SBI Group Invests in Rival Japanese Exchange

Financial giant SBI Group has made a second investment in LastRoots, a Tokyo-based exchange established in 2016. The undisclosed investment, made through financial subsidy SBI Holdings, is the group’s second within the space of a year, and comes just a month after the launch of the group’s own exchange, SBI Virtual Currencies.
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LastRoots, which is currently in the process of applying for an operating license from the regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA), was slapped with a business improvement order in April this year, with the FSA expressing concern about the exchange’s security and management measures.

However, SBI has said it will provide LastRoots with support staff that will help bolster security networks and help shore up anti-money laundering systems – in the hope that this measure will help LastRoots meet the FSA’s terms.

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SBI has been spending big on its cryptocurrency-related businesses of late, with a massive investment in a Taiwanese blockchain startup in May, followed by the purchase of a 12% stake in American platform Clear Markets earlier this month.

SBI’s CEO has previously vowed that SBI Virtual Currencies would become Japan’s market leader “in the blink of an eye.” The group also plans to co-launch a blockchain technology-powered payments and transfer service before the end of this year through its internet banking arm.


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Author: Tim Alper
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5 Myths about Crypto Market Manipulation

The Sad Truth about Crypto Markets
Yes, there are big-money whales that make waves. And yes, entire schools of average investors often get swallowed whole. But beneath the surface are deep currents and cross-currents that most people are unaware of. Out of that darkness, we see the emergence of five myths …
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Myth #1. “Because of the whales, crypto markets are unique.” Not so! We see the same kind of price behavior in almost every thinly traded financial market that has ever existed.
Back in the early 1630s, for example, the speculation of that era drove up the price of tulip bulbs to nosebleed heights. Just one bulb, named Semper Augustus, changed hands for 12 acres of land. Another was sold for a massive collection of goods, including 160 bushels of wheat, 160 bushels of rye, 4 oxen, 12 swine, 2 hogsheads of wine, 4 cases of beer, 2 tons of butter, 1,000 pounds of cheese and more.

Then the masses began to exit, and it all came crashing down.
In the 1700s, it happened again. The master whale this time around was the South Sea Company. It was given a virtual monopoly to trade in the South Atlantic, mostly in slaves from Africa to South America. Insiders and big money investors came in, and as shares began to rise, the masses jumped on board — driving those shares from 125 to 960 pounds in just six months.

Fast-forward to the late 1800s. One of the sectors subject to the most shenanigans was gold mining shares. Hoards of small investors lost so much money that the new definition of a gold miner was “a liar with a hole in the ground.”
Even today, investors in illiquid markets such as penny stocks, are still vulnerable to insider trading, pump-and-dump schemes and other scams.

Myth #2. “Whales are to blame for big losses that small investors suffer.” No matter how greedy or calculating whales may be, small investors are in the market for exactly the same reason — to make as much money as they can. No one twists the arm of small investors to buy near the top; and no one forces them to sell near the bottom. They do so of their own free will. This was the case in the markets of yesteryear; it’s true today in crypto as well.

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Myth #3. “Whales control the market.” It’s true that a few individuals hold a disproportionately large share of most cryptocurrencies. But holding such big positions in the coins is not the same thing as controlling their price. Quite to the contrary, it’s more often a curse than a blessing.

Let’s say you’re a big stakeholder in the Ripple company, which holds the lion’s share of XRP tokens. That may make you a billionaire, but on paper only!
Reason: You’ve got no one to sell to. You’re a big fish in a small pond. And you’re trapped holding a highly volatile asset.

Unload too much, and the price plunges. And when the price plunges, you kill your own golden goose.

Myth #4. “Whales know more about the market than smaller investors.” Bah!
Case in point: Even Mike Novogratz, a savvy institutional investor, recently said he regretted going public in the crypto bear market.

