Showing posts with label Singapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Singapore. Show all posts

November 29, 2017

1 Million Yen, 100 Million INR – Bitcoin sets new price milestones on International Markets

By Samuel Haig - November 28, 2017 (

With all eyes on bitcoin’s meteoric break of $10,000, less attention has been paid to the price milestones recently established on leading international markets. In recent weeks, the CAD, AUD, NZD, and SGD pairings also surpassed $10,000, whilst a single bitcoin exceeds 500,000 RUB in Russia, 1 million JPY in Japan, 10 million KRW in South Korea, and 100 million IDR in Indonesia.

The Price of Bitcoin Exceeds 1 Million Yen in Japan

As Japan is currently host to more than 60% of global trading volume, reaching the seven-figure milestone on the JPY markets is a big deal for bitcoin. According to cryptocompare, bitcoin broke above one million JPY at approximately 7 pm on the 25th of November EDT. The current JPY/BTC price as of this writing approximately (1:30 am November 29th EDT) is roughly ¥1,300,000

Seven hours after bitcoin broke above one million JPY, the South Korean bitcoin markets reached 10,000,000 KRW for the first time ever. Currently, the Korean markets account for 10% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the third-largest bitcoin market behind the United States. The current KRW/BTC price is approximately ₩12,600,000.

Bitcoin Tests $15,000 in Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean National Markets

With the exception of an anomalous spike in the AUD/BTC price at the end of October, cryptocompare’s price index indicates that AUD trade convincingly exceeded $10,000 for the first time on November 16th at 4 pm EDT. AUD trade comprises the fifth largest national market with roughly 0.45% of 24-hour bitcoin trade. The current AUD/BTC price is approximately $14,400.

Singapore hosts the seventh largest national bitcoin market equating for roughly 0.34% of total trade. The SGD/BTC price broke above $10,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 15th EDT and is now currently trading for $14,300 approximately.

Canadian trade presently accounts for 0.2% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the ninth largest national market. The CAD price of bitcoin broke above $10,000 for the first time at 2 am on November 17 EDT, with CAD/BTC currently trading for $13,300.

Other Major Price Milestones on International Markets

At approximately 11 pm on the 25th of November EDT, the price of bitcoin exceeding 150,000 ZAR in South Africa for the first time. ZAR trade comprises the eighth largest national bitcoin market – comprising 0.25% of 24-hour trade.The current ZAR/BTC price is approximately ZAR167,000.

Indonesia’s bitcoin markets comprise approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume, currently making such the fourteenth largest national market. The IDR/BTC price broke above 100,000,000 rupees at 9 am on November 1st EST, and at approximately midnight on November 29th EDT established a new milestone of over 150,000,000 rupees.

Russian bitcoin prices broke above RUB 500,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 25 EDT. RUB/BTC trading presently comprises the fifteenth largest national market, representing approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume. Bitcoin is currently trading for approximately RUB 600,000 in Russia.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

November 24, 2017

Regulatory Round-up - South Korea says Laissez Faire, Zimbabwe dislikes and Singapore to regulate

By Samuel Haig - November 25, 2017 (

South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service has stated that it won’t regulate the digital token markets due to cryptocurrencies not comprising a legally recognized financial instrument. In central bank news, Zimbabwe’s central bank has stated that bitcoin is not legal, and Singapore’s central bank has launched the second public consultation for its newly proposed payments legislation. Here’s a regulator round-up.

South Korea’s Financial Regulator Does Not Plan on Regulating Cryptocurrencies

The Governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Mr. Choe Hueng-sik, has indicated that the FSS does not consider bitcoin and other digital tokens to comprise legitimate currency, and as such, will not regulate the cryptocurrency markets.

The governor likened the FSS’s stance to its regulatory position regarding casinos, stating “It is the same with the fact that we don’t regulate or supervise casinos. Though there could be concerns on excessive gambling, that does not provide grounds for the FSS to control casino practices.”

The governor indicated that the FSS’s position would change only if cryptocurrencies were to become a legitimately recognized currency, stating “Though we are monitoring the practice of cryptocurrency trading, we don’t have plans right now to directly supervise exchanges. Supervision will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as a legitimate currency.”

