pairs on Thailand platform.

Authorities in Thailand have set up regulation to govern the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors. So far, the government has allowed six crypto exchanges and one dealer to run cryptocurrency operations in the country.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post Upbit makes its move into Thai, Indonesian markets appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

South Korea arrests five over crypto malware

The South Korean National Police Agency’s Cyber Bureau, in conjunction with local police, have arrested five cyber punks who were behind a hacking effort that targeted well over 6,000 computers. According to a joint statement by the law enforcement offices, the thieves had installed cryptocurrency mining malware on the computers through a mass email blast, which was ultimately received by 32,435 addresses. With a little luck, the group won’t see daylight for a considerable amount of time.

The group was led by Kim Amu-gae, a 24-year-old South Korean. From October to December of last year, the five criminals posed as employers and sent the malware as a response to a job applicant’s email.

The hackers were able to illicitly access over 30,000 email addresses of jobseekers by stealing data from large-scale conglomerates in the South Korean technology sector. They would then send emails to the individuals, posing as recruitment agents or potential employers.

Those emails contained malware wrapped inside documents or files sent to the applicants. Believing the email to be coming from a legitimate employer, the individuals were duped into opening the attachments, which installed the malware. 6,000 computers had the malware removed autonomously three to seven days following infection due to the presence of advanced anti-virus software.

According to the local police, “Because cyber security firms and anti-virus software operators responded quickly to the distribution of mining malware, the group of hackers were not able to generate a significant revenue from their operation. In most cases, anti-virus software detected the malware within three to seven days. If the malware was detected, the hackers sent new malware, but it was detected again by anti-virus software.”

The thieves spent a lot more resources than they were able to collect as their bounty, showing their “intellectual prowess.” They only absconded with around $1,000.

One of the investigators working on the case offered a word of warning to all computer users. He said, “Crypto jacking significantly reduces the performance of computers and if exposed to institutions, it could have a serious effect on the society. PC users must have secure anti-virus software in place and update browsers frequently. Also, if the performance of a computer suddenly drops, users will have to suspect the presence of mining malware.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post South Korea arrests five over crypto malware appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

Court slams South Korean bank accused of treating crypto exchange unfairly

As a country, South Korea has been largely progressive in its acceptance of innovations in the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector. The infrastructure of the cryptocurrency exchange market of South Korea is strengthening rapidly, with the support of the government towards small businesses and crypto trading platforms.

Last week, a Seoul Central District Court has reportedly ruled in favor of a local crypto exchange, admonishing a major South Korean bank for cutting ties with the crypto company.

A legal battle has been ongoing between Coinis Exchange and one of the South Korea’s largest commercial banks—Nonghyup Bank. In September, the bank terminated its partnership with Coinis, citing the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines issued by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) as the grounds for the unilateral termination, according to local media reports.

The termination of the agreement meant that Coinis could not process deposits or withdrawals, ZDNet reported. This prompted the crypto exchange to turn to court for help, seeking to block the termination and restore its relationship with Nonghyup.

The Seoul Central District court agreed with Coinis’ arguments through its lawyer and ruled that the termination was unfair. The court held that termination of deposits and withdrawals for the exchange had not followed due course and no cause had been shown in evidence as to a breach of the guidelines issued by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

The ruling sets a major precedent in South Korea. It is the first time a local cryptocurrency exchanger has challenged a major bank for unfairly treating a crypto business.

Attorney Kim Tae-lim, representing Coinis, told Digital Daily: “This case is significant in that it is a decision to point out that indiscriminate regulation against a virtual currency exchange should be avoided in the absence of legal grounds.”

This isn’t the first time that Nonghyup has called off a banking partnership with a local crypto exchange. Recently, the South Korean bank cancelled its partnership with Bithumb, citing breaches of the guidelines issued to crypto exchangers.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post Court slams South Korean bank accused of treating crypto exchange unfairly appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

‘No issue’: South Korean banks cleared to work with crypto companies

There are no compliance issues that should prevent South Korean banks from providing virtual bank accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges and business in the country, according to the finance minister, clarifying a legal grey area that has caused significant difficulties for exchanges in Korea.

Choi Jong-Ku, commissioner of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), said there were no particular issues that should prevent banks from servicing crypto clients, noting that as long as there were Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering provisions in place, crypto platforms and banks should be able to seamlessly work together.

“There exists no issue in banks providing virtual bank accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges. If digital asset trading platforms have KYC and AML systems in place, there is no problem in issuing virtual bank accounts to exchanges,” Choi said.

The finance minister’s statement will be welcomed by crypto exchanges in the country, which make use of unique virtual bank accounts in order to handle local currency payments. These allow for instant deposits and withdrawals in South Korean won, and ensure currency can be held at exchanges.

Some mainstream commercial banks have been reluctant to work with Korean exchanges, with some having to stop accepting new deposits because they were searching for a banking partner to provide the necessary virtual accounts.

On the banking side, limited regulation and direction from lawmakers meant many were (and remain) unsure of working with businesses in the cryptocurrency sector.

From early 2018, tightening laws in South Korea saw banks become less willing to work with crypto exchanges, a position which felt for some time as if it was endorsed by the Korean government directly.

Issuing the clarifying statement on Wednesday, Choi said the government and financial regulators would no longer seek to make life difficult for crypto exchanges, and that in future, they should have no issues in reaching agreements with commercial banks.

The statement comes at a time of increasing activism from the South Korean government, as they attempt to clean up the cryptocurrency sector there. Following the high profile Bithumb attack, conditions for cryptocurrency businesses and investors in the country were tightened, as part of a package of measures designed to protect investors and consumers.

Just recently, the government has cleared a number of crypto exchanges as having “sufficient security standards” and management structures in place to deal with the threat of hacks and thefts.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post ‘No issue’: South Korean banks cleared to work with crypto companies appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More

South Korea’s FSC warns against investing in crypto funds

This week, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) has issued a warning to the public regarding crypto funds. In its warning, the South Korean watchdog pointed at the cryptocurrency funds and mutual funds have similar structures, which may result in investors into assuming that such funds are legal investments under the South Korea’s Capital Markets Act.

The FSC is mandated by the law to approve and register funds that raise capital from the public. Since cryptocurrency funds are neither approved nor registered, the FSC writes, “Therefore, cryptocurrency funds are subject to Capital Markets Act violation.” The regulatory body also revealed that it has plans to take cautionary measures to protect investors from financial harm after consulting with the relevant authorities.

South Korea, like India and China, has taken a rigid stance on cryptocurrency. According to reports, the FSC is currently scrutinizing a crypto fund issued by crypto exchange Zeniex, following requests made by investors. In January, the South Korean government had investigated six banks in the country as part of its effort to track and ban the use of virtual bank accounts for anonymous cryptocurrency trading. The Virtual Currency Anti- Money Laundering Guidelines was also launched, and, since then, the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) have been inspecting banks to ensure compliance with the guidelines.

Also, South Korea’s financial authorities had place a ban on all types of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in September 2017. However, the commission is reportedly considering whether its should start allowing digital token crowdsales in the country.

Since the South Korean watchdog is very active in monitoring the crypto industry, a new department is being set up by the FSC. In July, the FSC announced that a Financial Innovation Bureau will be created and dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The department will focus primarily on developing policy-making initiatives for the country’s blockchain and fintech industry.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post South Korea’s FSC warns against investing in crypto funds appeared first on Coingeek.

Read More
Top