Coming from one of the highly influential institutional investors in this space, his admitted lack of foresight says more about whale myths than it does about Mr. Novogratz.
Or if you think average investors are the only ones who get scammed, consider all the Wall Street “experts” and giant financial institutions that fell for the Bernie Madoff $65-billion pyramid scheme that went on for decades and collapsed in 2008!

Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, major stock exchanges and government institutions all praised Madoff’s stellar track record and welcomed him with open arms, while billionaire families lost entire fortunes.

Myth #5. “Regulation will solve the problem.” The reality: The authorities can’t outlaw the fear and greed that cause markets to sink or soar any more than they can freeze the cycles that propel the universe. And as a practical matter, there’s simply no way they can chase down the majority of penny stock manipulators or Initial Coin Offering scams.
That’s why the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is a big promoter of FULL DISCLOSURE and INVESTOR EDUCATION.


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Author: Juan M. Villaverde
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VeChain supported by LedgerHQ along with X Node binding

On 8th August, VeChain Foundation on their official Twitter handle announced that VET/VTHO can be now stored on the LedgerHQ. The wallet that can now support X Node binding as well.

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Along with this, the team has also announced that VeForge Vault, a platform developed by Totient Labs, can now be utilized to support VET/VTHO digital assets.


LedgerHQ is an organization that ensures safety and security of cryptocurrency undertakings. It is best known for creating Ledger Nano S; a hardware wallet that gives digital currency holders a protected method for the storage of tokens.

A statement from the official announcement of VeChain stated:
“Our goal is to enhance and enrich our current data services capacity within traceability, supply chain management, and smartphones for our users. With our ongoing effort to bring traceability use cases in Japan into our ecosystem, the 5G program will bring additional value to VeChain’s presence in the region.”

Reports state that Nano S is a well-known hardware wallet in the market which ensures the safety and security of various crypto assets.

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It caters to the requirements of financial bodies with interest for digital cryptocurrencies. It has created the Ledger Vault; a solution that has been customized for financial organizations. Ledger has backed not only VeChain but many other cryptocurrencies such as ICON, WanChain, Ontology, Kowala, etc.

Totient Labs is a technology company based in San Francisco. The organization has developed blockchain projects that would promote the adoption of the emerging technology, especially the VeChainThor stage.

Totient’s first project is the VeForge Blockchain Explorer. It enables clients to monitor the activities on the VeChainThor blockchain utilizing network analytics.

Earlier last week, VeChain collaborated with a Japanese mobile network company, NTT Docomo to launch a 5G program to boost data services which will be launched by 2020.



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Author: Gautham Kadri
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Japan: More Regulations ahead for Crypto Exchanges

Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), is set to make amendments to existing cryptocurrency-related laws.

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Numerous media outlets in the country have reported that the FSA is now mulling changes that will make it harder for investors to speculate on cryptocurrency markets.

Although the FSA is yet to let on exactly which of the country’s laws it will seek to change, it has previously asked the government to amend the Payment Services Act, a move that has required all new exchanges to obtain FSA-approved licenses.

The FSA has this year been intensifying its efforts to reduce anonymous trading, money laundering through exchanges and what it perceives to be lax security systems utilized by the country’s exchanges. Its policing has intensified in 2018, with many leading exchanges handed business improvement orders – and others being forced to suspend operations or even refused licenses.

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Meanwhile, the country’s largest industry group of licensed exchanges, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) has lodged a formal application with the FSA to become a recognized and certified “fund settlement business association” in line with the country’s Act on Settlement of Funds.

The association expects the FSA to take up to two months to review its application, and has proposed an exhaustive range of regulations for its members, including bans on “anonymous” tokens, mandatory audits, tighter security and comprehensive anti-money laundering measures.

The JVCEA says that its members have agreed to implement these measures should the FSA grant the body official recognition.


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Author: Tim Alper
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Surprise Silver Lining as Crypto Prices Fall

Lower Bitcoin and altcoin prices are bad news for most cryptocurrency investors – but in Japan, they are bringing unexpected benefits. Per security experts, crypto-specific malware and cryptojacking attacks have declined sharply in the country as prices tumbled over the past few months.