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe States Bitcoin “Is Not Actually Legal”

Norman Mataruka, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) director and registrar of banking institutions, has told reporters that bitcoin is not legal. Mr. Mataruka stated:

“In terms of the bitcoin, as far as we are concerned, it is not actually legal. In Southern Africa, what we have done as regulators, we have said that we will not allow this in our markets… Research is currently being undertaken to ascertain the challenges and risks associated with these particular products and until we have actually established and come up with a legal and regulatory framework for them, it will not be allowed.”

The announcement comes shortly after the resignation of Robert Mugabe, following a coup that ousted Zimbabwe’s former leader of 37 years. In recent months, increasing coverage has been given to the inflated price of bitcoin in the African nation, with high demand for the cryptocurrency being driven by Zimbabwe’s prevailing currency crisis.

Although Mr. Mataruka failed to clarify if he meant that the possession and use of bitcoin was illegal, or simply that bitcoin does not comprise a legally recognized currency in the state of Zimbabwe, it is unlikely that the RBZ can spare the resources required to attempt to uphold prohibitive cryptocurrency regulations given Zimbabwe’s current political turmoil.

Singapore’s Central Bank Seeks To “Streamline” Payment Regulations to Include Cryptocurrencies

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has launched its second public consultation regarding a newly proposed regulatory framework, the “Payment Services Bill”. The bill seeks to “streamline the regulation of payment services under a single legislation,” and “expand the scope of regulated payment activities to include virtual currency services and other innovations, and calibrate regulation according to the risks posed by these activities.” The MAS stated:

“When the new Bill is enacted, payment firms will only need to hold one license under a single regulatory framework to conduct any or all of the specified payment activities. Only payment activities that face customers or merchants, process funds or acquire transactions, and pose relevant regulatory concerns will need to be licensed. The new framework will expand the scope of regulation to include domestic money transfers… merchant acquisition… and the purchase and sale of virtual currencies… To help ensure that the expanded scope of regulation is not onerous, the Bill will differentiate regulatory requirements according to the risks that specific payment activities pose rather than apply a uniform set of regulations on all payment service providers… The Bill will empower MAS to regulate payment services for money-laundering and terrorism financing risks.”

Mr. Ravi Menon, the managing director of the MAS, stated: “We want to put in place a forward-looking regulatory regime to encourage wider adoption of secure e-payment solutions.” The public consultation will run from 21 November 2017 to 8 January 2018.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

November 23, 2017

Six of the World’s Most Bitcoin-Friendly Neighborhoods

By Kai Sedgwick - November 23, 2017 (

If you’ve tired of trying to red-pill your mom on bitcoin, and your mailman isn’t feeling your frequent pitches on decentralization, perhaps it’s time you relocated elsewhere. A place where your enthusiasm for all things blockchain will be met with enthusiasm rather than nonplussed stares. San Francisco, New York, and London can sit this one out: their level of bitcoin-friendliness is already established. Cast your gaze further afield and you’ll find districts, both urban and suburban, where bitcoiners reign supreme.  

You Came to the Right Neighborhood

Where there’s high speed internet, there’s bitcoin devotees. How else are you supposed to download the entire blockchain and run a masternode? Nomad List ranks global cities by a range of metrics including rent, safety, air quality, and internet speed. While few cities can compete with Kansas and its god-tier 150 mbps, Singapore and Bucharest come pretty close.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

With its grand 17th century houses, traditional crafts, and riverside gardens, Portsmouth doesn’t look like a hotbed of cryptocurrency adoption. It turns out that the entire state’s big on bitcoin however,
with doomsday preppers and survivalists seeing New Hampshire’s sprawling wilderness and snow-capped peaks as the perfect place to lay low and stock up on canned goods in readiness for the coming apocalypse.

20,000 members of the libertarian Free State Project have pledged to move to New Hampshire in the coming years. Its HQ is the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe in Portsmouth where your filthy fiat’s no good – it’s crypto only. The state also features a farm which sells its beef for bitcoin and numerous shopkeepers accept the virtual currency with the aid of the Anypay app.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam’s Sex Museum lies the Bitcoin Embassy, a community hub where bitcoin evangelists gather to worship. Open daily from Tuesday to Saturday, it’s frequented by developers, startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and curious passersby. There’s a Bitcoin Cafe, Box Shop, and Bitcoin Restaurant complete with its own mining rig. The city is also home to the bit4coin exchange and has spawned numerous crypto startups and ICOs.

