Asian Countries in It to Win It When It Comes to Being the Next Crypto Hub

The race is on to see which Asian country will take the title of being the next crypto hotspot. With big money being invested in growing their FinTech sectors, the competition is definitely heating up.

The cryptocurrency industry is a lucrative one. In its heyday, it had a market cap of just over $800 billion. While perhaps nowhere near its December 2017 peaks, it is still worth over $200 billion.

A big part of this industry is blockchain technology. With its inherent characteristics like traceability and immutability, it is a viable addition to the businesses of most sectors.


Technology Growth Breeds Competition

As the world continues its digital journey, more and more people will be introduced to the Internet and to smartphones, opening up that financial inclusivity door to everyone that has access to this technology. It stands to reason, then, that companies would want to invest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Countries also want a piece of the action, working hard to be seen as crypto-friendly and aggressive adopters. Well-established locations like Zug in Switzerland are seeing competition from all over the world like Malta and now a host of Asian countries.

The Philippines Eyeing That Crypto Prize

Nikkei Asian Review recently reported that the Philippines is one such country. The Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport seem to be well on its way to attaining that increasingly coveted blockchain- and crypto-hub status. The project will be working with a minimum of 25 technology companies to make this virtual dream a reality.

Raul Lambino, chief executive of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) previously said:

The overwhelming interest from offshore companies in financial technology solutions and cryptocurrency trading that want to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has surpassed all our expectations.

Lambino also said that the initiative would aid the local economy in another way – job creation, 10,000 jobs in fact. A blockchain academy is also on the cards which will be another way to encourage growth within the industry and to provide fresh talent as well.

One way to entice more industry professionals is by making operating in the country easier, which usually leads to disregarding previous bans, easing regulations and even developing more investor-focused guidelines. To assist with this, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission has given the go-ahead for ICOs to happen in the country.

Lito Villanueva, the chairman of FintechAlliance, added:

With these startups come huge investments in their portfolio. Surely, each country would want to take a piece of the action. Taking blockchain and FinTech players in with enabling regulations and potential investment incentives would surely make the game more exciting.

Wild Wild East

Wild Wild East

This excitement has clearly fostered a sense of competition as South Korea has already made plans to focus on the growth and adoption of blockchain technology in the country. Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong has previously said:

Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development].

The country’s government will be walking the talk by investing approximately $4.4 billion on a range of initiatives incorporating blockchain as well as big data analytics.

Thailand is also in the game. While initially banning ICOs, the country developed a framework for them including a licensing process. These new regulations have subsequently resulted in interest from more than 50 projects, with three companies submitting their ICO applications for approval.

Then there is Japan, where Bitcoin is seen as legal tender. This gives them a definite advantage over their Asian counterparts but depending on future regulations in the country, this could change.

The industry is unpredictable but one of the ways for countries to come out on top is by making it easier and more lucrative for crypto businesses to invest in their FinTech sectors.

Which country do you think will be the next ‘Crypto Valley’? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Exchanged for More than $2 Million Worth of Counterfeit Notes in Scam

It seems as if August is the month of cryptocurrency scams in South Korea. First, we reported on an alleged scam involving buried treasure. Now, according to The Journal, it seems as if the latest dodgy deal has all of the makings of a movie.

Picture the coastal beauty of the French Riviera and the luxurious hotel at the center of the deal. The scene changes to the interior of the hotel room and shows a meeting between two men, a South Korean businessman and his Serbian associate. The latter hands over two million euros as payment for the equivalent amount of bitcoins received from the former.

It seems like a straight-forward deal, one leaving both parties satisfied. However, there was definitely no happily ever after in sight as the fiat money received was actually counterfeit, and not very convincing counterfeit either. According to the South Korean businessman, the notes contained in the suitcase were simply, and poorly, photocopied.

SEC Issues New Warning on IRA Fraud and Cryptocurrencies

To Catch a Fraudster

The story began when the South Korean man, who has a Bitcoin-based business, was contacted by a Serbian buyer and his associate. Under the guise of investing in the man’s business, the fraudsters requested to meet and provide a cash investment in exchange for bitcoins. The deal was scheduled to be completed at a hotel in Nice. However, after he was made aware of the scam, the victim reported the fraudster who was arrested by the police.