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Per the findings of Avast Japan’s Threat Research Laboratory, there appears to be a direct correlation between cryptojacking attacks and the price of tokens such as Bitcoin and Monero.

According to Japanese media outlet PC Watch, cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency-related malware attacks in the country peaked at 3.1 million in December 2017, while crypto prices were booming. With prices dropping significantly in 2018, attacks are on the decline. A relatively low number of attacks – some 500,000 – were carried out in June.
PC Watch quotes Avast Japan’s country manager as saying, “The correlation between attacks and the prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero is remarkable.”

Avast Japan believes that the rising costs of developing malware and related algorithms may well be putting off would-be cryptojackers. However, the manager also noted that the number of cryptojacking attacks may well shoot up once more should prices begin to rise again.

The media outlet also states that Monero is still many cybercriminals’ cryptocurrency of choice, due to that fact that it offers “more anonymity and privacy” than many other tokens.

The regulatory Financial Services Agency is thought to have asked Japanese exchanges to stop listing Monero and other “anonymous” tokens. The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association, a group that comprises the country’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has responded by proposing a blanket ban on Monero, Dash and other “anonymous” tokens.


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Author: Tim Alper
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ICON (ICX) – Can it hit $20 in 2018?

ICON (ICX): A few days ago, it emerged that South Korea will be cutting taxes for blockchain projects. This comes after last month’s revelation that the Korean parliament was going to legalize ICOs. All this points to South Korea becoming friendlier to cryptos, and its great news.



South Korea has one of the most active crypto users in the world, and accounts for close to a quarter of all global crypto trading volumes. Naturally, if the country becomes friendlier to crypto by cutting on taxes on blockchain projects, even more South Koreans will take an interest in crypto and drive up demand. One project that stands to gain most is ICON (ICX). Several factors support ICON (ICX) as the project that stands to benefit the most.

First, it has wide partnerships that cut across the South Korean economy, including partnerships with mega corporations such as Samsung. This incentives investors to get into ICX, since it has strong fundamentals supporting it, and best of all, it’s Korean. There are very few projects with such a combination of factors supporting it. A supportive government, a wide partnership, and a pro-crypto population will no doubt be a catalyst to push ICON to the moon in coming days.

ICON (ICX) is also designed for the development of ICOs. The number of ICOs on ICON has grown over time, and a good tax environment would spur an explosion of new ICOs. ICON being a Korean project offers the perfect fit for Korean developers looking to launch ICOs. But it’s not just the fact that it is Korean that makes ICON the perfect blockchain for Korean ICOs, it is also superfast, scalable and cost-effective. That’s the perfect mix for a developer looking to create a Decentralized application. As the Korean tax law on crypto takes effect, the number of ICOs on ICON will surge, and so will the value of ICON.

Another factor that gives ICON an edge with better regulations in Korea is its global reach. Crypto is global and as such, with a favorable crypto environment in Korea, investors across the world will be looking into Korean projects. But the ones that stand to benefit the most are those that are available on exchanges that have a global audience. ICON is one project that is available on several global exchanges including Binance. It is also available on Huobi and Upbit. Once investors feel that a Korean led bull rally is underway, ICON will get a huge surge in volumes, volumes that will drive up its value by a huge margin.

ICON is also a member of the global interoperability alliance, an alliance that aims to create blockchain interconnectedness. This alliance is creating the infrastructure for this interconnectivity, and once it achieves its objectives, the projects involved will surge in value.

With all these factors at play, ICON (ICX) is a crypto ripe for a take-off. Chances of a bull rally that could see it rise to over $20 in the short-term are high. It could even get to higher valuations in the long-run.