Douglas, Isle of Man

Overlooking the Irish Sea is Douglas, the quiet capital of Britain’s Isle of Man. Despite having a population of just 26,000, the town’s got its own bitcoin bar, The Thirsty Pigeon, and is home to the island’s only noodle bar – which also happens to take bitcoin. There’s another reason why Douglas is bona fide bitcoin-friendly: the island’s regulatory framework allows cryptocurrency gambling and token sales to flourish. The Isle of Man is home to 25 bitcoin-related startups, causing it to be dubbed Bitcoin Island.

Kreuzberg, Berlin

With its mixture of students, geeks, cyberpunks, and bohemians, Berlin was always going to rank highly on the bitcoin scale. Kreuzberg is Berlin’s bitcoin heartland however, a district that boasts the highest concentration of merchants that accept the digital currency. Room77, the “restaurant at the end of capitalism” perfectly encapsulates the ethos of the city’s most ardent bitcoin believers. As previously reported, it was the site of the first real-world Lightning Network transaction, which was used to purchase – what else? – beer.

Ginza, Tokyo

Japan can lay claim to being the world’s most bitcoin-ready country, with thousands of stores accepting the digital currency and a string of bitcoin ATMs to be found within major metropolises. Ginza, Tokyo’s upscale shopping and dining district, welcomes bitcoin-users seeking to buy or spend the cryptocurrency. There’s a bitcoin ATM in The Snack coffee bar, where you can also pay for your meal in BTC, while a ten-minute walk away lies the popular Numazuko Sushi Bar, where your bitcoin and bitcoin cash are also welcome. Afterwards, pop into Ginza’s Megane Super opticians for a new set of specs and put the bill on bitcoin.

Ngawa, China

The Chinese government hasn’t exactly welcomed bitcoin with open arms, but has yet to issue an all-out ban. If you’re a Chinese resident seeking like-minded souls, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture should be the next place you lay your hat. You’ll struggle to find anywhere that accepts bitcoin round here – more than 10% of Ngawa’s 70,000 residents are Tibetan monks, who aren’t known for their tech-savviness.

Nevertheless, close by lie many of Sichuan’s crypto mining operations which feed off the province’s cheap hydro power. Chilling in a noisy and dirty mining farm isn’t anyone’s idea of libertarian paradise. Still, if you want to get intimate with bitcoin, heading straight to the source is as close as it gets.

There’s still a long way to go until bitcoin acceptance is the norm and cryptocurrency neighborhoods have sprung up across the globe. For those who seek a place to spend, talk, and revel in all things bitcoin, however, there are scattered outposts where your satoshis are good and your radical views on decentralization are welcome.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, the Bitcoin Embassy, and Bitsonline.

Kai Sedgwick

Kai's been assembling words for a living since 2009 and involved with bitcoin since 2013. He's previously written white papers for blockchain companies and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

November 18, 2017

20+ Banks set to join Singapore-Hong Kong Blockchain-powered Trade Network

More than twenty banks are expected to join a DLT-based trade network being built jointly by partners Singapore and Hong Kong.

By News Desk - November 18, 2017 (

Top Central Bankers from Singapore and Hong Kong have confirmed that more than 20 global banks will be joining their partnership to build a blockchain-based trade network.

The development was announced at the Singapore Fintech Festival this Thursday. The project is called the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform (HKTFP), and is the result of a collaboration between the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The HKTFP – a pilot which has been described as a global trade connectivity network (GTCN) which will digitize trade finance – is among the first of its kind and is an initiative which is expected to serve as a global model for the industry.

The partnership between competitors Singapore and Hong Kong is geared toward the advancement and promotion of fintech and blockchain, and the HKTFP is a major part of the collaboration. The platform is designed to ensure the smooth transfer of digital data, to facilitate global trade that passes through Singapore and Hong Kong – both major trade hubs.

The launch date for the HKTFP is early 2019, as was announced by the MAS earlier this week; Singapore is likely to target the Asean region with the project, while Hong Kong will be focusing on China.