The scam artist wasted no time in spending his ill-gotten gains. Authorities found him living it up at a fancy hotel wearing a watch worth over $100,000 and owning a costly car. No word on whether it was a Lambo or not.

While his accomplice is still on the run, the swindler has been charged with fraud and with being involved in an organized crime syndicate. It is unclear if the victim has recovered any of his losses.

LBN Altcoiner scam

Scam Protection Is Key

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is a busy business. Previous reports even state that more than 20% of 20-somethings have invested in the industry. However, with so much action and so little regulation, the onus is on holders and traders to ensure that they do not fall victim to these types of scams.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Find out all that you can about who you’re investing with before you complete any transactions.

Do you think that the victim will get any of his bitcoins back? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of ShutterStock

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Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet


In South Korea, Bithumb was visited by officials of the Mongolian government. Upbit is offering free training leading up to its developer conference. A public company has unveiled a hardware wallet as it enters the crypto space. Meanwhile, hacked crypto exchange Coinrail has launched an international service for non-Korean customers, and a US bitcoin ATM operator plans to enter the Korean market.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Mongolian Government Officials Visit Bithumb

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletSenior officials of the Mongolian government visited Bithumb’s headquarters on August 16, local media reported. They were trying to determine the feasibility of using blockchain and cryptocurrency in solar energy businesses in Mongolia. The Korea Economic Daily elaborated:

What they have focused on is the possibility of virtual currency remittance and payment functions and blockchain technology. Mongolia is seeking to utilize blockchains and virtual currency to activate new energy projects such as solar power generation at the government level.

“With the visit of high-ranking officials of the government, it is possible that Bithumb will pursue a business alliance with the Mongolian government or establish a local corporation,” the publication noted.

Ksign Launching Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletKsine’s CEO, Choi Seung-rak, introducing Touch x Wallet.

Kosdaq-listed company Ksine Inc. has commenced its cryptocurrency business with the launch of a hardware wallet called Touch x Wallet, the company announced on August 16.

Touch x Wallet uses locally developed fingerprint authentication technology and has a built-in battery. It can store up to 10 cryptocurrencies – including bitcoin, ether, and ripple – which the company plans to expand to about 50 by the second half of next year, Cctvnews reported. The wallet also has high-resolution electronic paper (e-paper) to display QR codes of addresses and allows users to check their balances.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Upbit’s Crypto Training and Developer Conference

Dunamu Inc, the operator of South Korea’s major crypto exchange Upbit, announced on August 16 that it is holding a free crypto and blockchain training for the public on September 12. This is a pre-program leading to Upbit Developer Conference which will take place on September 13 and 14 at the Jeju Creative Economy and Innovation Center.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletThe class consists of two parts. The first focuses on the origin and history of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The second focuses on the theory and practice of blockchain including the basic understanding of Ethereum and Lambda chain, solidity and Dapp development, and smart contracts.

Recently, the governor of Jeju Island requested the central government to designate the island a special zone for blockchains and cryptocurrency.

Coinrail Launches International Service

Coinrail, which was hacked on June 10 and resumed services on July 15, announced last week that it has officially launched the Coinrail international service for non-Korean users. Foreigners can now access the exchange’s crypto-to-crypto markets. The service is available in English.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Coinme Rolling out Bitcoin ATMs in Korea

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletU.S. bitcoin ATM (BTM) operator Coinme revealed on August 16 that it is “seeking to roll out its service in Korea before the year-end,” the Investor reported.

Currently, the company’s ATMs are in 67 locations across the U.S., the new outlet noted, adding that “Coinme said it is eying Asia as the next spot for expansion, specifically focusing on Korea and other countries in the region, including Hong Kong and Singapore.”

CEO Neil Bergquist was quoted saying:

We have seen really promising interest in Coinme from Korea…There’s a large and sophisticated cryptocurrency community which understands the potential of a token tied to real world applications.

“The Coinme ecosystem also seeks to offer massively reduced transaction costs, so we see real synergies with the Korean market,” he added.

What do you think of all the crypto activities going on in South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zdnet, Bithumb, Upbit, Coinrail, Ksine, and Coinme.

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