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“Cryptocurrencies are great if you are trying to hide or launder money”, says Federal Reserve Chairman

During a testimony before the House of Federal Service Committee on Wednesday, Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of U.S said that cryptocurrencies are great if you are trying to hide money or launder money.



During the testimony, he was questioned on what he thinks about cryptocurrencies. To which, he replied that cryptocurrencies are not big enough a threat for the financial stability. He said that they have to be conscious that they are being used to hide or launder money.

Powell claims that investors invest based on the assets’ price rise whereas there is no promise behind the product. According to him, cryptocurrency is not a currency as they do not have an intrinsic value. There are issues in terms of investor consumer protection as there is significant investment risk associated with cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, the Federal Reserve is not looking at cryptocurrencies. The Chairman’s main concern is that cryptocurrencies do not have a store of value. The basis of currencies is that it is supposed to be a means of payment and a store of value and cryptocurrencies are not used for payments. Usually, people sell their cryptocurrency and then pay in U.S Dollars and in terms of store value, cryptocurrencies have high volatility.

This is not the first time Jerome Powell has shown his disdain towards cryptocurrencies. Last year, during the testimony as a nominee for the Federal Reserve Chairman before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell was asked about his opinion on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. He pointed out that Bitcoin’s market value is more than that of 29 out of the 500 S&P Corporations in the US.

During the testimony with the Senate Banking Committee, Jerome Powell said:
“Another bubble that is some four or five times the dotcom bubble of the 90s.”
However, Powell had stated that cryptocurrencies don’t really matter as they are not big enough. He said that cryptocurrencies do not have the volume for it to matter and in the “long long run”, cryptocurrencies of that nature could matter.

Moreover, in the month of January 2018, the Federal Reserve chairman speaks about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. During his speech in Yale Law School, Powell shows interest in blockchain and Bitcoin’s role in distributed ledger technology. He stated that the DLT, in the long run, would render parts of the banking and payment system obsolete. He also adds that there is a need for standardization and interoperability across various versions of distributed ledger technology and a proper legal structure is required for the regulation of the network.

Joshua Fausset, a Youtuber commented:
“What currency in the history of mankind is any better at hiding illegal activity than the US dollar? What currency has been devalued any greater over time than fiat currencies, such as the US dollar? The establishment is living in their own dream world they don’t want to see end. As long as the public stays asleep, the dream will continue.”

WonderfulInflation, another Redditor replied to a comment which stated that the Feds is working in their best interests and not the peoples:
“Regardless of their intention with crypto, the alternative reality we live in is a lot bleaker. The status quo is failing and people won’t realise it as long as new artilces exist claiming Bitcoin is dead. Even for people that aren’t interested in crypto there is a story there.”

He further adds:
“Why is Bitcoin continually dying (showing how fucking hard it is to kill) while banks are too big to fail? On one hand we have someting we try to abuse and destroy (Bitcoin) and on the other we have a leagacy system that refuses to be accountable and claims to be invincible (too big to fail). I wonder which of the two is doing more harm to the world economy.”


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Author: Priya
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Japan Unveils “Simplified” Crypto Tax System

Japan’s National Tax Agency (NTA) has unveiled plans to change the way cryptocurrency investors pay tax on their earnings – and claims “simplification” is the guiding principle behind its reforms.



The changes had been mooted for some time, and the country’s finance minister Taro Aso hinted at the possibility of tax reform in a speech made last month. Cryptocurrency-related earnings will continue to be classified as “miscellaneous income,” however, despite speculation that the NTA would change the way crypto investors were required to file their earnings.

Per media outlet Sankei Biz, the NTA consulted with the regulatory Financial Services Agency, the Japan Blockchain Association and Japanese cryptocurrency-related businesses on its new system, which makes use of software that automatically calculates earnings and losses.

The NTA says its new system not only helps calculate payable tax, but also provides a quicker and easier way for investors to file taxes, doing away with confusing paperwork. The NTA says its solution will be of particular benefit to tech companies operating in the cryptocurrency sphere.