Currently, however, the DLT pilot is still under development. Numerous aspects are being ironed out, and Li Shu-Pui, executive director HKMA, revealed that banks involved in the project have raised multiple concerns, among them worries about data and transaction privacy. He added that it was imperative for regulators worldwide to start laying down rules for the oversight of blockchain tech, so it could fully play its part in the rapidly advancing trade finance sector.

Both HKMA and MAS also aim to expand the scope of the HKTFP, and expect European banks to get involved as the project develops and progresses.

November 13, 2017

The World’s Largest FinTech Event kicks off in Singapore

By Samburaj Das - November 13, 2017 (

The second edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival began on Monday, a week-long event comprising of over 25,000 participants from over 100 countries.

Lasting a week, this year’s Singapore FinTech festival is organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank and financial regulator, in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), an organization that represents the retail and investment banking community of Singapore.  Last year’s inaugural event saw over 13,000 participants from 60 countries.

“We are pleased that the Singapore FinTech Festival has grown this year, to become the world’s largest FinTech Festival,” stated MAS FinTech chief Sopnendu Mohanty. “It is a synergistic platform for the global FinTech community to spark new ideas and gain valuable insights. There will be many opportunities for financial institutions and FinTech companies to come together and collaborate on value-adding partnerships.”

For Singapore, a country synonymous with being ahead of the curve in adopting technologies, the event is noteworthy for being organized by the country’s central bank, an institution that has led the effort to establish Singapore as a global FinTech hub.

The global blockchain community will, in particular, be paying keen attention to the MAS’ technical report of Phase 2 of Project Ubin, the central bank’s initiative to develop and deploy a digital Singaporean dollar. Earlier this year, Phase 1 has already seen the central bank “place a tokenized form of the Singapore dollar (SGD)” on a private Ethereum blockchain.

The event’s highlight will feature a three-day FinTech conference, starting Tuesday, featuring over 160 leaders from central banks, regulatory agencies, financial institutions and FinTech companies. The conference will also feature a talk by Netherlands’ Queen Maxima who, in her capacity as UN Secretary-General’s special advocate for inclusive finance, will speak about using technology toward a financially inclusive future. The second day of the FinTech conference will feature an opening address from Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister.

On Thursday, the event will showcase 20 market-ready FinTech solutions shortlisted from nearly 600 global submissions as a part of its Global FinTech Hackcelerator program. The ready-to-deploy solutions will focus on select key areas, namely customer-facing solutions, regulatory technology and financial inclusion.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

October 27, 2017

Singapore will not regulate cryptocurrencies - an official of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

By Alex Gao - October 27, 2017 (

Recently during an interview with Bloomberg, an official of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which serves as the central bank and financial regulator of Singapore, said that MAS has no plans of regulating cryptocurrencies. The central bank will keep “an open mind,” though the official also stated the necessity of establishing anti-money laundering control in the future.

Money laundering is not Bitcoin’s fault

During the interview, MAS Managing Director, Ravi Menon said that:

“We’ve taken the approach that the currency itself does not pose the risk that warrants regulation. Our approach is to look at the activity around the cryptocurrency and then make an assessment of what regulation would be suitable.”

“It is a known fact that cryptocurrencies are quite often abused for illicit financing purposes, so we do want to have AML/CFT controls in place. So those requirements apply to the activity around cryptocurrency, rather than the cryptocurrency itself.”

Cryptocurrencies have more functions

What’s more, Menon, unlike most of other authorities, didn't undermine or criticize the cryptocurrencies. He said that if cross-border remittance through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is more convenient and efficient, the central bank and scholars should focus more on how to use Blockchain and cryptocurrencies to benefit more people. The scholars and professionals should consider whether cryptocurrencies could make cross-border inter-banking payments cheaper, faster and more efficient instead of merely thinking about the economic value of cryptocurrencies as investing products.

Big future of Blockchain in Singapore

Singapore has always been the advocate of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The MAS is one of the early adopters of Blockchain technology. On Oct. 25, Singapore and Hong Kong announced a cooperation on a cross-border trade project based on Blockchain technology by linking their trade finance platforms.

With “an open mind,” Singapore could be one of the most important countries for the development of Blockchain technology. It also has the potential of being the hub of Blockchain technology in the future.