The announcement also contained good news for small-scale investors. The agency confirmed that only those with cryptocurrency-related earnings exceeding 200,000 yen (around USD 1,780) in the January 2018-December 2018 period will be required to pay and file tax returns.

The agency says that its changes were made with the objective of “easing the burden” on the country’s cryptocurrency investors and fintech enterprises.


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Author: Tim Alper
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A Chinese Alleged Ex-gangster Raises USD 750m in ICO

A former gangster from Macau, the semi-autonomous Chinese gambling city next to Hong Kong, has raised USD 750 million in less than five minutes in an initial coin offering (ICO), the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.



The report cited World Hung Mun Investment, a company of the Macau triad gangster known as “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok-koi.

According to the report, “Broken Tooth” partnered with a mysterious Mainland Chinese company Zhonggongxin Cosmos to launch the cryptocurrency dubbed “HB” during an event in Cambodia. The event was said to be attended by senior government and military officials from both Hong Kong and Mainland China.

If the report is true, it marks an interesting turn of events given the fact that ICOs and cryptocurrency trading is banned in Mainland China.

World Hung Mun Investment is said to issue a billion “HB” tokens, with only half of them being offered to the public. So far, the company claims to have sold 450 million tokens at three events, in Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines, with a final stop scheduled in Malaysia on Wednesday.

According to the article, Wan’s idea is to use the tokens as prize money during chess and poker tournaments in Mainland China this fall.

According to the report, HB is traded on an exchange called a.top that was launched by a Hong Kong company All In Group Limited.

Zhonggongxin Cosmos, a subsidiary of Zhonggongxin Assets Management Limited, which has a variety of business interests including asset management, construction projects in Russia, hints at being state-owned by claiming to report directly to a department of the Chinese central government.


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Author: Fredrik Vold
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Pressure Growing For S Korea’s Government to Reverse ICO Ban

South Korean MPs and lawyers are gearing up for a fresh assault on the country’s initial coin offering (ICO) ban. The politicians and legal professionals are aiming to reverse the government’s total ban on ICOs, made in September last year.



Media outlet News2Day reports that three MPs will submit private members’ bills during special parliamentary sessions on July 13 and 16, all aimed at reversing the ICO ban. Their number includes Park Yong-jin of the ruling Democratic Party. Two opposition MPs, Chung Tae-ok of the Liberty Party Korea and Choung Byoung-gug, the former leader of the Bareunmirae Party, are also set to put bills forward.

Another Democratic Party MP, Hong Eui-rak, has already proposed a bill to overturn the ban this year, as pressure on the government continues to grow.
In May, the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Industry 4.0, a parliamentary IT board, recommended that the government allow regulated ICOs. The plea failed to impress the regulatory Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), which said it would continue to “take a negative stance” on ICOs.

Meanwhile, Newsway reports that lawyers affiliated with the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) have urged the creation of “an institutional system” to “end the confusion” caused by the government’s ban.

The KCCI held an “ICO Seminar” on July 11, where the group’s speaker, lawyer Yoon Jong-soo, stated, “There is great demand [for ICOs in South Korea], and there is no doubting their value, but is difficult to protect investors in the current environment.” Other lawyers suggested that consultants carefully consider South Korean companies’ individual needs when advising them where to conduct overseas ICOs. Singapore is currently the favored choice for South Korean businesses, with at least 44 companies launching their ICOs in the city state so far this year.

In the past week it has emerged that Seoul may actually be willing to consider amending its ICO policy, but will only act after the forthcoming G20 summit of finance ministers (July 19-22). Ministers at the summit, to be held in Buenos Aires, are expected to discuss cryptocurrency-related matters. The governor of Jeju Island, a self-governing South Korean province, meanwhile, says he hopes to use the region’s special legal status to allow companies to issue ICOs on the island – another move that may influence Seoul’s ICO policy.


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Author: Tim Alper
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